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Old 18-07-2012, 13:43   #1
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Family of Five Getting Ready to Liveaboard

Hello everyone,
My family and I have recently made the decision to buy a boat and liveaboard! There are five of us - my husband, myself and our three children aged 4, 9 and 11. Our plan is to leave from Florida and head out to the Bahamas. We had initially planned to buy ourselves a Trojan, but we just came across a 1974 34' Silverton Sedan. We have not owned a boat before and we would appreciate your thoughts on the Silverton as a liveaboard. Thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing from you! Dearbhla
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Old 18-07-2012, 13:56   #2
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Dearbhla,

Cruising is coming of age. My last time out there was no GPS or weather FAX, so the two big unknowns, where am I and where is the weather is just a push of a button away. My thoughts is a 34' mono is a bit small for a family of five, but if you have a close knit family that truly enjoys togetherness over the trappings of land based living, go for it. If your family is more mainstream, with typical dynamics, cruising will be a challenge complicated by the tight quarters you are considering. I am very pro-family cruising, but you have to be the judge of if this will work for your family. Good luck, and hope to see you and your family when I return to full time cruising.

And of course, welcome to the forum.

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Old 18-07-2012, 14:12   #3
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Nice boat, I would recommend an aft cabin model.

Having two cabins was very usefull with my family. I put the children in the V-berth, and my wife and I slept in the rear cabin. Having only one cabin, (V-berth), means the three children will have to either sleep on the dining table, (a big hassle to fold up and down), or the salon couch, (probably not enough room for three). Either way they will quickly outgrow the space. You didn't mention 3 girls, 3 boys, or mix?

Also these boats use a great deal more gas than you might expect. I hope you budgeted for that, Mine very simular to yours got around 1 mile per gallon.

Also twin head or single head, having two heads was also very usefull, (kids will have to be trained on marine heads, (nothing goes down the head), and minimise flush times. With kids aboard, especially guests, the waste tank filled in hours, instead of days. Having a second head saved us many times when one clogged up because SOMEONE forgot.

Also they will have to be taught not to run taps, as the water tank">fresh water tank will also drain in hours, if they have the habit to leave fawcets running while they wash hands.

Take a boating safety course, and learn some navigation, power squadron, and coast guard auxilary both have excellent courses, good luck.
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Old 18-07-2012, 14:18   #4
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Hi Bob, thanks so much for getting back to me. I really appreciate your thoughts. We are really close knit and we do really well in close quarters so I feel pretty confident (famous last words!) that the space will be ok for us - not ideal, but fine! I suppose it's the reputation of the boat I am wondering about more than anything. are you planning on full time cruising again soon?
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Old 18-07-2012, 14:24   #5
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

34' does seem small.... and it will seem even smaller if any of the 3 youngins are girls. in fact i think the equation is...

Sanity = (LOA)*(number of hulls)*(number of heads - number of preteen girls)

notice that if you have more preteen girls than you have heads, the number swings negative regardless of how big the boat is.
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Old 18-07-2012, 15:33   #6
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

The Silver Sedan that you mention will have significantly more room than a similar length sailboat, but will not be as able to ride out a storm as well. If you want to go in a motor boat I would look at trawler types.

Keep in mind your fuel economy will be somewhere between .5 & 3.5 mpg. Sailboats big enough for your family will get somewhere between 6 & 12 mpg.
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Old 18-07-2012, 16:46   #7
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

34 is not big enough for 2 people .. and yes you may need 2 heads too.
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Old 18-07-2012, 17:10   #8
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Welcome aboard !! Connie and I raised 4 kids aboard. We had a 42 ft boat with an aft cabin and 2 heads. 3 girls and 1 boy! as said in some of the above posts, we think a larger boat would fit your needs better!! as to sail or engine driven thats up to you! but for the amount of folks your talking about on a 34 ft boat will be VERY Cramped!! and will get OLD real fast ! nothing worse then no place to be alone !! even the head when ya only have 1 good sized one LOL just sayin theres better out there for ya then 34 ft !!!!
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Old 18-07-2012, 17:12   #9
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

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34 is not big enough for 2 people .. and yes you may need 2 heads too.

Did you make that rule yourself or did you get help?
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Old 18-07-2012, 17:27   #10
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This sounds like a nightmare, maybe rent a boat for a week or two and see if you think you can handle it. If not that figure out how to be a proficient mariner before you put your family in danger in the open ocean w/out any on the water expirence.
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Old 18-07-2012, 17:44   #11
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Renting a similar size boat for a week or two sounds like a good suggestion to me.

I currently am living aboard a 49' power boat alone, and I'm looking forward to the day I can size up again. I see my 49' as potentially comfortable for a couple, and maybe one or two small children (but getting tight at that point).

Two heads is a good policy as well, since marine toilets do break/clog, and even if you carry spares on board, you don't always want to have to fix the head on the spot.
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Old 18-07-2012, 17:47   #12
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

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Originally Posted by MasterMariner View Post
This sounds like a nightmare, maybe rent a boat for a week or two and see if you think you can handle it. If not that figure out how to be a proficient mariner before you put your family in danger in the open ocean w/out any on the water expirence.
I think the OP will be sharpening his sailing skills before any significant passage, and he did state how tight the family is, so close quarters during a passage should be fun instead of misery, but really does depend on his assessment of his family's dynamics.

With two pre-teens, I would suggest two dinghies though, the family "station wagon", large, capable of planing with a load, and then the kid's dinghy, a bit under-powered, will only plane if they keep the bottom clean.
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Old 18-07-2012, 17:57   #13
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dearbhla View Post
Hi Bob, thanks so much for getting back to me. I really appreciate your thoughts. We are really close knit and we do really well in close quarters so I feel pretty confident (famous last words!) that the space will be ok for us - not ideal, but fine! I suppose it's the reputation of the boat I am wondering about more than anything. are you planning on full time cruising again soon?
Yes, most definitely going to return to full time cruising right up to the point I'm too old to, and looking at Bob&Connie, that won't be for awhile if I keep in as good shape as those folks. I have already retired early and am taking care of my 93 year old dad, and when the time comes will return to the sea. I retired from the Merchant Marine, a graduate of California Maritime Academy, with an Unlimited Tonnage Open Ocean license.
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Old 18-07-2012, 19:09   #14
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your advice. Lots of food for thought... The second head makes a lot of sence. And for sure we would rather have closer to 40'. 34' is the minimum we would consider depending on the layout of the boat.
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Old 18-07-2012, 22:33   #15
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Re: Family of five getting ready to liveaboard.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dearbhla View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone, I really appreciate you taking the time to give me your advice. Lots of food for thought... The second head makes a lot of sence. And for sure we would rather have closer to 40'. 34' is the minimum we would consider depending on the layout of the boat.
Are you wedded to a power boat or would a sailboat be OK?
What is your budget?
Keep in mind there are 4 sides to the budget question: Buying, outfitting, maintaining the boat while cruising and living costs while cruising.
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