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Old 23-07-2012, 09:27   #1
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Liveaboard / Catamaran?

I have been reading for a while and always dreamed of living on a boat. I live on the coast about 5 blocks from the beach now and plan to live mostly in a local marina and take trips in the boat that last just a few days. I do want the option to sail anywhere in the Gulf of Mexico on this sailboat though.

I have been reading and researching and am in the extremely beginning stages of planning. Currently my girlfriend (and eventual wife) and I both own a town house in the same development. I have mine paid off and have been planning to sell and buy a home on the water here for a view. After doing some cost comparisons on a ~3000ft home on a 3/4 acre property on the water (insurance/tax alone is $1k a month) vs a ~45 catamaran, I like the prospects of the Cat more and more.

Here is the plan. Sell my townhouse and take my some odd $50k savings and put $125k down with $25k to invest in rigging and upgrades and buy a boat in the 350-400k range. We will still have her townhouse for storage and shelter, but I plan to live full time on the yacht.


In the $400k range total, can I expect to get a late model catamaran with many if not all the modern conviences I would get in a 1100ft townhome. Most importantly laundry, air conditioning, and cooking. I am willing to give up some performance as I don't plan to be ocean bound in this craft. When I'm ready for that, I'll be ready for an upgrade. I do want to be able to sail to and around the Caribbean though. And what models specifically should I look for to sail alone, (I'm not really counting on my dainty woman to help with the lifting much so I want electric winch systems)

So far, the lagoon models look nice, but why the heck are there so many heads?? seems like a lot of upkeep. I would love to retrofit one with 2 baths, and 2 bedrooms, turn the front left cabin into pantry/scuba storage.
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Old 23-07-2012, 09:39   #2
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

And thank you to anyone who takes time to read that wall of text and offer any advice at all. I am completely new to sailing anything above the most basics of summer camp style sailing. The biggest boat I ever have sailed on was a flying scott. And I understand that I really have no idea about the challenges of living aboard. But I'm going to do it, and appreciate the help!!
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Old 23-07-2012, 09:45   #3
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

Hi, Guy,

you certainly are in the ballpark. If you really want to live in it mostly, look for an owner's version - much more roomy, less heads etc.

We got ours and we love it - although definitely ocean bound...

Oliver
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Old 23-07-2012, 10:16   #4
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

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Originally Posted by Oliver L. View Post
Hi, Guy,

you certainly are in the ballpark. If you really want to live in it mostly, look for an owner's version - much more roomy, less heads etc.

We got ours and we love it - although definitely ocean bound...

Oliver
What brand and size did you go with? The only two I have been considering are the Lagoon 420 and the new Fountaine Pajot Hélia 44 (though I doubt it's in my price range being brand new)
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Old 23-07-2012, 16:19   #5
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

There is a big difference between things like laundry, air conditioning, cooking, and storage of things like food and clothes when you are on a boat as opposed to even a small townhouse. As an example a couple of cases of beer will often use all the space in a boat refrigerator. Often times your clothes will be limited to maybe 1/10 or less of what you have on land. AC can mean starting a generator and angering those on boats close to you. Cooking, especially in places like the Gulf, is often done on a grill hanging off the stern of the boat.

Not to say you can't have all these things on a boat, but there is a price to be paid; and not just with boat bucks. Most refrigerator/freezers require significant insulation around them which eats up space and requires care to prevent moisture problems.

Perhaps the biggest difference between a townhouse and a boat is in the bathroom. Sure in a townhouse you have to clean the bathroom, but that is trivial compared to what you need to do to keep a head functioning on a boat.

I am not trying to talk you out of getting a boat, just pointing out that the rule of thumb is you spend 10% of the purchase price of a boat maintaining it in the first year and it gets more expensive after that. Not to say you don't have to maintain a townhouse, but it usually does not cost 10% of the purchase price.

There are several options in your price range. Seawinds often get good grades for solo sailing, but they are far from the only option. One thing to keep in mind is once you get in your price range some models are set up for passengers and a captain while others are set up for crew/captain. There is really no right or wrong about which set up is best; but before you get too deep into selecting a boat you need to know which bests suits you.
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Old 23-07-2012, 17:10   #6
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thatgrimguy View Post
...
Here is the plan. Sell my townhouse and take my some odd $50k savings and put $125k down with $25k to invest in rigging and upgrades and buy a boat in the 350-400k range.

....

So far, the lagoon models look nice, but why the heck are there so many heads?? seems like a lot of upkeep. I would love to retrofit one with 2 baths, and 2 bedrooms, turn the front left cabin into pantry/scuba storage.
Or alternatively, take that same $150K and buy a good, but older monohull, and not have $250K debt to service -- then you might could actually go cruising -- rather than working ashore to pay the boat mortgage! Another key difference in boats and houses: A house might appreciate and boat definitely will not.

Excessive numbers of heads developed mostly from the charter industry so that each guest cabin could have their own head. I agree I think it ridiculous -- especially since sanitation systems are one of the primary maintenance headaches on boats. I used to run one boat that had 6 heads and 6 AirCon units -- what a maintenance nightmare! I see no reason to have more than two (...or maybe better yet -- just a bucket!).
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Old 23-07-2012, 17:22   #7
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

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Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
There is a big difference between things like laundry, air conditioning, cooking, and storage of things like food and clothes when you are on a boat as opposed to even a small townhouse. As an example a couple of cases of beer will often use all the space in a boat refrigerator. Often times your clothes will be limited to maybe 1/10 or less of what you have on land. AC can mean starting a generator and angering those on boats close to you. Cooking, especially in places like the Gulf, is often done on a grill hanging off the stern of the boat.

Not to say you can't have all these things on a boat, but there is a price to be paid; and not just with boat bucks. Most refrigerator/freezers require significant insulation around them which eats up space and requires care to prevent moisture problems.

Perhaps the biggest difference between a townhouse and a boat is in the bathroom. Sure in a townhouse you have to clean the bathroom, but that is trivial compared to what you need to do to keep a head functioning on a boat.

I am not trying to talk you out of getting a boat, just pointing out that the rule of thumb is you spend 10% of the purchase price of a boat maintaining it in the first year and it gets more expensive after that. Not to say you don't have to maintain a townhouse, but it usually does not cost 10% of the purchase price.

There are several options in your price range. Seawinds often get good grades for solo sailing, but they are far from the only option. One thing to keep in mind is once you get in your price range some models are set up for passengers and a captain while others are set up for crew/captain. There is really no right or wrong about which set up is best; but before you get too deep into selecting a boat you need to know which bests suits you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to respond!

I meant to say that I was comparing the costs to a ~3000ft home on the bayou (where I plan to move if not the boat, initial cost due to the economy is about the same). I simply meant to compare the amenities to my current situation in a small, extremely low maintenance townhome. I do understand (well... no I don't) that the maintenance commitment is much greater than my current situation. But I was thinking it could be pretty comparable to a larger home with 2-3 a/c's, a pool, and a large yard and bulkhead on the water and the rough $1k/month in insurance. (also I wouldn't end up buying a boat to park behind it like I would with that style home) The 10% numbers at least gives me something to think on...

I'll research head cleaning as well... I don't understand all these boats with more than 2 bathrooms... I guess for charter? I know how big of a pain the head was in my fathers old 32' Bertram...
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Old 23-07-2012, 17:24   #8
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

I would be tied into port power 90% of the time, so I would imagine the generator wouldn't need to be run, is that correct? And when at sea, there is enough cross wind to make me happy, mostly (the mostly being if she is happy!)

What could be expected out of insurance rates on a craft like I'm looking at? (EDIT: nevermind, I just requested a quote as if I had purchased, looking forward to what they say)
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Old 23-07-2012, 17:52   #9
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

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Or alternatively, take that same $150K and buy a good, but older monohull, and not have $250K debt to service -- then you might could actually go cruising -- rather than working ashore to pay the boat mortgage! Another key difference in boats and houses: A house might appreciate and boat definitely will not.

Excessive numbers of heads developed mostly from the charter industry so that each guest cabin could have their own head. I agree I think it ridiculous -- especially since sanitation systems are one of the primary maintenance headaches on boats. I used to run one boat that had 6 heads and 6 AirCon units -- what a maintenance nightmare! I see no reason to have more than two (...or maybe better yet -- just a bucket!).
That makes a lot of sense! I own my business and won't be able to seperate myself from the daily work grind for quite some time. So I'm stuck working either way! I just want a better view and some adventure. I work hard and long and that can't change.. I feel like living on a sail boat can make me feel like when I'm off work, I'm really off!

The only reason I haven't really considered a monohull is the quarters seem so tight that I'm not sure I could actually live on one. I think I would end up with both, the boat and a house, defeating the original goal. And I have always wanted a Cat.
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Old 23-07-2012, 19:05   #10
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

Something to consider is to charter before you buy. This way you, nor your SO, discover that you don't like the boat (or just boats) before you plunk down a lot of cash. A few thousand spent on a vacation sure beats realizing you just made a $400K bad decision (I've delivered new boats to couples who have come to that realization shortly after taking delivery).

Yes, cats are hard to beat for cruising and/or living aboard, but there are some comfy monohulls out there too. And, at generally much lower cost. Boats like Gulfstars, Irwins, Endeavors have good comfortable layouts. True, unless you go with a much larger monohull (and thus negate the price diff) they all are basically in-line layouts below decks, but doesn't hurt too look.

"Home on the bayou"? Where you from boy? : ) (I'm originally from Mississippi).
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Old 23-07-2012, 21:50   #11
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

I'm in the Gulfport/Biloxi area!! I have spent a lot of my life on boats, I love the water. I was born and raised here. I am no stranger to power boats, but have basically no experience on sail boats besides summers at the GYC.

I spent a week on a 45 foot cat as a guest and it was the best week of my life
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Old 24-07-2012, 05:09   #12
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Wink Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

Okay I read your post and here's what you should do FIRST! take a 2 week cruise on a Cat with a Capt. see if living in the small space is something you could get used to? You will also gain a lot of knowledge about sailing. Don't leap in and spend that kind of money before knowing what you are getting into. I live on a 35ft cat alone and with all my crap it sometimes feels crowded.This is especially good test for the girlfriend, my on again off again likes to be on the boat a few days but won't do the passage with me, she flies to where ever I sail to meet me. But living aboard is not the life for her.

If you just want to live on a boat to save money look into a houseboat maybe? More room
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Old 24-07-2012, 06:05   #13
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

Guy,

you can see it on the profile - we bought a Lagoon 470 owner's version. Deciding factors for us were:
- found one in excellent shape, with almost everything we want
- can be handled by two (that claim may get disputed in bad weather...)
- No flybridge - again, purely personal, but I cannot imagine one of us sitting up there and the other one running around while docking etc... on the 470 basically everything is on one level.
- weight - seems to weigh a lot less than later models

In truth, it's simply personal preference. We had been looking for about a year, and when we stepped on board of this one, it was immediately apparent that it was a huge step above the other candidates. Case closed.

I very much second the idea of chartering something close to what you are looking for - we chartered a Lagoon 410 for two weeks last year, and if the headroom had been any bigger we would probably have bought one of those.

Oliver
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Old 24-07-2012, 06:10   #14
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

Years ago, when I was considering buying a boat, and sailing off into the sunset...I had a long chat with a marina manager...while looking over a potential boat to buy. He told me to lease a boat for 6 months....then, and only then...thnk about buying one. He said it'd be the best "investment" I ever made. I still think it was great advice. 2 weeks on a spanky clean charter is NOT a true test. Just like 2 weeks with a new partner on a nice vacation...is not a test of how marriage goes...... most folks get that one! In spades.!!
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Old 24-07-2012, 08:02   #15
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Re: Liveaboard/catamaran?

I have spent a couple months pretty well every summer in my teenage years (better than staying home with the parents) on my dads old 1980s model Bertram 32'. Much less space on that boat than anything I'm looking at. I have also spent a week on a lagoon (not sure of the model). Before I purchase anything, I'll definitely charter it though. That makes a lot of sense.

The girlfriend is the one that's really pushing for this over the house! She's awesome!

Besides the info on whether or not I can stand the quarters. What types of things should I be aware of when it comes to maintenance... I'm having a hard time understanding how a 2010 or better in the $450,000 dollar range will cost me $45,000 in maintenance the first year... That just doesn't compute. Is that 10% rule for older boats?
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