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Old 19-03-2017, 19:37   #1
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Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

Howdy!

I am currently undergoing the process of transitioning to living aboard, and would like to pick y'alls brain a little on some questions I find myself getting back to.

I fell in love with the life aboard whenever I was able to spend a month in the Bahamas on a buddy's Carver 3607. Everything was exactly the speed I want, slow. With that being said, I find myself stuck in the first rut: what kind of boat should I look at getting? The space on the Carver was surprising, so I was initially looking into getting a trawler, but I grew up loving to sail and am at an impasse on whether sails or motors would be more beneficial for me. Although I grew up sailing it has been spread out over the years (I am only 22), and the likelihood of me having to operate the boat solo is very high, so getting a larger sailboat tends to make me question my abilities if I found myself in more severe weather conditions. I plan to mostly live off anchor/mooring, so docking isnít a primary concern of mine, but this might change. I also would like the boat to be able to fare well in open water, as I would like to circumnavigate after a few years on the water. My main concern is with the pitching while at anchor, or even in heavier winds/waves; which would provide the most comfort, if any? Any suggestions?

I also realize that size matters in this situation too, which leads me to my next question: what size boat should I look at? I currently live in a small studio and think I could go with less space, but thatís hard to visualize on a boat when the only liveaboard experience I have is on my friendís Carver 3607.

And then the final question: buying the boat. Taking all the above into consideration, what is a reasonable budget I should go into this with? Getting an older boat will have high expenses for refitting and work down the road, whereas a new boat will have more of a time lapse for those, but is it worth waiting longer to get on the water?

Side note: any tips for making money while underway?

Tís and Gís

Garrett
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Old 19-03-2017, 20:08   #2
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

Welcome aboard, Garret.

Plans for living aboard are affected by your geographical location. Some marinas have length limits for liveaboard boats. Generally speaking, people find boats too expensive a proposition, at your age, unless they are mechanically gifted/experienced. Being able to legally live on the hook throughout a whole year is extremely location-dependent. Some places, boats are routinely hauled out for the winter.

So, maybe you could tell us approximately where you are and what your funding level is at this point.

Good luck with it.

Ann
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Old 19-03-2017, 21:36   #3
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

Welcome Aboard Garrett,

When I was 22 I lived aboard my 24 foot boat. And I actually sailed her too! And for a short time that was while I was at anchor too. It was absolutely beautiful and I could come into the harbor if weather turned bad. But my possessions were few. I really would have liked the extra 2 feet for a hanging locker and head, but it was ok. I kept a lot of extra stuff in the trunk of my car. That was when I was the wealthiest I have ever been I think. But even for the young, trying to liveaboard at anchor and have regular things like a job and a shower every morning got tough, so I ended up getting a slip a couple months into that! I suspect you will too.

I don't recommend shopping for a boat for circumnavigating right off the bat. Get the smallest you feel comfortable with. Your ideas about boats and what makes a good circumnavigator for you will likely change.

It all depends on how much room you absolutely must have. And your budget!

A well re-fitted and maintained boat from the 60s is my recommendation for getting the most bang for your buck. There was a 50 year-old 38 footer not long ago that had a complete refit and was selling for $30K. That kind of boat is a smart choice IMO. The boats from the 60s were built tough, often very sea-worthy and sea-kindly if not top performers by today's standards. A boat like mine would not be a bad choice. I have 6 foot headroom in a 29 footer. There are quite a few 30 footers of that vintage and build quality that would be good choices.

There is at least one long thread here about making money while cruising too. Use the search button here, you'll find a lot of what you are looking for.
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Old 19-03-2017, 22:02   #4
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
SNIP

I don't recommend shopping for a boat for circumnavigating right off the bat.

SNIP
Just my two cents, but I think the biggest mistake lots of folks make is buying a boat suitable for what they think they want to do, not what they wind up doing with the boat they buy. Very few folks sail around the world, but a lot more folks buy a boat with that in mind.

Another big mistake is buying a boat with the idea that while there may not be adequate finances to buy and maintain the boat the new owner has planned to make enough money after they buy the boat to maintain the boat.

If you have doubts about your sailing skills (something a lot of us have personal doubts about) you may want to consider just how long it will take to develop those skills.

One problem with speculating about budgets is that budgets don't travel well. A common example is that alcohol can be a significant part of some budgets while it may not exist in other budgets. Things like eating out, travel from the boat (sometimes in exotic locations) back to the US, and a host of other items mean your personal budget will most likely differ from other folks budgets.

One of the more common issues in selecting a boat is that a guy who is say 5'8" will be happy with a boat that a guy 6'3" would feel cramped on. With out knowing a lot more about not just how tall you are but where you plan to cruise and a better idea of how you define cruising it is hard to suggest a particular boat. What would work well in say the Pacific Northwest cold weather cruising would not work so well for diving in the Florida Keys.

The devil is in the details.
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Old 20-03-2017, 00:52   #5
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Welcome aboard, Garret.

Plans for living aboard are affected by your geographical location. Some marinas have length limits for liveaboard boats. Generally speaking, people find boats too expensive a proposition, at your age, unless they are mechanically gifted/experienced. Being able to legally live on the hook throughout a whole year is extremely location-dependent. Some places, boats are routinely hauled out for the winter.

So, maybe you could tell us approximately where you are and what your funding level is at this point.

Good luck with it.

Ann


Thanks Ann!

As for where I am/ want to be: Right now I'm looking at staying along the Gulf Coast in Texas, as I live not too far from Houston. But I won't want to stay there forever, my ideal place would be up in Rhode Island.

Funding level is anywhere under $80,000 for the boat, and from what I have seen/read would like to keep monthly costs under $3,000-$3,500.

Thanks again for the well wishes!

Garrett
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Old 20-03-2017, 00:56   #6
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

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Originally Posted by Don C L View Post
Welcome Aboard Garrett,



When I was 22 I lived aboard my 24 foot boat. And I actually sailed her too! And for a short time that was while I was at anchor too. It was absolutely beautiful and I could come into the harbor if weather turned bad. But my possessions were few. I really would have liked the extra 2 feet for a hanging locker and head, but it was ok. I kept a lot of extra stuff in the trunk of my car. That was when I was the wealthiest I have ever been I think. But even for the young, trying to liveaboard at anchor and have regular things like a job and a shower every morning got tough, so I ended up getting a slip a couple months into that! I suspect you will too.



I don't recommend shopping for a boat for circumnavigating right off the bat. Get the smallest you feel comfortable with. Your ideas about boats and what makes a good circumnavigator for you will likely change.



It all depends on how much room you absolutely must have. And your budget!



A well re-fitted and maintained boat from the 60s is my recommendation for getting the most bang for your buck. There was a 50 year-old 38 footer not long ago that had a complete refit and was selling for $30K. That kind of boat is a smart choice IMO. The boats from the 60s were built tough, often very sea-worthy and sea-kindly if not top performers by today's standards. A boat like mine would not be a bad choice. I have 6 foot headroom in a 29 footer. There are quite a few 30 footers of that vintage and build quality that would be good choices.



There is at least one long thread here about making money while cruising too. Use the search button here, you'll find a lot of what you are looking for.


Thanks for this advice Don!

Really appreciate it. Nice to see that It's doable at this age! I have been concerned about how I will manage getting up for work everyday, but that's a bridge I'll have to cross and make decisions then.

For the 60s boats, should I be looking for a specific hull type? Or any major refits that I would benefit most from?

Didn't know there was a separate thread for income-- thanks!

Garrett
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Old 20-03-2017, 00:56   #7
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

So, given that information, invest in the cleanest 30-35k boat you can find, and plan on installing heating. The reason is that all the older boats will require injections of cash to make them as you want them to be. Anything you can save will go into the cruising kitty, because boats keep on costing you.

Ann
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Old 20-03-2017, 01:02   #8
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

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Originally Posted by tomfl View Post
Just my two cents, but I think the biggest mistake lots of folks make is buying a boat suitable for what they think they want to do, not what they wind up doing with the boat they buy. Very few folks sail around the world, but a lot more folks buy a boat with that in mind.

Another big mistake is buying a boat with the idea that while there may not be adequate finances to buy and maintain the boat the new owner has planned to make enough money after they buy the boat to maintain the boat.

If you have doubts about your sailing skills (something a lot of us have personal doubts about) you may want to consider just how long it will take to develop those skills.

One problem with speculating about budgets is that budgets don't travel well. A common example is that alcohol can be a significant part of some budgets while it may not exist in other budgets. Things like eating out, travel from the boat (sometimes in exotic locations) back to the US, and a host of other items mean your personal budget will most likely differ from other folks budgets.

One of the more common issues in selecting a boat is that a guy who is say 5'8" will be happy with a boat that a guy 6'3" would feel cramped on. With out knowing a lot more about not just how tall you are but where you plan to cruise and a better idea of how you define cruising it is hard to suggest a particular boat. What would work well in say the Pacific Northwest cold weather cruising would not work so well for diving in the Florida Keys.

The devil is in the details.


I like this, thanks for the advice. I will most definitely need to refine my skills in sailing, which I why I feel like I should take more precautions about it.

Budgeting to me seems like the hardest part, as you said there are tons of variables to consider while making one, just unsure of really where to start there or what a good safety net is. Usually it's the 3 month salary rule, but can you use that for cruising?

I am 5'8" so maybe that'll open some doors on size of the boat, won't need as much headroom. As for where I would like to cruise, probably the most typical answer, being the Bahamas, USVIs, Belize, etc etc. tropical places. On the flip side however, I have always wanted to do the Great Loop, and probably would like to do that as my first big trip. I'll be living for the next couple years out of Houston/Galveston but have the intentions of moving to Rhode Island. I jump around the climate and quite a bit there.

Thanks again!

Garrett
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Old 20-03-2017, 01:17   #9
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

I live aboard, stay at a private dock in the winter and anchor when cruising. I last stayed at a marina in 2011. Only other docks I touched were fuel docks. On the hook is fine if you're setup for it. Water, garbage, sewage. Don't get in trouble with the Coast Guard. Also you need a practical boat for trips to and from the anchorage and some arrangement to dock your shore boat and park any vehicle. You haul lots of stuff. Water if you don't make it. Laundry if you don't have it aboard, and everything you eat and drink.
I spend about $3Gs a month for everything, food, fuel haul outs, maintenance and repairs. But I can do anything on a boat or ship. Usually better than anyone else, just slower. Learn to do proper maintenance and repairs and save a fortune.
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Old 20-03-2017, 03:19   #10
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Garrett.
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Old 20-03-2017, 08:02   #11
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by life.of.blue View Post

(...)

Side note: any tips for making money while underway?

(...)
A small jet printer seems to work best for us ;-)

My 2c: Do not think about what budget X takes, rather look at what budget there is.

Deduct you annual living/cruising cost from that, multiplied by the years you want to cruise. Then use 1/3 of the remaining sum to buy the boat.

An example:

- you have say 100k now, cash and cash equivalents,
- you need say 5k to cruise/live over one year,
- you want to cruise for say 5 years,

100-(5x5)=75.

75k is your ex-cruising-costs budget.

75/3 = 25k.

25k is your boat buy budget = buy a boat that is about 30k (asking price).

I was joking about that jet printer. A color laser one is better - the inks tend more waterproof.

Cheers,
b.
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Old 20-03-2017, 08:09   #12
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Thumbs up Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

[QUOTE=life.of.blue;2351438]Howdy!

I am currently undergoing the process of transitioning to living aboard, and would like to pick y'alls brain a little on some questions I find myself getting back to.

I fell in love with the life aboard whenever I was able to spend a month in the Bahamas on a buddy's Carver 3607. Everything was exactly the speed I want, slow. With that being said, I find myself stuck in the first rut: what kind of boat should I look at getting? The space on the Carver was surprising, so I was initially looking into getting a trawler, but I grew up loving to sail and am at an impasse on whether sails or motors would be more beneficial for me. Although I grew up sailing it has been spread out over the years (I am only 22), and the likelihood of me having to operate the boat solo is very high, so getting a larger sailboat tends to make me question my abilities if I found myself in more severe weather conditions. I plan to mostly live off anchor/mooring, so docking isnít a primary concern of mine, but this might change. I also would like the boat to be able to fare well in open water, as I would like to circumnavigate after a few years on the water. My main concern is with the pitching while at anchor, or even in heavier winds/waves; which would provide the most comfort, if any? Any suggestions?

I also realize that size matters in this situation too, which leads me to my next question: what size boat should I look at? I currently live in a small studio and think I could go with less space, but thatís hard to visualize on a boat when the only liveaboard experience I have is on my friendís Carver 3607.

And then the final question: buying the boat. Taking all the above into consideration, what is a reasonable budget I should go into this with? Getting an older boat will have high expenses for refitting and work down the road, whereas a new boat will have more of a time lapse for those, but is it worth waiting longer to get on the water?

Side note: any tips for making money while underway?

Tís and Gís


Having only lived aboard for 6 years on my sailboat, the first thing is comfort. Make sure you can stand up below decks with plenty of head room and have a flat floor to walk on. You also need good refrigeration and comfortable head with good shower facility. Aux power source with ample battery storage if you go on the hook. Desalinator is also handy as is a good dingy. I miss living aboard and wish you the best.
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Old 20-03-2017, 08:57   #13
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

Final question was actually tips for making money along the way. At 22 with an 80k budget and 3k/month living expenses you've been doing something productive :-) What is it?

Short of that you are young and have the tremendous asset of time. Use it wisely. If you are business inclined focus on building one that can run in your absence. Same goes for real estate if inclined in that direction. These models don't rely on your presence, provide the relative freedom you wish to enjoy and look toward your post cruising life future responsibly.

If those are not your thing find a trade. Marine Electronics, Rigger, Marine Electrician, Etc. They are getting in shorter and shorter supply.

If more for the arts start writing, build a social media platform and monetize it (long shot but Delos did it), who knows :-)

side note my first liveaboard was a J24, was 6'2" when I started and 5'10" when I finished!

Living on the hook got old as a side note :-) I also ended up with a hybrid model, boat, house, RV. Lots of contrasts and as one begins to tire of one, and I would, it would be time for the next :-)
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Old 20-03-2017, 09:12   #14
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

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Final question was actually tips for making money along the way. At 22 with an 80k budget and 3k/month living expenses you've been doing something productive :-) What is it?

Short of that you are young and have the tremendous asset of time. Use it wisely. If you are business inclined focus on building one that can run in your absence. Same goes for real estate if inclined in that direction. These models don't rely on your presence, provide the relative freedom you wish to enjoy and look toward your post cruising life future responsibly.

If those are not your thing find a trade. Marine Electronics, Rigger, Marine Electrician, Etc. They are getting in shorter and shorter supply.

If more for the arts start writing, build a social media platform and monetize it (long shot but Delos did it), who knows :-)




side note my first liveaboard was a J24, was 6'2" when I started and 5'10" when I finished!

Living on the hook got old as a side note :-) I also ended up with a hybrid model, boat, house, RV. Lots of contrasts and as one begins to tire of one, and I would, it would be time for the next :-)

I was lucky enough to be a refrigeration Tech which is in need all over the world. I would recommend taking electrical course as that is what is needed most on all boats due to moisture. Basic deisel and boat maintenance also good to know. The hook for short term but dockage much better.
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Old 20-03-2017, 09:19   #15
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Re: Newbie needing some guidance about transitioning to life aboard

We're in the Houston area and all the marinas here allow full time live aboards. They may charge you a little more but it's well worth it.

Plenty of boats in the 80K range here. A sailboat is a cheap trawler. Go with sail and you'll have less headache and less overall costs.
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