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WindRider68 08-27-2006 01:17 PM

looking for a liveaboard
looking for suggestions on what type of boat would be best suited for a live aboard and coastal sailing.There would be two of us onboard and currently located in tampa,florida.

sailandoar 08-27-2006 04:03 PM

Don't start too big or with one in need of too much work...
Starting with a big boat and/or one that "NEEDS WORK" is the downfall of many folks dreams. IF your DREAM is to SAIL then GO NOW on a smaller cheaper boat..... . MOST FIXUP PROJECTS FAIL! You might be the exception but why bother to find out the hard way if your goal is not to have a project but is to go SAILING! There are capable affordable boats that will get you started. Once you have crossed a pond and weathered a blow you, or you and your partner will be in a position to beat the odds and find one of those great ?big? great deal 'FIX-ER-UPPERs' and keep going in grand style. They are out there for sure. As a way to start out it is almost a sure fire prescription for failure. However, once you are 'ON THE WATER', and 'LIVING THE LIFESTYLE', you will be in the best possible position to find those great deals and also you will have the experiance to know which of the deals is the RIGHT ONE FOR YOU. They will nearly JUMP out at you and the folks you meet will tell you all about them time after time. Dashed dreams that can be bought for pennies on the dollar, blown op on the shores of 'Bit off More than I Could Chew'. The folks you meet in the anchorage know these things, NOT the folks on the street.


My suggestion is to get a boat that (1) has a track record of doing the kind of things you want to do, (2) is well documented , (3) has a history of being reliable, (4) is inexpensive, (5) has good resale value, (6) Sail it for a while and then you can (a) sell it and move to the mountains and buy a farm or (b) get another boat suits you better or (c) just relax, hunker down and go or (d) ? .

For Example:
Pearson Triton 28' (Carl Alberg design)

(1) James Baldwin: two circumnavigations
(2) James Baldwin and a Mainer that has a 10 STAR web site on a stem to stern total refit.
(3) generally considered to be simple/bullet proof
(4) $15,000 with diesel, new paint and sails seems to the rule
(5) It's not a Cape Dory or Pacific Seacraft but they do have a good name and a devoted following.
(6) Your call a or b or c or ?
James Baldwin's Website:
See his LINKS page for all the Triton info anyone could want....
The Maine'r:

SHALLOW DRAFT: (30" to 36")

The Triton is a great boat but has a draft of about 4' + few inches when loaded down to travel.

My person preferance is to try think SHALLOW DRAFT ( 30" to 36" )

Consider shallow draft and how much the 'fun world' of boating expands when you can slip into the little bays and creeks. Consider how much more secure you will feel when the list of possible 'safe shelters' expands to double or triple or more in size. Consider the cost savings if you can beach the boat on the tide and check, repair, paint the bottom. Consider the comfort, ease if you can let the boat dry out with the tide for storage of when anchoring for the night. Consider the peace of mind when running the ICW that is now underfunded and shoaling up. Consider that with marinas becoming fewer and MORE expensive that a boat that can sit at a dock most other folks (4'+ draft) can't use has many more options and can save a LOT of money on dockage.

Consider that Commodore Monroe (friend of L.F. Herresoff) sailed his round bilge sharpies from FL to New England regularly. James Wharrm cats cross oceans regularly. Most boats don't sail the North Altantic in the winter time, in fact most boats don't sail regularly. The dream is to sail from A to B to C. The reality is that 99% of the boats life is spent sitting (hopefully, beautifully/comfortably but never-the-less SITTING) at A or B or C. Deep draft does not EQUAL seaworthy or capable by itself and most folks get deep draft for the wrong reason and pay dearly for it. Ever notice the boats in the marina that JUST SIT! No where else to be/sit and too hard to use. Imagine a home that can slip up a creek like a big kayak and can be left almost anywhere.

Shannon shoal sailer
Westerly bilge keel model
Gemini cat
Wharram Cat
Reuel Parker sharpie design
etc, etc.

Right now we draw just under 6' and it is VERY limiting and VERY expensive and we are not doing justice to the boat. We expect that to change but in the long run for live aboard (as opposed to traveling/voyaging) we will change to shallow draft. That is not at all to say that shallow does not voyage. We have a character boat (gaff pinky schooner) and that is a big part of it. Trying to make the 'piece of history' work and figure out the 'old ways' is our goal for now and that drives the choice of design/deep-draft.

Jeff_H 08-27-2006 05:20 PM

I think that the members of this forum might be able to give a more useful answer if you provided a little more info that filled in some missing pieces like:
Do you have a budget in mind?
How important is the boat's sailing ability?
Are you working? Are you working office jobs?
Do you have any physical limitations?
Are you expeienced sailor or are you looking at this boat as a platform to learn to sail?
Do you have particular a size boat in mind?

Frankly, there are a lot of good liveaboards out there. If sailing ability isn't important than you should be able to buy a live aboard pretty cheaply. Needless to say, draft is a major restriction on the west coast of Florida.

I would also suggest that a good liveaboard should be comfortable, it is your home. You should be able to move around easily. Have lots of storage, and work areas that accommodate the functions of your daily life. In a lot of ways its should be as large as you can afford and can sail easily.

When you live aboard too small a boat, you never go sailing because you need to stow way too much stuff that has a place to live on a bigger boat.

With all due respect to my well meaning colleague, whether a boat is an acceptable circumnavigator bears little or no relation to whether is is a good choice for a liveaboard. And the fact that James Baldwin took a Triton apart and put one back together so that he was able to get the old girl around the world has little bearing on the suitablity of the average Triton for any purpose. Beyond all that, in many ways, a boat that is ideal as a circumnavigator is the antithesis of a good liveaboard, but that is another topic all together.


sailingdog 08-27-2006 05:52 PM

sailandoar makes some very good points. There are quite a few shallow draft boats that are also fairly capable bluewater passagemakers. They give you far more options in the way of places to hide in bad weather. A shallow draft boat has less competition and more choices for hurricane holes.

Multihulls are particularly good beasties with shallow drafts...and Cats will give you a lot more living space than a comparable length monohull, and can be worked on by beaching it in many cases.

For the naysayers that don't like multihulls, I'd say that multihulls have been around a long time, and the Polynesian islanders were using them to cross oceans while the europeans were still living in the dark ages.

If you can resist loading up a cat, it can sail well, have more living space, and often sail much faster than a comparable length monohull. However, trimarans tend to have better sailing characteristics, but the smaller ones tend to have less living space than comparable length monohulls.

What is your budget? What is your experience level? Will you have a day job... all this is pretty important, and may affect what boat would be good for you to buy.

What kind of sailing are you planning on doing? Do you want to make long passages, or not? Is living space (a floating condo) more important that sailing capabilities, or do you want a good mix of the two?

Jeff_H 08-27-2006 06:35 PM

Yes, but multihull width slips are hard to come by in south west Florida, and liveaboard slips are getting rarer as well so the combination only makes sense if you have located a marina that has room for a mulitihull that allows live aboards.


WindRider68 08-27-2006 06:43 PM

I am not experienced at all,other than books,as far as sailing is concerned.As for size a 38' would be great.And as far as capabilities i would of course liveaboard but with light to moderate coastal cruising,not very much blue water.Fianally where the budget is concerned you can see by my original post "looking for the wind" it is not a very workable budget.Yes my wife and i both work and there are no physical limitations.

sailingdog 08-27-2006 07:12 PM


Originally Posted by Jeff_H
Yes, but multihull width slips are hard to come by in south west Florida, and liveaboard slips are getting rarer as well so the combination only makes sense if you have located a marina that has room for a mulitihull that allows live aboards.


Good point. :D

Jeff_H 08-27-2006 07:54 PM

"Looking for the wind" doesn't really have much info about a real budget. It does say that you have carpentry experience but it doesn't say that that you have fiberglass, marine electrical, or any kind of boat repair experience.

There are a lot of beat to death old boats in south west Florida. Boats that have been baked in the sun until all sealants give up the ghost, and then rotted by the high humidity and heat.

In the 1960's through the 1980's there were a huge number of boats built in Largo, St. Pete and Clearwater. Many of these were comparatively inexpensive when new and are really cheap to buy today. But they are not free and fixing one up to a beater into a condition that will make even coastal sailing safe and possible is no small undertaking.

For example, you can find beat to death 1960's era Morgan 34's (nice boats for that area) for something like $15-20K and if you plan to put one in good sailing shape for perhaps $10-15K. Or an old 1970's Morgan Out Island 30 or 33 which are room boats for their length that make a reasonably good liveaboard but not especially well built or are good sailing boat for something under $20K. Another good option is the 1960's Irwin 32 or early 1970's Irwin 30's, which are available for something less than $15K. A great choice but one that is a little more expensive in the mid- $20K is the Pearson 323.

Anyway, at the heart of it, boats like any kind of home don't come free. You need to do some soul-searching and a sit down and figure out what you can afford, factor in the cost of dockage, and yard bills, living and housing costs while you are fixing up your future home.

Lastly, since your skillset includes carpentry, you might consider building something like Jay Benford's badger design using simple lumber yard materials, or one of Phil Bolgers simple designs.

Good luck,

WindRider68 08-27-2006 09:28 PM

I am not referencing my skills to refurbishing a boat but to work on a land based residence, I know I don't have the boat rebuild skills.

WindRider68 08-27-2006 09:30 PM

I am trading my services for the purchase of a boat not refurbishing one

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