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Snowwolf 05-09-2007 09:40 PM

Wife wants to live on a sailboat again....
I am new to these forums, and want to say hello to everyone.
My Wife had lived on a boat when she was younger about 10 + years ago and she loved it. She lived on it with an Ex-boyfriend for about 5 years. Well anyway's she moved back to land met me and we are now married for 1 year last month. This is my Wifes dream to live on a boat and go day and weekend sailing. Well me on the other hand, I have never been around boats or even docks that much. When she told me she lived on a boat I did not know you could even do that at first :D Anyway's she kept talking about it, so about 3 years ago we took sailing classes in Charleston SC Basic Keelboat 1 and Basic Cruising. I really enjoyed it and had alot of fun and learned alot also. We looked into buying a boat but we got caught up in life and we did not even go sailing or charter a boat. So jumping to the present we have some money saved up and we are talking about it again. To me living on a boat would seem fun and a real challange but I have done research by reading books, getting magazines ect... and it is a huge lifestyle change? My wife would go out and buy one now if I gave the okay, but I want to know exactly what I am getting myself into first before I just go out and buy one. I am ready to make a change and give it a try, I have read what people have said and most agree that is it great. I want to let my Wife live out her dream so I will do what I can to make it happen but I must be informed first. Now my Wife has told me about it and it was many years ago since she did live on a boat but I am looking for other peoples insight on this subject.
Does anyone know of some really good books I can read that might give me more insight on living on a boat?
So far I am reading Modern Cruising under sail by Don Dobbs this is a very good book so far but it is more for cruising.
I also have The Voyager's Handbook Second Edition, by Beth A. Leonard (have not read it yet looks like a good book though)
Also do you guy's think living on a boat cheaper? Has anyone moved from Land to a boat and did save money due to this move?
How much work goes into taking care of a boat when you live on it?
Does anyone know where you can liveaboard a boat in Myrtle Beach SC and what would the docking fees be? Also are insurance and taxes high?
Some of the boats that we have been looking at don't have AC, can you add AC to a boat after you buy it or is it a hugh undertaking?
Well these are just some questions I have now, I am sure I will have lots more..... Thank you for your help.

sailingdog 05-09-2007 09:57 PM

Living aboard and cruising long-term are very different things IMHO.

Whether it is cheaper to liveaboard really depends on where you are located and what boat you are living aboard.

A/C can be added to a boat after the fact. However, if you're living aboard, you can often add AC powered A/C, which is not generally an option for the long-term cruising boat, which won't have access to shore power usually.

There are books out on living aboard, and there is also a magazine for Living Aboard. I'd recommend Tom Neale's book. Charlie Wing's book is pretty good too.

Valiente 05-10-2007 03:34 AM

I would agree that living aboard in a marina and essentially having a floating apartment is very different from passagemaking. It certainly would affect what kind of boat you would decide to purchase, because the kind of boat I would personally get for living aboard in a sheltered marina and going out for fair-weather daysails or 100 mile weekenders in coastal or sheltered waters is about the exact opposite of what I have in fact just bought for extended cruising.

The Voyager's Handbook is excellent: so is Changing Courses by Donna Cantrell and Book Template by Annie Hill.

But "living on a boat" and "sailing around while living on a boat" are really two different, if intersecting, lifestyles. The first one is mostly about creature comforts and the second is more about focusing on the boat as a means of getting safely from place to place with a modicum of independence from shore. This means (generally) fewer appliances and more equipment to power those that remain. If you have 60 or even 30 amps at your disposal at a dock on an "as-needed" basis, you don't need the same gear as someone on a mooring, for instance.

You can also get away with coastal class cruisers like Catalinas, Beneteaus, and even Hunters. A Nonsuch 33 is a shortish boat with vast areas of volume down below, thanks to the rarely seen cat rig. They make admirable liveaboards and decent coastal cruisers, if you don't mind not pointing so high.

Certainly a catamaran would make an excellent choice here, as they have bags of brightly lit space...but you'll want a mooring (cats don't fit a lot of docking situations) and you'll need a way to make power for the boat on that mooring.

But if you want to start as a dock-bound liveaboard and eventually move into a full-blown cruiser lifestyle, even just to the Caribbean, that will take a rather different boat. Beth Leonard's book is a good introduction to the costs and compromises aspects of this sort of life.

Discuss it with your wife. She, relatively unusually, is the driving force here, both in sailing experience and in having already a taste for living aboard. In my experience, this is fairly rare, and if you find that you can live in a 35 x 12 foot space (which is not hard in South Carolina due to the 11 months a year of pleasant to hot weather, and the one month of what we more northerly types call "launch weather"), then you should do well. It might involve buying one boat for a few years, and then buying a quite different one later if you decide to sail away on extended cruising.

sailingdog 05-10-2007 04:00 AM

I think Valiente meant "Changing Course", by Debra Ann Cantrell.

Beth Leonard's "The Voyager's Handbook" just came out in a new edition about a month ago BTW. The third book he mentioned is probably Annie Hill's classic book, "Voyaging on a Small Income".

The Nonsuch was actually mentioned in this month's "Living Aboard" magazine btw.

Valiente's description of the amount of space a boat has is a bit generous... a 40' boat might have 30' x 10' of usable interior space... a 33' Nonsuch would have maybe 25' x 9' of usable space. Most studio apartments are far larger IMHO. ;)

Otherwise, I would agree that there are considerable differences between cruising and just living aboard. Cruising, is a lifestyle that involves living on a boat and using it as a mode of transportation.... Living aboard doesn't necessarily involve any sailing or movement...but is often a way to live in an otherwise unaffordable area at a reasonable cost.

Also, a full-time liveaboard with a land-based career will often require more room than a cruiser will, since you will often need to have a wardrobe to go with the land-based career. Suits and such don't do well in the confines of most cruising boats.

A small catamaran, like the Heavenly Twins 26, Gemini 105Mc or Catalac 8m might be a good compromise. Many of the smaller cats will fit in a larger slip.

PBzeer 05-10-2007 05:34 AM

Since it would seem, you're talking more about living on a boat at a marina while still working, there are some factors you need to consider.

First of all, spending most of your time tied up to a dock, it becomes quite easy for the "conveinences" of home to over run things, making it a chore to cast off for the occasional sail. "Things at rest, tend to stay at rest".

Second, as mentioned in a post above, the type of boat can be much different, if it isn't meant to go out much.

Third, is location. Slip fees and liveaboard fees vary across the country, as well as their availability. Definitely something to look into, before buying a boat.

Fourth would be mechanical skills. Boats need maintainence and paying to have it done can be, and almost always is, expensive.

You need to have realistic expectations of what you'll do, and how much you can do without. There isn't the room for every gadget they try to sell, nor lots of "things" that aren't part of living on the boat. In this sense, it definitely is a lifestyle change, but one that can be rewarding, if approached with the right attitude.

I've met quite a few people who live on boats at marinas, and most wouldnt trade it for living on land.

Another online resource you can check is the Living Aboard Magizine website

Good luck with your quest.

Jotun 05-10-2007 07:14 AM

Maybe another option would be to buy a smaller boat to do some weekends and day sails on, keep your house on land, and then decide if you really want to move on to a boat.

Sailormann 05-10-2007 08:08 AM

I think it would be a really good idea to go on a charter first, for as long as you can get away. Live on a boat for two weeks and you'll get a much better idea of whether or not you could do it full-time.

TrueBlue 05-10-2007 08:46 AM

In a way, I'm somewhat envious of Snow's situation. A wife who is pushing the husband to become a liveaboard is a rare reverse juxtaposition of roles. We have a comfortable cruising boat, suitable for seasonal living aboard, as well as a paid-for house. If we decided to move south and live aboard full-time, I feel that selling the house and trading up to a larger boat would be necessary.

My wife does love being on the water and we do live onboard our boat most days and nights during the summer season. However, regardless of my incessant attempts to glorify this lifestyle change on a semi-permanent basis, these discussions are usually abrupted by the realization that this entails an extreme reduction all our home's space, possessions and gardens to the relatively microscopic proportions of a boat.

We've been married for over 30 years. In spite of this difference of opinion, we truely do love one another. This concept just isn't feasible in her world, so I respect that and am happy with our current situation.

You need to first come to grips with the idea of minimizing possesions and space in your life. Then face the reality of sharing such confining spaces with a woman you've only known for a very small part of your existance.

Snowwolf 05-10-2007 10:19 AM

You guy's have been very helpful. Sailingdog the Beth Leonard's "The Voyager's Handbook I have is the second edition is this the new book that she came out with last month? My Wife has mentioned about a Cat but arent they alot more expensive than a regular Sailboat and our budget is going to run around 50,000 t0 80,000 depending on the type of loan we can get ect.. So in this price range could you get a decent boat, we would like to stick to the $50,000 range. Also are the Cats not good blue water sailing boats? The problem we have is here in Myrtle Beach we don't have many places to actually sail except in the ocean. We just have the waterway but you have to motor on that. Our goal is to eventually move to Wilmington NC or Charleston SC. Some of you guy's live on boats up North, and I was afraid it would be freezing here in SC during the winter to even live on a boat. I don't see how some of you guy's pull that off LOL. Do you think the DIY magazine is a good one to get? I am very interested on learning how to work on a boat also. Our main goal is going to be my wife is going to work, and I would work part time, then work on the boat, learn all about it. She said living on a boat is a lot of maintenance and work. Do you guy's find this true? The other thing that might kill this whole thing is if we have a baby. We want a baby within the next year or so but is it an extreme safety hazard to have babies on a boat, and could you possible do it? My wife said she met people when she lived on a boat where there were kids that were raised on boats. We are both in our early 30's.

eherlihy 05-10-2007 11:30 AM

Others living on a boat.
Check out this blog from a guy in the Toronto area that lives on his boat year round. Dig through the arcives which are quite extensive, and very entertaining, on his trials and tribulations about living on an Alberg with his wife, "A." and "the boy." If he can do it in Canada, you can do it in your area.

There have not been any updates in a little over a month. I figure he's either off sailing in the lake:) , or the boat sunk:( .


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