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  #1  
Old 05-28-2010
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Liveaboard Sailboat Questions

Hi, I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction. I'm coming out of a divorce in the next couple of months and have the desire to live light for a few years. My wife is keeping the house so I thought that living on a sailboat would be kinda cool for awhile. I don't have allot to take with me so downsizing my living area shouldn't be difficult.

I'm thinking of renting a liveaboard type dockspace over by Hendricks Isle or maybe Citrus or Lauderdale Isles. I'd prefer the latter as I live in the Shady Banks area and need to remain close by. Any ideas would be great. I will need a safe place to park my vehicle. I'm planning on taking a sailing course to leave the basics.

I guess my main question is what size boat could I make do with? I'm not a big guy, only 5'8, 160 so i fit in places pretty easy. What should I look for in a liveaboard type sailboat? I want to be able to cook simple meals, sleep & shower comfortably.

My first choice would to be able to lease living arrangements on someone else boat for the first year...not sure if that's doable or not as I'm sure owners would want to use their boat from time to time without moving my stuff out. But I could buy one too with no problem.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. As I mentioned, I still have a 2-4 month window to arrange this set up so I'm not on fire.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 05-29-2010
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We just moved aboard as a family of four. This is our first boat.

We have a Newport 30.

As a new liveaboard, these are some observations:

Smaller boats are useless for showering, find a marina with a shower you can use. We all just walk up and shower. It never runs out of hot water AND smaller boat = smaller water tank... you dont want to fill your tank everyday and it is likely that you will have a <30gal tank... so think about that.

Get a boat with a dodger... I am so glad that I have this thing! I cant believe that I even considered boats w/o one. I would be lost and in tears without mine.

refridgeration... we have an "ice box" which is basically a cooler under the counter... we dont use it. We have two smallish coolers in the cockpit and have to go for ice every other day. Its tolerable, but we are very adaptable people comfortable living in an extended camping trip. If you can, go for something that has a refer system, it will make things 10x easier.

Get a big holding tank. Ours is 20gal and we have to pump-out every 5-6 days or so... but that is with two adults and two kids (6 & 3). Holding tank size is still something to consider.


We have no regrets about moving aboard. It might be just what you need.
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Old 05-29-2010
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If you plan to live aboard and not sail much go with a larger boat more comfortable. 40 to 45 is very comfortable.

I have leased my boat out before when I have had land duties to take care of but i am not the usual.

You can buy my boat if you like!
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Old 05-29-2010
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Several questions which may help you decide...

Are you going to use it only dockside, aside from occasional daysails? If so, power becomes a non-issue. Otherwise you'll have to do some figuring on how much power you'll use, and how you'll replace it.

What's your tolerance for boat repair? Even NEW boats have issues, surprisingly, and older ones orders of magnitude more. If you're not comfortable with making repairs, you'll need to budget for regular trips to a yard (or perhaps, where you're docked, if it doesn't have to be done out of the water) and personnel to accomplish them.

What's your tolerance for "camping"? See this link The Liveaboard Simulator - (written by a dear friend of ours, and archived by another, a boat designer) for a humorous look at living aboard, but, in general, if you want some of the creature comforts, like refrigeration, air conditioning (a must in FTL's summer, of course), lighting other than small areas, dimly, comfortable (not just able to fit in it) bedding, and the like.

What's your budget? If you buy new, lots of these questions go away, as you can specify what you want. However, if you're not generally familiar with various boats, making that choice can be a very long process. Ours took two years, and a doubling of our budget and space, before we found "our" perfect boat. My being 6-4 knocked out a bunch of really nice, affordable boats; you won't have that problem, but the others above still apply.

Are you going to sail it regularly (in addition to living aboard)? If so, give thought to how difficult it will be to make seaworthy from the time you step aboard to the time you cast off. Liveaboards at a dock tend to treat them like landside locations, which means there's all manner of stuff which could go flying under way...

Then, there's the question of cat or mono. Cat's stabilty makes the stowage less of an issue, but dockage can sometimes become a problem. As they're all the rage, they're also much more expensive as compared to a mono, lately, too...

HTH

L8R

Skip

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Old 05-29-2010
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Making a suggestion would be easier if we knew your experience level.

Even if you arent going to go sailing, having a big boat that wont leave the dock might not work out if you arent experienced...

You will likely have top take your boat around to the pump out station , and if you are inexperienced, you may have a hard time docking a 40' boat.
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Old 05-29-2010
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Thanks for all you help. I read that whole The Liveaboard Simulator page...that was very eye opening...thank you. I'll try to answer a few question and further explain my position.

I have no experience in Sailboating. I have lived in South Florida all my life and do have experience on fishing boats up to 30 ft.

I am planning on taking one of the live aboard sailboat training courses that last about a week to learn the basic stuff. I figure that will be a place to start. I'm mechanically inclined and pretty much fix anything that doesn't need a machine shop.

I was figuring to just live on it for awhile while getting to know it and make repairs and/or upgrades to improve its livability. I'm pretty sure I'd go with a mono to start out.

I'm going to start looking at a few boats to get a feel for the size and how it's laid out. Sleeping, air condition, decent shower/head and light cooking would seem to be important to me.

Thanks for your help
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Old 05-29-2010
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FYI, just went to look at a 30' Catalina...just to see if I could actually see myself in a boat. And yes...I think I could but not one that small. And it was an old one too...1980 and had been sitting for years...kinda musky. I will be visiting a few more as this learning process go on.

Is it possible to get financing on a used sailboat? Do some owners offer seller financing?

Thanks
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Old 05-29-2010
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That smell won't be the worst thing you will encounter living on a boat. I spent all day yesterday replumbing our blackwater and fixing the head. Then in the middle of the night the smell of gasoline woke both of us. No idea where it came from.

Me my girfriend and our cat live on a 30' boat. It is a bit cramped but we have had 2 other people over for dinner and had 9 people over for drinks once. That got very cramped.

This boat is our first one and we have a running list of things to look for on the next one. But for now we are learning a lot and doing the best we can with what we have.

Keep in mind that smaller is better in a lot of ways. It is easier to maneuver and marinas charge by the foot so it is cheaper. Sailboats don't handle at all like power boats. It takes a bit of time for them to react and a bigger boat is that much more to deal with.

I have a friend with a Lancer 30. It has an interesting open layout that for one person works out pretty well. If you look at boats on yachtworld you can get a good idea of the layouts at least.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealBill View Post
FYI, just went to look at a 30' Catalina...just to see if I could actually see myself in a boat. And yes...I think I could but not one that small. And it was an old one too...1980 and had been sitting for years...kinda musky. I will be visiting a few more as this learning process go on.

Is it possible to get financing on a used sailboat? Do some owners offer seller financing?

Thanks
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Old 05-30-2010
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I'm really starting to like this idea...! Buying a nice boat and changing my lifestype is just what I need.

I've read a TON on this site and glad I found it. Being in Fort Lauderdale, I've decided on a few things regarding buying a boat. One is that I want to skip this hurricane season so I planning to complete a purchase by Nov 1. I would rather skip most of the hot hot weather too.

I figure in that time I can take the basic sailing course I want, find a place to provide a liveaboard docking setup, downsize my life and have time to make a educated deal on a boat. Should work out fine...
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Old 05-30-2010
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"The Liveaboard Simulator" mentioned in Skip's post (#4?) should be mandatory for all first time posters on all sailing forums. Hilarious and too true.
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