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  #1  
Old 04-03-2009
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Cool Buying a sailing barge-opinions

Greetings everyone! I'm a brand new member to the forum

I've been toying with the idea of living aboard for the past year and I'm finally ready. I have roughly 3 years of sailing experience everything from 14ft Americans to a 36 schooner.

I am interested in purchasing a 60-90 foot steel Dutch sailing barge (Tjalk) from the Netherlands this fall, giving it some basic restoration over the winter (hull, paint & engines) and then bringing it to the states in the spring of 2010.

I know the logistics of such a purchase are immense. I'm estimating my cost of ownership to run up to 30K/yr, but with two incomes (third being the ship herself) it seems manageable. Many would recommend a smaller ship, but this ship will be where I live, raise a family and retire.

Your thoughts/suggestions/criticisms would be helpful. Since I'll putting my house up for sale.

Thanks everyone!
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Old 04-03-2009
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You might really want to strongly consider what your primary goals are and then buy a boat based on them. Most of the Dutch sailing barges are not all that seaworthy, if they're what I'm thinking of... and would be very expensive to ship across the ocean.

IMHO, you'd be far better off getting a monohull or catamaran and using that to liveaboard.

How are you going to earn a third income stream with the boat? If you're going to be chartering it, then you'll need a USCG captain's ticket of some sort.

Also, what skills do you have? Owning and maintaining a large steel boat is difficult unless you have skills that apply to the specifics of doing so. If you have to farm out all the maintenance, you'll rapidly go broke.

BTW, welcome to Sailnet. I'd highly recommend you read this POST to help you get the most out of sailnet.
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Old 04-03-2009
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Thanks Sailingdog. I have been trying to research these vessels as much as possible. I too have read that because of the shape of the hull they can be difficult to sail in heavy seas. Which is why I am considering a size over 60 feet. The added mass of the ship should do better to counteract the flat bottom hull. Additional, If the leeboards are large and and sufficiently weighted, the ship should have acceptable windward performance. They seem to be relatively easy to hove-to given their wide beam and shallow draft.

I will agree that maintaining a ship of that size will be very involving. Any work directly related to the hull and engines, I will seek professional help. Everything else, I anticipate will be a trial of love, sweat and blood.

This summer I will be looking into getting some form of coast guard certification with the establishing a limited charter business. My main purpose is to become a lifelong liveaboard and cruiser. These ships just have such a romantic look to them. Also, the cost to purchase them is spectacular for a ship its size.

Last edited by DesivoDelta; 04-03-2009 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 04-03-2009
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I don't know if you're aware that the costs basically double for each 10' of boat ownership starting at about 20'... a 30' boat is twice as expensive, a 40' boat is four times as expensive, and so on... a 60-90' boat is really going to cost a small fortune... Steel boats are fairly high maintenance, since corrosion never sleeps.

While I'm all for wide-beams and shallow drafts, being a multihull sailor, I don't think I would want to try crossing an ocean in a canal barge, regardless of size.

Good luck...
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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 04-03-2009
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The final yearly costs would be the ultimate deciding factor in any large purchase. I will absolutely do more research before finally committing to a specific ship. I appreciate your incite Sailingdog. This is why I signed up to this forum. Experience and practicality do outweigh blind dreaming. If I find a way to manage it all, I'll probably take the plunge. If I can't, then maybe something a little more practical. I'll have to wait for the insurance quotes and marina quotes to come in (they are the first step) before i sign any paperwork.
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A slip for a boat over 60' LOA is going to be very, very costly. Commercial insurance is also ungodly expensive.
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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 04-03-2009
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During my six years of owning a Dutch canal cruiser and exploring the French canals, I met many barge owners. There are many types of Dutch barge, from haagenaars, klippers, klipperaaks, aaks, but the most popular are the tjalks and the luxemotors. None of these are inexpensive to own and operate, and none of them are very seaworthy outside inland waterways.

That they look so wonderfully classic is directly related to their age, since most of them date to the early 1900s, some to the late 1800s. However, looks are one thing and current utility is another. They are quite unsuitable outside of the wonderful inland waterways of Europe, and even there, many owners with whom I have spoken freely expressed the wish they had opted for a more modern and easier handled (both nautically and financially) canal cruiser.

There are sometimes listings available in the USA by disenchanted owners who have discovered the mismatch between their dreams and reality.
Dutch Sailing Canal Barge 62' sailboat for sale
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Old 04-03-2009
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Even finding a slip can be problematic. When we were considering the 44 footer, most marinas had no 50+ foot slips available and the ones that did only had them in really bad spots, like on the main channel with tons of boat traffic.
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