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Old 24-10-2013, 21:58   #1
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Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

All right so...when last I posted anything I had just gotten my Catalina 27 out of repair at San Francisco Boatworks. They did a general overhaul of anything related to seaworthiness along with 1 or 2 bigger things. She's got new bottom paint, prop and shaft, filters, through hulls, and so on.

Last week I swapped out the original Jabsco head for a new one (I know this model tends to last about 2-3 years but by that point I hope to just remove the whole system and put in a composting head.)

I'm at a marina in South San Francisco and realize that I haven't left myself a lot of room for one very important thing: finding a live aboard spot at a Bay Area marina. My apartment lease is up November 11th. At my particular marina there are a LOT of sneakaboards but I know myself and I really just can't handle the stress of doing that. For me, my living situation needs to be 100 percent on the level or I don't sleep well.

The harbormaster is a really good guy and I had a conversation with him and the news was not good. According to him, the live aboard waiting list at the marina was years long already. When I asked him if he knew any places that might be taking liveaboards he shook his head and said, "Maybe way north up by the Delta." Apparently in the last 2-3 years liveaboards have skyrocketed due to the escalating rents in the city and the closure of a couple of marinas in East Bay.

All of this is, of course, research I should have done quite awhile before dumping as much money as I did into my boat. :bang head: California marinas allow non-liveaboards to stay overnight on their boats up to 3 nights a week. I suggested to the harbormaster that I get a slip at another marina and move the boat twice a week and he said 1. I'd still eventually get cooked for that 7th night as it's 3 nights within a 7 day period that matter, and 2. I'm not a very experienced sailor and having to move the boat twice a week every week including (potentially) in bad weather might not be the safest choice to make early on.

SO...with my apartment lease expiring I'm now looking for a commuter room 4 nights a week and planning to spend the weekends on the boat. Because of my own mismanagement I can't afford to have an apartment of my own and the boat. I'm going to crank the marina search into high gear this weekend starting with Sausalito, Berkeley and Alameda but the other thing that now concerns me is the minimum foot requirement at some Marina's even if they have any open spots. Oy vey.

Anyway, I just needed to share my sob story. Living on a boat has been a dream of mine since I was a kid so I'm going to make this happen. I suppose even if I do end up up in Delta territory.
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Old 24-10-2013, 22:33   #2
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

OUCH. Yes that minimum foot thing will be a problem. All the marinas in the bay area that I know want at least a 30 foot for liveaboard. I know Marina Bay in Richmond probably has liveaboard slips open. They almost always do. Its not a bad place, but yes its Richmond. Luckly the knife and gun clubs tend to stay on the east side of 580.

You might be able to talk a harbormaster into letting you live aboard, by pointing out that a Catalina 27 has as much interior space as say a Islander 30 or even a 32. I know it has as much as a cal 30.

Berkeley and Emeryville tend to have a waiting lists, but who knows.
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Old 24-10-2013, 22:40   #3
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Thank you. Good advice.
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Old 24-10-2013, 22:47   #4
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Quote:
Originally Posted by iannitram View Post
California marinas allow non-liveaboards to stay overnight on their boats up to 3 nights a week. I suggested to the harbormaster that I get a slip at another marina and move the boat twice a week and he said 1. I'd still eventually get cooked for that 7th night as it's 3 nights within a 7 day period that matter, and 2. I'm not a very experienced sailor and having to move the boat twice a week every week including (potentially) in bad weather might not be the safest choice to make early on.
We're talking about protected waters here! Frequent moves should increase your abilities. You could also take short voyages to anchor out one or two nights a week if you don't want to violate the three-day-a-week rule between two marinas.
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Old 25-10-2013, 00:03   #5
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Another thought --
if you can join a not-too-expensive-but-still-respectable-enough yacht club that has "reciprocal hospitality" arrangements with other clubs, you could then make occasional one- or two-night or so visits to a wide variety of places. That could take care of your sixth or seventh night of the week without you having to necessarily anchor out.
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Old 25-10-2013, 00:21   #6
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Good idea to try Oakland / Alameda estuary. I suggest trying Marina Village. A while ago they had open liveaboard slips, and I believe a 27ft boat might be OK.
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Old 25-10-2013, 14:59   #7
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

I kept my 32' Kettenburg in Ballana Bay, Alemeda and only visited it weekends. During the week I rented a sleeping room at a lesser price than an apartment in Palo Alto where I worked. Then I just commuted Mon. morn and Fri evening back to the boat. At that time it was not hard to find a sleeping room in a private residence. This was 20 years ago so things may have changed. Be creative I am sure that a way will show turn up.
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Old 25-10-2013, 15:10   #8
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Check Ballena Bay Marina as well. They had some spots open in September.
Almar Marinas
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Old 26-10-2013, 09:24   #9
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Last I knew ( two months ago) Berkeley had liveaboard openings, and a 25' min ( I think) I got burned by the min length thing, so ended up getting a catalina 30 for the room. I ended up going to half moon bay, pillar point 2 months ago (with a columbia 28, so no mins here). It's not... great, but doable Last week though, there was a single opening in the whole marina because of crab season. This marina is very much commercial, and everything that goes with that Upside is some amazing boats come in. there's a 115' loa woodie from Wa called Lady Washington for the weekend. you won't find that in smaller marinas..... The commute on a motorcycle is brutal, on a car, I'm not sure I'd do it if you need to get to the bay. going to SF or Santa Cruz from here is fine tho. Rte. 92 is beyond bad, hopefully as it cools off the road will see a bit less traffic. The govt is cracking down on sneakaboards as well. Tim over at Oyster Cove (great guy and place, no space for living tho) actually shooed me out of the marina before I got burned by it, so I'd shy away from that route. I saw recently some openings up in Sausalito for liveaboards as well. Not sure which part of the bay you need to be in tho. North bay has openings; south bay, 1.5 years (Oyster Point marina) to 10 years (oyster cove) years wait as of last month. I have been told that many marina's are going to a 40' min to keep maint down on their facility since all boats that size are self-contained. West Point in Redwood City has already done this.

It's doable, but you will certainly make sacrifices of either time, money, or both. If it's something you really want to do though, you'll find a way Best of Luck ~!~
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Old 26-10-2013, 11:31   #10
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

we've been living on our boat for ofer 10 years now in the bay and delta and NEVER faced the liveaboard issue.. How? because were cruisers and I state that whenever we go into a marina..
Its a little known fact that all marinas will allow cruisers to enter for a period not to exceed 90 days.. some will strech it to 120 days.. But when you go in, you state you will be passing through, agree on the terms and pay in advance for your stay.
and much of the time its far less that normal rent of a slip.. no electric charges apply and they know when you are leaving.. The liveaboard rules do not apply to you..
I worked in SF for 10 years as a building inspector, moved the boat every three months between Berkley, Loch Lomand, South Beach and Marina Bay.. and Odd thing, they would always thank me for the visit when I turned in my Key and invited me back the next time through.. and I'd often reply, see ya next year..
It worked very well for us as we also liked moving to new areas..
It also helped that we belonged to a couple yacht clubs so we'd stop in for a visit now and then to other clubs..
At the present, we're up in stockton at the Stockton Sailing Club doing a Re-fit on the boat, living on it full time, and the Yacht Club does NOT allow Liveaboards except a that they allow you to live on your boat as a cruiser up to two years getting it ready to go cruising.. We'll be leaving here in a couple months..
change the way you project yourself, not as a liveaboard, with potted plants on the dock and pink flamingos on your lifelines to a cruiser.. keep that image and you'll never have a problem anywhere.....
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Old 26-10-2013, 11:44   #11
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

My observations are consistent with Randy's remarks. Liveaboards who are transients seem to have little problem setting up temporary residence, leastwise in Vallejo where there is otherwise a waiting list. There was one transient who stayed for over a year while the wife recovered from an injury. My berth neighbor is a liveaboard transient who has been berthed here for a couple of months already.
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Old 26-10-2013, 12:31   #12
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Sorry to hear of your tales of woe. I'm doing my initial research into this area before taking the plunge into sailboat ownership. For me, I plan to buy a home outside the bay and spend 2-3x a week living so this fortunately won't be an issue for me. Best of luck!
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Old 26-10-2013, 20:15   #13
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

Many people make the same mistake you did... They get the idea of living aboard and don't understand that California State Law only allows 10% of a marina's berths to be live aboards. Then they can't find a place to live or they get caught living as a "Sneak Aboard".

We lived aboard in Berkeley for a year and in Marina Village for 3 years, before taking off for fulltime cruising.

When I was in Berkeley there was a big to do over illegal live aboards and they were checking electronic key use to see who was living as "Sneak Aboards". A lot of that came from the legal live aboard community, since we being charged a "Sir Charge" for living aboard and of course the "Sneak Aboards" were not.

If you call the various Bay Area marinas, they most likely will tell you they have no live aboard slips available.

Your best bet is to visit the offices and talk with he Harbor Masters. Sometimes they have open live aboard slips, but want to know who they are putting in them.
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Old 05-11-2013, 15:34   #14
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Best bet is rent a cheap room, keep junk in storage and spend 3x week on boat
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Old 05-11-2013, 16:02   #15
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Re: Bay Area Liveaboard Tale Continued...

How about adding a 3ft temporary bowsprit,then you are 30ft !
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