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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising & Liveaboard Forum > Living Aboard
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  #1  
Old 08-06-2003
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Reflections After One Year Living Aboard

Last year in August of 2002 I bought and moved aboard a 1971 32 ft. Islander. I''ve been tied to the dock for the last year her in Southern California at the King Harbor Marina - and have a few thoughts to share.

I like my boat. It didn''t cost 1/10 the price of a new boat - and it is now paid off - and each month I save more for my future cruising plans.

Even though I like my boat - there are few things, upon reflection with one year experience, that I realize will sway any future boat purchase decisions.

If I had known what I know now - would I still have bought this boat? Probably.

I looked at this initial liveaboard experience as an experiment - to see if I could downsize my space needs - and also to learn and grow as a sailor who does alot of my own maitenance. No matter how badly I screwed something up - even if the boat became a total loss - I looked at it as the same price I would invest in an education.

The Islander is fin keel, sloop rigged - and intended as a coastal cruiser. The lack of deep storage spaces and tank capacities are probably the only real issues I have with my current boat.

There is a propane stove in the galley - and a cold-plate refrigeration system. Cooking in the galley is comfy on a cold winter night. There is sufficient room for pots & pans - and provisions for my week-to-week needs - although I wonder where I''ll store enough for a two month voyage later.

Sleeping in the v-berth is wonderful. The mattress is about 3 inches of foam - and there is sufficient air circulation with the foredeck hatch opened a bit - to allow a cool breeze to flow through the boat. I have recently installed a Hella 12v fan - and on the few days when it has been very hot outside - the fan has made the v-berth very comfortable.

In the winter I have heated the main salon with a small ceramic eletric heater. The unit is perfect for the size of my cabin - and resulted in about a $20 increase in my monthly electric bill (which usually averages $10 during the spring, summer, and fall).

I''m just a relatively short walk to the showers in the marina club house building...I think this was probably the one aspect of living aboard that I anticipated would be the most disruptive - but it has not been an issue at all. There have been a few times when I''ve accidently left a towel or soap, etc. in the locker room - and it always disappears - but that is a small inconvenience.

I work in a professional office - and have struggled with the question of how to best store my shirts & dress pants - I finally decided on installing a wood rod as a hanging locker in the head. A solar powered fan above the head I installed this year has greatly reduced the musty smell - and as far as I know - no one has edged away from me in a conference room yet. LOL.

The best part of living aboard has been the experience of making some new friends that have boats on the docks near mine. And the peaceful bliss of watching sunsets over the ocean...and seeing harbor seals playing in the channel behind my boat. And living a dream of my childhood.

The worst part? I miss not having my hundreds of books readily available. Part of my move aboard included moving everthing I own into storage. But I have become reacquainted with the public library - and I have read more books - all good things.

What would I like in a "Next Boat"?

- Storage in the bilge area would be nice.
- 6-8 Portholes that open
- 60-100 gallons of fuel capacity
- 80+ gallons of fresh water capacity
- a chart desk & chair!!

I''ve looked at Tayanna''s on the high-end - and lusted after a 55 footer at the Marina Del Rey boat show this year.

I''ve also looked at 32 ft. Westsail''s and think they are built like solid tanks...and may consider one in the future.
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Old 08-07-2003
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Reflections After One Year Living Aboard

You have some great observations. I think it''s great that you viewed this first boat as kind of a no-risk experiment. I was writing a piece yesterday about boat size how it relates to choosing a boat, and I tried to convey the idea that if someone is buying their first boat with the idea of cruising, it can be hard to know what size will suit--we become accustomed to the space we live in on land, and honestly don''t know if/how we will live in smaller quarters. At that point, a 45 foot boat sounds small!!! I think there needs to be a transition period, and, though I didn''t write out this recommendation in my booklet, between you and me I think the way you''ve done it is a good idea--buy a boat to "try out," which will give you a really good idea about space, size, and a bunch of other stuff you listed.

My personal preference after 3 boats and 3 cruises is to go toward the smaller end of the scale if possible. Priorities change when you are on a passage, and safety becomes paramount. Minimizing fatigue is important, and having a boat that tracks well and is easily trimmed and maneuverable are some of the things that will help keep fatigue down. In our case, I am the weakest member of the crew, and our boat needed to be such that I could single hand her in to port safely if an emergency disabled my husband. I will admit, we didn''t intend to go quite so small (we have a Baba 30), but we fell in love with her--which is a whole other story! I lean toward the mid30s as a very manageable size, and cruising boats in that size range will have the stowage and tankage you need.

I laughed about the closet rod in the head! I was doing the Corporate Barbie thing when we lived in San Diego...in that case we had a VW van with a closet rod. Every morning I would go to the van to get my clothes before heading to the shower room!!! My land lubber friends were always amazed at the things we liveaboards do!

And I empathize about the books...that IS one thing I miss as well....Skip, my husband, has a policy that whenever we are going to stop somewhere for any length of time, he seeks out the library and, if possible, gets a card. Not only do we have a great choice of books and movies, but it''s easy on the cruising pocket book!

Best of luck with your adventure...I''ll be on the look out to see what boat you finally take off on!

Regards,

Trish Lambert
www.takehersailing.com
trish@takehersailing.com
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Old 08-07-2003
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Reflections After One Year Living Aboard

Thanx for posting this, it was a fun read. I''m at about the same stage, still missing the zillions of books and the huge closet from my land life (tho I''m a Washington bureaucrat instead of corporate Barbie). It always was important to me to have pretty things in my home -- I thought I''d miss the art we had on the walls of our last yuppie house, but like you I realize that living aboard we''re surrounded by natural beauty, as much or better than in a house.

BTW, if you''re thinking Westsail 32 you might also look for CSY 33, there aren''t many of them out there but they have all the tankage and strength you said were important in a ''next boat'' plus, they were built for charter trade and live very large for their length, as much as some boats in the high 30s.
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Old 07-15-2006
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This is a very good thread. I wonder if kmeeks is still around and how the liveaboard is going?
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Old 07-15-2006
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You'll be sorry for the

Hanging Locker. Been there done that, and guess what, If you spend anytime on the water you will wish you had shelves. Picture if you will, on crossings, your clothes hanging there swinging for hours, days on put end. Rubbing aginst each other and the locker sides. Then one day you go to the locker to get that nice pair of dockers and all that is in the locker is a pile of lint.
I installed the ventlated shelving in the locker and use Space Bags, The kind you suck the air out of, Your clothes stay fresh and dry for LOOOOOOng peirods of time and you can alot more stuff in one of those things.

Hi Trisch I haven't heard from you for awhile, How are you doing.
Fair Winds

Capn Dave
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Old 07-15-2006
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
The one problem with hanging lockers is chafe. If you don't use a bungee cord to restrain the clothes when your at sea...the chafe eats your clothes rather quickly.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 07-30-2006
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Huh? My hanging locker is so full the clothes don't have room to swing LOL!!Seriously, lots of marina liveaboards I know keep their clothing in their cars for this reason (assuming they ever leave the dock). Once you're cruising full-time you don't need very many hanging-type clothes.

Most of ours are of the Travelsmith/Weekenders/Destinations genre - washable, no wrinkle, mix-and-match. In that Washington DC is a conservative-dressing kind of town its pretty simple to just dress in boring colors and styles; no one notices if you've worn the same thing twice.
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Old 07-30-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eryka
Once you're cruising full-time you don't need very many hanging-type clothes.

Most of ours are of the Travelsmith/Weekenders/Destinations genre - washable, no wrinkle, mix-and-match.
Mine are from REI mostly... and I agree... long-term cruising and hanging wardrobes aren't really compatible.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 08-26-2006
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I received an inquiry today by private message - and thought I would post my reply here...just a little bit of an update...


Hello,

Thanks for writing.

I am currently working on client projects in the Pacific Northwest - and am looking forward to another voyage at the end of this year.

I get back to check on my boat about 3-4 times a year (I left her in good hands in a marina in Mexico after finishing my 2004 voyage).

I thoroughly enjoyed my voyage - and my experience living aboard - I consider Renaissance my official home - and I simply rent a room in whatever city I happen to be working on a client project.

I have kept almost all of my belongings in storage since moving aboard in 2002 - and havent' missed any of the "stuff" that normally fills a house.

I bought 10 acres of land (very cheaply) in Arkansas in 2003 - with plans to put a steel shipping container on it so that I wouldn't have to keep paying storage fees - but haven't gotten around to doing that yet.

It is a bit inconvenient to have my "stuff" spread out...storage in L.A., rented room in Seattle...boat in Mexico...but I hope to consolidate later this year or 2007.

If you are going to buy a boat and move aboard - and if you have a home now - I would recommend renting it out rather than selling it. At least for a few years until you decide that living aboard is really for you.

Putting everything into storage is also a recommended option - not selling it off at fire-sale prices. As I met several cruisers who did just that - and yet were not really suited to the cruising lifestyle.

I have looked at several boats as possible next purchases...but for now, I am satisfied with my older, smaller, (and cheaper to maintain) boat.

As far as ongoing expenses...here are a few of the must-haves...


Annual bottom paint (somewhat debatable)
Monthly check of your zincs



Nice to haves...

Monthly hull cleaning


Depending on your locale and marina - liveaboard expenses can vary widely. In Portland Oregon - total fees for a 32-43 ft. boat can be less than $375...in Cabo San Lucas - over $1600+

Your mileage may vary...

Kelvin



Quote:
Originally Posted by xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Im a new member. Enjoyed reading your live aboard reflections.

Are you still living aboard? Did you ever get another boat?

My wife and myself are soon to retire and move to Florida to be near to our son's family who has a Catalina 40.

I have the "jitters" about what it may cost to live aboard. What expenditures have you found you can eliminate that were necessary when you lived on land. Also what expenses have you found you can not do without living aboard?

Look forward to hearing from you....

xxxxxxxxxxxxxx in Texas....
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