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SailNet Grom
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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings all, first time poster, long time reader. What an incredible community. I'd have posted this in the "intros" section, but I have a whole slough of questions about living aboard still (most of my initial questions have been answered by Cap'n Google and your forum here, the two of whom seem to be old mates).

Here's our situation. Family of four - Me, the wife, the boy (18 months), and the wolf (9 year old dog ~80 lbs, mostly fur ;) ). Currently we're lubbers in LA, pissing away perfectly good income on an apartment when we could be putting it into an awesome boat. My wife just got a tremendous job opportunity in DC, and we're about 90% certain we're moving there to take it. We want to take this opportunity to break from land and the huge pile of junk we've accumulated! Life here has been getting more and more complicated - we just want to simplify what we can, and put some energy and money towards something beautiful and fun, instead of another landlord's pocket.

Goals are primarily to own something, and to be paying for something that's OURS, instead of someone else's. A top goal of mine is to have a boat we can cruise on, it's been a lifelong dream of mine to sail all over this great blue world. Her job is due to last about a year and a half, during which time I will be raising our son, working occasional odd jobs, working on the boat, and honing my sailing skills so that when her job is done with, we can take a nice long cruise somewhere. I know there are costs to boat ownership, and I am prepared to sacrifice that money and labor to Poseidon for the opportunities it brings. I'm hardworking, a very fast learner, and as one born and raised in San Diego, I know a thing or two about boats and the ocean, though I'm certainly no salty sailor. (I've taken two or three sailing courses in my youth, involving sub 20' boats and catamarans on the open ocean) Mainly this means basic proficiency with sailing, knots, terminology, courtesy, and fiberglass repair (mostly done on surfboards).

In discussing my dreams with Admiral SWMBO, the ideas of ownership and the freedom from clutter have really taken hold, though the idea of sailing far and wide just doesn't seem real/possible to her yet (though I am confident it will eventually dawn upon her as a real possibility), but it is certainly something she would like to do. The sacrifices at first seemed daunting, but we have both been very encouraged by reading the experiences of those who have already taken the plunge so to speak.

Now, onward to my questions.

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?

Any suggestions for vaccum cleaners? I was thinking a mini-wet/dry shopvac. With our dog, it's a necessity.

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?

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?

Sailing to DC - the boat I'm hoping to buy is in Florida, and I'll have to sail it there. I won't purchase it unless it's up to snuff, but it was surveyed a year ago and since, well maintained. How can I find bridge clearances for the Chesapeake and Potomac?

Speaking of the boat I'd like to buy, anyone ever lived aboard a Kettenburg 40'? Anyone in the Tampa Bay area feel like having a look over it with me when I fly out? Know of any good third-party surveyors that I can trust? If anyone wants to sail to DC with me, I'm open to the suggestion, and could sure use the company!

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?

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?

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?

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)

Any good car parking solutions in DC or Arlington that don't require a slip at the marina?

Any good DC area DIY yards where I can haul her and work on it when I need to?

Building a bimini - how hard is this? Anyone done it? I'd like to give it a go, any advice?

Dinghy's - is sail/row ok? Or is something with a motor really that crucial?

Winter - Ice. Freezing river. What, if any, mods do I need to do to my boat to account for this?

Firearm safety and storage aboard - where are the best places to keep the ship's armory?
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Ok, I think that's about it for now. :rolleyes: Sorry for the massive list. If something has been discussed to death on another thread, feel free to refer me or let me know what to search for. There's lots to wade through, and though I've found answers to many other questions already, I'm striking out on some of these.
 

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Most of what you list looks to me to be workable, though I think I fell asleep about 1/2 way through! I am thinking about much the same as you.

Remember that a boat deprecates. If you get an old boat that is mostly or all the way deprecated at least it will stay about the same. I was lucky and sold my house before the housing bubble burst, I made a big chunk of change, but if you subtracted the property and school tax I really did not make much. Just remember that a boat will have double the maintenance of a house, and drop in value. As long as you are OK with that then you should be fine. Financing is tough in the boat market as well now.

Biggest issue is what does you spouse think? That is the biggest complicating factor. If she/he is not 100% on board you might want to rethink the whole thing. In my case I am divorced so it is not an issue. I think I finally have my children excited about the whole concept.

From reading here it looks as though DC has some good live-aboard options. The best marinas will be about an hour commute out of DC proper, but that will likely be true for an apartment that would be in a child friendly neighborhood anyway.

Just don't think it will be cheaper than a home or apartment. About the same I think. Tool thing I understand fully, what am I going to do with a big air compressor on a boat?, where will the table saw go? Waht do I do with my rolling tool chest? But I am planning on keeping my garage for at least a couple of years, in fact the only reason I am where I am now is that I can rent a garage.
 

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SailNet Grom
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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the reply miatapaul! I think I may have to get a small storage unit in DC to house some tools, though the drill press and other very large items will have to be sold.

We're leaning towards the Gangplank which will only be a mile and a half from where she'll be working, an easy metro ride or bike ride away.

The boat I'm hoping to buy is a 1960 Kettenburg 40', built in San Diego (just like me), from White Oak and Cedar. I like Fiberglass boats just fine, but there's something... I dunno, PRIMAL about wood. Tried and true, I guess. I just love wood, but if I can't snag this boat, I'll go for a different one. I've seen comparable boats going for over 30k, and this one's 20k, with a clear survey too. If I can maintain that value (and since it's bridging the gap from "old" to "classic", I think I can), I'll be thrilled!

As to whether the wife is 100% onboard... she's close. REAL close. Probably 95%, and getting closer every day. Once she sees the Ket in person, I think she'll close the gap. Those boats are PRETTY.

-K
 

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Swab
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My wife was not 100% on board initially but I already lived on my boat. I told here this is where I live and I am going cruising, get used to it or move on ;)

We honeymooned by signing on as crew on a square rigged sail training ship for a three week voyage from Vancouver to Kailua-Kona Hawaii. She signed on for an additional three week voyage to Fiji then served as delivery crew to bring the 70 foot traditional schooner Spike Africa to Kauai from San Diego. She was well and truly hooked after her first taste of blue water sailing.

Living aboard in a marina is a different matter.

If you want to someday go cruising, do not borrow money. None. No mortgage to buy a boat. No credit card purchases of gear. Save and pay as you go. Forget the power tools. Rent (Or better yet borrow) what you need when you need it. Sell everything and put the money away. Then when you do cast off you won't have to worry about it.

Just my opinion based on twenty years of living aboard and cruising.

Video logs

Web site link below
 

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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?

about a week or so if living aboard and you are carefull, but most marinas have bathrooms

Any suggestions for vaccum cleaners? I was thinking a mini-wet/dry shopvac. With our dog, it's a necessity.

thats what i have on board

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?

yup storage is a lot of it, ashes are more

Sailing to DC - the boat I'm hoping to buy is in Florida, and I'll have to sail it there. I won't purchase it unless it's up to snuff, but it was surveyed a year ago and since, well maintained. How can I find bridge clearances for the Chesapeake and Potomac?

NOAA it works just like google earth

Speaking of the boat I'd like to buy, anyone ever lived aboard a Kettenburg 40'? Anyone in the Tampa Bay area feel like having a look over it with me when I fly out? Know of any good third-party surveyors that I can trust? If anyone wants to sail to DC with me, I'm open to the suggestion, and could sure use the company!

if this is next month or so i will come along but be ready to hid from a storm

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?

sorry its time to sell the projector and surround sound. the mount a lcd and use computer speakers for more sound

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?

yup laptops are nice because of the low draw, when you get the tv make sure it takes a computer input to use the laptop as your dvd player. then get a large usb extrenal drive for storage incase the lap top dies and to store movies. some do build purpose built computers using 12 volt car power supplies, i guess with a wire less mouse and keyboard and a mini tower it would work. here is the nice point, i make a pretty good boat sparky, with refences

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?

dont forget annapolis and area, better parking and only an hour in traffic away

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)

you need 3 tool kits
a mechanical one with wrenches and stuff
a wood kit, ie chisels and stuff
then the big kit with the stuff you dont need unless its a big job, this stays in storage

Dinghy's - is sail/row ok? Or is something with a motor really that crucial?

in annapolis get a slip, dinghy is not really needed, but get a motor if you will be going more than a mile a day

Winter - Ice. Freezing river. What, if any, mods do I need to do to my boat to account for this?

it does not get too bad down here normally, and most marinas put out deicers

Firearm safety and storage aboard - where are the best places to keep the ship's armory?

well then stay away from DC as you will go to jail in DC if they even find ammo on you, in your boat or in your car. i suggest you pair the collection down if its over 3 guns, or get a safe and bolt it in families house some where. virgina has shall issue CCW, maryland no way and DC i said it already
 

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Pearson 303
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I've lived in DC for about ten years, and had a sailboat for the past three. I have not lived aboard, so I can't speak to those specifics, but I have done a lot of research. So here are my thoughts:

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?

15 gal. won't last long with two adults and a child living aboard. It think a full week is pushing it. Treatment systems do work (such as Lectrasan) and are sound, but they require electricity and salt water. If you are in DC, the water is almost fresh.

Any suggestions for vaccum cleaners? I was thinking a mini-wet/dry shopvac. With our dog, it's a necessity.

That would work, but not on the hook unless you are running a generator or have a huge battery bank and an inverter. 12 volt vacs are fine for light cleaning, but probably won't handle the dog hair.

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?

Couple thousand for the AC, maybe another grand for the heat. Install can be a rather simple one day job (assuming you already have a thruhull for the AC water supply) or a several day project that requires tearing appart the interior of the boat - depends on the boat and how you want to run the vents. Check any online chandlery, including Sailnet for prices. I would't go with a used AC, maybe a heater, but not AC. Plus, it would be hard to find one as people don't usually just tear them out of their boat to sell. I will say that AC in Washington is a must, and you will need to be at a marina to run it (or you will be running a generator 24/7).

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?

That and an open flame, I don't think most insurance companies would be happy with wood. Also, in DC good luck finding firewood - only source I know of is expensive delivery or those small packs at the grocery stores (very expensive).

Sailing to DC - the boat I'm hoping to buy is in Florida, and I'll have to sail it there. I won't purchase it unless it's up to snuff, but it was surveyed a year ago and since, well maintained. How can I find bridge clearances for the Chesapeake and Potomac?

Look at charts (including the free NOAA ones referenced above). However, you really need to think about the wisdom of buying an amost 50-year old wooden boat in FL then setting out for a 1220 mile trip to DC, most of which will be running the motor on the ICW. If the boat you are looking at is the one in Naples on Yachtworld, I'd keep looking. Wood is beautiful, but a ton of work and expensive to maintain. I know you have time, but I think you would do much better with fiberglass. I'd also be worried of taking that boat in bluewater once you are ready to cruise. I know you like it , but I would keep looking

Speaking of the boat I'd like to buy, anyone ever lived aboard a Kettenburg 40'? Anyone in the Tampa Bay area feel like having a look over it with me when I fly out? Know of any good third-party surveyors that I can trust? If anyone wants to sail to DC with me, I'm open to the suggestion, and could sure use the company!

See above comments.

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?

Yes, you can probably find a small 12volt tv, but remember that it will use lots of power (again, need to be at the dock or running a generator). I'd consider using the laptop with a couple small speakers.

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?

Stick with the laptop, takes less space and much lower power usage.

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?

Mooring in DC isn't a long term option. With the amount of law enforcement around here, they will quickly catch on if you are just moving the boat every few days. Also, assuming your wife will need to wear normal DC business atire for work, is she really going to want to shuttle back and forth in a dingy every day to get to and from work? How about in the frequent thunderstorms we have in DC? Gangplank is about the only live aboard in DC (others are further out), but liveaboard status is quite restricted, the waiting list is years, and it is very expensive. My wife and I looked into it several years ago and we determined that with all the fees we would proably be spending almost $1000 a month just for the marine (they do include parking for one car, which would normally cost $200 to $300 a month in DC. Because of the waiting list, most people get liveaboard status by purchasing a boat that already has it. Also, you won't be doing any real sailing from DC on a large boat - it is too shallow and the chanels are narrow, unless you motor miles down river. If you really want to live on the water and put money into something, look for a houseboat at Gangplank to go up for sale, then sell it and buy a sailboat when you are ready to cruise. However, even then, it will still cost close to the price of a small apartment. You should also be aware that there are several nightclubs around the marina, so it can get very loud and rowdy at night.

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)

Depends on the boat, but a wood boat will require more tools and storage is always at a premium.

Any good car parking solutions in DC or Arlington that don't require a slip at the marina?

Yes, for a couple hundred a month.

Any good DC area DIY yards where I can haul her and work on it when I need to?

Not really, Ft. Washington about 20 miles down river will haul and let you do some work, but they are expensive and it is really shallow getting to the lift. Other than that, you need to head about 70 miles down river.

Building a bimini - how hard is this? Anyone done it? I'd like to give it a go, any advice?

Not too difficult, I'm building one now. Look at Sailrite.com - they sell kits. But a good stainless one, even do it your self, will cost close to a thousand for all the parts, not including the sewing machine.

Dinghy's - is sail/row ok? Or is something with a motor really that crucial?

Depends on how far you intend to go and in what weather. We have a motor on ours and it is very nice to have.

Winter - Ice. Freezing river. What, if any, mods do I need to do to my boat to account for this?

None, most large marinas have deice systems here. if they don't you would need to get a bubbler and keep it pluged in to shore power.

Firearm safety and storage aboard - where are the best places to keep the ship's armory?

In storage, off the boat, particularly if you set foot in DC.
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Ok, I think that's about it for now. :rolleyes: Sorry for the massive list. If something has been discussed to death on another thread, feel free to refer me or let me know what to search for. There's lots to wade through, and though I've found answers to many other questions already, I'm striking out on some of these.
Look, you have a great dream and plan, but you really need to think this through. It is not as easy as you might think, and DC isn't really live aboard friendly. I love this city, and highly recomend you take the opportunity to live here, but I think you may be better off renting a small appartment and saving for the boat. If you can live frugally on land you will save money and it will be a good way to prepare for life on board. And if you live in the city, ditch the car and walk or use metro - you can always rent a car if you need it or join something like zipcar. Just my two cents.
 

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Hi - you're asking a lot of the right questions. I've got a desk job in DC and currently live aboard a 33' sailboat in a marina, with spouse, no pets, no kids. We moved here from Michigan and jumped at the chance to ditch the house and the stuff and move aboard - sounds like your scenario - and never, never looked back.

Others have pointed out the problems with living aboard in DC - consider Annapolis area, 5 minutes to good sailing, 45 min to DC (much more during rush hour - BUT - there's a great commuter bus to downtown) many liveaboard-friendly marinas including several DIY. You'd be surrounded by a community of other boaters you can learn from.

Others have answered a lot of your specific questions; but here are a few more thoughts.

Heat/air conditioning - there are heat pump units that are 2-in-one, heat and cool using saltwater, around $2000. When the water temp gets into the low 40s, these aren't very efficient; most of the marina liveaboards supplement with small electric space heaters.

Use a laptop; for sound, install automobile stereo and play the laptop through it.

In season, you can get your holding tank pumped out by a pumpout boat that comes to you for $5. (and/or use the marina bathroom)

Costs: well, we would have had to find a place for the boat anyway, so it doesn't really compare. A high-end slip here will cost as much as a low-end apartment, figure $5-$10K/yr depending on size of boat and marina amenities. But then again, remember that you'll be doing every day what others pay to do on vacation! PM me if you do decide to go for it, we can put you in touch with others. Liveaboards with small kids are rarer, but they're there.
 

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Ok, I have lived aboard with kids and two dogs. I made somewhat of the same plunge, but will give you my experience(s). They are very opinionated, but have been there and done that. Of interest (I hope) to you is that we are soon to do again, hopefully.

Now, here goes:

#1) 15g holding tank will not last long at all. I think ours was 25-30g for me and Kris and we could go through that easily in a week. Chase was in diapers. So add another user in (who probably will not flush economically), and I sincerely doubt you will make a week. And remember, you don't get the full 15 gallons. We always try to stop and pump out when ours is about 80% full. Because if you over pump and get poop/tp in the vent tube from the head, it is a absolute nightmare. In essense, I would add a blader or something to get to an easy 25-30g's of holding.

#2) The dog will be a major PITA. MAJOR. And you better make sure he/she can go up and down the steps on their own and get off the boat on their own. The dog, of everythign you have mentioned (except maybe the baot) will be the biggest headache. Sorry, it's true. Go check out the many cruising/LA with dog threads here. And let's also remember that even though that dog may be able to get on/off now... if they cannot in the future you are in for big trouble or may have to put the dog down early. We can discuss this in legth if you want, but between that and taking it out 2-3 times day and the sever restrictions on pets in even many marinas, and where they are going to go to the john when it is raining, icing or snowing, the ability to get on/off the boat and the dink, and the fact that most countries do not want them in their territorial waters (much less their shores) - you are in for an eye opener. Research this matter heavily. We ended up getting another dog, but I honestly regret it. I am pretty sure she will have to find another home before we get seriously cruising. And we have not even mentioned whether that dog will get sea sick. You won't know till you are out there. Research this heavily and use your heart AND YOUR HEAD in making the final decision.

#3) We use a small wet/dry vac which is close to a mandatory on a LA boat. You will have to run generator or large inverter to power.

# 4) We have not lived aboard in the cold climate, but the current boat is in a lake and it get quite cold for us in the winter (below freezing). We use both the R/C air cond and heating, and a lot of space heaters. Your best bet though is probably getting a propane heater in liu of the r/c system in my opinio nas it will probably be more efficient and I would assume much cheaper to run especially in cold water. I think when the water temp is around 45-50 the r/c systems become very inefficient or may not hardly work at all. Space heaters are very inefficient and burn lot sof electricity. Also, they require a generator. You cannot run that all day on teh hook unless you are made of money and diesel. Forget the wood burning thing. This is a boat not a house.

#5) A Kettenburg 40'?? What in the world led you to that boat? No freaking way I would EVER consider an old wooden boat for my family of anything I was serious about. You need fiberglass or steel or something other than wood. We had this wooden boat in our marina that was always leaking (they all do). That thing was always trying to sink (they all do). It almost became a joke every morning on who got to call into the marina to pull out the pumps to keep her from hitting bottom. And if you get a wooden boat from FL where the water is salty and move to a brackish or low salt environment, that thing better have a bunch of bilge pumps!!! Forget the wooden boat idea. Avoid wood like the plague. Even concrete is better than some old wooden relic. The exception to this rule is a very well cared for wooden boat (when you get it) and you have lots of money. I must assume that one or both of these conditions is not you???

#6) If money is less of an object, get a LCD flat screen and bulkhead mount. We have one and it is better than watching on the lap top. If money is a bit more of an object, then just use the lap top. Unlike many others here, I am not opposed to TV (though we only watch movies in general and even then very little). However, it is nice to watch the weather before storms with the TV and hey... this is your home not a weekend getaway. Still, you will have a million things to spend money on and make sure the TV and sound system is very low on your priority list.

#7) Living on a mooring, in a cold climate, with a kid, dog, and a wife that has to go to work (or both of you going to work) is an absolute recipe for disaster. DOn't screw up what can be a great lifestyle. I know people that have made that work (without the cold weather... this is in S FL), but they are few and far between. Still, even they did not have a dog. You need a marina. In my opinion, unless everyone is made of tougher stuff than any LA (live aboard) I have ever heard of, you will burn out on that boat within a few months. Maybe weeks. Then you are broke, stuck on a boat, and liable for all the associated costs and frustrations of getting OUT of the lifestyle that you have locked yourself into. Remember, buying a boat is like buying a large piece of land in the country. It is a wonderful experience at first. Buying it is easy. But getting rid of it can be a very long and financially draining process.

#8) On the toolkit question: I have a full complement of hand tools (screw drivers of many lengths/sizes, 1/2 and 3/8 driver set in metric and american), a drill (both battery and electric but I have a large generator and inverter), a dremmel, a heat gun (for heat shrink), and a Jig Saw. With the jig saw, you can probably do anything you could do with many other tools - including a circular. I do not think a circular is necessary. It is nice, but not neccesary. The jig can do it all. And it is imporatnt to remember that space is a premium on a boat and you need to minimize your tools too for those that can use multi-purposes.

#9) I personally (and especially with a dog and kid and wife that works) NEVER get a dink without an engine.First time you gotta take that dog to take a crap in a rainstorm or the middle of the night in a blow and you will either be buying an engine or ditching the dog. And I believe that with a child, you need a way to get that child quickly to emergency services. Seconds last for hours when on a boat with a hurt or sick kiddo. Their safety takes precedence to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you do.

#10) I do not want to start another gun debate, but just leave the guns at home. You should have a 12ga and probably a 25mm flare gun that would easily kill in close range. And on a boat you will be in close range. There are no 'Pirates of the Potomic' so at worst you will have some nut job board you in the middle of the night. But the odds of this happening are astronmically small. Your flare gun should be fine.

As far as the rest, I can get you one of the best surveyors I have ever known in FL. That's not an issue.

You are doing the same thing many of us have done - but you will find most have not done it with kids. Kids make it MUCH harder (and more enjoyable). But it does change the rules. We are here to help. Ask questions as you wish.

- CD

Here's some LA and sailing pics:

Mom with my oldest (at that time):



My wife and oldest son:



Chase watching TV (on a computer, incidentally... we used the computer at that time as flat screens were not an option)



One of our dogs:



The kids today:





 

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I'll tell ya, I love Kettenburgs, they're beautiful boats, there are 100's of ketts still here in SD, many have been restored to original beauty and if YOU can do it, you'll have a peice of classic art, however, having said that, I have to agree with CD, the Kett may not be the best choice for your first boat, the renovation and upgrade cost may cause hardship with your admiral and crew and that there could be a dream killer
 

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SailNet Grom
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19 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
First let me say that I am very excited by all the replies to my questions, and partly encouraged, whilst simultaneously daunted somewhat by the task at hand. That is ok. I don't scare easy, and I'm good at calming down the Admiral. Having made a low-budget independent feature-film which dominated my life for several years, I believe I can do anything!

Regarding the choice of a Kettenburg: I wouldn't even consider it for a SECOND, had the boat not been hauled and taken town to the wood, inspected, and repainted a year ago, and also upgraded in many ways. This particular boat is supposed to be in very good condition, though in need of some cosmetic re-varnishing. If the boat in question needed full restoration, it would not be the boat for me. Since (from what I understand) it has been well maintained and equipped for a journey from Eastern FLA to the BVI, as well as cruising the Caribbean, and very very shipshape with no dry-rot whatsoever, I'm considering it, and may fly out to look at the boat in question and have it independently surveyed. I don't mind hauling it and recaulking it every few years. I don't mind being conducting inspections every month, learning to sister joints, and keeping a very close eye on the bilges. If they're full when I look at this boat, I'm just going to walk the other way. From what I understand, this boat is a dry one (for a wood boat) and in very good shape, though it could be prettier (like I said, needs some varnish on the exterior, which I'm absolutely able and willing to do).

Would I like to own a classic piece of art? Yep. Do I want to completely renovate and upgrade an aging boat? No, that's why I'm looking at a boat that has already had most of that done (so I'm told - again, if personal inspection reveals this to not be the case, I'm walking). Once I've gotten enough posts to post a link, I'll link the ad for this one. It's in Venice, Florida.

I know a wooden boat is not an easy choice, and believe me, I'm certainly open to looking at other boats, and most of what I've got my eye on is fiberglass - it's just tougher to find one that moves me the way the lines of the Ket do. Ok, nothing will, I know. But I'm still hoping to be a little moved by SOMETHING, and also hoping to find a boat I can do some serious voyaging in (with a little work and investment) as well as living aboard for under 20 grand. Blue water capable would be best (would love to sail to Europe, visit my family in Sweden, and let my little Viking conduct his own invasion of Lindesfarne in the Dinghy. Travel brings history to life in a way few things can.)

Living aboard in DC: I haven't even been able to get the dockmaster of the gangplank marina to call me back, so I don't doubt that the liveaboard list is miles long! The notion of needing a marina is getting clearer and clearer. With the added consideration of salt leeching from the wood in the Ket and shrinking the planks, Annapolis is sounding more and more inviting! I've also had a look at the city, and it's a MUCH better place to live than DC from what I can tell. Even if we decide not to liveaboard, I think that's where I'd want to live.

Regarding the Wolf (dog): CD, very VERY valuable points brought forth. If I can live at a marina, I think it's probably doable. Living on the hook with a dog, probably not so much. Anouk (the wolf) is 8 years old, and can still hop into the back seat of my Land Rover Discovery with a 3" lift, and EASILY over the baby-gates I've erected to keep the boy out of the kitchen and off the stairs when I'm not looking. I expect it'll be years before she has trouble getting up and down the ladder of a boat, but there's one thing that's got me a bit nervous (and it's not the seasickness - I picked from several pups, two of whom had puked in the car ride to see me. Guess which one I picked? Yup. The one who didn't). What's got me nervous is that she hates water. I mean, she LOVES SHALLOW water. She HATES swimming. Who knows? Perhaps life on a boat will embolden her, she's a bit of a wimp. If she can't hack it, she may have to live with Grandma and Grandpa for a bit, they love each other very much, and are definitely part of the "pack". This may be something I have to consider further. I'd definitely miss having her around, she's a WONDERFUL Dog, and has always made me feel safer.

The need for a larger holding tank is apparent. That is something I WILL need to do.

Regarding firearms, I have a pistol and an old bolt-action hunting rifle (actually was originally an implement of vileness in WWII, but I've turned it into something useful). The rifle will be stored off boat, and I may lock the pistol up somewhere with the flare gun. Nice thought about using the flare gun for defense, but really... I dunno if shooting someone with a flare on a wooden boat (or any boat not made of steel) is a safe idea. ;)

CD, you have a really wonderful looking family, and are very blessed! It looks like you four all have a really awesome time aboard, that is what I'm hoping for as well.

Everyone, thank you so much for the wonderful advice and additional info. I feel like I know my options much better now, and though as I said before, some of this is daunting, but excitement and determination are more than sufficient to overcome. I hope this works out for us. My plans are getting a little delayed, looks like we won't be moving for another month or two (government moves slow, as we all sadly know). This probably means the Ket will sell to someone else, lucky soul. But maybe not! We'll see what happens, and I will keep posting with updates (and of course more questions) here!

scottyt, thanks for your offer, and I may just take you up on it if I end up with that Ket! Late August is probably the soonest I'd be making the journey, so it might be perfect (if the boat is up to snuff).
 

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First let me say that I am very excited by all the replies to my questions, and partly encouraged, whilst simultaneously daunted somewhat by the task at hand. That is ok. I don't scare easy, and I'm good at calming down the Admiral. Having made a low-budget independent feature-film which dominated my life for several years, I believe I can do anything!

Regarding the choice of a Kettenburg: I wouldn't even consider it for a SECOND, had the boat not been hauled and taken town to the wood, inspected, and repainted a year ago, and also upgraded in many ways. This particular boat is supposed to be in very good condition, though in need of some cosmetic re-varnishing. If the boat in question needed full restoration, it would not be the boat for me. Since (from what I understand) it has been well maintained and equipped for a journey from Eastern FLA to the BVI, as well as cruising the Caribbean, and very very shipshape with no dry-rot whatsoever, I'm considering it, and may fly out to look at the boat in question and have it independently surveyed. I don't mind hauling it and recaulking it every few years. I don't mind being conducting inspections every month, learning to sister joints, and keeping a very close eye on the bilges. If they're full when I look at this boat, I'm just going to walk the other way. From what I understand, this boat is a dry one (for a wood boat) and in very good shape, though it could be prettier (like I said, needs some varnish on the exterior, which I'm absolutely able and willing to do).

Would I like to own a classic piece of art? Yep. Do I want to completely renovate and upgrade an aging boat? No, that's why I'm looking at a boat that has already had most of that done (so I'm told - again, if personal inspection reveals this to not be the case, I'm walking). Once I've gotten enough posts to post a link, I'll link the ad for this one. It's in Venice, Florida.

I know a wooden boat is not an easy choice, and believe me, I'm certainly open to looking at other boats, and most of what I've got my eye on is fiberglass - it's just tougher to find one that moves me the way the lines of the Ket do. Ok, nothing will, I know. But I'm still hoping to be a little moved by SOMETHING, and also hoping to find a boat I can do some serious voyaging in (with a little work and investment) as well as living aboard for under 20 grand. Blue water capable would be best (would love to sail to Europe, visit my family in Sweden, and let my little Viking conduct his own invasion of Lindesfarne in the Dinghy. Travel brings history to life in a way few things can.)

Living aboard in DC: I haven't even been able to get the dockmaster of the gangplank marina to call me back, so I don't doubt that the liveaboard list is miles long! The notion of needing a marina is getting clearer and clearer. With the added consideration of salt leeching from the wood in the Ket and shrinking the planks, Annapolis is sounding more and more inviting! I've also had a look at the city, and it's a MUCH better place to live than DC from what I can tell. Even if we decide not to liveaboard, I think that's where I'd want to live.

Regarding the Wolf (dog): CD, very VERY valuable points brought forth. If I can live at a marina, I think it's probably doable. Living on the hook with a dog, probably not so much. Anouk (the wolf) is 8 years old, and can still hop into the back seat of my Land Rover Discovery with a 3" lift, and EASILY over the baby-gates I've erected to keep the boy out of the kitchen and off the stairs when I'm not looking. I expect it'll be years before she has trouble getting up and down the ladder of a boat, but there's one thing that's got me a bit nervous (and it's not the seasickness - I picked from several pups, two of whom had puked in the car ride to see me. Guess which one I picked? Yup. The one who didn't). What's got me nervous is that she hates water. I mean, she LOVES SHALLOW water. She HATES swimming. Who knows? Perhaps life on a boat will embolden her, she's a bit of a wimp. If she can't hack it, she may have to live with Grandma and Grandpa for a bit, they love each other very much, and are definitely part of the "pack". This may be something I have to consider further. I'd definitely miss having her around, she's a WONDERFUL Dog, and has always made me feel safer.

The need for a larger holding tank is apparent. That is something I WILL need to do.

Regarding firearms, I have a pistol and an old bolt-action hunting rifle (actually was originally an implement of vileness in WWII, but I've turned it into something useful). The rifle will be stored off boat, and I may lock the pistol up somewhere with the flare gun. Nice thought about using the flare gun for defense, but really... I dunno if shooting someone with a flare on a wooden boat (or any boat not made of steel) is a safe idea. ;)

CD, you have a really wonderful looking family, and are very blessed! It looks like you four all have a really awesome time aboard, that is what I'm hoping for as well.

Everyone, thank you so much for the wonderful advice and additional info. I feel like I know my options much better now, and though as I said before, some of this is daunting, but excitement and determination are more than sufficient to overcome. I hope this works out for us. My plans are getting a little delayed, looks like we won't be moving for another month or two (government moves slow, as we all sadly know). This probably means the Ket will sell to someone else, lucky soul. But maybe not! We'll see what happens, and I will keep posting with updates (and of course more questions) here!

scottyt, thanks for your offer, and I may just take you up on it if I end up with that Ket! Late August is probably the soonest I'd be making the journey, so it might be perfect (if the boat is up to snuff).
If it is in Venice, I glanced at it online.

Hey... I hope I am wrong... but in general any wooden boat is a maintenance nightmare. What was the last time that boat was surveyed? Do NOT buy that boat without a indepth, hard, buyer-picked surveyor.

I know a good one that I trust. I have sailed with him off the CA coast and spent who knows how many hours togehter elsewhere. He knows his stuff. Even Nordhavn picked him as one of their surveyors - and that means a lot. I can get his contact info for you if you wish. In the meantime, please do a lot more shopping on boats and research wooden boats in particular. I am very negative on them.

Also, CharlieCobra has a wooden boat IIRC. He is here. I think he can give you a fair assesment and he is generally positive about his girl. He would be another resource for you.

Best of luck with everything. Feel free to keep asking questions. Like others in our passion, we WANT you into cruising and sailing. THere simply is not enough of us out there with kids. I just don't want you making a mistake either. And like I said upfront, I am opinionated... but have been doing it a long time too.

Great talking with ya,

Brian
 

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I hope she is eveything you hope she is, they are beautiful boats, the only thing more pleasing to the soul is life aboard. My wife and I have been doing it for 3 yrs now with two small dogs and it's been awsome.
 

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cruising all I can
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WOW- from cruisingdad's perspective I have been doing it ALL WRONG !

However - probably good advice based on your situation and apparent lack of experience in these sailing matters.If your green and "new" to it and used to having "it all" or a considerable chunk of it and are the type to buy a new car every few years including the extra warranty, if you have never changed your own oil or(gasp) tires. I would say follow his advice. It seems many on sailnet fit that description. From the nice pictures SD posted, he can well afford it ! and I say good for ya ! sound advice,safe reasonable,etc,etc.
However, if the spoon hanging from your mouth is plastic or wood and not silver, and if you're not terribly adverse of getting a little (or alot) dirty and are confident of your learning abiity and quite adventurous.there are MANY different approaches as there are answers.
Know thyself first.
We sailed w/ 4 dogs- pain doesn't begin to describe it, but when I got the dogs I accepted the whole pet ownership thing, they're gods creatures, not discardable items. they expend a lifetime of loyalty to me, a bit of inconvenience seems minor turn-about. Don't forget lifejackets for the pets.
Heat ? well,I built a wood stove capable of burning wood,coal,charcoal , and a whole lot of other interesting stuff. Dirty? yea , can be. but the fuel cost savings is incredible and very easy to find!
Dinghy- spent the first 2 years only rowing,then built a gaff rig, finally about 6 months ago found a sweet deal on a 3.5 2stroke johnson almost new condition (you probably thought I was gonna say I built one ,right) Now , with motor on the dinghy bringing the crew and dogs ashore is a joy ride ! and I'm getting fatter and lazier too ! (not to mention poorer buying gas and oil).
Tools- everything I can reasonably carry aboard. If I don't need it,someone else probably will , some for free some for Fee.
Kids- gods greatest gift. need I say more?
TV- your better off w/out one. reading is fundamental, much more educational,and often commercial free ! After all, if I wanted to watch TV , I wouldn't have gone cruising.
guns- no comment, personal choice(I'll take the 5th and back it up w/ the 2nd Amend.) After all,do you think you would actually be able to "drop the Hammer" on somebody. stick w/ the flaregun .
As far as the anchor vs marina thing. - what are you made of ? I love anchoring it's beautiful,peaceful and the price cannot be beat. But as mentioned , no fun if you need to be on time,dry,well dressed,etc. although I've met some sailors who have a clothes rack instead of a back seat in their car and do the quick change ashore. not my first choice for long term.
Of course if your doing the shirt (or skirt) an tie job, you can most likely swing the slip rent/tax. you'll just need to keep looking for a location and situation that fits your tastes/budget/location.
As far as other creature comforts- I have to come clean about my absolute need for ice in my rum,cold milk (or parmalat) and a somewhat regular fresh water shower (the crew is completely up-wind of me on this !).
However , once again ,I've met couples and famlies cruising without either aboard for considerable distances and time frames (6-12 months)
Holding tank- the smaller it is,the more time you'll spend familiarizing yourself with pumpout locations, of course you'll need to take on fresh water and give the crew occasional shore leave anyhow,so what's the difference? Also it gives you a good excuse (if you need one) to weigh anchor regularly and keep the barnacles at bay, you know Sail the boat. After all that is the idea,right? if not maybe your looking for a houseboat or a big stinkpot.
Finally the vessel- everyone seems to have a different view. Some demand peformance,others spaciousness. and you ?
As far as materials-once again personal choice. Obviously wood will be more labor intensive , but steel demands maintenance and upkeep as well. A fiberglass boat does seem to be quite resiliant and as a result cheaper and less demanding of your time. But you cannot beat the beauty of wood, I don't think they will ever stop building wood boats. If I had about 6 sons ( to work on one) I would have one !
I say do what feels right and live within your comfort zone.
Hope to see you on the water. I'll be the vessel anchored w/ a big grin on my face (possibly due to the Rum!)
 

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SailNet Grom
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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
The rabbit hole deepens...

...as it pretty much always does. :) Word from the Ket owner is that it DOES have some water in the bilges, and the auto-bilge pump is working 3-5 times a day. :eek: According to him, this is due to to last summer, when he filled the seam between the lead and the wood with 3M 5200, which he found out later on, shrinks as it hardens, not filling the void properly. He did a temporary patch with some underwater putty stick, but that's clearly a stopgap, and it's not exactly working perfectly, as evidenced by the bilges.

If no-one snaps this boat up over the next two weeks (an unlikely proposition, unless it's got wet-rot or something nastier than the leaky seal, but the owner has promised to keep me abreast of the situation), I may fly out and have it surveyed, in which case, CD (Brian), I will gladly take you up on your reccomended surveyor! I will also obviously have to haul the ship and repair the bad seal. Ain't no way I'm sailin' 1500 miles with a leak that bad, and one that will surely worsen with the pressures and movement involved in such a journey.

Meanwhile, I'm looking at other boats, and other options. Rent in Annapolis is CHEAP! 1800 for a NICE 4 bedroom colonial with a garage and big deck, with woods and a creek straight off the backyard. At the same time, marina's aren't TERRIBLY expensive, and have a LOT of excellent ammeneties, like pools and stuff.

Boats-wise, there's a decent-looking deal on a Cal 34 in Florida, but the interior needs quite a bit of work, and there's a decent looking deal on an Irwin 32.5 CC at Knapp's Narrows, but I'm not sure I WANT a center cockpit, and I've heard Irwins tend to leak from the windows quite a bit, and that they're not really built for any serious journeying. The Cal 34 seems to be a very good boat, but I'm unsure as to whether I'll have the week or so that I'd need to rebuild so much of the interior before my family will need to live in said interior. (*sigh*, five more posts until I can send you guys links. Mostly, I'm finding these deals on craigslist. Yachtworld seems very overpriced!)

Since it looks like I've got a couple months before the move (things are being delayed - this is a government job, so surprise, surprise), I can move slowly (more slowly than I thought!) on a boat - probably a good thing. This isn't something to rush.

I also want to thank everyone for such a diverse set of opinions, and kind wishes! Joethecobbler, the spoon around my neck isn't silver, ok, well, it's copper plated in silver, and by the time I got it, the silver was mostly worn off. My family isn't rich - mom's a school teacher, stepdad's an artist (and amazing carpenter from whom I've learned most my building and repair skills), Pop's a phone installer (and surfer, who taught me to surf, and repair surfboards), stepmom was a phone installer too (yeah, guess how THEY met? :rolleyes:) before she retired. So yeah, I'm made of pretty stern stuff, and I'm NOT afraid to get my hands dirty - I've maintained a classic motorcycle (1978 Yamaha XS11), maintained and modified my 99 Landrover Discovery, and done nearly everything under the sun to my old VW Bus before I sold it back in 2003. I'm pretty handy, and if I have the time to do something right, I will - especially if Admiral SWMBO considers it a "must-do", because that is the only way I can get her to take the boy and leave me be so I can work, otherwise it's a constant, "when will you be done goofing around in the shop so we can all go have fun together?" *sigh*

The remarks on leaving a TV off the boat or just using a laptop won't work for me. I LOVE to read, and do so voraciously when I can, but as I've mentioned, my business/art is TV/film, so I need to be able to view it in as optimal a way as possible. Were I a painter, I would not want to limit myself to looking at artwork on an iPod or handheld digital device, I'd want to see the work as it was intended to be seen - in a frame, in an art gallery. I can't see every film in the theater because I'm a dad, so I do the best I can with blu-ray and a home theater now. Onboard, this will mean downsizing, and I'm prepared to deal with that, but since I'll be SELLING my current setup, buying a more limited one might actually yield a profit.

Keep 'em crossed for me, I'll be in touch!
 

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Swab
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The remarks on leaving a TV off the boat or just using a laptop won't work for me. I LOVE to read, and do so voraciously when I can, but as I've mentioned, my business/art is TV/film, so I need to be able to view it in as optimal a way as possible. Were I a painter, I would not want to limit myself to looking at artwork on an iPod or handheld digital device, I'd want to see the work as it was intended to be seen - in a frame, in an art gallery. I can't see every film in the theater because I'm a dad, so I do the best I can with blu-ray and a home theater now. Onboard, this will mean downsizing, and I'm prepared to deal with that, but since I'll be SELLING my current setup, buying a more limited one might actually yield a profit.

Keep 'em crossed for me, I'll be in touch!
I think you are going to have a difficult time with this. You will either need a very large boat or you will have to do an extreme make-over of your goals and lifestyle. Living aboard as you seem to envision it would be do-able if you get a large trawler or motorsailer but I don't think cruising is in the cards. But then, "Cruising" means different things to different people and I've seen all kinds.:rolleyes: Not everyone is as crazy as Laura and I.

On the plus side - Now is a great time to buy a boat:)
 

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SailNet Grom
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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Well, yeah, to have a setup anything like what I've currently got would require a very large boat, but what I'm envisioning is a 5.1 system with very small speakers mounted to the ceiling and subwoofer built in under the starboard bench/berth. The TV I'm thinking of is somewhere between 32" and 37", flatscreen LCD with a narrow bezel mounted above the starboard bench/berth on the wall, or alternately (depending on the boat's layout), mounted to the bulkhead on the port side ahead of the dining area. The PS3 will probably be stashed on the bookshelf along the side, and if you're wondering where the amp for the surround system will go, I intend to use a system purposed for a computer, which have the amplifiers generally built into the woofer, or into a very, very small control unit (like 6"x3"x3").

I've resigned most of my things to being sold, and will be seeking out .pdf versions of my book collection to be kept on my computer and iPhone, with only a few exceptions. DVDs etc will all have to be removed from cases and placed into a large CD binder, taking up about 1/100th of the space. My laptop is a 13" macbook, and takes up very little room. Originally I had planned a "ship's computer" to be integrated with the tv and surround system, but I'm thinking more and more that it's either that or my PS3, and the PS3's only drawbacks in that regard is it's lack of MacOSX, while it's benefits for keeping are its gaming capabilities... I don't intent to lock myself in my boat and spend all my time watching movies and playing video games, of course - I'm a very active, outdoorsy person (who's going insane in Los Angeles), but it's nice to relax and watch a movie in the evening after the boy has gone to sleep.
 

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Well, yeah, to have a setup anything like what I've currently got would require a very large boat, but what I'm envisioning is a 5.1 system with very small speakers mounted to the ceiling and subwoofer built in under the starboard bench/berth. The TV I'm thinking of is somewhere between 32" and 37", flatscreen LCD with a narrow bezel mounted above the starboard bench/berth on the wall, or alternately (depending on the boat's layout), mounted to the bulkhead on the port side ahead of the dining area. The PS3 will probably be stashed on the bookshelf along the side, and if you're wondering where the amp for the surround system will go, I intend to use a system purposed for a computer, which have the amplifiers generally built into the woofer, or into a very, very small control unit (like 6"x3"x3").

I've resigned most of my things to being sold, and will be seeking out .pdf versions of my book collection to be kept on my computer and iPhone, with only a few exceptions. DVDs etc will all have to be removed from cases and placed into a large CD binder, taking up about 1/100th of the space. My laptop is a 13" macbook, and takes up very little room. Originally I had planned a "ship's computer" to be integrated with the tv and surround system, but I'm thinking more and more that it's either that or my PS3, and the PS3's only drawbacks in that regard is it's lack of MacOSX, while it's benefits for keeping are its gaming capabilities... I don't intent to lock myself in my boat and spend all my time watching movies and playing video games, of course - I'm a very active, outdoorsy person (who's going insane in Los Angeles), but it's nice to relax and watch a movie in the evening after the boy has gone to sleep.
Here is how our TV was done:



- CD
 

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and will be seeking out .pdf versions of my book collection to be kept on my computer and iPhone,.
My wife and I use audible dot com for ( audio ) book downloads and I know amazon & sony has readers. my wife has the Sony reader which hold several hundred ( text ) books.

With still doing the 9-5 gig, working on the boat or sailing on the weekends, the audiobook versions downloaded to my Ipod is a great option.
 

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CD, why do you have 12 cans of Bushes Baked Beans over your TV ??
 
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