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Old 09-07-2015, 16:04   #1
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Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

I currently live on an Islander 30, and want to continue living on a sailboat. I will need to fix up my Islander to get it ready for when I retire, or purchase a bigger sailboat. I have been looking at Tartan 37's, and Gulf 32's, I want to be able to single hand, yet keep my girlfriend happy lol I am really a minimalist, and want to keep things simple. Any advice? Thank you....
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Old 09-07-2015, 16:35   #2
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

I think your girlfriend is the best person to ask!!!!!!

Far as single hand don't worry till you get into the 50 footer at least (people with a 30' boat think a 36' boat is big, but people with 40' boats don't think boats are big till at least 50', it's all based on what you are used to)
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Old 09-07-2015, 16:41   #3
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

The answer to this question is very dependant upon the individual needs of those living aboard. My wife and I lived aboard an 8.5' beam 30' boat very successfully. We also raised our two children from infancy to 7 & 9 years old on a 33' boat.

Don't ask us, ask the lady!
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Old 12-07-2015, 06:05   #4
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

If you're gf doesn't like the answer you find here, its no answer at all. Better to save yourself the pain and just ask her what she wants in a boat.

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Old 12-07-2015, 06:32   #5
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

The answer depends, which I think is more or less what all the previous answers said.

How much room do you need? Depends on you but more so on the GF. I've told this story a number of times on the forum. When I first went cruising I ran into two couples from Germany in the Caribbean who had been cruising together for over six months on a 27' boat. They were having a great time and seemed to be doing well with that space although I'm guessing they were all very close.

I have also met couples that thought 40' was horribly cramped.

For me the minimum size is the boat that gives me standing headroom at least in the galley, has reasonable storage for water, fuel, food, stores and spares and a comfortable motion at sea. For me that would be minimum 34-36'.

How big can you single hand? Well in the 1976 OSTAR singlehanded race Alain Colas sailed the 236' Club Mediterranée. That of course is a bit extreme but does illustrate that, properly set up and with the right captain, larger boats can be sindlehanded. In real world, practical terms for the average sailor I agree with Sailorboy1 that once you start reaching the 50' range you run into difficulties that are harder to overcome.
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Old 12-07-2015, 07:09   #6
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

I agree with asking the girlfriend, but then she might not know what hardships or benefits come with the small space. Many people don't know how well they might adapt to a small space or they may fail because they attempt to bring all the "stuff" from the house with them. I believe most of those accustomed to houses believe that they need a larger boat than actually necessary.

The preparation of the person moving aboard is just as important as the preparation of the boat!
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Old 13-07-2015, 18:25   #7
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

Thanks everyone for responding to my question. I love being a liveaboard, and reflecting on all of your advice
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Old 15-08-2015, 17:50   #8
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

You want to keep living on a sailboat.
Are you talking about cruising, or being a dock lizard?
I think the dock lizard boat needs to be larger, than a cruising boat.
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Old 15-08-2015, 18:32   #9
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

Since you're asking the question, you are obviously comfortable, size-wise, with your Islander 30. Thus, I suppose that it boils down to what size boat you would feel comfortable single-handing and your price point should you decide to upgrade. Outfitted accordingly, there are folks who are happily single-handing 58-62 foot vessels. At first, a boat "twice" the size of your Islander may appear daunting, and depending on year/condition/make, probably pricey. Not for just the initial purchase, but also for all the yearly costs associated with owning and operating the boat. Then again, you are talking about a "retirement" vessel that will be your lone and primary residence. My suggestion is to go big. My wife and I are currently eyeing boats 58-62 feet in length. Unlike you, we are not minimalists in the pure sense of the word, and have decided that we would like to have the following on a long-term live aboard:

1) Huge refrigeration/freezer capacity.
2) Huge fuel and water storage.
3) High-output water maker.
4) Washer/dryer.
5) Huge dry goods and general storage capacity.
6) BIG kilowatt generator.
7) Reverse-cycle air conditioner/heater units (x2 or 3)
8) Espar heater.
9) Cutting edge electronics, and full-time world-wide Internet connectivity for the private business (essential).

That's just scratching the surface of what WE want/need/expect, and everyone is different in regard to needs for happiness. That said, the personal SPACE, ocean-going comfort, and convenience that that size boat offers cannot be disputed, yet it comes at a cost.

Here's an indication of the type/size/layout of the vessels we're currently eyeing. Not a bad place to retire, funds allowing. As the owner states, "It's an easy boat to run single-handed, I do that most of the time.":

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Old 15-08-2015, 19:55   #10
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

Ask your Lady friend, if she's happy, I bet you will be happy. I did how ever read in a thread here not too long ago that one should get the smallest boat he/she can live with. Makes sense to me. Bigger the boat, bigger the cost.
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Old 15-08-2015, 20:20   #11
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

Why not take your gf boat shopping to assess her reaction to different designs and priorities.
If she is a keeper, she will work with you on this and become committed to making it work.
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Old 15-08-2015, 20:33   #12
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

Complexity does tend to increase with size, but you can do a lot to keep things simple if you are motivated to live instead of fix things.

You didn't mention your age, health, standing headroom requirements, where you want to sail to or for how long. Do you like hanging near cities or getting off the beaten path? Do you cruise with a lot of stuff go minimal?
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Old 15-08-2015, 20:55   #13
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

Charter or borrow a boat bigger than you are used to.
Then ask your girlfriend if it was too big.
When you both get to just right...
You are home.
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Old 15-08-2015, 22:24   #14
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

Never ask your GF about a boat. You got 30' she's happy now so no reason to. If you have to ask her something ask her to select new set of dish and linen.
Get a smaller boat so you get closer!
BR Teddy
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Old 15-08-2015, 23:33   #15
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Re: Do I need a bigger sailboat for liveaboard?

LOL Teddy......That advice sounds like it came from hard experience......

Always found it easier to listen first and influence after...... End of the day....you both need to be happy if this stands a chance of working.
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