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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2010
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Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions. I was totally making fun of my life on the farm....in a good way. What I meant was I don't shy away from very much, I absolutely get the seriousness of being on the ocean with a family and the dangers that come with that. Lessons would be an absolute most for us to even consider this. We have discussed this as a family to some degree,but we are still gathering the facts and info to make the best decision for all of us, together as a family.

Living on a sailboat certainly has some downfalls to it, privacy could be an issue for us, and maybe the small space but I would think we could adjust to that. Our son will certainly have some bearing on this as well, certainly having an unhappy teenager would not make for a happy home.

It appears that many people are turning to boats after financial ruin. Houses are a huge upkeep and mortgages sky high, much more costly then living on a boat. exactly the reason we are considering it, That's the big question I think, where do you turn to live after any financial crisis. Giving the choice we would still probably want our home to live in and a boat for fun.

Who knows what our future holds, maybe a sailboat , maybe not.
Of course I'm holding onto hope that everything will work itself out no matter which way we go.
so cheers to all of you for weighing in on this.
~Monark
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Old 01-18-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monark View Post
It appears that many people are turning to boats after financial ruin. Houses are a huge upkeep and mortgages sky high, much more costly then living on a boat.
If I may share an observation; I've been shopping for the right boat for going on 3 years now. I've noticed that while powerboats can be had at about 40% discount (maybe better), sailboat prices, while down, are not down as much.

"Industry reports" will refute what I state above;
Quote:
... Brokers sold 15 percent fewer boats over the course of the year, with 5,411 boats changing hands in 2009 compared to 6,399 in 2008. Valuations didnít improve against 2008 figures as quickly as unit sales, lagging throughout the summer, equalizing in September and October, and finally moving strongly ahead in [November & December]. The net decrease for the year, in valuations of sailboats sold, dropped 21 percent, more than $100 million, down from $505 million to just under $400 million.

Compared to the powerboat market, which showed a 7-percent gain in units in 2009 (to 21,839 boats) and a 12-percent drop in valuation (to $2.2 billion), the sailboat market didnít perform as well. Roughly 20 percent of all boats sold were sailboats and 15 percent of total sales valuations came from sailboat sales. By one measure, the sailboat market showed a bit more strength: the average time to sale for a boat listed on YachtWorld.com didnít change much in 2009, increasing very slightly from 272 days to 274; by comparison, the average powerboat sale took an extra three weeks, increasing from 250 to 271 days.
... but in my search, I've seen that well maintained Sailboats in the 30-40 foot range, seem to be holding their value.

Sorry about my earlier post. I don't mean to bring rain to your parade. However, you are asking for advice. ("Free advice is frequently worth less than you pay for it." ) You, and your family should learn to sail, first. If you decide that you like it, then proceed with your dream. However, given your statement about you and your family's level of experience, buying a boat and making it work for all of you seems like a recipe for disaster.
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  #13  
Old 01-19-2010
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You know, and I am sure I am in the minority on this, but sailing is so easy and quick to learn that I am not sure how high I would prioritize it. Living aboard, which is what they are going to do, requires more of a knowledge of systems and how to fix them. The sailing... that is easy. And lets not forget that it has a motor - though that can be a feat to master in itself.

I think the biggest issue (my opinion) is whether you can really survive in the space. That is the killer. And if the answer is no for a sailboat, look at a motor boat or a house boat. Unfortunately, the cost of operation is much higher on those.

Just some thoughts.

Brian
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  #14  
Old 01-19-2010
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Dear Karen

The advise given here is all good. I will try to put it in other terms for you and the rest of the community that reads Sailnet that are contemplating such a move.
Lets talk about sailing first. Seeing how you and your family are not sailors, I see this a big problem. Gigantic problem actually. Sailors for the most part are a different breed of humans. Even more so than powerboaters. We are in a class of our own. Taming the wind to our will, managing the boat and the labor required is not in most peoples skin. The romance of it all in movies, books and occasional sailors yarn that most people see is very misleading. It's work. A lot work. Both in sailing, maintaining even a simple boat and living on one. Nothing can compare to it that I have come across in all my adventures. But for us sailors, there is a sense of pride, accomplishment and love of the lifestyle that is hard to explain to the average person. Can you learn to love this lifestyle, you bet. However, not by giving up everything you know about living, lifestyle and managing everyday life as a landlubber. In order for this lifestyle to be successful, it needs to be taken slowly, methodical, and great care. Jumping in with both feet into this abyss with no knowledge of what it really takes to live is tomfoolery.
The expense of it all. Tons of books, articles in magazines and discussions on various bulletin's have beaten this subject pretty hard. There are roughly 3 camps out here on the sea; simplistic, moderate and luxury. From your post you will fit in the simplistic camp. This means living like camping in a park at worst to living in a small RV at best roaming the countryside. One will need to buy an older boat with few systems and need of repair. Skills to fix and maintain this boat will be required. Upgrades to systems can be very expensive. The term B.O.A.T stands for Bring On Another Thousand. I found this axiom to be to true. Than there is dockage and insurance. This can vary greatly depending on location. Major cities or popular locations are the most expensive, average > $600 a month to rural areas or private docks, $300 for the season. The problem with rural areas is finding work or having to commute great distances each day for work. Of course there are exceptions out there just have to find it.
The lifestyle itself. The boat is a floating home; constant in motion, small ( some prisoners have more room than we do), no privacy, constant boat maintenance, wonderful sunrises/sunsets, great sailor folks to be around, one with the sea and the environment to name a few. Each sailor has their own experiences and the same. This lifestyle will test a marriage/relationship like no other. Living in close quarters requires all norms to be thrown overboard. Privacy can be the most treasured commodity on a boat. Virtual privacy will be a new word in your vocabulary. Simple things like storage, cooking and cleaning will take on a whole new meaning. No longer just going to closet or cupboard to get things or even store things will be as simple as living in a land base house. It is different. I believe it is a whole new genre one needs to get used to. Point is what is simple on a land base house can be complicated in a boat. Taking a shower or going to the head is different. It is no longer just pushing lever or turning on the water for a 20 min shower.
Without writing a book here, I just want to point out a few things one needs to consider for such a radical lifestyle change you asked about. Take the advise others here and elsewhere. Weigh them with reality of your life at the present time. Keep asking questions until you are satisfy so an intelligent decision can be made. I wish you all the best and luck.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2010
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Iíd advise focusing full time on the income problem for now, and then once that problem has been addressed (be patient, and optimistic! Ėeven though thatís hard to do right now), beginning a more careful transition to the sailing / live-aboard lifestyle from a position of improved financial strength.

Transitioning to a live-aboard situation now may or may not help bridge you through this tough time, depending on all the new costs youíd incur (e.g., buying a boat, renting a slip, paying for any needed repairs and upgrades, paying for routine maintenance, etc.). This all should be carefully calculated up front so you know if youíll actually be getting the relief youíre hoping for.

Regardless, your family will still need to attack the income problem head-on so you can meet your medium and longer term financial needs. The financial realities donít disappear such as food, heating/cooling, room & board (in some form, e.g., slip rental), health care, college for your son(?), the need for retirement money of some kind, etc. etc..

Rather than ďgive upĒ in the face of a scary immediate circumstance, have faith that the job market will eventually recover. These things have ALWAYS been cyclical. If you commit yourselves now to living on or very near the water, you may miss out on (and may not even look for or be aware of) many job opportunities that may become available elsewhere as the economy begins to recover. Despite the scary news reports Ė this IS just beginning to happen, just as it has every time before. You may end up spending crucial job-search time instead dealing with all the new tasks associated with purchasing a boat and transitioning to a live-aboard lifestyle. Your family should not give up on the job search; long term persistence is very important.

If you think youíd like to try the sailing and the live-aboard lifestyle, youíll find a lot of support here and I think you should do it, but itís important to work on maximizing your chances for success all around. Best of luck, and welcome to SailNet!
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Old 01-19-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monark View Post
It appears that many people are turning to boats after financial ruin.
I don't know about "many", but there are certainly some. All they did was exchange one set of problems for another, and they are still broke, just in a different location, with a problem they didn't have before- their home might sink.
If you want to live-aboard to expand your life and enjoy living, great! But if you think it is a great way to escape the burden of home ownership, you're wrong.

Living aboard is something you run TO, not a solution to whatever you are running away FROM.
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Old 01-20-2010
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Sorry Guys and Gals...

the thought of "the job market may recover" is just tom foolery for many of us. It has been a down hill roll the whole decade and any one who thinks it is going to recover soon....well I'd rather be broke on a boat, than broke with NO place to live.

How do you get back to a position of financial strength, when a job is lost. I am here to tell you that you can not put the brakes on fast enough to stem the bleed. And if you own a house, you have two choices - walk away, or give it away. That market is GONE.

So to Karen and others in our situation, you have hard choices to make, that many will never have to - because they have a job. With no cash flow, you are truly in the pickle...and the thoughts of you paying college for your kid is out the door,

or waiting....all of you with such great advice - how do you survive "until the great turn around" when your old expenses and the new ones like health care that you will have to pay at +100% rates, if you can get them are now 500% of your take home pay...

sure you get Cobra subsidy, that will knock off some, but now with the extension...you get to pay full premiums until the insurance/employers get the official word...How do you get an additional $750 for the next three months..

Get the boat, hold your family close and I will tell you that the stress will be far less than the unknown of waiting and watching what cash you have flow out while "waiting" for things (totally out of your control) to get better.

All the best...and to those of you who are not in a similar situation (i.e. you have a job, with benefits) - you have NO idea what this is like. So suggesting to someone to "wait it out, it will get better" is so unrealistic as to be laughable.

dave, been there done that nothing left
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Old 01-20-2010
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Great post kd3pc
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  #19  
Old 01-20-2010
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The choice is not:
Option1: Sit back and hope things will get better while watching your savings vanish to the point you can no longer meet your obligations, then lose it all . . . OR
Option2: React in a panic - sell everything now to preserve what little you have, buy a boat, and (think you'll . . . ) sail the world and be happy.

What about Options 3, 4, 5, and 6?

One way or another, most people will need an income to remain financially viable over the long term. To recover, people in this situation need to be proactive, persistent, and flexible. If you've previously worked in an industry that's been in a long term decline, recognize that and be flexible about trying something different. If you're local area has been in a long term decline, be flexible and consider moving. But don't resign yourself to failure, give up on your future, and become destitute on a boat. For Neptune's sake, the OP has a 13 year old son whose future also has to be considered.

I've seen job loss really take the wind out of people's sails and it's sad to see, but it's not necessary. It's not that you fail, or loose, or fall but instead, it matters a great deal how you react to those circumstances. If you get knocked down - get back up! (. . . no, I didnít say what youíre thinking . . . of course itís not easy, itís hard Ė but go fight for it anyway!).

The economy will recover, but it's true things may look a little different than before. That's OK, you be a little different than before too. You may find doing something new to be a really good thing. Don't just sit on the sidelines crying in your rum and watch the recovery pass you by.

To say that having hope is unrealistic and foolish is itself foolish. It's talking yourself out of your own recovery. I've seen these economic cycles run numerous times and invariably, people willing to put in the effort and who maintain a can-do attitude land on their feet. I've watched companies let go thousands of workers over several months, and then 6 months later hire almost as many right back in. If you're defeated and negative, that's a key obstacle to your own recovery. Get back up instead!

Yes, minimize expenses and be smart about preserving your assets in the short run - but panicking can land you in a worse predicament, and adopting a boat often results in a whole new set of (sometimes unforeseen) expenses.

Yes, be realistic about what's happened to your job, maybe your line of work, maybe your locality - but be flexible to try something different and/or move if need be.

Yes, pursue boating if you're interested, but don't attempt to run from your problems TO boating (they'll likely follow you onto the boat) - focus full time on solving the income problem, then look into a new way of life on the water within the scope of a longer term plan.

There's lots more that can be said on this topic than will fit in a post, a thread, or maybe even on Sailnet. I would caution though that people should be careful who they take advice from, those that have had a bad experience and are resigned to failure or those who have had a bad experience and have recovered. Remember the story of Ray Kroc who went bust 10 times before his success with the McDonalds franchise? What if he just gave up on attempt 9, bought a boat and resigned himself to living on a pittance? . . . We'd probably all have better eating habits I guess .

I wish everyone well in this really tough economy, we WILL get through it. Just my two cents anyway.
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Old 01-20-2010
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However, given your statement about you and your family's level of experience, buying a boat and making it work for all of you seems like a recipe for disaster.
The ongoing posts prompted me to re-read what I said. In the hope of being clearer, this is what I meant to say;
Quote:
However, given your statement about you and your family's level of experience, buying a boat and forcing the new lifestyle to work for all of you seems like a recipe for disaster.
I thought that I would keep the context of the subsequent posts by replying, rather than editing my earlier post.
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