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Old 04-10-2010, 09:55   #1
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Sailing Padawan Seeks Cruising Jedi

Ok... I just joined, and this seems like the right area to post this in.... so, here we go!

As I said in my introduction, I'm a 22 year old guy who, until recently, was on track to do the whole "slave away until you're too old to enjoy retirement, then hope that the cash you've stashed away will keep you in Ramen noodles until you die" thing... but one day, it hit me: WHY does it have to be like that?

And so the research began lol. After hours and hours of entreaties to the Google gods, I found alternatives to "real life" ranging from anarchist cells in the middle of the boonies to second citizenship in St. Kitts... but, since I'm not unutterably wealthy, and I don't want to blow up any buildings, I kept looking... and then I stumbled on the concept of living on a sailboat.

I read - and am still reading - everything I could find, liking it more and more with every story, until I couldn't, and still can't, deny it any longer - I'm hooked! (Pardon the expression haha).

Here's a little background:

For the last time, I promise haha, I'm a 22 year old guy from the States, and I work as a freelance writer, which nets me around $1500 - $2000 a month, though, if I really knuckled down, I could probably bump it up to $3k. I don't really have any debts, other than student loan payments (which, surprisingly, are decently low!), and, though I'm not currently at university, I'll probably finish it at some point. I just don't see the wisdom in fitting myself in society's little box.

I'm very easy to please lol. All I NEED out of my boat is a comfortable place to sleep / ride out bad weather (leaning toward wooden boats for the feel they give off, if that makes sense?), a way to cook dinner (my one vice, re: living aboard - I love to eat! haha) and necessary safety / nav / comms equipment. I couldn't care less if my boat has A/C, a jacuzzi, and a bowling alley (Thank you, Travel Channel mega-yachts special, for telling me what I DON'T need!)!

So, here's my plan:

Learn to sail here:

Fair Wind Sailing - sailing school - sailing lessons - sailing schools - learn to sail

As far as boats go, do you guys think this would be suitable for a liveaboard ocean-going vessel? I want to be able to go wherever I want, whenever I want - after all, isn't the freedom part of the draw?

West Wight Potter 19

^^This is the "buy a brand new boat" option. You can find features, etc. at the bottom of the page.


http://www.mediafire.com/?myzt37zbbmaj7pg

^^THIS is a list of available options for the Potter 19, which I uploaded so you guys wouldn't have to use the disk space. If you could, take a look and tell me what I ABSOLUTELY NEED for safety, a decent standard of living, etc. I'd really appreciate it!


As for used boats, I'm totally in the dark: What should I buy? If I'm honest, buying used would be way easier, as I don't have a spare $20k lying around haha. But, on the flipside, I'm wary of buying used, because I'm such a novice, and I want to make sure I'm getting a good value - "ready to sail" is key. I've seen a few for $5k, but I don't know how reliable they are, and, after lurking here, I DON'T want a boat loan! I want to plop down cash, and be done with it.

Basically, I'd be perfectly happy living on the hook, taking showers in the ocean, and reading for fun... although I'd love to have a way to play music in the boat!

I don't know... I guess that's all I can think of, for now, so I'll stop ranting.

I don't mean to bombard you all with questions, but I know you guys are much more knowledgeable than I am, so I'm coming to the masters haha.

Hope to hear from you guys ASAP!

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Old 05-10-2010, 13:39   #2
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Are you the kind of person who fixes your own car? Changes your own oil? If your toilet broke, would you fix it yourself or call a plumber?

If you are reasonably handy, and in this for the long haul, on your budget I would be looking at a 20 year old boat. You will work your butt off for two years, but then you will have a nice home. If you are not handy, or do not enjoy that type of work, then maybe the a smaller, newer boat would suit you better.

I think in the long run, you will much happier at 25 feet than 19.
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Old 05-10-2010, 13:53   #3
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used works great. i have 2 boats built in 1970s--one in 1976-i will be cruising on this year. one fast sloop this market is refusing to have sell. th3y are both very sturdy and stout boats. i am cruising the 1976 because is larger and heavier. is with a few problems, but nothing to refit over a longer time than a few months, years is extreme. my cruiser was only neglected 4 yrs, therefore, not ruined. there are many older boats that are good buys. and many that are good byes. look hard and sail everything so you know what you like. if you like stout and cheeeeep, look at cal 30s, columbias to 30 ft, catalina30,1970s; newport and hunter pre 1979, many 1960s built sailboats. all sturdy and good for learning and being 20 something on board. (tough and durable). should be able to find any of these for under 5000dollars.
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Old 05-10-2010, 13:58   #4
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Raindog, Zeehag -

Thanks for the advice! I knew I came to the right place. Haha I'm such a n00b. I really appreciate everyone being so helpful!
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Old 05-10-2010, 14:18   #5
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Beware though - there are many boats you should run away from even if they are $100. Make sure you do not make the mistake of buying a boat beyond repair. Start hanging out at your local yacht club. Crew on others boats. Walk the docks. You should be able to pretty easily get a good idea what to watch out for and be able to find a Jedi in your area who can tell you what boats to run from. Nothing beats a good mentor.

Where are you located? If you share your location someone here should be able to give you much more helpful suggestions on where to start in your area (and even suggest boats worth a look).
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Old 05-10-2010, 14:24   #6
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Beware though - there are many boats you should run away from even if they are $100. Make sure you do not make the mistake of buying a boat beyond repair. Start hanging out at your local yacht club. Crew on others boats. Walk the docks. You should be able to pretty easily get a good idea what to watch out for and be able to find a Jedi in your area who can tell you what boats to run from. Nothing beats a good mentor.

Where are you located? If you share your location someone here should be able to give you much more helpful suggestions on where to start in your area (and even suggest boats worth a look).

Yeah, about that... lol. I'm located in Adams County, which is smack in the middle of nowhere, in southern Ohio. "Yacht club" is as foreign to the people here as Arabic or moon rocks. I'd love to wander the docks... I just don't have the option. That being said, what are these boats I should run from? Are there any danger signs (or gems) I should look for when on eBay or whatever?
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Old 05-10-2010, 14:51   #7
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Do not underestimate the dark side young padawan. Knowledge is power. I suggest "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" and "This Old boat" by Don Casey. Can pick them up online used for cheap. Get comfortable with used- the light side of the force lies with recycling.
BTW IMHO - you will not be comfortable in the ocean with less than 25-27. I sail a 40 on the big wet one.
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Old 05-10-2010, 14:57   #8
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Yeah, about that... lol. I'm located in Adams County, which is smack in the middle of nowhere, in southern Ohio. "Yacht club" is as foreign to the people here as Arabic or moon rocks.
We are everywhere: RFSailingClub : Rocky Fork Sailing Club
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Old 05-10-2010, 15:09   #9
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LOL

So it would seem. Thanks for the link!
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Old 05-10-2010, 15:31   #10
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Isn't it northern Ohio that's on the great lakes? I thought there were a lot of boats around there, that spent there whole lives in fresh water and got pulled out to dry every winter when it gets cold.

I've heard some folks discuss some racing in that area, think they folks that I was reading from where all from the Canada side of the lake, but there is some racing on those lakes at the right time of the year.

Yacht Survey Online: David Pascoe, Marine Surveyor is a pretty good place to start reading about what can go wrong and how, and what some of it looks like. But if you are spending some significant money (whatever is significant to you) hire a surveyor.

The idea of a 20 foot boat with just enough room to sleep might sound cool, and you might think them wooden boats are all so beautiful, but when you wake up in the middle of the night and gotta go, and your choices are to pull up the matress and board underneath it to get access to the porta potty, or walk up the dock to the marina's public restroom the idea will probably start to get old. Boats with space to have a head and a bunk that aren't somehow buried underneath one another start at about 25', a separate area to have that head in that affords any real modesty starts at about 30'.

And wooden boats aren't especially well known for staying dry on the inside. They do have a reputation for requiring maintenance. There's always an exception, but in general, it seems like you kinda gotta really love wooden boats to love a wooden boat.
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Old 05-10-2010, 18:43   #11
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I have a boat available that just might fit your plans. Problem is, it's a $1k flight away in the Philippines

I think the suggestions above have been pretty spot-on. Check out some literature on used boat maintenance and repair. Get used to the idea of using your own hands to repair the stuff that goes boink, because even on a 19' boat most of us can't afford professional repair work for every little thing.

I would really steer away from wood. It's kind of like steel in the amount of maintenance you have to do, meaning it can get a little daunting.

I outfitted the aforementioned 26' boat for a crossing, then abandoned the idea after I decided to bring my big boat the other way. And like Newt says, you simply won't be comfortable in less than 25-27' in the ocean. And by comfortable, I mean less-than-paralyzingly-terrified the first time you run into a little bit of ol' Mother Ocean's temper
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Old 05-10-2010, 18:54   #12
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I have a boat available that just might fit your plans. Problem is, it's a $1k flight away in the Philippines

I think the suggestions above have been pretty spot-on. Check out some literature on used boat maintenance and repair. Get used to the idea of using your own hands to repair the stuff that goes boink, because even on a 19' boat most of us can't afford professional repair work for every little thing.

I would really steer away from wood. It's kind of like steel in the amount of maintenance you have to do, meaning it can get a little daunting.

I outfitted the aforementioned 26' boat for a crossing, then abandoned the idea after I decided to bring my big boat the other way. And like Newt says, you simply won't be comfortable in less than 25-27' in the ocean. And by comfortable, I mean less-than-paralyzingly-terrified the first time you run into a little bit of ol' Mother Ocean's temper

Ahhhh, you're killing me! Hahaha I would be there in a heartbeat, if I didn't live 2 hours away from the airport (and if I were in possession of a spare $1k). Just out of curiosity, what's the boat like, what would come with it, etc.? I've always wanted to visit the Phils... oh, and before I forget... asking price? I don't have my boat fund up to speed quite yet, but it never hurts to plan.

LMFAO well, if Mother Ocean gets pissed, the silver lining is that no one will be able to tell when I pee my pants in fear.

But seriously, thank you for the advice! I figured wood wouldn't last as long as modern materials, but the stuff I've read suggests that a few coats of epoxy will eliminate the rot issue. Shows what I know lol.
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Old 05-10-2010, 20:08   #13
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I know of several 50-100 year old wooden boat and own one of them. I don't know of ANY glass boats older than 50 years, mostly younger than that. Don't let folks blow smoke up ya about wood. Yes it requires maintenance and usually when ya get a used wood boat cheaply, it requires a lot of work to get it to a point where the maintenance isn't much more than a glass boat. That said, there ain't nothing like wood....
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Old 05-10-2010, 20:48   #14
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Just out of curiosity, what's the boat like, what would come with it, etc.? I've always wanted to visit the Phils... oh, and before I forget... asking price? I
I think the last I had it advertised was for $7k. I bought it for about $5k and since then bought some new sails, went through the motor, added a solar panel and re-did the gelcoat on the bottom.

Probably you can get a good deal for $5k locally. But your best advice would be to become familiar with 'warning signs' that people will talk about when buying a used boat, whether it's wood, steel, aluminmum, fiberglass or ferro-cement. Each hull type has its own issues to watch out for.

And like CharlieCobra says, there are plenty of long-lasting, well-maintained wood boats out there. Just like there are plenty of long-lasting steel boats that have been taken care of.

The main downside with either of those types of hull is that they require extensive hands-on maintenance to get them up to 100%. Once they're there, it doesn't take much to maintain...but it can be a steep learning curve, especially if you're not a carpenter/millwright/welder. It's mostly elbow grease, but there is a basic amount of knowledge that you need to possess in order to properly re-condition and maintain them.

But if you love using your hands, don't mind getting dirty and enjoy learning about the different issues involved, a wood or steel boat can be quite wonderful. I love my 3/16" of steel armor protecting me from things like, oh, floating shipping containers or small rock reefs. I'm not as fast as a racing sled, but I get there in comfort, security and style (as far as I'm concerned, anyways).
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Old 05-10-2010, 23:18   #15
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Hey Omdufro,

Your inquiries and situation are very similar to my own, rolled back a few years. I'm now in my early 30's and a year into the refit of what will be my first liveaboard boat but in my mid 20s I got bit by the sailing bug and it's only gotten worse. Although I've invested a good bit of time and energy into learning about sailing, I still have tons to learn in most areas. I've developed my own answers (opinions) to many of the questions that you probably have, or will have if you stick with this so I'll chime in, and also encourage you to keep asking questions.



In developing a plan for your boating life, and successfully achieving it there are at least a few keys that will steer you on your course. Most of the earlier responses focused in on these areas and some of these are:


Budget - For better or worse our budgets define much of what we can do in our lives. This is just as true with boating/cruising though not always in ways that you would expect. One rule that seems true for most is if you want to sail more often and farther you will probably need to learn to live on a smaller budget. Read some of the books by Lin and Larry Pardey (and many other authors too) and you'll see examples of how to take a smaller boat, smaller budget and plenty of self-reliance to go further than most folks with larger boats and budgets. This seems especially true for folks like us that want to get into cruising at a relatively young age.


Self-Reliance - Your desire and ability to fix things yourself will have a major affect on your sailing life. There's no right or wrong approach to this but freedom and flexibility will probably come from either a big budget or your fixing/maintaining things yourself. Self reliance is an important part of seamanship in my opinion, but for some it is o.k. To rely on others for repairs, tows and other services. I have learned to appreciate and respect the different approaches to this, even though I can't afford some of them. I find a lot of satisfaction in fixing things on my boat though. It can also get stressful out there and knowing what is going on with the boat and how to manage it can become very important in many ways. Since this can be a polarizing issue (along with gps vs. charts, types of knots, types of rigs, hull materials etc. etc.) I'll restate that most approaches have some value. For instance, I've know some older folks that don't have the time/energy/ability to fix or maintain a lot of what is on their boats, but they do have the money to pay someone else. If they had to do it all themselves they wouldn't be able to cruise.


Goals - These will keep evolving over time, but there are tons of ways to pursue boating and most of them have their own appeal. There are many ways and places to use a boat, and every boat is a compromise of features and abilities. You will bring a unique set of abilities and desires to the mix so there may be a best boat/approach for you, but it could be pretty unique to your situation, and it is likely to change with time.


These questions will have a big influence on what boat you should buy as will things like standing headroom, draft, strength, motion, performance etc.. It is definitely a buyers market out here right now, and it is likely to stay that way for some time for budget boats. I recommend that you avoid buying a boat online if you can, and I also recommend not buying a cruising/liveaboard boat at all until you have looked at, been on and hopefully sailed at least a few different types that you are interested in.


As far as materials go, fiberglass boats are usually the lowest maintenance and are the most plentiful. Every material has it's benefits and great boats that are made out of it. Boats of all materials (fiberglass included) can also have a lot of different, serious problems. My personal opinion is that small fiberglass boats are a great starting point and that aluminum/steel/wood/cement boats are probably not ideal first boats. I've looked at every type, and know folks with awesome examples of each but appreciate that each of these people have spent a lot of time learning to take care of, and a lot of time/$ actually taking care of their boats. Behind a nice boat there is always a good owner . Fiberglass boats should be cheaper and more forgiving in most ways and most of what you learn with a fiberglass boat will transfer over if you decide to get into a different material later.

I've been living in an active boatyard for much of this year so if you want I can share some scary tales from all boat materials but I'll stick to the problems that I've seen on fiberglass boats for now. Some of the big issues that you will want to look out for if you look at older fiberglass boats:

-soft/rotten/delaminated coring, mostly on decks or cabin tops. This starts near windows/stanchion bases etc. wherever water can get into the wooden core. A lot of the low priced boats that I looked at had suprisingly delaminated decks. On older boats this is a widespread problem and can be found on any boat with wooden cored decks. It is very fixable, but probably will be a major/expensive/long repair. If you find a boat with solid decks plan to rebed all deck hardware so that they stay that way.

-poor construction of a variety of types. You may see a variety of problems from delaminations/blisters/oil canning/hull-deck joint issues/keel-keel stub issues/insufficient tabbing on bulkheads/ etc. etc. A lot of this turns up around the keel, chainplates or the mast areas where the biggest stress is. There are some really good looking boats out there that are hiding some really serious issues!

-typical to all sailboats you can have rigging problems, or simply old rigging/sails that needs to be replaced. Prices go up steeply as the boat gets larger though on a smaller (sub 30 footer) these costs are reasonable for a do it yourselfer in my opinion.


-another major area is the engine/drivetrain. Costs can mount up pretty quickly here.

Those are a few larger problem areas to watch for and may help you guess why some of the inexpensive boats may be so. This is a really broad topic though, and good one to read up on and practice on (look at boats). There are some great boats available for little money but they are probably in the minority. The trick is learning what to look for, or hiring someone (a surveyor) to look at every boat you consider purchasing.

If I were in your shoes I'd look for ways to ease into this with small (though not wasted) investments with your long-term goals in mind. Jumping straight into a 10 year circumnavigation or similar may be the dream, but isn't very realistic. If you did that you miss a lot of fun that can be had as you learn your way. After a few years of reading whatever I could get my hands on, and talking to whoever would talk sailing with me, I picked up a 20 foot trailer sailer that I could "camp" in with some comfort. I cleaned up that boat, and learned to sail on it. It was a great way to learn sailboats and to sail. The small boat was responsive and forgiving on the water, and a cheap way to learn about boat maintenance and repair. Another big benefit was that I could pull it around to try out different sailing areas. It also turned out to be really easy to sell when I was ready to move on, though true to form, I didn't recoup all of my investments in the boat. I didn't buy that boat as my final, liveaboard solution, but felt like there was no point in hurrying into a larger liveaboard boat. A small trailer sailor, a sailing dingy, or rented/borrowed/crewed on etc. boats can be a good option while you learn more, develop your longer term plans and save money. You may also find that racing dingys is all that you want to do for the next ten years. If you are pretty set on a bigger/liveaboard boat you could go ahead and pick up a sailing dingy that you can later use as your tender for the larger boat, thus not wasting any money on a short term boat while still being able to get out and sail in the short-term.


Due to the sailing bug I could go on and on, but that is surely plenty from me for now... If you have specific questions, on the music topic for instance, let me know. I always travel with musical instruments so may have some ideas there too.


Good Luck,


Jonathan
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