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speedbug78 10-07-2011 06:18 PM

Sailing the PNW
My wife and I have downsized our lives from twin engineering incomes and related, to owning a small auto repair business. We are currently living on a very small amount of money in a nice, but older 35' 5th wheel.

I would very much like to purchase a sailboat and sail the Pacific Northwest. We pretty much have 2 options.

1. Purchase a smaller/trailer-able sailboat (20'-28') and sail the many lakes/harbors in the area.
2. Purchase a larger boat (35'-42') and livaboard in Newport,OR

My existing sailing experience/knowledge is from smaller sailboats (<20') in protected waters.

I very much love the water and being out on it, and am most excited about the livaboard option, though my wife is a bit on the fence about it.

Any general advice, or advice on how we could get more experience and be able to make a more informed decision in the future?

Faster 10-07-2011 07:10 PM

How live-aboard-friendly is Newport OR? I'd say that's the first part of the puzzle. It's difficult to find legal live aboard moorage in Vancouver BC.. and if you do it's pricey and the city gets its share too. As a result, esp if financing the boat it's not a particularly inexpensive way to live.

As to the boat itself, both approaches may well work for you... how much use you'd get out of the larger liveaboard may depend on how easily handled she is, and what's actually involved in getting away from the dock... A disadvantage to that part of the coast is a lack of protected cruising waters such as what we enjoy in BC.

It may be that an inexpensive trailerable, continuing to live economically in your trailer, and getting sailing experience by traveling around to different areas (including Puget Sound and BC waters) makes the most sense.

Good luck!

carl762 10-07-2011 07:16 PM

Personally, since you have experience, get a larger boat. A good friend of mine and his girlfriend live on a Columbia 34, and it's quite roomy inside, good headroom, beautiful galley, woodstove, etc.

Of course, you would need some schooling in offshore sailing and navigation, etc.

... something I can only dream about at this time. I do, however, camp aboard my boat all year round half the time. Sleep better on the boat than at the house.

Best of Luck!!!

blt2ski 10-07-2011 09:44 PM

With the where you are at, the ability to really cruise the NW waters. a mid 20' CB style sailboat would be the best option that is trailerable. Otherwise, it would take you a freaken week if you will to get to the SJ's or equal from where you are. Where as you could be up here, to a larger lake in a day.

I would get the largest trailerable easily setup boat one could.


speedbug78 10-07-2011 10:41 PM

Interesting advice from the liveaboard section of the forum :) But really, I do appreciate the advice. I know of a few people who liveaboard (legally) in Newport, they tell me a 40' slip is around $2K a year. Unfortunately I'm not close friends with any of them, so seeing it first hand (other than just walking the docks) hasn't happened.

I have several questions about living aboard, I hope its all good to ask them here.

What kind of maintenance costs should I expect (very handy person, have my own repair business, but would of course have to pay for haul-outs and things that require large equipment specific to a boat)?

Also we are very comfortable in our 35' trailer, what length of sailboat should we consider for similar living space (of course make/era will have a large effect)?

I'll try to limit myself to one or two questions at a time :)

blt2ski 10-07-2011 11:06 PM

Now comes the WHICH sized 35' 5w do you have? one of the non slide? single? double? triple? quad? of even one of the 5 slide 5w's? IIRC tho, max sq foot for a trailer to stay an RV is 400.......

The real question is, are you wanting to literally live on the boat as a replacement to the trailer? or have both per say? if both, a smaller "LARGE - mid 20' " trailerable boat may the best option. If selling the RV and living on the boat is the goal, then a 35-40 sailboat is on par with a 30-35' power boat sq footage wise.


speedbug78 10-08-2011 02:53 PM

Thanks for the input blt2ski, we have an 88 35' 5th wheel, it doesn't have any slideouts, so 8*35 would be 240 sq ft. We could actually go a little smaller if needed, but are happy at this size.

Most of the questions I have are about actually replacing the trailer with a sailboat (option #2) rather than going with option #1 above. I feel that I've traveled a similar enough road in the past to have a good handle on that one.

I understand from the advice above (and just what makes sense), that having a smaller trailerable sailboat and continueing to live in our current location, is probably the most economical and would put us in range of more sailing destinations more quickly. However I would like to explore the idea of living aboard, and be able to make the best decision for us. Option #2 holds more intruige for me, and I'd like to know more about it.

A couple of other tidbits for input:
What is it like sailing up the coast? Say I wanted to go to Portland or something?
Is it reasonable to purchase a boat in the size range we're talking about for $50k?

Thanks again for the input.

cb32863 10-08-2011 03:41 PM

A 35' sailboat is not going to have 280 sq ft of livable space inside..... They aren't a rectangle. You should go look at some 35' boats, 25 foot trailerables as well, and get a real feel for the interior space.



blt2ski 10-10-2011 01:11 PM

I would also hop on board a few boats at dealers or equal. Some boats are more open ala a Hunter/Jeanneau/Beneteau vs some what some call better built boats will be smaller in sq footage for a given size. Newer boats are roomier in general terms than boats 10-15yr+ old. There is also less solid wood, more laminates/plywoods etc used today than yrs pas. European built boats have more laminates than NA built boats due to lack of forests to get the wood among other reasons. Personally I am not always positive solid is better than a plywood. Both have places frankly.

The other question re time. If you can go with the current figure 7-9 miles an hour, if not about 5-7 for the boat itself, if agains the current, ie going up the Columbia, 3-5 miles an hour. If Portland is say 100 miles from you, that is anywhere from a looooong trip of 30 hrs to as little as 10'ish. All the way up the Wa coast in to the Str of Juan de Fuca to the san juan islands, IIRC about 400 or so miles at 5 knots is 80 hrs straight! No real places along a lot of the Wa coast to stop if things get hairy. IF you could do say 6-8 hrs a day. that is almost 2 weeks to get up here.


jackdale 10-10-2011 01:13 PM


Originally Posted by cb32863 (Post 784055)
A 35' sailboat is not going to have 280 sq ft of livable space inside..... They aren't a rectangle.


Maybe a cat?

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