Run this by all of you
I am brand new to the forum as well as the sailing world. I want to introduce myself and get some feedback on a potential plan/dream that I have.
I am 26 years old and I am single. In about 6 months I am going to graduate Medical School in the United States and I am going to be doing an Emergency Medicine Residency hopefully somewhere in the South East. I am trying to do it somewhere in Florida (preferably Jacksonville FL, which puts me close to St. Augustine, they have a good training program there)... Anyways.. I am a very adventurous person and have always been close to the water. Residency Training is three years long and I thought it would be an awesome idea if I could live on a boat in a Marina close to where I am training at. I am the type of person who is more then willing to try to live on a boat. I have the drive to do it, and since I am single and young I am not tied down to anything. I live in a condo as of now, so downsizing is not an issue for me.
I just wanted some general feedback from you guys/gals (the experts) about what size sailboat and in general what brands of sailboats would probably fit me the best. I will probably for the first three years spend 90% of my time on it in the marina unfortunately due to the training hour requirements. But I would still like the boat to be able to cruise weekends as well as head to the Caribbean for holidays and longer vacations and such. I would need a boat that has probably two berths, 1 full head and shower, full kitchen and possibly washer/dryer? I was thinking along the lines of a 30 to 35 foot boat, and the only names that come to mind so far are Hunter, Catalina or freedom? Anyways... I have a lot of research to continue doing.. and I have only been reading for a month. But I have about 7 months to prepare. As for my budget! HAH! well.. I am basically have no funds saved due to the fact that I have been in school for the past 8 years, but will be making a salary during residency, I will have to finance the entire boat purchase, but this is no different then me going to finance the entire mortgage on a house if I chose to do that.
Sorry for such a long post.. just wanted to give enough info so I can get adequate response.
Anyways... Thanks so much for the advice, look forward to reading more and maybe someday running into some of you.
hey steve - welcome to SN, dude. Here's a link to "The Salts Corner Table" thread where you'll find some really good stuff from some of the best guys on Sailnet.
It's still a work in progress, but it's a good shortcut. Click on the little arrow to the right of the poster's name and it will jump you into the original thread from which the post was pulled. That way you can easily see more discussion about that topic.
Then just start digging around for more.
In your case you are truly looking for a "condo on the water." Since you will be working 60 hours weeks, you will mostly be sleeping on the boat. You will not have much time for "house keeping." I am normally a smaller is better guy, but in your case, I think you need a boat a bit bigger. You need two spaces: A "private" space for your stuff, and a public space. If you get too small of a boat, you will have stuff everywhere. If this happens you will never actually sail it on weekends because getting ready for sailing will be too much.
You will have a reasonable income, so I think a smart plan would be something like:
Buy a 10 year old Catalina or Beneteau 36. There are a million of these on the market. You should be able to pick one up for about $75K. This would make your monthly payment (including insurance and slip fee) about $1500 / month (financed over 8 years). Add twice a month professional cleaning and electric and you are looking at a total outlay of < $1,800 month.
When you finish your residency, you can at least recover what you owe when you sell the boat, probably even do better than that. If you decide to keep it, you will be able to pay it off in short order.
A Beneteau 36 is a non-trivial boat for a beginner. Something that large, and he needs to be sure it's what he wants. I would really recommend going month-to-month with an apartment, getting in touch with some sailors in the area, and try to get permission to bunk over the weekend (or even a week) at port to see how you like it.
If you were buying a 22 or something, I'd tell you to drop the money in a heartbeat. $75K+ isn't chump change.
No personal experience with it but I have heard from quite a few people that Jacksonville is not the most boater friendly place in the world.
I agree about the smaller is better. My 30' keeps me plenty busy with the laundry lists of tasks and improvements I am trying to do. My boat is a weekender so the systems are very simple as well. If things were more complicated I am not sure I could keep up and I don't really work that much and have help from the girlfriend keeping things together.
If you do buy something and you are planning to do some serious remodeling do it before you move on because it doubles the work to do it while you are living on the boat. I learned that pretty quick and both of us agree that the next boat is going in the yard and we are getting an apt for a month.
I think something in the low to mid 30's would work for you. I would certiainly go for a production boat. You need to make sure you have some left over cash for maintenance. You may have difficulty financing the whole thing. They typically require 15-20% down, but your degree will make you a bit of a safe bet. Forget the washer/dryer. You will be like every other live aboard and will wash at the marina. All good marinas have nice wash facilities.
If you can avoid Ft Laud/Miami/West Palm area, then I can see live aboard as an option. Naples is possible, but you will have to live north in Bonita or Ft Myers Beach.
Regarding the carribean, forget it. You won't have that kind of time. You are looking at a very likely 2 weeks there and 2 weeks back. That may also be limited by weather windows. Take that deestination off your map until you are done with your residency (unless you do it in the Islands where they need docs, hint-hint). The Bahamas are a definite for you and close. It is also very boater friendly. You will see more there than you will know what to do with anyways and the passage is not as gruelling as the thorny path to the carrib. Even Sea Rays make it across, and if they can do it, any canoe with a stick and pillow case flying can do it!
I think your plan is great. I think LA for your lifestyle will be super because it will allow you a great break on the weekends or whenever you are free. You will find the dock environment fun for night life and the view off your back porch much better than any condo. Go for it. That is EXACTLY what I was giong to do too (I was a PreMed) and as I said, my neighbor already did.
Let me know if you need any other help/direction!
I would argue that if you're not already intimate with sailboats (i.e., nothing under 42' is likely to have room to install a washer/drier in the conventional sense) and the associated maintenance and update they'll need...You residency will consume all of your free time and you'd be better off buying into distressed Florida real estate (condo or home) and letting it appreciate as you finish, then using it either as a home or a great way to pay off med school bills.
Vacations? holidays? do residents get much of that? I'd expect a used boat to swallow up any free time that you might get as a resident. It could be a lot of fun, yes, but the odds are it would be exhausting--and that's not a good thing in the hospital OR on the water. Better to invest in a condo, and charter a boat for fun. (And that's from someone who doesn't believe in condos, but upkeeping a home might also be one more thing you don't need to be distracted by.)
Smaller is better, to a point
I agree that smaller is better, up to a point. My first true live aboard was a 28. That was a very dramatic change from a house. Took a while to get used to it, and never did get over the feeling of being a little cramped. There just isn't much room on any boat under 30 feet. Also, pay attention to the beam, and the layout. One of the roomiest boats I have been on, in this size range is an Almand 31. The designer has a bunch to do with interior space.
smallest i ever lived on was 26 ft--i got tired of always having to sleep on the sofa--i lived on 34 and 35 footers also--not enough storage..now i have a 41 formosa---awesome live aboard ---will be a fine cruiser.....goood luck--there are as many answers to this question as there ae people living aboard and boats in this world.....
Forget the washer dryer just make sure you can run some serious A/C down here in Florida. Yeah 30 to 35 will do and consider ANY MAKE if you can get financing on it.
But why not go for something like this. 1974 Jensen Marine CAL 2-46 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com even take a lodger.
You are not going to sail that often anyway but the Bahamas are possible and if you are doing it at short notice a big ole motorsailor will be more comfortable crossing the stream.
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