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Old 07-09-2014, 19:43   #1
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Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

I've always wanted a boat. My childhood was spent on the marshes of point a la hache and Honey Island swamp. Every summer as a teenager was also spent out there shrimping and crabbing for my grandpa. My adult life has me out on Lake Pontchartrain on a kayak as often as I can be. My home is on the water.

So the problem is I'm not a rich man when it comes to money. I'm blessed with a good life, a good job, good people, so I'm rich in many ways just not in the way that would let me afford rent and a boat. So I'm not sure why it's taking me so long to realize I could live on a boat and have my dream.

Space isn't a concern. I lived in a 1500 square foot 3 bedroom house with a roommate. I was in 3 different places (Kitchen, Bedroom, Toilet) and even in those 3 rooms I had my "spots" I would be at. On my laptop at the kitchen bar, in the bed, or on the toilet/in the shower. My current 800 square foot apartment is the same. I never use the living room or dining room. It's on my laptop at the bar in the kitchen, my bed, or on the toilet/in the shower.

I was looking at the Catalina 27. It seems perfect but I worry it might be too small. The lake is shallow (12-14 ft at its deepest). And the longest I'd be at sea is just crossing the lake to go between New Orleans and the North Shore (Mandeville). It's a 4-5 hour sail depending on wind.

I've been crew on a sailboat once and had no idea what I was doing. Actually never owned my own powerboat before but was allowed to drive others. I have no clue what I'm doing but plan on taking a couple classes and am good friends with a guy who lives on a boat (hence me getting the idea).

My biggest concerns are:
  • Storage for clothing. Have to be professional at work and don't want there to be wrinkles in my work clothes. Could possibly just store most of my work clothes in my office. I don't really have a need for a lot of things so I'm okay with dumping most of my shore items.
  • Air Conditioning. It was 102 today in New Orleans. I don't want to die from heat exhaustion but don't mind sweating
  • Heat. Even though it's Louisiana there are cold months. Last year we had a couple of bad freezes. I can always stay with friends on really cold nights but would rather not have to rely on anyone but me.
  • Grilling. Is it possible to have a grill on a sailboat or is the danger too high? Grilling with propane is my favorite way to cook. I currently have a small camp propane grill I use on the balcony of my tiny apartment. I don't need a microwave or even stove. I'd be good with just the grill as you can use it as a stovetop if necessary. I would just keep a bunch of small camp propane tanks in a cabinet and refill every so often.
  • Power. I might go out and anchor in the lake for an entire weekend. I'm at peace when surrounded by water so I don't even need to sail to get there. I can just motor on out, set up a hammock, and be at peace. But I want the ability to recharge my batteries when at sea whether it's through an alternator or solar or wind or whatever. I have to have music playing at all times to be happy so power is always going to be a necessity.

I'm not concerned with much else. I don't need anything fancy like radar or autopilot or whatever. Sailing across the lake is easy, just keep the causeway bridge in sight and you don't need a map or compass or anything. Work has showers, washer/dryer, as does the marina I'd be moored at. There's a bar, restaurant, live music most nights, swimming pool. It's actually pretty nice. I don't mind small spaces in fact I crave them. The only thing I need technology wise is the internet which I can get from my phone's wifi hotspot and we have great internet at work so I can do major downloads from there. I don't watch TV I don't really talk on the phone. I'm so excited about living on a boat I think it's perfect for me. Just so many questions.
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Old 07-09-2014, 20:25   #2
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

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Originally Posted by CaptainHooks View Post
I've always wanted a boat. My childhood was spent on the marshes of point a la hache and Honey Island swamp. Every summer as a teenager was also spent out there shrimping and crabbing for my grandpa. My adult life has me out on Lake Pontchartrain on a kayak as often as I can be. My home is on the water.

So the problem is I'm not a rich man when it comes to money. I'm blessed with a good life, a good job, good people, so I'm rich in many ways just not in the way that would let me afford rent and a boat. So I'm not sure why it's taking me so long to realize I could live on a boat and have my dream.

Space isn't a concern. I lived in a 1500 square foot 3 bedroom house with a roommate. I was in 3 different places (Kitchen, Bedroom, Toilet) and even in those 3 rooms I had my "spots" I would be at. On my laptop at the kitchen bar, in the bed, or on the toilet/in the shower. My current 800 square foot apartment is the same. I never use the living room or dining room. It's on my laptop at the bar in the kitchen, my bed, or on the toilet/in the shower.

I was looking at the Catalina 27. It seems perfect but I worry it might be too small. The lake is shallow (12-14 ft at its deepest). And the longest I'd be at sea is just crossing the lake to go between New Orleans and the North Shore (Mandeville). It's a 4-5 hour sail depending on wind.

I've been crew on a sailboat once and had no idea what I was doing. Actually never owned my own powerboat before but was allowed to drive others. I have no clue what I'm doing but plan on taking a couple classes and am good friends with a guy who lives on a boat (hence me getting the idea).


My biggest concerns are:
  • Storage for clothing. Have to be professional at work and don't want there to be wrinkles in my work clothes. Could possibly just store most of my work clothes in my office. I don't really have a need for a lot of things so I'm okay with dumping most of my shore items.
  • Air Conditioning. It was 102 today in New Orleans. I don't want to die from heat exhaustion but don't mind sweating
  • Heat. Even though it's Louisiana there are cold months. Last year we had a couple of bad freezes. I can always stay with friends on really cold nights but would rather not have to rely on anyone but me.
  • Grilling. Is it possible to have a grill on a sailboat or is the danger too high? Grilling with propane is my favorite way to cook. I currently have a small camp propane grill I use on the balcony of my tiny apartment. I don't need a microwave or even stove. I'd be good with just the grill as you can use it as a stovetop if necessary. I would just keep a bunch of small camp propane tanks in a cabinet and refill every so often.
  • Power. I might go out and anchor in the lake for an entire weekend. I'm at peace when surrounded by water so I don't even need to sail to get there. I can just motor on out, set up a hammock, and be at peace. But I want the ability to recharge my batteries when at sea whether it's through an alternator or solar or wind or whatever. I have to have music playing at all times to be happy so power is always going to be a necessity.
I'm not concerned with much else. I don't need anything fancy like radar or autopilot or whatever. Sailing across the lake is easy, just keep the causeway bridge in sight and you don't need a map or compass or anything. Work has showers, washer/dryer, as does the marina I'd be moored at. There's a bar, restaurant, live music most nights, swimming pool. It's actually pretty nice. I don't mind small spaces in fact I crave them. The only thing I need technology wise is the internet which I can get from my phone's wifi hotspot and we have great internet at work so I can do major downloads from there. I don't watch TV I don't really talk on the phone. I'm so excited about living on a boat I think it's perfect for me. Just so many questions.

All I can say is, Where my boat slip is there are also a few Tugs and delivery boats for the Cargo ships so, one of the Captains of these boats is in his mid 50's and lives on a 28' sailboat. he has for 15 years and owned it for 22. He docks there for the week he's working then sails up and down the river to other spots on his week off..
He doesn't have a TV, internet, or even a smart phone..
Seems like a happy guy..
Good luck with you adventure!!
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Old 07-09-2014, 20:38   #3
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

The guy I've been hanging out with has lived on a boat for a while now. His current one is a 34 footer and he just bought a 36 foot. It's so nice and we took it out one Sunday and it was so peaceful and beautiful. When you're out in the lake and the only sound you hear is the water slapping against the hull and the wind in the sails. It's heaven. In 2 weeks or so he will be bringing his 36 footer across the lake (I'm going to be part of his crew) and he is going to show me the ropes. My lease is up in July so I have a lot of time to research, think, and decide.

A buddy of mine has a Hunter 34 Sloop that is just rotting in a marina. He said if I fix it up, I can rent it for the cost of slip fee. It's going to take a lot to completely restore it so my plan is to get it livable and spend a month or two on it after my lease expires. I can put all my stuff in storage or at my mom's or just sell it I don't care. I can always just diesel out on the lake and anchor and enjoy being at sea. But it just feels too big for me but who knows maybe once I'm on it I realize it's the perfect size?
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:17   #4
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

Howdy,

I read your good intro/post above and share your enthusiasm for sailing and I also hope to liveaboard in the not too distant future.

There is a LOT of info here on this forum that can help you with many issues you bring up (e.g. heat/cold, clothing, gear). Search the forums for threads/topics related to using air conditioning on boats etc.

And here is a link to another site where a circumnavigator reviews many smaller boats he likes for cruising offshore. His site also has a "minimalist approach" to boating so you might find many interesting points there about living on smaller sail boats.
http://www.atomvoyages.com/planning/...%20Mariah%2031

Yes, you can get a small propane "gas grill" that is made to use on a boat. They are commonly seen bolted to a stern rail. The most important thing is to be aware that propane settles in low areas, and can find its way into the bilge of a boat and then can cause explosions. That is the danger. So, the propane bottles need to be properly stored in a vented location. More on that in many topics posted on this forum. Search is your friend.

If you stay on that 34 footer, for some time, you may spoil yourself regarding a 27 footer! Size and space can be very compelling in smaller boats (the desire to have more).

You mentioned needing to wear office clothing. That has been one of my concerns too. But be aware it is not just wrinkles to worry about. There is often a "musty" "boat smell" that permeates the fabrics on boats (due to lack of ventilation in most stored boats) and possible mold and likely mildew. Once mildew gets into clothing (say wool dress suits) it is about impossible to get out. So, if you have the ability to store those clothing items OFF-boat, and dress off boat, it is probably a good idea. Humidity is the enemy in this case.

Good luck!
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Old 08-09-2014, 10:32   #5
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

first and foremost make sure you next boat has sufficient air conditioning, you will DIE otherwise!
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Old 08-09-2014, 11:48   #6
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

Thanks guys, great insight to the liveaboard life
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Old 08-09-2014, 11:55   #7
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

You don't say what your budget is... but there are some bargain 30 footers out there that are quite roomy. Look at an Allmand Sail 31 or something like that. Very nice layout for a 31 footer.
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Old 08-09-2014, 16:40   #8
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainHooks View Post
............................
Storage for clothing.......
Air Conditioning.............
Heat...........................
Grilling.........................
Power.........................
..................
CaptainHooks, I've been retired and with more wide distance cruising for the past twelve years, but I spent thirty years living aboard and vacation cruising while employed at your same latitiude in Jacksonville, Florida.
I think I have some practical answers for you.

Clothing,- You can easily keep your "office" clothing in a hanging locker with a 30' or more boat. If you hang a "Damp Rid" bag in the locker, your clothes will remain fresh.

Air Conditioning,- The best choice will be the more expensive marine unit like the "Cruise Air" or equivalent, but a window unit in the cpmpanionway will suit you well for less money. Off to work in the morning at our latitude and humidity will be best with the AC.

Heat,- You can do very well with the little space heaters, coils & fan, that cost about twenty bucks and supplement this with an electric blanket that will do you well on those very cold nights. Make sure that the little heater has an automatic cut off with the event of a fall over!

Grilling,- I don't grill, but the advice I've read above about storing propane with the potential leakage flowing overboard is critical. A small grill on the stern rail is common,- mostly "Magma" grills.

Power,- A single 30 amp shore power supply should suit you well. While away from the dock a solar panel at 50 to 100 watt will be very suitable. A wind generator will be less consistantly reliable at our latitude. Be stingy with your 12VDC! If you want music all the time, then you'd best wear the ear buds with the tiny device hanging from your neck! Refrigeration/freezer is the big power pig when away from shore power. The best choice is one of the units that operate with air heat exchange and the small efficient Danfloss compressors with a cold plate.
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Old 08-09-2014, 16:53   #9
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
You don't say what your budget is... but there are some bargain 30 footers out there that are quite roomy. Look at an Allmand Sail 31 or something like that. Very nice layout for a 31 footer.
I'm not sure what my budget is. I have terrible credit and nothing really in savings so I'm sure it's going to be tough to get a loan. I kind of had a lot of hardships recently in life so far and it required me to purge a lot of the things I've had.

I honestly don't even know what to expect. The boats I've been looking at (mostly 27') have been around 10k or less. I guess I'd not like to go too much higher. If we get bonuses next year it will be around $10k and I imagine if I put that much down a bank will give me a loan for a bit more right? I can also see about having a cosigner.

Currently pay $780/month on rent + $40 on water + $50 on Internet + $140 on electricity in Summer and barely making it paycheck to paycheck. So what should my budget be?

I don't need tons of accessories. Like my buddy just bought a 36' and it has a $6000 wind powered autopilot (no battery necessary). It has some Garmin satellite that will show radar all around you that's probably $8k+ . He wants to sail to the bahamas so he splurged on all the cool stuff to get there. I need literally none of that. The lake is so shallow and the waves are so low. I'd prefer to sail with a compass and a map honestly but I don't plan on going too far. Maybe from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico and back.
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Old 08-09-2014, 16:55   #10
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
CaptainHooks, I've been retired and with more wide distance cruising for the past twelve years, but I spent thirty years living aboard and vacation cruising while employed at your same latitiude in Jacksonville, Florida.
I think I have some practical answers for you.

Clothing,- You can easily keep your "office" clothing in a hanging locker with a 30' or more boat. If you hang a "Damp Rid" bag in the locker, your clothes will remain fresh.

Air Conditioning,- The best choice will be the more expensive marine unit like the "Cruise Air" or equivalent, but a window unit in the cpmpanionway will suit you well for less money. Off to work in the morning at our latitude and humidity will be best with the AC.

Heat,- You can do very well with the little space heaters, coils & fan, that cost about twenty bucks and supplement this with an electric blanket that will do you well on those very cold nights. Make sure that the little heater has an automatic cut off with the event of a fall over!

Grilling,- I don't grill, but the advice I've read above about storing propane with the leak otential floe overboard is critical. Asmall grill on the stern rail is common,- mostly "Magma" grills.

Power,- A single 30 amp shore power supply should suit you well. While away from the dock a solar panel at 50 to 100 watt will be very suitable. A wind generator will be less consistantly reliable at our latitude. Be stingy with your 12VDC! If you want music all the time, then you'd best wear the ear buds with the tiny device hanging from your neck! Refrigeration/freezer is the big power pig when away from shore power. The best choice is one of the units that operate with air heat exchange and the small efficient Danfloss compressors with a cold plate.
Great info thank you. I honestly don't need a freezer. I never use mine in the apartment except for frozen pizza when I'm lazy and you can refrigerate those.

The whole propane thing worries me. Maybe I should think of something like a George Foreman and learn to deal.
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Old 08-09-2014, 17:41   #11
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

Welcome aboard CaptainHooks.

Financing with bad credit will be an issue these days. Banks are overly stringent now. A few guidelines they have; there is very little financing for boats over 20 years old (there are exception of course for certain types of boats over certain high $$ amounts), they don't write loans less than $25K and that's amount borrowed after you have made your down payment, and they require 20% down payment. So you will be looking at something 1994 or newer and will need to buy a $30K boat at least to have a $25K loan after you've made your down payment.

You might look into owner financing. It's not real common but we bought our first liveaboard boat that way 30 years ago and it worked out well for us. It just depends on how badly someone wants to sell their boat.

As for clothing....my husband and I lived on a 24' Bristol and both had to dress professionally. We had a land based storage locker close by the marina that was basically set up like a big closet with hanging rods, shelves and a couple of dressers. We traded out clothing every few days so only actually kept a few days work clothes and our casual clothes aboard the boat at any point in time. This only works if the storage room is either very convenient to the boat or nearby your place of work, or somewhere along your normal travel route.

I can't speak to air conditioning as we lived aboard in Southern California and never needed it, but I'll likely be looking for an answer to that question myself soon.

Good luck with your plan!!
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Old 08-09-2014, 18:05   #12
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

AC will be a must around NOLA. Even on the hook there are many days which are deathly still and you'll feel like you're stuck in a hot parked car in Arizona. That said, the smaller the vessel you go for, the fewer the BTU you require for your boat, so the less the cost for the AC unit! Most ACs will fit snugly under one of your saloon seat and will require a through-hull, strainer, pump and skin fitting to spit the (warmer) water back over board. The nice thing about the more expensive units is that they're reversible cycle such that you can use them as heater on cold winter days. This approach can be more cost effective than a AC and separate cabin heater (diesel), however you'll become a slave to shore power, so consider that too along with the requirements for SP, such as a marina berth....
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Old 08-09-2014, 19:45   #13
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

One post has been removed for violating the be nice rule and three who responded to it. My apologies to the three response posters.

Coops.
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Old 09-09-2014, 07:41   #14
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Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

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One post has been removed for violating the be nice rule and three who responded to it. My apologies to the three response posters.

Coops.
So can you PM me the posts? I appreciate blunt honesty. It will help me in making decisions. Advice is advice no matter how it is delivered.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:19   #15
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pirate Re: Living on a Sail Boat in New Orleans area?

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So can you PM me the posts? I appreciate blunt honesty. It will help me in making decisions. Advice is advice no matter how it is delivered.
Hiya CH. No point in that. I made disparaging remarks and while I haven't read the 3 other posts, they were doubtless directed at my discourteous post, not your original post. You haven't missed any real advice. Steady as she goes mate.
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