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Old 07-10-2013, 22:26   #1
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Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

Had a dream for a long time, to see the world on a boat. A little background on me. I am a single male, 47 years old. An inner city patrol police officer that lived on a 40'ish foot wooden Pacer motor yacht for a summer 13 years ago but never left the Marina. I will be retiring from the Department in 5 years and am planning now. I am determined. I have been lurking on this site for some time and reading as much as possible. Read the book "Quit your job and live on a boat". Of course, I am not quitting my job but am basically following that plan.

My questions are these.


1) I am early in my choice of if I want a sailboat (with a motor) or a power boat. I think a motor yacht would be my choice but maybe with a sail just in case. Maybe a Cat. I know this is a matter of contention but what I really want to know is is sailing hard to learn? Remember I have 5 years to learn.


2) I plan on having about $60,000 to $80,000 saved for the boat but I will also have a nominal pension of (in todays dollars) about $1,500 a month to live. Is this enough to comfortably live the cruising life style? I am basically a minimalist but I do like my beer and decent food.


3) I've heard of mooring fee's. Why do people pay for this when all they have to do is drop anchor? Rookie question, I know.


4) If I go with motor only, does 2 motors make better sense? If one goes out will the other be enough to move the boat? Can I use just one? My biggest fear would be to be stranded in the middle of the ocean (of course onboard fire would be right up there).


5) I would like to be based somewhere near Florida or/and the Keys. Eventually when I learn enough I would like to venture to the USVI and the Bahama's. I sometimes read of guys circumavigating. Is it possible to do that on a 40'ish foot trawler or motor yacht?


Like I said, I am just scratching the surface on this right now and plan on using these 5 years to learn, learn, learn. Thank you all for any information. Right now these are my basic questions. I am sure I will bother you all with more in the future. Safe sailings to you all!
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Old 07-10-2013, 22:42   #2
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

Regarding sail vs power:

Get a small inexpensive daysailer sailboat and learn to sail. See if this is something that does it for you. If so, decision made as to what kind of boat fits you. But go small first to learn on- something you can sell later without worrying about a financial loss.
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Old 07-10-2013, 23:02   #3
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedsterX View Post
Had a dream for a long time, to see the world on a boat. A little background on me. I am a single male, 47 years old. An inner city patrol police officer that lived on a 40'ish foot wooden Pacer motor yacht for a summer 13 years ago but never left the Marina. I will be retiring from the Department in 5 years and am planning now. I am determined. I have been lurking on this site for some time and reading as much as possible. Read the book "Quit your job and live on a boat". Of course, I am not quitting my job but am basically following that plan.

My questions are these.


1) I am early in my choice of if I want a sailboat (with a motor) or a power boat. I think a motor yacht would be my choice but maybe with a sail just in case. Maybe a Cat. I know this is a matter of contention but what I really want to know is is sailing hard to learn? Remember I have 5 years to learn.


2) I plan on having about $60,000 to $80,000 saved for the boat but I will also have a nominal pension of (in todays dollars) about $1,500 a month to live. Is this enough to comfortably live the cruising life style? I am basically a minimalist but I do like my beer and decent food.


3) I've heard of mooring fee's. Why do people pay for this when all they have to do is drop anchor? Rookie question, I know.


4) If I go with motor only, does 2 motors make better sense? If one goes out will the other be enough to move the boat? Can I use just one? My biggest fear would be to be stranded in the middle of the ocean (of course onboard fire would be right up there).


5) I would like to be based somewhere near Florida or/and the Keys. Eventually when I learn enough I would like to venture to the USVI and the Bahama's. I sometimes read of guys circumavigating. Is it possible to do that on a 40'ish foot trawler or motor yacht?


Like I said, I am just scratching the surface on this right now and plan on using these 5 years to learn, learn, learn. Thank you all for any information. Right now these are my basic questions. I am sure I will bother you all with more in the future. Safe sailings to you all!

There are all sorts of reasons for docking or mooring instead of anchoring. If you look you'll find lots of discussions about the pros and cons of each.

But you have a MAJOR thing to sort out first -- sail or power? Personally I say make a choice, because the boats that do both don't do either one particularly well.

You can buy a 1970's vintage sailbot, maybe 25' so you have *some* feel of what it's like to live on one, at least for several days at a time, and learn to sail. I recommend that kind of boat because it's already low-priced and you can probably sell it for what you paid for it when you get a bigger boat.

Learn to sail. You have got to CRAVE to be on the water in that way to both tour that way (because it's slower) and put up with all the complications that come with living on a sailboat that you don't have on a power boat. Don't worry. You'll figure it out as you learn to sail.

Don't just go off and buy your "dream" sailboat before you know if it's for you. It's physically demanding, and there's constant problem-solving. Some people really get fed up with it. Some people hunger for more. You don't know which you are yet.
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Old 07-10-2013, 23:38   #4
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
Regarding sail vs power:

Get a small inexpensive daysailer sailboat and learn to sail. See if this is something that does it for you. If so, decision made as to what kind of boat fits you. But go small first to learn on- something you can sell later without worrying about a financial loss.
My friend has a lake house here on a nice sized lake so I plan on learning the very basics first on a small sailboat and go from there. Slow and steady learning. Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2013, 23:43   #5
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

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There are all sorts of reasons for docking or mooring instead of anchoring. If you look you'll find lots of discussions about the pros and cons of each.

But you have a MAJOR thing to sort out first -- sail or power? Personally I say make a choice, because the boats that do both don't do either one particularly well.

You can buy a 1970's vintage sailbot, maybe 25' so you have *some* feel of what it's like to live on one, at least for several days at a time, and learn to sail. I recommend that kind of boat because it's already low-priced and you can probably sell it for what you paid for it when you get a bigger boat.

Learn to sail. You have got to CRAVE to be on the water in that way to both tour that way (because it's slower) and put up with all the complications that come with living on a sailboat that you don't have on a power boat. Don't worry. You'll figure it out as you learn to sail.

Don't just go off and buy your "dream" sailboat before you know if it's for you. It's physically demanding, and there's constant problem-solving. Some people really get fed up with it. Some people hunger for more. You don't know which you are yet.
To be honest, I think I am leaning more power boat than sail right now but want to learn it all and be proficient at both. The main reason I think about a sailboat is I have the choice not to be stuck in the middle of the ocean if something goes wrong with the engines in a power boat.
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Old 08-10-2013, 09:58   #6
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedsterX View Post

1) I am early in my choice of if I want a sailboat (with a motor) or a power boat. I think a motor yacht would be my choice but maybe with a sail just in case. Maybe a Cat. I know this is a matter of contention but what I really want to know is is sailing hard to learn? Remember I have 5 years to learn.

4) If I go with motor only, does 2 motors make better sense? If one goes out will the other be enough to move the boat? Can I use just one? My biggest fear would be to be stranded in the middle of the ocean (of course onboard fire would be right up there).

5) I would like to be based somewhere near Florida or/and the Keys. Eventually when I learn enough I would like to venture to the USVI and the Bahama's. I sometimes read of guys circumavigating. Is it possible to do that on a 40'ish foot trawler or motor yacht?

You might try going for a day trip through charter companies on both sail and power... see what you like best. We like both, but I doubt I could stand day-to-day dealing with the clutter of a monohull sailboat deck... nor living mostly below decks... nor living without the visibility from our flying bridge... so we own power and sail with friends occasionally. YMMV, and of course there are economic outcomes depending on which you choose.

Twin versus single engines is mostly an on-going debate. Each implementation has pros and cons... so first you might do a search through this forum and others for the debate that has already occurred. Yes, if you have twins one engine will move the boat... in some direction... but it's not necessarily always the easiest, least expensive, best solution. Given your spending kitty and your predicted income, I'd be looking more closely at a single. (And in fact would usually prefer that, anyway, given the right boat wrapped around it.)

Yes, a 40-ish trawler or trawler-style boat -- and some motoryachts in the same size range -- will generally be OK for island hopping. For info on ocean-going powerboats, you might have a look at Voyaging Under Power by Beebe. That will be describing boats that maybe exceed your requirement, but it covers the basics so well it can be a fast way to learn about useful hull-form and deck-layout stuff. I say "some" motoryachts because the main issue is often about hull form. Sometimes about fuel economy, but given a friendly hull-form sometimes you can manage the fuel by driving slower. But not always.

-Chris
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:26   #7
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

See if there are any sailing clubs in your area. You can learn to sail at one of these clubs and make contacts leading to more experience.
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Old 08-10-2013, 10:57   #8
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

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You might try going for a day trip through charter companies on both sail and power... see what you like best. We like both, but I doubt I could stand day-to-day dealing with the clutter of a monohull sailboat deck... nor living mostly below decks... nor living without the visibility from our flying bridge... so we own power and sail with friends occasionally. YMMV, and of course there are economic outcomes depending on which you choose.

Twin versus single engines is mostly an on-going debate. Each implementation has pros and cons... so first you might do a search through this forum and others for the debate that has already occurred. Yes, if you have twins one engine will move the boat... in some direction... but it's not necessarily always the easiest, least expensive, best solution. Given your spending kitty and your predicted income, I'd be looking more closely at a single. (And in fact would usually prefer that, anyway, given the right boat wrapped around it.)

Yes, a 40-ish trawler or trawler-style boat -- and some motoryachts in the same size range -- will generally be OK for island hopping. For info on ocean-going powerboats, you might have a look at Voyaging Under Power by Beebe. That will be describing boats that maybe exceed your requirement, but it covers the basics so well it can be a fast way to learn about useful hull-form and deck-layout stuff. I say "some" motoryachts because the main issue is often about hull form. Sometimes about fuel economy, but given a friendly hull-form sometimes you can manage the fuel by driving slower. But not always.

-Chris
Thanks! Quite a bit to think about there but as I said, I have 5 years to think about it and research. I will certainly look for (I assume a book) by Beebe. If I do plan on a power boat, I want to do as much research as possible on the maintenance and mechanics of the engines. Like I said though, I would also at least like to know a little more than the basics of sailing so I will start from there. Even if my dream never comes to fruition because of my choice, I still find the whole subject fascinating!
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Old 08-10-2013, 11:44   #9
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

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Originally Posted by SpeedsterX View Post
Thanks! Quite a bit to think about there but as I said, I have 5 years to think about it and research. I will certainly look for (I assume a book) by Beebe. If I do plan on a power boat, I want to do as much research as possible on the maintenance and mechanics of the engines. Like I said though, I would also at least like to know a little more than the basics of sailing so I will start from there. Even if my dream never comes to fruition because of my choice, I still find the whole subject fascinating!

Yes, it's very helpful no matter which way you go. It's especially useful to know "which way that sailboat over there is going to go next."

-Chris
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Old 08-10-2013, 12:00   #10
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

Learn to sail with a friend that has a boat. Find a local sailing club and drop in on a weekend. Post your name on their site or board at the club as a volunteer crew member with no experience. You'll be surprised how many boat owners are looking for an extra pair of hands to help out in races or just day sailing. You'll get all the experience you need to see if sailing is for you an none of the expense of owning a boat.

1) On your limited budget - fuel cost for a motor boat will eat you up. Sailing is free.

2) $60,000 to $80,000 for a boat will buy you a decent boat - be sure to have a survey done on any boat you buy. And remember there is no such thing as a bargain boat. If it is priced low, it's that way for a reason. The surveyor will find the reason.

3) Fees for mooring are common place. It depends on how you want to live. Dropping the anchor can limit your interaction with other people while a stay are a marina provides showers and company.

4) I'm not sure 2 motors are better than one - twice as much can go wrong. One engine with low hours is all you need.

5) 40' feet is more then enough to take you around the globe. However regarding off-shore blue water boats, it is not the size that matters rather the design.
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Old 08-10-2013, 20:56   #11
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

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Learn to sail with a friend that has a boat. Find a local sailing club and drop in on a weekend. Post your name on their site or board at the club as a volunteer crew member with no experience. You'll be surprised how many boat owners are looking for an extra pair of hands to help out in races or just day sailing. You'll get all the experience you need to see if sailing is for you an none of the expense of owning a boat.
Free lessons, sounds like a great idea!

1) On your limited budget - fuel cost for a motor boat will eat you up. Sailing is free.
After hearing what some of these guys live on financially, I would have thought bringing in $1,500 a month was pretty good. I realize that I couldn't be power boating all over the world but 4 or 5 nice trips around the Bahama's a year?

2) $60,000 to $80,000 for a boat will buy you a decent boat - be sure to have a survey done on any boat you buy. And remember there is no such thing as a bargain boat. If it is priced low, it's that way for a reason. The surveyor will find the reason.
Good idea, thanks again. Seem to be priced kind of like Harley-Davidsons, like you said, if it's really a great deal, something is probably wrong.
3) Fees for mooring are common place. It depends on how you want to live. Dropping the anchor can limit your interaction with other people while a stay are a marina provides showers and company.
So you can't anchor near the moorings?

4) I'm not sure 2 motors are better than one - twice as much can go wrong. One engine with low hours is all you need.
I guess I was thinking the more is better mantra, when you're talking about high priced engines, I see your point.

5) 40' feet is more then enough to take you around the globe. However regarding off-shore blue water boats, it is not the size that matters rather the design.
can you explain better designs? Thank you!
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:23   #12
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

Hi SpeedsterX and welcome.

Sounds like you've got the bug, a common problem to many other members. Think you have put together a good plan to deal with your disease. One thing to do is go back through old discussions and read anything that looks interesting. Will be a great education.

My opinion on some of your questions.

1. Power vs Sail.

I've done both. Owned an old 36' twin diesel Pacemaker for power and a number of sailboats. One thing to consider for power is you can use a LOT of fuel if you go far. If you're trying to keep within a $1500/month budget that could be restricting. I have heard some say that when you add up the cost of sails (which wear out after a while), rigging and such then the cost per mile is similar but in my experience a sailboat is much cheaper in the long run. In theory you can get there a lot faster in a power boat but speed really eats the fuel. You could burn 5 times more going fast vs staying at hull speed (around 6-7 kts for a small boat)

You will generally have a lot more room in a power boat the same length as a sailboat so you will have to allow for that.

2. Learning to sail.

Unless you are a complete dunce I could take you out in a afternoon and teach the basics of how to get the sails up and down and how to trim (sailor talk for adjust in case you haven't picked up all the jargon yet) the sails to go upwind, downwind, etc. Doesn't mean you would be an expert in one day but it's not rocket science, at least to start off. Of course you will then spend the rest of your life learning the finer points.

More than handling the sails is just the overall job of running the boat which is about the same power or sail. This will be safety, maintenance, navigation, maintenance, weather, maintenance, repair and occasionally maintenance. So how's your do it yourself skills? On a budget it is critical to do your own stuff: plumbing, wiring, oil changes, filter changes, painting and all the other things to keep a boat alive.

By the way, learning to sail on a small boat is a great way to learn the basics of sail handling.


3. Better designs,

Oh boy, that's a big one. Ask ten boaters and you will get eleven opinions. Dozens even hundreds of books written on the subject. First you have to decide power or sail, then start with a boat in decent structural condition, solid hatches and ports to keep the water out and the dry in and go from there.
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:27   #13
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

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Originally Posted by SpeedsterX View Post
To be honest, I think I am leaning more power boat than sail right now but want to learn it all and be proficient at both. The main reason I think about a sailboat is I have the choice not to be stuck in the middle of the ocean if something goes wrong with the engines in a power boat.

Trust us ... there are many ways to get stuck in the middle of the ocean on a sailboat. Ever hear the word "becalmed?"
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Old 08-10-2013, 21:30   #14
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

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Originally Posted by SpeedsterX View Post
Thanks! Quite a bit to think about there but as I said, I have 5 years to think about it and research. I will certainly look for (I assume a book) by Beebe. If I do plan on a power boat, I want to do as much research as possible on the maintenance and mechanics of the engines. Like I said though, I would also at least like to know a little more than the basics of sailing so I will start from there. Even if my dream never comes to fruition because of my choice, I still find the whole subject fascinating!
By sailing, you'll learn a lot about the action of wind and wave on the body of the boat as well as on the sails. You get a big trawler, you have a lot of surface for the wind to push on. Makes for lots of fun when docking sometimes. You'll be one-up some other power boaters with that knowledge.

Another thing you can do is get an inexpensive sailing dinghy you can store on the power boat. Then you can have the fun of gunk-holing around areas the trawler wouldn't make it in to. Little boats can be a real hoot to sail.

If they don't throw you in for a swim, that is ...
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Old 08-10-2013, 22:06   #15
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Re: Newbie with questions, I have a lot to learn, I know.

I'll throw in my 2 bits worth. We dreamed and planned for a long time. The hunt was almost as much fun as the actual ownership. In our case we owned a rental house and always referred to it as "the boat". We started looking at boats and did that for about 5 years. Then we lost a long term tenant in the house and their departure coincided with a market uptick so we sold the house. About a year later we closed on Gray Hawk. The point of all that was TAKE YOUR TIME.

We ended up spending $85,000 on the boat which was in remarkably good condition for a 30+ year old boat. However, despite that we have still spent another $25-30,000 since purchase. So make sure you don't spend the whole wad on the boat - you'll need more once you get to know the vessel, no matter how good it looks pre-purchase.

As to the "charter before you buy" recommendation I'm of mixed emotions on that. We didn't do that. Our reasoning was that chartering was going to represent a significant portion of the eventual purchase price of our vessel. Effectively chartering was going to significantly reduce what we could afford to spend on the boat. Perhaps that was false economy but in our case it worked out. What we did do however was to walk on a LOT of boats - probably over 50 prior to making an offer on Gray Hawk. We also walked onto several charter boats that we had no intention of buying or chartering. If you look for boat shows and charter shows you can do this without needlessly wasting agents' time and the more boats you walk onto the more you will learn. In addition we attended 2 Trawlerfests prior to making an offer.

Take your time - enjoy the search - and I hope you can be even half as happy as we are with whatever you end up buying.
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