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Old 14-09-2010, 01:30   #1
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Sold House and Need / Want a Boat Now, but . . .

New here and have been searching. I'm looking for a boat now and am looking for a liveaboard. I'm moving from Canada and want to end up on the coast near LA. I was planning on starting from Marina Del Rey where I would buy a boat, then go to film school for 8 weeks, take sailing lessons to brush up (was a boatswain in the navy 20 years ago) and then get the boat rigged to sail around for a year or two. I had hoped to have it rigged and leave by the new year. I will be paying cash for the boat, and was hoping to find something already rigged for off shore blue water cruising, but it seems they are few and far between.

I was thinking I might buy a boat somewhere other than California, then sail there and make Marina Del Rey a Destination to stay during school, but I'm still having trouble finding something. Many of the boats are decent, but have low fuel capacity and will need sme work and retrofitting. I'm not sure how long it will take to do all of this. I guess I can get some of this done while going to school, but ideally I want to live on the boat and not have to get a place in the meantime. Possession on my home is October 18th, and I'm busy selling off all of my hard assets. At the rate I'm going (or not going) finding a suitable boat in my price range, I'm thinking I better make a plan to rent a place! I am hoping to have a blue water ready boat for $80,000 USD or less. Is this reasonable?

I want to be self sufficient and be able to singlehand this boat as a solo. I have a couple of friends who want to come along at some point, but I don't want to bet on a crew. It would be nice to have two berths and hold 4 people though. I may even rent the second berth while in school, and I really hope to find a woman to come with me when I'm ready for the long haul so I'd like something that she can live with also. FYI I'm 42 years old.
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Old 14-09-2010, 08:10   #2
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Hi there SSLIttleDevil and if you haven't been welcomed, welcome aboard.

It sounds like there is some urgency in what you are doing and perhaps that could be slowed down a bit.

Maybe for the 8 weeks in LA you rent a place - rent something really small - You'll need to get used to that - LOL.

That will also give you adequate time to look at boats and get the lay of the land. Liveaboard berths can be hard to come by. You also need to check the cost of berths in Marina Del Ray and factor that in to your expenses.

You also can expand the search to all of SoCal and either meet the boat if it's not in the LA area or move it to LA. If you are going to be working on the boat a bit before you launch you will also want to get the lay of the land in terms of boat yards.

At 42 you still have time. Slow down to speed up is maybe a good recipe here.
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Old 14-09-2010, 08:19   #3
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Yes, LittleDevil, welcome to the forum. Ex-cal has it right - SLOW DOWN! You'll have a far better chance of finding the right boat, getting it surveyed, arranging a slip and then doing repairs/upgrades if you aren't rushed into it. While I can understand the desire to save on rent, you must emember that the monthly cost of docking is not cheap either.

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Old 14-09-2010, 11:02   #4
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Hi Guys.

Saving money on rent is not the big deal I guess. It's more having to settle into a place only to move out, and then there are leases for most rentals on land. Slips are month to month and the ocean has no rent at all.

I looked into slips and liveaboards in Marina Del Rey and they run $500-600 for slips and double that for liveaboards. I could not find any liveaboards. Many slips are available, include water and power and most have a 3 day on board per week max, but a few said that is because of the vacancy rate restrictions and lack of permits mostly and provided there was no trouble, most will turn a blind eye to someone who remains on their boat full time with a slip arrangement.

I then talked to a broker who said he would find me a boat, give me sailing lessons on my own boat, get me certified (he's also an instructor) and find me a liveaboard. He said they are available but you need to know where to look and it helps to have connections. He also has his own boats and some for sale so has his own slips available. This sounded pretty good, although he also mentioned that he would be named skipper on my boat until I was certified (for insurance purposes) and this comment kind of made me nervous.

He did recommend a full survey including electronics and motor so that was a positive sign. He was from the faster is better and you can outrun the weather school though, and I'm not sure I agree with that. He was into modified keels and prefered exposed rudders. He mentioned that having electronics meant you always knew where and what the weather was, and could outrun it or prepare for it. It made me wonder if he has ever crossed oceans. Obviously he has a lot of experience sailing a variety of boats, but I know that weather can develop right on top of you and even if you know weather is coming, it's not like you can just turn around or park your boat in the middle of the ocean to take cover. Knowing when to start a leg I get, but once you're underway, having a sturdy boat with a full or close to full keel with a skegged rudder seems to be the best bet.

He mentioned a Catalina as a great offshore boat, but I have not found that many people recommending them in my research. I notice there are a surplus of coastal cruisers in CA and very few blue water boats. Also, very few have more than 20-30 gallon fuel tanks.

I looked at a couple of really nice boats in the great lakes that are blue water cores, but lack a lot of the rigging and refinements, like heaters, autopilot, watermakers, large fuel tanks, radar, EPIRB, etc. I am thinking I might as well just look into having something retrofit with new equipment and spend some time learning to use it. The lakes will freeze soon, so that is a factor too. I could burn a lot of time trying to gear up.

As for being 42, that does not give me lots of time. I could die tomorrow, and I am not independently wealthy. I have enough money to buy my boat and sail for a few years without worrying about financial issues, but I will have to work again eventually. I want to do this now before something happens and life gets in the way, or I get sick or killed or something. No time like the present! Lol!
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Old 14-09-2010, 11:09   #5
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Um, I wouldn't want to go with a broker who thinks a small Catalina (given your budget, you are looking at a smaller boat) is an offshore boat. Others will agree or disagree, just my opinion. I'd ask around here for a reputable buyer broker.

I think if you cast your search area a bit broader, you are more likely to find a boat that suits your needs. Lots of great boats available on the Gulf Coast and in Florida as well as California, Washington, etc. I'd give yourself more time so you don't buy the wrong boat. Nothing is more expensive than buying the wrong boat!
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Old 14-09-2010, 11:15   #6
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I agree on expanding my search. I've even looked in around Capetown. I had originally planned to spend a couple of months in Capetown before going to school in LA. Then thought, "Hmmm... Maybe I could take some sailing lessons in Capetown while there, buy a boat there and head from there to California." I looked into a RYA course and they wanted like $40,000 and 3 months of my life for an ocean certification. I'd rather put that into a boat.

The Catalina he was recommending was a 40 I think, but still small. I noticed there are a lot of crew positions posted about. I wonder if there would be any value in taking a crew position for a few months. I could search for a boat in my travels and learn what i like and don't like about particular boats. Decisions, decisions.
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Old 14-09-2010, 11:15   #7
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i have a broker that would argue with yours over whether a catalina is a blue water offshore boat
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Old 14-09-2010, 11:23   #8
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The www.yachtworld.com website has a few boats that look quite fine in the La/San Diego area.

It looks to me like $40,000 can put you into a nice cruiser these days. The problem I found is that some harbors have liveaboard limits. For example, Santa Barbara requires that you own the boat, and the slip for 2 years before you can liveaboard. They have a card key system on the marina so they know if you are lying to them about how much time you spend on your boat. I wanted to liveaboard a while back but that made it nearly impossible.
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Old 14-09-2010, 11:24   #9
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I think the consensus is that any production boat and most definitely the Catalinas are not what most would consider a good offshore boat. Not that some people have not sailed offshore in one but there are far better choices too numerous to enumerate. They are not designed, built or outfitted for offshore sailing without major refit.

In terms of what you termed "certification", don't be confused by the advertising. You don't need it, it is no prerequisite for anything and there are far better ways of learning what you need to know than many of these programs; the most obvious of which is to get some very basis knowledge which presumably you already have and then go do it in company with others who have more experience.
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Old 14-09-2010, 11:47   #10
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Exactly on the certification. I did see some value in the possibility of getting a USCG certification or something, so I could potentially take paid passengers at some point (fishing, sailing, diving); however, I think that the USCG rating might not be something other countries might recognize if I was to run that sort of business (even part time) in another country. I am told the RYA course is more widely recognized. I am told though that some kind of certification is required for insurance, and while some do not get insurance, some marinas require insurance and actually check paperwork for liability insurance.

Having charter capability is the least of my worries. I'm more concerned about just being safe on the water. I'm not afraid of risk, but calculated risk is preferable.

I agree whole heatedly on the Catalina NOT being a suitable offshore boat!
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Old 14-09-2010, 11:55   #11
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A Catalina 400 is not a small boat! If you are going to be going solo, I'd stick somehwere areound the 35 foot range.

There is tons of value in crewing for someone. The difficulty is finding a captain you can trust as well as a captain willing to trust in you.
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Old 14-09-2010, 12:44   #12
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A Catalina 400 is not a small boat! If you are going to be going solo, I'd stick somehwere areound the 35 foot range.
Agree that a 40' is not small but I single hand my 42' Pearson without a problem. Would not say you have to go smaller due to the ability to single hand the boat but would due to the budget and constraint that the boat be "blue water ready".

By the way Little Devil, it is extremely unlikely that you will find a boat that is 100% blue water ready. Even brand new, completely rigged boats take a lot of work to be ready. It will more likely be a matter of finding a boat with less major work vs one that will require a major refit or even complete overhaul.
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Old 14-09-2010, 15:22   #13
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I was looking at a completely restored 32' Bayfield, but was turned off by the fact that it had no navigation, autopilot, radios or any of the conveniences, plus a very small tank with a max 250 mile range. I didn't care much for the yellow hull either, but I think I could live with it. Most of the liveaboards seem to require a 35' boat - at least in Marina Del Rey. So I move my sights up to 35' to 42' boats. I like the morgans, but I think I prefer a sloop or a cutter. I'm not sure, but a ketch looks like it would be hard to sail alone. Two masts and lots of sails to worry about. I know a guy who has been sailing on an Alberg 30' as crew for his uncle for the past 6 months. He likes it, but also likes many other boats besides the one he's on, which he finds a tad small. I just talked to a woman who's friend went with her husband to fulfill his dream, and they are now home and she will NEVER go again. She said the berth was tiny and she couldn't straighten her legs out (narrow v-berth?), that it was like camping 24/7 for months and hated it. I hope to attract a female one day to sail with, so I want to get my boat set up comfortable enough that a woman won't kill my dream should I happen to fall in love and lose all good sense. That means 35' plus as far as I can tell, a decent sized berth and bed, a watermaker, solar, WG, heat, hot and cold water with electric pump, fridge/freezer (Engel?) and AC. Plus the nav, autopilot, ham for email, TV, computers and safety equipment. I have a lot of gear already that is transferable to the boat, but transport is an issue so I may sell some of it here and regear depending on where I depart from.
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Old 14-09-2010, 15:36   #14
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SS- I think it all depends on the woman.
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Old 14-09-2010, 15:40   #15
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Get a 32 to 35 foot real ocean cruiser. One of my best friends circumnavigated in a 30 foot monohulll.

Go smaller and go sooner.

I still love my old Westsail 32. A bullet proof offshore cruiser. I would just put a 45 hp diesel in it when I wanted to plow to windward.

Go for it.
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