First let me say that I am very excited by all the replies to my questions, and partly encouraged, whilst simultaneously daunted somewhat by the task at hand. That is ok. I don't scare easy, and I'm good at calming down the Admiral. Having made a low-budget independent feature-film which dominated my life for several years, I believe I can do anything!
Regarding the choice of a Kettenburg
: I wouldn't even consider it for a SECOND, had the boat not been hauled and taken town to the wood, inspected, and repainted a year ago, and also upgraded in many ways. This particular boat is supposed to be in very
good condition, though in need of some cosmetic re-varnishing. If the boat in question needed full restoration, it would not be the boat for me. Since (from what I understand) it has been well maintained and equipped for a journey from Eastern FLA to the BVI, as well as cruising the Caribbean, and very very shipshape with no dry-rot whatsoever, I'm considering it, and may fly out to look at the boat in question and have it independently surveyed. I don't mind hauling it and recaulking it every few years. I don't mind being conducting inspections every month, learning to sister joints, and keeping a very close eye on the bilges. If they're full when I look at this boat, I'm just going to walk the other way. From what I understand, this boat is a dry one (for a wood boat) and in very good shape, though it could be prettier (like I said, needs some varnish on the exterior, which I'm absolutely able and willing to do).
Would I like to own a classic piece of art? Yep. Do I want to completely renovate and upgrade an aging boat? No, that's why I'm looking at a boat that has already had most of that done (so I'm told - again, if personal inspection reveals this to not be the case, I'm walking). Once I've gotten enough posts to post a link, I'll link the ad for this one. It's in Venice, Florida.
I know a wooden boat is not an easy choice, and believe me, I'm certainly open to looking at other boats, and most of what I've got my eye on is fiberglass - it's just tougher to find one that moves me the way the lines of the Ket do. Ok, nothing will, I know. But I'm still hoping to be a little moved by SOMETHING, and also hoping to find a boat I can do some serious voyaging in (with a little work and investment) as well as living aboard for under 20 grand. Blue water capable would be best (would love to sail to Europe, visit my family in Sweden, and let my little Viking conduct his own invasion of Lindesfarne in the Dinghy. Travel brings history to life in a way few things can.)
Living aboard in DC
: I haven't even been able to get the dockmaster of the gangplank marina to call me back, so I don't doubt that the liveaboard list is miles long! The notion of needing a marina is getting clearer and clearer. With the added consideration of salt leeching from the wood in the Ket and shrinking the planks, Annapolis is sounding more and more inviting! I've also had a look at the city, and it's a MUCH better place to live than DC from what I can tell. Even if we decide not to liveaboard, I think that's where I'd want to live.
Regarding the Wolf (dog)
: CD, very VERY valuable points brought forth. If I can live at a marina, I think it's probably doable. Living on the hook with a dog, probably not so much. Anouk (the wolf) is 8 years old, and can still hop into the back seat of my Land Rover Discovery with a 3" lift, and EASILY over the baby-gates I've erected to keep the boy out of the kitchen and off the stairs when I'm not looking. I expect it'll be years before she has trouble getting up and down the ladder of a boat, but there's one thing that's got me a bit nervous (and it's not the seasickness - I picked from several pups, two of whom had puked in the car ride to see me. Guess which one I picked? Yup. The one who didn't). What's got me nervous is that she hates water. I mean, she LOVES SHALLOW water. She HATES swimming. Who knows? Perhaps life on a boat will embolden her, she's a bit of a wimp. If she can't hack it, she may have to live with Grandma and Grandpa for a bit, they love each other very much, and are definitely part of the "pack". This may be something I have to consider further. I'd definitely miss having her around, she's a WONDERFUL Dog, and has always made me feel safer.
The need for a larger holding tank is apparent. That is something I WILL need to do.
Regarding firearms, I have a pistol and an old bolt-action hunting rifle (actually was originally an implement of vileness in WWII, but I've turned it into something useful). The rifle will be stored off boat, and I may lock the pistol up somewhere with the flare gun. Nice thought about using the flare gun for defense, but really... I dunno if shooting someone with a flare on a wooden boat (or any boat not made of steel) is a safe idea.
CD, you have a really wonderful looking family, and are very blessed! It looks like you four all have a really awesome time aboard, that is what I'm hoping for as well.
Everyone, thank you so much for the wonderful advice and additional info. I feel like I know my options much better now, and though as I said before, some of this is daunting, but excitement and determination are more than sufficient to overcome. I hope this works out for us. My plans are getting a little delayed, looks like we won't be moving for another month or two (government moves slow, as we all sadly know). This probably means the Ket will sell to someone else, lucky soul. But maybe not! We'll see what happens, and I will keep posting with updates (and of course more questions) here!
scottyt, thanks for your offer, and I may just take you up on it if I end up with that Ket! Late August is probably the soonest I'd be making the journey, so it might be perfect (if the boat is up to snuff).