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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum
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Old 06-07-2010
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A couple getting into the life

Hello, my wife and I are looking to become cruisers/liveaboards. We live on the Central coast of California, think Avilla beach/Morro Bay. We haven't taken this decision lightly, we looked at it last year and decided to shelve it so we could pay some bills. I am proud to report I am 28k$ less in debt this year and we are now starting our savings.

Neither of us are super knowledgeable sailors. I grew up on the atlantic with my grandfather, but we were in trawlers or fishing boats. I am signing up at the local Yacht club for sailing lessons, and will be spending hundreds of hours online and at the library. We DO NOT intend to buy a boat and take it out by ourselves immediately. We understand that without the proper knowledge and experience that this could be nothing short of suicidal.

I am a computer guy/mechanic, I've built cars from rusted out chassis and twisted hunks of steel. My wife is a capable handy woman (she re-modeled her families two bathrooms and kitchen. Plumbing, tile work and all) so we feel confident that we can handle any and all work that pops up, and if not that we can find the help to do it right.

We intend to spend the time saving from scratch learning and polishing up on our sailing knowledge and skills. What we are trying to find out right now has to do inspections/cheap boats.

We see a LOT of cheap boats (under $20k?) we are looking in the 35'-40' range but are not settled. We are interested in living aboard and eventual blue water sailing (Runs to Hawaii and beyond). I have heard many people beg and plead with people to smart with small boats and work their way up, this isn't really an option for us right now.

Our first priority though is living aboard, so what I'm wondering is all these boats I see cheaply on sailboat listings etc. Could they be viable? I have always heard there is nothing more expensive than a cheap boat. What should I be paying for an inspection? Are there a few boats that would be "perfect" that are tried and tested that people have personal experience on.

Any boat I consider will be heavily researched, and of course inspected. I would love to hear about or be pointed towards any books/guides that will help me determine if a boat is even worth having it inspected. I've looked at a few smaller boats already but nothing in the size range I am talking about.

I really look forward to hearing from everyone, and eventually joining the ranks!
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Old 06-08-2010
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Welcome aboard!

As far as boat suggestions/recommendations, the best thing to do would be to narrow down your list a bit and then start a thread with questions about specific models.

Good luck!
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Old 06-08-2010
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As the man posting above is an owner of a Pacific Seacraft, he has one of the strongest and most reliable boats to fit your needs, but that comes with a hefty price tag. I'm a fulltime US East Coast liveaboard cruiser and I've been doing very well with my less expensive, older, thick-hulled and heavy "truck" for 38 years from Maine to the Bahamas; however, I hesitate to suggest for you because the East Coast has a huge number of shallow water protected anchorages and the choices to cruise in only the best of weather. My wife and I are "cockpit potatoes" that take this advantage during our cruising regimen with our 4'3" draft and short passages. I believe that, on the US West Coast, you will want a deeper draft and expectations to be subject to heavier weather. None of these points requires a newer boat! I'm sure your best advice will come from those who are cruising in the manner you desire and doing this in your "home" waters. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 06-08-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madcat View Post
We see a LOT of cheap boats (under $20k?) we are looking in the 35'-40' range but are not settled. We are interested in living aboard and eventual blue water sailing (Runs to Hawaii and beyond). I have heard many people beg and plead with people to smart with small boats and work their way up, this isn't really an option for us right now.
I don't think you're going to find much of a boat that isn't a "project boat" in the 35-40ft range for under 20k. And those that you did find would probably be coastal cruisers only.

And for the starting smaller isn't an option bit I'd have to ask why? Is it just the two of you? You might find a 30-32ft boat to be a perfect fit and you can easily find a solid one in that size for 20k. Possibly even a nice blue water potential boat that just needs some work here or there to be ready for those ocean trips you want to eventually do.
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Old 06-08-2010
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The way I see it is that you have 4 hurdles to clear: Learning to live on a boat, learning to cruise, learning to sail and learning to bluewater cruise. Each stage can have different priorities. Living aboard a boat is quite different than living in a house. The whole boat has about the same area as your living room. You have the consideration of personal space. If you are tied to a dock you have water and electricity but available electrical power is going to be about 6000 watts max compared to the 19,000 or more you have in a house. Storage space fridge space etc a greatly reduced. There are other considerations like airconditioning, heat, TV, internet and phone. Once you pull away from the dock things change agian. You now have limited access to potable water, power and provisions and you need to find the solution to obtaining these that suits you best. You no longer have a car and you'll soon learn that North America is not set up for people without a car. I think people develope a cruising style that takes some time to develope. At some point you have to learn to sail and see if you even like sailing. Before I spent very much money I would take lessons and bareboat charter somewhere. Some people for example find that they cannot avoid being seasick all the time. Once you have established that you like living aboard, you like cruising and you like sailing you can start looking at bluewater cruising and making overnight passages.
Each of these stages can be accomplished with far different boats but as you progress so will the costs. To stay tied up to the dock you don't even need any form of propulsion. Coastal cruisers tend to be more liveable than bluewater boats, less robust and have smaller tankage. Can these cheaper boats be viable? You really have to check that the systems in the context in which you plan to use them are working or can be repaired and/or upgraded. Can you do the work or will someone have to be hired? How much will you trust your surveyor? These can only be answered on a specific boat, not as general statements.
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Old 06-08-2010
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Thanks for the info

Wow, thanks for the good info guys. Let me give you a bit of background. We are both campers and are big into 2-3 week trips with nothing but our packs, the gear within and the dog. I spent 2 years unable to find work and am currently living in my in-laws unfinished garage.

I have signed up with the local Yacht club for lessons already and should begin soon. I am an IT professional and getting away from tv/Internet/the world is a HUGE reason I'm into this. As far as chartering a boat and finding out about sea-sickness, we've done that. We have spent a good amount of time aboard friends boats and chartered fishing boats, we are both REALLY into fishing.

We chose the boat size dependent upon what we want. I was told you're not likely to find a decent shower on a boat under 35'. I am also considering the larger boat for storage etc. I feel perfectly capable of handling 95% of the work on the boat. I am planning to take some basic courses at the local community college electrical, plumbing etc.

I am big into finding people who are experts in their field and leeching as much knowledge and info as I can from them. We are hoping to find a good capable boat that needs love in our size and capability range. As far as amenities like AC etc, we have been in this garage for two years. We currently have no running water or bathroom near us. To use these we must get up, unlock and go in through the front door, use the restroom and lock up behind us. It's the same routing for a glass of water etc.. I would like to think that this might qualify as a decent live aboard simulator.

I also want to point out I am still young (23) and have a steady secure job that will finance this. I don't mind spending 20k now and 60k over the next 5 years to fully refit. I've canceled the gym memberships and have a date with the library planned to pick up some reading.

As for the coastal cruiser vs. The blue water rig, could you elaborate? I'm not sure what "defines" a boat as blue water vs. a CC. I'm trying to get the right boat the first time and am not in a rush so if I need to increase my budget or look and wait for specific things I'm ok with that. I'm just hoping to get the boat soonish so we can get out of the garage lol. However I will try not to let that rush me into the wrong boat.


We want to sail and adventure, you guys are awesome for helping.
Thanks for all your help friends!

Last edited by Madcat; 06-08-2010 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 06-08-2010
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MC, as far as blue water boats take a look at this thread - Updated Offshore Cruising Boat List - January 2008 and this website: Mahina Expedition - Offshore Cruising Instruction
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
MC, as far as blue water boats take a look at this thread - Updated Offshore Cruising Boat List - January 2008 and this website: Mahina Expedition - Offshore Cruising Instruction
Thanks for your advice, there are some boats around us that look pretty good in my area. I don't intend to buy for several months so I will keep eyes and ears to the open. We are just buckling down and saving the cash straight. I'm ok with it taking longer to find a boat. It just means I will have more resources and can expand my search.
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Old 06-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madcat View Post
As for the coastal cruiser vs. The blue water rig, could you elaborate? I'm not sure what "defines" a boat as blue water vs. a CC. I'm trying to get the right boat the first time and am not in a rush so if I need to increase my budget or look and wait for specific things I'm ok with that.
Welcome to Sailnet Madcat and also hopefully to the lifestyle that is cruising....

I would encourage you to poke around here abit more and get a firm grasp on the differences between Bluewater and Coastal before buying a boat...

Basically It is very much a case of horses for courses. Any sailboat is a compromise between competing requirements.

For example A 'Coastal' Boat might have a large spacious saloon below, great for guests, very liveable with a sense of space, also good for families however this space would make the same boat less than ideal, even dangerous if it was doing major ocean crossings as moving around an 'open' boat in a big sea is difficult.

Likewise Bluewater boats have lots of tankage......water/fuel etc. This takes considerable space....space you might otherwise use differently if you don't need to worry about carting a months worth of fuel/water around.

I do like a big useable cockpit at anchorage......nibblies and drinks on the table at happy hour...a swim platform at the back....so you can jump in and have a snorkel. Same design characteristics in a boat about to round Cape Horn though would again be less than ideal.

There is a lot of advice/discussion here about sailboat types and designs.....if you sift through it you will begin to get an idea.

IMHO I would suggest that a tried and true/capable/safe coastal cruiser is what you guys probably need to start with.
Again IMHO there seems to be little sense in getting a bluewater cape rounding boat and attempting to live on board at a Marina/on the hook in said boat, when there are far more liveable options out there.

Also you say you have chartered....and then go on to talk about fishing charters...have you chartered a sailboat?? If not then I would encourage you to do so. It is also a cheapish way of trying on different boat layouts and working out what you guys like living on.....

I bought my first sailboat at 22....I then bought my second at 23. At 30 I am now with my wife on the hunt for boat number 3.....the boat that will take us over that far horizon
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Old 06-09-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chall03 View Post
Welcome to Sailnet Madcat and also hopefully to the lifestyle that is cruising....

I would encourage you to poke around here abit more and get a firm grasp on the differences between Bluewater and Coastal before buying a boat...

Basically It is very much a case of horses for courses. Any sailboat is a compromise between competing requirements.

For example A 'Coastal' Boat might have a large spacious saloon below, great for guests, very liveable with a sense of space, also good for families however this space would make the same boat less than ideal, even dangerous if it was doing major ocean crossings as moving around an 'open' boat in a big sea is difficult.

Likewise Bluewater boats have lots of tankage......water/fuel etc. This takes considerable space....space you might otherwise use differently if you don't need to worry about carting a months worth of fuel/water around.

I do like a big useable cockpit at anchorage......nibblies and drinks on the table at happy hour...a swim platform at the back....so you can jump in and have a snorkel. Same design characteristics in a boat about to round Cape Horn though would again be less than ideal.

There is a lot of advice/discussion here about sailboat types and designs.....if you sift through it you will begin to get an idea.

IMHO I would suggest that a tried and true/capable/safe coastal cruiser is what you guys probably need to start with.
Again IMHO there seems to be little sense in getting a bluewater cape rounding boat and attempting to live on board at a Marina/on the hook in said boat, when there are far more liveable options out there.

Also you say you have chartered....and then go on to talk about fishing charters...have you chartered a sailboat?? If not then I would encourage you to do so. It is also a cheapish way of trying on different boat layouts and working out what you guys like living on.....

I bought my first sailboat at 22....I then bought my second at 23. At 30 I am now with my wife on the hunt for boat number 3.....the boat that will take us over that far horizon
Thank you for your excellent advice. I intend to spend many months doing research on what we are after. We probably could live comfortably on a 30' coastal cruiser. I have issues with attachment, if I buy a boat and pour hundreds of hours into it I won't sell it.

I am going to be crewing with the yacht club soon, I am also helping out some of the guys at the boatyard work on their boats. My hope is to be retired and cruising by 40, but I would love the capability to make Hawaii runs in 5-10 years. I'm just after something that with knowledgeable love and care will allow us to see the world some day. Am I slightly off in the thought that it's better to buy and learn a boat for several years before you set off into the deep?

I am still learning and as I learn I expect my tastes/wants to become slightly more refined, right now I'm drooling over a 35' Hallberg Rassy.
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