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post #1 of 9 Old 12-06-2015 Thread Starter
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Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

Hello
I am seeking the boating communities opinion on the best live aboard for my situation. A little about me, first time trying the live aboard lifestyle, and as such this will be the largest boat I have sailed. I am going to keep the boat in Charleston SC, for at least a year with the intention to move up north towards Annapolis, Baltimore or Delaware area, after gaining some confidence.
What I’m looking for is a capable boat that I can sail up and down the coast on my off days, and once in a while make a crossing to the islands.

My parameters:
Single pilot setup, Ideally 3 cabin (main for me, guest cabin, and storage in 3rd), air conditioning, GPS/auto pilot, fridge or freezer, in a perfect world some division between bathroom and shower, ac inverter for some electrics when underway, nice cruising boat, not full race oriented, that being said I do love sailing so I don’t really want a dog when under sail either. Semi easy to launch for a afternoon sail,

Price: 50-85k

Below is a list of boats I have been checking out, let me know what you think, or if there is something out there you recommend besides what I have listed, by all means I am open for suggestions.

Boats interested in:

1989 catalina 42

I had the chance to view this boat in person this weekend, and was really impressed with the overall condition, I would have never considered going this old, but I was shocked to find this in way better shape than some 1995-2000 beneteau.

Concerns: Older boat, some outdated electronics, time on diesel 2600hrs

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1995 beneteau first 42s7

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2005 beneteau Cyclades

Concerns, need ac upgrade $$$$, no hobs meter on diesel, was run as a charter for 5 years, out of the country complications

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Catalina 36 mkII

Concerns: Could be on the small end,

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1991 Beneteau 4 5f5

Concerns: Unable to reach owner, has not been sailed for almost a year,

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1994 Beneteau Oceanis 440


I had a chance to see this boat, overall condition was ok, seems like there is less space than some Catalina 36 mkII,

Any help, or input would be greatly appreciated!!!
THANKS

Last edited by barleyrye; 12-06-2015 at 03:16 PM.
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post #2 of 9 Old 12-06-2015
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Re: Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

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Hello


1989 catalina 420

I had the chance to view this boat in person this weekend, and was really impressed with the overall condition, I would have never considered going this old, but I was shocked to find this in way better shape than some 1995-2000 beneteau.

Concerns: Older boat, some outdated electronics, time on diesel 2600hrs
Catalina never made a boat called the 420, it's the Catalina 42. It had a number of different interior options. You can see them on the CY website, register for free and read the Archived Brochures tab.

It's a great boat, simply great, although i have my own preferences for the interior layout and it doesn't include the starboard galley.

You're asking an open ended question which is very hard to answer.

Cruisers & Sailing Forums has a lively liveaboard section.

For ANY boat you consider, check to see the activity on an owners forum. Especially for older boats, having an active and helpful owners association will help you save a lot of time & $$$ and avoid reinventing the wheel. Catalinas are VERY good in this regard, Beneteaus not so much. Some have Yahoo or Google groups which is not as helpful as a dedicated website like many Catalinas do.

Good luck.

Stu Jackson, Catalina 34, 1986, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#)
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post #3 of 9 Old 12-06-2015
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Re: Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

I am a liveaboard now in yr 14. I am not sure that you need a 3 cabin boat unless you KNOW you need cabins 2 and 3 for visitors. 2 cabin boats are just fine IMHO

It is REALLY unlikely that you will find exactly the right boat for you first time around. You just don't know enough to know what is important to you.

EG a large shower/loo is something I value but I manage on just one. Other people require separate facilities for their visitors.

A Catalina 42 or any Bene 40 - 45 Oceanis will do you just fine. Personally I would avoid in mast furling but not much else should be a deal breaker.

Don't buy anything drawing more than 6 ft and 5ft is better.
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post #4 of 9 Old 12-06-2015
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Re: Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

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Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
For ANY boat you consider, check to see the activity on an owners forum. Especially for older boats, having an active and helpful owners association will help you save a lot of time & $$$ and avoid reinventing the wheel. Catalinas are VERY good in this regard, Beneteaus not so much. Some have Yahoo or Google groups which is not as helpful as a dedicated website like many Catalinas do.

Good luck.
Ditto.

Checking out the owners associations, you can get a feel for how other owners like their boats and if any major issues come up. Sometimes, it's also a good way to see what boats are for sale that may not get listed on the common sale websites.

Daniel
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Re: Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

Thank you all for the quick response. I will be checking into specific forums for the catalina 42.
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post #6 of 9 Old 12-06-2015
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Re: Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

You've actually thought this out much better than most potential Live Aboards. Congratulations.
However, research just where you will be allowed to do so.

A couple of years back, here in the SF Bay Area, when I went searching for a Berth, one of the first questions asked of me was "Do you intend to Live Aboard?"
Their Eyebrows told it all- the Finality of "No".
I have a perfectly useable House inland, and it's paid for, and I was prepared to pay the first Year's Berthing fee up front.
I got a very nice Berth in a very nice Marina. But I can stay no more than three nights in a row, officially. Sigh.

Last month, when I paid for the next Year's Berthing, I again inquired about maybe spending four or even five nights onboard at a time. Eyebrow Alert.
And then we got to talking. I mentioned that three decades back, Liveaboards were valued. They walked the Docks at night, and took care of minor problems before they got to be Major Problems. None of them had Dogs. Maybe a discrete Cat...

It's all changed since then. Drugs, the Homeless, Alkies, Craigslist, and Dogs. There was a Sneakaboard a couple of Boats over which was all of this, last May. His Dog kept barking at me, and when I Meowed Back, I was threatened. I'm not normally a Snitch but... Really.

Indirectly, it was later mentioned that as long as I moved my old Mercedes Wagon every couple of days from one numbered spot to another, the Night Watchman wouldn't have it Towed. Parking is tight.


Enough about that; Boats:

For a Liveaboard, every Boat that you mentioned would work. Yet, every Boat is a compromise. Some Boats are more compromising than others.
That Catalina 42 looks good, although I'm a Beneteau Guy.

Whatever Electronics is installed is already obsolete, even if was installed last week. Engine hours don't matter so much as how those hours were spent. Charter Boats can have a lot of Nautical Miles on them, but they can have been better maintained than a Lawyer's Weekend Boy Toy.

I'm of the conviction that an Aft Head is an absolute must. So did Arthur Ransome, a century back. For a Liveaboard, it will need a large and robust Holding Tank, and thought should be given as to how and when it will be emptied. Just because Whales poo in the Ocean doesn't mean that you should.
The same thinking should be given to the Gray Water Tank, for the Galley and Shower.
Living Aboard can get complicated, when thought out, if done Right.

For Refrigeration, I use one of those ~$100 Portable Icemakers from Home Depot. They are surprisingly efficient, run off of the Inverter, and mine now dumps right into the Icebox, after modification.
AC is of no concern for me, Heating is. A Vornado run at the lowest setting makes my Nav Station or Aft Cabin snug, even while Frost crystallizes on the Cabin Top, just before New Year's at Dock.
At Sea, that old Volvo engine with the Companionway moved to one side, just radiates heat into the Cabin, at idle. (In 30 years, it had accumulated ~320 hours on the clock, and it had just been freshly overhauled just before I bought her. Spotless. An Architect owned her, not a Lawyer.)

You have your Dream, and those should be followed. My Dream, a real Dream when I was 12, at 3:24 in the Morning on August 29, worked out incredibly well.
But with all of this Boating, and Floating, and Searching for friendly Marinas, you have neglected to tell us just how you are planning on making your Living while doing all of this.
I do hope that Meth isn't involved. Or Advertising. Or Website Development.

¬Erindipity
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post #7 of 9 Old 12-07-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

Erindipity

First off thank you for the great information, and the well worded response. You had me cracking up. Equally important for me is where the boat will be docked. And thus far I have done my do diligence researching marinas. I have been so lucky as to see one of those lower end...... marinas on my search, and will be steering clear. My plan will be the city marina in charleston, very nice amenities, weekly pump outs, and water tank filling, secured gated parking, and gated access to the docks at night. And no meth is not my plan for living.......
What size holding tank do you currently have?
Is there a model of beneteau you recommend? I like there design, but sadly the few I have seen were in rough shape, so I may have a slightly tainted feeling towards the brand.
Thanks
Todd
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Re: Purchasing first used Live aboard input needed

I have a Beneteau First 29. (See my Avatar- I have the one with the lifting keel and twin rudders, so if I get stuck in the mud on a falling tide, I won't fall over.) It's nearly 30 years old, but the Previous Owner took very good care of it; we concluded the Deal at the Harbormasters office and I inherited the Slip.
They didn't even do a Credit Check on me, or ask for a recent Survey. The Marina is actually very nice. And priced to match.
I'm right near the Showers, so I don't use the Head for much more than rinsing out my socks and brushing my teeth. The Holding Tank is 90 Liters- ~24 Gallons.
My Boat is probably too small for a liveaboard by current standards, but it's a perfect size for me. (I had a larger heavier boat before, and it got to be too much to handle alone when the wind picked up. I'm getting old...)
There's no Washer-Dryer, and if I want to take a Bath, I have to fill in the Cockpit. I like Baths.
One problem with Living Aboard for me is that I have too many hobbies, and too much _stuff_ at home. And too many cars...

I really can't recommend any single model of Beneteau; there are so many variations, even within one model. Many have been put into Charter service on the East Coast, and they can look a little rough, but be sound mechanically. A good Survey is needed, but Surveys for half-a-dozen odd boats can get expensive.

Good luck

¬Erindipity
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post #9 of 9 Old 12-07-2015
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Half the boats you have on your list are racing boats. Most people don't do well with one for a live aboard cruiser.

I think the best two are the Catalina 42 and the Bene Oceanis 440. But please, please be careful with a First or anything with letters in the numbers...

Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 12-07-2015 at 04:02 PM.
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