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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I am looking to purchase a sailboat to live in. I am new to boats. What should I look out for when purchasing a used boat? Are there any prerequisites I need to meet before making my purchase (boat license, boat operation, etc.)? I don't know how to operate a boat, I only plan to live in it and learn to operate it from experienced sailors in my free time.

I live in Portland, OR. I am concerned about storms, and harsh winters.


Thanks for all your help!
- Kevin
 

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1. you need money; what is your budget? what size boat?
2. do you have a suitable place to keep it?
3. prerequisites; learn to sail first.
4. since you intend to live on it, check all the through hulls.
5. no, you do not need a boat license to buy a boat; just $$.
6. you may need to operate the boat to take it away (from a marina?)
7. if you know an experienced sailor, invite him to go with you to see the boat first before you pay.
8. have the boat surveyed to find out any big faults.
9. storms are scary; all sailors try their best to avoid them!
10. you will need some source of heat for winter.

good luck!
 

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You may want to check out the blogs and websites for some of the people who have lived aboard sailboats in cold climates.
It sounds hard and it requires a special attitude, ingenuity and resourcefulness to do it. Sailboats are not usually insulated like a home is, with double walls and insulating material between the inner and outer walls. So, when you heat the inside and you breathe and perspire, moisture gathers on the walls (hull) and ceiling (deck) as condensation and then drips on your head and bedding making everything damp. The couple on Sailing Chance describe the measures they had to take to make the interior of their boat warm, and the measures they had to take to deal with the condensation. They wintered two winters in a marina in NY City and it sounds difficult. In Portland, you probably get less snow than in NY City. One of the biggest problems they encountered was dealing with the walls in the v-berth dripping condensation all over their bedding, making it wet to where they had to strip their bed each morning and hang sheets and the bedspread up to try and get it dry by the next bedtime. They finally covered the inside of the hull/wall with something. In addition to running ceramic heaters, they also ran a dehumidifier.

Sailing Chance: Nine ways to live aboard during winter
Nine Ways To Keep Your Sailboat Warm During Winter Aboard Sailing Chance

Sailing Chance: Surviving a blizzard at the marina.
Surviving our First Blizzard Aboard Sailing Chance

https://ny.curbed.com/2016/3/14/11224294/new-york-city-house-boat-victoria-fine
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
1. you need money; what is your budget? what size boat?
2. do you have a suitable place to keep it?
3. prerequisites; learn to sail first.
4. since you intend to live on it, check all the through hulls.
5. no, you do not need a boat license to buy a boat; just $$.
6. you may need to operate the boat to take it away (from a marina?)
7. if you know an experienced sailor, invite him to go with you to see the boat first before you pay.
8. have the boat surveyed to find out any big faults.
9. storms are scary; all sailors try their best to avoid them!
10. you will need some source of heat for winter.

good luck!
1. Under 5k for boat. Under $500 for live-aboard.
2. A local marina in Portland, OR.

Thank you for your advice. I will consider all that is mentioned. I hope future reader will see this and consider these as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You may want to check out the blogs and websites for some of the people who have lived aboard sailboats in cold climates.
It sounds hard and it requires a special attitude, ingenuity and resourcefulness to do it. Sailboats are not usually insulated like a home is, with double walls and insulating material between the inner and outer walls. So, when you heat the inside and you breathe and perspire, moisture gathers on the walls (hull) and ceiling (deck) as condensation and then drips on your head and bedding making everything damp. The couple on Sailing Chance describe the measures they had to take to make the interior of their boat warm, and the measures they had to take to deal with the condensation. They wintered two winters in a marina in NY City and it sounds difficult. In Portland, you probably get less snow than in NY City. One of the biggest problems they encountered was dealing with the walls in the v-berth dripping condensation all over their bedding, making it wet to where they had to strip their bed each morning and hang sheets and the bedspread up to try and get it dry by the next bedtime. They finally covered the inside of the hull/wall with something. In addition to running ceramic heaters, they also ran a dehumidifier.
Thank you for all your time. I love resources. I will make sure to read through all of these before my purchase.
 

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I would recommend 'The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat' by Mark Nicholas. A very informative book. I'm not even a sailor yet but I'm considering living aboard when I retire in a few years.
 

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5k will buy you either a tiny sailboat or a slightly larger one that is barely floating. Any houseboat under 5k will have serious issues. Any trawler for under 5k may be found in pieces in the local landfill.

Suggest you take a look at Marine Survey 101 which will give you an idea of what you may want to learn before you learn to sail (that's the easy part).
 

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I've been living aboard near Toronto for 23 years, never had mold, mildew condensation or any of the other hardships, spent every day onboard with a pair of shorts and t-shirt. "Sailing Chance" didn't didn't have a clue.
 

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I am familiar with some of the marinas in the PDX area, and your initial challenge will be to find a moorage that will allow you to live aboard.
While it seems wrong-headed to charge live-aboard boaters extra $$, most marinas do this.
My friends that have lived on their boats for several decades have all been important for maintaining marina security and also watching out for neighbor boats that were were in distress, like burning or sinking.

It's a fun lifestyle, at least in the warmer months -- watching wildlife and cooking on your BBQ.
Not nearly as much in January and February when you are lugging groceries down an icy dock, and carrying trash back up that same slippery dock. :)
 

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I've been living aboard near Toronto for 23 years, never had mold, mildew condensation or any of the other hardships, spent every day onboard with a pair of shorts and t-shirt. "Sailing Chance" didn't didn't have a clue.
I guess it is different from region to region and for various types of boats. Would a boat with a cored hull act differently than a non-cored hull?

The winter that Sailing Chance spent in New York Harbor was one of the wettest winters on record. During the time they were there, there was rare blizzard that hit, dumping an above average snowfall for NY City.

It also depends on the number of breathing beings on board. I know, from my backpacking days, that having two people in my tent makes a big difference from when it's just me by myself.

Sailing Chance had two adult humans and, I think, one or two large dogs. Three or four large lung breathers on a 42 foot sailboat would likely generate a lot of condensation.

I don't know what you mean when you say "Sailing Chance didn't have a clue", I don't think they imagined the condensation. Apparently it is a problem for many boaters. Your case is very fortunate.

The couple in Sailing Chance experienced real condensation until they insulated with a product called Hypervent ***(See below). Apparently others have the condensation problem, because this product seems to sell.

How many people live on your boat in Toronto and how large is your boat? What is your heat source that keeps you warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt?

How much snow does Toronto usually get in the Winter?

It's curious, the different experiences.

***
HYPERVENT Mat
Hypervent Condensation Prevention Matting

Plain and simple, a differential between the inside and outside temperature can cause condensation. A favorite place for condensation is under mattresses, bunk pads and cushions. Ask any boater and they'll tell you stories of damage caused by condensation.

HyperVent is the most practical solution for the prevention of dampness (condensation) forming beneath boat beds. Before HyperVent, the approach to dealing with dampness and the resulting mold (odor) was to accept the problem as inevitable and to treat the symptoms. The most common treatment was simply drying the bedding above-deck in the sun (if available).

Features:

HyperVent is a special material that consists of a white spun polymer woven into a large open configuration that is bonded to a breathable white fabric layer
This light mesh of polymer does not compress, allowing an open layer of air to form
It is 3/4" thick, allowing plenty of dry air to circulate
 

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My friends that have lived on their boats for several decades have all been important for maintaining marina security and also watching out for neighbor boats that were were in distress, like burning or sinking.
The extra cost of live-aboard could be based on potential live-aboards that don't know anything about boats and only have $5,000 to spend on their new home. It may not be fair but being a rare commodity, live-aboard spaces, it makes sense to charge extra for the limited spots.
 

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If you are going to live in an area where the docks ice up during winter, purchase a pair of golf shoes, the old type with the metal spikes. They make life a whole lot safer when walking on ice. I did this many years ago because my steep driveway iced up during winter ice storms and made it impossible to reach the top of the hill where we parked our cars in these situations. The golf shoes made walking up the driveway on solid ice was just like walking on bare ground in summertime. I would hate the thought of falling off an ice slicked dock in the dead of winter. It would most likely be a fatal event.

Gary :cool:
 

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I guess it is different from region to region and for various types of boats. Would a boat with a cored hull act differently than a non-cored hull?

The winter that Sailing Chance spent in New York Harbor was one of the wettest winters on record. During the time they were there, there was rare blizzard that hit, dumping an above average snowfall for NY City.

It also depends on the number of breathing beings on board. I know, from my backpacking days, that having two people in my tent makes a big difference from when it's just me by myself.

Sailing Chance had two adult humans and, I think, one or two large dogs. Three or four large lung breathers on a 42 foot sailboat would likely generate a lot of condensation.

I don't know what you mean when you say "Sailing Chance didn't have a clue", I don't think they imagined the condensation. Apparently it is a problem for many boaters. Your case is very fortunate.

The couple in Sailing Chance experienced real condensation until they insulated with a product called Hypervent ***(See below). Apparently others have the condensation problem, because this product seems to sell.

How many people live on your boat in Toronto and how large is your boat? What is your heat source that keeps you warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt?

How much snow does Toronto usually get in the Winter?

It's curious, the different experiences.

***
HYPERVENT Mat
Hypervent Condensation Prevention Matting

Plain and simple, a differential between the inside and outside temperature can cause condensation. A favorite place for condensation is under mattresses, bunk pads and cushions. Ask any boater and they'll tell you stories of damage caused by condensation.

HyperVent is the most practical solution for the prevention of dampness (condensation) forming beneath boat beds. Before HyperVent, the approach to dealing with dampness and the resulting mold (odor) was to accept the problem as inevitable and to treat the symptoms. The most common treatment was simply drying the bedding above-deck in the sun (if available).

Features:

HyperVent is a special material that consists of a white spun polymer woven into a large open configuration that is bonded to a breathable white fabric layer
This light mesh of polymer does not compress, allowing an open layer of air to form
It is 3/4" thick, allowing plenty of dry air to circulate
Two people and a dog on 38' We've experienced every kind of winter much worse than NY over 23 years.

Proper insulation, proper ventilation, even heat distribution and properly vented shrink wrap. They did none of these things. That is what I meant .... they did not have a clue as to how to set up a boat for the winter.
 

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I live in Alaska, and everybody buys YakTrax or a similar product, whether they live on the docks or not. It's basically a rubber booty with cleats on the bottom you slip over your shoes, and they're literally a lifesaver. Until you forget to take them off when you go anywhere with tile or hard flooring at which point you will completely wipe out.
 
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