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Old 16-06-2009, 12:39   #61
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You've gotten a lot of sensible advice here. If you feel sensible, then follow it scrupulously. You'll get a sensible result.

Or you could just plunge in. Thousands, if not millions of sailors have set sail on the wide blue seas with less thought than what you've already invested (and without an iota of skill). What's the worst that can happen -- your boat ends up in the "port of broken dreams"? Yawn. We're all going to die pretty soon anyway; I wouldn't get too hung up on the details if you've got a yen to be on the ocean.

"Seize the Day"? Indeed.

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We're reading this thread with interest. Our story is as follows:

Mark and I were high school classmates some 40 years ago and in the interim have become a widower and a divorcee. We re-met at a class reunion several years ago and have been together since then. Discovering that we both have a desire to live aboard a boat we have approached it considering all of the suggestions mentioned above. In fact Mark, being a Project Manager, started our planning by tacking a huge piece of paper over a wall in our house. We listed all of our assumptions about living aboard as well as perceived advantages and disadvantages. We then listed everything we thought we needed to do before we take the big step of buying a boat and living aboard it. This began with listing "milestones" followed by "tasks" which would get us to those milestones. We have categories such as "house" (getting it ready to sell), and "boat" (including training, decisions leading to purchase of the boat, etc.). All lists are long and detailed. After covering the wall with post-its, the plan was transferred to a spreadsheet with dates to start and finish each task.

So far, we have done a great deal of research using the Internet, a high stack of books, magazines, and talking to friends and acquaintances who have been sailing for years. Mark's son and daughter-in-law bought and lived aboard a large sailboat a few years ago, traveling from Annapolis to South America. We are now going to start the process in interest by taking classes, visiting boat shows, and narrowing our decision on a used boat to purchase. Reading this forum (it's the home page on my computer) has been extremely helpful.

Yes, we know that a very high percentage of people who plan to do what we are hoping to achieve fail and their boats end up in the "Ports of Broken Dreams" as mentioned above. We are convinced this won't happen to us, but realize it could. Yet, we are determined to try, as we look on this as an adventure, and our only regret would be if we didn't go forward with our plans. We also know that no matter how much research and training we do, there will be "surprises" along the way.

This is my first post to this forum and probably won't be the last. We have been reading it for many months, but the more one learns, the more one realizes there is more to learn, and that has been our experience thus far. At least we are now at the point where we know some questions to ask.

Thanks to all who have posted such helpful messages on this forum. While we wish we could have had the experience most of you have, we are learning much vicariously, including the knowledge that the learning will never stop. Incidentally, while we haven't decided on our boat, we do have possible names, including "Seize the Day" and "Soulmaties." Both describe us well.
Jan
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Old 16-06-2009, 18:33   #62
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Go for it!
My wife and I are pretty much doing the same thing, but we got a 63' steel shrimp boat powered by diesel. We stripped the boat and rebuilt to our liking. The advantages to a powered trawler are that we have 800 sq ft of living space, 800 sq ft of deck space, a full restaurant kitchen, a bathroom, and a storage area below big enough for two Buicks,etc. We plan to stay mostly anchored and move around maybe 5000 nm a year so the fuel will cost, but running a sailboat can cost even more.
I know I'm about to catch hell from all you sailors, but I want to spend the rest of my life on this boat, I'm 65, and I'm not going to crawl into a cramped little space.
They're selling these shrimpers for about 30k down here in the Golf, you can rebuild them right out of Home Depot, and there's lots of local welders and boat builders looking for work.
Just a thought, have lot's of fun and hope to see you out there.
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Old 16-06-2009, 18:43   #63
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Quote:
We plan to stay mostly anchored and move around maybe 5000 nm a year so the fuel will cost, but running a sailboat can cost even more.
They all cost a lot. You find a way that works and if it ends up that way it sure won't be an accident. If knowing what you want meets what you get, you sit back, shut up and keep doing it. This is a "mostly about showing up regular" experience.

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I'm 65, and I'm not going to crawl into a cramped little space.
I'm just 55 (yesterday) and not tempted in those directions either. You might have to. It comes with the territory. When they have to hold your ankles so you can get down in there it's time to rethink the showing up part.
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Old 16-06-2009, 19:01   #64
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Happy Birthday Pblais!
I am with lorenzo b, if you wanted to, you could haul a little cargo from point A to point B and maybe subsidize your fuel costs. Also there are people looking for a ride from point A to point B. Years ago I heard tell that you could trade pound for pound, frozen hamburger for lobster in the Dry Tortugas. The other thing you can do is, there are no import tariffs on used appliances & computer gear for Belize, and I believe the same is true for Mexico. I met a guy in Belize that had an 86' boat that he retired on and that was his deal, buy up used appliances in Texas and then gunk hole down through Mexico to Belize and on south selling used appliances. I also understand that there is fairly inexpensive fuel in Venezuela, might be able to work out a trade deal there. Just a thought.
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Old 16-06-2009, 19:53   #65
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Happy birthday Pblais!
Just another thought; when you buy a used boat your getting an incredibly intricate and overly designed package of interlocking systems tightly installed in cramped spaces. As these systems start to fail you will go nuts even getting to them. When you find out what repairs and replacements cost you will go ballistic.
If you start with a large empty boat and build the systems yourself using off the shelf household materials and appliances you can replace them easily and cheaply.
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Old 16-06-2009, 20:56   #66
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If you start with a large empty boat and build the systems yourself using off the shelf household materials and appliances you can replace them easily and cheaply.
Not really. You can't beat the game. Marine duty stresses everything a lot. Few things can take 20 years at sea. Too many things take too many steps to install properly and repairs are often more complicated than the original install. The sad truth is boat owners do terrible things to the boats they own because it just is too hard to do it right - when you don't know how. There is no shortcut to doing it right.

With a large empty boat you'll screw up enough that you won't go back and fix them all. The odds are the electrical mistakes will burn you out and the rest will bleed your bank acount redoing the poorly done done job with a new version of the poorly done job on a regular basis. For what good deals previously owned boats are they seem plagued with previous owners. Perhaps it is only limited to those that only buy new boats.
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Old 16-06-2009, 21:51   #67
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Sir, I beg to differ.
I've been a remodeling contractor all my life working on high end private homes in San Francisco and I have no intention of screwing up this boat. This may be my first boat, but I do know enough to hire and consult with experienced welders, boat builders, mechanics, tug boat captains, commercial fishermen, etc. The man I work with every day has built boats for 37 years. Everyone down here works on their own boats and yes, they do hire specialists to rebuild their diesels and design and calculate their hydraulic systems, but 90% of the stuff they do themselves. These are working boats that people live off, their systems are tough, simple, easily maintained and repaired, and inexpensive.
please visit my blog for pics The Lorenzo and Joyce scow and travel blog
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Old 16-06-2009, 22:22   #68
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Off-the-shelf solutions are, generally, not designed to be in constant motion rolling up to 45 degrees either side of vertical every few seconds, surrounded by an atmosphere which is hundreds times more caustic than your average land-based building and consistently near 100% humidity, surviving on power supplies which are anything but clean or consistent. Oh, and often not maintained at the highest standards. Ocean duty is severe.

It's why many boats, especially those designed for commercial applications, are as simple as possible to accomplish the task.

That said, there are plenty of boats built from a bare hull by non-professional boat builders which are out there and *excelling*, while in most any marina you'll find professional-built cruiser laid up due to systems failures. The key is in using first quality equipment which can handle the rigors, installed robustly and (hopefully) maintainably, and then maintained as well as possible. The honest truth is many owners - whether building or maintaining - skimp on any one of these elements, and thus PBlais's comments.

In the last week I've removed 12 ground wires stacked inappropriately on a single circuit over the past 25 years by previous owners - wire quality ranging from fine tinned heavy gauge to speaker wire to tiny multi-strand that looks like it might've been phone wire, and connectors from soldered to taped-together twists. Well, no, three of those wires were correctly placed there, all the rest was electrical circuit creep. The point is, this stuff happens in all kinds of ways aboard boats.

I'm guilty of it too; I've cobbled together my current manual and electric bilge pump plumbing which I know I'm going to have to redo in the next couple weeks. And I've owned sailboats for 14 years of various sizes and complexities, I should have known better. I can easily imagine the less-experienced DIYer's rate of system failure based on my own systems failures.
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Old 16-06-2009, 22:50   #69
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It's amazing, we are the same age group, we decide we were going to retire to the cruising life, did take the advice about the small craft 14 footer, sail it on the lakes and coast for 3 years. Had great fun and that little boat got us into decent shape. Sold our business, then we were like warf rats, cruising the docks, looking at boats, now our house has sold. We're looking for a boat now, we are going to move aboard, getting our classes lined out. We should be ready about the sametime as ya'll are. I'm gonna bet there is a great possiblilty we meet up out there someplace in cruiseland.

40ish and 50ish is a great age isn't it. Hopefully we are wise enough to plan our dream and make it a reality. You will never wonder "what if". Have a great time and learn all you can. There are wiser people out there than me, and since we started late in the game I can and will take the advise of all the knowledgeable people on this board. Haven't gone through the whole site, but what I've read makes good, sound advise. Its worked well for us. The point is life is to short and wait is what broke the bridge. Take the time and watch the sunrise and/or the sunset. Well now you know your not alone in the crazy department. Cheer Welcome aboard.

Trish



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Old 17-06-2009, 02:49   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
You've gotten a lot of sensible advice here. If you feel sensible, then follow it scrupulously. You'll get a sensible result.

Or you could just plunge in. Thousands, if not millions of sailors have set sail on the wide blue seas with less thought than what you've already invested (and without an iota of skill). What's the worst that can happen -- your boat ends up in the "port of broken dreams"? Yawn. We're all going to die pretty soon anyway; I wouldn't get too hung up on the details if you've got a yen to be on the ocean.

"Seize the Day"? Indeed.
A very good buddy puts it this way - Everyone Has a Time Stamp

Words to live by...

(You know what? - It's time to change my tagline)
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Old 17-06-2009, 03:29   #71
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A reasonable amount of planning and education then go for it!
Its so easy to be over whelmed by all the stories and info out there.

Happy Birthday Paul
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Old 17-06-2009, 04:59   #72
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Waterworldly,
Were you by chance in Solomons MD on the 14th? I thought I may have seen that boat there over the weekend.

Steve in Solomons MD
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Old 02-04-2010, 13:34   #73
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yes I was.
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Old 11-04-2010, 17:14   #74
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Curious reading this posting three years later, any update news?
Sign me, Curious
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Old 15-04-2010, 08:18   #75
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Well, KCee, we are now in the Bahamas, heading north to NYC for one more summer, then south to South America and through the canal to Peru. Our overnight trips have gotten more frequent, and several days passages are on the horizon for this spring and fall. We are starting to finally slow down ( a byproduct of seven day work weeks) and have made the decision that is is quality not quantity that makes our world go round, meaning we are enjoying longer stays in places we like, as opposed to "I need to get to x-amount of countries before I die. This came to us when we made the command decision to stay on one island for a month, and really "discovered" it, even though it had been a stop over on two other occasions, each lasting about 5 days. It really made a difference to us to stay longer.
Now we are looking to make longer journeys, but to destinations where we will stay longer, months instead of days. Our boat is VERY livable, so it really is like an apartment for us.
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