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  #61  
Old 05-07-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

I am psyched for you and can't wait to do this myself. My wife and I are moving back to Florida and looking for a boat to sail and eventually sail away on. We are novices so we have a few years to learn before any potential live aboard situation, plus we have a 1 yr old so until he is a bit older we will take more lessons and improve our safety while having fun. At any rate, I read all these threads and loved the update. Good luck to you and please update on your trials both for our curiosity on your success and b/c others following in your steps will read and learn! Good luck!
DW
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  #62  
Old 05-07-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

Thanks!

I take her out for her first sail on Wednesday. Since I don't actually know how to sail, I checked out Lattitude38 for someone wanting to crew with lots of sailing experience. We'll see how it goes. Wednesday will be mostly a rig check and introduction, so to speak. But am glad I'm getting the chance to start sailing her. :-)

Also, at this point, again, since I'm a novice, I plan to stick to the estuary, where winds are fairly light. It's a large enough area for me to get to know my way around the boat without having to worry about currents, or high winds, for that matter. SF bay is notorious for both.

And finally, I've already taken time getting to know how my running rigging is set up. She's set up with the main halyard (of course), two jib halyards, and a genoa halyard. And everything is running aft for single handing.

As for doing this with a little one? Awesome. Hopefully you've checked out the cruising and sailing with children forum. We have a couple of families at our marina. They're just passing through. The kids are older (teens) and being home schooled. Imo, getting kids acquainted with sailing early is a pretty neat idea. :-)
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Old 05-07-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

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Originally Posted by shadowraiths View Post
.....And finally, I've already taken time getting to know how my running rigging is set up. She's set up with the main halyard (of course), two jib halyards, and a genoa halyard. And everything is running aft for single handing.

...... Imo, getting kids acquainted with sailing early is a pretty neat idea. :-)
Unlikely that a Catalina 27 has 3 jib/genoa halyards (which would all exit below the forestay tang) More likely you've got a spinnaker halyard (with the block outside/above the forestay) as the 3rd one.

Kids and sailing? Naturally!.. I think the key is getting them involved in the handling of the boat asap.. and avoid the electronic gizmos if you can. Our son first 'sailed' at 18 days of age, his daughter at 1 week.. Nearing 30 our son is an active sailor and boat owner himself - very gratifying indeed.
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Old 05-07-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

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Unlikely that a Catalina 27 has 3 jib/genoa halyards (which would all exit below the forestay tang) More likely you've got a spinnaker halyard (with the block outside/above the forestay) as the 3rd one.
lol, yeah, I meant a spinnaker, not a genoa. ;-P
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Old 05-08-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

Okay, some observations from my experience, so far. Ymmv.

I "legally" moved aboard on New Years eve. At the time, I was sick as a dog and it was raining... cats and dogs outside.

My boat does not have a head. So, that meant trekking up to the facilities, sometimes, in the middle of the night. In addition to the rain, it was cold (though not as cold as it can get on the northeast coast... I live in the bay area, so my cold is likely shirt sleeve weather to truly cold-hardened types.). Think camping only now, having to navigate sometimes slippery docks. Yeah, we do get frost on the docks during winter, though, they rarely ice over.

My boat does not have a stove either. I use a jetboil for cooking stuff that cannot be grilled. I do have a large rail grill. Which is great when it's not raining and blowing like a son-of-a gun.

Amazingly, I do have a fridge with a real freezer. Though, I'm swapping that out. Mainly bc the thing takes up too much room. That, and I live right across the street from the grocery store, so I don't need to stock up on a ton of food at once. This will also keep electricity costs down.

Requirements, of course, will differ, should I decide to, say cruise down the coast. At this point, however, I do not consider my boat to be cruise worthy. Bay cruising, yes. Blue water cruising. No. It only has a little outboard motor, after all.

But back to the cold bit. My boat is small, so it was fairly easy to keep warm and dry. Though, to keep electricity costs down, I made a few adjustments. Like only running the heater at night in the evenings and when I was up. Also, layers. Layers of clothing that is. Several, in some cases. And, if I felt really chilled, I'd sit out on deck for a bit, then coming inside felt cozy.

And then, there's the rain. Rainy season is a good way to find out if the boat has leaks. I did find a couple of leaks. One took me forever to finally figure out where it was coming from. As it turned out, some deck hardware had been removed but the holes made by the screws had never been resealed. Obvious, once I found it.

I also set up a "boom tent" to go over the back deck so I could sit outside when it wasn't too cold. I also ran into a guy who was tossing a window that was only two weeks old. He was redoing all his canvas. Since his boat was way bigger than mine, the window fit nicely across my bimini arcs, thereby making an "almost" enclosed porch. Being able to sit out on the back deck in a torrential downpour really helped to keep the cabin fever at bay. Moreover, it was way kewl. At least to me.

Getting out of the boat with a boom tarp that drapes down past the lifelines, however, can be a challenge. To address this, I installed a a 6 foot zipper (which I originally hand sewed, and have since replaced with a tarp zipper that's designed to take the stress without unravelling the tarp material) and tied a string to the zipper pull to make it easier to open/close. Oh, and I rigged a mini-tent (ala a paint drop cloth with plastic backing) over my hatch, so I could open that if it wasn't too cold. Primarily to keep the air flowing.

Okay, so rainy season seems to be pretty much over. Now we get really hot days. I still use the mini-tent over the hatch bc it keeps the afternoon sun from heating up the vberth, and basically acts as a makeshift air scoop. For the back deck, I use a canvas tarp that extends from my dodger to the bimini arches to keep out the morning sun. And, I've got a bamboo window shade draped across the companion way to let the air in while also keeping the sun out. This setup, so far, has resulted in an almost chilly cabin climate. Though, I suspect that will change when we start creeping into the 90s. Nonetheless, this setup is extremely easy to take down and stow away for sailing.

Then there's the marina I'm at. It is very much like a resort. Extremely nice, well kept facilities. Oh yeah. And free ice. The slips are also wired for cable. I have very high speed internet, and could have TV if I actually watched TV. And of course, there's dock power and water. The setting is quite nice as well. We've got a large waterfront park with exercise equipment and jogging path, as well as a mall across the street that includes groceries, mailboxes, and eateries. And, there's a bus stop right out front. There's also lots of wildlife. Additionally, the marina is fairly well protected from both weather and tide elements. The trade off is that it takes about 20 minutes to motor out to the main bay area. This, of course is fine by me.

And finally, there's the people. It's a mix of young and old. And while this is a live aboard friendly marina, it's not a water-logged trailer park, so to speak. That is, on nice days, just about everyone is out sailing or power boating. It's very active. Importantly, it's full of lots of really nice folk.

Okay, so, it's now May, and I'm still waiting for the honeymoon to end. Bc frankly, I love living aboard. Though, no doubt, some would be horrified at some of what I've described above. Unsurprisingly, living aboard, like any other lifestyle, is not for everyone.

What I think helps, for me, is that I've always been very adaptable. I've lived in a high rise penthouse with amenities up the wazoo and the most amazing views. I've been a basement dweller as well. I even lived in a tent trailer, which had way less room than my boat, while traveling around the states. The only thing I haven't done, is live on the street...or in a war zone, for that matter. That is, as an adult. Though, I suspect if either ever turned out to be my lot in life, I'd make due.

Guess what I'm saying is, imho, adaptability is key. Esp if you're purposefully trying to live on a shoe string budget. Which I do.

Btw, speaking of budget. I budget everything. I also prioritize. And, I buy used as much as possible. Luckily I have a chandlery nearby. Which is a tad like a candy store to me, so I even budget how often I visit and try to only go there if I "think" I need something. Also, I generally cook at home and my entertainment, outside of family, friends, sailing and putzing around on my boat projects, is a good book or a movie.

Most of my boating friends have predicted that I will end up trading up. I may. We'll see. Regardless, some might say I live a minimalist life. Though, I would say, I live a simple life. One that makes me happy. Importantly, a life that makes me content.

Anyway, that's my experience, so far. Ymmv.

Btw, side note, I've run into a surprisingly large number of young people (as in college age, young) who are going the live aboard route. Some, even living on the hook. It's kinda kewl, actually. :-)
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  #66  
Old 05-09-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

This sounds great. My wife and I have been travelling for over a month with our pets and a 1 year old and realized how many things we don't "need". Bet it's the same for you. I thought your boat had a head? That's an item I want when we begin shopping next month!
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Old 05-09-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

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This sounds great. My wife and I have been travelling for over a month with our pets and a 1 year old and realized how many things we don't "need". Bet it's the same for you.
Totally. When I first moved aboard, I brought way too much crap with me. Within a week, I was off loading it. And just yesterday, I ditched my fridge and picked up an igloo ice chest from west marine. Boy, talking about a difference that made! I still have too much crap, imo. But at least what's left is fairly small and easy to store.

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I thought your boat had a head? That's an item I want when we begin shopping next month!
Nope. No head. And from various reports ( link ) and the fact that the head would be only a couple of feet from where I sleep? Moreover, the immaculately kept facilities are close. That, and even if I had a head, I wouldn't use it anyway... as noted in the link above (concern about the smell).
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Old 05-10-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

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......even if I had a head, I wouldn't use it anyway... as noted in the link above (concern about the smell).
The easiest marine heads to keep from smelling are the ones that are used routinely. You must, however, follow marine head protocol, which is different from land based. Much more flush water than most think, never anything (ever, ever, ever) other than human waste and toilet paper in the tank, good ventilation.... I could go on. The most common sin is the prolific advice to flush olive oil to lubricate the pump. Its among the worst thing you can do to generate smells in the holding tank. It skims along the top and kills the good bacteria that doesn't smell and creates the exact environment that bad smelly bacteria love.

A technique, when you may find yourself away for a few days with a partially full tank, is to restrict usage of the onboard heads to "number 1". You are likely to make more visits for that anyway and go ashore for "number 2". Not so inconvenient.
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  #69  
Old 08-15-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

Another semi-mini update. Can't believe it's already August! Still loving living aboard.

Picked up an MSD porta potti. Also picked up a single burner origo stove. I tossed the dorm fridge for an ice chest. Took up less room, electricity, etc. Then a neighbor comes by one day, banging on my cabin, asking if I wanted a fridge. Turned out to be a haier thermoelectric cooler. Thing smelled to high heaven. So I spent some time giving it a good scrub over, took it apart. Literally. Still smelled. Considered tossing it but decided to check the google machine, first. Thanks to ground coffee, the smell is gone and I can actually use it.

I did finally break down and buy a van, even installed an insulated floor in the thing. Was thinking about turning it into a hippie van... you know, eye sore shag rug, bean bag chairs, lava lamp... J/K! Actually, I plan to use it as a make-shift camper during haul outs.

Let's see, what else? I've turned into somewhat of a dock rat... sorta like bljones post describes. I do a lot of scrounging and bartering. Mainly trying to save in the event I do trade up. Boat size-wise, that is. So far, have managed to score stainless steel bimini arcs (which I mounted with Genoa track cars from Catalina Direct), dock steps w/storage (which I didn't really need, but now that I have them...), new dock lines, marine power cord, marine pigtail, a boat bell, dry-dek, and a few tools.

As for the important stuff? You know, the sailing stuff? Have been going down a check list to ensure the boat meets USCG regulations. Also met some folks who own a sailing school. So, have had the opportunity to take sailing and docking lessons. Still have a long way to go.

As for the day to day minutia... I do a lot of BBQ'ing. Becoming quite creative in that department. Am learning about the different birds who frequent the area, who, TG, are not crapping all over my boat. Have been enjoying my aquatic neighbors, as well. Schools of fish shimmer on the water's surface at dawn and dusk. Of late, have been hearing a lot of mysterious splashing around the hull. Couldn't figure out for the life of me what it was. Every time I'd look, nothing. Finally decided it must be a diving Cormorant. Well, I was totally wrong! As it turns out, it's a freaking huge manta ray! Of all things. Think I'll call him George since he seems to have taken up residence under my boat! lol

But anyway... all things considered? Yeah, life is good. Wouldn't trade it for the world.
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Old 08-15-2012
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Re: Just beginning to shop around... would love feedback/ideas...

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Another semi-mini update. Can't believe it's already August! Still loving living aboard.
Great! I like when people make the leap and tell how they did/are doing. Sounds like you are settling in really well.

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As it turns out, it's a freaking huge manta ray! Of all things. Think I'll call him George since he seems to have taken up residence under my boat! lol

But anyway... all things considered? Yeah, life is good. Wouldn't trade it for the world.
Melissa in Miami (melrna) has a manatee that hangs out around her boat. I think she named her.

I've had nothing more exciting that turtles and jellyfish. Oh well.

Good to hear from you.
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