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  #1  
Old 09-30-2009
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Question Total Newbie Questions (Liveaboard)

Hello everyone..

I'm totally new to this... I currently do not and have never owned a boat before, and have rarely been on a boat, and never a sailboat. I'm interested in living aboard one day soon but am concerned about the cost. I can easily manage with the compact lifestyle as even now I barely have any possessions, I never watch television. I like the idea of being more self sufficient , to survive more independently on my own. I'm also single and have no children so that's a really big advantage and I think makes more sense to do this now then when I'm older (I'm 29..). I have always been kind of a "hermit-crab" :P, but also think meeting other people
with similar interests would be great.

Anyways although this idea excites me a great deal, **I'm also pretty nervous about it**, but I guess I have a lot of time to sort things out and make a definate decision on this. I plan on taking some sort of sailing course (Anyplace recommended in Virginia?), then rent a sailboat? a couple times,
to just make for certain that this is a good choice for me before buying a boat.

The boats I'm looking at currently are sailboats.. I'm not interested in having a powerboat, but I would want the sailboat to have an engine as well. I've done some research on boats like the Alberg 30 (seems rare?), and other 27-33ish foot boats as I think this best fits my needs and I don't see myself needing more than this really. Of particular I have liked the Catalina 27 (Anyone have comments on this boat as a first boat/liveaboard?). I have seen some on Boat Trader and other places and the boats seem very affordable $8,000ish? I'm not sure if the boats in this cost range are total crap or not though. I would like to save enough money to just buy the bought outright, or save around 8k, and possibly finance a boat in the 15k
range so any advice with that would also be helpful.

Another one of my high concerns is mooring. I think the laws and regulations are different in a lot of places. I live in Virginia and I'm curious as to how this all works, even after having done research and
watching videos. I'm not fluent in all the terminology at all yet. I would need to moor someplace very affordable... with services like a pumpout, water refill, showers would be nice. I have heard draastically.. different prices for this... Some things I have read has told me 250 per mo, some have said in the thousands per month. My ideal situation would be to moor in the 250-500 range, and have the option to "live off the hook" if at any point things got bad, w/out local authorities or something causing a problem. Dropping anchor somewhere.. but is this legal and how long can I stay there? How far out would I need to drop anchor? This is of high concern because I also would need to hold down a job, so I wouldn't want to be very mobile yet.

I would need to park my car someplace nearby to commute to work, and I'm also considering getting a small displacement motorbike again. Anyways to make a quick list, I'll list questions below and would love any
input and as much as possible..

1. How is the Catalina 27 as a beginner/liveaboard sailboat? Is it affordable for me? (8k to 15k max..)
for a boat needing only some improvement.

2. Can liveaboard slip be obtained in Virginia for affordable rate for me? ($250-500) per month, and any

recommended marinas?

3. How realistic is "living off the hook?" Where would you park your vehicle(car)? How far out do you have to

drop anchor? Would authorities are locals cause any problem? What would be the best areas to do this at?
What would be the best way to refill supplies like water? Can you use a marinas pump-out service even if you

don't moor there?

4. I'm pretty sure boats the size of a Catalina 27 would have no way to take a shower.. could you
use some sort of shower head to shower yourself off on deck?

5. I live in Richmond, Virginia and would like to stay in Virginia as I like to have family somewhat nearby, but

I can go anywhere in Virginia after acquiring a job in that area. What are the most affordable places/nicest?

Norfolk, Hampton Roads I have heard.. possibly, Newport News area etc?

6. Is this a realistic dream? my income is currently only $1500 after taxes. Can this be done w/out virtually

being broke all of the time? Am I just dreaming and can't afford it? I currently have no debt, and virtually no

expenses giving me plenty of time and ability to save for the initial costs and a safety cushion as well if I go

through with it.

7. Salt Water vs Fresh water? Pros Cons.. areas in Virginia that are good for each.

8. Order to get it all done? Find an appropriate marina, acquire work, buy boat etc etc...

9. Where to take sailing course?

10. Food, Storage, what kind of food do you guys like to have aboard? What do you find easy to prepare and keep in stock etc?

11. Input on security, break-ins thefts etc...

Thanks for any and all input in advance it is greatly appreciated!!
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Old 09-30-2009
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Wow ! That is a bunch of questions to be sure and someone who lives aboard will surely chime in. But my suggestion would be to go down to the marinas you are considering and talk to people about all those issues that abound in your mind. SailTime has a nice teaching facility in Virginia Beach to get you some lessons and perhaps a season of membership so you can see if you can find your "sea legs" or not.

Good Luck!
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Old 09-30-2009
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newbie questions

See responses below each paragraph


Hello everyone..

I'm totally new to this... I currently do not and have never owned a boat before, and have rarely been on a boat, and never a sailboat. I'm interested in living aboard one day soon but am concerned about the cost. I can easily manage with the compact lifestyle as even now I barely have any possessions, I never watch television. I like the idea of being more self sufficient , to survive more independently on my own. I'm also single and have no children so that's a really big advantage and I think makes more sense to do this now then when I'm older (I'm 29..). I have always been kind of a "hermit-crab" :P, but also think meeting other people
with similar interests would be great.


---Your personality will allow you to do all these things nicely on the boat..

Anyways although this idea excites me a great deal, **I'm also pretty nervous about it**, but I guess I have a lot of time to sort things out and make a definate decision on this. I plan on taking some sort of sailing course (Anyplace recommended in Virginia?), then rent a sailboat? a couple times,
to just make for certain that this is a good choice for me before buying a boat.

---Norton's in Deltaville does the ASA courses and for sure ask for Brad, as his personality will complement yours. YOu can then charter (rent) with them or many other places once you have some ASA coursework under your belt. You may consider visiting a few marinas near you and post a note on the bulletin board that you are available to crew.

The boats I'm looking at currently are sailboats.. I'm not interested in having a powerboat, but I would want the sailboat to have an engine as well. I've done some research on boats like the Alberg 30 (seems rare?), and other 27-33ish foot boats as I think this best fits my needs and I don't see myself needing more than this really. Of particular I have liked the Catalina 27 (Anyone have comments on this boat as a first boat/liveaboard?). I have seen some on Boat Trader and other places and the boats seem very affordable $8,000ish? I'm not sure if the boats in this cost range are total crap or not though. I would like to save enough money to just buy the bought outright, or save around 8k, and possibly finance a boat in the 15k range so any advice with that would also be helpful.


---When younger and single, I lived on a Cal 25, then a Venture 25, then a Cal 27 (in Fl, once I moved to MD I only lasted til late December before I moved ashore) In VA you WILL need some sort of heat and water source to liveaboard, and an open bathhouse at your marina. We now liveaboard a Hunter 42 that is more like a nice condo than many condos. YOur price range may be a tad low, but poke around, now is a better time to BUY than at any time in the last 15-18 years.

Another one of my high concerns is mooring. I think the laws and regulations are different in a lot of places. I live in Virginia and I'm curious as to how this all works, even after having done research and
watching videos. I'm not fluent in all the terminology at all yet. I would need to moor someplace very affordable... with services like a pumpout, water refill, showers would be nice. I have heard draastically.. different prices for this... Some things I have read has told me 250 per mo, some have said in the thousands per month. My ideal situation would be to moor in the 250-500 range, and have the option to "live off the hook" if at any point things got bad, w/out local authorities or something causing a problem. Dropping anchor somewhere.. but is this legal and how long can I stay there? How far out would I need to drop anchor? This is of high concern because I also would need to hold down a job, so I wouldn't want to be very mobile yet.


---Mooring is living "out" in the water, untethered from land and the things that make marinas easy to live at. It is possible, but your boat would need to be totally self-sustaining (Much more expensive, and difficult on a small boat). On the Northern Neck of VA, yearly slips run from $1500 to $2500 for casual use of a 42 footer. Many places charge by the foot (LOA) and if you are more than a weekend visitor, will charge electricity separately for each slip. I would think for around $1000 a year a 30' in our area. CLoser to Norfolk, Deltaville, NoVA (woodbridge) you could easily double or triple that if they allow liveaboards at all. In VA there are many liveaboard Marinas, in MD there can only be a small percentage of slips, out of the total marina that can liveaboard. i.e. at one place in solomon's they 12-15 liveaboard slips out of the near 250 slips they have.

I would need to park my car someplace nearby to commute to work, and I'm also considering getting a small displacement motorbike again. Anyways to make a quick list, I'll list questions below and would love any
input and as much as possible..

---No problem here with most marinas, one car is included, a second may cost you a few $$ or park it outside the busy parts somewhere. Work will be the tough part, as many real jobs are a fair commute from the water. Exceptions...PAX River in MD, NAS/NAVY in Norfolk.

1. How is the Catalina 27 as a beginner/liveaboard sailboat? Is it affordable for me? (8k to 15k max..) for a boat needing only some improvement.

--Cats are very nice boats to learn on and you could easily liveaboard the 27s with a few creature comforts. In this market you should be able to find several in your price range. Maybe even a few 30'


2. Can liveaboard slip be obtained in Virginia for affordable rate for me? ($250-500) per month, and any recommended marinas?


---should be quite doable even in tidewater. Olverson's on the Northern Neck is good, Krentz and Kinsale too. Many in Deltaville and Glouster as well.

3. How realistic is "living off the hook?" Where would you park your vehicle(car)? How far out do you have to

drop anchor? Would authorities are locals cause any problem? What would be the best areas to do this at?
What would be the best way to refill supplies like water? Can you use a marinas pump-out service even if you don't moor there?

---hopefully those with more mooring time will chime in here. Water and pumpouts are available at most Marinas. Pumpouts are around $5 and often free if you fuel up.

4. I'm pretty sure boats the size of a Catalina 27 would have no way to take a shower.. could you use some sort of shower head to shower yourself off on deck?

--Actually most of the 27s have showers and many have hot/cold pressure water. FOr sure can rig up a sun shower if you are hardy...see my note about "til December"

5. I live in Richmond, Virginia and would like to stay in Virginia as I like to have family somewhat nearby, but I can go anywhere in Virginia after acquiring a job in that area. What are the most affordable places/nicest?

---That is a tough one...jobs are inversely proportional to liveaboard areas unless you have a skill that can be done from a laptop and sprint card. One fellow in our marina writes "packages" for windows machines and is on site once or twice a month, otherwise he is aboard the boat. He has connection an a skill in demand.

Norfolk, Hampton Roads I have heard.. possibly, Newport News area etc?

6. Is this a realistic dream? my income is currently only $1500 after taxes. Can this be done w/out virtually being broke all of the time? Am I just dreaming and can't afford it? I currently have no debt, and virtually no
expenses giving me plenty of time and ability to save for the initial costs and a safety cushion as well if I go through with it.

--Only you know the answer to this. You could easily burn those $$ drinking and eating out...I have done it on less, with two of us, others have too.


7. Salt Water vs Fresh water? Pros Cons.. areas in Virginia that are good for each.

----Salt water/brackish is your only option in that price range. There are virtually no liveaboards at Smith Mtn, Claytor, or Buggs Island - or jobs. You may find a private residence that will let you slip there, but YMMV.

8. Order to get it all done? Find an appropriate marina, acquire work, buy boat etc etc...

---Job, boat, Marina - enjoy life

9. Where to take sailing course?

---Deltaville, Glouster, Hampton, Newport News, and many in between. I would look for ASA if you are paying for it. YOu may be able to work a deal with the previous owner to teach you what he knows on YOUR new boat...


10. Food, Storage, what kind of food do you guys like to have aboard? What do you find easy to prepare and keep in stock etc?

-- We often prep meals at the in-laws. We do a lot of one pot deals when aboard, anything that you eat ashore can be done aboard. Storage is an issue so you will learn what is worth keeping aboard. We bring some fresh fruit and veggies aboard every time, eat that combined with some canned, prefabbed and we are better fed than when at the house. Eating out or carry out will kill your budget QUICKLY.

11. Input on security, break-ins thefts etc...

---Thankfully that has not been an issue for us. Meet your slipmates and the marina staff...be a good neighbor

feel free to email if you have more questions or need more detail kd3pc at cox dot net

dave
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2009
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I have tried to cover many of your general (non-geographic) issues in a series of free videos available through YouTube. The link is:

YouTube - Broadcast Yourself.

Best of luck,

Mark N.
The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat
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  #5  
Old 10-01-2009
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Life is out there!

Get out and start sailing!
All these questions are meaningless if you discover you hate sailing!
Take a few lessons; join a club; start talking to other sailors in the bar!
All the "lint" will become self evident once you start participating in the hobby/sport.
sam :-)
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Old 10-01-2009
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I wouldn't get the Catalina 27. The Pearson 30 is a much much much better choice. Try for freshwater, it is better for swimming, and your boat will thank you. Once you live on board, use this mantra "Everything has a place, everything in it's place." Get a rechargeable handheld vacuum. It's very very helpful in the v-berth. Canned food is blah but it keeps forever and is VERY easy to eat while sailing, or while lazy. A boom tent or awning is a great thing to have. My favorite book for living aboard is "Good boatkeeping"

Say it with me "Sponge Bath" ...


About living on the hook. It will cost more initially:

Solar panels, lights, dinghy, mooring... etc.

But after that, it is the high seas mate. There basically are not rules, because nobody enforces them to a guy anchored in a bay on a Pearson 30 for a few months or even years.

You will save a shartload of money on rent, but try to get a float on your mooring, and invest in a good mooring. I swang my 24' all summer on a ten pound mushroom, some chain, and cinder blocks, but that doesn't mean you should. It was a gamble, but it was in a very protected place with excellent holding power right outside my window.
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