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Old 09-07-2016, 16:33   #1
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Preparing boat to live aboard

New to the forum, hello to all! Just bought a Morgan 462 with plans to eventually live aboard and go do some extended cruising. On a 5 year plan, so we have time to get to know the boat and do some upgrades. Looking for opinions on how to critically evaluate the boat and its systems, and decide what stay, what goes, what has to be upgraded, and what is simply nice to have. We already have a few ideas, but would welcome any suggestions.

Looking forward to getting to know everyone, either virtually or in person if you're in the Fort Lauderdale area.

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Old 09-07-2016, 17:41   #2
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Hi,

As our boat sailing experience is basically either sailing or living aboard, I am of the opinion that everything kitchen gets top priority. You want to be able to cook what you like as you like. You need fresh water, good storage and the best galley/oven (some like a grill too) you can fit. Many liveaboards stay with electric cooking equipment as long as they are not sailing. This is good choice where it is cold and where you pay electricity bill at a fixed monthly.

My second take would be bunks. You want comfort and privacy an great ventilation whether cold or warm climes. This often implies new mattresses, esp when the bunks double as some form of settees (often on smaller boats).

Next I would modify the cockpit and deck areas: shade as necessary, windbreakers, backrests and tables and beer coolers, biminis and or dodgers according to the climate and to your fave lifestyle.

And then I would take care of light, power and wifi. I like plenty of light, a plain shore cord without integration into the boat DC (other than the shore side charger) and free wifi from the nearest bar. Plan everything according to what media you need and which amenities you may actually want to leave behind, in the ex-life where you were a landlubber, so to say. ;-)

Other than that I would suggest deep pre-thinking colours and patterns. Some people like hippie style boats full of all colours and shapes. Others may prefer more classic one or two colour interior. If your interior is wood, you may like some amount of blues. If your interior is dark, you may want some light shades to liven it up. Etc.

Have fun. Living aboard is a good life!
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Old 09-07-2016, 18:07   #3
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Make sure the roof doesn't leak . . . . wet bunks are so passť.
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Old 09-07-2016, 18:11   #4
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Quote:
Originally Posted by savoir View Post
Make sure the roof doesn't leak . . . . wet bunks are so passť.
LOL! Yes, that'll be job #1! Or rather an ongoing job of identifying and fixing leaks as they appear.

-David
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Old 09-07-2016, 19:29   #5
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Weekend aboard and spend as much time actually living aboard as you can before you start throwing money at gear. I know it's hard with the excitement to just throw money all the shiny things at West Marine, but the more experience you gain YOURSELF on the boat, then the better you will be at answering these type of "what do we need questions".

For example, I just finished installing a microwave aboard our boat.
We have cruised and lived aboard without one for...geeze...almost 9yrs now, but you know, as I get older I'm more into convenience than I was when "getting out there" was our main focus.
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Old 09-07-2016, 21:39   #6
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Don't buy electronics yet. Go sailing with what you've got for a few years. It's so easy to fall into the mine is bigger than yours game. I've got the gear but use tell tales on the sails, a wind vane on the top of the mast. a small chartplotter, ipad or phone, depth gauge. Much of the rest is really not essential.
Get good thick mattresses. Think 12 volts and KI really SS. otherwise spend your life gunkholing with a high voltage umbilical cord or a rowdy generator
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:14   #7
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

I like Barnakiel's response, but it does point out, to me, that so many choices will differ with the individuals. For example, I'm pleased with a much simpler galley as I have a simple palate. We never grill or bake! .... yes, we do eat nutritious meals. In addition, we like it dark below while so many are concerned about light and have negative thoughts about cave-like environments. I think you will simply need to consider your own tastes.

I do have one thought about developing a good live-aboard vessel. I believe that it will be very important not to prevent opportunities to spontaneously leave the dock for a sail. If your live-aboard adaptations require added work to prepare for sailing, then you will sail less often.

Evaluate all your "stuff" aboard with the view that it is "dock ready" and "sail ready". It's best to be ready to leave the dock with the task of dealing with the power cord and the dock lines only!
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:38   #8
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Great summary Barbakiel! Very succinctly said.
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:43   #9
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Lots of good stuff here thus far. One thing which came to mind to add to what's been said. Is that if you're going to be living aboard or cruising, where the temp. routinely gets below 50 deg. F, then you'll probably want some insulation on the hull's insides.
It adds greatly to regular insulation, & also to sound insulation. Both of which are extremely nice to have. As they add greatly to a boat's comfort & liveability. And it's much easier to add it when you're not living onboard, as well as before you get to adding a lot of new cabinetry & storage.


One other thing is to get used to living a more Needs based lifestyle vs. one of wants. AKA, learning not to give in to the shiny gadget thing mentality already mentioned. Particularly as space onboard is extremely limited.

So an easy way to get started is by using the "1yr rule". Meaning that if you don't use something that you have, in the space of a year, then you don't Need it. With the 1yr time span becoming 6 months, or even 3 months, on smaller boats, that have less storage space.

The other way to do this is, before buying something, to ask yourself, both:
- "Is this something which I really need? Or something that I want"?
- "If I buy this, where will I stow it onboard"?
As the latter question is one which you'll, quite literally, have to ask yourself while out shopping, when living onboard.
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Old 10-07-2016, 08:55   #10
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Nothing will do you as much good as getting out and cruising it for a few days, or a week or two much better. You will then be able to prioritize and understand what's important. I have found one can do WAY too much boat evaluation sitting dreaming at a desk only to find that the reality is much different.
You will discover how well the battery charging scheme works, refrigerator issues, what's handy and what's not.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:04   #11
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

I cannot imagine a live-aboard without a rail mounted grill. Microwave, freezer and refrigerator are nice to have but a grill is necessary, at least in Florida. I must admit I have not yet figured out how to fix breakfast eggs on the grill.
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Old 10-07-2016, 09:21   #12
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

After a year and a half I can second the opinions above about waiting a bit before purchasing some of the items you now believe you can't live without. This new life is dramatically different than dirt dwellings and before I moved on I could only imagine what would be important and what would not.

Example, being somewhat of a foodie, I brought/bought a full kitchen ensemble, including my Kitchen Aid mixer. Fact - I've used it 3 times in a year and a half. When I want to make bread, I knead it by hand. Before moving on I probably used that thing a dozen times a week and could not imagine a life without it. Now it's more toe snagging ballast that I have to make up my mind to part with (No, no, not that, she cried).

Simply put, until you're actually living there, don't have a "must have" mindset. Beds, food preservation and preparation, a good head, a good shower, an electric system that's adequate to your needs, warm in winter - that's about all you should think of before you move on. The rest depends on economics and comfort zone "must haves".

I'm just not the same person that moved on anymore. My needs are not necessarily simpler, just different. Right now I'd choose a good solar power system over anything else, and if you knew me 2 years ago, you'd just sit there and laugh at that statement.

Good luck, it's a great life.
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:10   #13
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Quote ex Barnakiel: “Next I would modify the cockpit and deck areas: shade as necessary, windbreakers, backrests and tables and beer coolers, biminis and or dodgers according to the climate and to your fave lifestyle.”


Absolutely! Living aboard in the smaller sizes, e.g. TrentePieds, is essentially permanent outdoor living. Whether you are in one climate or another, e.g. the Bahamas or Haida Gwai, arranging the cockpit so it can be “lived in” is an absolute essential. Doing so enlarges your available “floor area” by 50% in many cases.

There is, therefore, nothing more calculated to make a smallish aft cockpit boat a pain to live in than wheel steering! Wrecks the back porch entirely for any other purpose than steering, and, for a live-aboard, steering happens perhaps for 2% of the time you are aboard, i.e. one hour out of every fifty! In aft-cockpit boats, I say scrap the binnacle and wheel. Install a tiller that can be swung up out of the way. Makes the boat more pleasant to handle as well as more pleasant to live in. A tiller also makes the boat a helluvalot easier and more intuitive to handle in tight quarters.


However, in the M462 that improvement is not a possibility due to the CC design. The crew is reduced to swanning about the open decks. Just fine in many situations, not so fine in others. Give a butcher's to the sales brochures for largish CC boats like the Morgan462. You'll note that the purveyors make a “selling point” of a crew of four jollifying themselves and “enjoying” togetherness in the cockpit where they are jammed together like sardines in a tin. How much togetherness can you really handle? How much “togetherness” would get in the way of safe handling of the boat when under way?


A spray hood - “dodger” to North Americans - is an absolute MUST wherever you are. In the Salish Sea a “bimini” is just an infernal nuisance. On the “Wet Coast” it confers unnecessary protection against a mostly absent sun and imparts windage you can well do without. Also impedes your ability to see luffs and tell tales. A “Tilley hat” will do quite handsomely the job some people think a bimini is the only way of handling, and a retired forage cap will do it even better.


In small boats the unknowing and the “professionals” will often install such things as receptacles for umbilical cords just exactly where you need to rest your back when you are lazing on the back porch. Do not hire professionals to work on your boat until you, yourself, are able to do a whizz-bang job of the task at hand so you may monitor, supervise and correct the professionals appropriately!


In in boats of all sizes the unknowing and the “professionals” will often install propane tanks in an unapproved and potential dangerous fashion. Do not hire professionals to work on your boat until you, yourself, are able to do a whizz-bang job of the task at hand so you may monitor, supervise and correct the professionals appropriately!


The unknowing and the “professionals” will often make cushions that are six or seven feet long. Daft! Cushions should be the width of a bum, so a cushion can be moved without disturbing the entire cabin or cockpit. They should have a means of affixing them to the “substrate” so they don't go meandering about the boat just because you put a bit of heal on. I, myself, loathe Velcro. Only way to fly, IMO, is snap fasteners.





Quote ex Hudson: “I do have one thought about developing a good live-aboard vessel. I believe that it will be very important not to prevent opportunities to spontaneously leave the dock for a sail. If your live-aboard adaptations require added work to prepare for sailing, then you will sail less often.”


Absolutely! “Living aboard” and “sailing” are two essentially antagonistic states of the world! “Secure for sea” is a time-honoured order that acknowledges that that is so. Being permanently “secured for sea” makes the daily doings of living aboard quite inconvenient and sometimes unnecessarily labour intensive. Vide my comment about dysfunctional cushions. Putting to sea without securing makes the boat unsafe for the crew and potentially injurious to expensive gear. The level of compromise twixt the two antagonistic states is a matter for each skipper to determine on the basis of habits and preference. The more members in the crew, the more difficult the compromising becomes. It requires a good deal of thinking about and a good deal of edymicating them wot are new to living aboard and to sailing.


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Old 10-07-2016, 11:32   #14
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

Well, there's no doubt that we are all different and on different boats!

I once had a grill on the stern rail of my Florida boat, but I gave it away.
I have a huge center cockpit with a wheel and large cushions.
I steer well in close quarters with a tiller or wheel,- 'no swanning crew.
I can seat five in my cockpit with all at arms length.
I usually have fruits and yogurt for breakfast without "cooking".
My cushions fit securely without snaps or velcro or other fasteners.
With the use of fids, cabinet doors, mounting brackets and a habit of putting things away life aboard can remain compatible with secure for most sea conditions.

I suppose that people and their boats are so varied that it's difficult to make hard-fast claims that apply to all of us.
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Old 10-07-2016, 11:56   #15
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Re: Preparing boat to live aboard

You might want to rich out to Skip and Lydia who refurbed a Morgan 46 and went cruising.

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