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cementsailors 04-27-2003 09:31 AM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
We are planning on retiring onto a liveaboard/cruiser and are gravitating towards Hardins,Formosas, and Vagabonds in the 44-51 ft range. Our budget is around 100k. Our plan is to buy in 2 years and liveaboard in Slidell,La while we outfit and finish topping off the kitty.(1-2yrs). Then we''re off to the Carribean and who knows where. I am 6''8" so a ''little'' room is neccessary and Debi is a great cook. We are really more interested in comfort(at anchor and underway) than speed and performance, while safety is always important. Any comments,pros,cons,and pitfalls on these boats or suggestions about others would be appreciated. Thanks, Paul

Jeff_H 04-27-2003 02:37 PM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
You have listed three boats that are really not very good sailors at either the high end or low end of the wind range. The Formosas are poster children for poor build quality. These boats are below a "speed and performance" threshold or more to the point are a below a threshold where sailing ability is so low that actual sailing becomes a such rarity that you would probably spend fewer hours motoring in a trawler yacht.

I do not mean this as a put down but I keep experiencing this tendancy of people looking for liveaboard boats who have absolutely no interest in voyaging under sail. They want to go voyaging, but the sailing part is of no interest to them. You give up a lot of space and comfort if you are buying a sailboat to go voyaging but then choose a boat that does not sail well enough that you will actually use the boat as a sailboat.

If you are interested in comfort, and by that you mean motion comfort as well as room down below, then look for boats with less of a rolly motion.

I don''t know what your sailing experience is and why you are focusing on a sailboat instead of a power boat, but you seem to be focusing on shiver me timbers/''Captain Ron'' sort of romantic yachts rather than real sailboats that actually make sense as sailboats. If you want to buy a boat to go voyaging under sail, then buy a boat designed to sail well(which would preclude these). In the long run you will be happier. If you really do not care how much time you spend motoring then look for a nice trawler yacht.


Jeff_H 04-27-2003 02:40 PM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
One more point, Boats like these are a lot of heavy work to sail. Because of their enormous weight and large drag, they carry a lot of sail area and so when you do finally get around to sailing one, it is a lot of hard work compared to a better built or more modern design.


cementsailors 04-27-2003 03:35 PM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
I appreciate your comments. The reason I put up this thread was to obtain the info I can''t get from broker listings and listings on the net. The boats mentioned have an asthetic appeal of course but the lack of knowledge of the practical side is the point of the message. Maybe you have some suggestions on boats we should look at that would give us the room below we would like but be better under sail? Thanks


NaughtyCat 04-29-2003 02:46 AM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
These Formosas (a.k.a. Leaky Teakys, Taiwan Turkeys) are certainly not my style, and all said above is certainly valid. However, there is the "Lost Soul" a Formosa 56 owned by "Bob Bitchin", publisher of "Lattitudes and Attitudes" magazine. It seems he and this Formosa 56 has completed voyages the "gurus" on this board can only dream about.

WHOOSH 04-29-2003 03:45 AM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
Paul, a couple of add''l thoughts...
1. You''ll find every kind of boat out cruising, and I imagine that''s always been the case. But you need to refine your ''needs'' (different from your many thoughts and desires) further before being able to target specific boat brands/designs. I think that''s the point of Jeff''s comments about a trawler.
2. 6'' 8" is a problem. You''ll either need to settle on picking from a much smaller population of designs and buy (literally) into more boat than you otherwise ''need'' OR you''ll have to accept what many sailors with smaller budgets face: no standing headroom except perhaps in a few select spots.
3. $100K - which budget is that? Is it the ''all we want to spend for a sea-worthy boat'' budget? Or is it the ''base price budget''? For an older, larger boat of Taiwan ancestry, you can easily spend $40-50K to insure its reliability and safety. Things like replacing the rigging (standing & running), power train (new engine = $20K), new tanks, upgrading the main 12V wiring with a modern 12V electrical system - and more - are all possible upgrades to such a boat choice. But again, this is also driven by what you actually hope to be doing with the boat and your own set of priorities.
4. Having an open-ended itinerary ("Caribbean first, then perhaps the Pacific" is often heard) is the most expensive, most daunting of goals, because the bar is set so high in terms of onboard spares, basic systems in top shape, seaworthy functionality in every respect for long periods of time, and much more. E.g. just addressing ''chafe'' with an eye to crossing an ocean can be a huge investment in time and clever details; few folks reaching the Caribbean have even thought about it.

For some basic pointers on boat design characteristics and specific designs capable of offshore work, spend some time at John Neal''s site ( but keep in mind this is one of those ''bar is set high'' sources since he''s talking about extended ocean voyaging. To get your collective feet on the ground, you both should consider reading Ocean Voyaging by Beth Leonard - again, it''s for serious offshore sailing but its big advantage for you is their step-by-step methodology for looking at what you need. She specifically ''classes'' boats into 3 levels of equipment and size, too - something you need to think about more. And I very much like how she approaches the financing of cruising, conceptually speaking. Lots of good value in that reading. And finally, when sorting thru specific systems needed, use Nigel Calder''s Cruising Handbook...but not so you can fall in love with all the systems he describes, but so you can understand the expense, complexity and effort that a bigger, more systems intensive boat can bring with it. His basic advice on hull design, rigs, etc. is also quite good.

Good luck! Don''t give up on the dream just because some of us are throwing cold water on it - besides, you''ll come to LOVE fresh water at any temp! <g>


namaste04 04-29-2003 04:12 PM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
My dad is 6''8". he''s had to modify or customize most boats he''s owned, in order to get a long enough berth. Only one, which was custom built to begin with, fit him.

However, customizing isn''t such a bad thing. We bought a boat with interior water damage from portlight leaks and ripped out a bunch of the interior. We are now rebuilding it abd plan to leave within a year. Our TOTAL budget was about $75k for the boat. For the same price as a "ready to go" boat that wasn''t just right, we will have a boat that''s near perfect for us.
Just a thought!
(see our refit at

cementsailors 04-29-2003 07:17 PM

Thoughts on Liveaboard/Cruiser?
Thanx y''all for the info. I will check out those sites.


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