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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey! My wife and I have decided we are going to move aboard a boat with our kids and homeschool them for a few years. The boys are 2yrs old and 4yrs old.

We've only sailed on charters and never owned a boat of our own so we are looking for some advice on what to get! We went to the Miami boat show yesterday to size out some boats and found that we would easily fit inside a Beneteau 45 or a Jeanneau 41 (Not sure why, but the Jeanneau felt *much* roomier). These were both 2016 model so not sure if this knowledge transfers to older models.

Our price range is around $200,000. We only need 2 bedrooms but we do need space for a watermaker, generator, air compressor, and surface area for a few solar panels.

What style boats/boat makers would you recommend we look at? The boat should be friendly for the ICW be able to be single handed since one of us will most likely be tending to the kids.

We currently live in Pompano Beach Florida and will mostly be sailing around South Florida and the surrounding islands.
 

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First question... are there areas where you live (or plan to live) where liveaboards are legally sanctioned? or do you plan to live 'on the hook'? (also problematic in parts of Florida from what I've heard)

With kids 2 and 4 you'll have some time to figure out if the lifestyle suits you all before the schooling issue becomes a major one. Are either of you teachers?

For $200K all in you may have some difficulty finding that big a boat, though if you'll settle for older it will be easier.. but upgrades and fixes can run to unexpected amounts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, there are a lot of docks specifically for liveaboards in my area. I'm in Pompano Beach which is just north of Fort Lauderdale. They are basically the cost of housing out here but they are plentiful :)

Neither of us are teachers but we are both well educated people and one of the reasons we are looking at home schooling is because of our experience with pre-school with our 4 year old. We are currently in one of the best preschools in our area (which costs a ton!) and its no where near what we want for our kids education. Traditional education is a disaster... but obviously that is a discussion for another time. Lets talk sailing!

The reason we've set our limit at $200k is because we want a buffer for upgrades, fixes, and unexpected costs. We know we'll most likely be adding a water maker, generator, and solar panels at a minimum so we know we are in for a good $10-20k before we even do unknowns. The first year we are living on the boat we'll both still have full time jobs. We don't plan on quitting until we've worked out most of the unknowns. We've heard the first year is the most expensive so we don't want to burn any savings during it.
 

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With 200K as a starting point and awareness of need for 'room' for fixes and upgrades you'll have some options.

Here's a couple of pages of a Yachtworld.com search within reasonable distance of your general area with some rough parameters:

(Sail) Cruiser Boats For Sale

I didn't set a filter for age, so you'll have the gamut, but should give you some ideas of where you stand on the boat front. Keep in mind that if you find a well maintained seasoned cruiser it may well have many of the things you'll think you need to add - though some of that may well need upgrading by now. Don't forget, too, that like cars, buying lightly used avoids the initial depreciation and in the case of boats often leads to a lot more of the 'essential equipment' already having been added more or less for free...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Cruising with a family of 4!T

Thanks! I'll run through that list and see if anything catches my eye.

Are there specific makes/models that are known to be great for liveaboard/cruising?
 

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$200k budget for a family of 4 is easy! I have a family of 4 and I wish I had that large a budget! there are lots of boats in your price range. the Beneteau 430's from the late 80's would easily fit your needs. twin aft cabins for when they're ready and lots of space! If you're willing to look a bit older (and cheaper) the Morgan OI 41's have Tons of space, a nice center cockpit with a good sized engine room ( to house all that gear you listed) and you can get them with twin offset bunks up in the V to give your kids each their own space!! OI's have shallow draft which is ICW friendly! Whitby 42's are also great for this! Lots of choices if you are willing to look at boats older than 10-15 years! some of the best ever cruising boats are designs that are now 30+ years old!!!
 

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for 200k you should be able to get what you want with all the options you're looking for. genset, watermaker, solar, windgen, and batteries to match would cost significantly more than 20k to install. i would recommend that you only look at boats that already have these options since they tend to not add what they are worth to the resale value. most boat builders mondernized in the early 90's so from then on the differences (generally) are slight.
 

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Two things:

air draft and

keel draft

Think HARD about these things.
 

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It's always so hard to make this suggestion to another. You really need to get out there and start crawling around boats for sale. You'll get better input, if you come back with a specific make/model/year and ask about it's pros/cons.

The only thing I can add is that you should be mindful of where the control lines are, if you're going to feel like you're singlehanding often. Although, on the ICW, you'll like motor more often than sail. I prefer all control lines to run to the cockpit. But this is an example of my point. Some will argue the main halyard should be at the mast, even for a single hander.

I do have a question. What do you expect to do with the boat, when these few years pass. You can assume that you loved it or didn't. Will you need to sell the boat then. That could have a serious impact on what you buy. I would never buy a newer boat that I felt I would want to sell in the next 5 years, as the depreciation curve would take a huge toll. I would buy something older, at the bottom of its depreciation curve and take good care of it.

Keep in mind, your kids only get bigger from here, even if you think you might stay aboard longer. :)
 

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Yeah, air draft is so important. The vessel's "clearance" is the distance in excess of the air draft which allows a vessel to pass safely under a bridge or obstacle such as power lines and stuffs. Good luck!
 
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