Getting Started with Liveaboard Life - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 30 Old 02-26-2015 Thread Starter
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Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

I've made the decision that I definitely want to move somewhere slightly warmer, and live aboard full time. My goal is to be living aboard full time by the end of the summer 2017.

I'm not exactly sure the next steps though.

Current plan:
  1. Buy a 40-44ft boat for around $80k. Will have to finance.
  2. Move it to Hampton Roads, Virginia Area. Other areas are a possibilit
  3. Find a liveaboard friendly marina, hopefully close enough to a town that I don't need a car.
  4. Live and work aboard

I'm thinking a boat that big is semi-required as I want to have a good sized galley, a navigation station to use as a desk, and two cabins, so that I can have guests aboard comfortably.

Problems:
  1. I'm young and won't have enough money to buy a boat outright.
  2. I've never even been on a boat as large as I'm thinking of buying.
  3. I'll need to use the boat not just as an apartment, but also as an office, and hope to sail regularly.

I do have around $30k saved up, I can use to get started with this plan, plus should be able to save a good chunk of change between now and when I start. I also will be able to keep my job no matter where I live.

Is that close to reasonable? What are the monthly costs like beyond dockage, and boat payments? Is it even possible to finance a liveaboard? What should I be doing now beyond just saving up money? Any specific boats I should be thinking about?
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post #2 of 30 Old 02-26-2015
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

I think if you spend some time in the Living Aboard forum, you'll find many replies to those questions as many before you have asked them.

Living Aboard - SailNet Community

Another wannabe liveaboard....

Real Cost

etc.

Best of luck to you.
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post #3 of 30 Old 02-26-2015
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

Do you know how to sail? Why such a big boat? First of all there is really more variation on size of galley is almost as varied by different boat as it is by size of boat. Of course the bigger the boat, there is more room for a bigger galley but that is often not the case. How many will be living aboard? I think that what may fit here is go small go now mindset, and I don't mean go very small but if it is just you then think lower 30 foot and you should be able to find something for your figure. But figure in some for refitting to make the boat suit your needs and catch up on deferred maintenance.

Thing is that boats are not always very easy to finance, and in order to get a loan you likely will need a newer boat, and that ups the price even more. Especially if you are young and don't have a lot of established credit.

My suggestion is to find a smaller boat say low 30 foot range that may need a bit of work but is basically solid. Good motor, good sails and good solid deck. Even if it is smaller than you want in a few years get out there and don't wait. Thing is boats are kind of like clothes, I can't tell you what will look good on you. I have never seen you, don't know if you are a man or woman, if you are fat. thin, tall or short, so I doubt you would be happy with the outfit I send you and it would be unlikely to fit at all. Same with a boat, one I may be happy with (heck I am an old man, well 50 so perhaps not that old) one boat and you might think it is the worst in the world. Also like clothes you are not stuck with it for the rest of your life, otherwise there would still be lots of folks running around in parachute pants!

So if you get something that is perhaps fairly popular, that might sell quickly if you get a big pay raise or get married, have kids or whatever. I would not worry too much about guests, they can sleep in a quarter birth, a settee, or what ever they are guests an not paying your bills. Heck the Catalina 30 (likely the first boat to look at) will sleep 7 people. You would not want to do it for very long, but it can be done! (2 in v-birth, 2 in aft birth, 2 on one settee and one on the other. Heck you could stick a couple more in the cockpit if you had to!) And that boat should fit your price range well. As far as galley goes, you can adjust to any galley. I have had some really good meals cooked in one pot, so it is not the size of the galley that really matters. We have a couple of professional chiefs here on the board that have 34 foot boats (granted they don't live aboard full time) but I can guarantee that they are making good food in those galleys!


One other thing, you say you are young, so just do it. Don't put it off for a couple of years, if you have the money ($30,000 is quite workable) find a job where ever you want to live and just do it. You are not going to have the "boat of your dreams" in your first boat, but it is the start of the journey. I know a 29 year old that is getting started out on her own for the first time, has no car, no apartment nothing but a suitcase of clothes. She needs a car, and wanted to get a BMW and I told her that she can't afford one, get something more reliable and sensible. Her response was but you have a BMW, and I said true, but I am not 29 just starting on my own for the first time either. Also if I had to do it over I would have a boat and a Yugo, rather than a House I don't want to live in and a BMW that I can barely keep full of gas let alone maintain.
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Last edited by miatapaul; 02-26-2015 at 03:43 PM.
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post #4 of 30 Old 02-26-2015
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

Seems you are more interested in the live board aspect than sailing. if that is the case, I'd look into a 36-38' aft cabin motor yacht. You can find plenty in the under $50k range and one of those will give you twice the living space as a 40' sailboat.

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post #5 of 30 Old 02-26-2015
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

C205 what boats interest you ? If newer I think a mid 90's Catalina 32 would be a good fit . It has space down below like you would not believe , not to mention outside . My friend picked one up about 4yrs. ago for ummm....I forget but way under 80k.
Here is a pic of my buddy in his office closing a deal on his Iphone .
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post #6 of 30 Old 02-27-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

All,

Thanks for the advice.

I had been looking at boats like a slightly beat up Whitby 42, an Endeavour 42, a 80s Gulfstar 44, a few 90s Beneteaus. Criteria that lead me to this was: Large Nav station, ample headroom in cabin, decent access to all systems, u shaped galley, refrigeration, two staterooms (the option to comfortably have guests is important if I'm moving away from all my friends and family), and a head with a shower. There were some marinas that also imposed a >32 or 34 ft rule for liveaboards that made think

Though after reading your comments, it does seem like that could all be accomplished in a much smaller boat, so I'll definitely open up my search a little bit more.


The reason I'd like to move aboard is that I'd like to lead a carfree life in a warmer climate, where I'm able to go sailing mostly year round, at the drop of a hat, I still think that moving aboard will be the best way to accomplish this.

I do know how to sail, primarily my family's 26ft Pearson, though I have sailed a few smaller boats (a Catalina 22, a couple sunfish, a MacGregor 24, two different 16 ft cats), and spent an afternoon on Lake Erie in a Pearson 30. However, I've never really sailed in the ocean (a well protected bay once), and have never captained anything larger than the 26 foot.

Going "right away" isn't a serious option for me, as I'll be having two surgeries in the next 8 months, each of which is going to leave me unable to use an arm for about 6 weeks.

So, what, if anything should I do in the mean time?

Last edited by C205; 02-27-2015 at 08:47 AM.
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post #7 of 30 Old 02-27-2015
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

Yes you can go smaller but I would not go a lot smaller.
I have a Catalina 34 which pretty much meets all your needs and the C34 is a very roomy 34, much more so than most boats that size. That being said, I would not want to live on it as I feel that it would be very confining. Most sailboats are, that's why I suggested an aft cabin motor yacht. I used to have a Carver 38 and it had 3 times more living space than my sailboat. I could have easily lived aboard that boat.

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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

I think a 40'-44' is also maybe too large, you can get a lot of that stuff on a mid 30's, and even lower. A lot of boats replace a quarter berth with a nav desk.

Cost will be a lot less as well - only problem with be the two separate cabins, but most boats have a cabin that have a couple of sofas that turn into beds.

I have a 1980 36', and it's plenty of room. I probably could have gone down to a 33'.
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Last edited by alctel; 02-27-2015 at 11:51 AM.
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post #9 of 30 Old 02-27-2015
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

A 44-footer is a pretty ambitious beginning for someone with virtually no experience in boating. I decided on a 33 foot Morgan Out Island for cruising and living aboard because I figured that a 41 or 47 Out Island was too much boat for a single handed sailor, and I believe I made the right decision. I have loads of room in that 33 for me. As for my wife, the Queen Mary might be a bit too small, but I'll find out next fall when she comes to the Florida Keys to be a live aboard for six months.

Good luck,

Gary
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post #10 of 30 Old 02-27-2015
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Re: Getting Started with Liveaboard Life

C205 , I hope all goes well with the Doc. I think I know that you have settled on a mono hull, and that would be my choice too . I think you would enjoy the emag Latitude 38, the founder ( Richard ) runs the mag and his charter co. from his big cat. Profligate . On occasion we see them at Catalina Ca's. Isthmus Cove . he loves to talk about computers and working from his boat . Latitude 38 - The West's Leading Sailing and Marine Magazine
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