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Old 24-09-2013, 10:09   #1
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New Here - Opinions Appreciated!

I am looking to into moving onto a boat this winter/spring. I live in Maryland and am engaged to be married. We have researched and found being a liveaboard is far cheaper than rent around here. Also... we're excited for the idea of the adventure and partnership having a boat would entail!

The first big choice we have to make it a fiberglass versus a wooden boat. Originally we were set on fiberglass, because of rumors of an easier upkeep. However, we have come across a beautiful Trojan 42 Sea Voyager... which happens to be a wooden boat.

Is it foolhardy to live on a wooden boat?

Thanks for opinions and advice!
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Old 24-09-2013, 10:14   #2
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pirate Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

No... its not foolhardy at all
If one follows a good maintainance schedule its easy enough to stay on top of things (speaking as a former WB owner).. there will however be more things internally to keep an eye on depending on the type of build... planked/clinker/carvel diagonal etc...
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Old 24-09-2013, 10:25   #3
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

It's not foolhardy, but the odds of a major problem with the boat are much higher. By major problem I mean "unfixable with today's costs and the boat is scrap". If you are wood boat savvy then of course that risk can be reduced. The other issue is you may find the boat is unsellable. You could find one like the trojan nearly free though.. (for the above reasons)
A friend of mine just bought a 120 ft wooden boat with 12 (yes 12) diesel engines in it... For ~$25k and this boat passed survey. An old Trojan or that type of powerboat, gas powered (often with Chrysler gas engines) are almost worth nothing. Just letting you know this so you dont overpay... you should be able to get it nearly free... even if in good condition.
It's funny, I've run into 3 people in the last couple of months with this same question. All mostly inexperienced with boats, all wanting to buy an old wooden powerboat they saw. One of them paid WAY too much due to their inexperience.... and the seller offerring them terms "they couldnt refuse"...
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Old 24-09-2013, 11:52   #4
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Hiya Kyersten, and welcome aboard! Stay away from any wooden boat; even if it is free. As a novice sailor, you want a boat with an "average maintenance cost and upkeep"; wooden boats are very expensive to maintain, by comparison. Get a fiberglass boat; you'll be glad you did. Keep us posted on your search. Good luck!

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Old 24-09-2013, 12:11   #5
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Welcome. I agree with previous posts regarding wooden boats. As for living aboard being cheaper than renting may not be all that true.

When you live aboard as opposed to renting you must factor in the following: Higher insurance, slip fees, heating(usually more expensive than in an apartment), maintenance($$$), annual haul-out, insurance surveys, boat registration fees(I think MD requires reg even if documented), total cost of boat(including financing costs) minus what you might later sell it for. Also consider location. We save money by walking to work instead of driving.

Living aboard is great and we truly love it but do not do it to save a little money. We will eventually go cruising. Now if you plan to use the boat to go cruising than that is different.

We are doing it here in Maine while living debt free. Our total LA related monthly costs are about $1,200 for our 40' boat. That does not include haul-outs, surveys or maintenance. We could rent an apartment here for that amount.
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Old 24-09-2013, 12:21   #6
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Oh my... that is discouraging! I was afraid of that. The cost of the wooden boat is several thousand dollars and it sounds like it may not be a sound investment for new boat owners.

As far as cost of a boat versus rent, rent here is $1,300 plus utilities, etc. Unless we are calculating incorrectly, the monthly cost of liveaboard versus renting a place is still cheaper. I wish there was an easy way to calculate the approximate cost... the only thing we can pin down right now are slip fees, which are not bad.

We're not sure how to search... we've looked especially at houseboats and trawlers.
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Old 24-09-2013, 12:25   #7
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Kyersten, go to the local marinas and ask the live aboards there. They will be able to tell you what their approximate expenses are. We have met plenty of folks who were looking to move aboard and gave them our info.

As for houseboats or more precisely, floating houses, this is the nicest one I know of and is moored in a very quiet and remove cove in Maine.

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Old 24-09-2013, 12:49   #8
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyersten View Post
I am looking to into moving onto a boat this winter/spring. I live in Maryland and am engaged to be married. We have researched and found being a liveaboard is far cheaper than rent around here. Also... we're excited for the idea of the adventure and partnership having a boat would entail!

The first big choice we have to make it a fiberglass versus a wooden boat. Originally we were set on fiberglass, because of rumors of an easier upkeep. However, we have come across a beautiful Trojan 42 Sea Voyager... which happens to be a wooden boat.

Is it foolhardy to live on a wooden boat?

Thanks for opinions and advice!
Might also depend on where in MD you hope to live aboard. Bal'mer may have easier opportunies than Annapolis, for instance. which in turn may be easier than Rock Hall or others. Fresh water and holding tank pump-outs are usually the most pressing problems to solve, then heat becomes another.

If you haven't checked out previous threads on living aboard in MD, you might look for some... and RunningRabbit was one at least poster here who has successfully wintered in Annapolis.

"Easier upkeep" for fiberglass is generally more than a "rumor" -- although there can probably be exceptions with all materials.

Trojan was a decent enough powerboat brand, but I think even into the early '70s when they built on 'glass hulls -- the deck and house were still wood for a while... so rot and leakage could be an issue. Later, once everything was fiberglass, weather resistance became a little more stable.

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Old 24-09-2013, 13:11   #9
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Check out marinas as well....ask for a copy of their slip contract. Usually they charge more for liveaboards and most marinas require you to carry insurance. That may be hard to get or expensive if you do not have boating experience. Before you buy any boat call about the insurance and see what they require.
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Old 24-09-2013, 13:13   #10
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Would it be appropriate or okay to share the link to the boat we had scheduled to see Saturday (the wooden one)? I'd love unbiased viewpoints, to help steer us in the future.

Tim R. that is a great suggestion. We have actually picked out marina out already (beautiful, quiet, and affordable) for when we get a boat. Everyone there is so friendly, that is a good suggestion to go ask expenses, as they have a good liveaboard community.

We will be in the Annapolis area. It sounds like (alas for the wooden boat), we should concentrate on fiberglass houseboats/trawlers/etc.
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Old 24-09-2013, 13:38   #11
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Wood boats are a labor of love...sweat equity...and $$$ I love them, but made the decision to eliminate wood from contention when I became a liveaboard.

I also eliminated any boat that was a "work in progress"- code for run down and needing major refit. Replacing things that wear out (electronics, appliances, pumps, etc) was one thing, but I didn't want a major project. On a boat, it is truly a case of less (as in purchase price) can mean more (as in time and $$$$$$$$$).

Depending on what your long term plans are, you may consider a mainline manufacturer such as Carver, Silverton or Bayliner- glass hulls, decent layout, and price competitive. Grand Banks, CHB, Ka Shing, Roughwater, Present, are Ocean Alexander are also worthy of consideration in the trawler category.

It's a great lifestyle- you'll love it!
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Old 24-09-2013, 14:47   #12
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. View Post
................... heating(usually more expensive than in an apartment) ..................
We are doing it here in Maine while living debt free. Our total LA related monthly costs are about $1,200 for our 40' boat. ................
There's a huge difference in cost by geographical area and specific marina. We are often underway and sometimes up to Maine for the summer. We're in Florida or further south for the winter and we never pay anything for heating. We usually stay in a marina for the months of Nov.,Dec., & Jan. in North Florida on our 41' for about $500/month for liveaboard slip at a great marina with all utilities including unmetered electricity, - even a swimming pool and free ice! We find everything north of Maryland more expensive and remaining low through Florida except selected "resort marinas" in South Florida. We have some friends that are Annapolis area liveaboards that often post here as "wingNwing". You might want to search their posts for some additional advice. By the way, I keep a beautiful wooden boat that can be viewed as a framed photograph in the main cabin of my fiberglass boat! Also the pool in North Florida is far warmer in the winter than the water on the beaches in Maine during the summer!
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Old 24-09-2013, 15:26   #13
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Re: New Here - Opinions Appreciated!

Kyersten-- I think that would be ok, but I'm not a moderator so not sure. I only know I break the rules when I get my hand slapped. Be prepared for a lot of opinions. You have to decide what they are worth to you. So I'll give you mine...
Having just bought a fiberglass boat that needs a lot of work, I almost can't imagine what a wooden one would need. I researched for 5 years...literally. So I knew a lot about boats and what to look for as problem areas. I also got a survey, even though I purchased a project boat. So far the work has been nothing overwhelming, but we're just getting into the real gritty stuff. It's really dirty work. If you're a girl that's not afraid to get your hands dirty (and I mean DIRTY), that's a plus. If you're going to watch or fetch tools while your fiance does the work, be prepared to spend a lot of time alone. Laying upside down half buried in the bowels of the boat while you clean out a dirty oily bilge isn't fun work. And if you aren't cleaining it, then you're in VERY close proximity to the smelly, dirty one that is. Also the expense...everything is so much more. I'm filling out an order form for materials to fix our rotted deck. I'm up over a grand and this is the FIRST initial order...there will be more. We are established in our careers and this is ok for us...but when I was young and newly married, it would have driven me to tears. However, on that same note, while the cost of things would have freaked me out when I was younger, the chaos of living on a project boat wouldn't have phased me in the least. At that time, I was too close to college days and sleeping under pool tables or crashing anyplace convenient. So in that respect, this is the best time of your life to undertake this project. One of Capt Fatty Goodlander's books details how he and his wife built their second boat, a 36' ferro-cement hull named "Carlotta" when he was 22 years old. Took them three years, they slept in a makeshift bed in the bathroom of the warehouse they rented, in Boston in the freezing winters. He says he couldn't do it again, but looks back on that time with fond nostalgia.

I'm not at ALL trying to deter you, because even though we have a project boat that we're tearing apart, there is no place I'd rather be at the end of the day than on our boat. We have a rule that we set a "finish up" alarm, we clean up our projects and the boat at 4 pm, THEN clean ourselves and enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail on the deck before we walk into town for dinner or throw something on our marine grill. They are my best days lately. I genuinely LOVE our time on the boat, but I'm glad that I'm not living aboard a project boat. I just couldn't do that today. We plan on moving aboard but once the refit is mostly complete. I can't speak to specifics of a wooden boat, because I never even looked at any. Too many people told me that fiberglass was easier to maintain, so that's advice I chose to heed. But if they are MORE work than fiberglass, then I'd think very long and carefully about your goals and dreams. Looking forward to hearing what you do.
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Old 24-09-2013, 15:47   #14
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Re: New Here - Opinions Appreciated!

to the ones who know:
I'm having some problems with my engine cooling system and I thought to converted back to raw water cooling eliminating heat exchanger ,circulation pump, etc
volvo penta 2002
is this a bad idea?
thanks in advanced
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Old 24-09-2013, 15:49   #15
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Re: new here - opinions appreciated!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kyersten View Post
Would it be appropriate or okay to share the link to the boat we had scheduled to see Saturday (the wooden one)? I'd love unbiased viewpoints, to help steer us in the future.

Tim R. that is a great suggestion. We have actually picked out marina out already (beautiful, quiet, and affordable) for when we get a boat. Everyone there is so friendly, that is a good suggestion to go ask expenses, as they have a good liveaboard community.

We will be in the Annapolis area. It sounds like (alas for the wooden boat), we should concentrate on fiberglass houseboats/trawlers/etc.

Folks post links to boats here all the time (most recently in the mega-threads GalaxyGirl started), so I'm guessing its' probably allowed. (He says, not being a moderator of any sort here )

Check out some threads RunningRabbit posted in; I know she's done some significant research on Annapolis area marinas, and I think she posted some of that. Mostly in Back Creek. Annapolis Landing might be one of the marinas that might have winter water and in-slip pump out. Jabins or Port Annapolis might have some thing. (Some of those are the high-priced spread.) Maybe Eastport Yachting Center. And so forth.

Or sometimes you can reserve on the wall in Annapolis Harbor. Not sure of cost; might be semi-transient rates. Harbormaster told me they're trying to gear up to keeping their mobile pump-out boat in service year-round... but RR said that didn't happen last year. In any case, a call to the Harbormaster could also help with info.

One couple lived aboard in our marina last year (Anchor), and periodically moved their boat over to another nearby marina (Selby Bay) for pump-outs. So they didn't winterize engines, but used an engine room heater of some sort. They periodically filled their on-board tanks from a freshwater spigot up at the building via a long! hose. Mostly used shore-side facilities. And last winter was relatively mild. I assume they'll do that again this winter... and this year, another couple will be living aboard, too... as an experiment.

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