"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 :-)