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Old 06-09-2012, 18:39   #16
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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Would it really be nuts to have 2 boats to live aboard??? How bad would it really be and why??? Has anyone ever done this??? Maybe I should start a new thread.
Start with one boat - powerboat. Easier to learn, plenty of power, fewer crew needs underway. If you find it cramped think about adding the sailboat or as suggested a houseboat that doesn't move - you can't set sail on both anyway.

It's your dream, you worked hard. You'll figure out schooling and all that other stuff along the way. The kids will adjust and in the end will have great memories.

$250-$300k for a boat and probably $1500/mo for boat maintenance and insurance + slip fees + monthly living costs. Probably looking at $4,000 a month for a place to live, for planning purposes and depending on how you eat and how many "needs" the kids have in terms of clothes, electronics etc...

Maintenance and chores?

A boat is always deteriorating. Salt water environment is very tough.

- Heads - Boat heads are not as robust as land ones. Lots to go wrong, pumping out frequently with 6-7 users.
- Electrical systems - corrosive environment will create lots of surprise breakdowns on all things electrical. This includes the shore power inverters etc. etc.
- Engines - depending on use or non-use or mis-use can be expensive
- Hull - Cleaning the hull yourself by diving or hiring a professional to dive can be a monthly or bi-mointhly expense. Living in a marina you can get stray current that will eat the metal parts of your boat. Zincs are a sacrificial anode that wear out and "absorb" this wear. Zincs need to be replaced, the effects of stray currents can be mitigated to a point.
- topsides - depending on the boat construction and climate. Wood cleaning and oiling, varnishing etc. Fiberglas boats cleaning once every few weeks - somewhat like a car. Deck hardware and stainless needs monthly polishing
- Cabin - Cleans up much like a house, however everyone's personal space is smaller so keeping one's own gear organized and tidy is very important so as not to look like a bomb went off. I have a friend with a 53 foot boat. It takes him a week to go from family living mode to go sailing mode. Everything needs to be secured before travel. Big seas can make even innocuous items dangerous projectiles in big seas.

Good luck with your plans.
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Old 06-09-2012, 18:56   #17
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Start with one boat - powerboat. Easier to learn, plenty of power, fewer crew needs underway. If you find it cramped think about adding the sailboat or as suggested a houseboat that doesn't move - you can't set sail on both anyway.

It's your dream, you worked hard. You'll figure out schooling and all that other stuff along the way. The kids will adjust and in the end will have great memories.

$250-$300k for a boat and probably $1500/mo for boat maintenance and insurance + slip fees + monthly living costs. Probably looking at $4,000 a month for a place to live, for planning purposes and depending on how you eat and how many "needs" the kids have in terms of clothes, electronics etc...

Maintenance and chores?

A boat is always deteriorating. Salt water environment is very tough.

- Heads - Boat heads are not as robust as land ones. Lots to go wrong, pumping out frequently with 6-7 users.
- Electrical systems - corrosive environment will create lots of surprise breakdowns on all things electrical. This includes the shore power inverters etc. etc.
- Engines - depending on use or non-use or mis-use can be expensive
- Hull - Cleaning the hull yourself by diving or hiring a professional to dive can be a monthly or bi-mointhly expense. Living in a marina you can get stray current that will eat the metal parts of your boat. Zincs are a sacrificial anode that wear out and "absorb" this wear. Zincs need to be replaced, the effects of stray currents can be mitigated to a point.
- topsides - depending on the boat construction and climate. Wood cleaning and oiling, varnishing etc. Fiberglas boats cleaning once every few weeks - somewhat like a car. Deck hardware and stainless needs monthly polishing
- Cabin - Cleans up much like a house, however everyone's personal space is smaller so keeping one's own gear organized and tidy is very important so as not to look like a bomb went off. I have a friend with a 53 foot boat. It takes him a week to go from family living mode to go sailing mode. Everything needs to be secured before travel. Big seas can make even innocuous items dangerous projectiles in big seas.

Good luck with your plans.
Awesome info. Thank you!!!
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Old 06-09-2012, 19:31   #18
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

One other issue is pump outs. With 6-7 people on board, your going to be filling the holding tanks quickly. Then you either have to hire someone to come pump out the holding tank or move the boat to the pump out every so often and redock. With two boats that twice the fun.

Learning to dock and maneuver a 50' boat is not something you can read about or take a class on. Its going to take hands on experience, with an experienced captain to show you how to do it and lots of practice (50-100 times). Throw in winds and tides and life can get exciting. I've docked a 56 foot, 30 ton junk a few times. It was too much boat for the woman that lived on it to handle. Nice boat, tons O room, but a bear in a strong cross wind

A powerboat will have just tons more space for sure. But the fuel costs will be lots higher. Even for a displacement hull. Lots Of systems on a boat that have very little in common with a house.

Me I would lean towards a single 50-60' ish cat, Everyone gets space that way, plus lots O deck area for the kids to play on. Plus personal space for mom.

Think of owning two boats like having two husbands. Going to be hard to keep both happy and in working order...

With all that said, go for it girl. It will not be boring thats for sure and the kids should love it. I might suggest, tampa/st pete on the west coast of Florida. There's the Bay to learn boat handling on and anchor in now and then and its a short hop down to the keys.
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Old 06-09-2012, 19:41   #19
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

Before you buy the first boat you may want to consider gathering up the kids and your mother and spending a couple of weeks on a CAT that you can charter (with a captain if you need to learn how to sail it). Even if the accommodations are tight and it is in the beautiful BVI it will help you to see what living on a boat might be like.
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Old 07-09-2012, 06:44   #20
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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Would it really be nuts to have 2 boats to live aboard??? How bad would it really be and why??? Has anyone ever done this??? Maybe I should start a new thread.

Upkeep: Twice as many main engines, twice as many generators, twice as many thru-hulls (strainers, etc.), twice as many air conditioners, fridges, freezers, ovens, stoves, dinghies (and davit systems), battery banks, etc etc etc. plus 2x the electronics.

Not impossible, but I couldn't do it and still have a life.

-Chris
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:08   #21
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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I guess my logic for Miami is that we need lots of diversity and culture in our lives.
Might I suggest that you check out the Tampa Bay area? Obviously I have a bit of a bias, but there is a great deal of cultural diversity here (Ybor City, Sarasota, professional sports, numerous museums, a highly rated zoo, several universities, opera, orchestra, etc.). Cost of living and crime rates are both lower than Miami, and slip rates are a LOT lower than Miami.

I lived in Miami briefly quite a few years back. I now categorize it as one of those areas that is "a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:14   #22
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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I have enough trouble keeping up with one boat and the tender; doubt I could come anywhere close to keeping up everything on two...
I owned two mid-sized cruising boats for a fortunately short period of time. It sucked. If you plan to attend to any significant amount of the maintenance yourself then you are going to spend a lot of your time working on boats as opposed to being on the water. If budget permits, then the ideal way to own two boats is to have them professionally maintained.

(Yeah I know if you look at my profile, I current own two boats but the Hobie 33 is more like a big racing dinghy with zero systems -- not a systems intensive cruising boat so maintenance is no big deal. I also own 3 more small boats not listed but they are all small boats with minimal maintenance needs and I have a local crew that does all the routine maintenance on all of them).

Rather than going with two boats I would seriously consider going with one somewhat larger. This can easily be done with similar initial cost and significantly less on-going maintenance costs and hassle. A 50+/- foot catamaran with a charter layout (lots of cabins and heads) would easily accommodate a family of 5 with ample room. I've run charters on boats in this size range with up to 12 guests comfortably. For example, we used to book larger charter groups aboard an FP Bahia 46. The Bahia has loads of space, 4 full cabins with in-suite heads, and 4 more small bunk areas (not including the main salon), and she sails surprisingly well too.

If you want even more space, then some of the larger FP's have huge amounts of room. Look at the Marquesas and Eluthera for example. And, the Privilege 65 has 5 full cabins and cavernous space.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:28   #23
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

I'm a fairly new boat owner and the biggest lesson I've learned so far is that everything for a boat costs about 10X as much as it does elsewhere. I've been told BOAT stands for "break out another thousand" and I believe that's true.

So, with regards to using two boats to house one family, I think that entirely depends on your budget. After considering budget, I'd think about who will maintain both boats. If your mom and kids are capable of helping then you certainly have enough hands to help out.

I believe the best advice has already been given and that's to start with one boat. Then if you still want/need two you know better what to look for. In my situation, I really got the sailing bug. When I first started looking at sailboats I had big dreams of getting a big one with all the amenities. But reality set in and I realized that just being able to handle a large sailboat took a great deal of experience. And I don't just mean going from point A to point B. Probably the biggest issue is docking and maneuvering around other very expensive boats. After sailing with other people and taking a few ASA sailing courses I had much more confidence as a new sailor/boater but I still know that I have a long way to go towards becoming experienced. I ended up buying a smaller boat that I knew I could afford and handle. Even still, I sometimes feel that I could have gone smaller to gain the experience needed to upgrade to a larger boat. That "experience" is both in boat handling skills as well as boat maintenance skills. Plus learning just how much everything costs.

Anyway, we are all different types of people so take my advice with a grain of salt. What works for me may not be for you. Good luck and I keep us posted on what you end up with.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:40   #24
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

Two boats?!, Not practical. Go for a large trawler or a funky commercial conversion and have fun! I ran a yacht years ago where a girlfriend with 4 children entroduced them to her boyfriends 3 children. Yes 7 kids and two crazy adults on a yacht with 2 crew. They got married and had a ball!!!! And we are all stillgood friends.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:46   #25
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

Welcome to the dream! Live it. DO WHAT YOU WANT. Down sizing and simplicity is a very rewarding journey.. Stay Motivated!

Recommend a trawler first.. rent a sailboat.
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Old 07-09-2012, 15:38   #26
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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Upkeep: Twice as many main engines, twice as many generators, twice as many thru-hulls (strainers, etc.), twice as many air conditioners, fridges, freezers, ovens, stoves, dinghies (and davit systems), battery banks, etc etc etc. plus 2x the electronics.

Not impossible, but I couldn't do it and still have a life.

-Chris
Yeah, but on the other hand everything gets used half as much.
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Old 07-09-2012, 17:06   #27
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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Yeah, but on the other hand everything gets used half as much.
Boats destroy themselves even when not being used. The environment is very tough on boats.

Also if you lean towards a large sailing boat consider the crew needs to sail it. I don't think single handing a 50 foot cat is easy and your crew aside from mom is 14 y/o and younger.

My 14 y/o has been sailing since he was 8 but he really couldn't pull a large genny sheet or even winch it.
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Old 07-09-2012, 18:08   #28
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

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Yeah, but on the other hand everything gets used half as much.

Which actually makes it twice as bad.

This may not make sense now, but the worst thing you can do for boats and boat systems is to let them sit unused. Maybe light frequent family use across all systems would not be as bad, but less use can in reality equal more maintenance.

To contrast this with houses, which you know. I used to travel full time and owned a house. I could be gone for weeks or months, house was cleaned by a cleaning service on regular basis, and when I got home every thing was just like I left it. But boats, don't work this way, I will be away from my boat for a few more months, it has a cleaning crew looking after it, but I can guarantee when I show back up stuff will dead which I will need to fix. In fact, I have allocated a month in my schedule before we take off just to tend to these things that I know will be waiting on me.
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Old 07-09-2012, 18:44   #29
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

Could you imagin the nighmare that the OP would have facing a named storm?
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Old 07-09-2012, 19:15   #30
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Re: New Here - So Much to Learn - Questions!

Hi Galaxy Girl and Welcome to the Forum
There's really only two kinds of boats on the used market.

The one you can't afford, because it's perfect (We say "Bristol"), and the one you can afford, that has probably been sitting for a while and needs some love.

That being said, a lot of large boats attract people with what people in the Industry call the "Walter Mitty" syndrome -- big dreams of sailing the world, then they get out there, and it gets a little rough, and it's for sale. Those are the best buy.

Start out with a coastal cruiser. There's not much to see on the open ocean, and you'll master things like docking, navigating, dealing with wind/current, and so forth.

Sail or Trawler is a tough question. At the end of the day they both cost about the same to operate as you'll be parked most of the time. A sailboat is more fun to run, but a Trawler is much nicer to live on, more space and lots of big windows. I've lived on both for long periods, and am now a Trawler driver.

My advice is to get into a 30' size ish boat, and make lots of short trips. And by all means go to every boat show you can find. Subscribe to Sail, and Cruising World, and Passagemaker.

And by all means keep us all in the loop!

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