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Old 03-05-2018, 20:46   #1
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Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

I was lurking in Danvrgs's thread last night, Bluewater cruiser suggestions for newbies(Bluewater cruiser suggestions for newbies), and my plans have been a bit, ... revised, ... after reading some of the excellent comments there. I didn't want to hijack that thread with my own questions, so I started this one.

Two of the comments there really grabbed my attentions as brilliant advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by crankysailor View Post
Suggestion from a recent ex newbie myself on the way to his second boat: buy something in the best shape you can for an amount of money you can afford to lose without much pain. It is only your first boat and there will be others. First boat is just to learn if sailing and boat ownership is for you and what you like. For the second boat you will then be able to answer this question yourself. Have fun !
AND THIS ONE.

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Originally Posted by JPA Cate View Post
You could start even smaller, with something like a Catalina 22, zillions available, lots of fun, and you'll meet people with larger boats, that you can take a look at.
Well, I started looking around on craigslist last night, and came across SEVERAL boats, within driving distance of here that I could afford, right now!

One, that I am in love with! is a 1965 islander 29', in mint condition, another great looking boat is a Macgreagor 26D, also in great condition. Both are VERY close by me and I would be able to inspect them personally.

BACKGROUND: As I have mentioned in a couple of other threads of mine, I am new to sailing, and I'm planning on buying a liveaboard boat by late 2019. In the mean time, I am taking my ASA101 & 103 classes later this month. In order to continue sailing and honeing my skills over the next year, I was planning on renting boats frequently so that I could gain skill and proficiency while I was saving for the big boat purchase.

But having looked around on Craigslist, I realize that I could purchase an older 20-30' boat, and afford to keep it in a marina nearby in the Spacecoast area. I think it may be cheaper, in the long run, to buy a boat, than throwing money away, renting several boats, over the next 18 months! Naturally the most affordable boat rentals are smaller, barebones 18 - 20 footers, and they are $150 - $300 per day! If I were to rent a heavier, sea worthy boat, the price goes up significantly! The boats I'm looking at have galley's, so I could take the boat on weekenders, and coastal voyages, something I would not be able to do with local rentals.

So, not only would it be less expensive, AND I could sail as often as I wanted, there are some side benefits to having a smaller boat for me:

1. I could start the downsizing process from my current townhome and spend more and more time on the boat, sort of a gradual transition, without the SHOCK of a one-shot move.

2. I would be able to do a bit of refit, using my own garage (for some things), AND just to play around on the boat, tinkering, to get a feel for it, and see what is required.

3. It would expose me to the sailing community here in the central coast. As it stands, I'm an outsider, looking in. I have no connection to the water from my townhome in Orlando. I think that would help me look for my dream yacht, establish some local connections, and learn the ins and outs of the facilities available, and gain locals insight into sailing the area.

AND FINALLY! Before this becomes a TLDR post, does this sound like a good idea? Or would my little boat turn into a mini-moneypit, and divert funds from my larger boat purchase, ... any more than renting?

I would appreciate your insights into this recent, ... perhaps, impulsive decision of mine.

Thanks to all!

~Harrison.
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Old 03-05-2018, 21:46   #2
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

Harrison... Your plan sounds just about perfect. When you learned to drive it wasn't in a high dollar super car. Just the same, as you learn to sail a less expensive boat is an EXCELLENT means to attain your goal.

Also, I would look for something with a million others around so reselling should be easy. With the upgrades you install (thinking VHF, better bilge pumps, bigger batteries) at the end of your ownership you might even break even.

By "break even" I mean specifically getting out what you paid. You will NOT make a profit on what you've invested to make her (the boat) better.

Have fun. You're on the right track.
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Old 03-05-2018, 21:49   #3
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

A mini money pit? Dunno, depends on how much money you have to chuck into the pit.... I've been sailing on and off for 25 years, but never owned. When we bought our first boat, we had the same question. In the end, we went with our "final" boat, at least for the conceivable future. The biggest and most like what we wanted we could afford (with good safety margins for maintenance etc). There isn't much difference between big and small except for two things: Self contained systems (more room on bigger boat to have things like AC, electrics, watermaker, etc ... things which can break or eat my time but are nonessential.) And everything is bigger, but the physics and the system is the same (winches, windlass, anchor, sails, more of everything but the same learning curve, just needing more muscle or time or money). So with that, as long as you don't go over what is practical for your crew sizewise, we thought (and have proven ourselves right) that if you know what you want, going for what you want instead of a starter boat saved us some time and money, and we were having more fun from the start rather than pining at the dock....
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Old 03-05-2018, 22:03   #4
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

When I was looking to switch from being a sailing club member to owner my goal was to keep my annual costs in line with the annual club dues for a similarly sized boat. This was achieved be getting a 25 year old in need of TLC 27 footer for under $1000, chosing a mooring over a dock etc. That way I figured if I had to walk away from her for any reason I would be no worse off than walking away from the club set up. Had wonderful 4-5 seasons with her and moved up to a 30 year old 36 footer under pretty much similar terms i.e. keep the annual cost under the club's dues level. Lots of DIY of course but that's for me is part of the fun of ownership as I was always frustrated that I could not improve the club's boats to my tastes/needs.
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Old 03-05-2018, 23:32   #5
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janice142 View Post
Harrison... Your plan sounds just about perfect. When you learned to drive it wasn't in a high dollar super car. Just the same, as you learn to sail a less expensive boat is an EXCELLENT means to attain your goal.

Also, I would look for something with a million others around so reselling should be easy. With the upgrades you install (thinking VHF, better bilge pumps, bigger batteries) at the end of your ownership you might even break even.

By "break even" I mean specifically getting out what you paid. You will NOT make a profit on what you've invested to make her (the boat) better.

Have fun. You're on the right track.
Thanks for the reply.

It looks like I may want/need to install some electronics, as many of these boats have no nav-aids at all. But! I figure some items, I could transfer to the new boat, and others, i.e. new head, bilge pump, led lighting, solar, etc, I would use for the resale boost.

I understand the "break-even" concept of what you are talking about.

It seems to me, that depreciation kind of tapers off for boats earlier than say, the 1990's. Condition of the boat and motivation of the owner to sell, seem to be the biggest drivers of older boats. Like I said, I am weighing the price of the boat, and upgrades against 18 months of renting boats every 2 weeks. So IMO, If I just scuttled it in 2 yrs, I figure I've about broken even anyway. If I could sell it at all, I would consider that a profit. I don't plan on sinking a ton of money into a 'first boat', but even if it needed no work at all, I want to tinker with it, for the learning experience (something I couldn't do with a rental).

Thanks for affirming what I already hoped! That being, that I'm on the right track.
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Old 03-05-2018, 23:49   #6
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sojourner View Post
A mini money pit? Dunno, depends on how much money you have to chuck into the pit.... [snip]

... we thought (and have proven ourselves right) that if you know what you want, going for what you want instead of a starter boat saved us some time and money, and we were having more fun from the start rather than pining at the dock....
As I stated in my post, I am new to sailing, but I can't afford the liveaboard I want for about 18+ months. I have never skippered a sailboat... I've been on several OPB's, mostly to assist the owner in draining the beer supply.

I would much rather buy a smaller boat, one that I can afford now, and be on the water by the end of the month, rather than waiting 2 years to sail. I had planned on renting boats frequently for the experience, but my rough calculations suggest that I would probably spend around $8-10k on rentals over the next 2 years... Having my own boat, I feel, would allow me to take weekend excursions, delve deeper into coastal cruising, gain experience maintaining a boat, and numerous other advantages over renting boats. So, I don't feel that I am making a mistake, not a huge one anyway, by buying a 23' - 27' weekender, in the short term.

Thanks for your reply Sojourner!
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Old 04-05-2018, 00:02   #7
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
When I was looking to switch from being a sailing club member to owner my goal was to keep my annual costs in line with the annual club dues for a similarly sized boat. This was achieved be getting a 25 year old in need of TLC 27 footer for under $1000, chosing a mooring over a dock etc. That way I figured if I had to walk away from her for any reason I would be no worse off than walking away from the club set up. Had wonderful 4-5 seasons with her and moved up to a 30 year old 36 footer under pretty much similar terms i.e. keep the annual cost under the club's dues level. Lots of DIY of course but that's for me is part of the fun of ownership as I was always frustrated that I could not improve the club's boats to my tastes/needs.
I agree, I have been looking into sailing clubs in Cocoa Beach, Not much to choose from, and Tampa Bay is just too far to drive that often. I feel that renting from Tampa would cause me not to want to go as often, just because I would HATE the drive!

In Cocoa, the choice of boat rentals is pretty much limited to club racers and 22' Catalina's. You only save about $50/ rental on those by joining the club. So that alone is almost not worth joining, and from some places there are drawbridges involved to get out of the lagoon... other than perhaps the social aspect. But their boats are strictly one-day and half-day rentals. You can't keep the boats overnight.

Out of Tampa, there are several boat rental companies, that rent for weekends, But that costs well north of $1000! So really, I see a starter boat as the only REAL option for gaining coastal, overnight and DIY experience.

So even if it turns out to be a little more expensive than the rental option, I think the knowledge I can potentially gain, makes it worth it to me.

Great post, thanks Island Time!
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Old 04-05-2018, 00:03   #8
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

Hi, thats more or less what I did / am doing (sold the small boat, hunting for a bigger atm). You will loose a couple grand and a considerable amount of time. Moneywise cheaper than charter, time wise not so much, there is always work to be done on a boat.

But I'd totally recommend it anyways. You learn what you like in a boat and what is optional. You'll learn what to look for in boats. If you're not a total introvert you can pretty much walk up to any boat in a harbor and ask if you can have a looksie. Maybe bring some beer and you'll get an hour long interview with an owner who's not a seller.

Get good insurance and you're not too afraid to crash into things. If you're about to crash, somebody can just push you off with a small boat, a big boat is to heavy for that. Learn sailing in all kinds of conditions, including sailing in close quarters. You won't do that with your new big bucks boat as a beginner but (imo) it's a crucial skill. If the auxiliary (engine) craps out, you'll be able to sail to anchor, a fuel dock or maybe even a slip. For example: having no bowthruster is great training for conditions where it won't be strong enough. Or you'll realize that a bowthruster is more than optional for cruising and save a couple of grand.

Don't be that guy who motors an hour to only raise sails when there is no other vessel anywhere near him. Be the guy who overtakes these folks under sail after setting sail in front of the harbor or even in the harbor.

tldr; Learning on a vessel I could walk away from any minute greatly improved my learning experience. And I did not crash into other boats, only into docks, poles, ... (single handed docking has a steep learning curve). And I miss my IW-31 (IOR 1/2 ton, S&S design), too small for live-aboard but a heck of a boat.
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Old 04-05-2018, 00:30   #9
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

Yes, you are definitely on the right track. A small boat is very cheap to keep compared to a big one, and also, in my opinion, much better for learning. Feedback is stronger and immediate. You are much closer to the elements.

And if you end up not liking it, you will not have lost much money.

Both the boats you mention will do the job.
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Old 04-05-2018, 00:33   #10
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

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Originally Posted by _andi_ View Post
Hi, thats more or less what I did / am doing (sold the small boat, hunting for a bigger atm). You will loose a couple grand and a considerable amount of time. Moneywise cheaper than charter, time wise not so much, there is always work to be done on a boat.

But I'd totally recommend it anyways. You learn what you like in a boat and what is optional. You'll learn what to look for in boats. If you're not a total introvert you can pretty much walk up to any boat in a harbor and ask if you can have a looksie. Maybe bring some beer and you'll get an hour long interview with an owner who's not a seller.

Get good insurance and you're not too afraid to crash into things. If you're about to crash, somebody can just push you off with a small boat, a big boat is to heavy for that. Learn sailing in all kinds of conditions, including sailing in close quarters. You won't do that with your new big bucks boat as a beginner but (imo) it's a crucial skill. If the auxiliary (engine) craps out, you'll be able to sail to anchor, a fuel dock or maybe even a slip. For example: having no bowthruster is great training for conditions where it won't be strong enough. Or you'll realize that a bowthruster is more than optional for cruising and save a couple of grand.

Don't be that guy who motors an hour to only raise sails when there is no other vessel anywhere near him. Be the guy who overtakes these folks under sail after setting sail in front of the harbor or even in the harbor.

tldr; Learning on a vessel I could walk away from any minute greatly improved my learning experience. And I did not crash into other boats, only into docks, poles, ... (single handed docking has a steep learning curve). And I miss my IW-31 (IOR 1/2 ton, S&S design), too small for live-aboard but a heck of a boat.
Andi, Thanks. Time is something that I have! As a flight attendant, I work an average of 12 days/mo. Plus, I fully intend to start slowly spending more time on the boat, as the months go by. Including overnighting, weekend 'living' aboard... as I drift away from house mode. In fact, I may have to live on it for a while, when my lease expires next May. Hopefully I will be able to find a mooring or slip in the Cocoa/Merritt island area (there are several marina's out there), so it will only be about a 40min drive to get to my boat.

I fully intend to practice all those maneuvers you mentioned! Having watched numerous YT videos, it seems that sailors loose their engines at the worst possible times, and at an astounding rate! Docking, solo is something that makes me nervous... but I've got to get it down! Excellent point about running aground in a smaller boat, something I hadn't considered. I was speaking to a fellow flight attendant this week, she and her husband have a powerboat, but she said that Nav charts are pretty worthless in Florida for the shallows, as sandbars are constantly shifting, especially around inlets. So I get the feeling that running aground here, is damn-near a given!

Anyway, I enjoyed your post, thanks.
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Old 04-05-2018, 00:37   #11
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

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Originally Posted by MartinR View Post
Yes, you are definitely on the right track. A small boat is very cheap to keep compared to a big one, and also, in my opinion, much better for learning. Feedback is stronger and immediate. You are much closer to the elements.

And if you end up not liking it, you will not have lost much money.

Both the boats you mention will do the job.
Thanks, AND both have a tiller! Something I think I would prefer... not speaking from experience but just seems like it would provide better feedback. I hated power steering in cars, until rack and pinon!
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Old 04-05-2018, 06:43   #12
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

1965 and mint condition?

I would drop a boat buck on surveying even a free boat, unless I intended it to be a throwaway.
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Old 04-05-2018, 08:09   #13
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

I think you're definitely on the right track. I would second however the idea of getting a survey since you are completely new to boats, both as a safety factor and a hedge against unforeseen costs. What looks "fine" or "mint" to you may just be cosmetic. There are plenty of boats out there where the finish and varnish and cushions have been immaculately maintained while the mechanicals have been ignored. You don't want to buy a boat for $1000 only to find out that it needs $4000 in unexpected repairs to make safe and usable. Or, if you have an experienced friend have them come along to inspect. Or if you're a member of a sailing club see if there is a member who will help you out. In short, find a way for someone who knows sailboats to have a look at it before you hand over money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WingRyder View Post
It looks like I may want/need to install some electronics, as many of these boats have no nav-aids at all. But! I figure some items, I could transfer to the new boat, and others, i.e. new head, bilge pump, led lighting, solar, etc, I would use for the resale boost.
I tell new boat owners all the time to put off installing new technology until it's really necessary for the simple fact that it's all getting better and cheaper as time passes, particularly in the case of electronics. If you really want to add stuff, look on eBay for a package that has been uninstalled by someone who has to have the latest and greatest. If you can stick with NMEA 2000 stuff it will make your life a LOT easier when installing.

For what you plan on a doing, a handheld VHF and a chart app like Navionics on your smartphone could well be all you need. Honestly when I'm in coastal US waters I use my phone app as much or more than my MFD.
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:38   #14
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

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1965 and mint condition?

I would drop a boat buck on surveying even a free boat, unless I intended it to be a throwaway.
By mint, I am strictly going on the description provided by owner, and the photos. I will certainly check out the boat before purchase.

I AM curious how boat surveyors work. Do they charge a flat rate? Or is it based on boat size, by the hour? Just curious.

Here is the listing, see what you think. https://spacecoast.craigslist.org/bo...572886337.html
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Old 04-05-2018, 09:41   #15
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Re: Suggestions for a pre-liveaboard boat.

That Macgregor 26D is a pretty lightweight boat and not the toughest in the world.

You may want to start looking at the boats you like on Sailboatdata.com. The sight gives you lots of information on prospective boats you might be interested in.

MACGREGOR 26D sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

My boat is a 1974 Bristol 27 and I paid $2,000 for it in 2011. I did remove and replace the diesel after it failed with a new 4 stroke 5 hp extra long shaft outboard doing all the work myself. I have a 16' 6" kayak I use as a dinghy and it fits nicely on the deck. I have made no structural repairs in the 7 years I've owned the boat. I've sailed it quite a bit and have not replaced the rigging. I'm usually within 12 miles or so of the shoreline as I'm a Coastal Cruiser that is till working

The boat also came with depth, GPS (2), VHF, autopilot, Dodger, Bimini, and a few anchors two with chain and rode

Many of the old full keel boats are very strong and can take a pounding when you make a mistake whether it be when docking, hitting bottom, or getting caught in a blow

BRISTOL 27 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

Good Old Boat List (full keel)

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