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mkrautha 01-14-2007 09:31 PM

First boat, living aboard and learning to sail
Try not to discourage me in your responses but here's my plan and I'd like input:
My wife and I are in our late twenties. I sart medical school in 2008, although from June 2007-August 2008 we will be sort of between things in our lives.
We would like to sell our house and most of our posessions in order to buy a relatively inexpensive sailboat (max 15k), in order to liveaboard and really learn how to sail during that year. I do have some experience sailing rhodes 19s on a small lake in Vermont and helping crew a friends boat around Martha's Vineyard, but all and all we are completely unsalted newbies though we've done a ton of reading.
Our plan is to move from Vermont to the Bay Area so here are my questions:
1) Boat suggestions-- We are looking for a boat that will suit our sailing needs now and later. This boat will be very simply designed, relatively small (nothing over 30') capable of offshore cruising (eventually once we have the experience and provisions and can properly outfit the boat), easily single handed by a man or woman, and a reasonable liveaboard for a year even if spartan (we lived in a 20' tipi in the Vermont through winter and are not afraid of roughing it). A head would be nice, or at least a little privacy while using the portapotty...

Some thoughts are as follows:
a) Westerly Centaur. Interior seems right about perfect for us. Not sure of its ocean going capabilities though generally speaking they seem to be good. I just read somewhere about stix ratings which I had never heard of before. Any thoughts?
b) Aleutka-- no standing headroom, I am 6'2. Still, I love the boat and I might just deal with it.
c) Flicka-- too expensive though
d) Folkboat-- maybe the interior is too small here, or at least too short...

Basically our thoughts on a perfect boat are well summed by Tom and Nan Mcnaughton on their website:

2) What are thoughts on twin keels? I am a real DIY type of person so I like the idea of being able to beach our boat to get at the bottom. Can twin keels make good offshore cruising boats?
3) Also, I will be calling marinas in the Bay Area on Tuesday to see about getting on a waitlist, but I did notice that most applications require that the applicant already own the boat. Is there anyway around this, or do I need a title in hand before I can even begin looking for slip?
4) Oh did I mention we have a baby who will be one year old when we move aboard? Any thoughts here?
5) Positive flotation-- does the westsail have it? Can it be added?
I'd appreciate insights, thoughts, recommendations, refferences etc.

JouvertSpirit 01-15-2007 01:57 AM

You have a dream, don't let anyone take that away from you. But I am slightly less than reluctant to say that you might be putting a little too much on your plate at one time, especially with a baby on the way. On the other hand, I don't want to damper your idea especially if you have determination. Wow, what to say? All those questions about twin keels and all that kind of ponderation are down in the noise about making a switch to living aboard, and even more with a baby; additionally is your financial upcoming situation. I might presume your post was just a fleeting thought, but since you ask about cabin height and such then most likely you are are really considering this with starting medical school and taking care of a new baby. I'd be overwhelmed personally.

mkrautha 01-15-2007 08:27 AM

Buying a boat living aboard cont.
Actually, the baby is already here, and will be a year by the time we move aboard. Truthfully, I think because we are young and not terribly cemented into our current lives, the switch to liveaboard won't be too difficult. We already keep a pretty small footprint as is. We don't expect to be cruising next year by any means, we just see it as an opportunity to live lightly and improve our sailing abilities over the next year. I think the hardest part will be the moving across the country.
Fleeting idea however, it is not, we've been mulling it over for some time but it is really hard to get a toe hold with some much information to gather.

I also want to add to my list of prospective boats:
Cheoy Lee frisco flyer or Cadet...

sailingdog 01-15-2007 08:47 AM

Several couples with small children/infants are living aboard Alberg 30s. It's a very sold and safe boat, and bluewater capable, and relatively inexpensive. Works fairly well as a daysailer as well.

One of the couples has a pretty good blog... you can read it here.

They also have a very active owners association. You can contact the owner's association here.

mkrautha 01-15-2007 04:09 PM

boats to consider cont.
Thanks for the thought. Actually the Alberg 30 is on the list. I am really attached to the idea of a twin keel though for the usual reasons... Perhaps I shouldn't be?

Waymar83 01-15-2007 04:37 PM

:) As you are the one asking here are my two cents worth:

1) Keep the dream as long as it is equally shared. If the two of you are as enthusiastic, stick with it and make it happen.

2) Now is the best time to do what you are planning. It will become more difficult later on.

3) With a 1 yr old, I suggest as roomy as possible and safe. Separate Head/with shower. Make sure you have hot running water. I also suggest a small microwave in the galley (as a liveaboard, from shore power). Small children get dirty and hungry and these just make life easier.

4) Always think of child safety. They can get away from you very fast and it only takes a split second. Properly sized lifevest is a must. Watch where you put sharp objects, sources of heat (including hot liquids), where do you store chemicals...

5) I've also seen secured car seats used for children while underway. Not a bad idea for keeping them in the cockpit..

Good luck. Wish I had done the same 20 yrs ago.


hellosailor 01-15-2007 05:21 PM

Michael, I don't mean to be discouraging but you've got a LOT to look into.

From the little things, like trying to find a boat under 30' that meets your needs, to the larger ones like finding a liveaboard slip in the Bay area (you should start looking now) and what's suitable offshore.

Frankly between med school (five years) and residency? I don't think "offshore" is going to be a major issue for nine years, ten if you start counting now. Odds are whatever your first boat is, you'd change your mind and want to buy something else for then, so a liveaboard boat, not an offshore boat, might be your first pick for now.

In 30' six feet two of headroom will be hard to find. Under 28' and you are not likely to find a real head compartment, and a head with shower will be harder to find, memo, look for a marina with showers.<G>

Twin keels aka bilge keels are mainly a British thing for northern latitudes where the tides may swing 30' every day. In the US I doubt you'd find 1/4 of one percent of boats with them so in practical terms, find a boat that meets your other criteria and forget about oddballs--which also will be a problem to resell when or if you decide to. Find a boat that has the space & price you need, and deal with whatever keel it comes with, there are pros and cons to them all.

A boat can need a lot of routine maintenance. Add med school, an infant, and whatever your spouse is up to...and that's a lot to have on your plate!

sailingdog 01-15-2007 06:32 PM

If you want a twin keel... might want to look at the Golden Hind 30. :D

jones2r 01-15-2007 06:39 PM

I believe there's an old thread on the Golden Hind.

sailingdog 01-15-2007 07:16 PM

Yeah, but it really doesn't have any info in any of the three Golden Hind threads. I looked the other day. :(

AFAIK, the Flicka and the Folkboat aren't twin keelers either. Also, headroom is going to be an issue on a lot of boats in that range.

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