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Old 06-02-2011, 07:46   #1
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A Message For Those Who Live On Boats

Greetings everyone,
Im new to the club so I'd like to share a little about me;
Im in the closing stages of my highly misadventurous yet unforgettably well traveled navy career. Though I've seen half the world already, Im more than ready to hang up my military life and begin to enjoy a debt-free, creditcard-free, carpayment-free, oopskid-free, and a well-saved-for life. Although it may seem like Im bragging, please understand that I've sacrificed 5 years of sanity, among several other health related issues, and being close to the ones I love to serve my country and get to where I am today. The upside of all of it is I've saved a considerable amount of money to live out my dream of living on my own sailboat in the Florida Keys(something I would've never accomplished had I not joined the service) and I'll be fortunate enough to continue receiving a steady income(living allowance) for the next three years following my honorable discharge. Any one familiar with the post 9/11 GI Bill will know what Im talking about, but I digress.

I tried buying my first sailboat in the fall of 2009 but amidst pending deployments and worldly disasters I didn't even get a chance to take sailing lessons. So for the sake of brevity please trust that before I do buy my first sailboat, I will have more experience than a dog-eared Sailing For Dummies book. I tried a bunch of step by step "find the right boat for you" websites but they dont spend nearly as much time addressing your needs as much as letting you know about the latest six figure yatch you "need" in your life. As stupid as this may sound, I want a boat, a sailboat preferably, that will accommodate a couple, myself and my girl, two medium sized dogs(thats my biggest variable), and maybe a jet ski or waverunner and jacuzzi. Ok, Im kidding about the jet-ski/waverunner and jacuzzi. I just threw that in there to not make two highly trained and obedient dogs sound so impossible.

On my search in 2009 I looked at some 28-30' sailboats and back then when it was just me i could've made it work but now I dont think thats gonna cut it. I'd like to think my budget is worthy enough to look in the range of 40'-45'. I would like you all to understand that Im not just buying a sailboat. Im buying a home. A lender might not see it that way and thats fine because I plan on paying up front. Im also not rich by any stretch of the imagination. Think of me as guy who saved his pennies for a very long time and lived on a giant rustbucket to save on having to pay rent, bought a car cash, and is blessed to have a cushion of security for the next three years. I'm great with electronics and Im very comfortable around diesel engines. Love seafood, sunsets, and movies that make me laugh....wait, what? Nevermind that last part.

So why am I writing this? I dont know. I guess its because I learned that when you have a goal in life it's best to not tell anyone about it. Or at least know before-hand who you can and can't tell. They'll hear your excitement and make you feel like an idiot. Or because your ambitions dont coincide with the norm you're somehow a fool destined to be eaten by sharks.

Im only 26. I have $30k in savings with a $10k 'emergency fund'. I will make $72k(after taxes) in the next three years outside of any job or career I pursue. I have lived on an average budget of $250/mo before with no problem(the navy did provide the food, tho my dog would've enjoyed it more). So Im asking all of you out there who have lived on boats or currently live on boats, is it doable given the size of the boat I think I need(40'-45')? I know most people start out 1-2 bedroom house(ie. under 25') but after 5 years of sleeping aboard a navy vessel with 200+ sardined in the same berthing, I have no problem shelling out the extra cash for the extra room. Should I not be so set on a sailboat and consider other kinds of boats? I looked at catamarans, and they seem pretty cool, but more expensive and everyone seems to hate them for some reason. My goal is that if I do finance something, to have it paid off completely in the first two years. There are so many boats, new and used, with so many different prices that I feel like I did when I bought my first video game with my only $20 and hoped to God it didn't suck. Only this time the feeling is with something I plan on calling home for a long long time. So if you have any insight on what I can afford that will meet my needs please let me know. The dogs are a must. The girl and love of my life, I leave open for debate. [Kidding! If you're reading this please don't sell all my stuff before I get back!! Love you and the kids(dogs)!!] Also keep in mind I have been 'sailing' for the past 5 years. My sea-legs are set and ready to do it for another 5 if I had to. I just rather be Captain this time and never lose sight of land for over 180 days at a time again.

Thanks for any help.

With all my respect and admiration for those I aspire to follow in their footsteps,
Sailor Kimosabe
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:05   #2
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Kimosabe...
My only advice is that you not spend whatever you think you can afford on a boat. If you think you can afford to spend, say $45,000, cut it in half. Get the best $22,500 boat you can find. Whatever you buy, you will be spending money to "fix it up". Guaranteed. And spending an amount equal to the initial price of the boat is very common. And personally, if I was planning to live on a fairly tight budget, I would not consider an over-40' boat. Everything on it will require more money than a smaller boat, from bottom paint to moorage. My wife and I live comfortably, if a wee bit cramped, on a 28 footer but I wouldn't recommend that either. I'd go for a mid-30s. You can get some pretty darn roomy boats in the 32-38 foot range.

Whatever you do, good luck to you in your new life.

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USN, 1969-1973
USS Tolovana, AO-64
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:31   #3
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Quote:
So Im asking all of you out there who have lived on boats or currently live on boats, is it doable given the size of the boat I think I need(40'-45')?
Well probably not if you expect to travel on the boat much. While all your skills would be helpful there takes a bit of time to get good enough to take on a 45 ft project boat. On a tight budget I don't see that you could get it all done in 3 years and eat regularly. Boat repair materials are very expensive so even doing every last bit of work yourself it's not cheap. You'll spend a lot!

As you get into the preparations more you can gain a lot more knowledge and after some sailing experience you'll start to really know what the right boat is rather than just asking. The goal is to gain some experience in any way that works so you'll answer the the questions you think are important now but really have little to do with the questions you don't know how to ask.

You don't have a big enough budget to screw up even a little bit. Doing the very best you can with the older 28 ft boat is probably closer to possible. Getting some sailing lessons and getting out on the water sailing would do more good than anything else to help you today! You'll learn a 100 times faster and - have some fun! Such motivation will help you learn the details you need to know sooner before you start spending money faster than you ever have. There is a ton to read here at CF and it's all good to digest, but you need to start with some action to make it real! Really sailing is way better than talking sailing.
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:33   #4
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Maybe something like an allied mistress search 1973 Allied Mistress Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com.
we don't hate cats like we dont hate anchors some get a little exited with opinions cats are okay in my mind but they cost a tad more I dont like any boat that sails by me or drags its anchor. welcome
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:48   #5
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Originally Posted by Pblais View Post
before you start spending money faster than you ever have.
Well put, Paul.

Kimosabe, just wait until you start thinking of things that cost less than $1000 as "a pretty good deal" just because they're under $1000. Watermaker: $4000, refrigeration: $1500, new galley stove: $1200, SSB with all the fixings: $2500, LED anchor light: $300. What? ONLY $300? WHATADEAL!

-Steve
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Old 06-02-2011, 08:49   #6
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Ditto to everything syoder said! I don't think anyone here would say they "hate cats", they have pluses and minuses like any other vessel. The minuses in your situation is mainly one of finances- cats are more expensive to purchase, haul out, visit marinas, etc.

We have a 42 foot boat with 4 aboard. If it were just the 2 of us, we could be very comfortable on a boat in the 30-35 foot range (depends on the boat!). I will tell you that those extra 7 feet we have while making the boat workable for a family of 4 really, really add to the cost. Like an astounding amount.

AS to dogs living aboard, they'll be fine so long as you take them off for exercise as needed. Seriously hope you don't have Border Collies cause you'll never get to spend time on your boat! Some marinas are less dog friendly than others so check on marina space before you buy. This might impact the size you are looking for as well-(i.e. dog friendly marina might be more expensive, just do your homework!)
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:16   #7
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Kimosabe

Thank you for your service, when I retired from the Army I moved aboard my 25' Hunter with my two sons, my thinking was it would be cheap, I would be sailing and learning and I didnt have any intention of playing basketball inside the boat. I only needed berths for everyone, a place to prepare and eat meals, and after some modifications a head for the 3 S's. The learning curve was huge! I now have what I think to be a perfect compromise with my 34 ft Tartan. I still am not going to play basketball but the areas I did learn from was storage storage storage. Also I liked the idea of still being able to singlehand the boat, My sons are not fans, and keeping maintenence cost at a reasonable level. Dockage usually goes by the foot in the NE. Haulouts, bottom painting and storage goes by the Prismatic square foot, (widest beam times longest length including appendages. The point I am trying to make is your first boat will be your learning curve, I hope its the perfect boat for you but my advice is to start with something small, safe and comfortable and adjust from there as your experience dictates. Starting out in the 45' range may be a bad plan until you are sure what direction you are heading in life.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:19   #8
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Odds are if you are counting on the post 9/11 GI bill for income, you will be attending school somewhere and probably won't be traveling too much during those years. That gives you some extra time to shop which is a good thing since buying in a hurry rarely works out for the best. 40-45' sounds big. Keep in mind that repairs and maintenance costs grow quickly with boat length so finding the smallest boat you can be comfortable in will help cut costs over time. Notice I didn't say 'smallest boat' but 'smallest boat you can be comfortable in'. My wife and I looked for a long time at moving aboard a 58' boat. Now that I live aboard a 33' I'm REALLY glad we didn't go with the 58'. I'd be more comfortable, but I'd have a lot less Gin money left in my pocket and I've never been uncomfortable in the 33'.

Best of luck
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:32   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimosabe View Post
Greetings everyone,
Im new to the club so I'd like to share a little abou................ in your life. As stupid as this may sound, I want a boat, a sailboat preferably, that will accommodate a couple, myself and my girl, two medium sized dogs(thats my biggest variable), and maybe a jet ski or waverunner and jacuzzi. ............to not make two highly trained and obedient dogs sound so impossible.

..............Should I not be so set on a sailboat and consider other kinds of boats? I looked at catamarans, and they seem pretty cool, but more expensive and everyone seems to hate them for some reason. My goal is that if I do finance something, to have it paid off completely in the first two years. There are so many boats, new and used, with so many different prices that .............know. The dogs are a must. The girl and love of my life, I leave open for debate. [Kidding! If you're reading this please don't sell all my stuff before I get back!! Love you and the kids(dogs)!!] Also keep in mind I have been 'sailing' for the past 5 years. My sea-legs are set and ready to do it for another 5 if I had to. I just rather be Captain this time and never lose sight of land for over 180 days at a time again.

Thanks for any help.

With all my respect and admiration for those I aspire to follow in their footsteps,
Sailor Kimosabe


Sailing barge-type as in Duth leeboarder,Thames barge or better,Chinese junk rigged.Could have leeboards or a Centreboard and sail quite well place to placeLong trips CAN be made( look online)... and a good engine to get upstream.Wide barge-ish....This for huge space on shorter length and shallow to get into places where the dogs can maybe swim to shore.Dogs LIKE to go ashore-beating to windward in a deep keeled boat-not so much!
You could put one of these together yourself...but there's lots to see online in this vein.
Pay Cash.Not all of it,though.No debt, especially since you are just starting.

PS please don't let the dogs $***t on the shellfish beach...
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:47   #10
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Welcome to the forum.

What Syoder said.. only I'd say 36- 38 ft. Largely because I have a 36 and can't see fitting my life into anything smaller, but a couple more feet sounds like something I could live with.
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:16   #11
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Welcome aboard

Kemosabe to learn to sail you gotta sail. Obvious isn't it but the difference of getting a mid 40's something underway compared to a mid 30's something is huge and again to something under 30'/. Not just in cash but effort.

Think of 40s as big ole motor home. not many go for a Sunday drive in a motor home. upper 30s as a family station wagon ....upper 20s.. well you get the idea.

I retired early with a comparable financial state and bought a 46' boat and now I'm back on the dirt and big boatless.

For $5K you can get a perfectly nice boat in Fla and sail the heck out of it and then you will have a better idea what to do next. This is My hard learned lesson.

YMMV.

Good luck!
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Old 06-02-2011, 10:44   #12
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Welcome aboard Kemosabe

You may find that most of what people tell you will be contradicted by someone else. When it comes to boats there seems to be a small subset that most folks agree on but that doesn't often show up in one these threads. Keep an open mind and look at lots of boats. It's a great time to buy.

You can manage a bigger boat if that's what you want. You can also fit in a smaller one. You might try asking here about the specifics of a particular boat that you're looking at and then weighing the answers against your feelings about the boat. The community here has a lot of experience and don't seem to be shy about sharing.

Best of luck with the search and thanks for a great first post.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:03   #13
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I am new to all this myself. We have a cat and love it(after having monohulls). But it is a very personal preference.
The only thing I can contribute(due to lack of experience compared to others) is - Live your dreams, just don't dream them away.
Friends and family look for your failure. At least try-that's what they are really envious of.
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Old 07-02-2011, 09:36   #14
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Suggestion

I have a suggestion you're most likely not going to like, stay in the Navy Reserve! It will give you additional income and medical insurance through Tricare. You said you wanted to stay in Florida waters anyway. I've been in the reserves a long time and the benefits are great, it'll be a nice pension for me soon. You can do a short stint in the reserves while you refit your boat and do your sail training, if you decide it doesn't fit your new lifestyle then get out. If you are ok with it, stick with it and use the benefits!
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Old 07-02-2011, 10:07   #15
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If I had the choice and could find the right boat I would be looking at a 38' to 40' boat one that has a solid motor and genset and rigging you can do the rest Rarely does one say gee we have to much room
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