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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #1  
Old 04-16-2011
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Hello all,

After spending many months trolling here on sailnet with my wife, I have reached a point that I feel I could use the members here advice. ( I can always use advice but I need it especially now haha).

My wife lived on a Valiant 32 for about 4 yrs before we met. She had to sell her boat and hasn't been on the water since but misses it incredibly. Similarly, I was in the Navy for 6 yrs and then owned a 38 ft Catalina, which was sold to pay for flight training. My wife is now a stay at home Mom with our two children (3yr old boy and 6 yr old girl) who we home school. I am a civilian UAV pilot who has to travel overseas from time to time. (Currently in Israel).

My wife and I have longed to be back on the water and live aboard. We honestly are very simple people who believe in quality not quantity. We have considered waiting to move aboard until after the children are older or grown, but also would love to have them grow up on the water as long as we are able to provide them with a good quality of life and the ability to partake in some everyday activities such as sports and all ( my little girl is in her first season of softball and doesn't want to have to give up her jersey haha - it is pink). So my first question have my wife and I lost it and are we completely nuts for trying to do this with children? We understand that there will be a lack of material stuff and we look forward to that and expect it. We just moved do to my job sold our 4 br house and put everything in storage and right now we live in a small (825 sq ft apartment). We don't miss any of our stuff that is in storage. We wish we had sold it all but we will soon enough. The children have plenty of toys and are well provided for in the entertainment area. TV is not a big deal in our family so that would be a non issue as well. My little girl loves the idea as does my boy but to go on the opinion of my family (two of which don't have a thought about it past WOW THAT WOULD BE COOOOL!) my wife and I seek your advice.

Also if it is deemed that we are not insane, we need help with guidance toward a proper vessel. We are obviously going to be in a marina a good deal, but we want to take some cruises as well. We want to sail the Gulf, the Bahamas, the East Coast, and when the kids are much older go on longer voyages. We feel a good size for us would be no less that 36' - at the extreme 50'. Probably more towards 38-45'. It has been a few years since we owned a boat and the ones we had we loved. We have grown family size wise though and have been out of it for a while....so it can't hurt to ask. We have considered another Valiant but they would be cramped in our opinion and get very pricey. We looked at Southern Cross and Island Packet as well. In a different paradigm we really like the look of Beneteau with the available three cabins but are concerned with durability and seaworthiness in (I think they are called) "production" boats. We want function and form if possible. Nice space but seaworthy. The budget is up to 150k but would like to stay towards 100k unless already fitted out well. We could afford to hit the 250k mark but that would mean waiting to do it for about an extra two years.

So help me out please. Should I be admitted for having such a "strange" yearning or is it viable and wise to do this with my children, and what are your expert opinions on make, model, and size?

Thanks much.

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If there are grammatical errors and you begin to wonder as to the ability of our homeschooling the kids - Mom ( former dentist) teaches - I just bring home bacon - planes don't care how you write!
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Old 04-16-2011
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Hi JB

My wife and i home schooled our son and daughter till they went into Junior High and then private school from there on. You are doing a great thing for your kids and i wish you luck.
One regret that i have is that we didn't think of living on a boat when our kids were small. You and the kids will have so much fun with that life style.

Mitch
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Old 04-16-2011
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To answer your first question - no, you are not crazy for wanting to live aboard with children. But keep in mind that having small children afloat is far easier than older children (i.e., teens). Our 16 year old daughter has been on the water since she was 3 months old. When she hit 13, she informed us in no uncertain terms that she hated the boat and sailing in particular. Only now at 16, is she coming around and has just informed us that the boat is the only place where she can get away and clear her head. I told her that's pretty much why people own boats and "welcome". Teens are a wild ride, so you will have a few uncomplicated years.

Don't worry about home-schooling; you'll do far better than any public school because you have a vested interest in your "product". I recommend investigating the Montessori method because it suits your intended lifestyle.

Regarding which boat to select.....I would expect that you already have plenty of experience to make a fine decision. You already have the size and price nailed which is huge. Regarding brand... select what fits your family. You will get lots of advice from Sailnet members but you will ultimately go with what strikes you as a fit, just like a house on dry land. Nearly all boats that you will find are "production", very, very few are truly custom unless they are quite large. Again, in my view, nearly any production boat will support your family safely.
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Old 04-16-2011
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If your wife can still practice dentistry ... she will find ample opportunity for such services in 'de islands', especially among cruisers (just has to be 'under the table'/hidden because of 'work laws'). Once one develops an abscess the only course of action is to immediately 'evacuate' to the states, a good gum-grinder can knock that stuff down 'early'.

On the east coast all the way to Trinidad .... just about 'any' boat will work as its all mostly 'island hopping'. For that Id favor a Bene, due to the large interior volume.
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Old 04-16-2011
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Very cool, go for it! A production or "coastal" boat is fine for your proposed cruising area as long as you wait for appropriate weather. You sound like you have enough experience to choose wisely (Even the dreaded Gulf Stream isn't so dreadful if you wait for a clear calm day with no north in the wind - we were lucky last winter, only had to wait about a week for a 'perfect' crossing from Miami) And what a wonderful life for the kids! BTW, welcome to Sailnet.
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Old 04-16-2011
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My vote is for a Cape Dory 36 or 40.
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Old 04-16-2011
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thanks

Thank you all for your quick replies. It is good to know that we are not insane! The kids are looking forward to the idea of it as well. I have 7 brothers and sisters all younger so I know that the teen years will be adventurous in the least. At least on the water my little girl will be able to complain all she wants and no one will hear how absolutley horrible her life is but is - which hopefully will be ended with haste haha.

As a father I want to make sure they are well care for in every way though so thank you for your support.

As for the boat, I really like the Bene so we will probably go that route. Maybe after the kids leave the nest we will go to another transoceanic capable vessel but we need the space now.

I look forward to talking more. I plan to be much more active on the forums.

Fair winds.

PS
If anyone has more advice on either side of the coin please dont hesitate to add.
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Old 04-16-2011
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Im not a fan of Bene's, but the 393, to me, sure stands out as a near perfect 'island hopper'. The only drawback I can observe is a low volume of 'stowage' space ... the same lack as found on most 'production boats'.

At least this will hopefully give you a suggested 'benchmark' from which to base your ultimate choice. With such a large 'brood', I'd think you want 'internal volume' and separate cabin space ... where the 'cantankerous' can go hide.

Beneteau 393: A Fine Entry | Cruising World
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Old 04-16-2011
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A lot of the bigger Bennies are put into charter businesses. Some of the charter businesses fail and the charter companies often sell their 'older' boats in order to take on newer models.
This thread might interest you: Foreclosed/Repo'd sailboats
I have been on Bene505's boat. It is a solidly made boat with a lot of space for a family of 4. Brad and family (6 people) live on their Bene 505 during the summer.
Good luck with your quest.
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Old 04-16-2011
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I had the same reservations. We have a 3 yr old boy and we are just beginning to live aboard next month. So, can't tell you much about how it will be as I don't know but we are very happy with our choise of boat. We got a Gulfstar 50 (1978), 2 cabin version. Extremely spacious and well designed layout. Solid hull, sails well. It is right in your price range. There are 3 cabin versions as well.
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