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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #1  
Old 02-26-2003
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Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Hello everyone,

My name is Mark Ventimiglia. I am 37 and living in southern Illinois near the Mississippi River about two hours north of St. Louis, Missouri. I am interested in making friends, learning how to sail, and eventually buying a boat that I can live on.

I have lived around water and boats (mostly motor) all my life, and even worked on the river for some time, yet I never had the oportunity to learn to sail, yet sailing always appealed to me. When I was working on the Belle (a riverboat casino in Alton, Illinois) I would often times retire to the back deck to watch the grace and beauty of the many sailboats that frequented the Mississippi and dream of the day that I could own a vessel of my own.

About 10 years ago, I started toying with the idea of living aboard a boat for a few reasons. 1) my love of the water. 2) I was led to believe it would be "cheaper" than buying a house, property taxes, etc.(although after reading some of the articles on this website, my thoughts are changing)...

Since I am a novelist (a starving writer) and very, very poor, I was hoping living aboard would be a better option for me, since buying a house is totally out of the question. I have searched the web for used boats and there seems to be many nice 25'' to 35'' boats out there that are not too expensive.

My dilemma is thus: Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa. Since I have never been sailing, it seems to be stupid to buy a boat simply as a place to live. Do people do that? Or should I learn to sail and then buy the boat? It''s like the old question of the chicken and the egg. Hahaha!

Mainly, I''d just like to kindle some new friends, and learn the in''s and out''s of living onboard. Since I am a writer, and pretty much a hermit, I don''t need much space. My laptop, a few books, and clothes is nearly all I own! (Now you must be thinking I am totlly insane)! Hahaha!

Well, thanks for listening... or reading. I look forward to meeting all of you.

Feel free to visit my web site. http://www.geocities.com/thebloodswordsaga

Sincerely,
Mark Ventimiglia
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Old 02-27-2003
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Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

I think that first, you need to find out if you like sailing. Not the idea of, but the actual doing it. You "could" buy a boat, and tie it up at a marina, and just live on it, but a mobile home would be cheaper. So finding out if you want to sail, should, IMHO, be your first step. After all, sailing is more than just hoisting the sails and pointing the tiller.

As to the economics of living aboard, I believe a large factor there is how much you can and are willing to do, vis-a-vis, maintaining the boat. A second major part of that is, are you willing to live "on the hook"? Obviously, there is more to it than that, but I believe those are the main considerations in assessing how "cheap" it is to liveaboard.

Inherent in that is, your income source, ie: do you need to be "tied" to the land to maintain it? Or can you get by with the occasional foray to shore? I would suggest here that you get Jim Trefethen''s "The Cruising Life", as it deals mainly with the economic side of the equation. I found it a very helpful book in making my choice to retire to the liveaboard/cruising life.

Over all though, I think you really have to decide if you can be happy with the lifestyle. Not just the romance of the idea, but the day to day reality of it. To that end, message boards such as this, and getting out on the water are what "I think", you need to do at this point. By researching, as much as possible, you''ll find there is more to it, than you could ever have thought. Yet, you can also discover how gratifing it can be.

So, for what it''s worth, those are the opinions of someone who has been doing just that, in preperation for moving aboard, Fall of 2006.

Fair winds, and good luck,
John
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Old 02-27-2003
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Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Almost forgot, another excellent book would be Nigel Calder''s "Cruising Handbook".
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Old 02-27-2003
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Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Hi John,

Nice meeting you. Thanks for the input. What does "living on the hook" mean? Small closets and everything on hangars? Or something else?

Yes, I know I need to discover if I like the idea of sailing. I am sure it''s alot of work. The actually moving the craft by the power of the wind, etc. I grew up on the river, but never had the oportunity to sail. I think I have been in and operated almost every other type of water craft though. I think what has drawn me to the idea of sailing is the peace and serenity. WI do love boating... but I hate the noise of an engine. It kind of takes away from the tranquility. (I really love canoeing down quiet streams, with just the sound of nature as my background music). I have a frind who knows how to sail, but for many years he has been without a boat. Maybe I should see if he wants to maybe get back into sailing? Perhaps we could go in together for a day rental and he could show me the ropes?

Thanks again John for the help.
Mark
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Old 02-27-2003
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Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Living on the hook is being at anchor, rather than in a marina. So no shorepower, handy fresh water supply, etc. Seems like an excellent idea, to try to get your friend to go along on a day charter.

Fair winds,
John
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Old 02-27-2003
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Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Thanks John...

That clears up everything! Yes, being anchored in a marina would be luxury and on the hook, roughing it. I am a writer and I deal with my publishers through surface mail as well as email and phone. I have a laptop, so I don''t need "power" per say. A cell phone would cover the need to be tied to a land line. I don''t think I''d want to be on the hook forever... but it might help to have some peace and quiet while writing though.

Right now I am putting the finishing touches on a 600+ page novel... with the girlfriend always yapping, the dog barking, and the cats fighting, a little "on the hook" living doesn''t sound too bad. Hahaha.

Thanks again.
Sincerely,
Mark
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Old 03-28-2003
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Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

I don''t have any experience "living on the hook" but when faced with the same dilemma my friend and I (me 31, he is 32) decided to just do it! We bought a 35'' sailboat (found a deal too good to pass up) and are in the process of selling everything we own to move aboard and learn how to sail as we head south from Newport, RI (where the boat is now) and venture off towards South America via the Bahamas and others (we start in June).
I must add though that we are both very skilled in land survival and have even been guides and instructors on land so the idea of living VERY simply is not new to us. We also have done some considerable travel in North and South America. We actually prefer the simple life over the rat-race of society where it seems all we ever do is "live to work" instead of "work to live". Our hope is to take things much more slowly and focus on conserving our money and enjoying our surroundings rather than looking for the latest and greatest electronics that will fail at the most inopportune time anyway.
One last thing to consider is your girlfriend. My girlfriend doesn''t get along with my long time adventure buddy and unfortunately he has more pull (I have known him for about 10 years and her only 1.5) so he is my sailing partner instead of her. It is a tough choice you may be faced with if her desires aren''t the same as yours. Other than that, we might be making a big mistake but I would rather regret something I have done than something I haven''t done, I ain''t skeerd! (dang I wish I had that pirate lingo)
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Old 03-31-2003
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eryka32 is on a distinguished road
Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Hi Mark -- Go for it! Being a writer seems an ideal career for a cruising liveaboard since you can do it from anywhere (spoken with envy by a liveboard with a dressy office job in Washingon DC area). 80% of the boats here rarely leave the dock, even the liveaboards, like, a very small floating apartment with a great view. So what you live on may not be what you sail on and you don''t have to do one before the other. Scan some sites like this one and ablboat for prices; If you''re willing to live simply I''m betting you can *buy* a boat for what you''d pay in rent in a year or less. (I''m thinking "simple" like an older boat around 27-30 feet, icebox no fridge or microwave, or fancy electronics). If the adventure doesn''t work out you can always sell. As the previous poster said, you''re far more likely to regret what you didn''t do than what you did.

That doesn''t mean jump blindly, keep reading and asking questions. Charter if at all possible. My favorite book to recommend is "Cruising woman''s Advisor." -- obviously not all of it would apply for you, but still a source of good info for those just starting out.

If you want to chat about some of this offline, feel free to email me at eryka32@mail.com
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Old 03-31-2003
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eryka32 is on a distinguished road
Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Sorry, if that last wasn''t clear, what I''m trying to get at is...don''t worry about doing it "perfectly" before you start. If you pick the wrong boat (like, you buy a wide slow comfy cruising boat and later learn that your personality is better suited to a sleek fast racer, or a cat) you can recover from that mistake. Sailing, like living aboard, is easy to learn the basics but you never completely master. The mistake you can''t recover from is waiting till you''re 95 to begin...
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Old 05-13-2003
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mark71565 is on a distinguished road
Living aboard and learning to sail, or vice versa

Hi Noahs,
You sound alot like me. I too have much experience in land survival, and I adore adventure. From 1989 to 1993, I roamed the rockies from Colorado to Alaska. And in 1993, I once drove from St. Louis to the Arctic circle in a little beat up dodge colt... in April! I also dispise the rat race and would love to just disappear! Good luck to you guys in your adventure quest... and by the way, I recently got a part time job at a marina and have just been approached by my boss, who has just repoed a boat... an older 30 foot sloop... and while we haven''t settled on the price, I think this might be a steal of a deal! As for the girlfriend... hehehe... nothing in life is permanant. Need I say more?
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