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Soon to be sailer
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Discussion Starter #1
Im sure you can tell from the title that this is going to be a disaster but humor me for a quick minute :)

I just moved to Orlando from Minneapolis and realized that for the first time living on a boat year round is a viable option.

Factors:
1. I hate the concept of renting, 100% wasted money. At least with a sailboat I can recoup 50% or more of my investment.
2. I have always wanted a sailboat and am willing to make sacrifices for the dream.

What Im thinking so far:
1. Buy a small sailboat around 25' for hopefully about 3,000 based on what Ive seen on craigslist.
2. I have a lake picked out and a business owner who said I can rent their unused dock for $100/month. I can run a power line out, water and wifi booster.
3. Im going to get a gym membership for showers.
4. There is a marina across the lake that can tow my boat after purchase. I met their mechanic who said he could survey a boat for me for a good price on his own time. The marina can do the waste pumping or whatever.
5. Im super handy so Im not too worried about getting and older boat. I know a little bit about wiring plumbing refinishing etc and have flipped houses.
6. I just got a decent part time job with a software developer so I can afford to fix it up as I go and upgrade to something bigger and better in a few months.

So Advice:
What kind of sacrifices do you have to make on a boat this cheap?
I thought about it and it seems like a lot of stuff could be broken and I could still use it. IE stove: get electric counter top one, toilet: composter portapotty, engine: no problem im just taking it out on the lake a bit, electricity: I can fix myself

Where should I buy it? Private seller or used boat yard?

Is limited head room on small boat going to suck? im 6'

I have friends nearby so its pretty much just for sleeping. I can probably talk the business owner into letting me instal a small shed for bigger things.


Okay, shoot holes in my plan :)
Thanks for help in advance. Obviously I just found this site online.
 

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islander bahama 24
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1,842 Posts
I live on an islander Bahama 24 head rooms not great. do you sail or is this just to motor around and sleep on as a " dock queen" if the latter you will be happier with an older cabin cruiser ( better headroom )
 

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Chastened
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This is obviously just a place to rest your head at night. Why are you searching for a sailboat?

There are a variety of derelict powerboats that would probably offer more cabin space.
Sure, go for it. Your plan is brilliant.

FFS, I thought this was "Sailnet" not "Help-drifters-beat-the-cost-of-rent-net".
 

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I use to hang on the one of the Rolex forums where people ask crazy questions about "can I wear my Rolex doing this or that". I see on this forum "it's cheap liveaboards"

:laugher:laugher:laugher
 

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islander bahama 24
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1,842 Posts
This is obviously just a place to rest your head at night.

FFS, I thought this was "Sailnet" not "Help-drifters-beat-the-cost-of-rent-net".
Seems to be several posts lately that mirror the beat the cost of living responsibly on a boat.
 

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I doubt that a composting toilet will fit on the size boat you're talking about.
That being the case, where can you (legally) empty your porta-potty?
 

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My wife and I lived aboard an O'day 22 for a few months.

People do it every day it's called camping.

My son and girl friend lived aboard a Pearson Commander for a year in Annapolis including one winter. He decided not to do the second winter though.

You can manage anything for a while.

I like that you are getting all your ducks in a row.
Have a dock not a mooring.
Are going to pay for what you consume, dock, water, power, showers.

Good for you.

One thing my son complained about was being wet all the time.
It is really hard to control the moisture.
You open the hatch when it is raining and everything gets a little damp.

You will probably get sick of it after a while but in the mean time you will have a good story.

It is not likely to be sailing however.
Having the boat ready to sail whenever the weather is nice and knowing how is another whole subject.
 
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if you are getting a tow to the dock you will be staying on getting back to the marina for pump out might be a problem

if you dont know much about boats getting that mechanic to do a quick once over at least is probably a good idea. but Like Bob said in that range a full Survey is overkill.

6" is pushing it for headroom in most boats that size but really you have a floating living/sleeping area you dont stand up unless cooking(my #1 need was standing space in the Galley) you spend your time on deck or not there or sailing so headroom is not as much of a thought as it would be somewhere you spend more time moving around in.

Do it go for it have a blast and if it sucks you didnt put too much into it right?
 

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I would think the biggest issue will be the oppressive summer heat WITHOUT AC

Even up here in much more moderate NY going below on many summer days is instant sweat time :)
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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I advise you to go to Orlando, FL and scope it out before you entertain an idea like this. Orlando is about 30 miles from the east coast & 60 miles from the Gulf coast so no cool coastal breezes (except when a hurricane or tropical storm comes around).
Orlando has a large number of freshwater lakes around it. It is also a fairly highly developed area (think disneyworld etc) with agriculture just outside the populated areas (think cattle and truck farming). It can get pretty hot and humid which is why most folks live in houses with air conditioning or single or double wide trailer homes that at least have plumbing, electricity and running water.
You need to check on these lakes and how they may smell, and how bad the mosquito and other pests are.
If this was such a great idea more people would have already traded in their double wide trailers for house boats.
Your idea is nice on paper but I think you need to have boots on the ground to figure out how viable it really is.
Let us know what you find out.
Good luck.
 

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LOL...agreed about the propensity of 'how to beat paying rent' topics recently, but I believe I might detect a hint of jealousy in those who complain.

I like Bob's advice. There are things that will suck. If you can live with those things, and still want to go ahead, go for it!

Don't listen to the people who tell you to pick a decrepit motor boat. I'm sure it will be more comfy, but what are you going to do with it??

Buy a cheap sailboat. Make sure it floats, and has all the stuff you need to go sailing, even if you don't know what to do with it.

Move aboard. figure out what you like and what you don't. set aside money to go the the sports bar and watch football while you drink beer and eat chicken wings. FIGURE OUT HOW TO SAIL...and if, at this point, you are still interested in living aboard, go find a nice big boat, and do it properly.

Great stories await you, young man...now go get busy living them.

Andy
 

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Wish I never found SN!
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You say you always wanted a sail boat. How much are you willing to spend. Or is this a free boat abandoned at the yard that they are willing to give you to get it out of there. If you are serious, look for something a bit bigger and more suited as it sounds like you will need to put in alot of time effort and money. If your going to spend the money you might as well have a boat thsys a keeper. If you are a bum...go get s van.
 
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Asleep at the wheel
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I agree with the others, it sounds like you at least have a responsible plan. You've figured out how to get the boat pumped out, so you aren't dumping waste into the lake on which you'll be living. You aren't talking about avoiding insurance, or how paying for a slip is for suckers. That, in my mind, helps distinguish you from many of the others who ask similar questions, and I congratulate you for being more responsible.

I used to own a Catalina 25, a very popular 25' sailboat. You can find them all over, and for close to your price range. The problem with almost all 25' boats (I was aboard an Irwin and one or two others that are the exceptions) is, as others have pointed out, standing room. The C25 has a "pop-top" that lets you increase the headroom inside a fair bit of the salon to a bit over 6'. That is FANTASTIC, because otherwise you're moving around with your neck or knees bent. I'm somewhere between 5'10" and 5'11", so not incredibly tall, and being inside the cabin got old after a while. If I could have kept the pop-top up, that would have been better, but the pop-top doesn't cover the entire boat, just a portion of the salon. So, cooking in the galley would have been interesting because of the lack of headroom. I had a port-a-potty aboard, and we had a strict "emergency use only" policy for that, so I never actually TRIED to go to the bathroom aboard, but I know that I was hunched over when I was in the head. The V-berth was JUST big enough for me to sleep in comfortably. Regarding the galley, please note that most 25' boats don't have a refrigerator, they have an ice box (cooler). That's a HUGE change from living in a house. Similarly, as was pointed out above, those boats don't have A/C or heating built in. So, unless you're in an area with good breezes, you might get a little warm. If you want A/C, heat, or a fridge, you'll need power, and a single extension cord probably won't give you the power that you'll need to run both (imagine the A/C and fridge kicking in at the same time). That means you may need 2 extension cords, each from a different circuit on the owner's panel. Also, please be sure to use, at the very least, outdoor extension cords, and the heavier gauge the better. The exposure to the elements can eventually lead to fire if you aren't careful.

I offer those observations for two reasons: 1) so you have some idea of what you're getting yourself into, and 2) so that you might consider a slightly larger boat. Some 27's have standing headroom, and have more beam than most 25's. That will make a HUGE difference in how the boat feels as your "home". You can go from feeling like you're camping to feeling like you're living in a very small apartment.

In the end, the decision is yours as to what you can tolerate. Remember, it may take you a year or two before this begins to really pay off (the cost of the boat, the slip, and all the maintenance could be used to pay rent). If you only do it for a year or two, then sell the boat, you'll have some interesting stories and life experience, but you may not be all that much better off than if you had just rented.
 

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Captain Obvious
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In the original post -

Factor #1 is , IMHO , completely wrong. Rent is frequently the best deal around all things considered. Sailboat owners frequently recoup much less than 50% of TOTAL COSTS and/or purchase price.
 

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At least with a sailboat I can recoup 50% or more of my investment.
No offense intended, but if you really believe this then you are only fooling yourself. If you actually include ALL of the costs associated with owning a boat, there is absolutely NO WAY that you are going to sell it a few years down the road and recoup 50% of your "investment." The only way to do that is to buy a boat today, and sell it for half as much tomorrow!

The marina can do the waste pumping or whatever.
Or whatever? Okay, I admire the fact that you are at least thinking about this. But you need to get way beyond "or whatever." You need to clearly understand the laws concerning waste disposal before you are ready to decide if this is a trade-off that you are willing to make.

I myself lived aboard a 23' sailboat for about 6 months back in the early 80s, on Lake Monroe (just north of Orlando). Using a gym for showers sucks. Not having standing headroom really sucks. Not having air conditioning really, REALLY sucks! And without A/C you have to leave the boat open, which means you will be swarmed by bugs--they LITERALLY suck!

Having done it for 6 months (I bailed out when July rolled around) it's one of those things that was an interesting experience, and I'm glad I did it, but there is NO WAY that I would ever do it again! If you really want to give it a try, then do. Good luck to you.
 

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I just moved to Orlando from Minneapolis and realized that for the first time living on a boat year round is a viable option.
What are you talking about?! You can totally live aboard year-round in Minneapolis!
The Real Houseboats of the Mississippi - - News - Minneapolis - City Pages

There are challenges, of course:
"His worst winter was when the sewage pump froze. On a boat, toilets don't flush the way they do in a condo. Instead, every few weeks, residents hook up a hose to their sewage tanks to 'pump out.' And one balmy November, someone on the dock forgot to drain the pump when he was done. The next person who went to use it found it frozen.

'We put propane heaters around it, we did everything we could,' says Cherveny. 'But nothing worked.'

Until a brief February warm spot two months later, no one could use the bathroom in their house, and a line of live-aboards ran down the block to the Holiday first thing every morning."
 

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Yeah, you will not last the summer in Orlando without air conditioning, seriously. Also, summertime on a lake in central Florida is a mosquito nightmare, can you say encyphylitis? And no breeze in Orlando. Better off out by the Cape and commute or in Cocoa, maybe Daytona, but a lake in Orlando is nothing like a lake in Minnesota. Make sure you have a can of Gator-Raid handy.
 
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