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Old 30-05-2014, 07:07   #1
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First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeake Bay

Hello All!

Been following the forum for a while, but this is my first post, so here's the skinny.

My wife and I are planning on moving onto a liveaboard next feb/march time frame. We both work full time (I'm military and she is an accountant).

Right now the boat I would love to buy is a 48' Bruce Roberts steel ketch (asking $125K), but they are in AK, and I think that's a bit far to truck a large sailboat.

We are trying to find something with a little space for us (and guests if we charter later), but we want to make a circumnavigation and do some cruising when I get out of the military in about 5 years, so the goal would be to have the boat we buy now be what we take around the world. Thus our desire for a steel hull (ductility and durability if a buddy takes us too close to a sand bar or chance introduces us to a floating shipping container of rubber duckies in the middle of the night)

I'm trying to see if anyone has any recommendations (or warnings) regarding the boats that are out there and are livable?

Any do's and don'ts when it comes to liveaboard in marinas on the Chesapeake?

Cheers, and thanks for your input!
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Old 30-05-2014, 09:35   #2
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

Where on the Chesapeake do you want to end up? Baltimore/Annapolis is different than Norfolk...

Can't hardly swing a dead cat around this area without seeing 20 or so blue water boats for sale within walking distance at any given time... Maybe not as many in steel, but there's probably not much need to ship anything from the opposite coast...

-Chris
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Old 30-05-2014, 09:51   #3
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

Chris,

We are currently in Norfolk, and are likely headed to Patuxent River.

I have found quite a few FRP boats, but I think we are narrowing things down a bit when we start looking for steel hulls, wide beam (>13'), and a big fuel bunker (>300Gal US).

The hull material and fuel capacity were suggestions from a friend who had a 'buddy' run them aground, and they lost their main mast at about the 1/2 mark on the trans-pacific leg and had to motor a LONG time.

-Cheers,
Shawn
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Old 30-05-2014, 10:01   #4
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

Hi and welcome to the world of active membership.

You have probably heard or read this already but like everything in boating, the hull material is a compromise so you may see some advantages and some disadvantages. Also be aware that all steel hulls are not created equal. One could be constructed with close set, heavy frames and thick plating another not so much.

I have owned a steel boat and really do like the idea of the steel but at the end of the day, just buy a solid, well made boat of whatever material. You are of course aware that steel will be a continuous battle against rust in all it's many forms.
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Old 30-05-2014, 10:58   #5
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

Thank you for the welcome!

I have heard that hull material is one of about a million compromises. Do you know of any yards or designers out there who have a history of solid steel hull construction?

Where are the best places to look for boats in the local area for sale? (I currently have a broker from POP yachts looking for me) But I'm more than happy (I prefer actually) to get out and look at the boat in person before getting a survey done.

OH! anyone have experience with getting a 'mortgage' or loan on a liveaboard? My understanding is that banks won't do it because you aren't tied down by a foundation...

As for rust... oh yes.
"If it doesn't move, paint it! Wait, Chief, what if it moves? Paint it faster!"

Thanks again for the input!
-Shawn
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Old 30-05-2014, 12:44   #6
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

There's a great big steel sailboat here in fairport Virginia. Just off the Chesapeake bay and Potomac river. Looks great and preaty big. If you want a photo and contact number I can get that the next time I go down. Just PM me
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Old 30-05-2014, 12:47   #7
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

If you have a land home a boat is not a live aboard no matter how much time you spend on it. Just saying.
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Old 30-05-2014, 13:18   #8
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndDavRos View Post
Chris,

We are currently in Norfolk, and are likely headed to Patuxent River.

I have found quite a few FRP boats, but I think we are narrowing things down a bit when we start looking for steel hulls, wide beam (>13'), and a big fuel bunker (>300Gal US).

The hull material and fuel capacity were suggestions from a friend who had a 'buddy' run them aground, and they lost their main mast at about the 1/2 mark on the trans-pacific leg and had to motor a LONG time.

-Cheers,
Shawn

Pax River makes the Solomons Island area very convenient, and I'm more familiar with that than I am with locations further south. Nice town, great place to stage from, lots of good marinas to choose from. I'm less familiar with the Lexington Park side of the river...

No matter what type construction and various features you're after, it would seem to me it's "findable" at least on the east coast somewhere, if not already within the Chesapeake.

-Chris
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Old 30-05-2014, 13:54   #9
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

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Originally Posted by Badsanta View Post
If you have a land home a boat is not a live aboard no matter how much time you spend on it. Just saying.
Sadly, our land home will be about 4 hours south, and occupied come the time we will be using the boat as a liveaboard.
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Old 30-05-2014, 13:57   #10
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

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Pax River makes the Solomons Island area very convenient, and I'm more familiar with that than I am with locations further south. Nice town, great place to stage from, lots of good marinas to choose from. I'm less familiar with the Lexington Park side of the river...

No matter what type construction and various features you're after, it would seem to me it's "findable" at least on the east coast somewhere, if not already within the Chesapeake.

-Chris
Are the yacht brokers in the area a good place to look? I haven't made a purchase through a broker, but was told to avoid them.

Thanks again for the info! I'll take a look at Solomons island marinas.

-Shawn
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Old 30-05-2014, 14:00   #11
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

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Originally Posted by AndDavRos View Post
Do you know of any yards or designers out there who have a history of solid steel hull construction?
Sorry can't think of many specifics, perhaps other members might offer some help here. I can say that in general steel boats tend to be more custom built and not mass produced. Not like glass where you make a mold and pop out dozens of identical hulls. So looking for steel hulls you will find a lot more small builders, one offs, custom made etc. Not like trying to decide if you want a Morgan or Catalina or Gulfstar.



Quote:
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OH! anyone have experience with getting a 'mortgage' or loan on a liveaboard? My understanding is that banks won't do it because you aren't tied down by a foundation.
Since the odds are you will be buying a boat that is not a well known, standard brand name and probably an older boat then getting a loan will be unlikely. Basically if you can prove to the bank that you don't need a loan at all AND you have lots of non portable collateral (like real estate) then they might loan you some money.
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Old 30-05-2014, 14:03   #12
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Sorry can't think of many specifics, perhaps other members might offer some help here. I can say that in general steel boats tend to be more custom built and not mass produced. Not like glass where you make a mold and pop out dozens of identical hulls. So looking for steel hulls you will find a lot more small builders, one offs, custom made etc. Not like trying to decide if you want a Morgan or Catalina or Gulfstar.
Okay, I was starting to get that feeling...

Thanks for the input!

-Shawn
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Old 30-05-2014, 14:19   #13
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

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Originally Posted by AndDavRos View Post
Are the yacht brokers in the area a good place to look? I haven't made a purchase through a broker, but was told to avoid them.

Thanks again for the info! I'll take a look at Solomons island marinas.

-Shawn
Let me pose a theoretical question. What if you found the perfect boat at a fantastic price BUT it was being sold by a broker? Would you turn down the deal because you should "avoid" dealing with brokers?

Bottom line just like people there are good brokers and bad ones. And contrary to popular opinion, a boat purchased from a broker does not necessarily cost more. Yes there will be a commission paid that isn't paid if you buy from the owner but at the same time the owner and the broker both understand that to sell a boat has to be priced competitively. Trying to increase the price to cover the commission doesn't usually work.

Also I can tell you from personal experience (I used to be a broker) that many, many boat owners that want to sell their boat without a broker are too personally attached to the boat and ask too much for it. Or they really don't want to sell the boat but if someone paid a really high price then they might.

I would say look at any deal, whether for sale by owner or broker. If it's a good deal and the boat you want then what does it matter how it's handled?
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Old 30-05-2014, 14:28   #14
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

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Let me pose a theoretical question. What if you found the perfect boat at a fantastic price BUT it was being sold by a broker? Would you turn down the deal because you should "avoid" dealing with brokers?
A fair and reasonable point, thank you.

Any 'gotchas' that I should look out for when speaking to the dealers / sellers? I always bring my wife, because she has a solid sense when something isn't the way it seems, but are there any good tips from experience for things we should avoid?

Does surface corrosion on an engine manifold concern you? oil in the bilges? lots of (or a lack of) spare parts? l (I'm just throwing out things that I would look at and wonder whats going on here...)
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Old 31-05-2014, 06:33   #15
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Re: First Time Live Aboard, Chesapeak Bay

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Are the yacht brokers in the area a good place to look? I haven't made a purchase through a broker, but was told to avoid them.

Thanks again for the info! I'll take a look at Solomons island marinas.

-Shawn

You can start checking marinas by using ActiveCaptain.com.

I wouldn't shy away from a broker, although like in other professions, there are good and bad ones. Our initial experience with a local broker here was very very positive. He not only found us a great boat, he also educated us a lot about boats, boating in general, and the local area. If you need a referral, I'd be happy to supply details.

But rather than starting with a broker, these days YachtWorld.com exists... and it's a very decent way to get a feel for what boats are out there, what they're made of, how they're laid out, and what might appeal to you, both visually and technically. Browse there for a while, see where that takes you...

Others have mentioned some difference between steel and FRP... so I won't belabor that. OTOH, in powerboats (for example) a couple brands stand out as decent passage makers and they're made of... gasp!... FRP. I assume some sailing vessels are like that, too. In fact, you can probably poll folks here to learn how many members have made transoceanic crossings in FRP boats.




Quote:
Originally Posted by AndDavRos View Post

Does surface corrosion on an engine manifold concern you? oil in the bilges? lots of (or a lack of) spare parts? l (I'm just throwing out things that I would look at and wonder whats going on here...)

Almost anything on a boat can be fixed. Eventually, and at some cost. Good bones are important, often a deciding factor when pondering whether to fix other stuff... or not.

Common practice is to view a boat, determine whether you like, whether it fits your intended purpose (mission), and whether it's worth pursuing. Then you make an offer, subject to marine survey, sea trial, and mechanical survey. Once the negotiated offer is accepted, you pay a marine surveyor to tell you about the condition of the boat, in significant detail. If still good, the sea trail adds more information. If still good, a mechanical (engine) survey tells you how much it's gonna cost to make propulsion right. If you're still on track, a (re-)negotiated deal comes together like a plan.

Anyway, most of the point of all that is that there's lots of resources along the way to inform you about how much to worry about various details.

- Chris
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