Sorry to resurrect an old thread, but this is a great thread. I'm 25, about to turn 26, and I just bought my first boat, a Gulfstar 37. I'll be living aboard starting next month.
I think I went about this whole adventure backwards from most people. I started dreaming about megayachts, saying "someday I'll have one of those". Then I realized, if I have a multi-million dollar megayacht, why have a house? Just live on it. My daydreams led to me to real-life used boat prices, and I discovered powerboats as big as a house for under a million dollars... I thought "that's achievable in the not too distant future!" Then I dug deeper... I found nice boats plenty large enough to live on for under $100k. I was already considering buying a house for more than that. At this point I started seriously considering living on a boat now
, instead of it being a dream for the future. Then I saw the price of fuel. Instantly, I switched to looking at sail boats. Then I got a reality check in the difference between what a bank will loan you for a house vs a boat, and started downsizing my plans. Then I took a sailing class -- my first trip aboard a sailboat ever -- and I instantly fell in love with sailing, as I suspected I would. Then I bought a boat. Here I am, awaiting closing on my first boat.
I think a lot of the conjecture about why young people aren't into sailing is true -- they just don't get the attraction of doing without the TV and video games -- but also finding financing is really hard. I graduated from college with huge debt, and the boat about doubles it. I talked to a lot of banks where they said "you're young, and you've never bought anything big, and you have a lot of debt, so we're going to deny you even though you have a perfect credit rating". By "big" they mean a house. My car apparently doesn't count. Yet I got approved for $250k for a house loan. Everything is stacked in favor of most young people choosing a life on the hard.
Edit: In a fit of nostalgia, I just went on Yachtworld and looked for powerboats in the $100k range, and I actually found the listing for the boat
that made me switch from "dream" to "do it now", apparently it is still for sale. I'd still say that boat would make a fantastic liveaboard.