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  #1  
Old 06-23-2008
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Help finding a suitable boat to live-aboard.

I was hoping I could get your help finding a suitable boat to liveaboard here in Port Credit (Ontario,Canada). I am very new to sailing and am currently in the middle of taking keelboat sailing lessons at a local college.

I live by a marina and have been thinking about moving out of this apartment and into a nice sailboat. After scouring this forum and many blogs, I have heard good things about Niagara 35, Albergs and Ontarios. My budget (if I get financing approved) is around 40-50k.

I have found a nice Niagara that happend to have major delamination problems which I mentioned in another post. So I am now wondering before I make this life-changing decision whether I would be better off avoiding balsa core hulls to begin with.

I have been attracted to this Northern 37 Ketch I found on Yachtworld (just do a search and you will find it right away, named Kinship). But since I have been told it is not a common boat, I can not find info on it if its solid fiberglass or balsa core.

What do you think of this boat. It seems like a heck of a lot of boat that would make life on it quite comfortable. I understand it may be a bit hard for me to sail but I do have a girlfriend that has grown up around boats that will help ease me into the sailing lifestyle.

I am open to any boat kinds, but was hopeing to find one that had more to it than just one single room. I like the idea of having at least a second room to make it feel like theres more to it which is why this Ketch (with an aft berth) appeals to me.

I am just terrified of doing a wrong choice and finding that the 30 year old boat I pick has a rotten core.

Any suggestions is greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 06-23-2008
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i wouldn't avoid cored hull boats, just ones that have balsa cored hulls. some of the older cored hull boats that used either divinylcell or airex foam are in very good shape and very solid boats. The Southern Cross series of boats were cored with Airex and most have held up quite well. Foam cores don't rot like balsa can. They do have different issues from balsa cored hulls, but tend to stand up to abuse better IMHO.

As for boats—I'd highly recommend you look closer to the 30' LOA rather than 35' or 37'. This is for two major reasons. First, your chance of finding a good boat in good shape is much higher than if you're looking at larger boats. Second, your on-going expenses, like marina fees, maintenance, etc will be lower. These fees basically double for every additional 10' of boat length.

Since you plan on living aboard and financing the boat, I would also recommend that you look at a newer, more recent coastal cruiser from one of the major production companies, like Catalina, rather than an older more seaworthy boat. The older designs tend to be narrower and have far less "living space", so often are not as well suited for living aboard. That said, there are several blogs about couples living aboard Alberg 30s. However, most financing companies will have a hard time financing a boat that is over 20 years old. Almost all of them will require a survey, so getting a boat with a bad delamination problem is a bit less likely, since that would probably be caught by a good surveyor.

I think your search for a multiple cabin boat is a bit unrealistic, unless you count a forward v-berth cabin as a separate "room", since your budget is rather limited.

Personally, I would argue against financing the purchase, and recommend that you buy a boat that you can afford to purchase outright. There are a few good boats in the 30' range that would only be $10,000-15,000 in fairly decent shape. I'd also recommend that you set aside at least 15-20% of your boat buying budget for re-fitting, repairing and upgrading any boat you do buy, since boats are not like automobiles and often need to be "customized" to best suite the way you will sail her.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 06-23-2008 at 06:55 AM.
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Old 08-04-2008
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Hi,

I'm currently living aboard my sailboat in Port Credit - perhaps we'll be neighbours soon?

There are a number of brokerages at PCHM that might be worth checking out, and I've used the boatforsale.org website/magazine to buy or sell all of my boats (I'm on number 4 now) as it generally lists for boats in Ontario, and most are within easy drive of the GTA.

As for the type of boat to look for, it really depends on how you intend to use it, apart from living aboard. If the idea is to use it for local sailing and the occasional holiday trip down the lake, then I'd agree with the previous post - look for something with lots of interior volume to make dockside living more comfortable.

You can really see the difference between my boat which was built with a relatively modern offshore-capable hull shape for long distance cruising and my neighbour's Spray replica in terms of living space - his has Way more room even though the boats are close to the same length if you go to selfmadesailor.com/index.htm?al%20hoceima.htm&2. Scroll about mid-way down the page and click on the google earth image of both our boats at dock next to each other. His is the one closer in to shore.

With balsa cored boats, problems with rot tend to happen (or at least begin) around areas where the deck has been penetrated by fasteners (for bolting cleats, etc., to the deck), but if the holes have been prepared properly before the fasteners were inserted, the rot problems can be minimized. And a good surveyor should be able to tell you if the boat has problems in that area. Don't skip getting the boat surveyed, especially if you're newer to the game.

I've taken a look at the Northern 37 that you mentioned (online) - I don't know if it's cored or not either. But from the photos, it looks pretty clean, seems to have a lot of room, and has a nice engine - I've got the same in my boat so I'm a bit biased in that regard

I wouldn't be too worried about it being hard to sail either. I mostly single-hand my 42' ketch as my crew is new to sailing, and there's not much more to it than handling a sloop - the mizzen is self-tacking the same way the main is, so once it's set up and drawing, it's mostly hands-off.

Good luck with the boat search!

dave.
selfmadesailor.com

Last edited by dmalar; 08-04-2008 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 01-21-2010
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Dodgydingo, did you look at that ketch? I'm trying to find information about Northern but can't really find much, other than a couple for sale on yachtworld. I haven't even been able to find anything on who made these boats.
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Old 01-21-2010
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Get the 30year old boat with a rotton core, make that a 30yr old POWERBOAT, core does not have to be rotton to be affordable.

There are more of them to choose from and they give much better value re: living space vs marina costs and you won't be as tempted to spend money trying to fix it up. (ok a shot a powerboats but this is sailnet)

Don't worry about sailing, if you move into a small sailboat and try to keep one foot on land with a job and debts, sailing will be something to wish for, not something to do.

Sure some people go sailing everyday with their 35' liveaboard sailboat but the reality for most is much less sailing when living aboard. When you live aboard everything has to be on the boat, it takes longer to prep the boat to go sailing, sometimes longer than the sail itself and then you have to set everything back up when you return. Of course there are those that do that no problem with their Alberg but those working folks are a bit rare.

and it turns out if you talk a bit to those claiming to sail and liveaboard they often have houses, cars, property and many other land advantages. They are not really living aboard as much as sleeping aboard. Thats the way to do it but is pricey for some of us.


Ideally you want to keep your apartment and get a boat to use when you have time, that is if you are keen on getting into sailing. I'd suggest working with that. If you have parking, get a boat with a trailer, or a boat small enough that it does not have to be stored at the marina, or bit the bullet and go for both a place to live and a sailboat, it can be done.

If you are still keen on the liveaboard idea, say more than the sailing idea, the power boat will give you a very good taste of the liveaboard life and with min entrance and exit costs.

Then again if this is just a dream ignore this thread, and dream at least plan for it. That is often more fun than doing. Even I dream of sailing Florida or the PNW.....hey wait a minute, dreams can come true and it is worth the effort, go for it.
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Old 01-21-2010
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How often are you going to go sailing and for how long. Will you just move your home 2 or 3 times a year or will pop out for an evening sail 2 or 3 times a week.

There are 40 to 50 foot boats with sound hulls out there in your price bracket if you go down the ferrocement route. Lots of rooms!

If sailing is important then lighter is better but this conflicts with the average liveaboards tendancy to accumulate "STUFF", Still you may resist this and be a minimalist. Being a minimalist is good to if you want to sail often. I know cruisers who need several days notice to actually go sailing, they have projects on the go and so much to put away.

My first liveaboard was a 38 foot centre cockpit steel ketch. I could have managed on a smaller boat but the space was nice. I paid less than your talking about and lived on her for 7 years and thousands of miles.
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Old 01-21-2010
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I'd point out that getting insurance for a Ferrocement boat can be very difficult.
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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 01-21-2010
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The Northern is a solid glass hull. but quite narrow with less living space than many shorter boats. Unless it has already been done you will have to replace the entire shore power system as they are a combination of domestic and RV wiring by people who had little knowledge of marine requirements.

Check out CS 30's, lots of those in the Port Credit area and quite well built.
95% of all sailboats have balsa cored decks and almost all of the vintage you are interested in will have some moisture in the core.
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Old 01-21-2010
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Old 01-22-2010
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Boatpoker, thanks for the info on the Northern ketch. Other than the inappropriate shore power wiring, can you share any other information on Northern's build quality?

Also, I'm told the 37 ketch is an S&S design, but I think that's just based on the fact that the Northern 25 & 29 were S&S designs. I haven't been able to confirm the 37 ketch was also designed by S&S.

BTW, you surveyed the the 1982 Hunter I currently own
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