Masters student saves £5600 living aboard 24ft Falmouth Gypsy boat for 14 months

A masters student saved £5,600 by living aboard a yacht he bought for £800 – the equivalent of two months rent.

23-year-old Joe Pearce, a physical geography student at Aberystwyth University, bought the 24ft Falmouth Gypsy class boat online following a split from his girlfriend.

He said: “I was sharing a flat with my girlfriend, and we would split the £100-a-week rent between us.

“But when we broke up I would have had to pay around 400 pounds a month by myself.

“So I then came up with a crazy idea to buy a boat to live on,” he added.

Living in Ynyslas boatyard for as little as £1 per day enabled Pearce to save on transport costs by cycling the eight miles to the university during his 14-month stay.

However the Penryn-built Golden Cloud was only 5ft high in the tallest interior cabin, which was “cramped” for the 6ft tall student.

“The low ceiling wasn’t ideal as I had to crouch down otherwise I would have hit my head,” he said.

Despite the cosy nature of his dwellings, Pearce ensured he had a rounded student experience and managed to host parties aboard.

After graduating, with the help of his registered blind father, Pearce sailed Golden Cloud from North Wales to his hometown on the Isle of Wight, where a river mooring has now been secured.

During the 500-mile journey, despite one encounter with the Coastguard following an engine breakdown, the pair managed to stop at eight ports along the way to collect donations for the RNLI and Isle of Wight Society for the Blind.

On reflection, Pearce said: “It was a fantastic experience and I wouldn’t change anything about it. The boat has got so much character and it’s officially my boat.”

A video diary and blog can be accessed at for further details of the trip, along with featured links for charitable donations.

Pictures taken from