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Old 18-02-2015, 12:51   #1
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Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

I'll be retiring in the summer and need some free advice and thoughts on a few boats. I've budgeted 80k to end up with a completely outfitted live-aboard cruiser with passage-making ability. I'm not fussy whether its a turn-key 80K boat or a 40k boat that needs 40k poured into it... It will just be myself and my super cool dog...cruising the great lakes and wintering in the BVI.

Small spaces are fine with me. In fact, the smaller the better.

So, can I beg for thoughts on which of these would be your choice for seaworthiness, ease of repair and reliability?

1993 Flicka 20
1995 PSC Orion 27
1981 Hans Christian 33
1982 Bristol 24

Thanks!
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Old 18-02-2015, 13:12   #2
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

For the great lakes and the BVIs, you could probably open up the criteria a little.

I know you're thinking you don't need much space, but boats have a habit of shrinking on you and your dog. Plus, a little length speeds you up.

Just some things to think about.
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Old 18-02-2015, 13:50   #3
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

It's a long run from the great lakes to BVI and back. Some of those short waterlines might drive you crazy. I'm not talking space or seaworthiness- I'm saying you might want one of the bigger ones for speed.

The 20 footer would have a hull speed in the neighbour hood of 5 knots, so crossing a 3 knot gulf stream might be a real head ache. Even just motoring up the Hudson might be kind of irritating.

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Old 18-02-2015, 14:29   #4
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

It looks like you have very specific boats in mind. For me, it would come down to what needs done to each of the larger ones. Specifically, what shape are the deck and hulls in? In some ways, it would be nice to get a cheaper boat and redo all the rigging and sails, though.

I just can't see myself living on the Flicka.
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Old 18-02-2015, 15:37   #5
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

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Originally Posted by Skipper1969 View Post
I'll be retiring in the summer and need some free advice and thoughts on a few boats. I've budgeted 80k to end up with a completely outfitted live-aboard cruiser with passage-making ability. I'm not fussy whether its a turn-key 80K boat or a 40k boat that needs 40k poured into it... It will just be myself and my super cool dog...cruising the great lakes and wintering in the BVI.

Small spaces are fine with me. In fact, the smaller the better.

So, can I beg for thoughts on which of these would be your choice for seaworthiness, ease of repair and reliability?

1993 Flicka 20
1995 PSC Orion 27
1981 Hans Christian 33
1982 Bristol 24

Thanks!
Howdy!

I see this is your first post in the forum. Welcome!

That budget ($80K) allows for a lot of possibilities for a nice boat to cruise the Great Lakes and down the ICW and into the West Indies or Bahamas. There are so many that would fit that budget that is perhaps tough to narrow the choices. But you have.

Since your boats above are rather short on LOA the issue becomes how comfortable you would be on the smaller boats. You say you are ready for that and "the smaller the better." I respect that.

Have you already spent some time on a similar size boat small boat for any period of cruising or trips of any length?

From your set of possible boats above, the longer ones would appeal more to me (HC33 or PSC27 Orion). I like the Flicka 20 and think it would be very nice IF one must trailer the boat and IF one is physically smaller (than I am) in size etc. There is something "cute" about the Flika 20 and I would enjoy owning one. But, it would not be my first choice for the type of cruising you are intending to do in the areas you mentioned, nor would it be my first choice for a "liveaboard."

I would personally prefer to have a boat that has a separate enclosed head. Some of the smaller boats have that, some do not.

I also like to cook (because I like to eat) and I do not like boats that one must step onto the galley or use the galley in such a way that everything has to be covered/uncovered and then there is no where to put anything. I would prefer a boat that has some "space" on the counters/lockers, especially if I am going to live aboard the boat for extended time.

While I like Hans Christian boats for styling, it is not the boat I would pick for the places you are intending to cruise because I think some other boats would be more "comfortable" for the type of sailing I would do, the places I would want to sail, and the things I would want to do from the boat (snorkel, scuba, lots of time in the cockpit, frequent excursions in dinghy).

I look at the boat choice as based first on the places I want to sail and the type of sailing I want to do. Then I consider the amount of time I would spend on the boat. Is it for live aboard or short trips. Then I consider things I want to do with the boat (e.g. get access to places to SCUBA or snorkel or "skinny water" places with 6 foot or less in water).

Given the places you are considering for your cruising grounds, I would add a $30K Hunter 30T to the mix as it has some nice "live aboard" features for a single person. There are now three listed for sale in the Great Lakes area (WI) for about $30K.

I also think the cockpit and some other features of the H30T would be nice to have in the warm water areas you would be cruising. They are also roomy for that LOA. As a "live aboard" I think it would offer more space in the saloon with nice settees, separate galley (with sinks) and it even has an aft double berth, and the forward V berth does not look as cramped as some I have seen.

Since one can purchase a 1990s version Hunter 30T for about $30K, that would leave $50K of your budget to buy other things to outfit the boat for the best, most comfortable cruising. In fact, I would expect to buy all of the items I would want on my boat AND still have some money left for fun.

To that stock boat I would add: EPIRB, PLB, full Bimini, Dodger, multiple solar panels, Watermaker, an aluminum Solar/wind arch, and some hookah gear (in addition to any SCUBA or snorkel gear). A good dinghy with a small lightweight 4 stroke outboard would be nice too. And, given the number of recent rescues of sailors, one might consider a life raft too, since you are planning on some passages between islands etc. I would also likely add a clear bottom kayak to assist in my hunt for nice snorkeling areas.

What makes this boat particularly nice for the Caribbean and Bahamas?
The stern of the H30T has a set of lockers and "swim steps" to make entry from the water easy. This is something I would want if single handing and spending time snorkeling and scuba diving in remote places. I would prefer an easy way to get in and out of the boat from the water.

Note: I am suggesting the 1990s version of the 30T model (the "T" has a higher cabin top in the forward section of the cabin, giving more headroom).

I will attach a few photos to give you some idea of the boat I am suggesting.
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Old 18-02-2015, 15:59   #6
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

Don't forget catamarans, if you're thinking about sailing with a dog. Flat sailing is generally easier on all sorts of animals, including humans.
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Old 18-02-2015, 18:05   #7
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

If you look away from the big population centers and city wages, you can get more boat away from the East Coast. Probably Canadian lake boats might be good buys. I think we have a 20% $ advantage now. If you would ship back or sail back, British Columbia is a good place to look. I would recommend: Pacific Boat Brokers Inc.. They have one of the best internet sites, too.
They went way beyond what I expect from a broker. The guy handling my sale even hauled 5 gallon jugs of diesel so we could see if the engines ran. I don't think I ever got a bill for that fuel. I looked at a 50' steel/diesel motorsailer for about $50M, but have bad hands an didn't think I could do that much line handling. It looked in good shape, sometimes I wish I did choose it.
The power boat I bought had been sitting for several years and needed work, but I've been on and around ships & boats most of my life. I just hire some of the masses of unemployed for things I can no longer do. And I get to know the systems and can make the layout fit me.
Part of my criteria was safe in the Pacific NW Ocean in most weather, a washer, dryer and dishwasher. That comes from commercial fishing and hauling laundry on my port days.
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Old 18-02-2015, 18:31   #8
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

Small boats small tanks. Think about what you need bathroom water ect make sure you have walked on them imagine living on them. 30 is a good size ufc you like those boats see what they have a little bigger.

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Old 18-02-2015, 19:13   #9
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

One thing to consider regarding the size of what you end up on. Small spaces are one thing, but often there are other compromises that come with small boats that you don't fully appreciate until you live on one. Those can include:

- Enough headroom in the main spaces, and in the head
- Comfortable places to sit for reading, working at a computer
- A head that is actually comfortable, or at least not awkward, to use
- A berth that does not require contortions of an aging body to get into and out of

It can be hard to forecast exactly how day to day life is living on a boat until you've actually done it, but as you look at boats consider how the interior works for you in terms of those sorts of things. While larger boats can be problematic in the above respects as well, you're more likely to run into compromises and issues in smaller boats.

It's not about how much stuff you can fit. It's about how YOU fit, lol.
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Old 18-02-2015, 19:36   #10
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

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Originally Posted by Suijin View Post
One thing to consider regarding the size of what you end up on. Small spaces are one thing, but often there are other compromises that come with small boats that you don't fully appreciate until you live on one. Those can include:

- Enough headroom in the main spaces, and in the head
- Comfortable places to sit for reading, working at a computer
- A head that is actually comfortable, or at least not awkward, to use
- A berth that does not require contortions of an aging body to get into and out of

It can be hard to forecast exactly how day to day life is living on a boat until you've actually done it, but as you look at boats consider how the interior works for you in terms of those sorts of things. While larger boats can be problematic in the above respects as well, you're more likely to run into compromises and issues in smaller boats.

It's not about how much stuff you can fit. It's about how YOU fit, lol.
I think you made several good points above. I have been on some small boats where I felt uncomfortable being below for a few minutes or a few hours. So I would not want to "live" on them. I am 6' tall and I have seen settees that are too short for comfortable sleeping on, and "dinettes" that are so tight I would find them uncomfortable to sit in for any length of time (such as working on a computer etc.). Some small boats have advertised "heads" that so tight they become uncomfortable for anything but sitting (so difficult to use for a shower). Some V berths and some quarter berths have so little headroom that it is like a coffin.
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Old 18-02-2015, 19:43   #11
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

33' Hans Christian ... MUCH more living space than our Passport 37. We cruised from Guatemala to Panama with a HansC 33 -- they not only kept up with us, but our waterlines were similar so be careful when you think a "small" boat. The Hans33 has a HUGE galley/living space, and dog space.... our buddy boat was into Indian food and lots of galley storage - including several sizes pressure cookers and so many spices I couldn't even imagine. Good point above about height though -- our friends were below 5'9" - not sure a tall person would enjoy a Hans33...

One other thing to consider ... seaworthiness. The boats you list are all bluewater seaworthy, but do not mistake a lake or a coastal cruising boat for a boat to take back & forth to the BVI. That's not the same as lake or coastal cruising.

Having said that, we bought our boat ... a Passport 37 ... with the intent of going through the canal, through the South Pacific to New Zealand. Then we made our first long passage ... and love cruising ... the boat's meant to to through the canal ... the crew is not .... So our boat is "perfect", but it would be nice if it had a bit more powerful diesel and maybe a shallower draft....
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Old 18-02-2015, 19:44   #12
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

Since the OP mentioned cruising the Great Lakes too, I have another suggestion for a smaller (shorter) boat that I like a lot for several reasons.

The Nimble Arctic 26 Pilothouse.

While it is not as roomy as the Hunter 30T, it does offer something else in that it is small enough to trailer (this could be very good) and it has a Pilot House design (good for colder weather sailing one might do in longer seasons in the Great Lakes).

The one listed below is $26,900. So, well under the budget limit, allowing one to buy toys for it. It is located in Florida.

I have no connection to the seller and it may have already sold.

Here is a link to one that was posted for sale on this site's "For Sale" forum:
'93 Nimble Arctic Pilothouse sailboat
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Old 19-02-2015, 06:56   #13
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

Hi everyone, thanks for all the replies so far. Some really good points have been brought to my attention.

I'm new to this forum thing so I'm not sure what the etiquette is for replying... is the norm to reply to each posting? In any case - this time I'm going to throw it all into this post an hope people read it I suppose... If someone wants to set me straight I'm happy for some direction.

1. Yes it was a pretty specific list of bluewater boats. I made that decision based on my preference for purity over pragmatism when it comes to sailing. I love the idea of a small bullet-proof boat heeled over with a tiller in hand.

2. While I'm not bothered by a slow hull speed of 5 knots... (I'm not in any particular hurry...) The points made about lumbering up the Hudson or fighting against a 3 knot gulf-stream current are super valid. Slow is one thing but if it making 2 knots puts me in harms way....Hmm that's something I will chew on.

3. I like the Hunter 30. And the price is right. How salty are they? I would like something that is capable of making a passage should I lose my mind one day and decide to sail to Malta... which will probably happen.

4. Catamarans... hmmm... well back to my purity problem... :-) My dog doesn't heel well so I REALLY want my boat to. I understand the appeal of the stability and space advantages but it just wouldn't feel like I was sailing. I apologize for that bit of mono-hull snobbery...no offence meant Plus I'm not sure 80k would cover a nice cat. I do like all the real estate they have for solar panels though... that's nice.

5. Small tanks - yup agreed. I'm thinking a watermaker and some jerry cans will help. Not sure how to address the holding tank... I need to do more research on composting heads.

6. As far as my geometric requirements, I'm 5'11 so - not super giant. I ought to fit most everywhere. I lived in a VW Westfalia for a year in my youth so I know I won't go too crazy too fast. That said I am in good physical shape and haven't needed to visit the Dr. in 11 years (touch wood). So the points about contortion and comfortable spaces are worth thinking about since that may change without much warning.

7. I'm surprised by the headroom comment on the HC33... I was on one in San Diego years ago and it seemed fine... I know that a lot of them were built to custom specs though so... hmmm.. What is the normal headroom on a HC33? For a 33ft boat I have to think its better than 6'.. ? I hope?

8. The Nimble Arctic 26 is a cool boat - but I'd worry about the external ballast... But I like its lines... and it looks comfy.

I really like the HC33 and if it were a little shorter and wasn't so deep in the water I would lean that way.. but I really like the idea of a smaller boat... easier to manoeuvre... cheaper to maintain... easier to single hand...

So if someone could build me a Hans Christian 25 with a 3ft draft and 3000lbs of ballast.. The 80k would be all yours. :-)

I really appreciate the feedback, its a good sanity check for me. keep it coming.
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Old 19-02-2015, 07:13   #14
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

I've always thought the Cape Dory 36 would be an ideal liveaboard for a single guy with an eye for traditional lines and simple living. But if you're determined to go smaller, have a look at the Cape Dory 33 or the Shannon 28. There's also a nice, late '80's Caliber 33 for sale on yachtworld in Ohio - nice traditional design with good liveable space below (and less exterior teak to maintain than any of the other boats mentioned). I don't think I'd consider anything less than 28' as a liveaboard.


And, finally, here's a listing for a Sam Morse-built Bristol Channel Cutter (BCC28) in Nova Scotia. I'm sure it needs work (probably a new engine), but the asking price is well below your budget: http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1998...a#.VOX1Is8o6Uk
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Old 19-02-2015, 07:51   #15
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Re: Need help spending $80k on a liveaboard

I would look into what you plan to do in a little more detail. A rough idea of the miles involved:
- Great Loop is around 5500miles.
- Another 2200miles from miami to the virgins and back.

Assuming 10hr days at 5mph (50 miles/day), that's 154 travel days. Factor in weather delays, closed locks, break downs, days when you go slower due to limited wind or adverse current and it sounds like a lot of work with little time to enjoy.

It sounds like you've decided on what you want in a boat, so not much point in going into that.
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