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businessonly805 11-21-2011 03:33 AM

boat living question for someone green
im pretty new to sailing and am thinking of living aboard a 29 foot sailboat.

i do have some questions that i dont have answered yet, and they are the following:

i've never been in a marina and have no idea how they operate really..i know about slips however, lets say im cruising down to Los Angeles Ca and i need to pick up a friend to take them on a ride out to catalina island...where would i park my boat without a slip? is there like a loading zone where boats can load and unload for free? if not, are there any decent places in the los angeles area where i can anchor off and just ride a dhingy? also, for showers, lets say i just want a there a place to park for like a 30 minute shower? the reason i ask these questions is because i want to have someone living aboard who works in the city...the problems with this are the showers and drop off and pickup. if i can solve the drop off and pickup and shower problem, then im pretty sure i can live the sailing life.

xymotic 11-21-2011 03:44 AM

There are public docks in Marina Del Rey, as well as plenty of docks with public access such as the boat launch. You cannot stay there without paying, but you certainly can land and do a quick pick up. All they can do is tell you to move along.

You can also anchor out, but it's not a great anchorage. But if you want 'long term' you need to get a slip, and it's not easy in MDR or Redondo but further south in San Pedro/long beach it might be more doable.

businessonly805 11-21-2011 05:41 AM

hey thank you. that sounds pretty cool. do you think a 29' sailboat is too much for a beginner?

Minnewaska 11-21-2011 07:27 AM

Get proper training and I'm sure you could handle a 29 footer, but maybe not any 29 footer. It will depend on the rig and how she is set up, particularly if you intend to sail alone at times.

You want to have someone living aboard who works in the city, but how about yourself? Do you need to work? Sailboats are expensive to maintain.

I would advise being at a slip if you need to be on land every day. At least, I would want to be on a mooring with access to shoreside facilities, like showers and heads. I'm not sure what black water (sewage) discharge rules are by you, but near me, it would become a royal PITA to have to go to a pump out dock all the time. The nearest water where I can dump overboard in is 45 mins to an hour away in open ocean. You would want a marina or slip with a pump out boat that came to you.

If you are roughing it and will not have access to a marina, you really want to have a shower onboard. Many marine heads will double as a shower. You need freshwater tanks, a pump and something to heat water, which is not on all 29 footers. Speaking of this, you will need somewhere to go to get fresh water routinely as well, right? I think you would quickly find living outside a marina would require a ton of time wasting routines just to accommodate daily necessities.

Donna_F 11-21-2011 07:33 AM


From this and your other posts, I gather that you would benefit from some classroom training. I get that you want to have the vagabond lifestyle, and not that it hasn't been done before (and will be again) but there is really more to owning and operating a boat than just hopping on and sailing off. It's just not safe (for either you or the other boaters on the water) if you have no idea what you're getting into.

US Power and Sail Squadron and the Coast Guard Auxiliary both provide classroom training to teach you about your legal responsibilities as a boat owner, navigation rules, required equipment, basic maintenance, rules of the road, and a host of other practical information. I suggest that you find your local power squadron or flotilla and sign yourself up.

Given that you've never stepped foot on a marina, I'll go out on a limb and assume that you have limited experience operating a boat. To gain on-water experience, you can look into American Sailing Association (ASA) or US Sailing classes or find a local sailing club where you can sail on other members' boats. Sailing clubs and associations are fairly inexpensive (usually under $50/year).

Good luck with whatever route you take, but I implore you to at a minimum first learn what it takes to be a safe boater.

Minnewaska 11-21-2011 07:40 AM

I hadn't seen the other posts that Donna had to conclude an affinity for a vagbond lifestyle. I came back to this to add a comment about needing to generate power, if simply 12 v power, if away from shore for any extended period.

The thought of being a vagabond raises another challenge. If the boat itself begins to take on the appearance of a childhood tree fort, being in disrepair or noticeable deferred maintenance, one could find they are not welcome at any marina or on their moorings. That may not be fair, but it is true.

Donna_F 11-21-2011 08:22 AM


Originally Posted by Minnewaska (Post 799167)
I hadn't seen the other posts that Donna had to conclude an affinity for a vagbond lifestyle.

business started this thread as well. He wants to sail to Hawaii.

businessonly805 11-21-2011 05:45 PM

all great input
great input you guys. Yes, I've been reading here and there. I was wondering if there was a way to learn online or by self study. Do you guys have any recommended books?

sawingknots 11-21-2011 05:55 PM

get yourself a latest issue of chapmans,if it ain't in there you don't need to know it

chuck53 11-21-2011 06:13 PM


Originally Posted by businessonly805 (Post 799346)
great input you guys. Yes, I've been reading here and there. I was wondering if there was a way to learn online or by self study. Do you guys have any recommended books?

There's a lot you can learn on your own, but I totally agree with Donna to take classes with either CG Aux or Power Squadron. Learning in a classroom is way better than self study. I've taken numerous classes over the years and all have been well worth the time and effort.

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