I second wingNwing on reading some liveaboard/cruiser blogs, they are the best source for a glimpse inside the lifestyle with all its ups and downs. They are also very diverse: some are travelogues, some are how-to repair/refurbish guides, mine is the soap opera of my life aboard.
I also recommend the book The Essentials of Living Aboard
a Boat. It's a quick read that covers a lot of things for one to consider while boat and marina shopping
. The detail in blogs and forums
may also be more easily sifted through after reading the book, particularly if you are new to boating
. Even if you don't want to buy the book, the information and videos on the website Living Aboard | The Essentials of Living Aboard a Boat by Mark Nicholas | Living Aboard.net
are a good resource, and the free excel spreadsheet on the website can help with budgeting.
If you know you want sail, I highly recommend How to Inexpensively and Safely Buy, Outfit, and Sail a Small Vessel Around the World. http://www.amazon.com/Buy-Outfit-Sai.../dp/1456310038
, practical advice, especially for those of us on a shoestring budget
The smallest boat that you can comfortably live on is what I suggest. Do not let others tell you that you have to have at least 35' or 45' or whatever. Some people live happily on 25' boats. It is very much a matter of your personal lifestyle and preferences and the layout of the boat. Be conscious of whether the length of the boat bumps you up into the next larger slip size...two extra feet may cost you thousands in annual dockage. Go see as many boats as possible in person, taking note of what you liked or didn't like, how floorplans differ, how galleys and amenities differ. Pretty soon you'll be able to sense what works for you and what doesn't.