I live on a 27 foot boat, and a fairly roomy one as 27 footers go. But indefinitely living totally off-grid would be sort of a PITA on a boat this size. It works okay for marina living, or short to midrange cruising, but personally I think you ought to start looking at 30' to 40' range.
Will your cruising be inshore, near coastal, or do you want to cross oceans?
There are folks who live anchored out in West Wight Potter 19's but I wouldn't recommend it!
BTW the problem with weed vs alcohol on licensing is twofold. First, you can "get clean" after drinking, and pass a test the next day after a bender. Weed stays in your system in detectable amounts for as long as a month. They don't know if you smoked dope this morning, or two weeks ago. Of course if you can stay straight for a month, and you don't actually work for anyone, no prob. But practically all maritime jobs are on a random testing program. Really, is smoking dope so important to you? I would think that it would be pretty low priority for any well balanced person wanting to do something ambitious.
Also there is the little thing about alcohol being legal
. I won't debate on the fairness of that but the fact remains that pot is an illegal drug, as far as the federal govt is concerned, and booze is not. If you disagree with the policy, support a candidate who wants to change it. It's the American Way.
My suggestion is to get and keep $10k cash on hand, and keep it handy so if you run across a great deal, you can jump on it. I bought my current
boat for $2k cash money
, spend $1400 the next day on an outboard
and mount, and went sailing the next day in spite of the old water-logged Atomic being out of commission. (it runs now!) There are often distress
sales of decent old boats ready or nearly ready to sail away, for under $10k. Watch ebay and craigslist. Check them multiple times a day. Scan the classifieds, and cruise
. You got to be in the right place at the right time with the bread, before the next guy, to snag the good deals. No recent survey
? That's not necessarily a dealbreaker. Get the seller to take you sailing. Take the helm
under power and under sail. Check out the engine
. Any leaks
in the bilge
? How does the wiring
look? All the nav lights work? Cook something. Check out the reefer or icebox
. Take a nap! Inspect all rigging
. Climb the mast
. Check the sheaves for easy rotation. Do everything you might do in the course of a cruise
. Check the battery
charge. In fact, make up a checklist because you won't think of everything while you are out sailing. Look for soft or delaminated wood bulkheads, especially where any chainplates attach. Yeah a recent survey
report is nice but sometimes that is a bit much to ask when looking at a boat in the mid 4-figure price
Another option is a promising project
boat. Often an old hulk can be fixed up enough to live on pretty easy, just needs lots of time, money
and attention to get it safe to take to sea. I could have bought a Hunter
a couple years ago for $600 that was up on the hard
, where Katrina left it, hull
undamaged for the most part. I only blew that one off because I didn't want to skid it 1/2 mile through swamp and mud to the nearest water
. Storm damaged boats can be exceptional buys if you check carefully for cracks and stuff. Just a simple hole stove in the hull
is not a big deal to repair. A bunch of major cracks, or a deck
separating from the hull, are dealbreakers.