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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 08-02-2008
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LA Decisions...

I'm new to this site and have been reading many threads. I have the plan of selling my home and becoming a LA... My preference is Sail... I would like to keep the initial boat budget around 150K...

I would like honest feedback about three boats.. Nonsuch 33, Gemini 105mc and a Catalina 38... LA characteristics are most important to me.. I would be interested in other sail boats as well. I am attempting to balance livable space with cost to include annual costs.

The boats that have caught my eye have been used nonsuch's 30 - 33 feet.. Most owners say they have the interior space of a 38 foot sloop. The same is said about the Gemini 105mc...

I speant about two hours reading the catalina threads.. I was amazed how the one person went from a C36, to a C38 then a C42...

Catalina's have caught my eye because of the room that would make a nice LA... Thinking I would want to keep the boat at 38 feet... My thinking is getting over 40 feet will raise annual costs and also might be harder to find suitable slips?? Is that valid thinking??? I am not aware of other things that might be important considerations as a LA... Maybe Quality of plumbing systems, holding tanks, additional costs to actually keep a boat in the water ALL year long.

My priorities for a LA...
1. Large cockpit for lounging.
2. Ability to enclose the cockpit (my screen porch).
3. A roomy salon with storage (two adults living full time).
4. A boat suitable for colder climates.
5. A boat that I do not have to be a slave to constant fixing up.

I will be docking my boat around Everett, WA... 70% of time will be dock side. Plan to sail Pugent sound and some island hopping.

Which of the three boats would make a better LA with some island sailing? Hope this is not to vague- if so, sorry... Thanks Mike
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Old 08-02-2008
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I think you'd be happiest with the Gemini catamaran.

1) It has a very large cockpit and salon for louging. Unlike a monohull, the two are on the same level—not separated by a steep companionway.

2) The Gemini already has a cockpit enclosure system designed for it. I don't believe that is true of either the Nonsuch 33 or the Catalina 38.

3) The Gemini has the largest salon of the three boats. It has a lot more usable room than a Nonsuch 33 or Catalina 38 IMHO. Not many boats <40' LOA have three decent size double cabins, and a salon the size of the one in the Gemini. If you're living aboard, you can set it up the way one of my friends did, where one of the cabins was her office.

4) The Gemini can be fitted with heat and A/C fairly easily. Personally, I wouldn't consider Seattle or the Pacific Northwest a colder clime... since it is fairly temperate there, especially compared to say New England.

5) In terms of maintenance, the maintenance costs are often related to boat size, and go up as the length goes up. They also, often, go up with older boats, and the Nonsuch will probably be of an age were replacing the standing rigging or other major systems may soon be necessary. You can find both the Catalina and the Gemini in more recent vintages that will not be at that point.

With your budget, you could even possibly go with a new Gemini, which isn't the case with either of the other boats. A 38' Catalina would be more than that IIRC, and the Nonsuchs are no longer made.

Most marinas don't charge extra for a Gemini, since it has a relatively narrow beam for a catamaran, and can fit in a larger slip without much trouble.

We have several members, including ChucklesR, that own Gemini catamarans, that you will probably hear from shortly.

One thing to consider for living aboard purposes, is that a catamaran won't have rolling or heeling issues, and makes for a much more comfortable living space as such.

In terms of full disclosure, I am a multihull owner, and my boat is made by the same manufacturer that makes the Gemini catamaran. I've had very good customer support from them, and one of the reasons I chose to go with them for my boat was talking to some of the boat owners at several boat shows. They seemed to be one of the only vendors that actually had boat owners present at their booth willing to talk openly about both the good and bad experiences they've had.

The Gemini catamarans, like the Telstar trimaran I own, are built to a specific price point and market niche, and as such will not have the massive amounts of teak that you see on some other boats or the finest cabinetry—but they do give you a lot of boat for the money.
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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
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Old 08-02-2008
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Thanks SD

Thanks SD... I appreciate your input. I have been coming to that conclusion regarding the enclosure. I have visited nonsuch owner sites and was really impressed with some of the enclosures some owners have made. Plus I really thought that Cocpit was also very large in size as well. I also like the seperate shower stall and head in the nonsuch. You seem to be confirming my belief that space on a Gemini would be superior for a LA..

As far as the nonsuch being older and out of production... I factored in the lower cost and having the extra money to refit the boat. Plus I have found that a canadian company is now making the nonsuch. New they are over 200K
and I am not sure if that is US or Canadian Dollars...

As far as the Gemini not having much teak... Thats OK with me. I do love the beauty of the wood while also enjoy the lower up keep.

Thanks for confirming my thoughts about the Catalina. I am thinking for equal space the boat starts getting in the 40 foot plus range.. I would like to keep the cost down. I read a thread on here (buying a boat).. The author states that the expense difference between a 30 foot boat verses a 40 foot boat can be twice the cost. He did not go into a detailed cost analysis...

Some concerns I have after reading about the Gemini would be..

1. The boats are built as is (to keep the cost down). I am not sure if the systems need additional upgrades to make them a good LA.. I am talking about electrical, plumbing and holding tanks.. Probably some other things that I am over looking since I am entering the LA life style.

2. The only reason these would be a concern for me is b/c I am not sure (my ignorance) if to make any modifications would require ripping the boat apart. That could be a real expense.. This would also cause me to consider if the boat systems are accessable for minor repairs. *** I am NOT saying they are not... I do not know.....***

3. B/C of the above, I would like to obtain knowledge so I would know what to look for in a used Gemini as well as what would be needed with a new purchase.

4. I crew on a '04 Hunter 33 and spend some weekend / week trips. That boat would be to small as a LA for me. Plus repairs (access) kind of worries me the way things are put together. (PLS ... I am not boat bashing) I am just expressing concerns. My thinking is that a LA will need a greater amount of repairs by virtue of greater usage... If my thinking is wrong by all means I stand corrected.

****SD**** I guess cold is relative to the person, lol.... Thinking New England and perhaps the great lakes makes the PNW look like Hawaii- lol... It is still not warm by my liking, lol.... Then I sailed San Diego and loved that climate years ago... In fact wife and job permitting, I would love to relocate later to South Bay SD, CA.... Thinking Chula Vista Marina... In the mean time HEAT is Vital for me...lol

Thanks for the input SD.....
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While reluctant to agree with dog about anything, he is correct that Pontoon Boats, or catamarans as some like to call them, excell at providing a stable platform for a floating home. The houseplants keep tipping over in a mono hull.
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Old 08-04-2008
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Thanks

Thanks for the info... I probably should have read more of the threads before placing this one. It was my first... After reading so many threads I can see where there are so many "honest" and probably biased views. I did spend a great deal of time reading about boat selection and especially regarding a pilot house. This thread was created to obtain the views of others regarding a LA.. Under the buying a boat threads I discovered many answers... I did post a thread regading one boat I mentioned in this one. It is located in the buying a boat thread. It is regarding the Gulf 32 PH new version....

Greetings All, After much reading about pilot house sailing boats, I recall the old Gulf 32PH.. I did learn that Capital Yatchs sold the desighn to a company located in CT... Gulf Pilothouse Sailboats LLC ... The new versions were suppose to be in production by '06 and also displayed at some boat shows. I am unable to actually review the new version from my online research. I am curious if anyone has actually seen any on the market? Like wise I would think there may even be some newer versions being sold used. Unable to locate any with my search.. Can anyone locate some of the newer versions? After reading the numerous threads about sailing in colder climates and the advantages of a heavy sailing PH boat, one post did lead me back to the gemini105MC- commenting that you have the best best of both worlds (open cockpit as well as protection from weather. I just wanted to look more into the newer version of a gulf 32 ph.... Thanks Everyone... Mike
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Old 08-04-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serenity4u2 View Post
Thanks SD... I appreciate your input. I have been coming to that conclusion regarding the enclosure. I have visited nonsuch owner sites and was really impressed with some of the enclosures some owners have made. Plus I really thought that Cocpit was also very large in size as well. I also like the seperate shower stall and head in the nonsuch. You seem to be confirming my belief that space on a Gemini would be superior for a LA..

As far as the nonsuch being older and out of production... I factored in the lower cost and having the extra money to refit the boat. Plus I have found that a canadian company is now making the nonsuch. New they are over 200K and I am not sure if that is US or Canadian Dollars...

As far as the Gemini not having much teak... Thats OK with me. I do love the beauty of the wood while also enjoy the lower up keep.
Glad to help... I prefer sailing to varnishing.

Quote:
Thanks for confirming my thoughts about the Catalina. I am thinking for equal space the boat starts getting in the 40 foot plus range.. I would like to keep the cost down. I read a thread on here (buying a boat).. The author states that the expense difference between a 30 foot boat verses a 40 foot boat can be twice the cost. He did not go into a detailed cost analysis...
That is a rough rule of thumb and pretty accurate from what I've seen.

Quote:
Some concerns I have after reading about the Gemini would be..

1. The boats are built as is (to keep the cost down). I am not sure if the systems need additional upgrades to make them a good LA.. I am talking about electrical, plumbing and holding tanks.. Probably some other things that I am over looking since I am entering the LA life style.
They come with a fairly decent setup as far as the plumbing and holding tanks are concerned. The electrical generally has to be upgraded a bit to really make it livable for long-term cruising or liveaboard use. If you go with a new Gemini, I would highly recommend you NOT USE Peter Kennedy or his company.

Quote:
2. The only reason these would be a concern for me is b/c I am not sure (my ignorance) if to make any modifications would require ripping the boat apart. That could be a real expense.. This would also cause me to consider if the boat systems are accessable for minor repairs. *** I am NOT saying they are not... I do not know.....***
You'd have to ask one of the Gemini owners on this site about how accessible the systems are. IMHO, PCI doesn't make them as accessible as some or as inaccessible as others.

Quote:
3. B/C of the above, I would like to obtain knowledge so I would know what to look for in a used Gemini as well as what would be needed with a new purchase.
A good starting off point would be Don Casey's This Old Boat, since it has a pretty good section on inspecting older fiberglass boats.

Quote:
4. I crew on a '04 Hunter 33 and spend some weekend / week trips. That boat would be to small as a LA for me. Plus repairs (access) kind of worries me the way things are put together. (PLS ... I am not boat bashing) I am just expressing concerns. My thinking is that a LA will need a greater amount of repairs by virtue of greater usage... If my thinking is wrong by all means I stand corrected.
Actually, I disagree. In some ways a liveaboard can have less major repairs, since systems will be used and regularly inspected and maintained.

Quote:
****SD**** I guess cold is relative to the person, lol.... Thinking New England and perhaps the great lakes makes the PNW look like Hawaii- lol... It is still not warm by my liking, lol.... Then I sailed San Diego and loved that climate years ago... In fact wife and job permitting, I would love to relocate later to South Bay SD, CA.... Thinking Chula Vista Marina... In the mean time HEAT is Vital for me...lol

Thanks for the input SD.....
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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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Old 08-05-2008
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Thanks SD

Thanks for the input SD... First I am new to this site and do not know how to copy what you said and reply directly as you did with my post... As far as you last comment, OK you are right that a LA may have less repairs due to frewuent up keep... I was basically stating that a boat thats lived on will be used to a greater degree then one that is used on weekends.. Greater use = Greater wear and tear!!! Yes, keeping up with scheduled maintenance will keep major repairs down... That goes with out saying......

OK SD, You state that the Gemini builds a boat that makes repairs less accesable then others and not as much as others... That is a broad statement my friend. Could you please clarify!!! I would like to know what is not so accessable, which means to me- increased difficulty to maintain and also greater cost when I have to have some one tear the Gemini apart.

SD, thanks for the plumbing input.... I have heard that said on other threeads as I have been reading... I hear many state that the Gemini needs much electrical upgrad for LA and cruising... The Gemini owners (I spoke with the wife) says that Peter Kennedy does much of there upgrades to factory built boats and the two can work together... Why do you not recommend this person??? Who do you recommend??? This also assumes I purchase a boat new from the factory.. Obviously if bought used on the west coats I would find someone else- Location would dictate such... Additionally that Peter person lists numerous upgrades he can do but does not make many suggestions as what HE thinks would would be needed to make the Gemini a LA and suitable for cruising... What would you recommend SD???

As far as the other two boats mentioned Catalina and New Gulf 32... Both are off my list... This comes after reading many threads about LA and cruising PNW... Catalinas are nice and roomy but will not offer the space of a Gemini, while the Gemini makes for cruising out of the elements (kind of like a pilot house) read that thread as well...

PS... I have no real experience with sailing the Gemini or any multi hull for that matter... My understanding is they sail well even in rough water b/c they sail above the water not in the water... Yes, I am aware that weight effects sailing ability... Plus I wouold take a multi hull sailing class in this area to gain a better understanding of thier sailing characteristics... Remember the primary focus is space as a LA and also on quality of boat and access to main systems for routine inspections and also repairs...

Thanks SD....
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Old 08-05-2008
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I stumbled aboard a charter Gemini last week in the San Juans. I was curious about them, and liked what I saw.

San Juan Sailing in Bellingham has a couple of them. I think it would absolutely be a good idea for you to charter one, perhaps in October, when the weather is likely to be less than optimal, and see what you think.

David

P.S. I think you should edit your title to say "Liveaboard" instead of "LA" which might be misinterpreted as Los Angeles. You will likely get more feedback, as is evidenced by the fact that Chuckles hasn't put in his two cents about the Gemini yet...
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Thanks David

Thanks David....

Yes, I agree about abreviations and accronyms.. LA to me would be Los Anglelos.... Yet, on this forum most people use those abreviations and LA is for Live aboards... IMHO... there another one lol... BTW by the way, I have no idea what BTH stands for David... I just read it and say OK...lol....

Glad you liked the Gemini's... Thats encouraging... There are six that I know of being used as charter vessels in the WA state area... A few more as LA...Live Aboards.... People I talked with seemed to like them.. I have never sailed one nor lived aboard so am unable to speak... One person on this site actually signs His/Her name with three YouTube Links.. One link is a person sailing the san juan and gulf islands on a Gemini... I talked with the couple who chartered that boat and they liked it. They also have chartered other Gemini's... Thinking that boat has both LA quality's as well as a pilot house feeling for sailors in the PNW....

Thanks David....
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Old 08-05-2008
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Serenity... click on the link in my post... it's the underlined text that has NOT USE at the beginning... That pretty much says it all. There's also another page you might want to read located here.
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Telstar 28
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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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Last edited by sailingdog; 08-05-2008 at 08:28 PM.
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