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Old 08-05-2015, 19:09   #1
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Joining the family soon!

Hi, my name is Steve. My wife & I have made a decision to cruise, at least part time, in 2-3 years.
Long Story:
We have begun to lower our monthly expenses & are downsizing our possessions to simplify our lives to make it possible to transition into a boat. I am 40 years old & am a master plumber by trade; my wife is 37 & currently owns her own business & works PT as a receptionist. Her primary background is an Executive Assistant or HR. We live (for now) in Cincinnati, Ohio. I have some lake sailing experience & owned a 15 foot Seraco & a Catalina 22. (No blue water experience). We both want this lifestyle, are preparing physically & emotionally for it, including researching everything we could possible think of PLUS living “small” now so that the transition is not so difficult.

To the point:
We would like to relocate soon to the east coast/south so that we may purchase & live aboard or rent an apartment, if need be. Our monthly spending is about $3700/month right now and includes rent, school loans, utilities, phones, internet, Netflix, dog expenses, food, household supplies & extras like entertainment & going out for dinner. We do not have a pot of money to put towards a boat, so we are considering a loan for it, if we bought right now, and we would be staying stationary for at least 2-3 years. We would need at least 5-10 years before we are full time cruising.

My question:
We would like to get suggestions of were to relocate to. Were we can work & good ports. Here are the considerations…
Jobs – for both (plumber & receptionist), plus an area that is high enough of a population that my wife’s business may begin again (she organizes homes and conducts workshops on simple living, plus offers personal shopping services)
2 dogs – 75 & 60 pounds – so they MUST be welcomed.
Marina that offers shower rooms (as we anticipate renovating the boat we purchase, including restroom), internet, & other amenities that would make the long stay tolerable.
A place that we can stay year-around for the first 2-3 years, as will be working full time then. This includes the ability to leave the dogs in the boat without getting life-threatening hot. If AC is able to be put on our boat, then perhaps another question is – how reliable is that? I’m pretty sure that coming home to dead dogs will put a halt to our plans as my wife will never forgive me.
We would like to lower out monthly expenses, so less than $3000 overall would be awesome!
Thanks for the feedback everyone! Also, what would you say was the hardest part for you about transitioning, if you don’t mind me asking?
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Old 08-05-2015, 19:49   #2
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Welcome! I'm sure both of you would be employable in any east coast city/town. Decide your minimum acceptable income and then research pay scales in the areas that intrigue you. I wish you both success!
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Old 08-05-2015, 20:58   #3
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Re: Joining the family soon!

If you are not set on south one possibility would be greater Boston. There is lots of sailing/boating around the New England coast - greater Boston is just what I am familiar with. It is a population center so I imagine jobs in your fields are available...and plenty of boating...and you can live aboard year round in some marinas (and dogs deal with a lack of heat better than too much heat way better generally - though these days you should set a temp alarm for such things - you must have a cell phone).

Just a thought.
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Old 09-05-2015, 05:07   #4
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Steve.
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Old 09-05-2015, 05:31   #5
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Steve, welcome to the community!

Population center for work, marina amenities & dog friendly,.... 'not too hard to find, but I'd add one more need to the search. Since you won't be prepared to long distance cruising for a number of years, I think it would be wise to find a place where you would have access to easy sailing in protected waters as well as a major all weather inlet for offshore access. Even just an occasional afternoon sail after work can keep the thrill and reward in the mission.

I understand the temperature concerns, but there's no one place where you can find year round comfort without some heat and/or AC on the US East Coast. The two full size dogs are going to be a challenge, but I've friends on boats here in Florida that do this. I love Boston, but you won't find me there for the winter!

It's not the only option, but I think Jacksonville and the St. Johns River would be the best option.
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:02   #6
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Regarding dogs:

I sailed with my wonderful shep/hound mix for years (I miss her). Around here there is a real problem with GEESE...they mess up the place. Some marinas welcomed my dog more than they welcomed me...they encouraged her to run free and harrass the geese away. She was treated like royalty so long as she was chasing geese off the docks and grounds, which she loved to do all day long!

My point is, rather than the dogs being baggage to lock up, maybe there is a place where they will be welcomed, and can run free all day.

Regarding everything else:

Less is more. Stop buying new crap. Get rid of your old crap. Move to a smaller/cheaper place. Live in a relative's basement if you must. No new clothes. Cars are a huge cost...if you have 2 cars, could you share one? Could you take transit and rent a car when needed? The savings are massive...we got rid of our cars years ago, which was tough cause my wife had a 65 mustang (no she didn't buy it new...ha ha). And finally, stop going to starbucks.
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:26   #7
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Re: Joining the family soon!

How about considering the West Coast? We have lived aboard on the East Coast. Summer IS NOT conducive to leaving dogs aboard. SF Bay has plenty of work opportunities. Yes rent and cost of living is high but slip rents are less than most of the East Coast. It is a year round sailing area. The Delta has 1000 miles of navigable water ways. Plenty of folks start their cruising dreams here.
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:44   #8
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Re: Joining the family soon!

As someone who is in the final throes of transitioning, I can tell you the hardest part for me, is the seemingly endless task of selling/giving/trashing all of the STUFF. Start early, be ruthless, and don't acquire more. I feel like I am in the Twilight Zone, with endless closets, cabinets, drawers, boxes, bins....Someone Please Save Me!
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Old 09-05-2015, 09:46   #9
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Ah...you are taking the safe route...wait till you have some money.

If everyone waited till they had enough money to say, have kids, the human race would be extinct!

Life is short. You don't need a fancy boat, there are lots of excellent older, inexpensive boats out there. There's nothing wrong with a bit of poverty...its good for the soul, and taxes.

What I'm saying is, go sooner. Live a bit closer to the edge. Life on the hook is all about food, fuel, and entertainment. At $3700/month you must be living like kings right now!
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Old 09-05-2015, 12:17   #10
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Re: Joining the family soon!

I'm all for starting sooner. We never had to downsize because we moved aboard before we owned more than would fit in a compact car!
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Old 09-05-2015, 12:46   #11
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Hi, I'm Steve's wife. Thank you to those who have offered such great advice! This type of community makes me feel more comfortable in our decision to move forward with this. I am especially interested in the safety of our dogs right now and all of the comments concerning them reveals that many of you are experienced in traveling with dogs. The alarm device seems like an excellent idea and one we will likely use. I also love the idea of them being able to chase unwanted fowl from the marina - Lucky would be in doggie heaven.

Regarding our current situation, we are down to about 1/4 of what we owned 2 years ago, so we are making some great progress. Much of what we are hanging onto now is only because an empty 2-bedroom apt would look rather strange and we might as well enjoy some of the comforts while we are still here. Our current monthly budget does include college loans, so we would definitely need to keep up on payments with those, but I relish the idea of trading out the apartment living for boat living ASAP. It would probably be cheaper, too.

One of Steve's biggest concerns is buying a boat in haste and desire for moving forward quickly. I'm sure everyone understands that bit and I know I don't want to be left with buyer's remorse. Hence the reason why we are considering renting a small apartment wherever we go first - but I really don't want to for the very reasons mentioned - a chance to enjoy the boat now and going on excursions more often. I think it would make having to live in one area for awhile a little more bearable.

Here is my question, as it seems in our research that most pricing we come across is mainly for bigger, more expensive boats and we tend to be a little skeptical of venues like Craigslist - too many scams going on...

What price range are we likely facing for a boat between the 34 and 42 foot range?

Again, we are more than willing to do renovations. Thanks!
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Old 09-05-2015, 13:33   #12
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by IslandSeeker View Post
..............................
................................
Here is my question, as it seems in our research that most pricing we come across is mainly for bigger, more expensive boats and we tend to be a little skeptical of venues like Craigslist - too many scams going on...

What price range are we likely facing for a boat between the 34 and 42 foot range?

Again, we are more than willing to do renovations. Thanks!
I would not avoid Craigslist, other online souces or any listings, but I certainly woul not make the purchase without a clear title and a survey. Regardless of the means by which you find a potential boat you'll need to look at each prospect carefully.

I recently helped my daughter and son-in-law find their liveaboard cruiser. We made a short list of absolute citeria,- cabin spaces, hull configuartion and construction material and price limit. We looked at about twenty boats and rated specific characteristics on a scale from 0.1 to 1.0 ....... engine, electrical system, tankage, cabin layout, mechanics, fuel economy, draft & vertical clearance, galley, sound deck & hull and aesthetics. We had boats that totals from 0.25 to the 0.87 that they bought.

I would find it difficult to identify a price range on the market. You might do better than your limit. but instead of a range, I would suggest that you carefully determine your upper limit. Patience will allow a better chance of finding something well under your limit. Looking at the offerings online will give you an idea of the market.

You can find more boats available as your accepted price limit increases. With good shooping you might find something around 42 feet at a thousand per foot and something around 32 feet at five hundred per foot with little renovation needed; however, some renovation is extremely difficult. Like, removing old leaking tanks, hull deck joint damage, keel damage, engine replacement, rig replacement.

I would still shop the individual boat for those with some age to them and not focus on a specific manufacturer. This best boats are often those that have already been renovated. The market doesn't pay back the seller's cost for all that they put into an old boat that has been put right!
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Old 09-05-2015, 13:53   #13
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by reduc View Post
If you are not set on south one possibility would be greater Boston. There is lots of sailing/boating around the New England coast - greater Boston is just what I am familiar with. It is a population center so I imagine jobs in your fields are available...and plenty of boating...and you can live aboard year round in some marinas (and dogs deal with a lack of heat better than too much heat way better generally - though these days you should set a temp alarm for such things - you must have a cell phone).

Just a thought.
RE: Boston

MA like most northern states has ridiculously high taxes and a thing called winter.

FL has no state, county or city income taxes yet the sales tax is only 6%. That is probably lower than most northern states as well.

The Fort Lauderdale/Miami area offers lots of career opportunity for your specialties and lots of places to sail. It is also a good area to boat shop.
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Old 09-05-2015, 14:16   #14
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Welcome aboard to both Steve & IslandSeeker!

Re cost to buy a boat, spend some time on yachtworld.com to get some ideas of asking prices for boats. If you have an idea what you want, so much the better. If not in these early days, just start looking. There are LOTS of threads here about the pros and cons of various makes.

Steve is a lucky guy--he's got a willing partner! That's more than can be said for a lot of folks. Good luck!
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Old 09-05-2015, 14:17   #15
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Re: Joining the family soon!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailpower View Post
.........................
...............................

The Fort Lauderdale/Miami area offers lots of career opportunity for your specialties and lots of places to sail. It is also a good area to boat shop.
I learned to sail little prams in the 50's where the small mooring field is located at the west end of Las Olas bridge in Ft. Lauderdale. I love my home town, but there is no place to actually sail in Fort Lauderdale except out the inlet and offshore. On the south side of Miami, Biscayne Bay offers some great sailing, but nothing for sailing in the part of Biscayne Bay north of Rickenbacker Causeway.

There's great boat shopping in Florida with Lauderdale having the biggest market, but then there are those northern boats with half the UV damage and half the use due to the winter's on the hard. Oh, and those Great Lakes boats with their low salinity! The good boat can be anywhere!

Prices for marinas and liveaboard costs seem to drop significantly at about Fort Pierce and north. Indian River, St. Lucie River, Tampa Bay, and the St. Johns River have some potential and great open protected water for casual sailing without breaking an inlet. When we were working I valued being able to sail within a few minutes of deciding to leave the dock.
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