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post #11 of 45 Old 11-27-2016
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

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- Since I have another 18 years of mortgage payments to "look forward to", I will probably never be out of debt, and, because homeowners incur all sorts of expenses, e.g., $8,000 dollar heat pump replacement last month, then whether I live in boredom here, or enjoy living on a boat, cruising, paying slip fees, and incurring various nautical costs, either way I will still be in debt. So, I might as well have fun while remaining broke.

Regards,
Donald
Not to rain on your parade there but there are plenty of $8000 surprises that can happen on a boat also. If you spend 18 years paying off your mortgage at least you have some equity. With the boat the money spent keeping it afloat is money poured directly into the ocean never to appreciate. I would research the long-term costs and financial implications of selling your home to own a boat before leaving TN.

As far as learning to sail if you are a self starter you can teach most of what you need to know yourself. It might help to take the basic classes but there may be a club as well or a yacht club that you can hang out at to start sailing without spending $2500 on lessons. If you are going to live on a boat there should be plenty of liveaboards in the marina wanting to go sailing, but not wanting to move their plants.

My marina has a size limitation on live aboards but that does not stop two people on 30 foot Catalina from living near my boat. Some marinas take their rules more seriously than others. I personally would rather live in WA over FL unless it was to live full time on a boat, either way you need to factor in heat or air conditioning into the equation.
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post #12 of 45 Old 11-27-2016
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

If you have the budget for lessons, perhaps drive down to FL and take a week long, liveaboard fast track cruising sailing course. I think Off Shore Sailing School does them in Tampa area. I'm sure there are others. On one hand, if you do that now, you would have a better sense of whether this will be as good as you hope. On the other hand, if you don't get to sailing soon thereafter, you'll lose all the training (i.e. learn fast, lose fast).

You mentioned being in debt for life. Does the boat purchase budget include financing the boat? If so, be careful. The boat can quickly be worth less than you owe, unless you have a significant down payment. Many (possibly most) marine lenders do not finance liveaboard boats, perhaps because the wear and tear is greater and value declines too fast. I'm not sure their logic is always good, but offer it for your research. Some will say one should never finance a boat. I don't always feel that way, especially if it's your home. Although, be sober about how it may work out.

The final component of financial planning should recognize that some great percentage of cruisers and liveaboards eventually move back ashore, unless they die unexpectedly.

I'm only offering thoughts for planning. I hope it becomes everything you dream it to be. Good luck.


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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

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Not to rain on your parade there but there are plenty of $8000 surprises that can happen on a boat also. If you spend 18 years paying off your mortgage at least you have some equity. With the boat the money spent keeping it afloat is money poured directly into the ocean never to appreciate. I would research the long-term costs and financial implications of selling your home to own a boat before leaving TN.

As far as learning to sail if you are a self starter you can teach most of what you need to know yourself. It might help to take the basic classes but there may be a club as well or a yacht club that you can hang out at to start sailing without spending $2500 on lessons. If you are going to live on a boat there should be plenty of liveaboards in the marina wanting to go sailing, but not wanting to move their plants.

My marina has a size limitation on live aboards but that does not stop two people on 30 foot Catalina from living near my boat. Some marinas take their rules more seriously than others. I personally would rather live in WA over FL unless it was to live full time on a boat, either way you need to factor in heat or air conditioning into the equation.
Jep is dead on in his comment...TN is about one of the cheapest states in the nation to live in, minus the big cities of course. No state income tax and a host of other things. You really need to check out WA and FL, if you think they will be any cheaper than TN. Whether in a house or on a boat.

We lived aboard on and off for the past decade or two, and we learned a lot. You still have expenses, and unless you are a real DIYer with access to tools, you WILL have to use a shop or yard at some point and that can cost a LOT and you will often need a place to live for a week or so, while the boat is at the yard.

I live in Middle TN and will be happy to talk with you about our experiences, if you want.

best of luck no matter what you choose to do.

dave
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

Hello Dave, thanks for your feedback and offer to talk about things, it's very much appreciated.

Yes, I know that housing in TN is far cheaper than either FL, or WA, but I was raised on the West coast, lived there until Dec 2004, love the ocean, miss it terribly, and as beautiful as it is here in TN, I don't like being landlocked, and I plan to move as soon as I can sell my house.

FYI: If the economy hadn't tanked in 2008, I would have sold my house back then.

* Where did you live aboard, and what kind of boat did you own?

Appreciate your willingness to help,
Donald
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

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If you have the budget for lessons, perhaps drive down to FL and take a week long, liveaboard fast track cruising sailing course. I think Off Shore Sailing School does them in Tampa area. I'm sure there are others. On one hand, if you do that now, you would have a better sense of whether this will be as good as you hope. On the other hand, if you don't get to sailing soon thereafter, you'll lose all the training (i.e. learn fast, lose fast).

You mentioned being in debt for life. Does the boat purchase budget include financing the boat? If so, be careful. The boat can quickly be worth less than you owe, unless you have a significant down payment. Many (possibly most) marine lenders do not finance liveaboard boats, perhaps because the wear and tear is greater and value declines too fast. I'm not sure their logic is always good, but offer it for your research. Some will say one should never finance a boat. I don't always feel that way, especially if it's your home. Although, be sober about how it may work out.

The final component of financial planning should recognize that some great percentage of cruisers and liveaboards eventually move back ashore, unless they die unexpectedly.

I'm only offering thoughts for planning. I hope it becomes everything you dream it to be. Good luck.
What you are saying is all true, and is good advice, and yes, it is probably axiomatic, that most sailers eventually come back to land to die, but until then, I want to live on the ocean - for the first time in my life - while I am still capable of doing so.

Why? Because I was raised, and lived, near the sea most of my life, and it was only unforeseen circumstances, coupled with well-intentioned, yet bad advice, that prevented me from buying a live aboard sailboat years ago. So, I have decided that it is time to redeem that huge mistake, and [finally] eliminate that deep, lifelong regret.

FYI: I plan to take a basic keelboat course at a local lake based marina in Spring 2017, and after that, want to wangle some delivery, or race crew opportunities in the Gulf, and along the eastern seaboard. At least those are my hopes anyway.

Once again, I very much appreciate your feedback, and look forward to more in the future.

Oh, almost forgot, I plan to use the profits from the sale of my house to buy the boat outright. Unless of course, I can find a decent paying job again, in which case, I'll use that income to buy the boat, then rent out my place as soon as I move aboard. On the other hand, I just might sell my house anyway (-still thinking that one thru).

Regards,
Donald
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

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....Oh, almost forgot, I plan to use the profits from the sale of my house to buy the boat outright. Unless of course, I can find a decent paying job again, in which case, I'll use that income to buy the boat, then rent out my place as soon as I move aboard. On the other hand, I just might sell my house anyway (-still thinking that one thru)......
That is great that you would own the boat outright. Eliminating debt for retirement is a huge financial advantage.

I've been a long distance landlord and it can be tough. Tenants do not care for your property, like you would. They don't all pay, nor stay for the term of their lease. Systems fail (hot water heaters, furnace, roof) and they suck up an entire year or more surplus. It can be a great strategy to maintain a house to move back to, but you must have someone local who can tend to the property and watch the tenants and they cost money too.
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

I chime in... w/ my experience. I started my interest in sailing at 38 after a friend with a 31 sailboat asked me to help him with Spring prep and then asked me to partner with him on a 48'. I was enchanted enough to take sailing lessons and buy and read a dozen books and sailing and cruising and attend shows and immerse myself in a new world previously unknown to me. The cost of my learning efforts were not very much.

Before I purchased; Offshore school of Sailing; Learn to Sail - 3 day course, Books and mags, boat shows - cost $500

Friend backed out of the deal so armed with a little bit of knowledge and a LOT of interest I decided to buy a boat and went to the same broker who had a new 36' from the same builder as the 48'. It seemed huge and intimidating. My buddy and the surveyor told me the boat was fine. So with less than a few weeks of on water experience, I bought Shiva, a new 36' fractional rig. YIKES. I had money saved and thought this was great way to spend it. I paid 50% and got a mortgage. I was still working.

After I purchased - more books and mags and courses at the NY Planetarium in navigation, coastal, celestial, meteorology and so on - cost $500.

I sailed as much as I could with the expectation that one day I could sail to the Tropics. I upgraded the boat with all manner of equipment over the first 6 years, AP, refer, nav gear, radar, windlass, ground tackle, heating, solar panels, storm sails raft and so on... This was perhaps another $15,000.

Final test for me was to do offshore work. I entered the Marion Bermuda race in 91 with friend and the broker who sold me the boat and a few others. It cost about $1,500 (guess as I forgot). The race was not the point, the experience was. We hit some very very bad weather. Boat was fine... crew was all seasick! I was ready!

After giving most of my things away to charity and friends... I headed south 6 months after returning from the Bermuda... and moved aboard. I did not intend to remain a full time live aboard when I left. I had no long term plans other than to cruise and see what would develop. Lived aboard for 4 or 5 years having spent my savings and was forced to resume work in my former profession - architecture. Kept the boat... even listed it for sale for a few months when it looked too expensive to keep... but things changed got married and now we weekend sail and do some longer cruises. Not selling the boat. We talked about moving aboard and retiring in the tropics... Grand kids seem to be the present barrier.

I recommend to older salts that they use mechanical and electrical crew whenever possible... windlass, AP, furling systems, and an electric winch or similar for lifting... sails, motors, dinks and so on. Spirit remains but strength departs.

If I could do it... you can do it. PLAN AHEAD.... You've got a huge advantage now... the WWW. USE IT!

Good luck!
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Last edited by SanderO; 11-28-2016 at 04:33 PM.
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

Lots of OPINIONS in this thread, so I'll share mine;

Advantages of fractional versus mast-head rigs: I am a sailing instructor, I teach on both types of rigs. The "advantage" of the fractional is that it might, depending on how well trimmed the boat is, have more tendency to demonstrate weather helm. The "dis-advantage" is that the masts seem to be built lighter, and the head sail is smaller. I find the difference between the two rigs, unless you are racing, to be negligible. FWIW, the boat that I own is a mast head rig, and I have a 135% Genoa.

Also, regarding the rig, I have taught on boats with fractional rigs and self-tending jibs, and I HATE THEM. {EDIT: To be clear, I HATE the self-tending apparatus. It consistently gives poor head sail shape.}

Fast-Track courses; These are designed to prepare someone that has no formal sailing vocabulary ("sheets, halyards, head up, fall off, tack, gybe," etc.) TO CHARTER A BOAT in a one week time frame. Realize that when you charter, you take the boat from anchorage to anchorage, and pick up a mooring. Frequently, charter boats are not allowed to pull up to a dock. They do not, in my opinion, prepare that person to live aboard, or to maintain their own boat.

I suggest taking either the ASA or US Sailing curriculum ONE course at a time, and spending practice time between courses without an instructor. One of the schools that I work with redirected a client that wanted a "fast track" to instead, spread the ASA 101 (small boat with tiller), 103 (30 foot boat with a wheel), and 104 (42 foot boat) out over twelve days. The client lived aboard a boat (the 42 footer) for the entire time, and was allowed/encouraged to practice sail/anchor/dock/navigate/other, without an instructor aboard, in between each class. I was their 104 instructor, and feel that these clients really learned how to handle the boat.

Regarding budget; I bought my boat for ~35K, 7 years ago. I do all my own work (except canvas). Since buying the boat I have put more than $30K into the boat (canvas, drive line, electronics, pumps, engine repairs, auto-pilot, etc - NOT counting taxes, fees, slip, storage or insurance) yet today the boat is probably worth about $35K.

Good luck!
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Last edited by eherlihy; 11-28-2016 at 11:41 AM.
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

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.....Fast-Track courses..... {snip}...... They do not, in my opinion, prepare that person to live aboard, or to maintain their own boat. .....
The recommendation was for neither. However, I have seen these courses take a complete zero to a fairly competent fair weather sailor in just that amount of time. My wife, in particular. I was amazed. Of course, she had the opportunity to put her training to immediate use, which is the real trick to fast learning. Naturally, there is a lot more to foul weather, offshore survival and boat maintenance that these course don't touch.

Nevertheless, the purpose of the recommendation was for the OP to have the experience of living aboard and sailing for a week, as we're discussing someone who plans sell their house and move aboard with no experience doing so. You cook, clean, sail and sleep aboard, with no vacation break, other than an occasional meal ashore. I think it's a pretty good way to quickly determine if the dream and reality are aligned.
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Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

I wouldn't recommend any radical life style change. Learn to sail... crew on other boats... look around with a broker at boats... visit docks and other boats and chat up sailors and ask questions. Don't rush into a boat and sell your house and move aboard lickity split. Take some time... this is an important decision and many other smaller decisions follow on from that one.

++++

Shiva is a fractional rig. She has a 130 genny and a rather large main. I now use a Milwaukee with a winch bit to raise the sail and this makes it effortless. Same with the electric windless. Anchoring is not a chore or a physical challenge.

Shiva has some slight weather helm but she can sail on her own if sails are trimmed right in moderate winds... with no one on the helm. The fractional rig and her high free board make her restless at anchor. I use a riding sail often to cut the yawing. Trimming the 130 is not a problem with the winches we have. She sails OK with main alone . But the mainsail needs a 8:1 and 4:1 main sheet. I don't think the same hull with a masthead rig sails much differently. I'd love to find out however. The fractional rig is taller too with a bendier mast.

I don't think fractional v masthead is the main consideration for OP.... more accommodation plan and simply learning how to sail and maintain and live on a sailboat...and how to get from complete novice to comfortable as a live aboard.
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