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  Topic Review (Newest First)
08-12-2009 11:34 PM
Originally Posted by svartsvensk View Post

How long does a 15 gallon holding tank take to fill up? Anyone have any experience with treatment systems? Are they a real bear to integrate? Are they really sanitary/environmentally sound? We have one onboard and love it. Would never go back to a traditional system. My old 20gal holding tank filled up in 8-10 days with 2 people full time.

Any suggestions for vaccum cleaners? I was thinking a mini-wet/dry shopvac. With our dog, it's a necessity.
Yes, I have one and it's perfect. Doesn't get cat/dog hair out of carpet though. There are some really small vaccums with rollers for carpet that can be had for $30 or so. They look like a large dust-buster.[/quote]

Aftermarket shipborne heaters and AC - what sort of price range can I expect to find on these? Where can I begin looking? Are there any used ones out there?
We use electric heating while shoreside. I've had really good luck with the "Vornado" heater. It's the safest and pushes air all the way to the other end of the boat. Also the delongi oil filled radiator is great and doesn't dry up your eyeballs like a forced air does.[/quote]
Speaking of heating - I've read that most people use propane, electricity, and diesel heaters. No love for the old fashioned wood stove? Does this have more to do with fuel storage than anything else?
The wood stove I had on my last boat was my favorite part of the boat. Pure magic. It was essentially the dickenson solid fuel stove. Tiny tot stoves are better heaters as they're airtight and thus you can control them better. No window though so you can't watch the flame. A neightbor of mine took a welding class just so he could weld up his own airtight wood stove witth window. I think I'm going to do the same. Compressed firelogs or charcol work best.

Home-entertainment systems - I'm lucky to have an HD projector and awesome surround sound here in my apartment, I know those will have to go. ...but has anyone set up a flat-panel HDTV and small surround speakers? Any suggestions about what's better in the confined spaces of a boat?
Seen plenty of these. They seem to work great. Bose comes to mind.

Computers - should I stick with my laptop only? Or try to integrate a desktop in somewhere, using the TV as a monitor? Should I chuck my Playstation3 in favor of a blu-ray drive for the computer?
Laptops work great and you can lounge anywhere on the boat. If they have an output that is compatible with your HDTV then it's all that much better. Get a car adapter for your laptop and use that with your battery system when you're not shoreside.

Mooring in DC - Eventually we'd like a slip, but we're willing to live "on the hook" for awhile until we sort that out... I read here that you can moor for free or very cheap for up to two weeks at a time off the gangplank marina; does that mean we'll need to find another place to stay for one or two nights a week? Where else could we moor in or around DC?
I would find a slip unless you're really SURE you want to live on the hook. Does your wife want to row the dingy into work in the DC winter? Can you generate enough power? There are lots of considerations with living on the hook and it is a much much bigger step than just living aboard.

Toolkit - I'm going to need to pair down my set of tools. What do you think are the essentials I'll need to bring? (preliminary list: Sander, drill, circular saw, reciprocating saw, jigsaw, worklight, wrenches, drivers, planer, torque-wrench, hammer, ball-pein hammer, rubber mallet, steel drift, wood chisel)
I'd start with sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers and pliers. That way you can fix most mechanical things. The woodworking tools are less "essential" and more for projects. Since boats always install mechanical things in tight corners get as many socket extenders, wobble extenders, elbows and other devices for working in tight space. Also a set of sutbby wrenches and short screwdrivers can be lifesavers. Check out harbor freight tools. They're dead cheap and their solid toold (wrenches and sockets) are of good enough quality. You don't want to spend too much as it'll all end up overboard, in the bilge or rusted eventually.

Building a bimini - how hard is this? Anyone done it? I'd like to give it a go, any advice?
Never tried it. Seen lots of them cheap on ebay though.

Dinghy's - is sail/row ok? Or is something with a motor really that crucial?
Inflatables require a motor period. I once got swept out to sea from my own marina by current I could not row against a current in my inflatable. I prefer solid dingys for many reasons. The dingy I really want (and plan to buy soon) is: Portland Pudgy multifunction dinghy -- the fun boat that could save your life!

Firearm safety and storage aboard - where are the best places to keep the ship's armory?
If nobody knows you have one you're less likely to get them stolen. Besides that I would buy a small handgun safe and bolt in somewhere hidden. For the long arms you might look into some of the retention devices police use in their cars. Basically it's a lockable molded bit of plastic that goes over the receiver of the AR, shotgun etc. I kept my long arms in a locked steel box that was in a locked cargo truck that was in a locked storage unit. Just recently had them all stolen. Also guns aboard will get some lite surface rust. Purely cosmetic.

Good luck! Enjoy your new adventure and when you're looking to buy a boat, stick with fiberglass.

MedSailor -lived aboard 8.5years on two boats. The first was wood and while I loved her, she broke my heart in the end. Don't buy wood unless you are already a marine carpenter.
08-05-2009 06:14 PM
scottyt from what i just read the 37 hunters can get wet decks if you look make sure it gets checked
08-05-2009 05:51 PM
scottyt kris if you have the cash in hand call that guy and offer him 15 k based on a decent survey. if the survey says its okay buy it for 15. you might need to keep it in florida for a few months, or even the winter but cash is king, and he might go for a cash offer, worse they can say is no.

its getting to be hurrican season he will need to worry about that so the price might come down. heck when talking ask when/if the hurricans hit where the boat is due to maybe having to keep it there for a while. this might get him thinking getting rid of it now is a good idea

if you do get it ins it for the hurricanes
08-05-2009 05:01 PM
svartsvensk Apart from the many concerns voiced here about wood as a hull material (once more, my many thanks for your advice), the previous owner's use of 3M 5200 on the ballast/keel seam is what's got me the most concerned at the moment. This leak is a problem, and if it turns out I have to replace the keel bolts, I'm HOSED. If the rest of the boat is in great shape, that's all well and good, but this is a big gamble. Coupled with the short length at the waterline, I've got my eyes on other options, and even though the Hunter 36 I was looking at in MD has just sold, a 1984 Hunter 37 has just popped up in Florida.

Anyone know anything about this particular boat? I'm very encouraged by what I'm reading about the Hunters, and the 37 in general. The private quarterberth has got me all giddy - my kid could have his own room. I may just have to give these folks a call.
08-03-2009 06:04 PM
miatapaul Kris,

Guess we should stop trying to talk you out of it, I just would hate to see you say "my wife could not put up with the dampness..." or the work or what ever. If I was made of money and could afford to have several boats and have a full time person to work on them I might have a wood boat, They sure are beautiful. Just not practical.

The biggest issue with the Kettenburg is going to be resale, and you will want to sell it to get away from the wooden boat maintenance. You may be able to get the same amount of money for it IF you maintain it to better than now standards IF you can find a buyer IF IF IF... Wood boats are very hard to sell, and many perfectly good boats get cut up because the owner is sick of maintaining it and cant find a buyer. Remember, too your talking about double the expense of maintaining a plastic boat. Many yards will be hesitant to even haul a wooden boat for fear of it being abandoned.

I know you seem dead set on a wood boat, I would say find a plastic for now, and in a few years that wood boat will likely still be for sale and get it after a few years of living on a fiberglass boat. You make it seem like you are going to be able to fix the leak, I doubt it. Not that I doubt your skills, but I doubt it can be fixed. Every wooden boat that is more than 15 years old leaks. (some would say 15 hours old) The only way I would touch a wooden boat is if I made it myself, or knew who made it and it was less than 10 years old, unless I decided I wanted to work on it more than be on it.

A fiberglass boat will not need to be hauled out every year, if you have good bottom paint you will get a few seasons out of it. Remember the entire time your out of the water your family will be in a hotel. Polishing and repainting a wooden boat will take a lot longer than a glass one and will need to be done every year.

Remember resale value is useless if you can't find some one to buy it!
08-03-2009 05:10 PM
svartsvensk What about the Kettenburg makes you classify it as a CC, Brian? By all accounts I've read, a great many of them have crossed oceans (including the one in Florida for sale), and the hulls are very strong and sound. I know they have sailing characteristics not perfect for blue-water voyaging and require more tending of helm and sails than full-keel blue-water boats, but again, shouldn't hull-strength be a more important factor in oceanic voyaging than sailing qualities? Also, CD, where is that surveyor located in Florida? West Coast or East coast? It's possible that the owner of the Ket will be sailing it to the West Coast where he lives to make showing it easier - I may just shell out for the survey on the gamble that all will be well before I actually go out there, since there are not a lot of other boats I'd want to sail up from Florida.

Those are some very nice boats you guys linked me to, but I'm afraid they are all well out of my price-range. I don't want to take on a multi-year loan for a boat, and I certainly don't want to buy anything that far from depreciation. The Kett should hold value fairly well if I keep it in good shape, which I'll essentially HAVE to do, since it'd be my home (again, not SET on buying it, but leaning towards it).


Thanks for your post! My wife and I have been poking around your blog, actually, it's a great one, and full of ideas for us and our son. I'm sure we'll be contacting you sooner or later with a myriad of questions about the areas, marinas, commutes, and more!

Thanks again!


(you guys asked for a regular name, you got it. )
08-03-2009 11:56 AM
Originally Posted by scottyt View Post
svartsvensk, you need to give us a real name that is a mouth full to type

second it looks like your price range based on what you posted is 20 k, you might want to look at the irwin 37 cetner cockpit. i know you said something about CC's but for family liveaboard they look great for privacy reasons. they have a great lay out, i really like them, when/if i go bigger i will be looking closer at them

here is a link that has some 37 CC on it

Be careful with teh Irwins. Many had delamination issues. We have one in our yard right now that is being peeled and half way into it they found voids that basically made the repair undoable (at least from a cost point of view). This is not true of all Irwins. Also, the Irwin (and sorry, in my opinio nthe Kett's) are coastal boats. That is not a bad thing, but probably not the boat to circle the globe in.

Here is a bot if you can come up with the cash:

1981 Islander Freeport Sail Boat For Sale -

Not a true go around the world boat, but built like a tank. There is another in our marina somewhat similar. This particual boat is maybe 6 slips down from me. If you can come up with just a bit more cash, I mught suggest it. I can take a look at it for you. I do not know the owner of this boat.

There is also another called a Downeast in our marina (2 of them actually) and if I am not mistaken, they were made by Valiant (at their location). THey are well built and hardy boats. Full Keels. I know the owner of one of them and it is magnificently cared for.

Here is one: Cedar Mills Marina & Resort (Gordonville, TX)

Here is the second (the one I know):

Cedar Mills Marina & Resort (Gordonville, TX)

Being that they are fresh water boats, they will cost more but you will find they are in much better shape than a similar boat in salt. I can pesonally vouch for the second DownEast.

- CD
08-02-2009 11:54 PM
saltydawg svartsvensk,

We live aboard in Annapolis with our son and until last fall out 50-pound mutt as well (he died at age 15). I am also in the tv biz (but decided to go without one on board for the sake of our son). Sounds like we'd have a lot to talk about and I'd be happy to answer any questions for you or your wife about raising a family aboard in this area. Click on my blog link below to see how "normal" and lovely life aboard with a kid can be.
Hope to see you out here!
08-02-2009 08:04 PM
scottyt svartsvensk, you need to give us a real name that is a mouth full to type

second it looks like your price range based on what you posted is 20 k, you might want to look at the irwin 37 cetner cockpit. i know you said something about CC's but for family liveaboard they look great for privacy reasons. they have a great lay out, i really like them, when/if i go bigger i will be looking closer at them

here is a link that has some 37 CC on it

08-02-2009 05:28 PM
svartsvensk Yeah, wood is definitely more labor intensive, the finish on the hull needs to be polished every year, and any sort of bad spots in the paint need to be fixed as soon as they're apparent. Leaks in the hull happen, and repairing them is generally an out-of-water recaulking job, but that typically doesn't need to happen often. This particular boat was dry-hauled last year and taken down to the wood, and repainted after a close inspection by a (I hear) good surveyor. Unfortunately, the seal between the lead ballast and the wood keel was done using a 3M product that hardens and shrinks. It was then patched a little bit with some underwater putty, but it still leaks. I'll have to reseal this bit with a dry-haul and some proper caulk before doing anything serious with the boat, I imagine.

Wood boats that are badly neglected end up leaking all over, and those are the ones you hear horror stories about. Ones that have been well taken care of do still sometimes have problems, but it's usually not a nightmare (so I'm reading). Wood DECKS are one of those things that are constantly a problem, and I must say, even though they're pretty, I'm glad the Ket has fiberglass decking, and is not prone to leaks.
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