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Old 20-12-2012, 11:52   #1
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Best Size, Make and Model Liveaboard

I've been a power boater for the best part of hte last 25 years and have done alot of the work on the boats myself in order to learn and become more proficient at evaluation and repair. There are three in my family all inclusive but I would like to have room for 2-3 other people to visit and stay overnight from time to time.

Although I like the thought of sailing, sailing = no fuel costs, other costs more than make up the deficit for the fuel and sal boats just dont have the outside room I like. Except for the Cat's and quite frankly I cant afford one of those.

I am, and have been for the better part of a year, looking at purchasing a larger boat to spend time on, 3 months or so, in the Bahamas. Since cost to maintain and repair is a concern, everything I have read and discussed with others who have larger adn smaller boats, seems to indicate the minimum size is the best avenue that will afford enough comforts while not breaking the bank.

I currently have a 93 280 Carver Express that has been totally renovated. All the way down to the engine and it may be just what I'm looking for but it only has one engine. A problem in deed when crossing the Atlantic to the Bahamas. I'm pretty sure I don't want to exceed 30' based on all the intelligence gathering and conversations I've had with others but is it really worht the time and effort I'm going to have to spend to go into the process all over again of restoration.

I really think that if I change vessels I should go 1998-1999 Sea Ray Sundancer 300 or 310. I know deisels are not worth the time and trouble so they are out and v drive is better than outdrive but I'm not sure on that given the cost effectiveness of the Bravo outdrives. They are pretty cheap conpaired to Volvo, etc. Ive got a Volvo DP - C 1 now ans my goodness has it been a good one.

Please give me any and all thoughts you guys might have on these topics. I just want to buy something that fits and go have fun.
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Old 20-12-2012, 12:00   #2
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Re: Best Size, Make and Model Liveaboard

80 miles on one engine should be doable.(though id be more confident with a diesel) Most of the world gets along on one engine. Just make sure its overly maintained and you have spare parts. Ive taken my 30 foot cat 60 miles in a very long day on a 9.9 Mercury outboard. (thats about my fuel limit right now)Though it was clear and dead calm. Worst case you call seatow and get a ride back or drift at sea for a few days. Or take an outboard kicker.


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Old 20-12-2012, 15:54   #3
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Re: Best Size, Make and Model Liveaboard

I don't think a single engine is a show stopper, and in fact a single diesel can be very economical. One of our dock neighbors has a Carolina Classic, approx 25' or maybe 28' or so, with a diesel, jackshaft, and outdrive... and he runs it from the Chesapeake down to Man O' War Key most years...

Sleeping 3 plus an occasional 2-3 more gets more to size issues, I think. Your family sounds like 2 "staterooms" of some sort... and then you've got to consider where to stuff any visitors for overnighters. We are 42' with two staterooms and a fold-out bed in the saloon... but I seriously begrudge using the saloon space for visitors. Partly depends on how much personal space you (and your family members/visitors) prefer, of course. Occoasional privacy -- and therefore some room to have some -- seems to be a good thing, when folks spend boatloads of time in each other's face.

I personally prefer diesels over gas, not just for mains but especially because of the genset, too.

V-drives seem to me to mostly be a big-time maintenance problem; not because of their design, but because builders stuff 'em in so tight, access seems to always be problematic.

In fact, access to systems to service/repair stuff is another driver I use to chose boats. A two stateroom 34' cruiser will like have crappy access to fix anything, whereas a two stateroom 42' only has "difficult" access to a many things

I would not describe a Dancer 310 (a dock neighbor has one) as suitable for any kind of long-term occupancy... especially because I prefer a more open saloon, with windows all around... and a flybridge... but that's just me, and obviously YMMV.

-Chris
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Old 20-12-2012, 15:59   #4
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Re: Best Size, Make and Model Liveaboard

If you like what you've got then keep it and sign up for BoatUS or Seatow unlimited towing package.

Next install an outboard bracket on your transom and get a 4 stroke Yamaha 15 to get you home in case your main engine dies. Bring along a couple of 6 gallon portable tanks as a backup for the outboard in case you have a problem with bad gas.
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Old 20-12-2012, 16:39   #5
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Re: Best Size, Make and Model Liveaboard

Many trawlers have just one diesel. Is your Carvin a diesel? If it's in great shape... why change? If you want the room of a powerboat but economy get a trawler. A solid 32 -34ft trawler shouldnt burn more than maybe 1.5 gph diesel. The Sundancer is going to burn maybe 15-20 gph, but get you there fast. However, they are "cave-ish" down below rather than nice outside and windowed space like a trawler....
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Old 30-06-2013, 16:17   #6
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Re: Best Size, Make and Model Liveaboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
unlimited towing package.
outboard bracket on your transom.
+1 +1 Installing this approach now


Sails
Or inboard diesel
Or gas outboard
Or trolling motor
Or anchor
Or unlimited towing vendor
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Old 30-06-2013, 17:01   #7
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Re: Best Size, Make and Model Liveaboard

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Originally Posted by crusierjeff View Post
Although I like the thought of sailing, sailing = no fuel costs, other costs more than make up the deficit for the fuel and sal boats just dont have the outside room I like. Except for the Cat's and quite frankly I cant afford one of those.
your looking at the wrong sailboats...
i have 45'X13' deck room.
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