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  #1  
Old 04-20-2007
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Liveaboard Recommendations?

My fiancee and I are both law students in the San Francisco Bay Area and dream of/plan on moving aboard a sailboat once we've finished our studies and gotten jobs. I grew up on boats, but she didn't and so we'll be taking sailing lessons together this summer. In the meantime, we're researching boats and marinas and trying to educate ourselves. Currently, we're leaning towards a new/newer boat because we'll be living on it full time. We're both enamoured of Catalinas for their price/value, especially the Catalina 350 - we're not opposed to slightly smaller boats, but having a partitioned shower is essential and a little extra space for an office is highly desirable (the purist in me reviles at the thought, but we'll unfortunately be land-tied professionals).

We don't want to pay far more than we need to to get a brand new boat. Used would be fine, so long as in excellent condition. That said, real estate and apartment rent in the Bay Area is so insanely expensive that it almost doesn't matter what we buy because it will be cheaper than buying on land. Still, we'll need to be cost conscious because of our cloying student loans.

Our move is still about 2 years off, but we'd love some advice from more experienced sailors and liveaboards about finding the right boat and living situation. Thoughts?
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Old 04-20-2007
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Well if i was a lawyer i'd simply find one to re-possess
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  #3  
Old 04-20-2007
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MisterZ-

Unless you're planning on living on a mooring or at anchor, a partiitioned shower isn't really a necessity. Most marinas will have shower and bath facilities which are available for use by their residents. Showers add a lot of moisture to the air inside a boat and daily use can lead to problems with mold and mildew. Also, some showers aren't properly designed with a separate sump and drain to the bilge, which will quickly lead to a very nasty smelling bilge.

IMHO, you're better off getting a boat that has enough space to setup your office as a priority.

You haven't said what kind of sailing experience you have. Another possibility is a small catamaran, like a a TomCat30 or a Gemini 105. These two catamarans will generally fit into a larger slip without a problem as they only have a beam of 14'. They're both setup with a three-cabin layout, and would definitely have enough space for two people to live aboard while maintaining a full-professional wardrobe, which might be a bit more difficult in the smaller confines of a monohull. BTW, I believe both of these have proper heads with decent showers with a built-in sump system, as they have enough space for such an installation.

The catamarans tend to have much more stable motion at dock and both make good coastal cruisers, although I know that several bluewater passages have been made in catamarans of this size, including the Gemini.

Just a thought.
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Old 04-20-2007
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I see a trend here...Just about daily on this forum and on places like craigslist, I see postings from young, college aged folks planning a live-a-board future. I realize this dream is nothing new, but it used to be the dream had more to do with life long boaters sailing away to a warm climate to drink Pina Coladas, where as now, the dream has more to do with non-sailors finding an inexpensive place to live. Building new marinas is not a simple task, so if this trend continues, we real sailors are going to have a hard time finding moorage. In Seattle, moorage is already $10-$12 per foot, and live-a-board slips are nearly impossible to find.
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Old 04-20-2007
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Guesser-

In New England, it is $80-160 per foot for a six-month season... and that doesn't count winter storage costs...

Real estate prices have gone out of the reach of most college graduates... at least initially, unless they have some family help. Given that many leave college with debt in the thousands of dollars, and many jobs don't pay all that much... making living expenses and paying back their debt is becoming harder and harder to do.
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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 04-20-2007
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Mr Z - I think you're on the right track - 35' production boat seems doable for a limited budget, primarily dock living with (presumably) bay sailing weekends and vacations. We've been living aboard a 33' for 5 years now in the Washington DC area, where prices for apartments and houses are only slightly less ridiculous than on the sunset coast.

I'm not sure why you think living aboard requires "new or near-new" boat status; much of the cost will be in the latest electronics, etc which you may not require for your intended use. It'll pay you to shop around and decide what the tradeoffs are worth to you for a somewhat older boat.

I strongly disagree with SailingDog on the shower issue - for me, trudging back from the marina shower with wet hair and a wet towel in January, well, sux. Okay for summer weekenders but not for everyday. But it doesn't matter what he thinks, or I think, what'll make living aboard a success for you and your fiance will be - define whatever is YOUR priority to make it feel like home and not 'camping out.' Put that on your non-negotiable list.

Go for it! Living aboard, whether cruising or marina-living, can be a blast, and there's a far greater sense of community with our boat-neighbors than we ever felt living on land.
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Old 04-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
In New England, it is $80-160 per foot for a six-month season... and that doesn't count winter storage costs...
Ummm... is that $80 - 160 per foot per month? If that is the case I will truely stop bemoaning the cost of moorage in Vancouver. However, I will continue to rant at the lack of available space, both liveaboard and not.
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Old 04-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looking
Ummm... is that $80 - 160 per foot per month? If that is the case I will truely stop bemoaning the cost of moorage in Vancouver. However, I will continue to rant at the lack of available space, both liveaboard and not.
No, as I said, it is $80-160 per foot for the six-month season...
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Telstar 28
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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  #9  
Old 04-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guesser
I see a trend here...Just about daily on this forum and on places like craigslist, I see postings from young, college aged folks planning a live-a-board future. I realize this dream is nothing new, but it used to be the dream had more to do with life long boaters sailing away to a warm climate to drink Pina Coladas, where as now, the dream has more to do with non-sailors finding an inexpensive place to live. Building new marinas is not a simple task, so if this trend continues, we real sailors are going to have a hard time finding moorage. In Seattle, moorage is already $10-$12 per foot, and live-a-board slips are nearly impossible to find.
I take issue with this. As a kid, I spent my summers on the Great Lakes and inland lakes and rivers, mostly motoring or canoeing around, but occasionally ending up on a friend's or neighbor's sail boat and loving it most of all. Then came many years with my nose in books and only the occasional land based adventure. Living aboard is about making something I love a part of my everyday life and not just about a cheap place to live. If that's all I wanted I'd get a tiny efficiency and do without the haul-outs.

Nor am I really sure how you define a "real" sailor, seeing as sailing now is 90% of the time a recreational or lifestyle choice. Not since the early 19th century have their been "real" sailors in the most complete sense of the word.

Of course, no one's happy about rising moorage rates, but it has nothing to do with the education level of liveaboards, but rather the skyrocketing cost of everything in certain areas.

Otherwise, thanks for the advice. The shower thing is going to be an issue because of professional attire requirements.
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Old 04-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eryka
I'm not sure why you think living aboard requires "new or near-new" boat status; much of the cost will be in the latest electronics, etc which you may not require for your intended use. It'll pay you to shop around and decide what the tradeoffs are worth to you for a somewhat older boat.
Any used recommendations? The "new or near new" requirement is less about gizmos than it is about needing to overhaul the interior living space and sink tons of other unforeseen repair costs into the boat. I've seen young (2000-present) but used 30-40ft Catalinas in the $90k - $140k range, but plenty of older (1980s) 30-40 footers of other makes in the $50 - $75 range. If the latter will do, then all the better, but how much should one expect to sink into rehabbing it?
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