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solman55 03-07-2010 12:34 AM

Moving out
Hey guys/gals I have been reading for a while and have always dreamed of living aboard. I am currently 21 live with my mom, no kids, animals, or any major possessions, I go to college near by and the marina that I could dock at is very close to everything, I do not make tons of money but looked up the overall cost of wetslip and boat along with other basic expenses such as repairs and unexpected issues and figured I could buy a boat to live on and live on it for a good while which would be about the same or really less than a small apartment here in Pensacola where I live, and want to live by myself. I am interested in what to look for any tips or other good reading material. I am looking for a boat that has a base cost of around $25,000 of course that is before taxes and so on but figured that would be a good start, I do not want a cheaply built boat but something like a Catalina. I found a catalina 30 that is in very nice shape for asking price of 24500 but do not have the scratch currently to purchase so I would like ideas of boats similar as well as tips and such about living on a boat. By the way I have been operating small craft by myself since about 10 years old and have been sailing on and off for the past 4 years.
Thanks for any information and advice.

tager 03-07-2010 04:18 AM

I have lived aboard 3 boats. A Balboa 22, an Islander Bahama 24, and now a Haida 26. Standing headroom is key. Don't spend 25000. You can get a great boat to live aboard for 5000. All you need is standing headroom, a comfortable berth, and no leaks in deck, hull, or in between. I got my boat for 2000. It is a respected design. You are always going to have to bust out boat bucks. $1000 here and there. It's just reality if you are trying to keep a boat in good shape. Every time you add three feet to the boat maintenance costs double. Keep that in mind when shopping. I would suggest a 27. There are plenty around. It won't kill you on moorage, it will fit in all but the smallest slips, it will be relatively cheap to maintain, and it won't limit where you can go. I wouldn't get a Catalina, but the boat is your choice!

solman55 03-07-2010 09:28 AM

That is good to know about the price but I plan to live on this boat for many years untill I can upgrade so I was looking at the 30 because I hink it is a good liveing size and cruising size. Which boats would you suggest? This is why I am hear I am not set on anything I am just doing research and working on getting rid of some of my bills and finding a way to pay for the boat which my parents said they would help but I would have to pay them back however it is cheaper than a big bank loan. So please recomend some good vessels for me to comendeer.

sailingdog 03-07-2010 10:38 AM


First, there are plenty of boats that would suit your needs that will not cost the full $25,000 you're budgeting. I also recommend that you reserve at least 15-20% of any boat buying budget for refitting, upgrading or otherwise modifying any boat you do buy.

First, on the size of the boat—just remember that the costs of ownership and maintenance go up with the size of the boat. Each additional 10' of boat tends to double your costs... a 25' boat will cost half of what a 35' boat does in maintenance, dock/marina fees, etc. While this isn't a perfect rule, it is good enough to use as a guideline.

Second, a 30' boat is not 20% larger than a 25' boat. It is more like 70% larger than the 25' boat, because boats grow in three dimensions, not just length, but also depth and width. While there are exceptions to this based on the design, this is a good rule of thumb.

Third, IMHO, standing headroom is not half as important as having a good berth that you can stretch out in and sleep comfortably in. Most of the time when you're down below on a sailboat, you're sitting down. If you need to stand up, that is what the deck is for. :D

One question for you is how important is sailing the boat to you? The boats that will make better liveaboards will often have less than stellar sailing characteristics, since the features a good liveaboard often requires are often not conducive to good sailing performance. High freeboard, excessive beam, open interior layout, etc... are generally not great characteristics for a smaller sailboat.

I would also recommend that you go slightly smaller and go for a higher quality boat in better condition than go for a larger boat in poorer condition. Starting with a boat in poorer condition means that you may have to sink more money into the boat to maintain and upgrade it. Be aware that some marinas have a minimum LOA that they will require for a boat to be used as a liveaboard.


solman55 03-07-2010 12:27 PM

Ok thanks for the info. What brand would you suggest getting that I could get for a reasonable price and size? I think it would be great to not have to spend the full budget so I could do the needed upgrades.

Architeuthis 03-07-2010 12:52 PM


Originally Posted by solman55 (Post 577773)
.... but do not have the scratch .....

Here is another option, Live on land.

Land living is much cheaper, so much cheaper that if money is a significant issue stay away from boats.

Unless you really like boats and do not care about the cost. That is the reality for almost all boat owners. Buying a boat is the worst money move ever, but they can be worth it in other ways.

I'd suggest getting a room that is roughly the size of boat you are looking at. So for a 30' boat that might be something like a 15'x15' room. Total cost, electrical, water, even parking sometimes use of a yard or driveway, is going to be about $500 a month in a major city close to a university.

Then get a boat, a small one that fits on top of your car or is left in the storage yard at the marina or club.

That way you will be around boats, actually sailing (very different than living on board) and saving money to buy a boat all at the same time.

Just another option.

solman55 03-07-2010 03:32 PM

The money is not a big worry for me honestly I just want to make sure I can cover the cost. I have a small 18 foot rig that I enjoy but I want to move offshore I figure why wait to live the dream. I understand the cost is extensive but it will be mine and can take it with me I plan to always live on the coast so no problem there.

kd3pc 03-07-2010 05:07 PM


sorry to disagree with the other poster, go for the boat, I am sorry but $500 a month is not realistic for anything liveable, I know I have looked at many cities large and small in anticipation of a job offer, and while that may indeed get you a room, that is about it...

I would like at Sabre 30, and in this economy you should be able to find a decent one in your price range, they sail extremely well, hold their value quite nicely, and other than mast step are relatively problem free.

All the best...

tomwatt 03-07-2010 05:42 PM

Hey kid! (okay, I shouldn't call you kid, but I'm trying to be encouraging)
Go for it. As the longish post details, there are lots of factors that go into the cost, but almost anything over 28 feet will give you (comparatively) lots of room (for a boat, not for land), and won't still be so large that it costs you a fortune at the dock.
Let me encourage you to go for it, as it sounds like it's just within reach. Definitely make certain to get a sound boat... most boats sink at the dock it seems. That would put a "damper" on your studies!
What brand/model to get? I think you need to start climbing around on some boats (boat shows are a good place), visit marinas and ask around. Once you have been on a few, you'll start to get a feel for what you like/dislike. Lots of this is personal. If you don't cook ever and don't make coffee, a galley won't mean as much to you as lighting, or a good sitting space for instance.
I think you may find a number of boats that might suit your purpose well. Standing room? Consider it... but it's not the end-all/be-all. Button up inside the boat and sit there for a bit to get a feel of what it's going to be like when it's a gray rainy day and you have to try to study.
Good luck. Let me wish you well. I think you'll do just fine!

Architeuthis 03-07-2010 07:31 PM


Originally Posted by solman55 (Post 577918)
The money is not a big worry for me ... figure why wait to live the dream. ....

Yep then go for it, the younger you do this the better. That was the very good advice I got from my Dad and he is correct. Waiting to retire....well that might never happen.

There are so many boats to choose from that I too would suggest looking at the very low end and work your way up. For living on I'd lean towards 30' plus but know of at least one guy that lived on a Contessa 26. Less room than a small shed but he liked the boat and it was cheap.

No boat you can afford is going to be as nice as having your own room, what makes it better is that you like it. So buy the boat you like.

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