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Old 09-07-2018, 09:03   #1
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Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Hello all!

I知 Lauren, 27 years old and finally deciding I知 just not cut out for land life. So my plan is this: I am getting rid of most of my possessions barring only what will make life on a boat easier/manageable, I am going to buy a used boat, and live on it. As I get accustomed to sea life and (probably) work on making the boat pretty inside again. I dont have much money to play with, so I知 hoping to get something for $3000 or less that floats and sails and anchors.

Basically ive been trying to downsize ever since i moved out on my own in a one-bedroom house i rented. I had so much unused space and nothing to do with it, so i ended up just collecting piles and piles of junk. I got married and tried the picket-fence life, and although the marriage didnt work out, i did figure out that was not the kind of life i want. It took me a couple of years of thinking and figuring out what it was i really wanted from my life, but I think if finally on to something.

So i suppose the main reason I知 posting this is for like a peer-review of sorts. I think I知 at a point where I am as prepared as I possibly can be to make this switch, but I want to make sure I知 not being overly impulsive and missing something critically important. Ive done some extensive data collection, from the internet and from personal sources, compiled a list of things I should be regularly concerned about, things I should be prepared for that could constitute an emergency, and more.

I致e been approaching this from a minimalist/survivalist standpoint, three minutes without air, three hours without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food. To those ends, air is pretty easy to come by, pretty much everywhere except under water. But in the unlikely event that for whatever reason i end up under water, whether from a capsize or other nasty event, I figure it would be a good idea to have an easily accessible emergency small SCUBA tank. Not much more I can do on that front.

The next biggest things I would worry about would be what make my environment more friendly, can i warm up if im cold, or can i cool down if im hot. In tropical latitudes cold may not be a huge issue all the time, so i might be set with just a couple sweatshirts. Around the arctic circle on the other hand, i may want a built in furnace or other heat source and some space heaters, lest i slowly go hypothermic. The Sea and foul weather go together like eggs and bacon, so ill need to keep myself dry while not diving overboard: insulated, water resistant weather gear">foul weather gear including a parka and insulated waterproof pants along with layers of other clothing should do the trick i think. I enjoy hiking and literally dont leave my home without a loaded pack so i can take off at any point, so as far as survival on land, i have that covered as well because, quite obviously, i wont be leaving my pack shoreside.

In the event of a sinking, capsize, fire, or other unforseen emergency that would force me to abandon ship, ill need a secondary means of creating shelter at sea and staying warm and dry. A Life raft or rib are good options, additionally i think i should have ditch-bag that i can grab on the fly with some basics as i deploy the lifeboat.

Water was what i was having the most trouble figuring out how to provide myself with. Then i came across a device called a water maker which seems to be the best option. I think a 30+ gallon freshwater tank is probably the smallest tank i should go with just because in the event of a failure of the water maker, i would have up to 30 days at sea to figure out where to replenish my stores (figuring one gallon per day). I also plan to have back up options for water acquisition at sea, a tarp for catching rainwater, and a still.

Food is my lowest priority as far as survival goes, for me it really only helps determine my level of comfort wherever i am. I barely use my refrigerator for anything aside from cooling my drinks, so food storage on board shouldn稚 be a problem even with the smallest of refrigerators (if it even has one!). Are there staple items that should be kept on board? Are there food preparation considerations that are different aboard as opposed to on land?

Money has been probably one of my biggest concerns while planning for this, depending on the quality of equipment i choose, the condition of the boat, and more i could spend anywhere from $2,500 to $50,000! In preparing for my move, what items should take high priority and what should be a lower priority. Should i replacing the faulty fuel filter or the life jacket no one is going to for the next 3 months (obviously just an example). Also, earning my own money has been a concern as well. The plan is to work a shore job at first while i make the adjustment, but eventually I want to run my own business from my boat. Is that kind of thing practical? I mean, I dont exactly need that much money, just enough to cover fuel and food and maintenance.

Anyway, thank you very much for reading this long post, I really look forward to hearing your thoughts. Attached/linked is a list of items that I came up with. I dont know how it will pan out, but its what i have so far.

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

Thanks So Much!
Lauren
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:04   #2
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Welcome to the forum, Lauren. Wow, that's a lot of information for a first post!!

I'm considering sailing upon retirement, and I'm a prepper. I grew up sailing on the coast, nothing more complicated than a sunfish, but my wife has never sailed. She'll have to learn to man the helm, and we'll need some hand signals while I tend the sails and anchor.

My question for you is what boating experience do you have? If none, I suggest you start hanging around a marina/boat yard, learn the ropes. Plus, a marina/boat yard is where you'll find more or less abandoned boats. Hulls are cheap, it's all the other stuff that costs $$. It would be a bonus if you could get a job at a boat yard and learn the trade.
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Old 11-07-2018, 05:46   #3
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Ah, a girl and a dream with no money. You need to do a lot more reading and research then you will know the real questions to start asking (one at a time).

Good luck.
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Old 11-07-2018, 06:13   #4
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Hi Lauren, my advise would be to focus on what's in front of you. Don't consider the arctic right now if you're new to it and looking for a small liveaboard for $3000. Focus on finding a boat that won't need a lot of work and is more or less ready to be a home. Watermakers are great but they are expensive, easily the cost of the boat you propose. And if you're planning on living aboard locally stateside, are really not very necessary. As nc said, getting some experience on and around boats would be helpful. Do you know what you want in a boat? By all means jump in head first, but do your homework and know what your getting into. There's a lot to learn to make it work. Don't be another owner who buys a cheap boat and can't keep it seaworthy! Remember, a boat is just a means to and end. It won't in of itself solve any problems for you.

I don't mean to discourage, but it sounds like you're still in the early stages of wrapping your head around this whole boat thing.

All the best!
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:00   #5
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Might start off reading this:

https://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Li.../dp/0939837668

Although all sorts of people have done all sorts of things, my "minimum realistic size chart" looks something like this:

1 person: 26-30 feet
2 people 30-34 feet
3 people 35-38 feet
4 people 40 feet plus

Like anything, that's a "rough estimate".

$3000 is well below the "price of admission" for ready to go boats in any of these categories. Anything you get for that price will require substantial time/money/both to get it ready to go. Always remember that the correct spelling is sailboat, not saleboat...and if you buy the latter, the change of ending up with the former can diminish significantly unless you've got a significant skill set.

Also keep in mind that there is generally an inverse correlation between those boat features that make a boat "nice to live on" and "nice to sail long distances in the occasional storm".

If this is mostly going to be a liveaboard that stays tied up at the dock, consider something like a Catalina 27 with an outboard engine. The lack of an inboard power plant +/- a generator will free up a substantial amount of space belowdecks and the lack of a lot of internal systems (raw water/fresh water cooling/associated throguh hulls/motor mounts/etc) will simplify maintenance.

Good luck!
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:12   #6
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Hi, NCGun, thanks for the welcome!

I’ve sailed a sunfish, a 10’ or 12’ dinghy, and I’ve had some experience on my uncles fishing boat (21’ Boston Whaler?), though nothing very in depth. When I sailed the dinghy I went too fast, put too much stress on the rudder, and snapped the bolt (shitty nylon or other composite) holding it on! I was stranded and when my father went to come out and tow me to shore, I learned that the retired LCDR didn’t know how to row, haha!!

I would love to get more experience by hanging around marinas and whatnot, but unfortunately I’m landlocked in PA. My largest local body of water is a river too shallow for any of the boats I would consider OR a 3sq mi lake that doesn’t allow boating because it’s a nature preserve lol. Great idea and It’ll probably be something I do once I’m living on board, but It’s not something I can do where I am, and my next move is onto my boat.

Sailorboy,
I know I’m inexperienced and lacking knowledge, but I am in the process of furthering that knowledge. I was mostly asking for a... I’m not sure, fact check? Reality check? To see if I’m going about things the right way. I suppose I’ll take it as a compliment

Laika,
You’re right I do need to focus on what’s in front of me, which is the move to the boat. It is literally the next thing I do in my life past day to day living. The Arctic, while an eventual goal (I really want to visit Norway!) was just an example of an extreme environment.

A lot of people I’ve come across have said that buying a smaller boat and then upgrading is impractical, so I’m trying to find the boat I’ll have for the next 10-15 years. While I’m inexperienced now, once I finally get my sea legs and I have a way to earn a living at sea, I really don’t intend to stay in the same place for very long at all. The further I can get away from the U.S. the better, I’m sick of it.

The idea behind finding a boat that requires some refurbishing is that it’ll save me money in the short term and allow me to portion out the expenses for the refit. I have nothing to spend money on save food, drink, vices, and the boat, the most important of which is the boat.

When you ask me what I want in a boat, I’m not sure what you may be looking for, but the parameters I have been operating under are: 27-36’, aft cockpit, wheeled steering, a longer keel (3/4?), and an inboard powerplant (does not need to run as-is). Beyond that, I’m still learning.

Chloroxbottle,

I’m prinarily looking for a boat that is a good sailer, living comforts are secondary. For the past couple years I’ve basically been living in a bedroom with kitchen access, so minimalist living isn’t that new to me. As far as fixing things, I’m extremely mechanically inclined and have yet to find something I can’t fix. Engine and electrical work are my specialty.

Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate the feedback!

Lauren
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:33   #7
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by edge0302 View Post
The idea behind finding a boat that requires some refurbishing is that it値l save me money in the short term and allow me to portion out the expenses for the refit. I have nothing to spend money on save food, drink, vices, and the boat, the most important of which is the boat.
It is usually cheaper to pay more for a boat that is closer to the condition you need.

Say a small sailboat all ready to cruise the Arctic to Norway can be bought for $60,000.

Compare to finding a sound but less immediately blue water ready boat for $20,000. The fixing up process could cost you $70,000 and two hard-working years to get to the condition of the $60,000 instance.

While you are on her, learning to be ready to do that yourself, say only $10,000 a year for five years for direct boat-related expenses.

By getting the "cheaper" boat you've lost time sailing as well as a lot of money.

Now, you could just set out on a Huck Finn raft and quite likely die.

But the above numbers are more realistic if you want reasonable safety. Not talking about much comfort, just a small boat most land dwellers would never be able to stand living in.
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Old 11-07-2018, 08:59   #8
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by edge0302 View Post

Sailorboy,
I know I知 inexperienced and lacking knowledge, but I am in the process of furthering that knowledge. I was mostly asking for a... I知 not sure, fact check? Reality check? To see if I知 going about things the right way. I suppose I値l take it as a compliment
I'm not trying to talk you out of it. I'm generally in the "Go for it" group that believes you can learn sailing and boat stuff along the way just is just fine.

Just that you asked too big a question and the various parts of answers are going to get lost. As an example you talk about getting a $3k sailboat, but then talk about getting a watermaker that will cost just about as much (I'm a full time cruiser and I don't have a watermaker).

I spent 2 years researching cruising before I took my first sailing lesson. sailing is easy, but living on a sailboat needs more thought.

BTW - in boating any boat problem can be overcome, ....................... with the proper application of cash
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Old 11-07-2018, 09:29   #9
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by edge0302 View Post
I really don稚 intend to stay in the same place for very long at all. The further I can get away from the U.S. the better, I知 sick of it...

...I知 prinarily looking for a boat that is a good sailer, living comforts are secondary.
In the case, ignore my suggestion about the outboard equipped Catalina 27. Take a look at some of these;

https://www.amazon.com/Twenty-Small-.../dp/0939837323

I would probably look at 27-33 foot boats. 36 and above are good boats but depending on your circumstances they can be more difficult to dock singlehanded. There are quite a few good ones in that size range in that book.
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Old 11-07-2018, 10:28   #10
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Thanks for elaborating Lauren. I was in a very similar situation a few years back.. bought my 27' at 27yo. My purchase price was $30k and over the years I've put another $30k into it, including lot of time in boatyards that I'll not get back!

You could do it for a lot cheaper. If your patient in your boat search, and don't restrict yourself to only a certain boat, you may get lucky. There's something to be said about finding a fully loaded boat as John61ct described. There's also something to be said for finding a bare bones boat and adding to it once you understand through experience what you actually want. You may find that a lot of improvements a previous owner made to that "ready to go" boat werent actually all that well thought out. Depends a lot on the previous owner(s).

Either way, having some prior experience going into the purchase can really give you a leg up. A lot depends on what particular examples crop up in your search. keep an open mind to all possibilities. There's a million ways to outfit a boat to cruise and everyone's different.

Re the money thing: it's never been easier to make a liveable income remotely. That's not to say it's easy. I've had luck in having a good network of clients for website work throughout my years traveling. IN all, the best approach generally seems to be establishing some kind of operation stateside that you can take with you or that generates passive income. You'll find it much harder and more complicated to make money while passing through the places you travel. Countries generally don't smile upon foreigners extracting income from their economies, and trade between other cruisers is generally pretty thrifty.

That's one of the beautiful things about it really, I suppose. In a lot of the less developed places it's often more of a trade or barter kind of thing rather than the "fiat" money economy. Tho you inevitably need a solid cruising kitty to keep the dream afloat..
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Old 11-07-2018, 11:42   #11
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

I believe anything can be done if you set your mind to it, and are disciplined.

I'd start by looking at used boats via internet ads in the 25 - 30 foot range, and getting an idea of what's needed, from the boat up.

Probably best to move, get a job on the coast, buy the boat, move onboard, and work it from there - while keeping the job. The self-employment is probably going to have to wait until you get the boat in acceptable shape, with money coming in from the shoreside job. Good luck - you are an independent thinker.
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Old 11-07-2018, 12:02   #12
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Lauren:

I would pay close attention to what Laika has told you. His boat is a favourite design of mine, and I wish I had one myself. It strikes, IMO, just the right balance - for a single person - between habitability and ocean-going capability. But as he points out, a Vancouver 27 is not cheap!

As it happens, just yesterday I saw a listing for a boat that would also do the job you want it to do, and for a lot less money. The listing price is $16.5K and the boat will no doubt finally sell for $12K.

Your problem will not be finding a boat. That's easy. It is also easy to BUY a boat. The difficulty is in paying for the KEEPING and the maintenance of it. Whatever boat you buy in the sort of price range you seem able to afford, you need to budget $10K a year (minimum) for the keeping of it. That is just for the boat. Keeping your own body and soul together is extra :-)

You've come to the right forum to "get educated". We have lots and lots of people with excellent experience as sailing instructors, and we have lots and lots of people who have lived aboard for 30 years and more and know just how to do that. We have lots of people with real "blue water" (ocean sailing) experience, and some of them are in fact in the waters near Norway at the moment. Way before yachting was Everyman's sport, I myself came out of the womb in Denmark - rowing a skiff ;-)!

My purpose in sending you this note is to express my hope that you will stick around and learn from us. Ive looked at your spreadsheet, and it is very good. Nevertheless, I think you need to massage your plan a little and to polish it a little. Will you stick around and let us help you do that :-)?

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Old 11-07-2018, 12:46   #13
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

Thank you all for your replies and advice, I am certainly going to have a lot more reading to do! I really do appreciate all the feedback.



Some of the things, however, I just can't do so I will have to work around. A boat costing five figures is just an impossibility, I couldn't get a loan if I tried, moreover I'm not willing to try because I do not like owing anyone money. I don't have much time to find the boat because of my living situation, and I can't get an apartment because I'll end up stuck there for years more, which is again, something I can't live with. A shoreside job was already something I figured on (likely EMS) while I work on my business. A lot of the reason I'm leaning so heavily toward a fixer-upper is that I am a huge proponent of thoroughly understanding everything you operate; this affords me that opportunity.



I'm not discounting anything that's been said, I just need to do things in the buying process that are probably not considered the "conventional" way of doing things.



Thank you all so much!
Lauren
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Old 11-07-2018, 13:25   #14
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

You may be surprised at how nice some boats are in the " Free or nearly free thread "

FREE, or close to free!

Good luck !
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Old 11-07-2018, 13:47   #15
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Re: Making Plans to Live Aboard a Sailboat

I never thought of looking in forums for "for sale" items! That's great! Thank you so much!



Lauren
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