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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I''d appreciate some help from all you experienced folks out there. Retirement is fast approaching and I''d like to consider living aboard a decent size sailboat rather than in my standard tract house.

Any thoughts on minimum size for a single guy in his 50''s? What are the minimum amenities you have to have not to spend your days in discomfort? Is the idea even feasible?

Any comments, postive or negative, would be much appreciated. Especially if this seems like a dumb idea and you''ll be saving me from a drastic mistake!

Thanks,

Dave...
 

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It is definitely feasible. However, ....have you lived aboard before? Sailing abilities? Temperate climate? Amenities needed depend on many variables. Will you be at a full service, year round marina? etc. etc. Throw out some specific concerns. Good luck. Matt
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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Like so many things in sailing there often is no one right answer for this kind of question. Different people look at these things very differently. Back in the 1960''s and early 1970''s it was not that unusual to see single men living and cruising on 28 to 30 footers. Today it seems like people tend toward bigger boats.

To some a 32 or 34 footer is large enough and is a lot to handle. To others 40 and 50 footers are no big deal to handle and are a bit cramped. One person''s right boat is another person''s nightmare.

To give you meaningful advice we would need to know more about your plans and goals. you need to openly and honestly sk yourself a lot of questions and if you pass the answers along we can try to advise you as best we can. For example:

- Do you plan to live aboard and work until you retire? Will you be going to an office or perhaps a job where you can dress more casually?

-Are you an experienced sailor or are you looking to learn to sail on this boat?

-Are you looking for a boat that sails well or just a place to call home?

-Where do you live and sail and where do you hope to live and sail?

What is your physical condition?

-Are you a technical person and are you handy at repairing all kinds of things?

-What sort of budget do you have in mind?

Maybe then we can help by answering more specifically.

Good luck
Jeff


I think a lot of the answer also relates to the rig, and hardware and your physical condition. Larger fractional rigs are easier to handle that masthead rigs with small mainsails and big jibs since you are not tacking huge jibs and because you can often have a smallish jib with a wider wind speed range. I find that as boats get larger it is easier to handle a larger fractional rig boat under sail. Power winches, autopilots and windlasses also help cut the difficulty of handling a larger boat but at the price of greater complexity.

To me, a 36 to 38 footer is a reasonably comfortable size boat for two and a preferable size for two people to live aboard who do not have to get up and go to a day job and who do not have frequent guests aboard. It should be easy to find boats this size that are a minute a mile or more faster than your Tartan 30 and which have similar, but proportionately faster, ranges of performance. You should be able to find boats with that kind of performance that also are capable of providing all of the accommodations that you are looking for. Some of these boats may need some adaptation or modernization to achieve your goals. It is particularly easy to find that meet your needs if you limit your search to boats built in the 1990''s since many of the boats from this era had more modern sailing lines and included such items as refrigeration, pressure water and dedicated showers. Some of these boats may not have as much water capacity as might be ideal but water and fuel capacity is actually usually pretty easy to add. For example, my boat comes with a 25 gallon water supply but we can very easily add up to 20 gallons of additional water for longer cruises in 5 gallon water cubes that I can tie into my pressure water system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi Matt and Jeff,

Thanks for replying. Your comments made me realize that I was jumping ahead of the game by asking for a quick answer before I had defined the right questions, which you just did for me. Let me answer those real quick and see what you guys (and others suggest).

I couldn’t live aboard until I retire. My career is here (Atlanta) and the water is there (Florida). One thought is to buy something big enough to live aboard during semester breaks and parts of the summer to see how I like it (30 to 35 feet?), then if that seems to work, go for something really substantial as a retirement residence (45 to 50ft?). The only work I’ll do in retirement is an occasional consultation with previous clients, and they’d have to really want me back. I want to throw away all my ties and button down shirts.

Experience – some. Served as crew on a Morgan 45, but not blue water. However, I’ve spent many an hour navigating large aircraft over water, plus was a flight instructor, so I figure I can acquire the necessary skills between now and retirement (via ASA, just to make sure nothing is missing)

A boat that sails well? I don’t plan to cross the Atlantic, but wouldn’t consider the Caribbean out of range eventually. I don’t have any interest in serious racing.

Physical condition is excellent (for a 58 year old!). I can still handle spinnakers and the like, but single handing is not my desire. Living on the boat, around like minded folks, plus weekenders with friends is more my goal. Also, I’m a technical person and can fix stuff (usually).

Budget? 40 to 50K for the first boat, and later, if I didn’t own a house also, probably 100k plus. Pmts and slip fee information I can find, but one item I can’t seem to get a handle on is how much to budget for maintenance.

Again, thanks for your help.

Dave…
 

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Dave, You should do it!! I think that with your aviator background, and basic sailing skills you will do great. I would start shopping now. Look at primarily performance cruisers. Tartan, Pacific Seacraft, DuFour, etc. Tartan leans towards performance, PS is a bluewater cruiser. If you are going to begin by spending 40-50K, you might step up a bit and not have the headache of selling and upgrading. Figure out what is important to you. You need a good bed, solid living area, etc. Do you love to cook? Maybe a bigger galley is in order. Maintenance is a whole other issue. You will want to maintain your boat, and probably upgrade things as well. As a liveaboard who is handy, you should save some good dough. A rough estimate is 5% of boat length per year in manitenance. (in thousands) 30'' = $1500, 40'' =$2000. This figure includes modest upgrades that come along all the time. It does not take into consideration major upgrades. Also, this figure represents cleaning and eventually buying new sails. This figure would be higher if you were not handy, and not living aboard. (onboard=time) Finally, as you begin to hone in on boats you think you might like, join the owners clubs on sailnet. These are email lists specific to owners of a certain manufacturer. These lists can give you great insight as to which models are better, strength and weaknesses, etc. Highly recommend. You can post your own questions as well. If I were you, I would be looking for a 35'' boat, no older than the early 80''s. All you should need, and cost really rises each foot after that. Good luck, MattF
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi, and you can find good size boats to live on very comfortably..for not much money.
If you aren''t planning to sail around the world, find a 34ft Columbia..perfect for living aboard and you could cruise South!
These boats are had for not much money.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I live on my Catalina 30. And after a year some thoughts. THe C-30 is a bit tight with anyone else on board. I would also look at storage built in without using Rubbermaid containers. I would also want a decent fuel and water tankage.

A lot of coastal cruiser designs are short on storage and tankage, but have a lot of room.

Just my thoughts
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi Matt,

Thanks for the encouragement! Sorry to take so long in answering. I just spent a couple of weeks in England and was so busy over there that I haven’t answered anybody’s e-mails, not even family. BTW, they have some really interesting areas to sail, but it’s expensive over there – but then again, everything is.

The figures you gave me about maintenance really help. That’s probably the only item I really had trouble finding. Also, I’m looking at yachtworld.com and other listing, plus the ads in the back of Sailing Today to get an idea of price ranges (plus I’m building a “database” of boat asking prices and maybe an analysis using a regression equation will give me a chart that will tell me the dimensions of the ballpark I have to play in. Also, I’m constantly checking Amazon.com for good books on the subject, so I’ll be nothing if not prepared with information.

After my trip back across the pond yesterday, I think I have NO desire to cross any oceans. Normally you can’t see the ocean surface from FL 360 over the North Atlantic, but this trip we could, and there were some awesome whitecaps being churned up. Getting out there on anything short of a liner isn’t for me!

I’m headed out to Florida in a few days, and my brother and I are going to tour some boat broker’s yard to see what’s around. If nothing else, the window shopping will be fun.

Hope you have a good Holiday Season. Thanks again.

Dave…
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I hate to use this format as a gripe list but I want others to have fair warning.

I recently planned a trip to the east coast to look for a livaboard sailboat amoung other things. I contacted Jill Griffin @ Wagner - Stevens Yachts in Annapolis to set up an inspection of a few boats. I told her I wanted to look at Tayana 37''s among others. She said she would see what she could find. She came up with a Fisher 37, and a Corbin 39 as I had expressed intrest in a PH Tayana 37 they had listed. I also asked to see a conventional TY 37 as well. She told me she couldn''t come up with any reg TY 37''s so I was going to view the fisher and Corbin. I told her a little over two weeks out about when I was coming. After not hearing from her about plans I called again the Mon. before I was to leave and veiw boats on Sun. She finally responded on Thur. with the news that it would be inconvient for her to show me boats on Sun. as she was throwing a X-mas party. I asked her to arrange for someone else. Sat. she informed me that no one else cold show me boats but she could have instructions on where to see the boats and keys to the boatsat her office. On arrival the gentleman in the ofice told me the instructions were taped near the front door. Following the poor instructions to see the Corbin at the marina I couldn''t tell if the boat was in the water on on the hard. After calling her office and having instructions relayed to me through the office. (She didn''t even have th courtesy to call me directly on my cell phone.) I found the Corbin. Next I was off on an approx. 12 mi. drive to find the Fisher. Upon arrival at the yard I could see the Fisher resting on it''s cradle behind a locked gate with a large sign reading No Trespassing closed Sat. and Sundays. The fence was broken a one point so I could have sneaked in but alas no ladder to get on deck. I was Pissed to say the least at this point. I called the office. Again a relay of calls with no solution. I was pretty uncomfortable wandering around a closed yard with with what represented huge sums of peoples money anacompanied. I had little encouragement from Jills'' written instructions she wrote to not use her name if anyone was to ask any questions about why I was on these boats without a broker.

I felt I gave ample warning to set these viewings up. Had I been informed of any difficulty far enough in advance I would have found someone else to work with. I simply want to pass my experience along in order to spare some one else misfortune and expense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I hate to use this format as a gripe list but I want others to have fair warning.

I recently planned a trip to the east coast to look for a livaboard sailboat amoung other things. I contacted Jill Griffin @ Wagner - Stevens Yachts in Annapolis to set up an inspection of a few boats. I told her I wanted to look at Tayana 37''s among others. She said she would see what she could find. She came up with a Fisher 37, and a Corbin 39 as I had expressed intrest in a PH Tayana 37 they had listed. I also asked to see a conventional TY 37 as well. She told me she couldn''t come up with any reg TY 37''s so I was going to view the fisher and Corbin. I told her a little over two weeks out about when I was coming. After not hearing from her about plans I called again the Mon. before I was to leave and veiw boats on Sun. She finally responded on Thur. with the news that it would be inconvient for her to show me boats on Sun. as she was throwing a X-mas party. I asked her to arrange for someone else. Sat. she informed me that no one else cold show me boats but she could have instructions on where to see the boats and keys to the boatsat her office. On arrival the gentleman in the ofice told me the instructions were taped near the front door. Following the poor instructions to see the Corbin at the marina I couldn''t tell if the boat was in the water on on the hard. After calling her office and having instructions relayed to me through the office. (She didn''t even have th courtesy to call me directly on my cell phone.) I found the Corbin. Next I was off on an approx. 12 mi. drive to find the Fisher. Upon arrival at the yard I could see the Fisher resting on it''s cradle behind a locked gate with a large sign reading No Trespassing closed Sat. and Sundays. The fence was broken a one point so I could have sneaked in but alas no ladder to get on deck. I was Pissed to say the least at this point. I called the office. Again a relay of calls with no solution. I was pretty uncomfortable wandering around a closed yard with with what represented huge sums of peoples money anacompanied. I had little encouragement from Jills'' written instructions she wrote to not use her name if anyone was to ask any questions about why I was on these boats without a broker.

I felt I gave ample warning to set these viewings up. Had I been informed of any difficulty far enough in advance I would have found someone else to work with. I simply want to pass my experience along in order to spare some one else misfortune and expense.
 

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Hi Dave

I read about your concerns, although I am not retired, I do live aboard an Ericson 34T. I am planning my next purchase, most likely a Hans Christian 38+. My only concern with my present sailboat is that there is a lmited space available for suits and ties. When you will be in Florida, give me call and arange a visit. If you are interested in my 34T, I can make you an excellent deal no intermediate involved. If you want to see pictures let me know.

Good luck

Jean-Marc
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, you do have almost all the answers now except one or two that I must add. Firstly, get headroom!!and an inch or two more than that!Next get WOOD!!By living aboard, most likely in a marina you''ll have all the time you''ll need to learn how to paint and varnish.The difference is irrefutable. F''glass has no soul. To live in a wooden boat is to live inside a tree...in essence.To live in a GRP boat is to live in a Lego. Don''t waste your time on plastic.Also, you''ll get much better value for dollar in wood especially as you''ve noticed on Yachtworld.com. $200,000.00 will get you an 110 ft''r . Next buy AMERICAN!! If you need to you can get a six-pack license and do charters as income...cheese, you''ll BE living there!And lastly, get a crew. Send for some orphans, or waifs or refugees or some people that would give their lives to live.....that will give you a purpose........ Rev. Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hi Guys
(I don''t even know if this goes all the way back up thread???) and this site is driving me crazy with repeating myself.

Re - you don''t know if you should ''do it'' - DON''T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT - DO IT!!!!

If you would like to contact me by e-amil, I can offer you some stuff about who, when, where, why, how much, etc. I''ve been living aboard for over 22 months and have sailed around Cuba, Florida, Exuams and back to Abaco and I have also been stationary (on the hook for months at a time). Ask away and I''ll tell you what I know..........
 

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Dazeoff: I DO plan to liveaboard, and would very much appreciate hearing about your life living aboard and the things you''ve experienced and learned.
Books are good, but there''s nothing like first-hand, personal advice.

My email address is: [email protected]

Thanks!

WH
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Dear Dazeoff,

Well, there''s no doubt about your sentiments! I would like to talk to you via e-mail about some of your specific experiences. The problem of what boat to buy is real high on the list of questions to answer. If you''d drop me a line at [email protected], I''d appreciate it.

Thanks,

Dave...
 
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