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ssslipnssslide 09-20-2006 05:54 PM

Need Advice On Buying A Liveable Sailboat
I am 22, single, no kids or anything else holding me back. Basically I have no responsibilities that would keep me from living on a sailboat. I loved to sail as a young kid with my grandfather and have recently been seriously considering purchasing a boat to live on. I know that I want a sailboat but I dont have any knowlege on which brands are good or how old is "too old" or what potential problems to look for when purchasing a used boat. I plan on researching this decision over the upcoming months, but I need someone to tell me where to begin and what litereature to read. Any advice is welcome as I know NOTHING about what I am getting into (but I do feel like I would like to live on the boat full-time). If anyone can relate to this, please respond. Thanks.

PBzeer 09-20-2006 08:02 PM

The first thing you need to do is to decide how you'll use the boat. Floating home? Daysailing? Cruising? Add to that, where you'll use it. That's where to start.

JLBJR 09-20-2006 09:05 PM

Buy a copy of "Your First Sailboat" by Daniel Spurr and search the internet forums instead of sleeping.


FrankLanger 09-21-2006 10:36 AM

In addition, if you are in a sailing area now, visit the marinas to look at different kinds of boats, talk with owners about how they like their boats, what kind of sailing they do, any problems with their boats, etc. They might even take you out for an afternoon sail, which could be helpful to you if you haven't sailed in a while, to refamiliarize yourself with sailboats. As well, do some reading about "systems" on a boat--plumbing, electrical, etc. as you will likely need these if you are going to live aboard. It is important to understand how they work, advantages & disadvantages of different set-ups, etc.
Once you have gained a little more knowledge, and have an idea of how you will use the boat, what size boat you are looking for, what price range, what systems/amenities you want, etc., then folks here can give you better advice on next steps to live your dream.
Good luck!

sailingdog 09-21-2006 09:43 PM

I"d agree...what do you want to do with the sailboat? what kind of sailing did you plan on doing? what is your budget? etc..

Magic_Moments 09-23-2006 06:08 AM

Depending on where in the world you live will affect you depending on how cold it gets in the winter and how basic of a home you can stand. My first boat was 24 feet with a headroom of 5'5" and a portapottie. I never considered living on it but across the dock was a very happy guy living on his 25 foot boat. I did live on my 29 foot boat with only an electric heater and while mine could heat most of the boat it got cold in the winter. In the summer it was great because you can leave the hatches open most of the time, but in the winter I felt closed in. Fiberglass provides no insulation so if you water is cold so will your feet be unless you add carpet or wear shoes. Aluminum conducts well so a keel stepped mast is going to bring cold down with you. I have seen people wrap them to avoid the cold shock from touching it on the way to the head or v-berth. My mast is deck stepped so its not in the cabin.
Depending on your marina or wherever you dock, you have to consider the bathroom situation. The marina I lived in encouraged liveaboards to get and use portapotties and they had a place on the dock to empty the things and they had portable carts for people who used holding tanks. Sometimes the carts did not work. Fortunately my marina had great restroom facilities and I primarily used them whenever I could. Most showers use quarters or in Canada they use Loonies. Figure on average $1 per shower so thats $30 a month or less if you want people to stand further away or upwind of you. Some people join a health club or the "Y" since they usually have showers and if you are spending the money anyways.

Two boats to consider; Catalina 27 and Erikson 27. Both have a decent amount of space for one person who isn't claustrophobic to live and are decent sailors. I know people who live on both and you can find them between $5k and $15k. There are zillions of other boats depending on your budget, there is no upper limit on price.

jamesxryan 02-09-2010 05:04 AM

Living on a boat is awesome. I did it, and would love to have continued to, but my life took some different turns which means I can't any more. I recommend getting a solid boat that's a bit older, so won't depreciate, and that has been very well cared for. Meet the owner and get them to tell you everything about the boat. And remember that boat ownership and sailing are two nearly unrelated activities!

AlanBrown 02-09-2010 09:50 AM


Although you don't mention where you'll be living or how much you've got to spend, here's what I'd suggest:

1. Identify the marinas in your area that permit live aboards. Take a look at their facilities and compare their costs. Determine if they have any space available for you. What sense does it make to even consider buying a boat if you'll have no place to dock it?

2. If you find a place, see if you can speak with any of the folks who live there. Get their feelings about the owners and facilities. See if you can get answers to your live aboard questions to see if this lifestyle is right for you.

3. When it comes to buying a boat, my advice has always been to buy the biggest boat you can afford. You can never have too much space. That 27 footer that's perfect for you, will get awful small if you have company over. For example, my 30 ft. Hunter is fine for 2 persons, but doesn't have enough room to comfortably accommodate overnight guests.

4. It's a buyer's market right now, so if you decide to go with the live aboard lifestyle, take your time looking for the "right" boat. Once you find it, have it professionally surveyed.

Good luck!

CaptainForce 02-09-2010 04:44 PM

I was shopping for a sailboat to live on when I was twenty-three and it seemed to work out ok! I'm 63 now and still living aboard a sailboat. Watchout!,- this could be a terminal decision!

chuck53 02-11-2010 03:37 PM

Why did a 3-1/2 year old post get resurrected. The original poster never did come back and answer any questions. I guess he wasn't as motivated as he said he was.

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