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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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Old 06-08-2011
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Arrow Turning dreams into reality; How much should I save?

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to send out a quick message to introduce myself to the forum and to pick the community's 'brain' about liveabords.I'm a young 26 year old guy who has been interested in sailing for years but am not getting more serious about the possibility about living abord a sailboat. I grew up in Seattle and have always loved the water.

My sailing experience has been limited by the fact that I haven't had a boat of my own, ever. Although, I have windsurfed for roughly 10 years. I also have sailed Hobie 18s for a few years also. Last summer I was lucky enough to be given the chance to race with a crew aboard a 24' boat on Lake Washington a few times. So I guess I'd say I'm somewhere in between a noob and intermediate sailor.

Right now, my girlfriend and I live in Colorado, far far away from any major body of water. She has never set foot on a boat although, when I told her my desire to liveabord a boat and go sailing, she thought it would be a great experience and adventure. Since both of us don't even own a couch, and essentially everything we own can fit into each of our cars, I figure that now would be an good time to move from land to sea. My goal would be to purchase a boat from someone who has already been living aboard, since everything would be set up. Now, the only thing is to put our plan into action.

The plan so far:
Date until move: roughly 1.5 years
Budget: +-25,000 CASH for a boat (by saving for roughly 1.5 years)
Boat: 32'-35' boat (preferrably a pilothouse sailboat with an inboard)
Mooring Location: Bellingham, WA. (most likely) or Bellevue WA (Grandma owns a dock in Bellevue that's big enough for a 45'er and its free!)
Fixing things: I am pretty good with my hands and can fix quite a few things. I used to work as an automotive tech for a few years, so I'm pretty mechanically inclined (can rebuild small engines, exe).

So, let me throw this out there what else am I missing to turn this dream into a reality? Is that a reasonable expectation for a budget?
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Old 06-08-2011
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Also, any suggestions with regard to boats would be much appreciated.
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Old 06-08-2011
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Another point: After we move, we should be able to land decent jobs to pay for any repairs associated with the boat. She has a Master's degree and I have two BAs.
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Old 06-08-2011
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You're moving in the right direction. LOL, Dan's first exposure to sailing was in Lake Granby! Good for you to be thinking of this before you own a sofa - that you'll only have to get rid of in order to move aboard ...

Pilothouse could be hard to find in an older sailboat in your price range. Now, I'm not pushing this particular boat in your price bracket, but its a sistership to the one we've been living aboard for almost 10 years: 1980 CSY 33 sailboat for sale in Florida (granted, ours has been almost totally updated)
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Skills you'll want:
Electrical repair skills

real Cooking in a 1x3 space skills

No video games, no TV skills

Gel coat and fiberglass skills

Freezing your bottoms off in the winter Skills

MY recommendation: do it and do it asap, 26 yrs old is the age to make these dreams happen.
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Last edited by WDS123; 01-18-2012 at 05:30 PM.
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Old 06-09-2011
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I think I should be fine on those items you've mentioned. I used to do electronic work while working as a auto tech, I just got finished going on a month long road trip with my GF where we lived off cooking on a small coleman grill, I've built a custom carbon fiber centerboard for my Bic Bamba windsurfer and I've lived in Montreal for 6 years where the weather drops down to minus 40.
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Old 06-09-2011
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So you have all the background. And from your mechanical accomplishments you know the importance of prep work. Next step is to get your girlfriend onto a boat and make sure she has a really enjoyable experience. Rent a boat with her for the day and do a lot of prep work to ensure her happiness ahead of time -- check/choose weather, get prior experience on the boat, put a picnic basket together, find out where a good restaurant is to sail to, scope out a place to have the picnic, etc. Everything else can be learned, but you need to give her a great first impressison. Do the dishes. You get the idea.

When we bought our boat, our first week-long sail was exploring (and sailing around) Shelter Island, NY. There were no big waves or swell, to help make sure everyone would enjoy it.

Enjoy!!

Regards,
Brad
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Old 06-09-2011
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The only certain thing is that it will take more money than you think. If you buy a boat for $25k, expect to put $25k into it. Doesn't mean you will, but it's better to spend when you have income coming in, than when you don't.
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No Freezing your butt off skills needed.

We were very comfortable living aboard in Maine this past winter. Of course, the diesel hydronic heater made that possible.

Whatever boat you buy, I would recommend a full enclosure for the cockpit. Makes getting in and out much easier in bad weather.
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Old 06-09-2011
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You mention that your girlfriend hasn't been sailing before. To be honest, that'd be the first thing I'd be looking at. My wife was initially hesitant about the idea of sailing as a life-choice (she had no problems with it as my weekend sport though). It wasn't until after she went sailing herself that she felt the way I did about the whole thing.

On the other hand, I had a cousin who talked about his dream of sailing around the world. Took a sail up the coast in not so great weather and dropped the idea like a hot potato. The fantasy of fair weather, sunshine, and cocktails in the cockpit came across too much reality for him.

If you don't get past that hurdle, the other stuff isn't going to help. Get your partner onside and the other stuff (while not a snap) becomes easier. At least, I personally have found a dream shared with my wife is a dream on it's way to fulfilment.

Other than that, heed PBzeer's advice on hidden costs. It is a rare boat that costs only the price to purchase it.
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