Join Date: Apr 2002
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can we do it?
I can certainly understand "the dream" as can many of us. Try to be realistic though as there are no free and few cheap lunches available.
You''re asking a tough personal question for someone unknowledgable into your personal situation to answer. However, I will try to give you the benefit of my experience. I have been sailing up/down the ICW and coastal east coast for 25 years and am constantly amazed at what I see people sailing/living on. By that, I mean I have seen one couple with small child living/sailing a 24'' boat with ragged sails and questionable old outboard engine heading for the Bahamas, they were happy as one could imagine and I have no idea if they made it or not but I certainly hope they did. Ask yourself what you are willing to live without and under what conditions you are willing to live with. Some people apparently require a 55 foot Oyster at $1.5M while others can make a 22 foot $5K boat work for them. Keep in mind that boats require maintenance, replacement parts and upkeep all of which will require incremental cash outlay so calculate that in your cruising kitty. I have also seen "shoestring" situations where a couple were stranded in their "budget boat" because they didn''t have required cash to pay for required repairs. Yet another instance, 30 ft Pearson was grounded along the coast, rudder stock bent, he walked away from the boat and left it to the salvor to pay for the salvors fees. My friend bought it for $12K.
When you say "livaboard" do you mean permanently and long term? For $10K the boat is going to be old, small, generally require allot of work, 30 ft or under. While 30 ft seems big to someone with a 20 foot boat, it''s very small for a livaboard, personal space is virtually non-existant which tends to amplify the smallest of personal conflicts. Storage space is extremely limited so minimilist is the word of the day. I have a 38 ft boat which I have lived on solo and found it adequate. Another thing is where you plan to live on this boat. Maine not very likely for comfort, further south the better with NJ (personal preference due to cold) being the furtherest north to consider on a small boat. There are a multitude of conditions you have to consider, one of which and not often thought of is in the winter condensation (breathing, cooking etc) inside the cabin can litterally create a rain forest if the boat is not well insulated. I would not dare to condemn your dream but would suggest that you enter into it with some education, logic, research and planning rather than to romanticize "the good life". There are texts available on living aboard that provides some valuable insite on succesful liveaboard.
Can you do it? Yes, you certainly can, $10K might be a stretch but doable, $40-50K more realistic. Shop, Shop, Shop and compare, compare, compare. Prices on boats are "asking" (or should I say "wishing") and not "selling" price. Negotiation is the key.
Best of luck, live your dream, let us know how you fare.