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Old 08-20-2013
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Question Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

I am looking for a very good quality sailboat to live on and do the occasional ocean voyage. I would like it to be at least 38-48ft. Price is an issue don't have much...

What would you recommend, year and manufacture?
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

Welcome to SailNet.

Why don't you tell us some more about yourself, your goals, your (geographic) area, and your budget? Do you like to sail? Do you think refrigeration is necessity or a luxury? Can you change the oil and pull the injectors on an engine (or would you be willing to learn how)?

For $15,000 or less you could find a Tartan 34c, a Pearson 35, or a Catalina 30, with reasonable space for one person, maybe two. Probably wouldn't have a fridge or any form of cabin heating/cooling. Some people could be happy with that. Some people/couples couldn't until they spend $60-100k on a much bigger and more extensively equipped boat in the 40-45ft range.

In some places marina fees are reasonable and getting permission to live aboard isn't a problem. In others, fees are high and there is a years-long waiting list for liveaboard slips.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

If price is an issue then 38-48 ft will be quite a bit out of your reach I think.

What is your ACTUAL budget? And what is your location? Not all boats are available world wide...
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Old 08-21-2013
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xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about xort has a spectacular aura about
And the bigger the boat, the bigger the cost of continued operations.
More bottom paint, higher dock rate, higher fuel consumption, bigger more expensive sails/rigging, etc.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

Try doing some searches on your own here and on other forums. Lots fo stuff out there, you just have to sort through it and decide what is right for you.

If this is another hope that living on a sailboat is a cheap alternative to land, you will get some strong feedback against it. Define not much money? Some people think that $10,000 is a lot, some $250,000. The $250K would get you a really nice boat, and after adding 10% a year for maintenance and dockage, you should be fairly comfortable.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

I won't consider a "day cruiser" a liveaboard. Unless she is truly designed and equipped to handle blue water cruising, if you try to live aboard a day cruiser, it is like living in a car. Don't do it.

Around Boston every year, some people get it into their heads they want to do this.
And they buy a 30 something footer and move aboard.

The vast majority of those vessels are for sale by the following June.

During their first year aboard, they wrapped their boat in plastic to keep warm, (like bums wrapping in newspaper), they either paid thousands for a diesel heater or kept blowing circuit breakers with their 35 amp service, replaced their on-demand water pump at least once, have lots of toilet "issues", while doing the early morning walk to the community showers, etc.

If you are going to liveaboard, buy a serious enough vessel to not have to wrap in plastic which therefore has interior walls / you're not looking at the inside of your hull, have your own shower(s), functioning toilets, serious water supply system, at least a 50 amp service, a washer & dryer would be civilized too... anotherwords she has to provide what most humans consider the basics for living comfortably.

Otherwise, you are either a bum at heart, (used to living in your car), a college student, or want to get divorced.

A typical house in Eastern Massachusetts costs around $300 - $400 K. Do not expect to replace that reality with a $50K boat.

I have recently witnessed a divorce of people who were together for many years.... he thought new chain plates were more important than running water.... and numerous "for sale" signs on boats boat last year with all the best of intentions.

To skip right to the chase, I would suggest a GulfStar 50 ketch, or BETTER. Those can be had for just less than $100K, will need a lot of work, i.e., $100Ksssss but, you will have an entry level liveaboard for the tight budget.

Also, if you buy a used boat to liveaboard, you damn well better be capable of doing plumbing, electrical, diesel work, carpentry, plus all the nautical skills you enjoy.

And you better be seriously up for tackling your "list" of projects every single weekend.

You work all week at your job to have the money to pay for the materials you install all weekend. Sometimes, you can go sailing...... and then you will break new things.

If you don't have those resources, go back to school, learn a higher paying career, then come back when you are ready. And, THEN you can name your boat the Triumph.
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

Also there is a huge difference between a 38 ft boat and a 48 ft I know it looks like 10 ft but the reality is that a 48 ft boat is more than twice the boat a 38 footer is.

In addition to purchase cost and annual maintenance cost figures we also need to know where you intend to sail. Some areas are limiting on draft/mast clearance/insulation.

If you don't have much then a ferrocement boat is a good option. Something like this CLICKY
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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

I recently divorced, looking to rebuild my life, have always wanted to sail. Since I am without a home it is time to just that.
I want a sailboat that I can live aboard and in a few years travel.
My budget is under $80k
Location Palm Beach Florida
Have already found dockage, that comes recommended.
I am really looking for a excellent quality used boat that will give me many years of service.

thanks for your input
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Old 08-21-2013
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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

I think you might like this one, it is a Tayana 37 but is the extended 45 LOA version with 40' on deck. I think you will find the Tayana 37 by Bob Perry is a boat that anyone here will tell you is very nice, and though I cannot say for certain what condition this one is in, not having seen it in person, from the ad here 1981 Ho Hsing Tayana 37 Double Ender Full Keel sailboat for sale in Texas it appears to be in good shape. Check out the ad, look at the photos and let us know if this is something you might like, also it might help if we knew your more or less budget number. To some people $500,000.00 is a good number, to others the $54,000.00 asking price on this one might be too much.

As with all used boats you will get to do a little work, but that will help you personalize it.


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Re: Need help buying a good used sailboat/live-aboard

Really most any boat in that size range is going to at least be of reasonable quality. Even the "production" brands like Catalina and Hunter are really nice in the over 38 foot size. Keep in mind that fiberglass has an almost infinite life, common commercial fiberglass boats have been made for well over 60 years now and most are still on the water. So in your price range you can look at a newer, and likely faster and more spacious boat, or an older more heavy duty boat with "character" and much smaller cabin per foot of boat. Keep in mind boats are built to a budget, and with certain activities in mind. So you can have a coastal cruiser that is meant for a comfortable spacious boating near shore. Something like that is going to be good for cruising around Florida, the keys and the Caribbean up the east coast to Maine and even beyond. Now if you want to truly cross oceans then look into a heavy cruiser. They will be more comfortable in a storm but will be much slower in light winds. The other issue with a heavy cruiser is they tend to have very narrow ends (good for rough weather and following seas) and that limits space below a lot and they can seem claustrophobic in comparison foot per foot. Light winds are more common than not. You can go with a racing boat and get great performance but will have less room and amenities and might even have "pipe bunks" instead of comfortable bunks. All have been lived on by people happily. Some are happy on a 27 footer, others find a 47 foot boat to small. If I had an 80,000 budget I would likely spend $40-60,000 on something like an Ericson 38, Irwin 37, Catalina 38, Cal 35, Hunter 40, Jeaneau, Beneteau or such and spend 10-20,000 on a basic refitting and budget 10,000 on future upgrades but don't go too wild as you won't know what you really want for a few years.

80,000 can get you a lot of boat, but I bet any "high end" boat in that price range will need as much as the purchase price to get up to snuff. Avoid things like teak decks as they are very costly to repair, better to get a well maintained production boat than an ignored luxury brand.

I know Doug is a big fan of really big boats, but I really don't see the need for the added expense. As he says what he thinks is entry level live aboard is $200,000, not what you are looking for. I am well past the stage in my life where I need to impress anyone, and am happy with a mid 30 foot boat for myself but to each there own. I would not want the added maintenance of a bigger boat and would rather spend time sailing instead of working to make money to repair a big expensive boat. I don't want to be a slave to any material things, as I said I am past that. I have lived in big houses and have driven expensive cars, but not anymore, for me the name of living aboard is simplicity. No TV, no microwave, just enough space to be comfortable in. And I would not leave a boat unprotected in the Boston winter, regardless of size or quality unless it was a work boat. Water gets between lots of parts and freezes and pushes them apart making small cracks bigger and loosening stanchions and all kinds of fittings, causing leaks and other issues. To associate it with someone homeless is really just plain offensive and bad advice. I am sure most if not all the other boats in his marina wrap as it is the best practice in the North East. But you don't have to deal with that in Florida what you call winter we call the fall here in the north east.

In Florida you want to pay particular attention to draft, as you want to be able to access places that have fairly shallow water, such as the Keys and secluded bays. I would try to keep it as close to 5 foot (or less) as possible. You may wind up with a wing keel or centerboard in that size range but the performance hit is worth it down there.

Last but most important, get a survey! Do not use a surveyor recommended by a broker as they often favor the seller. You might ask here and will likely get good recommendations for a local one.
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Last edited by miatapaul; 08-21-2013 at 07:54 PM.
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