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Old 02-05-2010, 00:08   #1
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A Newbie Seeks Advice to Avoid Costly Mistakes

I'm sure you've heard it all before in many ways, heh I'm yet another person wanting to get into the liveaboard cruising life.

I'm looking for someone more experienced to give me some pointers or point out any potential pitfalls in my plans before I fall into them the hard way.

Thanks

My details:

The good:

I have $25,000 cash in the bank currently.
I live in Seattle and pay one-third the normal going rent.
I'm not married nor have kids or pets.
I'm still a relatively young 36.
I can handle living in small spaces (I moved into a 113sqft yurt at one point in my life for 6 months and miss it, in a 350sqft apartment now with a GF) I figure something in the 30-35' range would be plenty.
I love to fish.
I don't mind living on a tight budget (Eating the same thing for a month, etc.)
I'm fairly sure I can live without a fridge. (Using just a tiny "office-type" fridge now for 2 people,)
I'm good with fixing things (and doing it in a crisis)
I'm not prone to seasickness


The Bad: (Or the inconvenient at least)

I want a blue water boat.(I want to go to Europe and Japan and small pretty islands)
I'm not good at holding down a job (Tho I have alot of varied skills, mainly computer repair)
I don't much care for always being alone. (I'm getting the feeling it's a very solitary lifestyle)
I'm currently unemployed.
I have a little too much stuff (Easily fixed really)
I have no experience at sailing. (Tho I learn fast)
I want a boat that is safe, which will probably not be overly cheap.


Extras I want if I live on a boat:

A watermaker.
Self-sufficient power.
Scuba gear (Always wanted to go diving)
I Portland Pudgy as a dinghy.
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Old 02-05-2010, 00:17   #2
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Welcome aboard.

Use the custom Google search for things like "Cheap Blue water boats".. and "cruising on the cheap"...you will find many threads on the subject with a little digging.
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Old 02-05-2010, 00:21   #3
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My $0.02, because you're asking...

- Get a smaller boat. I have a 36 with my wife and I (and our new daughter in a couple of months) and it's plenty big enough. Single handing a 35 foot boat doesn't leave a lot of room for error when the weather is kicking. Get the books by the Pardey's if you haven't already, starting with this guy: Amazon.com: Self-Sufficient Sailor (9780964603677): Larry Pardey, Lin Pardey: Books

- You should be able to find a 25-32 foot boat for ~$15K but there are so many variables it's hard to put them all down.

- Sail the hell out of whatever you buy. Plan on sailing your boat in your local area for at least a few months, hopefully through a couple of seasons. Rent a dinghy sailor and learn some skills on that. Small boat sailors are great big boat sailors.

- Don't worry about equipping it for around the world cruising on day one. Save your money on the watermaker until you're ready to cross the Pacific or whatever. In the mean time you'd be better off sitting on the money or putting it into the rig or something in that area.

- Read the Pardey's books; you sound like you're a dead ringer for their attitude and cruising style.
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Old 02-05-2010, 03:18   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasivian View Post
now with a GF.
Is she a fixture? Or flickable? Or showing her the boat will you be the flickee?
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:07   #5
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There is some good info here about living on small boats.

Edit: Oh, I should mention that the size of boat is closely related to your size (IMHO). The Pardey's are both quite short people. I talked to a marine Architect one time who had just spent time visiting the Pardeys in Vancouver. He said that neither he nor I would be very comfortable in their boat. I am 6'1".
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:25   #6
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Is she a fixture? Or flickable? Or showing her the boat will you be the flickee?
She's not interested in living on a boat. I'm going to miss her (Actually the relationship is dying down but we're both logical folks, so it's not hostile)


Oh, good point, I'm 6' tall.
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Old 02-05-2010, 10:55   #7
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1. Don't worry about having no sailing experience. My wife and I never sailed and never owned a boat before we bought a 46 foot monohull.

2. If you have ties to the Seattle area, it is a GREAT place to learn to sail because you will be learning in protected waters. That's where my wife and I learned. The only problem with the PNW is that it is cold, rainy, and far, far, away from those tropical islands you see on travel posters. It is hard to live aboard in the winter, the summer is short, and the winds are fickle.

3. If you don't have that many ties, then I would suggest moving to Florida (Georgia?) and starting your sailing dream there. You can usually find boats cheaper on the East Coast and the weather makes a much better live aboard experience, hurricanes being the exception. Even so, I've always told my PNW friends that I would rather die in a warm hurricane than slowly freeze to death in cold drizzle. But that's just me.

Anyway, that's where my boat is. The marina livaboard moorage is not bad if you stay north in Florida and look around. Plus, those pretty tropical islands are just a day's sail away from south Florida, and you don't need a tricked out blue water monster to get there.

4. You are young. What do you have to lose? I've never met an old man reminiscing about those good old days he spent mowing the yard, cleaning the house, working in the office, or sitting on the couch dreaming about doing something.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:42   #8
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Originally Posted by Kashmir cat View Post
1. Don't worry about having no sailing experience. My wife and I never sailed and never owned a boat before we bought a 46 foot monohull.

2. If you have ties to the Seattle area, it is a GREAT place to learn to sail because you will be learning in protected waters. That's where my wife and I learned. The only problem with the PNW is that it is cold, rainy, and far, far, away from those tropical islands you see on travel posters. It is hard to live aboard in the winter, the summer is short, and the winds are fickle.

3. If you don't have that many ties, then I would suggest moving to Florida (Georgia?) and starting your sailing dream there. You can usually find boats cheaper on the East Coast and the weather makes a much better live aboard experience, hurricanes being the exception. Even so, I've always told my PNW friends that I would rather die in a warm hurricane than slowly freeze to death in cold drizzle. But that's just me.

Anyway, that's where my boat is. The marina livaboard moorage is not bad if you stay north in Florida and look around. Plus, those pretty tropical islands are just a day's sail away from south Florida, and you don't need a tricked out blue water monster to get there.

4. You are young. What do you have to lose? I've never met an old man reminiscing about those good old days he spent mowing the yard, cleaning the house, working in the office, or sitting on the couch dreaming about doing something.
My only ties to the Seattle area happen to be "it's where I live now". That being said once I get a boat heading south is on my agenda

I guess the critical questions are money.

What should I budget for a safe boat that's easy to work on? (I'm figuring being careful about this choice will save me alot of headaches later)

And, what are the recurring expenses I should definitely budget? IE. Hull repainting once every year or 2 years, etc. What do you folks budget for a cruising liveaboard in repairs and maint?

Thanks
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Old 02-05-2010, 12:27   #9
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Aloha and welcome aboard!

First order of business is to take a basic sailing course. It will be money well spent. Sail trim is more important in a smaller boat because it becomes a safety issue. It is not absolutely necessary but is a very good idea.
Your area is great for sailing. Don't be too quick to move south. You have a lot of advantages there.
Try to talk your way aboard a few boats to sort out what you like and dislike about them. Going to the marinas and talking with people will help a lot.
Check out the links after my signature and check out the book from the local library.
Good to have you here.
Don't buy a boat without having a marine surveyor that you hire go through the boat thoroughly. It too will be money well spent even though it is expensive.
regards,
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Old 02-05-2010, 13:48   #10
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Here's your boat. Now you just have to go to FL to buy it.

1981 Liberty Pied Piper Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

I'd give up on the Portland Pudgy and the watermaker, which, if bought new, together will cost almost as much as this boat. I'd look into making a rainwater catching system with an old sail or tarp, or a solar still.

A basic sailing course will cost you $400 bucks, but I bet you could find someone on Craigslist to teach you for less than that. It takes a day or two to learn to sail, but seamanship takes a lifetime.
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Old 02-05-2010, 20:35   #11
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Our sailing/yacht club gives basic sailing lessons for free with a $50 a year membership fee. So, I disagree that it has to cost $400 for a basic sailing class. Check with local yacht clubs/sailing clubs to see if they offer classes to members. Check for U. S. Sailing or ASA classes in your area. Universities and local colleges often offer classe too.
Good luck in your pursuit.
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Old 02-05-2010, 21:10   #12
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Hey Las. I've been in the same position as you, pretty much. About the same age, around the same budget.

The biggest tip I can give you is to look at a lot of boats as soon as you can. You have to get a good idea for "can I live in this amount of space" that only looking at some boats will clue you into.

If you can step onto a 30ft boat and feel like you can live there then you have a lot more options than if you feel cramped on a 35ft one. Get the size narrowed down some, find some nice reputable blue water boats in that size and budget range. Then go look at them and see if you like any of them.

A VERY big pro for you is you have the ability to buy a boat anywhere since you're not tied down. I'm about to do the same. I've given notice at work, have sold off all my stuff, will fit everything I own in my car and can just camp across the US this summer looking for my new home if it comes down to that.

But you need to narrow down to a few solid model/make choices that you can hunt for and find that perfect boat. Actually going out and looking at boats should help you with that.
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Old 02-05-2010, 21:59   #13
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I second all the above. I did a great deal of my "learning time" on Puget Sound in a Columbia 26, loved it. I'd also like to reenforce SkiprJohns advice re a GOOD surveyor. I paid $600 to a supposedly qualified guy only to find out AFTER I bought the boat that he had completely missed a very serious rot problem which cost a lot of big bucks to remedy. I'd suggest that you buy a couple of books on the subject of surveying older boats so that you will have some idea what to look for yourself with the surveyor you hire. What ever rout you choose, GO FOR IT!!!!
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:45   #14
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If you are lookinng for bluewater boats, look into the older columbias, tartans, bristol. As someone else posted, stick to the 26-30 range. Start slow, don't be in a rush to fix stuff till you get to know the boat. Make it liveable, but do your research, check out used boat consienment shops for parts.
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Old 13-05-2010, 23:35   #15
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26-32 is perfect for the single guy to live on. Lots of room for one, adequate for two to get cozy. I started off on a 26 foot and had a girlfriend who lived ashore with her parents. She would come down for weekends or a couple of weeks vacation. How solitary it ends up is up to you. I found that I spent a fair bit of time in the local coffee shop or out visiting people. Nights on the boat, weekends out sailing. Plus I was employed so I did see people that way as well. Really solitary was going away somewhere to anchor out. Marinas? There are usually people there all the time in season at least.

As others have mentioned, don't bother with the water maker at first. Its something you can work up to. The dink, I guess that depends on how much you need it or think you will need it. It might be cheaper to stitch n glue one together from ply wood if you are handy. Solar or wind power you can work up to. A simple panel for charging your batteries, is relatively cheap. One thing you will learn quickly is power management. I only used 12v for my stereo, VHF (which I hardly ever turned on except to catch the weather) and my running lights. Interior lights were hardly ever on, only when cooking after dark. I used a couple of kerosene lamps all the time. One bulkhead mounted, and a couple of hurricane lamps. This way, I only had to charge my single battery about once ever 2-3 weeks.

Scuba gear is nice, but it can wait as well. Get the boat first, learn its ins and outs, get some miles under her keel, and then see about scuba. In the mean time snorkel and flippers are cheap.

Here's me and my Grampian long long ago in a galaxy far away.



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