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Old 04-03-2015, 08:14   #1
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Realistic Expectations?

Hello Cruisers,
My wife and I are hoping to get some feedback before we start the boat buying process. We have been eye-ing living aboard for about two years, now that we just became debt free (YEAH!), we are starting to save up for a used boat as our permanent residence, and hope to contact a broker this time next year. We would people to look over our current situation, and what we have planned to see if we have a realistic expectation of what we can do / afford.

Our Current Situation:
  • We are married with no kids
  • Currently live in a 1 bedroom, 700sq/ft apartment
  • Debt free, 4k in savings, and plan to save about $600-$750/month for about 1 year before we contact a broker
  • We both work from home, and plan to continue working from boat
  • We have a fair amount saved for retirement, we plan to continue to contribute to retirement funds while saving for and lining on a boat.
Our Goals:
  • We wish to live on a boat full time for about 2-3 years
  • We plan to travel the great loop to avoid the winters up north
  • We can dock at marina's for 3 month periods
  • We do not plan any trans Atlantic/Pacific voyages, at most to the Keys
  • We would work from boat every weekday, would require internet.
  • These marina's would have internet of 15 Mbps (For our telecommute), either via at the dock or at a club house (If club house, would need a private room t set up laptop and make calls)
  • These marina's would be at relatively interesting places for us to go and have a social life. (Music, Theater, history, etc)
  • A life style like this would be fairly safe, no boardings from thieves in the night, little risk of sinking in the middle of no where with no one to assist in a rescue, etc.
  • We would have a $1700/month budget. This would have to cover Marina fee's, boat payment if there is one, utility costs if the marinas charge one, gas, entertainment, food, insurance, the works.
The Boat:
  • We wish to purchase a motor yatch 28'-35'
  • Our price range would be 10-20k for the boat (we are willing to finance a small portion of the boat, but no more then 40%)
  • We wish to purchase a functioning boat that will not need any major mechanical or structural repairs.
  • We are ok with surface defects, such as ugly counters, upholstery, outdated appliances and furniture, etc
  • We have a number of "Must have's" that we have come up with after lurking online, and viewing new and used boats in person:
    • Big windows / lots of natural light (For a boat)
    • Separate shower, no wet bath that we need to dry down every day
    • At least two working area's that we can use in poor weather(IE desk/dinner table)
    • Queen bed (or larger?), we do not fit on a double or full
  • We have a few "Wants"
    • Moderate climate control. We are pretty flexible with temperature ranges, and since we plan to move around with the seasons, we would only need moderate heating / cooling. This could be after market, independent electric units?
    • Relatively fuel efficient engine(s) at optimal speed/hull, we plan to make the loop twice, so that is a lot of gas), i do not believe speed will matter when put-zing from Marina A to Marina B
    • I'm fairly handy, but no mechanic, so reliable engine, or engine common enough that it wouldn't bankrupt us to take it to a mechanic for repairs. I am find learning how to do routine maintenance and checks, just unable to swap a head if it cracks....
    • A kitchen enough that we can make food on the boat, we do not wish to have to eat out every meal.
So there you have it! Sorry that the post is so terribly long, but we would appreciate feed back from other live-aboard's to make sure we have realistic expectations, and that we haven't missed any major details.
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Old 04-03-2015, 08:28   #2
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

I think you are going to have an issue with the Internet speed you require. I don't have first hand expereince, but I have heard marina Internet can be pretty slow.

You should probably start looking into a cellular option as a solid backup plan.
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Old 08-03-2015, 22:13   #3
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Boat financing on a boat old enough to get into that price range with other features will be hard. To get decent gas mileage for the loop you need a single engine trawler with a single diesel. Gas MV's will burn a lot of gas in that size vessel.Perhaps you should do some research into the subject. 4G Internet and Wide Area WIFI are offered in many area's...Maps are available online.
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Old 08-03-2015, 23:40   #4
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

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Originally Posted by Beacher View Post
[*]We would have a $1700/month budget. This would have to cover Marina fee's, boat payment if there is one, utility costs if the marinas charge one, gas, entertainment, food, insurance, the works.[/LIST]
Not to rain on your life plan but let's make this a short thread.

Can't be done.

Forget the internet problem. You probably can't gas the boat for that much per month.

Now let's spend 10 pages talking about what "d!ck" I am for crushing the dream and how $1,700 is completely doable.
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Old 09-03-2015, 02:54   #5
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Beacher.
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Old 09-03-2015, 03:26   #6
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

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Not to rain on your life plan but let's make this a short thread.

Can't be done.

Forget the internet problem. You probably can't gas the boat for that much per month.

Now let's spend 10 pages talking about what "d!ck" I am for crushing the dream and how $1,700 is completely doable.
Those are the kind of answers people need. Gives someone a chance to rework their plan in the early stages before they have invested too much into the idea.

I have a possible solution (not sure if it's feasible yet). What if they converted their motor yacht to electric. Would be a substantially higher initial outlay, but that may solve the expense of fuel problem. Since they are never going to be far from a marina, I would imagine they could live with a moderate level of battery backup, and a modest solar array.

Any thoughts on the idea?
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Old 09-03-2015, 03:38   #7
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Forget marina internet.. get your own private mobile Hot Spot...
As for the boat.. get something like this and fit the interior to your needs...
http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1972...s#.VP1tiuGBfVI
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Old 09-03-2015, 05:56   #8
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

First cavaet: a boat is always a bad financial decision. You are better off using you savings as a down payment on a home which may actually appreciate and has less maintenance cost.

But, if you are going to liveaboard full time then that does at least keep your total cost of living down (versus having a place ashore too).

By "great loop", I assume you mean the USA waterways loop? (this term gets used to mean different things sometimes).
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Old 09-03-2015, 06:05   #9
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

$1700 per month all in is the key phrase. To me that means the boat has to be 100% paid for, they will be mostly anchored out and they travel less than 5000 miles annually. If those conditions work then the plan may be achievable. It certainly won't be easy.

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Old 09-03-2015, 06:28   #10
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

I hate to agree but $1700 and Marinas just don't work. Average transient Marina fee is what $2 bucks a ft per night? 30 ft boat $60 a night X 30 nights is $1800. Even cut it to 15 days and it's not workable in my opinion.


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Old 09-03-2015, 06:41   #11
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Forget marina internet.. get your own private mobile Hot Spot...
As for the boat.. get something like this and fit the interior to your needs...
1972 Alcan Houseboat Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
I was gonna post, "What a cute little putt-putt boat. I like boats with a little character."

Then I read "twin 190hp v8s." WTF - Planing hull. What a sleeper.

Gotta love the captain's chair. Oh, and the helipad appears ready...
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:01   #12
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Normally I'm in the "you can do it" camp, but I have to agree; can't be done. Your expectations seem too high for the amount you have to spend on the boat, and your monthly budget seems too low for constant marina life, let alone the cost of running the boat. Perhaps if you found a sweet deal on a liveaboard and basically went no where, then it might be possible, but even that seems dubious.

Your plan might work without the constant marina life, need for high-speed net, and accepting of a more modest boat. You could live quite comfortably on that amount while swinging from the hook, but I assume you also need to be in internet contact to make that money each month.

My guess, after reading your list of need and wants, is that you really haven't spent much time on a boat, let alone living and cruising on one. I really suggest you get more experience first before making this leap.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:04   #13
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I was gonna post, "What a cute little putt-putt boat. I like boats with a little character."

Then I read "twin 190hp v8s." WTF - Planing hull. What a sleeper.
Have not seen many big waves in Marina's, the ICW or many rivers to rock the boat.. where's the sleeping problem. Sell the engines and mount a diesel o/b or 2 on the stern with the proceeds

Gotta love the captain's chair. Oh, and the helipad appears ready...
I was thinking more a great sunbathing or solar spot.. its Ali.. so low maintainance.. engine room converted to stores etc or something useful..
Its less than $17000 and a little imagination and sweat could take one a very long way..
As the man said.. they're not planning on going to sea...

The OP's thread is supposed to be about idea's and suggestions... No..???
Maybe its time to re-christen CF to the 'Mock n Knock Forum'.

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Old 09-03-2015, 07:13   #14
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

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Then I read "twin 190hp v8s." WTF - Planing hull. What a sleeper.
Have not seen many big waves in Marina's, the ICW or many rivers to rock the boat.. where's the sleeping problem. Sell the engines and mount a diesel o/b or 2 on the stern with the proceeds
We have a little translation error. As kids we "street raced" our cars.

A sleeper was a car that looked totally stock but had a monster engine under the hood. i.e. you wake it up and you lose races...

I had a Datsun pick up with a 327 chevy V8 in it. It was a sleeper...

But back to OP. I hope he comes back. He had a very specific and well thought out list of wants and needs. He just has the financial bit under-estimated.

As Mike points out - there are ways to do it but OP will have to a) be really handy and "build" the boat as you suggest and then b) seriously modify his marina expectations.
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Old 09-03-2015, 07:47   #15
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Re: Realistic Expectations?

Why stay in a marina every day just to work? Get a good cell plan and use a mobile hot spot for work. LTE is much better than any marina wifi I have used. I use my cell plan for working aboard from a mooring and when traveling up and down the FL coast. I am a high data user so I need a 20-30GB plan but depending on the nature of the work, you may get by with less. Just go anchor when you need to work and travel when you don't. Hit the marina once or twice a month. Will save a lot of money.
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