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Old 16-08-2015, 10:01   #1
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Making the liveaboard decision. help!

I am about 5 years away from a planned move to full time cruising. Need the time to sell my business. Never owned boat before, but never owned an airplane before getting not only the plane but also an instrument rating, so I'm not intimidated trying something new.

Done some basic research, read the books, gone to some boat shows, talked to a few brokers. I am a bit claustrophobic and at 6'-4" so the thought of wedging into a small engine room is less than desirable. Outside the fear factor, I plan on maintaining the boat myself for all but the most major of issues. Pretty good at woodworking, fair at mechanical , and teachable on electrical.

Thinking of the ICW and perhaps the Caribbean on annual loops.
So a few questions for those who have traveled this road before me.
1. Boat type - Is it better to smaller 40~50 trawler or larger 50~60 cruuiser?
Trawlers - people talk about slow, very roll prone,very seaworthy. Don't care about slow, but I'll loose the admiral if it makes her sick. Seems to be 30% more than comparable cruisers.
Cruisers - Semi Displacement Hulls not as efficient especially when married with twin 400hp engines. More windage due to profile so less seaworthy, especially in a following sea. More livable interior space but engine access limited.
Catamarans - Hard to find a marina, sharp roll from a beam wave, not for serious live aboard. Shallow draft, a lot of interior room, fuel efficient.

2. Cost - Budget is $300~400K
Looks like 10~15 year old boats priced from $200k to $500k based upon length, manufacturer, and type (trawlers 30% premium), reputation. I know some variance is based upon qualitative differences, but looks like a lot based upon ego.

3. Ready to go or Refit.
When I bought my first airplane I bought a project and rebuilt it myself with oversight from a licensed aircraft mechanic. Great way to learn about the systems and inspection regiments. Does this hold true for boats? As I have about 5 years to go full time, is this enough time to rebuild. What does it cost to transport a 55' boat 300 miles inland so its close enough to to work on? It seems that equipment costs are much less than an aircraft's, so for $150K on $250K boat one could have a very reliable home.

The other line of reasoning is buy something now, smaller or cheaper and then trade up when we're ready to go full time.

If there are existing threads which answer these questions, please point me in that direction. I haven't found them yet and so am soliciting the collective wisdom of this forum for some answers.

Thanks in advance
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Old 16-08-2015, 10:16   #2
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!!!

I think you and more importantly the admiral need to go on several trips on charter boats and spend some time in Rough water and make sure its a good fit before you seriously sink half a mil in anything. Unless by lose the admiral you mean permanently and you keep living aboard. Also some of your cat comments are totally inaccurate. Cat slips are increasingly more common, the cats with wider beam have no bad role from beam seas, they are better for serious live aboard s than most trawlers in a comparable size.
As for a gas guzzling cruiser no way, even a more economical trawler will maybe avg 1.5 to 3 mpg. A power cat can double this , a sailboat even catamaran can quadruple this under power alone.

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Old 16-08-2015, 10:26   #3
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!!!

no doubt I have a lot of questionable opinions as the main source has been others opinions. do you have a Cat? Is this what drives your comment?
No need to charter, the question isn't if, but when.
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Old 16-08-2015, 10:46   #4
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!!!

Just a note that most boats are not "ready to go". Most boats sit for long periods of time. Like years. So changing filters, oil and sea water impellers will greatly reduce pain and suffering early on.

Take the wife on a charter or two to see if it works for both of you. If the wife is not happy, nobody is happy.

Power boats tend toward gallons per mile with a 40 foot twin engine getting 1 to 1.2 miles per gallon if your lucky. A single engine trawler might get 2.5 miles per gallon. So factor how far you want to go and calculate fuel costs. That is one thing new boat's tend to overlook.
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Old 16-08-2015, 11:04   #5
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by markmc View Post

-----No need to charter, the question isn't if, but when.
Seems to me the question is what? If that's the case, chartering is the best way to see what type of boat best suits you.
We currently have a 36' catamaran sailboat, and we definitely prefer multihulls.
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Old 16-08-2015, 11:30   #6
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by markmc View Post
I
Thinking of the ICW and perhaps the Caribbean on annual loops.
So a few questions for those who have traveled this road before me.
1. Boat type - Is it better to smaller 40~50 trawler or larger 50~60 cruuiser?
Trawlers - people talk about slow, very roll prone,very seaworthy. Don't care about slow, but I'll loose the admiral if it makes her sick. Seems to be 30% more than comparable cruisers.
Cruisers - Semi Displacement Hulls not as efficient especially when married with twin 400hp engines. More windage due to profile so less seaworthy, especially in a following sea. More livable interior space but engine access limited.
Catamarans - Hard to find a marina, sharp roll from a beam wave, not for serious live aboard. Shallow draft, a lot of interior room, fuel efficient.

I don't think all these assumptions are true... or at least, there are many exceptions in each category.

The word "Trawler" is all over the map, some more fuel-efficient than others, some not as efficient as some "non-trawlers." (Check discussion on trawlerforum.com for diversity of opinion.) In any case, roll can often be mechanically controlled -- to greater or lesser extent, by original design or with with add-on devices and depending on your budget -- or even by (cheap) good management: stay in port until weather and sea states are favorable.

"Cruisers" (presuming you mean power) can be sub-divided into several categories: express, motor yacht, sportfisher, convertible, downeast, etc etc etc. Some have higher windage profiles, some don't. Some have more interior living space, some don't.

Don't see any reason cats wouldn't qualify for "serious liveaboard." Note many here do exactly that on multi-hulls. Some prefer wide and shorter (cats), some prefer skinny and longer (mono-hulls).

Not intended as criticism, just to give you more food for thought. Given your timeline, now is a good time to have started your research.

-Chris
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Old 16-08-2015, 11:32   #7
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!!!

With your height, you are probably going to be looking at between50 and 60 feet to get full standup headroom in a trawler design along with the windage that goes with that same vessel.
As others have advised, charter a few times in the area you plan to cruise to ensure you are both compatible with the sea conditions. On the ICW, you will need a good size sailboat to give you the headroom you want which brings the mast height and bridge clearances into question.
If you are concerned with roll in a trawler, factor in the cost/maintenance of stabilizers. They work well but are costly.
If you buy a used vessel a few years old, you may need to look at re instrumentation. Costs have dropped amazingly in the past few years due to competition and technology advances. You can buy a whole suite of electronics for less than 1/3 it used to cost for a decent radar.
Truck a boat the size you need/want will cost a lot. Easy to get a quote from haulers in your area and from where you might be looking to purchase. The big issue is getting your vessel around the many overpasses due to height restrictions, time consuming and look at how much you can save be working on her where she is lying and put that towards vessel upgrades.
Lots to consider... Sailor chic34 is right... Go and charter for a couple of years in your projected cruising area. Cheers, Phil
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Old 16-08-2015, 11:47   #8
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!!!

Since you're talking power boats...
I'm 67 and because of my family, I have been around boats, ships and the sea since I was 7. New boating people I see that become disinchanted are usually bothered by the unexpected action and discomfort of the ocean. Often caused by buying a boat too small and pushing ocean trips before they are ready.
I live on a twin screw power boat, partially because arthritis that I have would become inflamed with a lot of sail handling requirements. But also because of years at sea and the many experiences of discomfort. In my retirement, I prefer comfort as much as possible. What makes power boats expensive when cruising is speed. Fast power boats usually have turbo diesel using 30+ gallons an hour each and the high engine temperatures from turbos require more frequent overhauls. I have a 80 ton, 83' boat that uses about 8.5 gallons an hour @ 10 knots. I consider that excellent mileage for a boat this size. My mains are Detroit 671's, non-turbo that are easily good for 10,000 hours plus with care. The boat has massive windage but it doesn't seem to be a problem on the ocean. It can make docking problematic. I also have a washer, dryer and dishwasher. Some of the comforts most wives like.
You may be able to find people in your area (I'm assuming the East Coast) that would invite you aboard and give you some direct experience. Many would probably be open for shared expenses.
If you're thinking of buying a boat that needs work, time needed could be more than your aircraft experience. Aircraft can't be in terrible shape and still fly. Boats can be in terrible shape and still float. There can be many hidden problems that are discovered by a surface repair. Also, if thinking of a wood boat, it's not a good idea to let the hull completely dry out. The wood shrinks and the seams get very large. Look for transport services in your area and get a quote on the type of boat you wish to move.
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Old 16-08-2015, 12:50   #9
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!

Yet another lengthy, detailed series of complex questions that would require a set of volumes to answer properly--and you will get hundreds of varied opinions--and the same question has been asked, and asked and answered so many times on here. What is the best way to either pose such a set of questions with so many variables--or is it best for the OP to first show that he or she has done a lot of serious thought and research--yes research before putting so many questions out there for so many, many opinions...In almost every one of these cases, the OP joins the same day or month he asks this question. Hey people--please--get to know this forum for a while and search to see if your same set of complex questions has been posed before...if not numerous times. Yes--do some research first. It makes the CF experience much better for everyone. Yes there are existing threads as you have asked--so find them, read some books, go to TrawlerFest....it will help you too!
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Old 16-08-2015, 13:17   #10
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!

Paul's post leads me to question if he read mine. The very fact the questions are detailed and complex should clue the reader to understand I have done a years worth of research and have read all the available publications I can find. I have also ,as noted in the original post attended numerous boat shows. Outside of soliciting opinions of those who have a vested interest in the answer, what I am lacking is the council of the community of users.

Paul, if my questions bore you or are not worthy of your consideration, please refrain from a snarky response and instead bless someone else with your wisdom.

To the rest of the folks on the forum who took the time to respond thank you. Also it is not necessary to submit your responses to Paul in advance for his approval.
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Old 16-08-2015, 13:22   #11
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!

My response was neither snarky nor ill-intentioned. I am trying to make a point--you are brand new to CF-yes? Well, have you really taken the time to see how many different times this question has been posed and answered? It's like reinventing the wheel. I'm trying to improve the experience here for everyone. So you say you are five years away and you pretty much want to know everything there is to know about everything. Seriously..how can a whole mess of different opinions help with such broad and complex questions? For example, you ask "is this enough time to rebuild?"" Huh? Wuh? rebuild what? So, if you dont like my straightforward and candid reply, then don't take my advice and read the many other similar questions and threads here. You just joined....so you have five years to continue researching....good luck, but if all you want is a thousand opinions with a hundred variables with ...oh...whatever////........
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Old 16-08-2015, 14:04   #12
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!

Paul,
Glad you figured it out. I am seeking for the opinions of the forum's users.
With a multitude of opines a consensus emerges. While sifting through multiple years of past posts may pass the time, I am seeking a conversation with those who have had an experience that could enhance mine.

Thank you for taking the self appointed role as guardian of the forum experience. But I think we are all adults and can pretty much decide for ourselves whom with which to converse.

Here is something for you to consider, sometimes a poster is trying to establish relationships with a community to exchange ideas and maybe make some new friends or at least acquaintances . Not everyone posts to solely leverage the intellectual property of the other folks.

A great exercise to lift yourself out of self importance is to volunteer to help others that can't help themselves or repay you in kind. Try a soup kitchen or a nursing home for starters.
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Old 16-08-2015, 14:12   #13
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!

G'day Mark,

The in-house search function is a little lame...the google search, or an external search engine searching for your topic on the Cruisers & Sailing Forums - Powered by vBulletin url usually turns up better results. Be prepared for a lot of reading. Are you set on engines to the exclusion of sail?
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Old 16-08-2015, 14:18   #14
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!

Mark, yes we have owned cats and monos, power and sail. By no means an expert but know from experience the following
Cats excell at anchor especially when its rough.
Same with offshore traveling off or downwind.
Trawlers and monos are very rolly at anchor, unless they are huge, stiff and very heavy.
You will spend some 75%more time at anchor
People can get very sick at anchor or underway
Lots of dreams and hard work are flushed down the toilet when one person gets sick or freaks due to just one bad weather induced incident.
And lastly this is a social forum, if I didn't want to answer something I had said before I simply wouldnt. Some people want it treated as a library

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Old 16-08-2015, 14:35   #15
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Re: Making the liveaboard decision. help!

michah719
Thank you for the search tips.
I have pretty much ruled out sail just cause i"m sort of a point and go type of person. Also need the room a power boat affords. Lastly my legs due to sports injuries don't do well on an inclined surface typically found on a healed boat. Have looked at trawlers with get home sails and flopper stoppers for roll control.
They seem to run 30% than a comparable MY. Not trying to go across an ocean, just the coast & maybe the islands.
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