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Old 09-03-2011, 12:17   #1
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Critique My Liveaboard Idea . . .

Hi Everyone,

I have been rethinking the 3 year plan of saving for a big 36" boat that seems perfect..... and buying smaller NOW and getting out on the water a lot sooner.

Why not buy something smaller and get out almost right away.

For example, I live in Vancouver where rent is quite high. The faster I own a boat outright, and live on it, is 1000.00 per month that I can save from rent. (for the next boat)

This boat is about one years rent for me:

1979 Catalina 27 $11,500 - Vancouver Sailboats For Sale - Kijiji Vancouver Canada.

Why not take out a small loan and pay it off in one year and live the dream right away?

OR, another idea... offer him 3000.00 cash now, and 1000.00 per month until its paid off? I am sure it is costing him moorage and he is getting less and less each month that passes..

We could have a legal promissory note, and to him the boat would be sold.

Am I crazy? Any thoughts regarding a variety of these options?

THANKS everyone!
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:48   #2
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

What I'm about to say may seem self-contradictory, but....

I own a Catalina 27 that I bought while I was looking for my next "big" boat. I was thinking 38 - 42 feet at the time. Circumstances have conspired (collaborated?) for me to move aboard now and go cruising later this year. I could look for a bigger boat, but I'd proably use more time and money, so I decided to dance with the date I have.

If you look around, you should be able to find a nice C-27 for half what that seller is asking. Keep an eye on what it will realistically cost to repair or replace the items that are new/recent on a well-maintained boat, but also remember that every boat will require work to be ready for you. And most sellers don't want the hassle of writing a note, etc, for something that can move and be destroyed in minutes. BUT, if you have that loan, and are standing there with a wad of hundred dollar bills, you will have leverage - money talks.

Also, factor in the cost of commuting to your job from a remote marina. If that doesn't impact your budget, great, but be realistic about how much time you will choose to spend in a 27' tube.

Costs go up exponentially with LOA, but I'd go with 30 - 34 feet for a liveaboard, if I had the choice. I love my boat - C-27's are great first boats - but I wish there was more of her to love.

John
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:48   #3
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

Unless you need the room of a 36' boat.....go for it. You wouldn't be the first persone to do exactally what you're talking about.
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:58   #4
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

I think the price is very high for 79 Catalina. If you want to get a boat for now, buy what you can afford for now, or get the loan and buy the big boat. Pay her off while learning and living aboard.
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Old 09-03-2011, 13:03   #5
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

All great advice so far. Remember my American friends that boats (and everything) is about double the price in Canada. I normally have been looking in the US, however, to save 3000.00....there is something to be said about being able to see the boat locally...and in person.
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Old 09-03-2011, 13:10   #6
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

I won't comment on the particular manufacturer, but in general unless you *need* the size, go with a smaller boat. They're cheaper and easier to manage. All things being equal the biggest boats are the ones who spend the most time in the slip.

I have a 36' cruiser and an 8' sailing dinghy. Guess which one I can have underway in 15 minutes.
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Old 09-03-2011, 13:12   #7
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

There is always an argument for 'just another 2 feet' in whatever boat you go with.

Sooner is better... within your comfort level. Ideals like 'KISS' and 'Less stuff' will serve you well.

Before we went cruising, we lived aboard my Ariel... while still working. Shore storage makes it work (for all those clothes you don't really need while cruising).

It is workable, and your life will be less complicated with a smaller boat...

.. it really depends on how well you know yourself.

Ever camped for an extended period? Know how to do it without being miserable (you need not be miserable BTW)....

Best wishes what ever path you take.
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Old 09-03-2011, 13:16   #8
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

We were lucky to have a very good relationship with the chap who sold us our boat - we gave him a bit up front and every month for a year and a half gave him my entire salary... It was so worth it!! If your man will accept it, and you think it's worthwhile, then go for it!
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Old 09-03-2011, 13:34   #9
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

I have lived and worked in Asia for a big part of my life....so small spaces are no real worry for me! A 400 sqaure foot apartment was normal. I just need my laptop, kindle, and my clothes. I live in a 650 sqaure foot apartment now...so I dont thuink it would be as dramatic for me as some people who downsize from a house.

Thanks everyone, I am really enjoying this thread!

J.
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Old 09-03-2011, 13:37   #10
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

I'm going to suggest going in the direction of the larger boat. If you really feel the larger boat in the end is the right direction for you then getting the smaller boat will cost you more in the long run when you decide to move up.

The cost to me to have had my smaller boat the past 2 years before recently getting the boat I now have, that I wanted to start with, was $12,000 of lost money between what I paid and sold the first boat for.

So if that 27 footer is really what you want , get it. But if you are looking at it as a start and stepping stone to something larger, skip it!
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Old 09-03-2011, 13:49   #11
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

I'm a big fan of getting what you want the first time. That assumes you know just what that is!
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Old 09-03-2011, 14:26   #12
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
The cost to me to have had my smaller boat the past 2 years before recently getting the boat I now have, that I wanted to start with, was $12,000 of lost money between what I paid and sold the first boat for.
but maybe ignoring how much the first boat ownership (and working on / looking in dark places) saved you when buying the bigger boat?......with scale the potential bills increase...........my bet is you were a lot fussier on the 2nd than you would otherwise have been .

or not
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Old 09-03-2011, 14:26   #13
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

i myself live on a 1980 catalina 27 on vancouver island. plenty of room for a single person. they are very well laid out boat easy to work on, and looks like an excellent boat for the price. i spent a lot of time thinking i needed or wanted a bigger boat but now that im living on this one it has everything that i need.oh and dont forget people that boat pricing in canada is signifigantly higher than in the states.
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Old 09-03-2011, 14:36   #14
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

argh. just typed out a billion things and then navigated away from the page, which erased it all. trying again, but this will likely be shorter:

- have we met yet? I'm Drew, I live on my trimaran. I don't have moorage, I just anchor out - I'm in False Creek a lot, sometimes out at Kits Beach, currently anchored over in Sidney.

- nobody actually saves money by living aboard. boats look cheaper, but they're a time and money sink and a depreciating asset. the first year will be the worst; you'll likely spend another $6000 on top of that $12,000 boat, just keeping it together. the worst part is that if/when you go to upgrade to a bigger boat, that $200 water pump is now only worth about $20 on the resale value. did the boat come with a dinghy? oars? safety gear? batteries? a heater? jerry cans? engine spares? anchors? plenty of extra rope? etc etc.

- are you "handy"? if you're a computer guy/artist (like me) you'll have a very steep learning curve coming up, especially if you haven't much experience with mechanical/carpentry/engines/fiberglass repairs/painting/etc. I found the last few years incredibly fulfilling, and my thirst for knowledge hasn't been this strong since first year college, but your mileage may vary.

- are you in good physical shape? you will be, but if you're not currently you might take some time to get there... there's times when you'll need it, and especially the first few months while you figure everything out, there'll be times when you're going to be pushed to the edge. Pulling up anchors by hand isn't so bad, but doing it at 4am when it's freezing cold and the wind is blowing 40kn and you're heading for the rocks... not as easy!

- *why* do you want to live on a boat? do you want to travel places, or do you just have a fetish for living in cold, damp, 100-square-foot apartments? The Catalina is a decent daysailer, but if you want to sail to faraway places you'd do better to avoid the Catalina and try to get into something like an Alberg 30, not much more money but a proven offshore boat.

- what's your work situation like? if you're leaving your home unattended for forty hours a week, you should probably have it tied to something strong.

- how much *stuff* do you have? when I moved aboard a couple of years ago, I had a full apartment of stuff to get rid of - and most of it went for waaaaay less than I thought, and I still had to give a whole lot away. time taken learning to live with very little "stuff" is time well spent. A Catalina 27 is functionally about the same size as a six-man tent.

- do you have any sailing experience yet? if not, you'd do well to get some, and it will likely affect your decisions on what kind of boat to get in big ways. there's a really solid sailing club down at Jericho that's booking up now - $600 will get you great lessons, certifications and free access to little sailing dinghies all summer long. well worth your time!

Lastly - and just so I don't come off as completely negative (I'm really not, I'll be happy to fill you in on all the details of living aboard, like where to shower, where to get fuel and groceries, where to anchor, where to get better deals on boating stuff, etc etc) - if you're serious about that Catalina, remember that boats are a buyer's market, the economy is *****, and it's still winter time. the guy is asking $11,500 but I'd bet he'd take $8000, less if you can pay cash.

Seriously though. Do this because it's an awesome adventure and you'll be a better, more self-reliant human being for having done it. Don't do it to save money, you'll be disappointed.
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Old 09-03-2011, 14:42   #15
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Re: Critique My Liveaboard Idea:

Quote:
Originally Posted by foamcore View Post
I'm a big fan of getting what you want the first time. That assumes you know just what that is!
Not in anyway picking a fight, but that's at the root of the problem. It's simply not possible for someone to know what they will be comfortable with after living onboard for a few years and experiencing the pros and cons of various sizes.

Almost always, people default on the too large of size. My coffee-shop-psychology analysis for this is because people who can afford big yachts typically lived in big places on land.
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