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  #11  
Old 01-19-2010
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I think the first step since you already have been a passenger on the ocean. Would be to take those lessons of sailing, and living on the boat. Hopefully somewhere warm.

If that goes well then it's time to look for a boat. In the mean time READ, READ, READ, and ask questions. No one can tell you what boat to buy, so you will need to do research, research, research.

Let's assume the lesson went well, and you are still motivated to live aboard. Upon returning I would take more lessons, or rent small daysailors to practice your new knowledge, because I know you have been reading this whole time with no rest from gathering knowledge. Now that you have been stuffing those empty pidgeon holes in your brain that young people seem to posess. You can start throwing some of that new knowledge in the trash, and retain some of it.

All this time you have been walking docks, yards, and looking through boats for sale where ever you can. All so you can find what is pleasing to your eye, and within your budget. You may find that you have enough cash, or close to enough to barter a outright purchase of a boat. Having a title means a lot. It means you can start saving for your next boat, because if living aboard is for you. You will eventually want more boat, and owning the first one will allow you to save money for it.

After a couple of years of living on the boat. Making new friends who sail, and have boats. Honing your skills on your very own boat, and possibly others. Still reading, and gathering knowledge. Still keeping your eyes open for that look that really turns your head. Understanding what sails well for the purpose of what you want in a boat.

Do you want to cruise oceans, and explore other peoples? Do you want to race her on Friday night around the cans? Do want a wee bit of both? This knowledge does not come over night, and no one can stuff it in your brain overnight. You can listen to advice, and dismiss what you want to. If you are lucky you will find a mentor. Someone who has been there, and done that. Someone who is willing to share the knowledge that took them decades to learn. A mentor is a great shortcut to seek out what you wish to learn.

Stay away from the slick magazines with the pretty pictures. Go to second hand bookstores where the books are worn, and well read. Gather knowledge from those who aren't out to sell you something, but are sharing their experiences. Read the forums, and soak it up.

You can have a catamaran if you want. Most likely you just can't have it right now. Sailing is like anything else in life. You have to crawl before you can walk, and then you can learn to run. If you really want something then you have to stay focused. BEST WISHES in it working out for you. It's not hard it's just a step at a time. ........i2f
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2010
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Living in Boston you have access to some of the greatest maritime heritage in the US. A short drive north you can be in Essex, Salem, Marblehead and Gloucester. See if anyone is looking for crew or volunteers to maintain thier boats on weekends.

I suggest that you delay your plans for one year and learn how to sail. You will olny be 26 with plenty of time to have fun before settling down. You will also give yourself time to see if you really get that raise in a year. With the economy in this state, many industries are not giving thier employees raises. If they are they are very small. Take a less expensive sailing course to learn the basics, then look for clubs in the area. I don't know if there is something like sail share in Boston right now, but you basically pay a monthly fee to join a club. When you are checked out in the boats you can schedule time to use them. This way you get some bib boat experience without purchasing one outright. I know of some clubs in my area that let you trade maintenance for a reduced fee.

From experience I can tell you it is better to wait a year or two until you are more financially stable. I spent my college years and the years right after flying small planes. I had a blast, but I had to give it up when it came time to get married and have a family. Now that I make enough money to afford that activity, I have to put it off because I spent most of my later 20's paying off the debt. Had I waited a few years I would have had more money saved up, spent less on interest payments and could easily afford to fly now.

If you take a year to get started and you find you don't like sailing you will have not "lost" much money, you will have a year's worth of sailing experiences, adventures and stories and you will not need to get rid of a boat in a down economy. If you find you like it, you will have a years worth of sailing experience, you will know what you like and do not like about different boat designs, you will have a knowledge base that can save you substantial money in your first purchase, you will know what is available to you in your area, and you will have a group of sailing freinds to help you with your first purchase.

So, take your time. It is only one year and you will still be young enough to enjoy it.
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Last edited by nickmerc; 08-18-2011 at 05:53 AM.
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2010
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Please do not buy a $40,000 boat as your first boat.
600/mo for dockage might be normal in Boston, but not the rest of the world.
Do you know what a bottom job costs on a 40' boat?
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2010
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There are places in Boston that offer sailing instruction, and some have winter programs in the Caribbean, like the Boston Sailing Center. BTW, IIRC, taking sailing instruction, at least the more advanced courses, at the Boston Sailing Center gets you a season membership and lets you use their fleet of boats, including some cruising sized boats.

If you'd like to crew, there are quite a few of us in the Massachusetts area, and the next sailing season starts in April/May.

Get some good books to help:

Beth Leonard's The Voyager's Handbook,
Chapman's,
Hubbard's Boater's Bowditch,
Seidman's The Complete Sailor,

These books cover cruising, rules and practices, navigation and basic sailing history, theory and instruction respectively...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeador View Post
I'm sure this is a question that has been asked before, and I apologize, but my searching of the site didn't turn up anything that directly addressed my question -- I was surprised it wasn't a sticky!

I've had a dream of living aboard a boat for some time now, and I think I finally need to figure out if this is something I should try to do. I have never been on a sail boat before. My entire ocean boating experience consists of two outings, both where I was a passenger on a chartered boat. I think in order to move forward, I need to learn to sail (and learn what to do and not to do on the ocean, such as safety, licenses, regulations...), and spend some time on a boat the size I'm probably going to buy, which is 30-40'. Are there classes that would be a one-stop-shop for these goals? I especially think I need to spend a few nights on a boat so I know if I can handle the constant motion.

A family friend recommended to me either a Coast Guard class or another class (I think it was Power Squadron). The offerings from either of these I've found listed on the Internet don't seem to be what I need, but maybe I just don't know what I need.

I live near Boston, MA, and if I were to buy a boat, I'd be docking in this area. I imagine I can't take any lessons here in the winter, so I'll probably have to go south to find lessons. The lease on my apartment runs out at the end of August, so I'd like to decide if being a liveaboard is what I want to do and if it is, buy a boat by then. I realize I can't be a proficient sailor by then, but I figure I can at least learn enough to be able to motor around.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #15  
Old 01-19-2010
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puddinlegs, imagine2frolic: I like the sound of what you have to say! That essentially validates what I've already been thinking.

nickmerc, if I put it off this summer (late August, really), then I wont be able to do it until a year later. That's about a year and a half from now. I don't want to wait that long if I can avoid it. At the very least, I need to get some lessons this winter. And I'm not worried about the economy... my company is in a sector that's doing very well (one of our products helps companies figure out who to lay off!).

zz4gta, are you telling me not to buy a $40k boat because it is too expensive or not expensive enough (e.g. would require me to do tons of work)? I realize $600/mo for marina fees is expensive, but considering this is where I live I don't see any way to change it (unless I can find a cheaper local marina, which I probably can, but who knows what I'll be sacrificing). Lastly, I was under the impression a 40' boat bottom job would be about $1500... way off the mark? And that's every 2 years, right? Or maybe I'm confusing what the term "bottom job" means. I will probably get something closer to 35 or 36' anyways. I was wrong earlier, the $600/mo marina fee is for a 35' boat. I think a 30' boat would be closer to $500/mo.

Sailingdog, per your suggestion I looked into the Boston Sailing Center. They don't offer a beginner Caribbean course, and also their course is only 6 days. I think that leaves me with the Maryland school as my first choice. I haven't been able to get in touch with them yet.

Thanks everyone
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2010
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Taking a Macro course package from them would give you access to a fleet of sailboats locally. Granted, you wouldn't start lessons until April or May, but you'd have a chance to get a fair bit of sailing in during the spring and summer, and a very solid foundation of sailing knowledge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeador View Post
...Sailingdog, per your suggestion I looked into the Boston Sailing Center. They don't offer a beginner Caribbean course, and also their course is only 6 days. I think that leaves me with the Maryland school as my first choice. I haven't been able to get in touch with them yet.

Thanks everyone
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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 01-19-2010 at 08:05 PM.
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  #17  
Old 01-19-2010
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What ZZ was getting at, is that the bigger the boat the more cost of ownership. Mine is a 31 footer and the cost have been more than I ever imagined. I wish you luck and enjoyment, But most of us do not sail the world and having a huge blue water boat on the Chesapeake bay looks great, but really is not needed. Until you get some time sailing and on other boats you really dont know what you need. But then most of us pay our money and take our chances and live with what we have. I threw so much money away on my first dream boat, I figured how hard could it be, WOW what a learning curve. Keep reading and ask questions. You can do this, but take your time. Smooth sailing
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  #18  
Old 01-19-2010
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rmeador- Press on with a live aboard sailing school. It should give you enough training to move your future boat about. It should also give you a taste of living on a boat. This formal training won’t be wasted as it will be the foundation for whatever you do in the future. There are other schools that will provide the same training/experience but they are normally found in northern ports and that doesn’t help your cause right now. My wife and I did a week long live aboard ASA school (101/103/104) in the San Juan Islands for much less than you will pay. Waste managements was one of the lessons we came away with. It didn’t take long for five people to fill a holding tank.

I think that a number of us are concerned about your goal of owning a boat and making it your home by this August. I would be more comfortable if you had some real, hard numbers concerning the real cost of owning a 35 foot boat in your area and having it in a slip as your year round home. Does your slip fee include 30 or 50 amp electrical service? Is a fresh water hookup included all year? How will your human waste be removed from the boat? (How often and at what cost?) How often do live aboard owners in your area haul the boat and clean/paint the bottom? What is the cost to do this and what is typical time your home is not going to be available to you while it’s on the hard?

I would feel better is you knew what it was going to cost you to finance and insure your floating home. The cost to finance a boat is much higher than a building (ie: interest rate). A home/condo stays put vs. a boat which can be sailed away. Insurance can be a rude surprise.

I think you may underestimate your total cost to live aboard your own boat in the Boston area if you rush the process. And don’t forget that car you’re still making payments on. Where will you park that car in the future and what will that cost be?

Press on but don’t underestimate benefits of doing your home work and saving your cash for an additional year.
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Last edited by MSN2Travelers; 01-20-2010 at 11:25 AM.
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  #19  
Old 01-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmeador View Post

zz4gta, are you telling me not to buy a $40k boat because it is too expensive or not expensive enough (e.g. would require me to do tons of work)?
A boat that costs 40k is a lot of boat to take care of with a lot of systems. Not even addressing the liveaboard issue, buying a boat that big w/o know the yearly costs isn't a good idea.

Quote:
(unless I can find a cheaper local marina, which I probably can, but who knows what I'll be sacrificing).
Definitely shop around, location means everything in realestate, but for a boat, it means nothing. I've seen differences of $100/mo just by going on the other side of a river 1/4 mile wide.

Quote:
Lastly, I was under the impression a 40' boat bottom job would be about $1500... way off the mark? And that's every 2 years, right?
For the bottom labor and paint, yes, it's about 1500 in the cheapest place around here. Of course something tells me in Boston (where a slip is 600) that the labor and materials could be twice that or more. An example, a 36' boat around southern MD is about 200/mo for a slip. Your boston rates are 3 times that. So don't be surprised when that expensive marina charges double the above.

The reason I replied to this is b/c I'm 28 years old, own a condo, and a 25' boat (on the cheap). I bought my condo and boat in 2007, so I was also 25 years old. If I had to do it again, there's no way I'd move onto a boat, and probably would not have bought a boat so soon. Boats will take up more money than you can ever plan for. You're doing great on saving money, much better than I ever could, but find the cheapest apartment you can, save up some more, and in this economy (cheap housing) you should be looking for a forclosed property to INVEST in. Not a boat that will depreciate. If you want to sail, ask around and get some free rides, see if you like it first.

Sorry for the long post.
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  #20  
Old 01-20-2010
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zz4gta, I realize a boat is a poor investment. In the past year and a half, I have looked at buying apartment buildings in several cities, single-family homes, and condos. I decided they were terrible investments in any location I actually wanted to live. I'm convinced that the real estate market is far from reaching the bottom. One of the things that initially attracted me to boats is that I thought I could do it for about the same cost as renting, but actually have something I own and live on the waterfront. And, of course, I'd have a boat, which is a major goal of mine. It seemed win-win.

I was unaware that $40k was considered a lot for a boat. I thought that was the low end. You really think I can find a boat that is in decent condition and large enough to live aboard for less than that? I was thinking I'd need at least 35' to have enough space to not feel cramped, but I've never been on a sailboat of any size, so maybe once I go to the boat show next month I'll discover I don't need so much.

To answer other questions, I've looked at some other local marinas, found one that is cheaper by about 10%. Many local ones don't post prices, so I don't know. Consititution Marina at least seems to offer water year-round (indicated by a line in the rules requiring heat tape on the water lines in the winter... why would they require that if they didn't offer winter water?). The two local ones with prices listed both include 30 amp service, which I think would be sufficient considering my last apartment only had a single 15A breaker for the entire place, and 3 of us lived there only tripping it occasionally. Maintenance and waste removal are the only two big unknowns, and could be the deal breakers, but I still feel like I can pull this off...
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