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Old 04-10-2012, 21:27   #1
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New Guy Questions

My wife and I have been living full time in an RV for a couple of years. Its 288 square foot and we have adjusted to the downsize problems OK. I have been reading about the Live aboard life style for awhile . It will just be the two of us, I am leaning towards a sailboat. Is the learning curve higher for a sailboat than other styles. I am not even sure of all the models available and some things are assumptions on my part. A Cruiser is only powered by gas or diesel engines? Catamarands (sp) are both sails and engines? Conventional sailboats have small engines only for use in harbors for docking and such?
We have decided to try to rent a docked boat for a couple of weeks this winter ( we will be going south in the next couple of weeks). We figure if we live in it at the dock we can always walk off if we need to. Now here is the big question, I am a fairly intelligent guy, very mechanically minded, how long will it take to be able to safely cruise around for a day or two at a time?
Where in the south would be the easiest and best to rent for a couple of weeks to see if we can do it?We will stay at the dock ,no desire yet to sail.
Thanks for your time.
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Old 04-10-2012, 21:36   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe cool
We will stay at the dock ,no desire yet to sail.
.
The last thing this world needs is another boat content to stay at the dock. Get back to us when the desire to sail sets in.
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Old 05-10-2012, 00:38   #3
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Re: New Guy Questions

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The last thing this world needs is another boat content to stay at the dock. Get back to us when the desire to sail sets in.
The last thing this world needs is a spokesman for the entire world.
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Old 05-10-2012, 00:46   #4
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Re: New Guy Questions

Probably the best place is Florida in the summer time to find a rentable boat. You can charter a boat at pretty steep rates if you can convince them that you won't take it out. If you are trying to do it on the cheap, Craig's List ad's in major yachting centers would probably get you something.

Sailing a boat is a fairly easily learned skill. Sailing it well with all the ocean will throw at you takes a lot of experience. Big difference between living on a boat in a harbor and actually out cruising. First thing would be to go out on one of those bottom fishing cattle boats on a day when it's a little rough and see how your stomach handles it. If you or your wife get seasick easily, that's a pretty hard negative to overcome. Know people who are very susceptible to sea sickness that sail extensively but that's a very rare person.

Good luck on your quest. Would say you can probably can easily make the transition to dockside boat living given your current living conditions. It will be the sailing and cruising that will be the test.
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Old 05-10-2012, 00:46   #5
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Re: New Guy Questions

Sailing is an added skill to boat operation; therfore, the "learning curve" is higher. Many do best learning to sail with a small sailing dinghy.

Catamarans, like most modern sailboats, have auxiliary engines and most sailboats have engines that can move the boat near hull speed for long distances well beyond just getting off the dock.

Regarding how long it would take for one to be competent at cruising about for a day or two at a time,- location and weather are critical. Within a lake, river, or protected bay with mild weather you may find that you have no problems without special new skill. You may choose to take a boating course offered through the local Power Squadron at little cost.

For chartering "at the dock" you may do best searching "houseboat rentals".
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Old 05-10-2012, 01:16   #6
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Re: New Guy Questions

I don't think I'd live on a no-kidding boat unless I was going somewhere with it. Way too much of a pain in the ass. Well worth it when it's a means to an end, but spare yourself the abuse and get a houseboat.

Why maintain a rig if you're never going to use it?

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:25   #7
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Re: New Guy Questions

JOe,

AS the others have noted, learning to sail is fairly easy - learning to sail well takes a lot of time (a lifetime actually).

Were I you, I would rent a houseboat and see if you like marinas. Then I'd take some sailing lessons and finally I'd buy a small sailboat, say 27 feet or thereabouts. Make sure it has an inboard diesel. A boat like that is fairly cheap and can generally be resold for what you pay for it.

Then sail like hell! Day trip and more day trip and then some night sailing and after 3-4 months of that you'll know if you want to become a cruiser or not.

Doing the way outlined above - you'll generate some real sailing skills, have a gang of fun (if you like it), and probably make yourselves some good friends.

good luck

If you do it - let us know someday how it worked out

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Old 05-10-2012, 03:48   #8
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Re: New Guy Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe cool View Post
My wife and I have been living full time in an RV for a couple of years. Its 288 square foot and we have adjusted to the downsize problems OK. I have been reading about the Live aboard life style for awhile . It will just be the two of us, I am leaning towards a sailboat. Is the learning curve higher for a sailboat than other styles. I am not even sure of all the models available and some things are assumptions on my part. A Cruiser is only powered by gas or diesel engines? Catamarands (sp) are both sails and engines? Conventional sailboats have small engines only for use in harbors for docking and such?
We have decided to try to rent a docked boat for a couple of weeks this winter ( we will be going south in the next couple of weeks). We figure if we live in it at the dock we can always walk off if we need to. Now here is the big question, I am a fairly intelligent guy, very mechanically minded, how long will it take to be able to safely cruise around for a day or two at a time?
Where in the south would be the easiest and best to rent for a couple of weeks to see if we can do it?We will stay at the dock ,no desire yet to sail.
Thanks for your time.
We had RV's for many years but also used fishing boats on weekends every few years. As for living on one thats not an issue in a Mariana. We decided to take the plunge & got a PDQ Catamaran with no real experience & sailed from fort Myers & now 7 months on are in dominican republic waiting for weather to change. There are a few good web pages of people who have done the same with NO Knowledge at all, 2 i have followed are zerotocruising & slap dash these people never sailed or had even set foot on boats. All i would say is life is to short to not try something new & adventurous
!! good luck
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Old 05-10-2012, 04:32   #9
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Re: New Guy Questions

if you are serious about making the change,your best bet is to join a boat that is actively cruising and learn at the feet of a master!
a few weeks onboard will soon convince you if the life is for you or not

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...rew-74493.html
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Old 05-10-2012, 09:22   #10
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Re: New Guy Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
The last thing this world needs is another boat content to stay at the dock. Get back to us when the desire to sail sets in.
Sorry to impose ,we ran into the same thinking when we opened our first business,then again when we went full time rving.
We survived both and we will make this work also.
Thanks for letting me know where we stand.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:37   #11
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Re: New Guy Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe cool View Post
Sorry to impose ,we ran into the same thinking when we opened our first business,then again when we went full time rving.
We survived both and we will make this work also.
Thanks for letting me know where we stand.
First, I think most of the people that replied misread or misunderstood your original question. As I read it, you want to rent a boat just to try out boat living but just for that initial test you would stay at the dock. You were not saying that you would buy a boat and stay at the dock forever, correct?

If correct I think that is a good idea, but really if you have already been living in an RV I think you pretty much have the idea of what living on a boat would be like. Main differences, more climbing up and down in a boat, using the toilet (head) is a little more complicated, and parking involves more that just switching off the engine and stepping on the parking brake. Have to make sure all the dock lines are properly tied.

As far as learning how to sail or boat. I could take you out and, unless you are brain dead or a total dunce, show you the basics of how to hoist and adjust (trim) the sails to make the boat go from here to there. But like several people correctly pointed out, you can learn the basics pretty easily but spend the rest of your life mastering the skills. This applies to a lot of things in life really so not too different from becoming an expert in most endeavors.

Sounds like you have a can do attitude which will go a long way towards learning boats.

Good luck.
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Old 05-10-2012, 11:44   #12
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Re: New Guy Questions

Learning coastal/protected water sailing is pretty easy. Most boats; cruisers, sail or cats, come with engines. Living on a boat, like an RV, you can move often for different scenery. A boat will be more maintenance though. A boat could sink, an RV wont. If a 40 knot blow is coming through on an RV, you dont really care that much, you do on a boat. When you get somewhere on a boat, you need to walk, bus, taxi or bike to get groceries. On boats you can anchor out for free, on RV's more often you are paying for a park.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:06   #13
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Re: New Guy Questions

Charter a houseboat and charter sailboats before purchasing anything. Get some sailing lessons as well from a professional instructor. After doing this you will be much more educated on what type of boat best serves your needs. Selling a boat is a big pain in the rear, therefore you want to make sure that you do not get stuck with a boat that does not serve you well.

Learning to sail well is a matter of starting out with enough knowledge and then applying that knowledge with plenty of time underway. Hiring a professional instructor who has been taught how to teach sailing and does this for a living is a really good idea. Your learning curve will be much quicker than going out with someone who knows how to sail but has never been taught how to teach sailing. Sailing schools have certified instructors.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:42   #14
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Re: New Guy Questions

I think before you try living on a boat you should try sailing a boat. Living on a boat is really the result of loving to sail. Get a flight to the British Virgin Islands, charter a catamaran from any of the companies for two weeks and sail around a bit. You say you are reasonably mechanical. If you add that to a bit of common sense to that then you'll be fine on a bareboat charter. (You and your wife are the only ones onboard). Read a bit about sailing and the rules of the "road" before you go and use the engines whenever you feel uncomfortable with the sails. That will answer all your basic questions about sailing. You'll dive right into the greatest joys that sailing has to offer, warm winds, cold drinks and crystal clear water, and then start working on making sailing a permanent lifestyle if you love it. The way you were planning on getting your feet wet (pun intended) would be like seeing if you like golf by sitting in the proshop cleaning golf clubs for two weeks... Just saying...
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Old 12-10-2012, 23:31   #15
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Re: New Guy Questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by joe cool View Post
My wife and I have been living full time in an RV for a couple of years. Its 288 square foot and we have adjusted to the downsize problems OK. I have been reading about the Live aboard life style for awhile . It will just be the two of us, I am leaning towards a sailboat. Is the learning curve higher for a sailboat than other styles. I am not even sure of all the models available and some things are assumptions on my part. A Cruiser is only powered by gas or diesel engines? Catamarands (sp) are both sails and engines? Conventional sailboats have small engines only for use in harbors for docking and such?
We have decided to try to rent a docked boat for a couple of weeks this winter ( we will be going south in the next couple of weeks). We figure if we live in it at the dock we can always walk off if we need to. Now here is the big question, I am a fairly intelligent guy, very mechanically minded, how long will it take to be able to safely cruise around for a day or two at a time?
Where in the south would be the easiest and best to rent for a couple of weeks to see if we can do it?We will stay at the dock ,no desire yet to sail.
Thanks for your time.
A few answers to a few of your questions
Almost all sailboats have engines 99% have inboards, the other one percent (generally smaller boats) have outboards.

A cruiser, when refering to a sailboat, means that the boat is designed and equiped for long range cruising. These also make excellent live aboards.

Most sailboats have engines ranging from 17hp up to 100hp. For a 30-40 foot sailboat, they will generall have between a 30 and 50hp motor. This will move the boat generally somewhere between 5 and 7 kts cruising speed and 6-9kts max throttle (at the cost of guzzling fuel). Most sailboats will burn between 1/2 gallon and 1 gallon per hour at cruise while motoring. How far you can motor is entirely dependent on how much fuel you carry. On my boat, I hold 30 gals and burn aprox 1 gal per hour. Add it up and I can motor 30 hours at roughly 5kts, or 150nm.

A catamaran is a boat with multiple (two) hulls placed side by side and connected with a deck. They usually ride very smoothly, so if you and/or your wife gets sea sick, that might be your best option. They also usually have the most living space.

As far as learning curve, as everyone else has said, no it doesn't take long to learn to sail, but learning to sail well takes a life time. Myself, I moved aboard having never owned, nor been aboard a sailboat my entire life, and self taught myself to sail. I did a lot of research on the internet, then talked to EVERYONE I could at the marina, threw off the lines and went out sailing. So you can definately do it. However, if I could do it over again, I would pay the 4,000 for sailing lessons. Those would have erased TONS of frustration.

About the only difference between living aboard a boat and living on an RV is the maintenance requirements. Boats are very maintenance heavy. And you can't exactly pull a boat up to the local RV dealer to get it checked out. And obviously handling a boat is VERY different from driving a vehicle.

From your post, it sounds like you and your wife could def handle living aboard. Good luck finding a boat rental. That may be the hardest part. Not many people are going to be willing to rent their boat to someone they don't know. Even if you promise not to take her out. Craigslist would probably be your best bet finding something. Try Charleston, SC, or just about anywhere in FL. Try and rent a boat between 30 and 35 feet. Thats a great size. Big enough to be comfortable, small enough to be easily handled. A 27 footer, like was suggested earlier, IMO, is far too small for a couple. Its barely big enough for a single person unless you're willing to drastically downsize and put up with being cramped.
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