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DBerry 11-25-2016 11:22 PM

Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

I hope to buy my first sailboat by Fall 2018 at the latest, and wanted to join this forum to get advice, and prepare, while I am getting my house ready for sale, as I need to do that in order to purchase a live aboard boat.

I hope to buy some sort of cruiser-racer in the 32-36 ft range, however, my budget will only allow for a purchase of less than $36k. So, I may have to buy something smaller, i.e., 29-31 ft LOA.

FYI: I will be single-handing, and know that within my budget constraints, that I will have to slowly upgrade my boat over time.

So far, C&C sailboats really appeal to me, the availability seems pretty good, however, I am very open to fractional, mast-stepped rigs as well - some say they have definite advantages over keel-stepped masthead rigs - but I don't know if I will be able to find a decent fractional, mast-stepped [live aboard] rig within my price range.

Feedback very much appreciated.


Minnewaska 11-26-2016 08:17 AM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018
Welcome. If you're going to live aboard, storage, head room, hvac, tankage, stoves, refrigeration, fresh water systems and heads/showers are more important than on a weekend sailer. Equally important is where you will liveaboard. More and more marinas have been disallowing them of late. Where will you be located?

Of course, single handing has implications for cockpit organization, sail plan, autopilot, maybe self tackers, etc.

Have you lived aboard or cruised for any length of time? Lets us know your experiences, likes and dislikes and I'm sure that around here some can be more helpful with your search.

Good luck.

DBerry 11-26-2016 09:18 AM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018
Thank-you for your interest, and questions Minnewaska, I really appreciate it.

1) I have never owned a boat before, let alone lived on one.

2) Sailing experience? I was a marine technology major years ago, and have just about forgotten everything I learned about navigation, rules underway for US waters, and small boat handling (-although the handling part should come back fairly quickly).

3) Other than sailing dinghies, I have about 6 weeks experience as a crew member on a barquentine, and brigantine, but once again, that was many years ago.

4) Why buy a boat now, and live board? Until 12 years ago, I always lived on the West coast of the US, but got marooned inland, want to get back to one of our coasts, but can no longer afford to buy a condo, so will have to pay rent. And since I am an an early pensioner, I need to either live in Florida, or Washington so I won't have to pay state income tax, or stay stuck where I am now (-ugh).

5) Moreover, my current home will NOT be paid off for another 18 years, so whether I keep it, or sell it, and buy a 30-36 ft sailboat, I don't think my annual budget will vary much, as a single family detached home has all sorts of maintenance costs as well. And, since I will be in debt until the day I die, then I might as well enjoy life as much as possible. So, from that perspective, being able to live aboard, and sail seems a lot more pleasurable than mowing my lawn, and pruning trees while waiting for entrance into the next life.

6) FYI, I almost bought a live aboard sailboat 13 years ago, when I was living on the West coast, but I was cautioned that marinas were getting rid of live aboards, and yet, had I bought a boat anyway, I could have been living on the water somewhere in the US all this time, and not marooned inland leading a very boring life.

7) Regarding single-handing, from what I have read, a fractional rig is easier to handle than a masthead rig, but then again, if teenagers can pull off singlehanded circumnavigations, and even adults in their 60s - 70s, then I cannot imagine why I couldn't take my sailboat out of a harbor, and at least go for a coastal cruise for a week or two every now and then, and there are certainly many sailers doing just that, and uploading their adventures to YouTube, and I reckon that if they can do it, so can I.

Anyway, those are my thoughts, and since I am already an early retiree, and because I will always be in debt no matter what I do, then why not enjoy living for a change, as I certainly am not enjoying life where I am now.

Thanks in advance for all critiques and feedback.

jephotog 11-26-2016 09:37 AM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018
First step is to update your profile here so we know where you are located. It makes a big difference on your boat choices. My guess is by mentioning C&C you are on the Great Lakes or East Coast? As for liveaboards they are usually limited spots at each marina if allowed at all. Your first step is to talk to marinas near you to see your options, there is usually a waiting list. Some marinas also have a size restriction, i.e. no liveaboards below 35 feet.

When choosing your solo sailing liveaboard there are many more critical details as Minne pointed out besides rigging and mast stepping details, like tankage and storage. Since you don't know how to sail now you are pretty much stuck to buying a boat in the location you choose to live-aboard now. I would concentrate on the state and marina first then look for boats already there. There are some Islander 36s that might fit in your price range.

Minnewaska 11-26-2016 09:52 AM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018
It would be a good idea to figure out how to liveaboard somehow, before you fully commit. When you buy a boat, it only depreciates. You could end up stuck, if finances don't allow you to take a loss and start over.

Arcb 11-26-2016 09:56 AM

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If you are set on a racer cruiser and you like C&C's I don't think you could go too far wrong with a C&C.

My only thought is a 33-35' racer cruiser could be a lot of boat to learn to sail on. If you studied nautical science, the academic side should be a non issue for you and most any insurance company would recognise that as equal or above ASA, which is good for you as it could save you some bucks on courses. The problem is, you are still going to need to learn to sail from a practical perspective. Dinghy experience is a big plus.

$36k is a nice healthy budget, so that is a plus, you should be able to get something really nice for that.

Your basic plan sounds reasonable to me.

DBerry 11-26-2016 10:46 AM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018
Thanks for the reply Jordan, really appreciate it, and I added the state that I am living in to my profile.

Note: It is time for me to move back to the coast, and I only wished I had bought a live aboard sailboat 13 years ago, instead of moving out here, but I got talked out of buying one by a few people at SoCal marinas, who told me that live aboards were being kicked, or phased out.

My reply to Minne, was probably too long, so here is a summary.

- 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.

Needless to say, there probably will not be any positive change in my financial situation, one way or another, as mortgage payments, and homeowner expenses vs slip fees, plus yachty expenses will probably be a wash anyway (-or close to it).

The way I see my financial situation over the next 18 years, is that I have two choices essentially, 1) stay in debt paying off a mortgage, while incurring more costs trying to maintain a 40+ year old house, or, 2) take a chance, buy a boat and see what happens.

Regarding Sailing Lessons: There is a lake marina about 30 minutes from my house that offers [basic] keelboat lessons, and I plan to enroll in at least one course this coming Spring.

Homeport: Once I sell my house, I plan to move to Florida, or Washington, and finish all my basic sailing coursework (-about another $2,500 or so).

Minimum LOA for Live Aboards: I had no idea that there was a bare minimum LOA for live aboard sailers, as I have been looking at marinas in Florida that allow that, and none of them mentioned a minimum LOA. * I would really appreciate some links that discuss this. Thanks.

Question: Do you live aboard? If so how long, and where?

FYI: I prefer to have a homeport / establish residence in either Florida, or Washington, because I can save money on state income tax.


krisscross 11-26-2016 08:40 PM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018
My advice would be to buy a boat that costs 20K max. That will limit your risk and give you extra cushion for unexpected expenses (you can definitely expect them).
As to the choice of the boat: C&C had a lot of good boats so it is a good start but I would spend as much time as possible looking at boats in real life. They do look different up close. It's a buyers market for used sailboats these days so you can afford to be picky.
And last thing: DON"T BUY A PROJECT BOAT.
You will spend too much time and money fixing it. There are plenty of decent boats out there.

JimsCAL 11-26-2016 10:27 PM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018
Some cpmments.

Don't get hung up on masthead vs. fractional, keel stepped vs. deck stepped. Concentrate on the boat and it it meets your requirements.

You have a decent budget. Should get you something in the 30-35 foot range. Will be older and need some work, but not a project.

I like C&Cs, but there are plenty of other makes that will suit your needs. Many will have better interiors for living aboard compared to a racing oriented C&C.

titustiger27 11-26-2016 11:18 PM

Re: Want to Purchase by Fall 2018

You sound like me... to some extent, when I as 25.. I decided I wanted to live on a sailboat, when I had never been on a say boat. I still was thinking this after owning a 13 ft. boat, but that was nowhere close to living on a sailboat.

Not clear if you have any sailing experience. but it might be a good idea to find a marina and see if you can crew on a boat. Might give you some insight to what kind of boat you may want... maybe a smaller boat would work for you.

Do you have or need a job? is it something you can do from a boat?

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