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Old 24-01-2019, 13:03   #1
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Prospective live-aboard reality check

So the admiral and I are thinking of buying a vessel to move aboard. We are the kind of folk who under ideal circumstances would live in a small town 100mi away from a city but have the kind of degrees that find work in major metropolitan areas. We both have the sailing itch and in my case I've sailed, repaired, and rebuilt vessels since childhood. We already know the life aboard is for us as we consider any time not spent bare boat chartering to be a joint work trip. Thus a home that can be close for the commute but can get over the horizon as necessary is highly attractive to us.

At this point we've crunched the numbers and the gas savings alone from living at a marina would fully cover the slip cost for a vessel up to 80ft in places like Charleston, Tampa, and Houston.

So the task we find ourselves with now is seeing if we are using a reasonable specification when searching for boats.

Currently our spec is as follows:

New or used: Definitely used as the initial depreciation on these money pits is ruinous.

Hull material: Aluminum, synthetic core FRP, or solid FRP (After watching the speed at which balsa degrades first hand I'd only tolerate it on a new boat and I won't eat that much initial depreciation)

Rig: sloop, cutter, ketch, or yawl

Maneuverability: Has or can have thrusters fitted or is a catamaran.

Tacking angle: 100 degrees TWA

max speed: min 10kn through the water in 20kn TWS

light wind speed: min 50% TWS on most points of sail with all applicable canvas deployed.

Comfort under way: Able to go #2 sans excessive effort on a close haul in 20kn TWS. Able to at least mostly weather proof the cockpit. Ideally able to trim sails from the helm without needing foul-weather gear.

Age: Not a priority provided the hull and rigging has been well kept and insurance will cover it.

Accommodations: At least 4 cabins and 3 heads. Galley conducive to a dishwasher. Misc space for things like washer/dryers. (we want to start a family so space isn't particularly negotiable) A super stretch goal would be a tub in the master head but that's more a fantasy than a requirement

Dimensions: Sufficient to achieve the above goals but we're not in love with specific numbers.

ICW compliance: Dislike cruising the ICW so its a nice to have but not a make or break.

Draft: Less is best but its lower priority for us.

Price: we'd prefer to spend as few hundreds of thousands USD as possible but we're in a position to pay good money for a good vessel.

Mono or multi: all things being equal a catamaran but as long as she meets the rest of the above its a preference that's easily out weighed by a price differential.

Timeline: 2+ years. So we're not trying to choose the exact boat now rather we're trying to narrow the list of boats and sundries we need to become experts on and get a reality check long before money gets in the same post code as the table.

For reference our hypothetical ideal boat at present would be a used 5-10yr old seawind 1600 or neel 51. (unfortunately none of those exist yet or will exist in our desired time frame)

Also since boats depreciate we'd prefer not to start small and trade up later since that would only compound the losses.

Lastly while exceeding the spec would be nice. Its a game of diminishing returns which will quickly be out weighed by a less expensive option.

Looking forward to hearing what y'all think of all this.

Regards,
phsylent
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Old 24-01-2019, 14:25   #2
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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Originally Posted by phsylent View Post
At this point we've crunched the numbers and the gas savings alone from living at a marina would fully cover the slip cost for a vessel up to 80ft in places like Charleston, Tampa, and Houston.
You spend almost $900 a month on gas for your commute! WOW!


Because that's about the low end for a slip in a marina around here, that will accommodate an 80' boat, and will allow full-time living aboard.


Oh yeah, and none of those marinas are near downtown Tampa, so if you are working, you will probably STILL have a pretty fair commute.


If you are really going to save that much, more power to ya. Good luck.
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Old 24-01-2019, 14:44   #3
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

take some sailing lessons and call me in two years, your father
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Old 24-01-2019, 14:58   #4
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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You spend almost $900 a month on gas for your commute! WOW!


Because that's about the low end for a slip in a marina around here, that will accommodate an 80' boat, and will allow full-time living aboard.


Oh yeah, and none of those marinas are near downtown Tampa, so if you are working, you will probably STILL have a pretty fair commute.


If you are really going to save that much, more power to ya. Good luck.
Yeah, the "current commute-marina commute" difference really is that stark for us. Like I said we ran the numbers. Granted if listed prices and fees are 2 or 3 times less than actual and it doesn't sound like it since $900 much is less than what we were quoted then yes a re-evaluation will be required. You see, what the huge savings come from for us is the fact that the industries we work in have offset business hours so we can't carpool efficiently with each other and because we like to live in low population density areas it's not reasonable to assume that anyone within neighborly distance is going work near where either of us do. This creates a situation where we must take two vehicles to destinations that by distance are not far apart. Thus the huge fuel costs
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Old 24-01-2019, 15:01   #5
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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take some sailing lessons and call me in two years, your father
Have taken lessons. Have competed around the country. Actually teach small boat sailing for my current club. If you want to troll find a different thread.

Now back to the current topic: Is the spec lacking anything critical?
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Old 24-01-2019, 15:31   #6
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

do you want someone to go for your whimsical ride, or do you want the voices of experience amply represented in the forum? I only meant it gently kind reader.
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Old 24-01-2019, 15:38   #7
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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do you want someone to go for your whimsical ride, or do you want the voices of experience amply represented in the forum? I only meant it gently kind reader.
My apologies. I'm still adjusting to the cordial nature of CF. I also understand the incredulity many must have upon seeing this post but I assure you none were more surprised than I when I first ran the numbers on a curious whim.

Regards,
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Old 24-01-2019, 15:56   #8
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

Well it's good you have a wishlist of stuff rather than being 'I want a 50 foot boat!'

However I dunno what you'll find that does 10kn through the water with 20kn TWS, has a tacking angle of less than 100 degrees, and has light wind performance of half of TWS on all points of sail while having 4 cabins and 3 heads - the problem being the boats that have that many cabins/heads are often designed for charter, and therefore ain't always designed for sailing particularly well, especially in light wind conditions.

Edit: and as a racer, I think you'd find most of the boats that meet those space requirements unacceptably sluggish until you start getting into the huge, megabucks boat range.

Basically, you'll have to comprise on one or the other (if not both)
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Old 24-01-2019, 16:26   #9
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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Well it's good you have a wishlist of stuff rather than being 'I want a 50 foot boat!'

However I dunno what you'll find that does 10kn through the water with 20kn TWS, has a tacking angle of less than 100 degrees, and has light wind performance of half of TWS on all points of sail while having 4 cabins and 3 heads - the problem being the boats that have that many cabins/heads are often designed for charter, and therefore ain't always designed for sailing particularly well, especially in light wind conditions.

Edit: and as a racer, I think you'd find most of the boats that meet those space requirements unacceptably sluggish until you start getting into the huge, megabucks boat range.

Basically, you'll have to comprise on one or the other (if not both)
In principle I agree totally and it was only after I achieved and held 9kn through the water in 19kn TWS at 64 deg TWA and 7kn at 55 deg TWA on a lagoon 42 that I dared dream the spec I listed could be possible with a 100% jib instead of the self tacker and longer hulls with a less obese aspect ratio. Full disclosure conditions couldn't have been better for achieving those speeds but still achieved they were on a rather squat charter cat.

Edit: I suppose I should have made clear in my spec that the performance numbers are for similarly ideal conditions and not expected to be achieved on anything but the boat's very best day with wind steady just below the reef point and abnormally calm seas. I also should have mentioned that the speeds are not meant to apply when close hauled or running since no sloop does that well at either end of her polar. I use these idealistic numbers because its much easier to approximate best case from a boat's design than to approximate the expected speeds in my sailing grounds. Having approximated best case I can make limited comparisons between boats without requiring many hours aboard. Now its still no substitute for time on the water but for making a rank order lists of expected slowest to fastest it does the job.

Regards,
phsylent
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Old 24-01-2019, 16:40   #10
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

That's a pretty tall checklist! Keep in mind that Cats command a docking premium. In som places you'll be paying for basically 2 slips and haulouts can be problematic if you're not living in an area that has the infrastructure for cats.

Keep in mind tht 80% (or more) of the time you'll likely be docked at your marina so having a comfortable boat is really more important than having a rocket. (the two don''t usually mix well)

In our twenties my wife and I lived on a 34ft sailboat and were quite happy and comfortable (before kids) keep in mind that if you're in an area that gets cold, you'll need to think about having a real heat source (not propane, or catalytic or electric). Try living, eating sleeping in your kitchen for the weekend and you'll get the idea of the space changes.

Its a great lifestyle but simple things like laundry and water (when its cold) can be a challenge.

We're going back to livingabaord once the kids launch!
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Old 24-01-2019, 16:54   #11
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

Out of curiosity I looked up the Seawind 1600 you referenced. The pictures on their page are embarrassingly bad.

So as much as or more than a 50' catamaran? Are "the big three" not amenable?

Lagoon
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/201...on-52-2938814/

Leopard
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/201...rd-48-3474205/

Fountaine Pajot
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/201...ba-50-3467636/
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Old 24-01-2019, 17:02   #12
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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So as much as or more than a 50' catamaran? Are "the big three" not amenable?
They're amenable for us, they're just not the current hypothetical ideal. We didn't like any of the seawinds until we set foot aboard the 1160 and the 1260 at Annapolis and were utterly blown away by how much more practical their layouts are when compared to the big three. That was when we gave the 1600 the look.

Edit: Also at time of writing the admiral is even more focused on speed than I am though I suspect this will change with time.

Regards,
phsylent
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Old 24-01-2019, 17:40   #13
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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In our twenties my wife and I lived on a 34ft sailboat and were quite happy and comfortable (before kids) keep in mind that if you're in an area that gets cold, you'll need to think about having a real heat source (not propane, or catalytic or electric). Try living, eating sleeping in your kitchen for the weekend and you'll get the idea of the space changes.

Its a great lifestyle but simple things like laundry and water (when its cold) can be a challenge.
Those trade offs are why we are looking bigger. We took one look at the $800+k 2bed one bath condos around the marinas and concluded that we could either max out get a condo that was far too small and far too urban or we could get a boat that might even be a lot bigger and that can put the city over the horizon while we recharge during the weekend and spend less doing it.

As far as temperature goes personal climate preferences toward very high heat and humidity locations make the concerns of winter heating minimal.
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Old 24-01-2019, 17:42   #14
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

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Originally Posted by phsylent View Post
They're amenable for us, they're just not the current hypothetical ideal. We didn't like any of the seawinds until we set foot aboard the 1160 and the 1260 at Annapolis and were utterly blown away by how much more practical their layouts are when compared to the big three. That was when we gave the 1600 the look.

Edit: Also at time of writing the admiral is even more focused on speed than I am though I suspect this will change with time.

Regards,
phsylent
Does she have a need? A need for SPEEEEED?
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Old 24-01-2019, 17:53   #15
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Re: Prospective live-aboard reality check

The reality is that living on a boat is different from sailing over the horizon.

If you really want a fast boat to sail on the weekends, get a sailboat. If you need a place to live in a big metropolitan area, get a condo. (Why would it have to be at the marina, as opposed to a short distance away?)

I know it seems that you can combine the two you can have a giant boat, but my observation is that if you try to combine the two, you'll do a lot less sailing, and a lot more "living on a boat in a marina". Something else to consider: real estate tends to appreciate, while boats depreciate.

Just a perspective to consider as you make your choices. You're not the first person to consider this as a viable option. I'd be curious if anyone has made this work. How often did they actually get out sailing? More, or less than if they had a dedicated cruising boat for weekend cruising.
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