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Old 13-02-2016, 12:20   #1
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First time buyer seeking a liveaboard

After reading the threads for hours I have decided it would be best to ask the experienced individuals on CS their opinion.

My situation:
Moving to Seattle in search of a liveaboard (traveling from Denver, lack of sailing opportunities there) with minimal sailing experience. I am looking for a pocket cruiser in the range of 24ft to 30ft. I realize many people might be uncomfortable in a small boat for a liveaboard, however I have a very minimalist lifestyle. I work on the road and in my free time travel for months in Central and South America. I am use to living out of a single bag so i feel transitioning to a small boat will be an upgrade in every sense. I digress..

The plan:
Live out of my car (nothing new there) while I hunt down the boats I have in mind. I have established contact with the handful of owners so I can inspect the boats in person during my first two weeks.

I intend to survey the boats the best I can before hiring specialists to inspect professionally. Insuruance will be most likely liability only.

The boats:

1982 Bayfield 25

The boat looks well maintained with many upgrades. Reviews of Bayfield 25s seem to be very positive about how they sail and strong construction. I would like more draft in a boat but maybe I just don't know enough.

1995 Benford 30 Sailing Dory

I know I should be wary of custom builds, especially for my first boat. The ad does not really elaborate on the construction detail, but plenty of pictures. The interior looks recently painted which could be nothing, but it is hard to tell the if there were leaks from portlights or screws. Access to engine is amazing and Iike the idea that this could be a true blue water boat. Pilot house is a bonus and lots of storage for longer trips. I am concerned this might be too much boat for me with all the maintenance and cost of mooring at 30ft LOA.

1981 Hinterhoeller Niagara 26

Once agin, really well maintained boat from the looks of it. Hinterhoeller is a well respected builder and the reviews favored the Niagara for strong construction. It has an outboard which is really something I am looking for! Standing rigging is 2003 so it might be time to replace. Headroom is small. I am 6ft and feel it is not necessarily a requirement to having standing headroom but sure is nice to have.

I plan to do coastal sailing around Puget Sound for a few years before exploring british columbia and beyond. I expect to be able to single hand the boat with confidence, and with a small budget I think the smaller the boat the better. I have been playing with the Idea of looking at some Flicka 20s to give me a better perspective of how small a liveaboard can be stretched.

Thanks for any input~

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Old 14-02-2016, 08:04   #2
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Re: First time buyer seeking a liveaboard

Bristol 24 might be worth a look.

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Old 14-02-2016, 08:49   #3
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Re: First time buyer seeking a liveaboard

I would definitely consider one, not too many are for sale in the Pacific Northwest.
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Old 14-02-2016, 10:37   #4
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Re: First time buyer seeking a liveaboard

Hey man, your story sounds a lot like mine. Also lived and worked in CO out of a car for a spell.

It appears the previous owner of the Bayfield did an awesome job on the refit. Having recently spent a year in a boatyard fixing a lot of the same problems, that would be really really tempting IMHO. Does the boat do it for you? The shallow draft would seem to indicate poor upwind performance and less resistance to capsize, but I'm not an expert and I've never sailed one.

The Benford 30 looks interesting. As you said, tread really carefully. Definitely find a good surveyor you can trust. There was only one pic of the interior and few details to work from. Glass over plywood hull..make absolutely sure there's no water ingress, esp like in places around thru-hulls. Could be a great boat, could be a nightmare. Impossible to say from the pics and the description given is a lot of fluff. Not even a single word about the rig or the engine?

Don't really have much on the Niagara. Looks like a fine boat, but are they designed for offshore work? The low bridgedeck gave me pause, but that could always be modified I suppose.

I'm not an expert I just live on a boat and sail around.

I think you're right on in your thinking about standing headroom..a luxury that's really nice to have. I'm 6'1". My choice came down to a Vancouver 27 and a HR Monsub 31'..the 5'9" headroom in the monsun ended up being a dealbreaker for me. That said, I have friends who don't seem to have trouble coping.

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Old 15-02-2016, 05:24   #5
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Re: First time buyer seeking a liveaboard

The Bayfield 25 looks really nice. People have travelled a fair bit with them, and they seem quite solid.

There's a lot more pictures of the Custom now laika, and there's a lot I like about it, but there's things I'd personally be very wary of.
It does seem to be more than a bit on the light side at 6,500lb displacement?
It may exist, but I have never come across Marine Ply made of Fir - all I have handled has been hardwood (if Fir Marine Ply does exist, I personally wouldn't use it anyway). It might even be Weather and Boil Proof (WBP) Shuttering Ply, but given the displacement weight, it might not be.

Bottom line for me, and something that could prove to be very workable (if you can get the storage/work area sorted to do it), as I would not entertain potential risks with a 20 year old 30ft ply boat I didn't have a hand in building or full knowledge of the construction materials . . . .

1) I'd go in with a very low offer. I do mean 'very' low. If it's not accepted, walk away.
2) I'd find a really solid hulled GRP old project boat in the 28ft to 32ft range, that someone will basically pay you to take it away.
3) Park them side by side and use it as a source of pretty much most of what you need, to restore a really nice solid project boat. Between both, surplus unusable stuff might well be a great source of swaps (or sell to get the cash) to get everything you need to get finished.

A not insignificant advantage of a project boat, you will get to know everything about it from a servicing and maintenance point of view. It would be a very large helping of Boat School, which will serve you for the rest of your life.

To me, the Niagara 26 doesn't look even nearly as comfortable to have as a live aboard, as that Bayfield 25.

Good luck with your search.

PS. There's a Plastic Classics section on here, and members will be a great source of advice and encouragement to help you along if you go the project boat route (have a look at that Rhodes Pearson 41 project that is linked there)
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Old 15-02-2016, 05:56   #6
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Re: First time buyer seeking a liveaboard

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Green.Esker.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 21-02-2016, 07:53   #7
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Re: First time buyer seeking a liveaboard

Look at a Watkins 32, a bit bigger than your range but a good solid boat with 6'5" of headroom and an ample v-berth.

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