The above: "HELP!" will be recognised by any fan of the fab four as being from "Yellow Submarine" (the animation) - the opening of the film.
I hope non here will say "Thanks but we don't need any...".
It is the time where bonuses and other perks are coming up and I can seriously consider getting out of my Hongkers Shoebox in the mid levels advertised as "spacious studio with all mod cons and close public transport" (it is under 30sqm net and 15 minutes from the Mid levels escalator) and head
for one of the Marinas
and get me a boat to live on. I wanted to do that ever since I saw "Miami Vice"...
Disclosure - I used to sail 420 and 470's and crewed on racing
Omega's in my youth, so I have my sealegs (shows up everytime I'm on a ferry
in Hongkers and it blos up a wee bit) and remember most rules of navigation
Ok, not being an HSBC investment banker those 28m Sunseekers, 68' fairline or even 60' bondway liveaboards are out.
Of course, Hongkers is the only place on earth where you move to a 35' boat to get a lot more living space. Swing morings with shore power
run 3k Kong Bucks a month, sampans are the water
taxis in the typhoon shelters and run 24 hours for small money
, so as a lifestyle it has attractions where 15k get a shoebox studio in an unfashionable part of town.
So my first priority is liveaboard
I do want to sedately skipper
around Hongkers on days off if the weather
is fair (who wants to cruise
in rough seas and rain - ugh) as well, so cocktail/fairweather boat and movable party/shag pad are high on the list.
I hope once the boat is sorted I can take a semi-retired consultant role, for less pay.
If I do it would totally hippatitis style (terminally cool) if I could skip the hong kong
winters and motor
down to Boracay or a place like that and spend the off season off shore... That will definitly take a serious costal cruiser, if not bluewater boat though.
I have kinda narrowed down my options. Being fairly poor either option will be a bit of a project
1) A 20 to 35 Year old appx. 50' glassfibre power boat
(say 45' - 55').
There are a fair few on the market at prices I can probably armwrestle my bank managers to agree to and if it is a 50' or less I can drive it on the "small" licence which is basically just a theoretical examen. Of course, boats at this age are like teenage girlfriends... Given that I am close on the girls ages, having a boat with a similar character may be too much.
Advantage - those boats usually have solid GFP hulls and if they stood up to HK weather
till now the deck
cores have likely been revisioned or the original yard did a decent job. So the structure should be sound and moderatly low maintance.
Disavantage - I suspect most of the systems will be shot - and to a degree where just replacing all piping and through-hulls and an engine rebuild
will be the least of the work. And I aways hear that spares for marine
systems are seriously expensive. Like "Marine Oakum" at 5 Bucks per lbs, while "shore grade" oakum runs more 5lbs per buck.
2) A teak
wooden Jonque in need of TLC - usually also 50' - ish.
These can be very cheap
(like 1/10 of a comparable size GFP powerboat) and Hongkers has active shipyards that can repair these at relatively affordable cost. These pack usually 150 HP or so Gardner of Birmingham Diesels that where made into the late 90's to the same pattern from the 30's and can be rebuild
almost infinity and these are working engines, not racing
ones, so they should last.
Ok, you will skipper
along at 7 knots at top rev's, not 27 knots (so Boracay is out - but not cruising around hongkers) but fuel
for a few trips and engine
rebuilds are probably about equal to an oilchange on the big powerboats. And a Jonque of course has seakeeping that makes your average bathtub with a small outboarder look seaworthy
Jonques usually are very beamy (an 18' beam on a 52' boat is not unheard of), and with such a small engine, tanks
and engine rooms take less space. So you get loads of space.
Advantages - less than halve of GFP Boat by the time it is revisioned fully (including engine) and floats back on the water. For that it is a bit like an empty flat. No need to install marine
systems, most fair weather + liveaboard
Jonques in Honkers pack domestic aircons, fridges, washing
Having minimal existing "liveaboard" systems we can take advantage of latest trends and for example cover the substantial roof area with flexible solar
cells (at wholesale price
just north of the border a 1KW+ roof is on the cards), add prismatic FiFePo Batteries as house batteries, do all lighting
as low voltage LED and so on. Much of this gotten directly in China
and installed DIY can be ridiculously cheap
(and yes, I know how to do it safe on land even in corrosive industrial conditions that make marine use look a cakewalk).
Disavantages - wooden hull
needs constant maintainance, annual bill on haulout likely 30k vs. 3k on GFP boat. Limited range and speed. You do not want to be out in the open when seas get rough.
Bottom line, the Jonque is definity cheaper (may not need to armwrestle my bank manager) and much of the needed work to make it livable I could do myself (e.g. electrics, plumbing
, some carpentry, painting etc.) and latest systems can probably put the boat mostly "off grid".
An older cruiser is basically fully fitted and if you treat your engines right can go far. Minor structural problems I can probably fix, as I can plumbing
, electricity and so on. Engine rebuilds are probaby "ben dover and no ky" no matter if they are Caterpiller, Volvo
. Aircon and other systems I don't know enough.
If you have in any way experiences that can illuminate the path before me, please share them. In the end you cannot tell me what to spend my money
on. But I'd rather learn from others sucesses (and failures) than from my own.