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Old 04-22-2013
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A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

Hello all! Posted this over on cruisersforum, and thought I might cast my net a little wider.

Looking for some advice from those wiser and more experienced than I. Finishing up a masters degree and have found life demands the freedom that comes with living aboard. In between studying economics and sailing my little puffer 12' as much as possible, most of my time is spent doing research (which can be a little overwhelming). My uncle (proud owner of a Bristol '32) got me into this thing and now it's all I want. So heres where I need some advice.

Looking for a simple, inexpensive, live-aboard, bluewater cruiser that is frequently available on the market. I am not an experienced sailor (but with time!). And just as I single-hand life, so do I need a boat that can solo. My total budget is $20k or less... so one in the 10k-15k range. While there will be no circumnavigating in the immediate future, nothing less than a solid bluewater boat that could sail about the Caribbean or hop to the Bahamas will do.

With Westsails, Morrises, and similar full-keel, double-ended beauties too expensive, the list has come down to the following. I welcome any advice; additions and rejections; and most especially tales of high-seas adventure. I am a handy individual (first career was working with electrics and carpentry), but am not looking for a major fixer-uper. Also love to cook, am 6' 3", and prefer a tiller.

So I turn to you, wise men and women that you are.

Tartan 30'
Ranger 29'
Albin Vega 27'
Pearson 30', 31'
Allied Seawind 30'
Vineyard Vixen 30'
Cape Dory 27', 28' (but in what condition?)

Last edited by dogeconomics; 04-22-2013 at 11:55 AM.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

First, welcome! SailNet is a friendly board, and the members are very knowledgeable. That said...

You might want to put on your flame suit. These threads on "x boat for x money" turn up a lot, and some people get snarky in their replies. Take it with a grain of salt - we're all pretty nice (usually)!

I'm also interested in hearing what people will say. I'm currently experiencing the learning process right now.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

Welcome Dog.

I don't have experience with those boats in particular, but I think you'll find that one in your budget won't be inexpensive in the long run. For that price you'll mostly find fixer uppers which will cost over time if getting them ready for going offshore is your goal. Or, you may get lucky. I wouldn't count on luck though.

Best of luck!

Huh.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

The Albin and the CDs are probably the meet the 'rugged' requirement, both are proven voyagers but neither may get along with your 6'3" frame.

As ever, you have some contradictory requirements - size vs budget vs capability - but most any well found boat can island hop in the Caribbean given time to pick weather windows. The tricky part is actually getting there from the East coast USA.

Ideally you'd find a suitable candidate already there when you're ready to cruise.. but that would preclude your 'getting to know her' at home first...

As Donna says, best of luck!
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

responded to you on CF, at 6' 2" your choices will be limited....Even the tall guys on an aircraft carrier walk down the pways with their heads tilted!

Good luck
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

If I were in your shoes, I'd consider a different approach. Since you're new to sailing, and especially "big boat" sailing, why not focus on a boat that's "offshore" capable (not to start another war about what that means) rather than blue water, and one that is in good shape and comfortable? Get aboard a decent boat, make sure the lifestyle is right for you, and that you're really up to the task (I mean no insult by the comments, just that it may be a bigger lifestyle change than you expect). Depending on your career, you may find that the week or more that it may take you to get to the Bahamas (each way) may be more than you can really do more than once or twise a year. At which point, you'll want to assess whehter your goal is to sail YOUR boat into the wild blue yonder, or whether its more economically efficient for you to charter something.

As others have said, nobody is saying "don't do it"; heck there are several live-aboards and full-time cruisers here. Just trying to make sure you're making a fully informed decision before investing time and money into something that might bring you less happiness than you envision.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

Ranger 29 is a very good sailing boat that looks good too. I'm pretty sure it will outsail the other boats on your list. A quick check of PHRF ratings will tell you that for sure.

2B is right though. You may need to compromise on headroom. I'm 6'3" and I have learned to stoop below and now I find myself doing it even on boats with 6'9" headroom.
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

I like your list of boats. I would add the venerable Pearson 35, Alberg 35, and the Cal 2-30, 34 and 36 to your list. All are listed on Mahina Expedition's list of bluewater boats:
Mahina Expedition - Selecting A Boat for Offshore Cruising
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Old 04-22-2013
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

I would completely strike Cape Dory off my list, they have way too many deck problems and I'm sure your not looking to completely rebuild a boat. Old boats can be very expensive when it comes to upgrading rigging, sails... Living aboard is a very different lifestyle, I love it but most don't. On 30-40 year old boat you wont find the space you do on most modern boats so size is another issue. I have been living aboard for years, currently on a 22' cutter and love it. If you can find a decent Triton 28 that might be at the top of your list, but again, if it sounds like you are walking on a bag of Doritos when you are on deck, walk away. You might find an old Westsail 28-32 for 20K, there are dozens of Flicka's in that range. Rangers and Cal's will get the job done. Vega's are cheap, small and great sailing boats for under 10K. I would suggest putting the whole budget into the boat and doing upgrading and repairs over the years, assuming you have 20k in cash. If you are borrowing money you may be sealing your own fate on an old boat. FYI I just met a guy here in the harbor who sailed his 5K Ericson 27 from Wa to Mexico, out to Hawaii and back to WA with no complaints. I'm filming a video right now and one of the interesting things we are doing is cutting into hulls of boats built in the 60's and 70's for cross sections, very interesting stuff. We also took a 5 lb sledge hammer to a 1962 Columbia 24 but you will have to wait and see which one won
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Re: A bluewater live-aboard for under $20k

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
If I were in your shoes, I'd consider a different approach. Since you're new to sailing, and especially "big boat" sailing, why not focus on a boat that's "offshore" capable (not to start another war about what that means) rather than blue water, and one that is in good shape and comfortable? Get aboard a decent boat, make sure the lifestyle is right for you, and that you're really up to the task (I mean no insult by the comments, just that it may be a bigger lifestyle change than you expect). Depending on your career, you may find that the week or more that it may take you to get to the Bahamas (each way) may be more than you can really do more than once or twise a year. At which point, you'll want to assess whehter your goal is to sail YOUR boat into the wild blue yonder, or whether its more economically efficient for you to charter something.

As others have said, nobody is saying "don't do it"; heck there are several live-aboards and full-time cruisers here. Just trying to make sure you're making a fully informed decision before investing time and money into something that might bring you less happiness than you envision.
Words of wisdom. I guess the 'offshore' qualifier is more appropriate. One of the biggest draws for me is the freedom. I don't want to settle down, get a mortgage, a 'life.' I have sailors in the family, though the bug hadn't bitten me until recently.

Edit: Perhaps I should point out that I'm in my late 20s and have already had a major shift in careers.
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