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Old 03-06-2013, 12:09   #1
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Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

I have many questions regarding purchasing a boat and I was hoping for some guidance. I have already searched the forums extensively and read many posts for hundreds of hours. I have questions regarding some boat builds along with mono vs cat. I know this is asked quite a bit so Ill include specifics that I couldn't find.

We are young 27 and 26. I work and she stays home with the boys. My wife and I would like to eventually liveaboard. We currently have an O'Day 272 and have been as large as an Irwin 33. We have 2 children, both boys 6 and 3. We have a friend that spends most of his winters in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We would like to live in that area. I know there may be other desirable areas but we have friends in that area and other personal reasons. I've looked at 37-44 foot monohulls and 34-38 foot catamarans. We have little money saved (we are young and kids are expensive) but we are working on that. We would like to move down to Mexico as I mentioned but it may be a few years (5-7 years) we currently have our boat in Solomon's island MD on the Chesapeake bay.


Questions: I don't know if we should buy a bigger boat now, spend some time on it and eventually move aboard or wait till we can move overseas? I like catamarans but they're expensive. I like the seawind 1000 and pdq36, wife likes the prouts. It seems if we save up and put a downpayment $25,000 down 100,000 total financed we'd be better off with a monohull? I like some of the newer monohulls Catalina 350, 400 some hunters but not sure how they are to liveaboard? I know what people say about them being coastal cruisers and that's how ill mainly use them. I like the large cockpits and salons for entertaining, are they okay as a liveaboard? Do you spend much time in the cockpit when not sailing as a liveaboard? I'm worried that with the Chesapeake summer and winter it's either too hot or too cold. Not much just right weather. I like some of the older csy 33 and 44 and Pearson 422, gulfstar cc boats but it seems to get a nice one I'm looking at the same price as a newer model catalina. I imagine they're built better. Which is a better liveaboard? I like cats bc I think it'll make the wife happy. I realize we don't own a house by choice, if we buy a boat we can start making payments and live aboard. I feel like the money I'm talking about spending 60-100k is not enough for a cat though? We also like center cockpits for separate areas with kids. Not sure though? Sorry, I know I rambled, prob had poor grammar and out question marks behind things that weren't questions. Typed in a hurry on a phone. Thanks for any help. I really have been reading these forum for months before asking this. Thanks again.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:22   #2
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

Two additional factors need consideration:
  • What are your current housing expenses. If you live in a small affordable place versus paying a large mortage will have a lot to do with decision.
  • Also, how much would it cost to be in a marina as a liveaboard (do not even consider anchor out or mooring as a family). Some areas are high cost for larger boats.
It can go either way as far as what will be more cost effective and allow you to save money faster.

A family living full time on a boat staying put in one spot (with cold winter seasons) and working full time is hard. This needs to be considered carefully.
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:52   #3
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Just to give you some hope. We are married, 29 and 23.. Bought foreclosed 37' seidellman with no engine for 6$k cash. Spent first couple months getting her electrical and interior updated. Cushions, fabric LEDS on controller, all that. Fitted with 16k btu air conditioner made it feel home. Interior was stunning and comfortable. From there we got engine on trade from marina for web design and photography work. All on all spent about 8k$ and boat is a stunning. I use iPad for in shore navigation but have radar and all that that came with it. Our business is dead in winter so we spend the winter in the islands.
You don't need NEARLY that much money to get started. If your trying to be patient, just look for deals. Learn Electrics, engines, weld aluminum and work fiberglass and you won't need to spend much money again.
We will make at least 15k$ when we sell her. The more you spend on the boat initially the more you will loose in the end.. Let alone financing.. Eww.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:14   #4
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

First question would be, do you want to go or not? I think if you want to go you pack up the kids and leave asap, probably this fall if you are in MD. You can watch your life go by waiting for the perfect boat or the perfect time, but neither of those things will get you out there.

I spent a few years walking in the same circles you are in, wife and I were dizzy from changing our minds and our plans so often, then, last year my wife almost died in surgery. Everything changed. We are heading south in November with our two kids in our 27 foot Albin Vega. This is not because we couldn't afford anything bigger, but because we own the boat now and there is no guarantee that we have five years to spend doing things we don't want to do just to go and and live the life we do want to live. My advice is to take a risk, leave the dock, and correct course along the way.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:18   #5
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Amen Subquanta.

If you really want to do it, you will find a way. We were throwing our money away renting and just woke up one day and said screw it. There's SO many boats out there. Cruisers and people at the Marina are SO helpful. Just take advice and do something now.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:25   #6
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You can get a lot more boat for the money if you go with a mono. I always tell people, especially if they have kids, buy the biggest boat you can afford to purchase, dock, and maintain. My first liveaboard boat was a Morgan 44 center cockpit. It had tons of room, a huge aft master and even a small tub in the master head. You definitely want at minimum 2 heads. The Hunters and Catalina's make fine live aboard platforms. There is debate as to weather they are rugged enough and sufficient tankage for serious passage making. People do circumnavigate on them with success, so don't be afraid of one that is well maintained. In my opinion the older Morgans, Csy's, and Gulfstars are a bit more homey feeling and less like a plastic production assembly line boat. If you don't care to spend time varnishing teak and tinkering on old systems, you may be better off with a newer Catalin, Hunter, Beneteau.
Cockpit space is very important. We use ours as the back porch. No better place to eat meals, have a cocktail, and watch the other boats come and go. Good luck.
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:48   #7
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

Thebriansnyder... You might also consider the Mexico boat market. Many folks end up there and don't want the trouble or expense of returning to the US, particularly if they have sailed down the west coast. Ther are some real buys and you can make offers through Mexican listing agents. Are you planning on home schooling the kids? That is another issue for full time cruising parents that you will be faced with shortly. Marina life can be expensive and reduce your cruising kitty in a hurry. You meet a far nicer class of folks cruising with kids than sitting in a marina... just MHO.
You could probably pick up an older Transpac 49 CC or similar mono for under $100K in the Mexican market that will give you and the kids lots of separate living area and good size galley with heaps of deck space for the kids to romp around and enough projects to keep you and your wife out of trouble!
Good Luck with your search... Phil
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Old 06-06-2013, 10:51   #8
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Well I can say from experience... My wife and I live full time aboard a 27' Morgan race boat. We have two kids 4&7. We love it. We have been power boaters and have crew for a many yachts pre kids. We travel a lot on multi day trips, learning more about cruising and the cruising life style. We both work full time and have cut our budget to $800 a month. The thought is with so many types of boats and styles, The question is what works for us! We are currently saving cash to buy a 40+ ft boat that will be our retirement boat and spend a life time cruising. with (No DEBT). We are moving up to our New but old 33' boat in about 2 months after we refurbish it. The boat we have now very small, but it works for us now. I just thank God my wife is not materialistic & loves to sail. We choose to live with out stuff. So it can be done!!! Cheers to your adventure.

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Old 06-06-2013, 11:38   #9
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

We lived aboard our Vancouver 27 for a few years (admittedly, just cruising, not working, which makes a huge difference), then moved ashore for a couple years. We are now downsizing to move back aboard a 37-footer. It's absolutely amazing the junk you can collect in just two years ashore.

Scaling back sets you free. Don't put yourself deeply in debt. If you are good with your hands and not in a hurry, surprising what you can get for $25,000.
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Old 06-06-2013, 11:56   #10
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

If you go with a mono you will need something in the 40 - 45 ft bracket but a cat can be shorter and just as comfy. You will also want a cabin with a door at each end of the mono. Centre cockpit boats have a bigger aft cabin than aft cockpit ones which might appeal. On some of the newer monos the better cabin is forward.
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Old 06-06-2013, 13:53   #11
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

Gosh, I really disagree that a 40-45 ft mono is necessary for a small family to live and cruise in comfort, particularly a young family. I'd say the appropriate range covers a much wider swath and depends solely on your family's needs. And it sounds like you already know more or less what you're looking for.

I'd just add that if money is an issue, a smaller boat will likely be easier to keep in sound condition moving forward.
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Old 06-06-2013, 14:23   #12
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

35 footer + 2 kids + 2 adults + rainy day =



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Old 06-06-2013, 18:20   #13
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Originally Posted by savoir View Post
35 footer + 2 kids + 2 adults + rainy day =
Couldn't agree more savoir.

Honestly, my hat is off to those who make it happen on a 27'er but that sounds more like existing than living aboard too me. Wife and I are minimalist and our 27 would be claustrophobic after a week, even without the kids.

Oh, to be young again...


PS. Do yourselves a favor and do not go into debt buying a cruising boat on a limited(tight) budget. Cruising with kids will present enough challenges, don't stack debt servicing to it. You'll be amazed what $25K will buy if you have a shrewd eye and are willing to do your homework.
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Old 06-06-2013, 18:30   #14
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

When we were kids it was a 26 footer with two adults and 2 female children and ME!!!!!!!

It was great!
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Old 06-06-2013, 18:45   #15
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Re: Liveaboard questions. Wife is onboard :)

Regardless of what you want, you don't need a big boat. There are plenty of boats less than 40 foot long that have a large double cabin and 2 smaller cabins... i.e. double for mom & dad, small cabins for the kids. The bigger the boat gets, the more it costs to maintain, insure, slip, put in marina, etc. Sure; more space is nice, but approach it not so much from "how big a boat can we afford", but more from "how small a boat can we get that ticks the boxes we want".
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