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Discussion Starter #1
We're on our first steps to becoming a live aboard family of 6. Our plan is to move onto a boat in two years. Currently, we are saving money and learning about what its going to take to set sail. I'm leaning towards a Catamaran because of space.
Some questions that I have are:

What are some features to look for in a live aboard boat?

How tight can we make our budget?
What should we expect to pay for?

Where is the best place to get a sailboat?

What other questions should I be asking?

our blog is wanderlustemporium.net
 

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Master Mariner
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Number one, in my opinion, especially for a large family like yours, is livability. Is your boat going to be a comfortable place to live, lounge around, cook, study, eat and sleep?
Basically your budget will be much the same as ashore. It's just about shifting expenses from what one spends in a home to the boat.
If you are looking for a real ocean cruising boat, then real deals can be had at what I call the 'ports of broken dreams'. These are ports at the end of a long ocean passage where folks realize that this is NOT what they thought it would be, and want out, ASAP.
Honolulu, Trinidad, Grenada, the lagoon in St Martin. If the boat hasn't been sitting too long, a great deal may be had.
If your goal is just to live aboard and sail in your area, then there are a lot more choices at a variety of prices. Cats are very expensive right now; perhaps an older tri might be more suitable? It's hard to be specific if you don't tell us more about what your plans are beyond just moving on a boat.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
Capta, thank you for responding. As of right now, I don't know exactly what our plans are. We know we want to island hop and probably start out sailing easy calm waters while we figure out what we are doing.

We have four kids, two adoptive, one step (My ex's daughter who lives with me), and one biological. Three of the kids had hard lives. We want to give them adventure and advantages that we never had. So I suppose wherever the wind takes us. (I'll have to give it much more thought)

As far as livability, we live in a small cramped house as is. Everyone shares a room, one bathroom and we don't even have a dining table. Most of the cats within our "price range" (we're not exactly sure what that range is) are early eighties and late seventies models and have more living space than our home. We are planing on selling the house we are in after a couple more years and repairs to raise the money for a boat. We are also saving money monthly and tax refunds as well.

You have given me so much to think about, and direction that I needed. Thank you.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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Welcome! This is not meant to discourage you but you might want to take all the kids out sailing before you take the plunge. Boats are not the easiest things to resell and I've seen kids absolutley terrified by a little bit of heeling. Perhaps you can find a cat that remains in calm water and they don't heel like a sailboat, but it's always a good idea if you can test the waters first, so to speak :) There's also been similar postings on these forums (about cats/tris and sailing with kids) that you could read through to get more ideas. All the best to you and your family.
 

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Courtney, I sincerely hope all goes well for you for this adventure, and believe me, it will be an adventure, especially for the kids.

The only problem I see with six aboard a boat is there must be some space to just get away, a location where one or two individuals can spend some time alone, even if only for a few hours. In my case, with a 33 Morgan Out Island, this is not possible, and I probably should have went for the 41 or 47 Out Island, which has a relatively large, aft cabin.

Storage space is a big consideration, of which there is never, never enough. I have a lot of storage space on my boat, but when I had three guys sailing with me a couple weeks ago, believe me, every square inch was filled to capacity, including the entire refrigerator freezer. I met a lady in Marathon, Florida a few years ago who moved aboard a 30 footer with her husband and she said "You have to be able to pack all your clothes into a shoe box, then you will be comfortable living aboard a boat." She was absolutely on the money with that statement.

As for the boat heeling, well, it's never been a big deal with my children and spouse, but some folks feel a bit uncomfortable when I heel 5 degrees. Now, cats don't heel, but they do hobby horse a lot, especially in choppy seas, which can result in sea sickness for some folks - something to consider. The big advantage with a cat is open space, which there is loads of. And, they do sail very well in light air, which is usually the case in summer no matter where you sail.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress,

Gary :cool:
 

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Sounds like a great dream. Maybe you can form a non-profit organisation to facilitate your plan and get someone to donate a boat. Catamarans can be quite expensive.
I would take my kids sailing on a boat similar to what you are trying to get - to make sure all of you know what you are getting yourself into. Better yet, spend a week on a charter boat. See if it is what you are hoping for.
And don't give up. :)
 

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I knew a family of four (two young kids at the time) who, before they moved onto the boat, moved the entire family into two rooms of the house for six months to see if they'd be able to adapt to having such little amounts of space.
 

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Freedom Chip Counter
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Welcome to sailnet! I've found it is a great resource for some solid answers from people living the dream.

You are coming at it from the right angle, planning two years out, as it will take time to sort through and prioritize your belongings. So many great posts on here about that process.

The one thing I can offer is to just make sure you identify and have a rock solid plan for the basics.

Food types and storage methods, water sources for drinking and washing, waste disposal, clothing storage, and tools for repairs. Most small crisis can be handled along the journey as long as the basics are met first. They should be second nature and put into practice / simulated on land prior to needing to rely on them at sea.

Best wishes,
~doo
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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One more thought. As far as where you go wandering, there's nothing wrong with living in a marina for a while to get the hang of cruising and sailing. There are many things to learn and not cutting all the dock lines before you figure some of the basics (such as food storage, how much stuff to bring, washing clothes, keeping organized, etc) can have some real advantages for comfort and easing everyone into the life.
 

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I read a bit of your blog. You do have some hurdles to overcome, don't you?

Besides the parental permission needed to leave the country with the children, this one is a doozy:

He required daily meds for a kidney condition, and frequent doctor appointments.

No idea how to deal with that.

You also say, quite frankly, that you are living paycheck to paycheck. How will you pay for a boat (catamarans are expensive), deal with the constant maintenance, and support yourselves and your family? Especially with one child who needs continuing medical care. Your blog mentioned starting a paid YouTube channel. Sadly, the market is over-saturated with video such as what you want to make.

And, do you know how to sail?

Have you considered an RV? You can travel the country, give the kids a history lesson, have adventures, and not have to worry about passports and work permits in foreign countries (very hard to obtain).
 

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Captain Obvious
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I read your blog and quite franky I think this is a disturbing situation. How are you going to finance this "dream"? I'm sorry if this seems harsh,but as a father I look at the care of innocent and helpless children as too important to worry about semantics.

"We plan to charter from island to island while in appropriate areas. With all of these areas, and being open to other opportunities, we are confident that we will be able to provide for our family. The contingency plan for making sure the children are fed and cared for is the adoption support we will get for the two children we are adopting, totaling roughly one thousand dollars a month."

This is reprehensible, if they let you do it at all. The adoption money is to supply a stable home for two children. You are supposed to feed the rest yourselves, not buy a sailboat and cruise with it. As bad as that is, you seem to have no knowledge of boats or sailing, and you are going to drag all these kids with you, into danger. It's insane. Couples with very strong finances, big family suport and extensive knowledge of sailing would still shudder at the thought of what you are planning to do. And you say in your blog that you are confident?? Are you crazy?? Taking adoption money cruising is beyond crazy -

Also - from your blog - We look mostly at boats that were built in the eighties. Our only concern is structurally sound and working sails and rigging. Cosmetic issues are not a problem. Courtney sews and Shannon has experience with wood work. We can both do repairs on equipment and engines. After taxes we will have at least ten thousand dollars for a down payment. Ideally, we would find a boat in the thirty-five-thousand-dollar range, though we know that’s quite low.

First of all, $10,000 is nothing. And you are not going to find a big cruising cat for $35k. I can't even imagine what you wil find owner financed for $35k. It will be bad. On the ocean with your 6 kids and no experience. I have little experience compared to other here - but I have sailed on the ocean with my family. Only in good weather, in sight of land...and even so I took that seriously.It gets scary when a storm is neearby and everything is moving shaking, pitching in the wind. Very. And you will need a lot more than a hull and rig for a family. Refrigeration, toilets showers, navigation, fresh water...electrical generation,. AC....engines,., a tender and outboard...,, These things won't be cheap.


Again, I am sorry if I am being too harsh. I don't care what you and your husband do - but those cute smiling trusting kids, yes I damn well do care that they don't get put in harms way foolishly!! We just read a heartbreaking story of a family in Florida who all drowned. Its not a joke. Think about this some more. Don't do something stupid when you are supposed to be taking care of kids.

Buckle down, fix up your house. Get second job. Then buy a small sailboat on CL or find one for free and sail the heck out of it and teach the kids to sail. Enjoy the fantasy of going further and getting a bigger boat. You will learn and laugh and have fun.

Then go home , feed them dinner and tuck them all safely into bed and dream of someday sailing across oceans.
 

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No way can you do this with the paltry amount of money you have available with that many kids...NO WAY. Understand? No way. Welcome to reality.

Your budget would be minimal just for two adults. With all those kids, impossible. Ever hear of child endangerment? You stand a good chance of having all of them taken from you by protective services. Usually I cringe at that but in this case it may be proper.

Sorry, but that is the reality.
 

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I won't say you shouldn't live aboard with kids. There are folks that do it, successfully. But, there are very few and I believe most of them have no solid plan for the long term, only how to manage the near term.

If you'll only have $10k for a boat, are you planning to finance the rest? That is a cruising killer. I'm not opposed to financing a home, but it doesn't sound like you have the resources to pull this off.

On a practical note, putting four kids aboard is pushing the limits of a big boat, let along anything it seems you'll afford. How old are they and what genders? Having raise three of my own, this revelation may sound humorous. You feed them and they get bigger. :) What works today, won't be enough tomorrow.

Not only do they start to take up more space, they exponentially cost more to feed and cloth and, particularly when they reach puberty, it wouldn't seem wise to bunk girls and boys in the same bed. Especially, when it seems they aren't all biologically related.

I would like for this to work out for you, but I think the odds are grossly against you. I'm sorry to be a downer.
 

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The SV Delos YouTube channel just did an 8 part interview with the authors of Voyaging with Kids. Probably worth watching and they seem to be doing a great job of raising kids aboard and homeschooling. Even they acknowledge that they live hand to mouth and have no resources for their future. At the end, they kid about living under a bridge, when they retire.
 

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What Sal says in spades. Why would you do such a thing to children?

You clearly have no idea what it costs to raise just 2 children, the need for medical care, the need for education, etc. This is crazy talk.
 

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I haven't read your blog, but this bit that Sal posted needs to be addressed, "We plan to charter from island to island while in appropriate areas. With all of these areas, and being open to other opportunities, we are confident that we will be able to provide for our family."
In the first place, NOBODY will charter a boat with four children aboard! Having a small pet aboard cuts your charterability by 85%! There are plenty of nice boats out there with no kids (or pets) and professional crews, available for charter that aren't working in this economy. Have you considered how many charters you would have to do just to break even on the insurance necessary for chartering?
Foreigners are NOT allowed to work in a country without work permits, and those are usually only for people with skills that the locals do not have. They are very difficult to get and in some cases quite expensive. There really are few if any 'opportunities' out there these days for cruisers to earn as they cruise.
Though health care is much cheaper in some places overseas, it will not be free and with 4 children that should be considered.
I had the dream, too. I raised a child sailing around the world in a time when cruising fees did not exist (today: ec$70.00 a month in Grenada for 2, us$300.00 in the Bahamas for 6 months, etc.). Visas were not necessary in most places and where necessary, they were only a few bucks. But even back then boat maintenance cost serious money. Even if I did the work, the paint, parts and supplies had to be paid in cash.
You have a grand dream and should try to pursue it, but perhaps you should read a lot more from those who have gone before you, to get a better idea of the realities you face.
 

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Whoa. I didn't read where the OP thinks they'll generate an income by chartering their boat. That simply isn't going to happen.
 

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I decided to go read the blog. I think the OP is really trying to do good here and is working with less than I'll bet any of us imagine.

Unfortunately, I think there is a misunderstanding of what it's like to sail the oceans. Four kids, or even five for summers, if I read that correctly, one with serious medical issues, is just not conducive.

Further, there just aren't the resources to pull this off, I'm afraid. On land, the OP can work and provide an income. When cruising, you pretty much need to have it all saved up first.
 
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