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Old 25-09-2007, 10:08   #1
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Picking a livaboard

Ok, here is my situation: I am a Marine at Camp Pendleton who will be deploying to Iraq from January to August 2008. I have really enjoyed sailing since I was introduced to it my freshman year at Stanford five years ago, but have always either rented or gone with friends who own boats. But since I figured out that I can live aboard at the Camp Pendleton marina for $7 per foot, I have decided to take the plunge and buy a liveaboard sailboat as soon as I get back.
I am comfortable spending up to about $150K on a boat with a loan as it will still easily beat paying $1500 a month in rent for an apartment.
Right now, I think I want to pick up a new Hunter 36 next year when they are clearing out the 2008 boats in September. Based on the prices on the 2007 boats now, I think I can get one for a little over $140K with most of the options I want. I don't have any experience working on boats, so a new boat with a warranty is really attractive.
I picked the 36 because it is the smallest size that I felt comfortable walking upright in (I am about 6'1) and I have lots of friends that want to go out on overnight trips.
I plan to use it to go up to the Channel Islands and down the Baja. It will most likely spend the firt 90 days in Ensenada to avoid the sales tax.
I understand that a Hunter is not an oceangoing boat. But since I am reluctant to buy a more ocean-worthy boat like a Pacific Seacraft because one I could afford would likely be at least a few years old and in possible need of repair and also smaller than the Hunter. And of the production boats (Catalina, Jeanneau, Beneteau), I think the Hunters are the best built and are the easiest to singlehand and maintain. The Kevlar reinforced hull is a significant plus in my view.
So, does all this make sense, or is there some place I have gone terribly astray? Are there options and considerations I am not seeing? I really look forward to your input, I feel too much of my information comes from salesmen at dealerships and magazines that primarily cover new boats. Thanks, Chris
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Old 25-09-2007, 10:56   #2
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Hi cascott, welcome aboard! With your budget and cash buying power, perhaps extend your search to a nearly new boat, with extras already fitted. being on the other side of the pond, I'm not familiar with all the U.S. models, but as you mention two French manufacturers, here's a boat Stateside from a third one. YachtWorld.com Boats and Yachts for Sale=
I would favour the Dufour for integrity and build quality overall, but this particular one may be too small/too high performance for your needs. I believe the Legend range are also U.S. built - check them out - sorry can't be of more assistance!!
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Old 25-09-2007, 10:59   #3
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Chris

I want to thank you for your service and wish you good luck in Iraq!!!

Unfortunately, I can't comment on the new Hunter, but I'm certain there are lots of folks that will. Mickmul makes a good point about a slightly used boat. The owner should have already worked the kinks out and you get a little more bang for the buck.

Thanks again!!!!!
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Old 25-09-2007, 11:13   #4
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Heres a boat as tough as a marine - forget the age here Chris, these babies go on forever, you'll easily snag something like this under your budget with a good cash offer. Sorry for enjoying your (extremely hard earned) money in this search, and I'll now desist, but the idea here is to advise you to use your time and this forum of experience to research this major purchase, which will obviously be a home and a place to feel safe and switch off!! YachtWorld.com Boats and Yachts for Sale=
Be careful out there!
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Old 26-09-2007, 01:44   #5
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I think we may have missed the fact that he intends to finance the boat.

Normally I say no financing for toys but in this case you are financing your house using the offset of $1,500 / mo rent.

In this case I think your plan is sound especially if you don't intend to get married to someone who either refuses to live on the boat or requires a land based address.

The only concern is if your personal situation changes during the life of the loan. If it changed quickly you could be stuck with a depreciated boat that you need to get rid of and take a bathing. I'd finance as little as you can.

In regards to the Hunter I have no experience living aboard but have been on Hunters and I like them. I lived in a cab-over camper for 2 years so living aboard a 36 foot boat is easy.

Don't rule out newer used boats - say a couple of years. If you can get a deal on the financing you would have let someone else take a lot of the depreciation and wring the boat out for you.

Good luck on the boat and in Iraq and thanks for your service to the American people.
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Old 26-09-2007, 04:29   #6
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I wouldn't buy a new boat, the depreciation would kill you if you had to sell. Also you'll find the costs of outfitting a new boat a whole lot more than you anticipate. A well maintained used boat will have most of the equipment already aboard and have already taken the depreciation hit. A better deal for someone who may not be stationed at Pendleton forever.

Find a good broker who is not pushing a particular line of boats, pick his brain and get him to work for you.

I am not fond of Hunter or Catalina, Beneteau, etc, for that matter. They are dockominiums that put everything into what's on the surface and precious little into things that you can't see at first glance and that really make a difference. The aforementioned boats are kind of like driving an unarmored hummer vice one that is, in Iraq. They'll both get you down the road but which one would you want to be in when it gets interesting.

BTW, the Hallberg Rassy is a very well made boat that you wouldn't have to worry about if you owned it.

Aloha
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Old 26-09-2007, 11:16   #7
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Thanks a lot for all of your input. I am definitely going to try to get a look at some older boats and see if I can't find a good Hallberg-Rassy out here on the west coast.
What sort of options are really needed for going on coastal cruises no longer than 2 or 3 weeks? Separate generator or solar panels? Is a radar set very necessary? And how well do those mechanical weathervane-type autohelms work compared to a more standard autopilot?
Thanks,
Chris
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Old 26-09-2007, 15:54   #8
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If you're after RELIABLE wind oriented self steering, get a monitor, capehorn or other pendulum-servo selfsteering gear. No electrickery to crap out, straight forward and easy to fix if anything should go wrong. For coastal sailing, most any autopilot like the Raymarine S-1 wheel pilot will work just fine. For serious offshore work, a below decks unit with rate gyro is the only way to go. I haven't heard of anyone who had good luck with a wind controlled autopilot but I haven't thought of a reason to be looking either.

Generators piss me off. Just what I want is some a-hole ruining the peace and quiet of an anchorage with his generator running 24/7 so they can have ice in their martinis and porno flicks. Excuse me, I get a little out of control when people ruin my peace and quiet so they can bring ALL the trappings of the modern world to a remote anchorage. Try solar panels but you'll also need to keep your electrical usage down or have tons of deck area devoted to panels. You could also try a wind generator but doubt that would work well in SoCal. For coastal cruising, you could probably get by without any passive charging capability, unless you have refrigeration, for a week at a time. I've got a 50 watt solar panel that has kept my batteries charged for short distance coastal cruising and living aboard for a week at a time in
SF Bay, since I intstalled it. For more serious use, would probably add another panel or go to a couple of larger panels if I could find an out of the way place to fit them in.

Radar is something that's nice to have if fog and low visibility are common where you sail. Doubt that's the case in SoCal. A decent chartplotter/gps backed up with paper charts and cheap gps will get you where you care to go, anywhere in the world. Other than a GPS, a depth sounder and a knotmeter/log are all the electronics that you need to go sailing. Not talking communication, just what you need to do DR navigation and optimize boat trim.

It seems that the more electrickery installed on a boat, the less it leaves the dock. Electronics are constantly improved, functions multiplied and depreciate quickly. Putting a lot of money into them is much better spent elsewhere. That's not even considering the money spent trying to keep them functioning.

Go to <yachtworld.com> and do a search for sailboats from $80,000 to $175,000 under 46'. Spend the next month going through each and every boat that comes up. It will take you a long time to go through all the boats but it will greatly expand your knowledge of all the boats that are out there. Also haunt the SSCA bulletin board as well as this and other cruising oriented boards. They are a wealth of knowledge from many different viewpoints. A good website with some reccomendations is <Mahina Expeditions conducts sailing and navigation training and expeditions in the South Pacific and offers offshore sailing seminars>, a HR owner, btw. I'm not pushing HR's. They are a good boat but there are a lot of other boats out there that work and are probably cheaper.

I spent 7 years in the navy mostly living aboard so have some experience with your position. I got transfered 2 times after training command and had to sell the boat each time. That's why I highly reccomend looking at the salability of the boat. Managed to make money on each boat boat but I bought right and had inflation working for me. You never know when good old Uncle will need you somewhere far away from where you are now.

Aloha
Peter O.
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Old 26-09-2007, 17:31   #9
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Cruising is predominantly about resource management. The resources are food, water and energy. You figure out how many people are going, calculate food and water needs and then decide if yuo have enough space to store it all.

Energy is fuel and electricity - If you motor more you need more fuel. Electrical energy is a matter of putting a spreadsheet together with the items you plan to run, the current they draw multiplied byt the number of hours per day you will use them and then adding up the total. Once you have that number you can put together an energy plan that considers how long you will go between replenishment (i.e. battery size vs. how often you will run the engine or separate generator) - wind and solar power are factored into this plan.

I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest that from San Diego you will be cruising SoCal waters, catalina and baja. The Baja HaHa is pretty much that cruise.

Here's a link to the Baha HaHa - Baja Ha-Ha Cruisers Rally: Sailing from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas - Take a look at the boats taking part. Some of these boats are on a much , longer cruise but many will be on a mission very similar to yours. You will find a wide variety of boats in the participant list - including at least one Hunter 36.
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Old 09-08-2008, 15:20   #10
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Getting ready has no end!

Hi everyone!To the point,opertunity presents itself to cruise.Not to offend anyone,But I see too many Dockers 'ICLUDING MYSELF" say "I just need to finish this,that,buy something,wire a widget.and on and on. fact is "except safety" No one Is ready!!Ya gotta pack ship and set sailTo Qoute Kurt russel"If we get lost,Will just pull over and ask for directions!!All jokeing aside,being prepared is the key to a safe and enjoyable exsperience.Myself and my gal plan to hit Hawai then s,pacific.A weather vane is our next goul Any sugestions would be apreciated.Im consitering a CAPE HORN,Thank you
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Old 09-08-2008, 15:40   #11
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*** WARNING ***....

CAScott,

*** WARNING ***


I do not think that that 90 tax break is still in effect! You better check up on it before you drop any cash on any boat!

Don't take the brokers word for it.

Greg
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Old 13-08-2008, 16:54   #12
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Liveaboard

Cascot,Im shure you read the free (LARGE) magazine called LATTITUDE 38.A wealth of information.Ill continue for readers unfamilliar.Lots of ongoing stories from cruisers from all over the world !! I dont think any bias given th source of the writers.I see My harbourmaster ounce a month just to make shure I get a copy before there gone. For a reasonable fee They will ship to most worldly locations.trust me."GET IT-READ-IT-ENGOY-IT''.Now I m must apologize,I just gave away my last copy so i cant offer subscription info.But ofcourse a kwick google will do.so So many thanks for your USA PRIDE! please come home safe,M
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Old 13-08-2008, 21:14   #13
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The late model Hallberg-Rassys are gorgeous, and if you can't afford one of those, try the Tayana 37. Now there's an armored Hummer for you. Or take a look at a late model Hanse 370, which you can get for 165-195K. Drop dead beautiful with Swedish cabinetry and sense of design. Please understand that I've never sailed in any of these, just looked at the pictures on Yachtworld and drooled.

The Hunter 36 is actually a gorgeous boat as well, but from what I've read they are not sturdily built and do not hold their value.

Good luck and God speed in Iraq.
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Old 13-08-2008, 22:03   #14
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Living aboard

Cascott,

I bought a brand new Hunter 430 in 1996. It was great to spend weeks on it with plenty of space and comfort.

When I sold it three years later it was in better condition than when I bought it.

I will explain: new boats are not exactly like new cars. There is a period of time, probably around two years where the owner of a new boat has to "debug" them. Boats have lots of details that the first owner has to correct or improve. Without going into too many details, I can say this:

1. Hunter has an excellent warranty and a very dedicated team of professionals, e.g. when my corian counter top was chipped, a master carpenter came from Florida to Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, California, with an incredible amount of special tools. He replaced to whole counter and made modifications to improve its performance. I was so impressed that I gave this master carpenter as a present the best liquor I could find.

In this sense Hunter Marine is simply outstanding!

2. It makes sense to look for a boat, no more than five years old (3 years is a sweet time), well cared and improved by the first owner. The boat will have been depreciated already but you might get a truly better than new deal.

Many blessings for you and your family.
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