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Old 25-11-2013, 11:05   #1
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Family of 6 Looking to Sail

Hi All,

First post for me. First off, it's a great community this forum has going here and I appreciate all the information it provides. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

I hope this is the right location for this question. A little info on us.. We are a family of 6 from Oklahoma and have done research on living aboard. This spring, we are looking to join the sailing community for at least 3 years (hopefully longer). We feel that our kids are at the age where they are ready to do this and we don't want to delay any longer where we miss out on great times that we could have had. We have read several books, watched many youtube videos, researched forums such as this one, and become friends with several from Marathon, Fl (Facebook).

On to the questions:

Mainly, we are looking for information on what boat to buy and how to balance available finances to get the most out of our adventure. We will be listing our home in the next few weeks. Our realestate agent feels that we can clear at least 80K on a fairly quick sell. So....80k cash to play with..

So the pointed questions:

  • Ideas on a boat for a family of 6 with 80k to play with. We like the hunters but can be expensive . We like 40' and above.
  • Finance balancing. Better to fully buy a boat or finance with plenty cash on hand to make payments?
  • Recommended emergency funds (considering insured)
  • Living expenses considering a minimal lifestyle at sea
Financially, I like the idea of investing as much as possible into a boat so there is equity there in case we ever need to move back to land. I am not opposed, nor is the wife, to me working for a bit while living aboard to build up extra cash.

All of our kids are currently home schooled so that transition should not be that difficult. Ages, 5,7,9,12

Personally, I know quite a bit about construction. So I believe boat repair and maintenance will not be much of an issue. We have filpped 4 houses now and have done most everything in the book. Currently, I work in A/V as a manager. So I am familiar with electrical both low and high voltage.

As far as docking at a marina in the beginning. We like Florida state laws. Not to get into a gun debate but I refuse to not carry. I want the ability to defend my family and myself if necessary. Yes, I know when we sail internationally this may be an issue. I have already done some research on other options. Additionally, Flordia home school laws are fairly lenient to what should be a natural right.

Anyways, no hate mail on the last bit and any information or guidance is appreciated.
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Old 25-11-2013, 11:18   #2
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Great ideas, Good luck!! Can't help you to much with your questions except in a general way. Take your time looking at boats. I'ts a buyers market and Lots of Boats for sale. Lots of good deals on used boats. Smaller boats are easier to sail and less expensive overall, but you need space for that brood. Leave money in the boat kitty for all the "hidden" expenses you find after purchase. We never lived aboard with our kids when they were growing up, but did spend lots of time with them on the boat (as my parents did with me and my brother and sister). It's a great family lifestyle. I've got a big smile on my face remembering our times together, and still together (now with the grandchildren). And, I've got a big smile on my face thinking about your family. Good luck to you.
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Old 25-11-2013, 11:41   #3
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Hi! Welcome.
Our boat was under 80k. It needed a lot of cosmetic work.
It has 3 staterooms, 2 baths.
There are quite a few with 3 staterooms.

Emergency funds: 10,000 to 15,000.
The biggest repair on a 40' class boat is under 15k.
New engine, 15,000. Major fiberglass repair is less.
Generator, $6000
Sails, $3000.
Rerig, 4,000-10,000

We bought our boat outright. Its so awesome knowing its ours.

Living expenses are based on what you eat...
We spend $100 a day typically at a marina, for food. When going anchor to anchor we eat about $8-12 for the day. For two adults.

I will recomend a charter, or crewing on a boat in the ocean.
I have been powerboating for many years. The ocean is far more rough then i expected. Even at 45' long, in 8-10'swells, it was a very rough ride. No idea how its done in a smaller boat...
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Old 25-11-2013, 11:46   #4
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Thanks for the reply's and the great info. We are considering hiring someone to do a "shake down" cruse with us. There is knowledge from experienced sailors that a person can't simply get from reading. Anyone know about what that would run? I would assume the distance would be the key factor in price.
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Old 25-11-2013, 11:50   #5
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Suggest you read some of the sailing blogs written by people with kids on board. There will be lots of info about boat choices, costs to outfit for cruising, maintenance costs, costs of living aboard, etc.
If you plan on the $80,000 being for the boat, refit, expenses etc for three years you may need to save up some more or go with a smaller boat. Everything on boats is expensive, even if you do the labor yourself like many of us do. Way more expensive than systems in a house. It can be done if you do your research and know what to buy and what to pass on.
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Old 25-11-2013, 11:50   #6
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Sometimes free.
Plan a trip, ask for crew, you may have to pay 20 a day, or you can hire a real pro, for 1000+++
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Old 25-11-2013, 11:58   #7
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Quote:
Originally Posted by WebWench View Post
Suggest you read some of the sailing blogs written by people with kids on board. There will be lots of info about boat choices, costs to outfit for cruising, maintenance costs, costs of living aboard, etc.
If you plan on the $80,000 being for the boat, refit, expenses etc for three years you may need to save up some more or go with a smaller boat. Everything on boats is expensive, even if you do the labor yourself like many of us do. Way more expensive than systems in a house. It can be done if you do your research and know what to buy and what to pass on.

I guess one should weigh rather if they want to instantly go for it with something smaller or buy a more suitable boat and work for awhile. My concern is the sanity of my wife and kids on a boat that goes no where for awhile. However I would think that living aboard at a marina would be cheaper then a home if there is little boat payment.

Good suggestion on the blogs. I have read some blogs but its difficult to find many with a family our size. BTW...everyone thinks we are crazy for considering this. I believe there is potential for great educational value with the kids that simply can not be had any other way. At least for us...
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Old 25-11-2013, 12:33   #8
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

We got that too. Most people do not realize boat life, is a lifestyle.
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Old 25-11-2013, 12:37   #9
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

We're a family of five planning to do the same; it's not crazy, just different. We hope to buy a boat within the next year, spend some time fixing/improving/running short hauls, then ship out for a year or two--maybe more. Our ideas and expectations are taking shape as we learn more about what we'll need and what makes sense for us. We started out thinking we'd spend $125,000 on a boat, then realized we could only afford a $75,000 boat since we'll likely spend half that again outfitting for offshore cruising. Planning the logistics of which boat, what gadgets, how much provisioning, all powered by what exactly...is a big part of the learning curve and the fun. Enjoy!
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Old 25-11-2013, 12:55   #10
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Price wise I would assume most negotiate. So something listed for 85k could be had for 70k?

RedFeather, do you plan on working at the same time as you outfit? I would be interested in keeping in touch.
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:00   #11
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Bottom line, if you plan any sort of serious cruising, spend no more than 2/3 of your budget on a used boat. No matter what is said about "sail away" condition, you'll need the rest for refit and upgrades.
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:07   #12
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

You do not state whether you know how to sail or whether you have ever sailed. If you do not know how to sail I would suggest you learn and that the kids learn. I do not know anything re Oklahoma but I'm sure there must be lakes there where you and the kids can take some sailing lessons. Learning to sail is not like learning to drive. It's a bit more complicated and totally weather dependent. Being handy helps a lot re boat maintenance but it's surprising how different it is from house renovations.

Four kids on a boat will be a handful, especially as they get a bit older and demand privacy. I have seen boats with 3 kids aboard but they were usually over 40 feet. As a trial run, try living one week in your kitchen and family room and one bathroom. That's what living in a boat tied to a dock is like. Cruising is different. It's a great life for a young family but few jump in at the deep end.

If the family is in agreement with this venture get the biggest boat you can afford. No one here can really advise you regarding finances. It's a very personal matter and dependent on your lifestyle.

I know I would have loved it if my father had done what you propose to do when I was 12. My three siblings would have hated it.
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:15   #13
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Well you have chosen a mountain to climb, it can be done of course but it won't be easy. You'll be dealing with an older boat and your going to be doing everything yourself. Having said that I like people that choose something that takes a lot of planning and effort....good luck!
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Old 25-11-2013, 13:26   #14
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Re the cost of a boat, I certainly hope The 70% Rule applies; would make it much easier for us to afford a boat with room for three kids. I lurked on this site for a while before joining and spend a fair amount of time looking through boat listings. I've also created a spreadsheet that lists just about everything you could want on a boat to weigh the bang/buck factor of each; also helps figuring out whether boats with certain gear are worth the asking price. From what my admittedly newbie eyes have seen (the experts here will correct me if I'm off), many boats are overpriced, but if there are deals to be had, some of the vertices would be: 1) any "classic" yacht with little-to-no damage; 2) almost anything being sold by a desperate Greek trying to raise cash; 3) charter boats with no hull damage and less than 5,000 miles on the engine; 4) any boat with good bones but no gadgets even if it needs a lot of work. Of course, a "good deal" isn't the same as low cost, but if you make a list of everything you want/need then look for a boat that either has all of that or could be made to have all of that within your price range. I'm stating the obvious, but the devil is in the details of figuring out what you want/need. Until I started that process, I hadn't imagined it would be so difficult (albeit fun).

There's a great book called This Old Boat by Don Casey that walks you through how to think about buying a boat. I highly recommend it. We could probably get by for a year or two if neither of us worked, but it would be nice to actually have money to do stuff in the places we plan to visit. For that, at least one of us would need to work part time. In theory both of us could work full time, but this would require a "good" Internet connection (we'd have security concerns). There is a guy (advertising/marketing dude from New York) who outfitted his boat with the latest gadgets to enable working aboard; his gadgetry is expensive though. I found my way to his blog from this forum but can't seem to find it now.

Happy to share what I learn as I go; PM me!
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Old 25-11-2013, 15:10   #15
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Re: Family of 6 looking to sail

Don Casey also has a book out called "Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance" that is currently in my Amazon.com shopping cart. I figure reading through this will give me some knowledge on what to expect to break and what to look for wrong in a used boat.

We know a family of 6 that live aboard in the Florida Keys. They purchased a boat for 15K and fixed it up. So I know it can be done and we will do this, yes we will. Even if it is not a hunter like we would like and even if a bit cramped, I see no reason not to pursue this at this time.

I would rather try and fail then have the regret of never trying in the first place. - (or whatever similar quote)
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