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Old 28-04-2013, 08:54   #16
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

Here's the edge of the cliff where another good discussion can fall into name calling and thoughtless rude rebuttles. Please don't loose sight of the question about the conditions of living anchored out. There's no part of that question that requires demeaning others. Leave the sour words alone and give us a mature discussion.
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Old 28-04-2013, 10:48   #17
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

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Originally Posted by Blue Crab View Post
I think the Flamer has made a few good points about access and parking, although brevity seems to escape her. I am particularly sensitive to issues of neighbors. Marinas are much more convenient obviously but for me the "hell is other people" notion rings true.

Not to be mean-spirited, but Flamer is very little more than a noob herself. Why offer advice on something one hasn't done? And kinda argumentative to boot. What if the OP got the slip next to hers? The headlines would read: Sailboater's body found in boat in nice marina. No signs of foul play. ME's preliminary findings is the he "was talked to death."

Folks that learn to live at anchor don't do it for convenience. The privacy is worth the hassle. Shane's attitude, the dingy trips being good exercise, is how that's handled. With a proper hard dinghy. And you're so much closer to nature rowing around than zooming around. But nature ain't for everybody. That's for sure.

I'm inclined to call BS on her friend's clogged artery caused by frozen dinners as well but then I've only played a doctor on TV.

Bill, I think it's a shame when you post so negatively, because I think , you do yourself no favors since my post was accurate.

Yes, rowing is a good exercise; my friend acknowledges that, but what with still climbing masts at age 74 he's not terribly worried about his exercise level. Needing to travel back to his boat during the day sometimes because of his work, his time during the day is money, and he often uses a small motor. And he has a good hard dinghy. They're called "Trinkas." It rows pretty well. Maybe you've heard of them. But in case you haven't, here's a link: Trinka-The Best Rowing/Sailing Dinghy in the World..

I am kind of surprised that you want to call BS on his diet, since more detail on that would have meant an even longer post from me, but I think most people got the point that the man was eating a lot more processed food than fresh, and most people know that isn't the best way to eat.

We've got a nice, young, enthusiastic guy here thinking about living on his boat, which can be a wonderful, exhilerating way of life, but just MAYBE the OP didn't know he might have a hard time finding a secure place to dock his dinghy in the morning and a place to park his car at night where it wouldn't be towed. But I guess it was thoughtless of me to point out an issue he needs to sort out before living on the hook.

Those I know who love living on the hook have learned to deal with the inconveniences and even embrace them. The OP seemed to be looking at it from a more unrealistic angle. I have no apologies for pointing out factors the OP might want to look at, but I do have sympathy for you.
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Old 28-04-2013, 10:53   #18
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

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Originally Posted by stephengrem View Post
Hi guys I haven't posted in a wile but I am young and I am looking to plan out how I can live aboard a small 20-27ft sailboat. The other day I thought of something different. What If I lived at anchor? What if I cut out the costs of a slip? I know this is possible and impractical but I really like this idea.
It's not forever. Just until a decent slip opens up at a marina that I like.
Yes, it is practical and for the right person with the correct attitude (do you like solitude?) life at anchor is wonderful. In your area do you see any boats with folks who live life on the hook? Why not take a dinghy out and ask them what they like and dislike about life away from the dock? Bring a cooler with ice and beverages... Enthusiasm, a clean appearance (don't look like a bridge bum) and cold drinks, well, you might be invited aboard and make a friend in the process.
And what I tell you is "good" from my perspective in this area -- how life is where you are could be an entirely different matter!

Folks that are used to the amenities are less likely to be enamored with the peace, solitude and sheer pleasure of only hearing the sounds of nature -- and probably cannot imagine weeks on end like that. Basically I come to shore for groceries and water, fuel -- and perhaps to be social with friends I've met along the waterways. Oh, and to buy parts for the boat.

However my home is set up for life away from a dock. By that I mean specifically that I have multiple means of power generation (wind, solar and a noisy generator) and the boat is set up to use very little power. Almost all lights are LED (lower power consumption) and even the computer was chosen because of the power it uses (15 watts)

A boat you pick up to live aboard probably isn't going to come with the goodies that you'll find nice-to-have for long term life on the hook. Therefore, you'll want a couple things right off the bat: (in order of importance, IMO)

#1) You're going to need over-sized anchor and chain/rode. That free anchor spot is going to be safe with a $300 anchor (you're protecting your home, so don't go cheap) and you'll need some chain ($3-plus per foot -- again, buy the best quality you can find)
Suddenly the dockage doesn't seem quite so expensive, eh?

#2) A safe anchorage close to a dinghy dock. Oh, and the dinghy dock has to be reasonably priced. I was quoted $20 per day (yes, you read that right) for the privilege of tying my dinghy to a dock and using a shower.
And make sure there is no long fetch (stretch of water where wind and waves can build up) ...

#3) You'll need a good anchor light -- and lawn lights are not legal incidentally. Count on $50 for a low power draw light and make sure yours comes on automatically. An anchor ball (daytime use) is another $10. And before anyone jumps, yes, I know that you'll see few anchor balls. I've never seen one but they are the law and I'm "one of those" who plays by the rules. For your anchor ball, buy a radar reflector (the round ones) and spray paint it black or make your own.

#4) Groceries and propane to cook them on -- that's the same as if you were tied up, except that out here you might not (probably will not!) have enough power to run a refrigerator so your purchases will be reflective of the length of time something will last before spoiling. Trash disposal too is the same.

#5) The social aspects are important. I found that on this coast, without any VHF radio nets (at least I've yet to find one) um, well, I was lonely. In that regard I knuckled down and bought wifi for the boat. Now I can play with my imaginary online friends. Also, another soloist suggested calling someone every day and I do that too....

#6) Further from shore means that the no-see-ums (nasty critters -- basically wings with teeth) and mosquitoes, horse flies, etc. are not as bad, except when the wind disappears.

#7) The "worst" part for me is hauling water. It's heavy and I'm not so young any more. Yes, I know -- come into the dock with the big boat and fill up but sometimes I just don't want to. (shrug)

Anyway, as someone who spends at least 50 weeks per year away from docks, I obviously like it and have setup my home to accommodate life away from a power cord. Your question is sort of like asking if children are a good idea; those with kidlets will advocate same, and those without..............

Good luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 28-04-2013, 11:07   #19
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

The challenges are finding a place to tie your dingy up when ashore. Ditto for parking your car, bike or whatever. Weather can be a problem if not real protected. Rich folks ashore can be an issue beause they feel they own the water out their back door also and dont want to see you living out there. Keeping the batteries charged up takes a plan.. getting water to the boat is a real pain...
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Old 28-04-2013, 11:13   #20
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Wow I'm sorry I didn't try to cause a fight.
Maybe I should clarify a few things about my situation. I have no car to worry about, I plan to live in Santa Cruz or sf bay where the weather is nice 90% of the time, nobody in my house gives a **** so I walk to the grocery store and get my meals already ( mostly fruit, some kind of meat usually lunch meat, and sometimes processed garbage), I have never had a regular social life I am isolated naturally, and I really think I can do this.

I'm not expecting it to be easy and I have thought of some things. I can buy a small storage space to hold my bike and kayak. My boat will need anchor alarms, multiple good anchors, a great lock, and solar panels. In a storm I'll buy a guest slip at the closest available spot (not much in the way of storms in California.)
That can't be everything but that's why I posted here so I can find out what I need to make it work.

Also this is by no means permanent. Just over a summer or a little longer. if I love it I might do it again next summer.
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Old 28-04-2013, 11:21   #21
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

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Originally Posted by stephengrem View Post
Wow I'm sorry I didn't try to cause a fight.
Maybe I should clarify a few things about my situation. I have no car to worry about, I plan to live in Santa Cruz or sf bay where the weather is nice 90% of the time, nobody in my house gives a **** so I walk to the grocery store and get my meals already ( mostly fruit, some kind of meat usually lunch meat, and sometimes processed garbage), I have never had a regular social life I am isolated naturally, and I really think I can do this.

I'm not expecting it to be easy and I have thought of some things. I can buy a small storage space to hold my bike and kayak. My boat will need anchor alarms, multiple good anchors, a great lock, and solar panels. In a storm I'll buy a guest slip at the closest available spot (not much in the way of storms in California.)
That can't be everything but that's why I posted here so I can find out what I need to make it work.

Also this is by no means permanent. Just over a summer or a little longer. if I love it I might do it again next summer.

Stephen you didn't start a fight.

Having a place to go in bad weather (where my friend is, the big problem is storms that come in from the SW. Unfortunately that's a common direction for storms to come from here ...) will really help.

Your boat can roll around at anchor for all sorts of reasons, including ignorant power boaters who think it's funny, so secure the stuff on your shelves, etc. better than you think they need to be. I have basically "lee cloths" for all my shelving when I'm sailing. When I'm at anchor, it's up.
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Old 28-04-2013, 22:57   #22
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

I daydream about doing this, but I think too many (man-made) factors are against doing this.

But, if it were easy, too many people would be doing it.

My concerns, in no particular order are: social life/dating, getting bike to shore, knowing where is good to anchor, knowing where you are allowed to anchor, not paying to tie up a dinghy, how far away from civilization will you be, illness, harbor patrol/police, bad weather, leaving the boat for some time, money issues..

The thing is, that compared to my life on land right now, my social life couldn't get worse. It could still be bad, but not any worse.
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Old 28-04-2013, 23:00   #23
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

The ideal for me is remote anchorages and then a marina I can pull into for supplies and leaving the boat for travel. Busy anchorages suck because you don't have the privacy but you also don't have the convenience of a marina. If it's crowded anyway you might as well be on a dock (if you have the cash).

I'd be quite happy with 3/4 of our time on the hook, 1/4 tied to a slip. That's obviously not a constant average but hopefully the general idea comes across.
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Old 28-04-2013, 23:20   #24
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

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I daydream about doing this, but I think too many (man-made) factors are against doing this.

But, if it were easy, too many people would be doing it.

My concerns, in no particular order are: social life/dating, getting bike to shore, knowing where is good to anchor, knowing where you are allowed to anchor, not paying to tie up a dinghy, how far away from civilization will you be, illness, harbor patrol/police, bad weather, leaving the boat for some time, money issues..

The thing is, that compared to my life on land right now, my social life couldn't get worse. It could still be bad, but not any worse.

They're all solveable problems. Might be nice for you if you could ease into it, maybe living on the boat a couple of nights at a time at first?

But you're right, the first thing to find is where you can anchor out, tie up your dinghy without the $20 a day fee someone else mentioned -- YIKES! You can get a folding bike -- they make some pretty good ones, and you might be able to find a buy on Craigslist or Ebay. Illness is another issue. If you get really sick -- for instance, appendicitis, you have to have some place you can bring your boat in. If you're involved with a sailing community, you may find that there's a member of the club who would let you bring your boat to their dock for the duration of such a crisis, but you're absolutely right that you need a plan for that.

As for the harbor police, etc., it may be a matter of picking the right state. Although people have been harassed in Florida, the fact is that if you cruise your boat at all, your legal status is of cruiser, not "live aboard." It's an important distinction in this state.

If you're going to have to leave the boat for some time -- a trip, for instance, once again you might be able to find a boater who would be willing to let you leave your boat at their dock. It would be much more secure than anchored, alone, in a bay. If you have to leave it, you might be able to get a neighboring boat to climb aboard each day, change some things around (move where the dinghy is tied, for instance) so it still looks occupied -- but I would try very hard for a private dock you could move it to.

As for bad weather, local knowledge is your best friend. Where my friend keeps his boat, he is vulnerable to storms from the SW. But he can bring his boat into the club for the night most of the time (there's a limit to how often you can do that), or if desperate, into the municipal marina and pay for a slip for the night. Both marinas are extremely well sheltered. It's where I plan to move my boat for tropical storms. A friend's dock might not be the best choice for a storm, so just sail around in your area and look for coves that are sheltered from different directions.

These are all solutions my good friend has worked out over many decades of experience. Just plain time over water is a tremendous help so it depends not on how many years you've sailed but how many times you've sailed that boat in those years. I know people who have "sailed for ten years" -- by taking their boat out four times a year. That's 40 sails, not a lot. I've taken the two boats I've owned out probably ten times as much in five years. I think having those sailing sessions closer together also increased my learning curve.

You need to make a couple of friends who live aboard. Bring a six pack and some wings or pizza, and pick their brains until their eyes glaze over.
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Old 28-04-2013, 23:52   #25
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Question Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

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Originally Posted by Rakuflames View Post
Well, that's how my friend looks at it. He has LOTS of friends -- but no neighbors. However, it prevents neither thieves, nor annoying idiots, nor police, nor process servers. Things have been stolen off boats out there; he complained about the commercial boats deliberately going through the anchoring area for the live aboards, throwing things aout with a big wake, and had their leftover dinner thrown on his boat for his trouble; the police went through a spell where they would put their boat in the water and do 3 AM inspections because townies didn't want live aboards out there (that's stopped thank goodness); and we have a couple of process servers in our club who entertained us through an entire dinner once describing what they went through to do their job, including serving people at anchor.

You will have neighbors if some idiot anchors too close to you, and you'd better hope their anchor holds in a storm. Nuthin's perfect.

I have no desire to live anchored out. I can have the best of an choring out by ... well ... anchoring out!

There are also people who can't imagining "putting up" with what I "have to put up with" to live on my boat at a dock (small refrigerator, no central air, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.) but the rewards greatly outweigh any negatives for me. For me, not for anyone else. Even laid up with this arm, the promise of just throwing the lines off and taking off is still there.

Yes, there are two sides to every story. At the moment I have major issues with tug boat drivers going past at over ten knots throwing up giant wakes. On the other hand, some of my old neighbours on land were in a constant struggle with the hoons recklessly driving cars around the street. Then like I said to Maritime last time they had a talk to me, most people would not last a couple of weeks living at anchor, so don't worry that it is going to become popular.

Oh, the biggest problem I have now is sleeping on land. When I do I have a rotten time of it. I just cannot adjust to the lack of motion not lulling me to sleep. The same motion that might drive others nuts?
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Old 29-04-2013, 00:07   #26
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Thumbs up Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephengrem View Post
Wow I'm sorry I didn't try to cause a fight.
Maybe I should clarify a few things about my situation. I have no car to worry about, I plan to live in Santa Cruz or sf bay where the weather is nice 90% of the time, nobody in my house gives a **** so I walk to the grocery store and get my meals already ( mostly fruit, some kind of meat usually lunch meat, and sometimes processed garbage), I have never had a regular social life I am isolated naturally, and I really think I can do this.

I'm not expecting it to be easy and I have thought of some things. I can buy a small storage space to hold my bike and kayak. My boat will need anchor alarms, multiple good anchors, a great lock, and solar panels. In a storm I'll buy a guest slip at the closest available spot (not much in the way of storms in California.)
That can't be everything but that's why I posted here so I can find out what I need to make it work.

Also this is by no means permanent. Just over a summer or a little longer. if I love it I might do it again next summer.
Stephen, it sounds to me like you are ready to give it a go. Enjoy!

If it makes you feel better I am typing this anchored off the ocean side of a city on a glorious day. I got a little surf in then took advantage of the clearer offshore water to clean the bottom of the boat. In a while I might pull anchor and steam around to a protected little bay in the harbour for the night. Life could be worse?
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Old 29-04-2013, 00:08   #27
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

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Yes, there are two sides to every story. At the moment I have major issues with tug boat drivers going past at over ten knots throwing up giant wakes. On the other hand, some of my old neighbours on land were in a constant struggle with the hoons recklessly driving cars around the street. Then like I said to Maritime last time they had a talk to me, most people would not last a couple of weeks living at anchor, so don't worry that it is going to become popular.

Oh, the biggest problem I have now is sleeping on land. When I do I have a rotten time of it. I just cannot adjust to the lack of motion not lulling me to sleep. The same motion that might drive others nuts?
Regarding the commercial guys buzzing through at speed, they're working. In their mind it's the same as some guy stopping to have a picnic across the street from road construction. That commercial skipper was probably there long before the sailboat showed and will be there long after.
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Old 29-04-2013, 00:15   #28
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

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Yes, there are two sides to every story. At the moment I have major issues with tug boat drivers going past at over ten knots throwing up giant wakes. On the other hand, some of my old neighbours on land were in a constant struggle with the hoons recklessly driving cars around the street. Then like I said to Maritime last time they had a talk to me, most people would not last a couple of weeks living at anchor, so don't worry that it is going to become popular.

Oh, the biggest problem I have now is sleeping on land. When I do I have a rotten time of it. I just cannot adjust to the lack of motion not lulling me to sleep. The same motion that might drive others nuts?
+1
After over five years at anchor, the lack of movement when sleeping ashore is downright unnerving. And no matter how large a room or home (and despite how limited space is on board) four walls and close neighbours now just seem extraordinarily confining.

The sense of freedom and the ever-changing views and almost total privacy at anchor more than make up for any drawbacks.
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Old 29-04-2013, 00:59   #29
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Regarding the commercial guys buzzing through at speed, they're working. In their mind it's the same as some guy stopping to have a picnic across the street from road construction. That commercial skipper was probably there long before the sailboat showed and will be there long after.

Unfortunately Maritime also take your view. However, there are spots that are posted as four knot no wash zones, I am not the only one complaining and it is a minority of the tug drivers who drive recklessly especially at the end of their shifts. They are not immune from maritime legislation and regulations. Not forgetting I worked in litigation sueing similar authorities and a leading Maritime Barrister is a good friend. Sure too there are some old photos of the harbour full of all manner of sailing ships long before the days of steam.

I lost the dog overboard a few nights back, but luckily saved him. Unfortunately the next recreational fisherman who falls over or crew who gets caught between a dock and the boat might not be so lucky.

Regardless, why do I feel like I need to defend nearly every blocdy word I say? I just had an awesome day anchored offshore oblivious to the problems of the world.
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Old 29-04-2013, 02:48   #30
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Re: Challenges of a Life at Anchor?

Can it be done? - Yes! Lots have.

Will "you" enjoy it? (and are willing and able to make the choices neccessary) - only "you" can say, and likely only by doing it.

Will find 27 foot easier than 20 foot - both on the small side, but 20 foot very small for 24/7 living. But if that's what you have then that's what you have.

My advice to OP is to give it a go for a few months / the summer and either carry on or chalk it up to experiance (IMO they are all useful - even the never again ones!)......the big potential upside is you love it - and want to go further afield with the boat! (or another one!).

Personally I find the idea of living 24/7 in a Marina as attractive as living in a carpark - even though I know there is a practical benefit to doing so, and in some circumstances that might be a compromise worth making. But then again I am safely onshore - in a house!
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