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Old 18-09-2011, 01:15   #16
kta
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

I'm 28. I moved aboard a sailboat at 25, mostly just on a whim. Like you I had very little experience.

I bought a 27 footer and found it to be a good size. I think it would have been easier to learn on something smaller, but under 27 feet living aboard becomes a bit more of a challenge. There was a guy on my dock that lived aboard his Catalina 22 and couldn't have been happier, he loved that boat like a child.

I think 35 is simply too big to learn on. Being able to manhandle the boat a bit, and in particular being able to push it off of docks and other boats I managed to float into was invaluable. A boat 2 or 3 times the weight would have been very challenging in many aspects.

I can't speak for Seattle area marina prices, but down in Southern California you could easily be approaching $1k a month for a live aboard slip on a 35 footer. My 27' slip was $550, and that was in one of the cheaper marinas.

My advice as a boater - start small. You'll be surprised what you can fit on a smaller boat, and what you won't miss.

My advice as a fellow working 20-something - don't finance. Pick something you can afford and pay cash. You can always move up later.
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Old 18-09-2011, 01:36   #17
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

Most of the people I've heard say don't go straight to a big are people who haven't. Those of us who did don't seem to be amongst the ones saying it's a problem.

That said there are other reasons to go with a smaller boat. The cost is probably the biggest. If you are going to rent a slip a bigger boat can be a lot more, the maintentance is higher and some of the repairs are going to be more difficult since everything is bigger and hence heavier.

I think kta's advice to go with something less expensive to start off with is probably very good advice as long as the boat isn't in need of a lot of repair. A lot of repair means a lot of time or money so going "cheap" might not be a savings.

I don't think there's much about boats that's hard to learn if your reasonably handy but there is a lot of it to learn!

Best of luck.
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Old 18-09-2011, 01:53   #18
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

Get a Cat, for sure. Mine had three berths that curtained off neatly, one with a door, and seperate heads with a door!
Your berth WILL charge by the foot, probably times a bit for a wide Cat.
Don't consider living aboard unless you are interested in carpentry and tinkering, economical boats will need to be brought back to a reasonable standard if you want to rent out 'rooms' but if you want to go sailing you'll need something that will get better than half marks fron a surveyor, at least sound enough to get insurance which is what the marina's will want to protect their other customers.
A working yard, (self builds/improvers/etc will be noisier, but the people will be nicer, around all week (not just on sunny weekends) and will know where to get 'stuff' such as rigging, wood, hardware, etc. at bottom dollar prices.
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Old 18-09-2011, 04:20   #19
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

Quote:
Originally Posted by kta View Post
I'm 28. I moved aboard a sailboat at 25, mostly just on a whim. Like you I had very little experience.

I bought a 27 footer and found it to be a good size. I think it would have been easier to learn on something smaller, but under 27 feet living aboard becomes a bit more of a challenge. There was a guy on my dock that lived aboard his Catalina 22 and couldn't have been happier, he loved that boat like a child.

I think 35 is simply too big to learn on. Being able to manhandle the boat a bit, and in particular being able to push it off of docks and other boats I managed to float into was invaluable. A boat 2 or 3 times the weight would have been very challenging in many aspects.

I can't speak for Seattle area marina prices, but down in Southern California you could easily be approaching $1k a month for a live aboard slip on a 35 footer. My 27' slip was $550, and that was in one of the cheaper marinas.

My advice as a boater - start small. You'll be surprised what you can fit on a smaller boat, and what you won't miss.

My advice as a fellow working 20-something - don't finance. Pick something you can afford and pay cash. You can always move up later.
You *can* live on a smaller boat, but check out the amount of storage space very carefully. There is supposedly an aft berth next to my engine room. It would be the biggest sleeping area, but it's unpleasant down there -- dark, low, and poor air circulation. I use it for storage. My boat also has good storage under the settees, two huge lazerettes and a shelf under the third bench (so I can keep all my safety stuff except my inflatable life jacket in the cockpit, and I like that), and two sets of shelves above the settees as well as cubbies behind the cushions.

I enclosed the area under the nav table, which I use as a cooktop area for my NuWave counter top oven, crockpot or hot plate (none of them will work at sea but I'm willing to eat very simply while sailing). I'm using the NuWave right now to prepare food for a BBQ I'm going to later right now.

For me, there are two big challenges to storage. One is that thing have to be put where they fit, which makes each storage area a real hodge podge. I'm not proud and I labeled what is in each spot.

Second, the stuff on the shelves go flying, thanks to Sir Isaac Newton, when sailing. To solve that I made panels of cloth that snap down when saiing. It restrains those things very well. You really have to think about how you're going to store your stuff if you want to sail the boat as well as live on it.

I have a big rectangular shade canopy on two rigid poles. I roll that up when not in use and tie it to a toe rail.

I built a simple bin along one side of the vee berth (after making sure the vee berth had no leaks. I fold my clothes and store them there.
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Old 18-09-2011, 04:24   #20
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

Quote:
Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
Most of the people I've heard say don't go straight to a big are people who haven't. Those of us who did don't seem to be amongst the ones saying it's a problem.

That said there are other reasons to go with a smaller boat. The cost is probably the biggest. If you are going to rent a slip a bigger boat can be a lot more, the maintentance is higher and some of the repairs are going to be more difficult since everything is bigger and hence heavier.

I think kta's advice to go with something less expensive to start off with is probably very good advice as long as the boat isn't in need of a lot of repair. A lot of repair means a lot of time or money so going "cheap" might not be a savings.

I don't think there's much about boats that's hard to learn if your reasonably handy but there is a lot of it to learn!

Best of luck.
What Hummingbird said is so right. There can be steep learning curves on ALL of it. I'm retired so when my diesel started going south I had already studied up, taken a class, etc. but there was still a LOT to learn. Combine that with learning to sail (and dock) as well. For me it took a lot of work. I couldn't have done it if I hadn't been retired. Another reason to get a smaller, simpler boat. Big boaters kind of sneer at outboards but they're a lot simpler (and cheaper -- YOWSA) than a diesel.
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Old 18-09-2011, 05:44   #21
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

Quote:
Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
Most of the people I've heard say don't go straight to a big are people who haven't. Those of us who did don't seem to be amongst the ones saying it's a problem.
I think the reasons for this are two fold. One, those who started on larger boats don't know what they missed. And two, those who started small recognize how valuable it was to their skills as a sailor.

I can't speak directly to this point in the boating world, but I can draw comparisons from another activity which I would consider myself an expert in. Motorcycles.

It is a proven statistical fact that motorcyclists who start on small low powered motorcycles are far less likely to have serious accidents and injuries and are far more likely to develop high levels of proficiency in all aspects of motorcycle handling and control. However, you can't go into any forum about motorcycles without seeing hundreds of people saying "I started on a big bike and I'm fine." But what I personally find when riding with these people is exactly what the statistics suggest - they are adequate riders, but not good riders. While they have learned the basics of riding on their large bike, they have missed all the finer points and subtleties that learning on a small bike provides.

Comparatively, I started on a 27 footer and every time I am out on a smaller boat I find myself learning things I completely overlooked on my own boat. It comes down to finesse. And while I don't have any statistics to support my claim, my assertion is that a sailor who starts on a large boat is less likely to perfect the more subtle points of boat control and maneuvering, and they set themselves up for being adequate sailors, not excellent ones.

These are of course all generalities and perhaps a bit off topic. Also, these are simply meant just as points of discussion and are not intended in any sort of negative manner.

Best of luck in whatever you decide. Welcome to the world of sailing!
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Old 18-09-2011, 07:51   #22
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

get out and go sailing. Sail on small boats and big ones. You'll figure out what is best for you pretty quickly...

I was in a position that made going out on other peoples boats next to impossible. The only way I could manage sailing on big boats was to take lessons. I took a 6 day bareboat course, that started on a 30 footer and a 32 footer, then the last 4 days was spent cruising around on a 40 footer. By the end of the class I had docked that 40 footer a dozen times in varying situations. I don't think I'd be inclined to go that big, but something smaller, like a 32 or 34 footer would be no problem.

By the time I bought my 30 footer (a few months later) it was a nice and easy to handle by myself. The only reason I didn't go with a larger boat is because of the cost difference (both initial and maintenance).
When you learn things the right way first, you don't have to worry about pushing off of other peoples boats and docks. You just dock it and jump off and tie it up. Docking is the only time you have to worry about the size of the boat.

You may find that a 27-30 footer is perfect for you, but you'll never know until you get out in one and spend a few days on it. If you can learn to handle a much larger boat right from the start, then handling the small one will be a piece of cake. If you only sail on small boats, then the bigger one will always be more intimidating.

The thing is, with a bigger boat, you get a bigger slip. It's really not any different. I'm putting my 10' beam into a 12' slip these days. The methods of handling a boat don't change that much with size. Things on a bigger boat just happen a little more slowely (if you're doing it right) and you gotta plan a little further ahead. But it's not actually more difficult. It's just bigger

You can muttle youre way through sailing on a small boat without taking any lessons. but you'll be pushing off docks and boats (I see it happen at least twice a week). I've seen people on both 25 footers and 40 footers come into the marina with no clue of what their doing. It's a terrible sight... Learn to do things well, and you can get whatever kind of boat you want without living in fear of the dock (or anchor, or sails, or anything else).
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Old 20-09-2011, 20:38   #23
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Re: Living-Aboard for the Young and Inexperienced

Thank-you all, there's a lot of wonderful information here. I also ordered a book on seamanship and one on livaboards, and I'll be swinging by an marina tmrw to see about crewing
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