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Old 02-09-2014, 07:26   #31
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Re: Never sailed but want to live aboard

Originally Posted by Ol Dave View Post
Michael, living on a Catalina 25 will have much more in common with backpacking than living on land ( unless it is living in an RV, and then it will be very similar)

Add a newborn and the problems expand quickly.

1 lack of sanitation ... I think that model uses a porta-potty that would have to be hauled every 3 or 4 days
2 no shower
3 no standing headroom ... That gets old fast
4 no proper kitchen or galley for meals and cleanup
5 limited tankage for water
6 it has no provision for heating or cooling.

You didn't mention if you would be in a slip at a marina. If you are, then these are not as important since you would have electricity, city water and maybe even showers and laundry.

Lin and Larry Pardey sailed around the world in a 25 foot boat and it didn't even have an engine. So so living long term in a small vessel can be done. I just don't think you have the right one in mind. The difference between a 25 and a 27 Catalina or Hunter is huge. You need to see the difference to appreciate it.

My wife and I sailed a very similar boat, the MacGregor 25 and found that about 4 days was it for us. You may be made of hardier stuff. Chip Giles would take his to the Bahamas for weeks at a time and wrote a book about it. Others have made modifications to make it more comfortable.

I don't know your circumstances ... But I can guarantee you that it will not be easy or convenient.

Ol" Dave

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You hit a great point, Dave. You can't even compare a Catalina 25 to Lyn and Larry Pardey's Serafyn. And this is a mistake the uninformed/inexperienced often make. These are drastically different boats. Serafyn had standing headroom (for them...they are both rather petite I understand), it was set up with a proper sleeping berth, galley and a heating stove also I believe. It also had adequate water tanks and was beamy and deep with enough displacement to carry plenty of stores and equipment for cruising. As far as sanitation...I believe they used a bucket but they were offshore a lot. But at any rate the Catalina 25 is absolutely none of these things and even trying to put aboard the essentials it would take for a family of 3 to live aboard full time would likely compromise the sailing ability of the boat.

Michael, if you and your family are truly planning to live aboard full time, and you mention eventually taking to the "blue yonder" at some point, you really need to concentrate on finding a boat that can accommodate the necessities for survival out there which would be, at the very least, the capability of carrying adequate water and food for a family of three. And, as has been mentioned, not being able to stand up to pull your pants on is going to get very old very fast.

There are plenty of older, small, heavier displacement boats that can do what you are planning. My husband and I are teardrop campers and also do just fine in small spaces. We lived on a 24' Bristol for a year. There are small boats, and then there are small boats..... But not all small boats are created equal. Otherwise, if you're going to sit at the dock where you can use the marina head and leave the garden hose in the cockpit, at least find something big enough to stand up in.

Check out a book by John Vigor called Twenty Small Boats to Take You Anywhere (if your intention really is to cruise at some point). You will notice that the Catalina 27 is included in this book. As has been mentioned, it is a lot more boat than the 25 and can often be had for not much more cost. There are plenty of them around to be had.

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Old 02-09-2014, 13:16   #32
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Re: Never sailed but want to live aboard

Originally Posted by Mattdwyerva View Post
Any sailboats on the Lake nearby? Maybe you can offer to do a/c or other repairs in exchange for some sailing lessons, and ultimately in exchange for a weekend charter one they trust you?

Most of have partners, or had partners, who freaked out when things went wrong. (Not me of course, I was trying to shrimp the spinnaker....) Just thinking you might want to screw up initially without the family on board.

Id love to do that but i dont have an hvac license ( in georgia i can legally work under a master hvac tech ) so unless i went through the business (and i highly doubt my grandpa would let me do that with out a charge) but yeah theres plenty of boats but idk anyone there as its about 70miles from me but i have 3 small lakes locally iam not sure about sail boats being on the lakes or even aloud as most have a loo

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Old 03-09-2014, 08:54   #33
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Re: Never Sailed but Want to Live Aboard

Lots of “responsible” advice here, most of which I tend to agree with. However, life is short and there’s nothing wrong with trying to live a dream!

I’ve wanted to live aboard a sailboat and cruise the world ever since I was 14 – I’m now 64. My first “big” boat was a Chrysler C-26. Designed by the great Halsey Herreshoff and built by Chrysler in 1979 when they still used lots of FG for strong boats, the C-26 has a huge amount of interior space – big and comfy v-berth, long starboard side setee, and truly spacious area aft. The boat is easy to sail, built like a tank, and its swing keel makes gunkholing easy.

That being said, it didn’t have enough headroom (I’m 6’2” and was always hunched down), the porta-potty was less than ideal, no opening ports made for hot summers and cold winters, no shower and no hot water, and I didn’t consider it to be a bluewater boat. I still have the C-26, but now own a 1979 Cherubini Hunter 37-Cutter with 6’4” headroom, much more interior space, real head and separate shower stall, hot water, and all I need to live aboard and sail the oceans.

While I would not recommend living on anything smaller than 30+ feet, especially with a wife and new child, I also would not begin to presume that your lifestyle should resemble mine. As I said, life is short and dreams do sometimes come true.

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Old 03-09-2014, 09:08   #34
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Re: Never sailed but want to live aboard

Originally Posted by Michael s smith View Post
Ex calif
I can dig ya man . I just dont like the current position iam in man . Livin with mom and pop got a POS truck and a couple canoes and some camping/backpacking stuff i can call mine . Got a dead end job as a heat and air tech assistant . Dont want a house because of power bill etc. and iam not saying that living on a boat is gunna cost less because i dont know if it wiil be or not . But i really dont want my kid to grow up in the little town iam living in now . I want her to see the world instead of just the four nearby states like i have my whole 20 years of existance . Hell i could just be talking out of my ass and just have this as a dream the rest of my life but i would rather it come to reality .

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If I may throw in my dos centavos:

If you don't like the way things are- change them!. By this, I don't mean having the "grass is greener" mentality, because too often it's the same grass over yonder.

Be thankful you have a job- even a POS one! Take advantage of what you have (job and skills) and make it pay in your favor. Do what you need to do to open your own gig. Join the military.

Buying a boat is only the opening salvo in cost of ownership. I love the term "boats are constantly trying to destroy themselves". So true! You either need the money or skills to fix things that break or need maintenance.

25' is too small.

Most of all, don't compare what you have to anyone else. We've all (in different ways) been thru our own personal wringer, and have what we have thru time and sweat. Keep the passion to excel, strive towards the dream, but don't compare.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:28   #35
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Re: Never Sailed but Want to Live Aboard

Originally Posted by Michael s smith View Post
Hi iam new to the forums ( first post XD) i have never sailed before . I have a wife and a child( on the way arriving in september) and i was wondering if a 25 foot catalina would be big enough for us three.

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Prior to posting my reply here, I read the responses from others and your own replies to them. So, given that, here are my points and thoughts on your situation.

1. The 25 foot boat you are considering is too small for a couple to live on comfortably for the reasons others have given. I have also spent time backpacking, living simply, and living in many small spaces while traveling. But, having THREE people in one small space (one being an infant) would be very different.

2. You sound like you want to "move" and change locations to be near the water and to have a different work life AND enjoy boating.

3. You don't have much money. Nothing wrong with that and it is common. Some boats are relatively cheap to buy ($5K) but require thousands of dollars to restore to "sailing" condition. However, some people do buy boats that really are no longer "seaworthy" but are capable of being parked in a marina or hang on a mooring (at anchor) for months or years.

4. Motor boats have more space inside, generally speaking, than sailboats of similar size. So, consider a "motor" boat for living space.

5. My suggestion? Consider a "land yacht" such as a low cost used 30 foot trailer or RV. Buy it IN the state/city/area where you CAN find a different job AND have closer access to boating and the water. Keep your mobility, but also leave the confines of your current situation/small town. Living out of a 30 foot trailer or RV would be much more comfortable (staying in an RV park). By making it movable, you choose a state/area where YOU can get access to those things YOU want to develop in your life.

6. Consider getting some work in the boating repair field (if you like to be handy and don't mind getting dirty or working in cramped spaces) as it can also give you the access to many boats that would help you determine what kind of boating you would want to do in the future too.

6. Consider moving to Florida. Many boating centers there, many boats, many boating related jobs. Water everywhere.

Good luck! And never stop dreaming. Every good adventure began as a dream.

Check out this site for low cost boats. I did a search for Florida boats under $10,000. There are hundreds. I took a glance and saw several 32 foot boats for sale at about $5,000.

Then compare that $5,000 cost for the boat to a used travel trailer you can pull behind your truck.

Then compare the cost to keep the travel trailer (or RV) at a RV park or campground (monthly cost) to the cost of putting that boat in a marina (about $10 a foot and UP).
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:31   #36

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Re: Never Sailed but Want to Live Aboard

I would an did go mid 30s. One I bought for 3k came with ac , refrigeration, good running diesel and sanitation system. Deals abound for boats that size. Grab something cheap off craigslist for the lake and sell it when your ready to move up and aboard. No living aboard in Georgia.

Youll get your marine engine training lol. Between keeping the dinghy and diesel running there are always problems to diagnose.
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Old 03-09-2014, 16:29   #37
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Re: Never Sailed but Want to Live Aboard

It would be placing a tremendous uncertainty on you, your wife, and your new child to try and get comfortable with the new reality of being parents and at the same time becoming live aboards. Requires some real soul searching and honest communication. Mommy, you, and baby have some real new horizons to face. It might be best to get comfortable with the earth before you take on the water. That being said, I have heard of stranger things ending up positive. Be very sure to assess how much mom is buying into the boat thing, she's got a major job coming up. You are proposing two major expeditions at the same time. All the best. dt
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Old 16-09-2014, 06:49   #38
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Re: Never Sailed but Want to Live Aboard

My small contribution:

1) there is no such thing as a dead end job. I run a company, and for ten years my #2 was a woman I hired part time to do filing that worked her way up. I hired other people who I noticed their current boss didn't notice how hard or with what care they did their work. Your boss might not see it, but do a good job and others will. It's a form of advertising.

2) give it a few years before living aboard, mostly for health insurance. Kids are expensive, especially when young. No one wants to make an emergency room run from a mooring or anchor at midnight.

3) I have a 25 foot boat, and am 5'7" and go crazy usually by the end of day three at anchor. 30 feet is much much better. That's by myself.

4) Until you can sail well, and repair your own boat, uses other peoples. That means show up at some local yacht clubs and offer to crew. A good owner/skipper will usually buy beer and burgers afterwards for you. These can be called Wet Wednesdays or Beercans, but the races are usually informal and mid week around 6 pm. Soak up as much as you can and help him repair the boat. This is how I learned. Most racers are far better sailors than cruisers. Most cruisers are better on repairs.

5) While doing #4, get a small boat, like a day sailor. Watch Craig's List and put the word out. Almost all sailors have good memories from their boats, and want others to have them too, so free boats can be found. Start small on building/repairing them. This is important, as boat parts are expensive, and you want to learn as cheaply as possible.

6) OK, the Dad in me is coming out now. I have two kids, 16 and 18 yo. Teaching them to save something every month has been the hardest parenting job of raising them. If you can learn to save as little as $200 a month, you will be ahead of 90% of the population by the time your kids are out of collage.

7) and the last Dad pojnt on the girl who is having you child: you never, ever stop dating. Ever. You treat her the same as when you were going out on the first dates and you will learn more about people and partnership than a person could teach you. My wife and I just celebrated 20 years of marriage, and I can vouch for that lesson. She's taught me a lot that I use in business too. I wish I'd understood this in my first marriage.

Best - Jeff
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Old 16-09-2014, 13:32   #39
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Re: Never sailed but want to live aboard

Originally Posted by simonpickard View Post
Never sailed but want to live aboard a 25' sailboat with your wife and baby?

I'd get off this thread. Get down to your local marina and hire a 25' sailboat for a weekend with your partner.

You'll get a better idea if this style of living is for you than ANY reply you'll get here.

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