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Old 07-11-2008, 06:06   #1
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Livingaboard...On Dry Land?

Here my plea, o sailors, and tell me if I'm crazy or not.

I have two goals that I believe may be commensurate: one, I'd like to transition to writing full time in the coming years and two, I'd like to fulfill a long time dream to live on a boat. My hope is that, once the boat is paid off, my living expenses will be marginal enough to allow a meager income from writing (or various odd, part-time, and temporary jobs) to support a full-time "life of the mind." Think Walden, but on a boat.

But there's a catch - there's always a catch. In this case, it's that I live in Georgia, which has essentially outlawed living aboard on all public waterways. I do know that people get away with it, but with a boat that, for the next few several years at least, would be financed, I don't think this is a good idea and am not interested in it.

So now to the crazy part. My backup plan is just to get an apartment and buy a small weekender, maybe a Marshall 18. I'd spend weekends on the lake learning to sail (oh yeah, did I mention I'm exclusively an arm-chair sailor?) and coming to grips with staying on a boat. The problem with this is that it really doesn't move me all that much closer to my goal. The other other plan, the crazy one, is this: buy a trailerable liveaboard and live on the boat...on a plot of grass somewhere. Take the boat to the lake on weekends, learn to sail, all that...but live on the boat while it's in storage on land.

Is that crazy? Is it even possible? My first concern is with the hull. It'd spend the better part of three years out of water, which is a problem. But I'm also worried that the supports might damage the hull. There are other concerns, like where and how to get water and electricity and someone to empty the holding tank from time to time, insurance and all the rest. But this is probably the only way I'm going to be able to make a radical break with 9-5 and all that, so I'm willing to do things a bit unconventionally.

Possible candidates include a Flicka, a Nor'Sea 27, a Bristol Channel Cutter, a Marshall 22 or Nonsuch 26, etc. The boat I really want is the Westsail 32, but definitely not trailerable. All fiberglass, of course.

So, if you've made it through this overlong post, what do you think?
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:32   #2
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Yes, you're mad.
Nicely mad. But mad.
Methinks if you spent a year or two trying to live on a trailer sailor boat parked up ashore - you'd loose your mind and give up on the whole idea which is a shame.
IMHO you should cut back on landside expenses - but live in a proper home. Buy the best boat you can afford and get out there sailing when you've got the time. One day you'll either see your love of the ocean rise to such a level you'll just have to make the big step. Or you'll achieve the dream like most of us in a regular orderly sort of time frame.
Either way - my plan may see you eventually doing it.
Your plan risks that ever happening:-)
Good luck
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:32   #3
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Ok what can I say that might help!

First I agree with John that living on a boat on ground is not a realistic lifestyle. Living aboard a boat in water is however very reasonable. So if I have this correct you might rent an appartment and buy a weekender. Would it not make since to buy a boat big enough to live on and instead of paying rent, pay for dockage.

Is your 9 to 5 job one that can not be preformed in another location if Georgia will not allow you to live on board? Not sure what your budget is for a trailer sailer but I know if you look hard enough you can find 30 foot boats for $ 7000.00 or more. Of course they might need some TLC but that is what makes the boat yours and a boat that is loved is a boat that will take care of you.

I am almost positive that what ever your job is you can do it in another area such as Florida or the Carolina's until you develop the sailing skills to go where you want when you want.

Keep in mind simple things when buying your boat to live on. Showers and back up power, refridgeration, although beer stays cold in a bucket of salt water....lol. Unfortunatly, I can't live on my boat. Not that its not big enough or good enough but the winters here are to harsh to want to. I am on a 2 year plan to cruise to Florida and the Bahamas were I hope to spend my winters while running a Charter boat business here in Nova Scotia in the Summer.

I have found boats online for under 10 000.00 that will make a great liveaboard and as for sailing experience it is much easier to learn on a bigger boat then a smaller one. I would forget about the trailer sailor and start living your dream. Maybe pick up the Dec issue of Latitudes & Attitudes and read the artical by Bob Bitchin on page 8.

Cheers
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:37   #4
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Living aboard and earning any money from writing is a very long shot. You would have more success in Las Vegas at making money. I speak from experience since my wife and I have been freelance writers for many years and have had quite a number of articles published. But the income is meager and most boating magazines as well as other publications have "editors" or "working contributors" and do not often accept articles from the common folk unless it is something very unusual. As a result you don't see much in the way of new and exciting materials to read. If you have fixed expenses you will need a job that offers a regular income or you become one of the homeless except living on a floating platform that most states and municipalities are trying to regulate out of existence.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:01   #5
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Thanks everyone for the responses! I knew it was too silly to be true...

While I can afford a nice weekender, or perhaps a cheap candidate for a liveaboard, while living in an apartment, I had hoped to find a way to avoid giving so much of my hard earned money to a landlord, and put more into a nicer boat with long term living and cruising potential. Just thinking what boat I could afford with 3 or 4 years of rent money makes me a little queasy.

Anyway, I'm essentially living out of a bedroom right now anyway, so can't imagine living on a boat (even a Flicka) would be all that different. Too, Thoreau's cabin was only 10' x 15', so 20' x 8' doesn't seem that far off.

Appreciate the comment about the difficulty of earning a living from writing as well. I realize how hard it is to make any money freelancing for magazines, but my plans lie elsewhere. I want to give it a shot for a while, so I don't regret never having tried for the rest of my life.

Still, haven't heard any technical reasons why my plan is unworkable, yet. I'd sure love to hear something along the lines of "living on a trailer will ruin the hull" or, more accurately, I'd love to hear that it wouldn't!
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:05   #6
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It won't damage firbreglass.

Provide the hull is supported correctly (ie aligned with bulkehads etc) you'll not do it any damage.

Good luck
JOHN
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Old 07-11-2008, 20:05   #7
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Interesting thread. I currently live aboard a 27 foot Tartan and love it. But have been thinking bad thoughts. What happens should the marina owner sell to a developer. I could probably put her on a trailer and keep her on grass but what about the mast. Would need to at the very least to change to a cabin stepped mast.

So what about a power boat around the same size. Could it be parked in a RV park. Still would be able to get on the water. But would I?
Guess what I am telling myself is I live on a boat because I like being on the water. If I wanted to live in a RV park I should buy an RV. Not. There are still some places you can go on the hook around my part of Florida. A few more miles to the nursing home to see the wife but better than not being on the water.

Oh well by the time South Florida Real Estate comes back I'll be in a room next to my wife at the nursing home.

Sorry kind of hit a button for me. To answer your question seems to me writing is one of those things that can be done anywhere. So why stay in GA. when there are still places that you can live to way you want.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:35   #8
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I would very much like to live aboard a project boat say in Florida from december to april because I live in Alaska and I am off season during that time, and its what I am looking for right now, either that or buy an older cheap RV and live in it next to your boat. I have seen a ton of perfectly liveable RVs for under $2K some a lot cheaper, its not like you need to fuel them up all the time.

Again thats my stepping stone, buy a cheap RV, find boat, hopefully boat is where I can park close bye, use genset if needed from RV and all existing amenities like shower, cooking and sewage. With the economy getting worse literally by the hour from this mistaken election I think its a buyers market right now.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:48   #9
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I can't help it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverado6x6 View Post
With the economy getting worse literally by the hour from this mistaken election I think its a buyers market right now.
I don't think the election was a mistake. We have one like that every four years!

J
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:00   #10
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hah ha, you got me there.

But anyway about the OP comment would it not be a good idea to live in an RV AND work on the boat? If the boat was trailerable in an emergency and in a hurricane evac situation the boat can also be moved that is unless the budget or mindset requires to live on the boat only.
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Old 12-11-2008, 18:52   #11
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Zissou - Living aboard a trailerable-size boat is, at best, very difficult. Living aboard a trailerable sized boat while it is on the trailer is, well, totally insane! Just getting on and off will very soon become a dreaded PITA. Having the weight and jostling of you inside - full time - while on the trailer will not be good for the structure of the boat. You will be EXTREMELY uncomfortable and unhappy. I have never seen a boater who is happy while living on his boat when it is on shore. We ALL hate it when we must haul out for maintenance and can't wait to get back into the water.
Bite the bullet, my friend. Live in the apartment and buy the weekender. Live frugally and learn to sail. Meanwhile, keep looking for gainful employment in an area where you CAN live aboard. When you find it, then sell the daysailer, move and buy a decent boat to live on. BTW - it won't be any cheaper to live aboard in a marina than it is to live in an apartment - not much anyways - especially in areas where it stays warm enough to live on board year round. (Sure, a few eskimos do live on board year round in New England, etc - but I mean living in a degree of comfort!)
Don't shoot yourself in the foot and wind up hating yourself and your boat. Take your time and do it "right" - it's worth it!
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Old 14-11-2008, 08:22   #12
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I am no eskimo and live aboard year round in Ontario Canada... There certainly are more people than I doing it, we are perfectly comfortable, since we knew we lived in Canada we arranged all the things like heat and insulation. It has proven less expensive for us than maintaining the house or the rental was. I personally would not do it if I had to live on the hard... now that is uncomfortable in my opinion anyhow.
We hear things all the time from folks, stuff like oh its not allowed in Ontario... absolutely not true. It just needs to be arranged.
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Old 14-11-2008, 12:14   #13
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"...I live in Georgia, which has essentially outlawed living aboard on all public waterways."
IMHO it is doable to live aboard on land... weird, but doable.
To fill your time while you do this, organize a group, cruisers, liveaboards, etc. and challenge the law.(it's bound to be unconstitutional). Draw straws to see who gets to be the test case

mm
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Old 16-11-2008, 03:53   #14
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I agree. A bit wierd but definitely doable. It sounds to me that you are trying to live your dream as efficiently as possible, killing two birds with one stone. This is commendable. If you're going to liveaboard, most people are going to think you're a bit wierd anyway, so get used to it.

What about this: Try to rent a boat that's on land for several months. I imagine that you could rent one pretty cheap, since you wouldn't have much competition from other "tenants" :-)... and a lot of people with boats are pretty cash-poor right now.

If you still want to live aboard on the water after that ordeal, you're probably going to be pretty happy doing so. I slept aboard my Catalina 22 on its trailer several times at the marina, and it doesn't feel much different from sleeping on the water at the dock.

As to climbing up and down, I don't agree. If you live on a boat, you're going to be climbing up and down and around quite a lot anyway. To my mind, that just helps keep you in shape. That being said, climbing around on boats is a bit dangerous obviously, but to my mind, that just goes with the territory.

Ben
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Old 16-11-2008, 06:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverado6x6 View Post
I would very much like to live aboard a project boat say in Florida from december to april because I live in Alaska and I am off season during that time, and its what I am looking for right now, either that or buy an older cheap RV and live in it next to your boat. I have seen a ton of perfectly liveable RVs for under $2K some a lot cheaper, its not like you need to fuel them up all the time.

Again thats my stepping stone, buy a cheap RV, find boat, hopefully boat is where I can park close bye, use genset if needed from RV and all existing amenities like shower, cooking and sewage. With the economy getting worse literally by the hour from this mistaken election I think its a buyers market right now.
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