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  #1  
Old 04-09-2007
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Good affordable, small livaboard

Well the boat I was looking at is no longer available so I figured I would start a new, more general thread.

Here is the situation: I am a college student in Charleston, SC. My grand plan is to live aboard on a mooring in Charleston Harbor (and on my friends couches) for my final semester next fall. After that I hope to head South to Florida and maybe down the islands.

Here are my criteria for a boat:
Must have a head with shower.
Must have a functional galley.
I would prefer wheel steering.
I hate small outboard motors, so I would really prefer a diesel inboard.
Needs to be able to sail single handed in a pinch.
Needs to be safe for island passages.
I need the boat to be ready to go for $12,000 +/-

Any suggestions and/or boats to avoid would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Colin

Last edited by fishstick; 04-09-2007 at 12:26 PM.
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Old 04-09-2007
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Here's a list of boats 25-30ft. that are in your price range (with negotiation) and in the southeast.
I would suggest the Catalina 30 and Pearson 30 would also be good boats to look at:
http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...&pbsint=&ps=30

There are no Irwin 30's listed in the south right now but those would be good for your purpose as well.
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Old 04-09-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick
Must have a head with shower.
Must have a functional galley.
I would prefer wheel steering.
I hate small outboard motors, so I would really prefer a diesel inboard.
Needs to be able to sail single handed in a pinch.
Needs to be safe for island passages.
I need the boat to be ready to go for $12,000 +/-
Let's see.

A Head with A Shower

Well the head with a shower is something you generally only see on larger boats. I don't think I've seen one that wasn't owner installed on a boat less than 31'. I also don't think that having a shower aboard a boat is all that good an idea, especially a smaller boat, and given your budget, that is what you're going to have to get—a smaller boat.

Most smaller boats don't have a fully enclosed head compartment, so setting up a shower on one can be problematic. Most have a head that uses a curtain to close it off from the main cabin.

A shower aboard a boat generally requires its own sump, and a pump for it, rather than having the shower drain to the bilge. Having the shower drain in to the bilge will make the bilge a nasty, smelly mess, worse than it already is. It also introduces a lot of moisture into the boat, and unless the boat is really well ventilated, and in the winter time it is hard to do this and still keep the boat warm, it will lead to mold and mildew building up in the boat.

Finally, unless you have a hot water heater and pressure water, both of which are less common on smaller boats, your showers aren't going to be all that useful. If you have a hot water heater, it will likely be an AC/engine powered one. Since you'll be on a mooring, this means you'll have to run the engine just to get hot water for your shower every morning. Running the engine with a very light load isn't all that good for it—and running it just to get hot water is kind of dumb IMHO.

A Functional Galley

Most galleys on smaller boats are far from functional for day-to-day living. Assuming you can find a boat that has pressure water and a propane stove, and refrigeration, which is what most people consider necessary for a liveaboard functional galley. Again, you will run into problems.

First, the water tanks are limited in size. Using water for the showers and doing dishes will generally mean that you will be filling the tanks at least three or four times a week. Water, on a small boat, is a scarce resource. You will also need to pump out the holding tank at least once a week.

Second, you will have to find a good source for propane. The other types of stove are really not all that convenient to use. Alcohol stoves take forever to heat up, diesel and kerosene stoves require alcohol to prime them, and are a pain to use, until you learn their quirks.

Third, you'll be running the engine to charge your batteries quite a bit if you have a refrigerator of any size on-board. Refrigerators are rather rare in the smaller boats... since most of the smaller boats don't have the battery banks required to support refrigeration. Again, running a diesel to just charge batteries is a bad idea...gets expensive in the long run.

Or you could use a big cooler... very 1800's of you. But that entails running out for ice on a regular basis, and hauling block ice back to the boat.

Wheel Steering


Hmmm... this is really a personal preference...but unfortunately, most of the smaller boats are tiller steered. It's just the economics of the whole thing. They don't need the mechanical advantage that wheel steering gives you, and don't have the space that the wheel steering system takes up.

An Inboard Diesel Engine

Most of the smaller boats have outboard motors for a reason. Space. An inboard engine, whether it is diesel or gasoline, takes up quite a bit of room, especially once you figure in the space the transmission, prop shaft and stuffing box take up. Diesel is safer than gasoline.

Needs to be able to sail single handed in a pinch, Needs to be safe for island passages. I need the boat to be ready to go for $12,000 +/-

Almost any boat can be rigged for single-handed sailing. This is easier on boats smaller than 37' IMHO, but even larger ones can be rigged. There are a lot of small boats that are capable of making safe bluewater passages.

Unfortunately, the characteristics that make these boats safe for making bluewater passages often make them pretty horrible for a liveaboard. They have narrower hulls, with less living space inside. Many have internal space taken up by tanks for fuel and water, instead of having more storage areas. They are designed for sailing as their primary purpose, unlike the more modern dock queens, which are designed to be floating condos.

Finally, not too many boats are going to be in decent condition, and big enough to liveaboard, given your budget. I am guessing you don't want to have to spend the first two months living aboard doing repairs and nothing else.

Just my viewpoint on what you're asking. While, I can suggest some boats that would be in that price range, but the ones that are affordable, may not be capable of making the island passages you want to make. The ones that may be able to make the island passages, may not have the features you are looking for... and the ones that have the features you are looking for and are capable of making the island passages will probably need a fair bit of work.

BTW, I would highly recommend that you reserve a portion of your "budget", usually 15-20% for making repairs, modifications and upgrades to the boat you buy, since most boats will need to have something done to them, especially if you're going to be living aboard it.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-09-2007 at 01:16 PM.
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Old 04-09-2007
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From Cam's list, I too would recommend you look at the Catalina 30, Pearson 30, since you'll be living aboard. The Cape Dory 30, the Pearson 28, the Alberg 30 are also other boats that you could consider, although I think the Catalina 30 and Pearson 30 will have significantly more space, being more modern designs in many ways. I would avoid any boats that have a non-refundable deposit or the words "AS IS" in their listing.

My guess would be that few of those boats will have a shower on-board or refrigeration. Most are probably tiller-steered as well.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 04-09-2007
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Older Tartan 30's may hit your budget, nice boats.
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Old 04-09-2007
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Fishstick-

I think part of the problem you will run into is your location. There aren't going to be a whole lot of boats to choose from local to you... so unless you can afford to get a boat elsewhere and sail it back or pay for trucking/delivering the boat to Charleston, SC... your options are going to be fairly limited.
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New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #7  
Old 04-09-2007
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Any opinions on these?

Windward 30
BoatTraderOnline

Columbia 33
BoatTraderOnline
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Old 04-09-2007
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Both of these boats are pushing the 40-year mark. The Columbia listing worries me a bit because it says:

Quote:
Running rigging and ground tackle need to be refreshed due to hurricanes.
Hmmm... why does the rigging and ground tackle need to be "refreshed" due to a hurricane. It isn't very likely the boat was sailing during the hurricane or out at anchor. Florida and the Gulf Coast did lose a lot of boats. And many were taken from salvage and are being re-sold without disclosing the fact that they were hurricane salvage boats. Add the rigging comment to the fact that they just repainted the bottom with seven coats of Interprotect... could they be trying to hide severe damage that was repaired?

Also, given that most Columbias in that size range are listing for $18-30K... something has got to be fishy with that boat.

As for the Windward 30. I've never heard of them and don't know enough about them to give you a valid opinion.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #9  
Old 04-09-2007
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I like the way your thinking. This sounds fun and it CAN and SHOULD be done. I am a junior now and thinking about the same thing. If you can make it in college, you don't need a big galley. In my opinion a simple galley is all thats necessary. As for the shower, you can figure that one out, and it CAN be done.

Whats wrong with tiller? If you can look past that there are Westerly Nomads and Flickas and a ton of other small roomy boats.

HERE is a sweet boat for 20g that could be easily single handed with practice.
1971 Tartan 34 sailboat for sale in Florida

I would also agree with the others that the Catalina or Pearson are you best bet from the yachtworld.com search. Catalinas can be picked up cheap and are would suit you just fine. The Pearsons are sturdy and big.

Last edited by kananumpua; 04-09-2007 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 04-09-2007
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Just to add to list you may want to check out the Watkins 27 , 8-12 HP. diesel and most came with a wheel.
Bill,
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