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Old 27-12-2015, 22:24   #1
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Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

Hello,
I am a 20 year old college student right now. I have been working hard and saving as much as I can so that after I graduate college, I can buy a sailboat and sail for a year or two before I enter the real world. This has been a huge dream of mine and I have done the research.

I need some help from you experts:
  • Advice on picking a boat (What do you wish you knew when you were buying?)
  • Advice on privisoning (What are your must haves?)
  • Advice on what you didn't expect
  • Advice on place I must go see

Or, add anything you think I should know as part of the liveaboard experience that a youngin like me should know. I scour craigslist day and night for boats and search for days for any know how I should know. I am also realistic about it all.

Thank you
Wilson
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Old 27-12-2015, 23:18   #2
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsontrawick View Post
Hello,
I am a 20 year old college student right now. I have been working hard and saving as much as I can so that after I graduate college, I can buy a sailboat and sail for a year or two before I enter the real world. This has been a huge dream of mine and I have done the research.

I need some help from you experts:
  • Advice on picking a boat (What do you wish you knew when you were buying?)
  • Advice on privisoning (What are your must haves?)
  • Advice on what you didn't expect
  • Advice on place I must go see

Or, add anything you think I should know as part of the liveaboard experience that a youngin like me should know. I scour craigslist day and night for boats and search for days for any know how I should know. I am also realistic about it all.

Thank you
Wilson

You probably will not like the answers, but simply put:

LESS IS MORE!

Not only must you pick a boat you can afford, you must pick a boat you can afford to maintain, sail, and live on. Stay away from marinas if you really want to save money.

Provisioning for what? Only buy what you normally eat or use, otherwise you will be wasting money.

I didn't expect that I would prefer living on the hook vs. living at a marina.

Unless you are going to college to get a required "certificate" to be something, i.e.: doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. then you are wasting your money and time going to college. Spend ALL of your early years visiting the world. Your career will follow much later if you still want it.
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Old 28-12-2015, 05:11   #3
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

So many of your needs regarding the vessel, expectations and places to see depend upon where you will be beginning your adventure. This includes the opportunities for anchoring out as opposed to staying at marinas. This is a worldwide forum; however, there are even differences in needs by latitude within the same country.

Congratulations upon the pursuit of your college degree. I found my time in college to be as great an adventure and as valuable as my cruising life.

So, will you be on board alone? ...how limited a budget? ...geographical region? ...and what are your destination goals? ...wilderness isolation, populated resorts, different cultures, challenging seas ...?
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Old 28-12-2015, 05:20   #4
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Wilson.
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Old 28-12-2015, 06:16   #5
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

There is a Wilson Trawick at the University of Florida. So supposing this is the right Wilson. You are well placed to find a boat as there seem to be plenty in the area.

When you look for a boat, make sure there isn't alot of water down in the bilge, see if you can have the owner start and run the engine. Ask when the rigging was replaced, and for proof. Cultivate a friend who knows something about boats or hire a surveyor.


In Florida, shallow draft is better than deep draft until you decide to sail out to the Caribbean, but even then in most of the interesting places a shallow draft-- less than four feet -- is a requirement.

For living, a catamaran gives more room, but its harder and more expensive to find a Marina when you need to tie up.

Good luck, fair winds and following seas.
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Old 28-12-2015, 07:12   #6
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

Maybe I missed it but do you have any sailing experience? If so, what experience and on what boats?

I ask particularly about sailing because you said you want to go around the world. Power boats can do that too, but they tend to have high price tags.

If the answer is no experience then I think the standard recommendation is to take the ASA classes required to charter, hang out at marinas and race on other peoples boats, dinghy sail, and then try chartering to see if you actually like living aboard. People certainly have skipped all or some of these steps but it makes the whole endevour and boat choice much riskier.

Great plan. I wish I had done it.
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Old 28-12-2015, 07:23   #7
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

Welcome to CF!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsontrawick View Post
I can buy a sailboat and sail for a year or two
-[*]Advice on picking a boat (What do you wish you knew when you were buying?)[*]Advice on privisoning (What are your must haves?)[*]Advice on what you didn't expect [*]Advice on place I must go see
Very hard if not impossible to answer with so little info

Sail for a year, or two years, doesn't sound like a circumnavigation to me, so where / what region are you thinking? Do you want to buy a boat near where you are and start from there, or buy a boat already in or near a certain location / part of the world?

Pretty much - what Hudson Force posted
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Old 28-12-2015, 08:36   #8
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

The main thing that I wish is that I had done what you are planning to do. Good on Ya! Small is WAY less expensive than even a modest amount bigger. Plan on staying rather local to where you buy the boat or if you buy one in a area that is not a popular sailing spot move to an area where support and big box stores are so the initial learning and fixing does not involve a lot of travel and shipping for parts and supplies. Florida comes to mind.

"Unless you are going to college to get a required "certificate" to be something, i.e.: doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. then you are wasting your money and time going to college. Spend ALL of your early years visiting the world. Your career will follow much later if you still want it."

I like that you plan to finish college first. I had a lot of fun in school and learned a lot about life. Don't think of college as a trade school. Think of college as a chance to explore areas that you don't know.

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Old 28-12-2015, 09:26   #9
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

You may be better off crewing and saving your money.
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Old 28-12-2015, 09:42   #10
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

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Originally Posted by Spade Anchor View Post
You may be better off crewing and saving your money.
Sound advice.
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Old 28-12-2015, 10:05   #11
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

Let us know where you are. There are many on this forum who would help you in person if you are close. I am in So Cal so if you are near there PM me. Be glad to help.
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Old 28-12-2015, 10:12   #12
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

Quote:
Originally Posted by wilsontrawick View Post
Hello,
I am a 20 year old college student right now. I have been working hard and saving as much as I can so that after I graduate college, I can buy a sailboat and sail for a year or two before I enter the real world. This has been a huge dream of mine and I have done the research.

I need some help from you experts:
  • Advice on picking a boat (What do you wish you knew when you were buying?)
  • Advice on privisoning (What are your must haves?)
  • Advice on what you didn't expect
  • Advice on place I must go see

Or, add anything you think I should know as part of the liveaboard experience that a youngin like me should know. I scour craigslist day and night for boats and search for days for any know how I should know. I am also realistic about it all.

Thank you
Wilson
I was surprised by how expensive it was to maintain the boat after the purchase. Was also surprised how much work was needed for even a well found vessel after the purchase.

If you're on the US east coast, you have the islands right in the backyard. Hard to beat!

Do you have any friends that might be willing to join you? I did it with a couple friends on my early 20s. Found it helped a lot to spread out the costs and learning curve among a few people.. I became the mechanic, another was the nav/wx guy, one was the electrican, etc..

It may be hard to integrate into the real world after it's said and done
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Old 28-12-2015, 10:45   #13
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

A lot of good advice so far. I whole heartedly agree that bigger is not better. Get the smallest, best quality boat that will get the job done in the best condition you can find. You are much better off spending more & getting a boat in good condition. Buying a fixer upper at a bargain is fool's gold. The best way to get an idea of condition is to actually look at the boat in person. Boats typically look better in pictures than in person. Often way better. So look at a lot of boats in person. The more you look at the more you'll know. I also agree that draft is important if you're cruising Florida. I'd stay under 4'.
Here's a couple of listings of good quality boats.

1979 Pacific Seacraft PS 25 sailboat for sale in Florida
1985 HINTERHOELLER NONSUCH 26 SLOOP sailboat for sale in Florida
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Old 28-12-2015, 11:10   #14
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

"I am a 20 year old college student right now. I have been working hard and saving as much as I can so that after I graduate college, I can buy a sailboat and sail for a year or two before I enter the real world. This has been a huge dream of mine and I have done the research."

How's yer boat handling? How's yer seamanship? You don't mention it, and you may be a good boat handler and a good seaman, but at age 20 few of us were. So let's put the cruising questions aside for now. We can come back to them later.

First thing you have to decide is whether you are willing to live in what amounts to a closet at a cost that will turn out to be greater than the cost of living in an apartment ashore. You may be willing to do that as a way of "paying the tuition" that all seafaring men have to pay.

All the previous posters have given you good advice. Stay small. Go cheap. IMO the only sensible way to get started on doing what you are proposing to do is to buy a boat so cheap that you can afford to walk away from the purchase price. Consider it what accountants call "sunk costs" :-)

While you have the "junker", upgrade 'er, not so much for the purpose of making her "better", let alone making her fit for an ocean cruise, but as a means for you to learn the rudiments of ALL the various trades in which a serious seafaring man must have enuff skills to stay safe at sea and to stay out of the clutches of "professionals" ashore!

As for the actual LIVING aboard, it depends on where you are. Here in the Salish Sea, benign tho the climate be, the winters are cold enuff that you prolly wouldn't want to live aboard twixt mid-September and mid-May. Where are you going to keep all your clobber? I don't live aboard, but even so I keep a full-size van for no other purpose than having a place to keep all the "stuff" that won't fit on my thirty-footer.

Our friend Lizzy-Belle (I see a reply from her) in her blog sez some very tenchant things about living aboard. Unfortunately she sez most of them in Dutch :-) Nevertheless, you would be wise to pay strict attention to someone who actually lives in a 27-footer! A 27-foot floating "travel trailer" (e.g. 30 year old Catalina 27) you should be able to pick up for two and half kilobux "ready to cruise" (Ha! Don't you believe the marketing fluff!), and such a vessel with teach you not only to live aboard, but also to do the maintenance work and budget for the upkeep, and she will even teach you the rudiments of boat handling and seamanship if you don't already have them.

Then, when you are ready to enter "the real world" upon graduation, if you've done a good job on the boat, she may be worth keeping, and if you haven't, learning being what it is, you can simply assassinate her and go on to something better - and more expensive :-)

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Old 28-12-2015, 11:23   #15
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Re: Looking for tips to liveabord-20 years old

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Originally Posted by Spade Anchor View Post
You may be better off crewing and saving your money.
Very good advice! +1

One other thought. If your dream is to sail great. If your dream is to cruise there are very low powered power boats that don't have the expense of sail and rig that could be considered. The Scout 30 comes to mind. Nimble made a 24 foot outboard powered one. There is a 26 or 27 foot diesel powered center cockpit boat made maybe in Sweden that would be a good thing to look at. Sorry I just can't come up with the name ..... It is heck getting old. Any power boat in this size range that cruises faster that 5 or 6 knots will use more fuel than makes sense to pay for for any of us on a tight budget.

While not exotic sounding like "islands of the Caribbean" America's Great Loup would be a wonderful adventure. I talked about a month ago with a young man who is on his second time around in an outboard powered dory with a cuddy cabin. America's Great Loup Cruisers Association. About Us - America's Great Loop Cruisers' Association
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