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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 06-03-2013
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Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

Good evening everyone! I'm new to the forums and relatively new to sailing. I did spend a summer out on Long Island learning to sail small daysailers no more than 12ft, but that was over a decade ago. Now I'm 24, finally out of college, and grounded enough to start pursuing my dreams again. That being said here's what I would like to do. I would like to live aboard a sailboat, preferably ~30ft as long as I can sail her myself. I'm thinking a sloop to keep things simple, and my main desire is to have the ability to take her out off the coast and sail up and down, from Virginia to the Caribbean and back again, and then some.

So, mainly a liveaboard but with coastal sailing capabilities, and an emphasis on comfort. I have no problem working towards my dream with steady determination, and plenty of planning (and saving).

So this is where you guys come in. I'm chasing an old dream without a whole lot of knowledge. I need to know things like maintenance costs, skills I should learn, what boat models you would recommend, equipment I should buy, monthly costs of living aboard, what your biggest challenges to overcome were, etc. etc. What did you wish you knew before you started living aboard and what would you recommend to the new guy on the dock? I appreciate all input and look forward to reading your responses. Thank you!

Also, if anyone is in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, let me know if you know of any good clubs or places I can take some advanced lessons in sailing!
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

?Where in Caribean. If eastern part passage is a significant one ina 30' boat. If Bahamas can use lesser craft. Multiple possibilities:
If Eastern Caribe- PSC 31 or 34 ( mine's for sale), Bristol Channel Cutter, Westsail, Baba 30, Shannon 28- these boats will take you safely anywhere in the world.
If coastal any solid 30'er will serve.
You need to stipulate- budget,number of crew, details of destination, level of creature comfort and performance desired etc. for folks here to give you more meaningful advice.
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

I'm not trying to spend over 50k on the boat itself. I need to be able to sail her myself, I've been known to simply take off without waiting for others. I don't like to be held back. Since my intended use is mainly as a liveaboard I'm not looking for something spartan. I enjoy a bit of luxury. Mostly I'd be coastal, but having the option to go Eastern Carib is very appealing.

Thank you!
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Old 06-03-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

Lot's of boat in the 50k and below range. choices change depending on age, full or fin keel, differences in draft and many other options.

Good luck in your search.
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Old 06-04-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

Having just purchased a "liveaboard" (for my lites!) I can offer this opinion....
For the 50K budget...look into the 20K range for purchase, allow half the remaining $$ (15K) for re-fitting and set up; then you have the balance to *really* get ready and have $$ to live on for a year, pay slip/dock fees for a year and provide over-wintering pull-out/slip in and storage if required.

There's lotsa great boats with yer desires in mind available at that price point. Figure your minimum comfort level, luxury-wise and calculate other appointments from there.

Best,
Paul
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

There is a huge amount of boats in that price range. Make sure this is what you want. I realize that this is your dream but a lot of people have the same dream then realize that they made a very expensive mistake. Please do not take this as me discouraging you. I love the liveaboard lifestyle but it just is not for everyone. I also would say that you need to tour any boat you can. Head down to your local marinas and chat people up and ask for a tour even if you know you cannot afford some of them. you will get to see different layouts so you will better know what you want. Shop around online and read as much as you can about the boats that peak your interest. Ask around on forums such as this one. When you go look at any boat make sure you can lie down in the cockpit and in the salon. Try to go as small as you can live with. Keep in mind that this is a simple kind of life when it comes to belongings. Try to buy stuff that is light, multi-use, and compact. Good luck and happy shopping.
Jared
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Old 06-05-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

I'm gonna toss my 2-cents into this, based upon my experiences during the past few years. First and foremost, get the biggest boat you can single-hand sail, which in my case was a 33 Morgan Out Island. This particular boat has been deemed by many live-aboards as first rate. Lots of beam, nearly 13 feet, lots of headroom, nearly 7 feet, relatively large galley, huge amount of storage space, built like a tank, but sails like a dream. It has a full keel, draws just under 4 feet, and contrary to popular belief, it's as fast as most boats in the same size and configuration category. I've had mine up to 10.1 MPH and was amazed how easily it handled in those conditions, winds of 30 MPH.

If you look around, particularly in your area and south, you'll find a few Morgan 33 O.I. sailboats for sale. Many are in great shape, some, however, are in horrible condition, so it pays to have them surveyed before purchasing. The boat is more than adequate for a couple to live aboard comfortably, and I know of at least two sailnet members that call them home. Mine is a 1973, powered with a Universal Atomic-4 gasoline engine, and I cannot say enough good things about the boat.

Good Luck,

Gary
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Old 06-06-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

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Originally Posted by sailortrash View Post
Make sure this is what you want. I realize that this is your dream but a lot of people have the same dream then realize that they made a very expensive mistake. Please do not take this as me discouraging you.
Jared
This is solid advice, and something that I'm glad people on here are willing to give. Realistically I guessed that following my desire for a liveaboard lifestyle would cost at least about $1000/mo for slip fees, loan, electricity, insurance, pump outs, maintenance and upgrades, and sure enough after running the numbers (depending on what marina I look at) the numbers ran up anywhere from 1065 at its cheapest to just under 1400 at the most expensive, and that was for a boat that didn't have all the features I wanted.

Luckily for me, I'll be getting a couple pay raises in the near future that will enable this lifestyle comfortably

Thank you everyone for the solid advice. I'll be taking some of that advice in the near future to visit the marina and scout out some boats.
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Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

I guess it's possible to "live the lifestyle" differently by different people. Just sending a bit of a mixed message, when you say you'd like to sail the carribean, but then talk about monthly fees over a thousand a month that hinge on getting a land-bound payraise.

There are basically 2 kinds of liveaboards to my knowldge, ones that stay at the dock, and simply live on a boat. And ones that travel around using their boat as a vessel while living on it.

The ones that stay at the dock typically have land-bound jobs, with only 2 weeks off a year or what not, sometimes simply getting a boat cause it's one of the cheapest living options much like an RV.

To get to the Caribbean from virginia is 850 nautical miles, even if you sail 24 hours a day, it'll take at least a week if going a reasonable 4 knots, realistically you're going to want to sleep, take in the scenery and maybe stop somewhere at times. It's true that the boat can sail while you're sleeping, though at least technically (though for blue-water single-handers often not realistically) there should be someone on watch at all times when you aren't at anchor.

Lin and Larry Pardey work about 6 months a year, and sail another 6 months, which is probably a good ideal balance to achieve. Getting a job or having skill that you can do or use just about anywhere is great, like an online freelancing, authorship, or boat repair/maintenance.

Another aspect is that being on a travelling sailboat isn't so much about luxury of the body, unless very cozy simple living is your version of bodily luxury, it's more about luxury of the soul and mind, having many different experiences, seeing beautiful scenery, interacting with new people.

Anyways point being frugal, simple, minimalist is the lifestyle of the travelling sailing live-aboard -- at least in my mind from what I gather.

I'm not yet a liveaboard but been working towards it for years. Got enough saved up for a boat already, but still acquiring some more skills. and good to have extra cash for necessary liveaboard equipment i.e. here in toronto, canada, an agitator, wood stove, hot water heater and other winterization equipment.

Around here a slip-fee for even a 37 footer is under $600 a month at the east end of town, electricity included. haul outs I don't expect more than twice a year, mostly for bottom maintenance that can't be done in the water. pump outs aren't necessary if you have a compost toilet. maintenance sure has some cost, and upgrades sometimes, but don't really need much when simple living.

Engines, roller-furlers and many recent sailing inventions are indeed "luxuries" so can be done without. The traveling sailors sometimes forgo an engine, in favour of having better sails, and no propeller drag, oars and anchors for those odd calms.

Lin and Larry did an anecdotal survey, found the people that been cruising around the world the longest actually have relatively small boats under 30 feet or just under.
Likely since they are easier to single-hand and have lower maintenance cost.

Also sure you're young and possibly debt free, perhaps it's best to keep it that way, if not best to make it that way, save up for an entry level boat under $10,000 perhaps, that way if you crash or break it, won't be too big a loss, and would be easier to sell.

Wouldn't want your dream hung-up due to lack of some promotions, nor due to working so much on land you don't have time or energy for the boat.

Skills are important, sailing a keelboat is much different from sailing a dinghy, while the actual sailing part has the same foundation and names, the details differ as there are many more components on a keelboat.

I've got my white sail III (for sailing dinghies), and keelboat crusiing standard (allows renting or co-oping sailboats). This year am crewing on race boats at a club, lets me see different boats, their setup, and learn about how they are sailed. Also lets me get used to the various procedures that are a standard part of sailing a boat, such as docking and undocking.

next year planning to take part in a co-op sailing program at the club, where can take out a club boat myself or with family, and at that point my wife and I can make a more final decision about whether we're going to be living a board or not -- I'm certainly hoping yes.

Otherwise I already have an income that lets me have pretty much all free time, though it's currently limited to this province, it's already a lot better than most of my friends that are tied down to the city with their jobs. Eventually hoping on getting some more mobile and world-wide though there is plenty to do and see in the great lakes for now.

Also you're in Virginia got the famous chesapeake bay there, which many on this forum are in, so lots to the there also, even if you are land bound with a job, at least you have weekends, maybe sometimes you will have enough energy to get out from the dock for a spin around the bay.

Last edited by elspru; 06-13-2013 at 12:30 AM.
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Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Interested in liveaboard vessels. Advice?

Whatever you choose, it must be quick and simple to rig to go sailing
otherwise you will just hang around the marina.

Stowage is important - if you are living aboard you will accumulate clutter and need to be able to get it out of the way quickly and secured so it does not go crashing around.

Easy handling under power, and not too much windage in the way of high topsides and other general clutter like excessively big solar arrays - so you can get in and out of your dock solo.

For one person a good 30 foot seaboat is a better proposition than a floating trailer home.
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