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Old 25-01-2016, 03:48   #1
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Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

I am getting ready to switch from a sailboat to powerboat

After exploring California for the past two years on my 36' Columbia I am getting ready to quit my job and start traveling with my girlfriend. In order to convince my girlfriend that this is a good idea we've agreed I need a more comfortable boat. Our plan is to spend two years and travel through the intercostal water ways, through the Bahamas, Caribbean and into Puerto Rico
  • My budget is $100,000 although spending less would allow us to spend more on entertainment and eating out
  • We plan to stay in marina's 80% of the time.
  • We are fair weather day sailors. If the weather is bad we will postpone our travels and stay in port
  • I expect maintenance to be between 5-15k each year
  • I am hoping to not loose my ass when I resell it in two years

Here are the boats I am looking at

1997 - 2003 Carver Mariner ($50,000 - $100,000)

Positives
Single level interior floor plan
Excellent use of space
Very stable when docked
1.2 MPG when cruising at 17 knots
Huge outdoor area for entertaining guests
Excellent access to the engines

Negatives
Doesn't handle well in rough seas
Cramped bedroom
It's ugly on the outside
Single bedroom configuration
Slightly under powered

1997 - 1999 Sea Rey 370 Aft Cabin ($70,000 - $100,000)

Positives
Huge master bedroom with private bathroom
Beautiful sleek lines for and aft cabin boat
Guest bedroom & Second Bathroom for guests
Good performance in rough seas
Lots of storage
Maybe possible to find a diesel

Negatives
The interior is ugly and dated
Small entertaining area
No interior dining table
Slow boat that's difficult to get up on a plane
Cruising speed of around 13 knots

1997 - 2002 Silverton 351 ($45,000 - $70,000)

Positives
Single level interior floor plan
Beautiful modern interior
Sleek modern exterior
1.0 MPG when cruising at 18 knots
Stable in rough water

Negatives
Cramped single bedroom configuration
Limited interior space
Limited space for entertaining guests

1997 - 1998 Carver 405 ($90,000 - $100,000)

Positives
Big boat with lots of space
Big master bedroom

Negatives
Top of our budget
More expensive to dock
Slow and uses a lot of fuel 0.6 MPG

Are there any other boats I should be looking at? Does anyone have anything to say (good or bad) about the boats on my list? Which one would you choose?
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Old 25-01-2016, 03:57   #2
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

If you are talking about actually covering lots of miles, a power boat running at high speed stats to get expensive quickly.

It's one of the main reasons, we switched from our Silverton (31') to our Gemini (34'). It basically quadrupled the fuel economy (under power).
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Old 25-01-2016, 23:07   #3
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

Try a couple of overnight or long weekend charters to see how the boat feels and works as a livaboard. No perfect layout but they always get smaller when you step aboard with all your gear.


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Old 26-01-2016, 06:13   #4
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

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Originally Posted by ozzidave View Post
I
Are there any other boats I should be looking at? Does anyone have anything to say (good or bad) about the boats on my list? Which one would you choose?

Can't say as I'd choose any of those, although I can't picture the 405 Carver off-hand.

We've usually found it best to first list individual features that we'd find important... and then loosely prioritize those -- deal breaker, gotta have, nice to have, wouldn't mind, absolutely don't want, etc etc etc.

For example, number of staterooms = 2 (or whatever). Staterooms = widely separated (like with aft cabin models). And so forth.

Then rummage through places like Yachtworld to find boats that offer those, or most of those, features. In a boat you like looking at. That you'd like to be coming home to.


That you can afford. (Find most likely candidate boats first, then worry about whether they fall within your budget range.)

BTW, given your intent to explore the Caribbean... you'll specifically want a boat capable of making the hops from mainland U.S. to at least nearest (usually) ports of call. Yes, you can expect to pick the best weather windows, but still... some boats will be OK for that, some not so much.

Assume you intend to buy in the East or Gulf Coasts...

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Old 26-01-2016, 07:48   #5
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

You say you are switching from sail to power, do you really need the huge increases in speed and fuel consumption that comes with the boats on your list?



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Old 26-01-2016, 08:34   #6
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

Seems at least some of those are gas boats?
I've owned one, gas boats are fuel hogs, if you use it much at all, forget about the 10 K a yr maintenance your planning, that's nothing compared to fuel.
On a 36' Sportfisherman with twin Merc 454's it wasn't uncommon at all to go through 200 - 300 gls in a weekends fishing.
Right now my home Marina fuel prices are $2.75 a Gl gas, $1.77 Diesel and I think that is common.
Current Fuel Prices - Panama City Marina

Why not a trawler, is it the looks, or performance?
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Old 26-01-2016, 09:30   #7
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

I'd go with a single engine, full displacement, trawler. Unless, of course, you can afford to spend lots of $$$$ on fuel.
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Old 26-01-2016, 09:42   #8
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

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I'd go with a single engine, full displacement, trawler. Unless, of course, you can afford to spend lots of $$$$ on fuel.
YES!
A Grand Banks (or similar trawler) with a single Ford Lehman 120 and a bow thruster would be perfect. Cruise at 6-8 knots using a little over a gallon per hour.
Long range economy, built for the ocean, classy and comfortable.
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Old 27-01-2016, 19:22   #9
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

The boats you are looking at are not designed or built to handle the long distances and rough passages you will encounter going through the entire Bahamas and into the Caribbean. The trip from the Bahamas into the Caribbean is nicknamed the "Thorny Passage" because of the unpleasant conditions you face in spots like the Mona Passage.

Carver and Silverton are generally considered to be at the low-priced end of the powerboat spectrum, and Sea Rays are usually intended for short, high-speed weekends outings. You need a boat with a cruising range of 400 miles or more.

I encourage you to wander through more boat shows and read as much as you can about powerboat cruising. Your retirement plan sounds wonderful, but it won't be a happy time unless you are in a boat built and designed for your intended use. If you limit yourself to the Bahamas, which offers a lifetime of amazing cruising, you will not need as much of a bluewater vessel.

Boat brands to consider for Bahamas cruising include PDQ catamarans, Grand banks, Ocean Alexander, Sabreline, and perhaps Mainship.
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Old 27-01-2016, 22:40   #10
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

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Originally Posted by Liam Wald View Post
YES!

A Grand Banks (or similar trawler) with a single Ford Lehman 120 and a bow thruster would be perfect. Cruise at 6-8 knots using a little over a gallon per hour.

Long range economy, built for the ocean, classy and comfortable.

+1

I've looked into doing the Great Loop in the same way. Buy the boat on the East Coast, spend part of a couple of years doing it then sell the boat. A glass hulled, 40' Grand Banks looks like a sweet way to go.
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Old 28-01-2016, 00:03   #11
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

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The boats you are looking at are not designed or built to handle the long distances and rough passages you will encounter going through the entire Bahamas and into the Caribbean. The trip from the Bahamas into the Caribbean is nicknamed the "Thorny Passage" because of the unpleasant conditions you face in spots like the Mona Passage.

Carver and Silverton are generally considered to be at the low-priced end of the powerboat spectrum, and Sea Rays are usually intended for short, high-speed weekends outings. You need a boat with a cruising range of 400 miles or more.

I encourage you to wander through more boat shows and read as much as you can about powerboat cruising. Your retirement plan sounds wonderful, but it won't be a happy time unless you are in a boat built and designed for your intended use. If you limit yourself to the Bahamas, which offers a lifetime of amazing cruising, you will not need as much of a bluewater vessel.

Boat brands to consider for Bahamas cruising include PDQ catamarans, Grand banks, Ocean Alexander, Sabreline, and perhaps Mainship.
Searays are generally similar design to he Carver and Silverton line. All three are quite capable of making the trip the only major downside is fuel (not so much range). Getting good quality fuel without paying huge amounts will be difficult. You can substantially increase fuel efficiency by slowing down but unlike a displacement hull design, they will never be quite as good and they will tend to wander at slow speeds.

The biggest difference is the slower trawlers must wait for longer weather windows because they need them. At 20kts, the faster boats only need a 2-3hr window to cross the gulf stream or when you do get a nice window, rather than a 15hrday to make 150 miles, you can make 300 miles.

PDQ, Grand Banks, etc...nice boats but you just blew thru his budget if you get one in decent condition.

If he really plans to cover long distance, I do believe a trawler or sail boat makes far more sense but not being capable isn't the reason.
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Old 10-02-2016, 06:05   #12
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

Try a 1985
gulfstar motor yacht
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Old 12-02-2016, 12:01   #13
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

I guess it really depends if you'd enjoy leisurely cruising to each destination over a couple days with no worries or rip from marina to marina so you can get back to land quickly (Provided you don't run dry or break down under voyage)... Since you're wanting the "best liveaboard boat", maybe you would consider something a little different?

Have you thought about a catamaran? I've been hearing more and more good things about them lately.

"Bel Esprit" - Gemini 105M for sale here Currently in Green Cove, Florida.

You can find several Gemini 105 options for sale under 100k. And from what I've heard, they're great boats if handled properly. Heck there are tons of cats in general under 100k if you don't mind getting an older [But not too old] one.

More reasons than I could ever come up with as to why you might get one: Join The Cat Crowd

And some for the case of getting a Gemini 105mc: Old Cruisers Forum thread

I'm not sure if the type of powerboat you're looking for would ever go anywhere this little cat couldn't...

With a cat you'd get a nice, wide cabin, nice deck space to enjoy the sun while under sail in the tropics, be able to sail in fair conditions without issue and without an irritating engine vibrating the hull, much less roll than a monohull, powerboat or not, etc etc. I hear they're perfect for island hopping and can handle moderate bluewater trips if you ever decide to go somewhere more exotic or just sail for the heck of it up and down the coast somewhere.

I'd much rather prefer a wide and low profile to tall and narrow, myself. You might not have much fun standing 10-20 feet above the water at 20-30 knots because of 5 foot swells (Normal in the Caribbean?). Cats aren't really too much slower than that in the same conditions I wouldn't think. Maybe someone with more cat experience could chime in?

Just something to think about.
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Old 12-02-2016, 14:01   #14
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

Definitely look at trawlers Same idea √.
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Old 12-02-2016, 20:23   #15
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Re: Best liveaboard boat for under $100,000

Looks like you're after smaller boats with gas engines. As others have said, gas engines are fuel hogs. They aren't as reliable as diesel. Gas goes bad faster than diesel. I'd hate to pay the gas bill from Florida to Puerto Rico. Since you've adjusted to the speed of sailing, what's the hurry? I add my vote for a diesel trawler. I'd prefer 2 smaller twins for docking and reliability on the ocean rather than a single larger engine.
Also, for a boat you're going to resell, an older boat in good condition probably will resell for a similar price if maintained. The newer the boat the more the price goes down with age.
I use 8.5 gallons @ 10 knots in the ocean. Not the most economical speed, but I can DR in my old head.
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