Depends on the 30 footer. Also depends on the personality of the person too. I would have no problem living on a nice Kirie 30 for example, but would find a 30 foot cape dory a bit small and cramped. I live on a 32' and have no wants. Anything more would simply be extra for me.
No, 30' is not too small, with the right kind of boat. If you are looking for a large aft double birth and two heads, forget it. If you are looking for comfortable accommodations, with small but appropriate amenities, there are several boats out there that will work. When I look at the people living on 30' or smaller boats, they are usually very happy, but have done what most of us will not do, which is to get rid of the extras that make life easier (and usually more complicated). This is getting way to philosophical, and I've not had enough beer for that....
I would be very happy on a 30' boat, unfortunately my wife is unlikely to be very happy on anything less than 40' (particularly after she saw the Hanse and Tartans at Strictly Sail in Chicago - really stupid mistake letting her on those boats). Be patient, find the "right" boat, and get rid of everything you don't need.
I lived on a Pearson 367 for 2 years and it was more than enough room for me and also my father who was with me. I'm on the hunt for a 30' footer to liveaboard stateside. Probably gonna end up with something along the lines of a Catalina 30 or Hunter 30. I don't intend it to be offshore and it's there also more boat for your money.
All depends on you and where you are. I lived on my Pearson 30 for about a year, including a Michigan winter. It was like camping. Alcohol stove. Foot pump water. Trudging through the snow to take a shower and then coming back wet wasn't nice. Same for going to the toilet in the middle of the night. Water from Jugs. Don't use the head at the dock. Not real nice. Sitting at the dock with a cold drink on a summer evening. Socializing with dock neighbors. Great! All in all, I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I don't think I would want to do it now. If you need air conditioning, pressure water, a real kitchen, like my wife, out 41 footer is just about right, although in fairness, I must admit she survived a month down the ICW on the Pearson.
When I decided I was going to run away & live on a sailboat.....the first & most importent thing I did was lose the 4000 sq ft house & all possessions until everything I owned fit in my Ford Explorer . I don't even think about all that now & I don't have the words to express how happy I am . So my thought is that the size of the boat is secondary to what you're willing to pare down to .
to me one thing i see is a major difference between land people and boat people is the way they shop. It affects you more than you think if you have a house you don't give much thought to it but on a boat it is major. and i do mean major even a magazine isn't much but what about 30 or a hundred. you have enough paper in a house to sink a lot of 30 footers. if you can plan your life that good then any size boat would work. Lynn and Larry Pardey have never lived on a boat bigger than 32' i think and they have over 350000 miles at sea. its all in how well you can plan your life.
I don't think 30 feet is too small either. I currently have two boats, a Westerly Pageant; a 23 foot english pocket crusier. I've lived in it for going on two years. It is small, but it's plenty of room for me. I can cruise for a week with my girlfriend and daughter.
There are some pictures in here: Flickr: endeavor_64's Photostream
I just bought a 30 footer a few weeks ago, a yankee 30. I was looking for something a little bigger, the enclosed head is nice. But the main feature was speed. The Westerly is a little sluggish.
You can see the interior of the Yankee here: Winterhawk Restoration
I think there is a lot to the go small, go now. And the best part is small boats can be had for cheap, and systems/maintenence tend to cost less.
It really depends on what your priorities are. Strathgowan was a blog about a couple who lived aboard an Alberg 30 with their toddler son. IIRC, they've since moved up in size, since they've now got two or three children, but it was doable for them—because it was their priority.
Like a lot of people have said, it depends almost entirely on a combination of your personality, where you are in life, and your ability to draw a distinction between the stuff you need and the stuff you want.
If you're able to part with the things most people insist on surrounded themselves with, you'll be golden (and, I suspect, life will be simpler).
I know a married couple who spent their honeymoon on a 24' (I believe it was a Bristol, I could be wrong), and liked it so much, they bought one and lived on it together for two years. They moved ashore after their second kid, but it was exactly right for them during that time in their life.
Is a 30 footer too small? For what? for how many? What is your expectations ? what are you willing to give up? what do you hope to gain?
Not a simple question.
As far as I am concerned a 30 footer is not too small .I lived on a 27 footer for 2 years with my husband and a small dog spending that time in the Keys and the Bahamas and mainly at anchor and with no shower and no refridgeration and very little money.We have no horror stories to tell and had a great deal of fun.
What do you want?
My Yankee 30 and a Catalina 30 (for example), are two very different boats. While a foot more beam in the Catalina doesn't seem like much on paper, the actual difference down below is startling. On the other hand, the difference in performance is equally noticeable. I know of a couple that live quite happily on a Yankee, though two people seems tight for me. Also "living aboard" while cruising is very different than doing it while working in the "real world". As already mentioned, a mild climate makes things a lot easier.
L124C has a great point- here in Hawaii it's much easier to live aboard a small boat as the weather usually gives you all that additional deck space to be on- my neighbors across the dock have 3 kids under the age of 6 and live aboard a 30 ft custom gaff rigged wooden sail boat-They're experienced sailors and feel they have plenty of room now (of course when those boys get to be teenagers all bets are off lol!)
When my husband and I were looking for our boat I was overly concerned with length and over the years came to realize that it has nothing really to do with whether the boat is a great liveaboard or not.
(I used to be like the guy in "Jaws"... "We need a bigger boat...")
Look in a range and don't rule out those 27 footers...
It depends on the couple and the number of children! My wife and I moved aboard a 30' sloop than we bought in 1971. By 1973 we moved to a 33' boat, but when our two chidren were 7 and 9 years old we went ot a 41' boat. We could go back to the 30' and do well, but we're spoiled by the 41'. Our kids have long since moved away and the aft cabin is largely empty. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew