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rob_d 07-05-2013 11:46 AM

Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Okay folks, let me start off with the fact that I have never sailed before. I've spent a lot of time on boats in lakes and the ocean, but never sailed. So, step 1, learn to sail. Duh.
I've got it in my head right now that I want to purchase a sailboat, live on it (of course, cause everyone wants to live on a sailboat!), save up some money and travel from California down to Mexico, South America, the Bahamas, etc.
What I'm wondering is this:
1) Am I completely insane to think that I can find a decent boat for under $15k that will be "comfortable" to live on and sail down to Mexico or anywhere else in the world???
2) If I am NOT insane, what should I be looking for? What are the best liveaboard boats that will meet my needs? (Decent sleeping for two side by side, shower, etc.)
3) If I am insane, please, someone slap some sense into me because all I can think about is sailing the open seas and ditching the real world!

I've been trolling this forum for a while now...figured I'd finally join and just ask what I want to know!

FYI, I've been told to look for a few things on a boat. So far, this is what I'm thinking I want to look for:
1) 27-35 foot vessel
2) A diesel inboard motor
3) Solar panels (I know I'll probably have to invest in these, but if I can find a boat that comes with them, bonus!)
4) A liveable shower
5) Able to sail to Hawaii, Mexico, etc. if I so desire (and can afford!)
6) Under 15k (even less would be better!)

Any input you all are willing to give would be great!

seabreeze_97 07-05-2013 01:10 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
By livable shower I'm guessing you mean fresh water. That means serious tankage or an expensive water maker. Considering the $15K, the water maker is out. If you find a boat with one, or with big tanks, are you big on cold showers? If not, you need some way to heat it, or do you prefer saltwater showers? Are you mechanically inclined? You'll need to be for engine upkeep, not to mention rigging, etc. Just a couple things to think about. You can certainly low-buck it. Might find a total peach out there, all things considered, but the less $ the more elbow grease you will need to get started. You may need to adjust perspective some on things like showers (fine at the dock, not so much at sea). Not crazy, just needing perspective. Proceed slowly, allow time to consider things. Don't make snap decisions.

bobmcgov 07-05-2013 01:23 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Owning a sailboat automatically qualifies us all as insane, so you're okay there. Welcome to Nutjobs Anonymous. Living on a boat takes no skills at all, except perhaps a tidy approach to housekeeping and reasonable balance. Thing is, most liveaboards don't sail much. Who wants to sail their house?

So you won't likely learn to sail on a houseboat. You can, but it is work. And any boat large enuf to live on & heavy enuf to take offshore is gonna be less than ideal to teach you sailing. You can do it, but you'll need serious commitment and possibly an experienced mentor.

Love the attitude & goals. Here's a few possible routes to your dream:

1) Live in a tiny apartment (good practice!); work like the devil for two years. Sail in the evenings. Either buy a dinghy or small keelboat, or join a sailing club, where you can try out a bunch of different boats & get free lessons. When you are ready to live aboard cruise, you'll know sailing like only seat-of-the-pants dinghys can teach it, and you'll have some idea what you want in a boat.

2) Buy your big liveaboard cruiser; buy a sailing dinghy or windsurfer you can practise on. Or jump rides on other peoples' boats (OPBs). Again, combined experience & tutoring.

3) Get a beat up coastal cruiser cheap. Force yourself to keep it in sailing trim and to sail it often. If you are sure it is the one, start converting it for voyaging one system at a time, as money permits. This is a possible route, and the discipline you learn will set you up for voyaging. But it's a loooong route, figure 4-5 years at least, and you will be broke most of the time -- as every spare nickle goes into boat upgrades.

As for boats in that price range.... Yeah, they are around. Look into the following brands: Coronado, Cal, Ranger, C&C, Contest/Conyplex, Ingrid, Islander. All will need substantial effort before casting off -- make sure your candidates are at least in sound, sailable condition. Superficial neglect is okay, tho it sometimes hints at deeper problems. Solid engine is important. Don't rule out an Atomic 4 gasoline engine, if it is running well. Many older boats in your price range will have them. Some of these boats will sail well but bounce around & be small inside (Ranger, C&C); others will be roomy & secure in a blow, but not perform so good, esp. in light or contrary winds (Contest, Ingrid, Coronado).

johnnyquest37 07-05-2013 01:23 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
1) You are not insane - at least there is no indication that you are from what you have posted.
2) Spend a little time to decide what features you need/want in the boat. Read a couple of books on the subject. Asking what to look for in a liveaboard boat is like asking what to look for in a wife - the answers are too much a function of the person asking the question to result in exact answers.
3) See 1) above.

I say go now.

seabreeze_97 07-05-2013 01:42 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Consider this sold boat, price and equipment, age. Perfect example of a great old boat.
1965 Whitby Alberg 30 sailboat for sale in Michigan

rob_d 07-05-2013 01:49 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
I definitely appreciate all of the input!
I think one of my biggest strong suits is the fact that I am handy. I can work on things, I can fix things. I remodeled my entire house built in the 1940's, and it's gorgeous, imho. Although my ex owns it now. Whatever.
I'm under the impression, though, and correct me if I'm wrong...that living aboard is inexpensive. Not cheap, because of the cost of a slip, repairs to the boat, upgrades, etc. Living in the Bay Area is expensive, ridiculously expensive. So, if I can find a decent slip in say Berkeley (where my gf is thinking about going to get her masters) I can sail on the weekends, work on the boat, work a real job, and prepare for adventures.
Yes, I'm still on the idea that this whole thing is romantic, but I don't think I'm naive to the realities of owning/living on a boat. I know it's going to be tough, I know it's going to be a challenge, and I know it's going to be expensive. I live cheap now, so why not do that on a boat and be poor!
As for cold showers...not a big fan. I've seen somewhere, can't remember where, that installing hot water heaters is doable, especially when sitting on a slip and hooked up to power. As for being out at sea, there's always a solar shower...

rob_d 07-05-2013 01:53 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Nice! But, do you think a Whitby Alberg 30 is capable of hitting the high seas? As in, California to Mexico?

FirstCandC 07-05-2013 02:56 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
The Alberg 30 Sailboat :
They are pretty boats. There is a lot of info on them, including this site. Not much tankage and space.
Although not technically a "blue water boat", you can get a Hunter 33 Cherubini for less than 15K, complete with shower.
And yes, we are all completely insane. I am down to eating oatmeal and sandwiches every day, just to support this habit.

deniseO30 07-05-2013 03:02 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...

Originally Posted by seabreeze_97 (Post 1054774)
Consider this sold boat, price and equipment, age. Perfect example of a great old boat.
1965 Whitby Alberg 30 sailboat for sale in Michigan

Gotta love the Easter Egg Engine

Rob your doing fine. Welcome aboard! Whatever boat you decide on, will be too small right after you buy it! Also don't forget if you do take a slip you will be using the facilities of the marina more then those on the boat. If it's a really nice marina... even better!

rob_d 07-05-2013 04:06 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Sort of looking at the Ranger 33 right now...seems to have (almost) everything I'm looking for...
Does anyone know how the dinette converts into another bed? I'm thinking that because my girlfriend and I will be living on the boat, sleeping there might be the best option for us...and I'm a tall guy...6'1". Need the room!
What I really want to do is find someone here in the Bay Area who has a 70's Ranger 33 I can take a look at...just trying to narrow down my options.

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