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Old 08-14-2008
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i figure why knot.

Hello everyone out there in cyberspace!

My name is Donna. I am a massage therapist working out of Virginia Beach, VA. My apartment lease is up early October and I had been searching high and low for a condo, apartment, townhouse. I previously lived in a studio and I loved the coziness of a small space. But now, I can't find a damn thing that I like that allows dogs.

So then about a week ago a client of mine, who was visiting from out of town, told me he stays on a trawler when he comes to Virginia Beach. He visits his mother who lives in a retirement community and he couldn't stand sleeping on her couch one more weekend so he bought a 45' trawler and it stays tied up in Portsmouth, VA. He loves it.

He got me thinking. So I started doing some research and quickly became overwhelmed by information. Trawlers, houseboats, powerboats, motorboats, sailboats, so many options! But the sailboats they are a-calling me! I like the smaller ones; less than 30ft. As long as it has an enclosed head, little galley, and a bed.

BUT...

I have a 6 month old English/American Bulldog mix and she's been hiking in the mountains, great with road trips, camps like a champ. But who knows how she'll do with boating. None of my friends or family sail so I don't know how to introduce her to boats ... guess I just take her down to the marina ... or maybe rent a little boat for a day of fishing and see how she does.

Another concern is that I will most likely be getting a used boat. And being so new to the boating world I'm worried that I won't know what to look for as far as the amount of work that needs to be done.

I have ALOT to learn in a SHORT amount of time.

So my question is:

Do you think it's do-able?

Start to finish? Learn to sail in 2 months?? Learn how to repair and maintain a sailboat? Obtain any necessary permits, licenses, decals (?) to operate a liveaboard sailboat?

and also:

if you can point me in any direction that I need to be looking in.

I'm going to talk to someone at the marina (less than a half mile from work) today. Wish me luck


I appreciate any advice and I'll spend the rest of the day reading the threads on here ... some of you guys are pretty crazy! I think I'll fit right in.

Donna Kopf
Certified Massage Therapist
Virginia Beach, VA
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Old 08-14-2008
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Yeah...it is quite doable if you can afford the time and the lessons. Maintenance is probably not that easy to learn but if you buy a boat with a good survey and get any survey issues taken care of immediately, you should e in good shape for living aboard as you learn. If you take a loan for the boat it will need to be surveyed and USCG documented. If you pay cash...you can simply register it with the state through DMV. You should ask about personal property tax as some parts of tidewater have it...and others do not on boats. Locally the Hampton Yacht club may be a good place to inquire about instruction and a good source for sailing buddies. Nothing special required for liveaboard permits...just a cooperative marina manager! Welcome aboard!
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Old 08-14-2008
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Donna,
You don't have to learn it all in six months, most of us spend a life time learning things we think we know.
What you need to know most is can you adapt to the 'life'; ask your friend if you and the dog can stay onboard during the week when he's gone.

Meanwhile, visit some boat brokers and see what's available in your area, search here and elsewhere for marina's that allow full time liveaboards as opposed to your friend staying weekends. Most have a long wait list for new owner/boats.
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Old 08-14-2008
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Donna,

Welcome to boating, just dive in and start learning. I would caution you that a 30' sailboat won't have much room, sort of like a four person tent. While one can live is that small a space, be sure that you want to...

Regardless of how small a space you can accept, we are all accustomed to certain creature comforts nowadays, such as running water, hot water, gas stoves, refrigeration and devices running off AC power. Now you can enjoy these comforts on a boat too, provided the boat has the necessary systems and you can connect to external power and water. Most of those necessary systems aren't common in 30' boats, you may need to go to a larger boat or look around a lot. You want: AC shore power, inverter/charger, cold plate/refrigeration, water heater, pressure water. And then there is the question of heat...I would suspect even in VA you will need heat in the winter, and you need a better solution than a space heater...maybe diesel or propane.

If you do, you will want to live in a slip, not on a mooring. you might check locally to see who permits liveaboards, and what they charge so you have a better understanding of how cheap or not living on a boat maybe.
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Old 08-14-2008
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Hi Donna, I'm a local here at Virginia Beach and your going to find most live aboard marinas are in Portsmouth and Hampton areas. They also have limited space available. Another option you might look at is being a boat sitter over the winter to see if you are going to like it before buying. Some with large boats will rent them over the winter to have someone on board. Although they are not easy to come by.

Also as Chuck said, you don't have to learn everything at once. You can find a boat, get a good survey and if acceptable buy it and move aboard. The learning curve can start from there.

Good luck
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Old 08-14-2008
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Donna,
Welcome to Sailnet. All good advice above and I can't add to it. We are not live aboards but sometimes it seems that way. Our English bulldog has adjusted quite well to the boat so scratch that off your list of concerns. Best of luck.
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Old 08-14-2008
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Thank you all for your input it is definitly appreciated
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I got this knot in my back!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 08-14-2008
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... and me, a achy shoulder

just kidding, welcome aboard Donna
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Old 08-24-2008
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Donna,

In 2003 I bought a 1974 27' O'Day and lived on it for 5 years, (it's for sale in Pensacola $4,500) in the last year of live-aboard I picked up a female yellow lab from the Humaine Society; we are still best of friends - she was 6 months old when I got her.

The only problems I had were leaving her alone on the boat, she became bored and chewed a few things including one of the planks in the companion way and all the wires to my PC... She was also a little nervous on boarding the boat - now she's willing to board almost anyones boat! She loved the boat and sailed with me a lot - it was "her boat". In fall 07 my soon-to-be wife and I bought a 48 ocean going cutter ketch - A Soverel 48 - we married in January 08 and I moved ashore while we prepare the new boat for circumnavigation.

When I bought the O'Day I had only sailed 2-3 times in my life and it had been a good 20 years since the last time. I had just finished a year long motorcycle trip from Key West to Anchorage to Washington DC to L.A on a 1979 Harley Davidson (some 34,000 miles in a years time www.bruce.milne.com) and I was not keen on returning to a normal life so I begain looking at all the different types of vessels - I bought the O'Day for $6,000. It has 6' of head room and she sails great! I'm in Florida so I needed A/C, I installed a 12,000 BTU window unit in the old engine compartment and routed the heat exhaust out a cockpit locker via 12" duct work.

I learned to sail by first walking marinas day after day and figuring out what each rope and object on the boat did - I had done this for several months prior to buying the O'Day. I went out and motored around for a couple of trips, then I raised the main - not much happened - so I raised the 150% Genoa- whooo-eee, we be sailing and I have been ever since. There was a lot of terminology I didn't understand and sailing books assumed I knew all the terms - I did not - so I bought sailing for dummies and went sailing, when I ran accross something I didn't understand I looked it up in Sailing for Dummies - quite easy to understand. After a while I looked into other books but Sailing for dummies answered all my questions quite well.

The first real maintenance I did was a bottom job in January 04, I would not drill a hole or do anything unless I was sure of what I was doing and took the time to do it right. For the past year my wife and I have been preparing our 48 Soverel for circumnavigation - we bought it from a charity and needed extensive hull work and an engine plus many other upgrades; it will be another 6 months before we're done - I have gone slow and I have made mistakes but we are gettin it done. Self taught is the best way to learn, this forum should be very helpfull in your journey.

I say - jump in, enjoy the boat and sail away; life is short and we can't take possessions with us... Maybe we can take our dreams and our memories with us and on the chance we can, I'm trying to make as many great memories as I can. I made the memories decision after a cancer scare in 1997, a thing like that will change your perspective on what you value and on how you lead your life.

Good luck - Bruce & Lisa

Buy your boat, keep your dog, welcome to the sailing life! Dogs are like humans in the way they acclimate to thier living conditions.

Last edited by BluewaterBruce; 08-24-2008 at 10:11 AM.
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