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Old 11-02-2014, 03:53   #1
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Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for Us?

Hello all,

I am going to try to be as thorough as I can in my initial post because that seems to be what is appreciated from what I've read but forgive me if I leave out important information. ***DISCLAIMER*** I do NOT know the correct terminology for things nor do I have any experience or real knowledge in this area so pretty please be kind!

Background about us and why I think this could be a reality for us:

My husband (age 60) and I (age 48) and our precious chocolate lab (not open for debate. we would bring him regardless of any difficulties in retraining him, etc) are extremely interested in and excited about a liveaboard life beginning in the fall of 2016. We are currently living in Cape Town, South Africa on a 3 yr employment contract but we're from the US. When we left the US, we sold everything we owned (minus some sentimental stuff) from our 3200 sq ft home and now live in a tiny little two bdrm apartment (for instance our shower is only about 33 x 33 inches) right on the ocean just outside of Cape Town. We were given a very nice moving allowance to get here and all of the other Americans that are here used that money to ship a bunch of their belongings over....we, on the other hand, used that money to go the LONG way around, stopping in Hawaii, Fiji and Australia and doing some scuba diving (our passion) on liveaboard dive boats. We arrived in South Africa with 2 suitcases and 2 carry ons. One of those suitcases contained all of our dive gear so really just 1 suitcase and 2 carry ons of actual clothes/stuff. The takeaway here is we are not attached to "stuff" and we're not only willing to downsize but obviously know how to do so.

I have no doubt in my mind that we could commit to this mentally and physically...my concern is whether we could do this financially and that's where I would love some help from this community, pretty please.

Budget/Finances
Our plan is to sell our home (currently being rented) in the US and use the proceeds to pay cash for a boat. Our estimate is we would have about $200K for that purchase. Our monthly income, once my husband retires, will be right around $3500 per month. I am pretty sure we can find a nice boat for that price (more questions about that in a moment) but is $3500 enough to sustain this type of life?

Definition of "this type of life"
Our hope is to use marinas at a minimum. I would much rather bounce around from place to place and see, do, and experience new things. He is former Navy...nuclear submarines...and I grew up moving about every 2 years including living in the jungles of Indonesia around age 12 so it's kind of in our blood to be on the move. We have it in our hearts and minds that we would like to visit the Caribbean, South and Central America, Hawaii, Fiji, Tahiti, NW and Australia. May add more to the list as time goes on. Which brings me to my next question......

What type of boat?
I've shared with you our budget, monthly income, and the type of life we'd like to lead. I was pretty sure I wanted a 38' to 44' motoryacht when I first started. Not sure why I am not keen on a sailboat, but for whatever reason, I'm just not. Different strokes for different folks. So I was focusing my searches on SeaRays and various other brands. However after reading this forum I am now leaning towards a catamaran (more open and airy, smoother ride on rougher seas according to the things I've read). I know there are catamarans in that price range but I'm not sure how old is "too old" ... obviously it depends on how much it was used and how well it was taken care of but is there a ball park year range I should be considering? Based on what we want to do is a catamaran a better choice than a motoryacht?

I have in my head (and I guess now typing it out) a list of what I *think* are "must haves" for me to be happy/comfortable. Maybe some of these are no-brainers and all boats have them nowadays and if so, please forgive my ignorance and remember my disclaimer from above!!! I'm sure I'm missing some big important ones so feel free to point out what I'm not considering.

Must Haves on our boat:

2 bdrms (berths?). In the one year we have been here in cape town, we've welcomed 7 visitors and #8 and #9 arrive on Feb 23rd. Some of the Americans have been here 10 - 20 years and haven't had that many visitors. I'm guessing if we're down in the Caribbean for any length of time (which we should be) we'll have at least that many. I'm a crazy social butterfly and LOVE entertaining (hence the 3200 sq ft home we had) so I welcome the visits from family and friends.

2 bathrooms (heads?) with a separate stand up shower in at least our bathroom that has at least warm water. I've done the whole combo/shower in the same space as your sink/toilet thing and whilst I didn't mind it for a week or so, I don't think I could do it permanently.

Washer. Don't need or want a dryer. We have a dryer now but I've used it maybe 3 times in a year. I like hanging my clothes outside in the fresh air. I do not, however, like hand washing clothes. I guess if I'm being honest, if we found the boat of our dreams and it didn't have a washer, I don't think it would prevent us from buying it.

Air Conditioning ... at least in the bedrooms. I don't mind being toasty all day outside but I cannot sleep when it's unbearably hot. Stayed in a little place in Fiji before hopping on our dive boat and it was truly THE WORST night of sleep I'd ever had. In fact, not even sure you could call it sleep.

Whew! I think that's it for now.....

Plan of Attack going forward

1. Join this website. Check!
2. Research as much as I can online.
3. Order recommended books
4. Check out boat shows (the next one close to here is in Durban in July and then Cape Town in September)
5. Do a couple of charter vacations to narrow down the type of boat we should purchase.
6. TAKE CLASSES!!!

If you've read this far, THANK YOU! I know it's long but in reading this forum, it seems being thorough upfront helps people respond easier. If you feel inclined, please share your honest thoughts, opinions, advice, etc. on whether or not you think we're on the right track. It would be GREATLY appreciated!
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:11   #2
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Motor boats are not so great at anchor and have a very small range, usually 150-300nm max, you tend to get more space inside for hull length, cats are great at anchor and have lots of space. Aircon you wont really need much at anchor , mainly in stuffy marinas with no wind and higher water temps, bear in mind at anchor it is always much cooler than on shore!
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:30   #3
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azhootie View Post
6. TAKE CLASSES!!!
Definitely take classes. I took five-day courses, went on board on a Sunday night and came back off on a Friday night so I had a week of living aboard in all weathers. Some delusions get shattered rather quickly...

I would also say that if you buy a motor yacht, you will be staying in South Africa as their range is so limited. On a sailboat, you can go anywhere for free (the wind costs nothing).
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:41   #4
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Thank you to both of you! We do not have a/c in our apt here in SA and normally its very cool (even cold) at night but when there is no breeze, I have to have the fan on. The liveaboard dive boats we've been on all had a/c so I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that we'd need one.

See, Beverley, I did not know that....I thought the motoryachts were able to go the places we wanted to go. Guess I need to cross them off my list...sad, because some of them are so luxurious but I'd rather have the ability to go where we want to go than luxury. And trust me, classes will be taken!! Would not go off on an adventure like this unprepared. That would just be setting ourselves up for failure and we want to make this work.
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Old 11-02-2014, 04:58   #5
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azhootie View Post
I thought the motoryachts were able to go the places we wanted to go. Guess I need to cross them off my list...sad, because some of them are so luxurious but I'd rather have the ability to go where we want to go than luxury.
I was surprised by that myself. When I was at the Southampton Boat Show I asked about some of the motor yachts there and was aghast to find they did 300 nautical miles on 5,000 gallons of fuel. The salesman just laughed and said that now I knew why these boats rarely left the marina and were often used as floating party palaces.... I have since found out that those figures were typical of the BIGGER one, but the smaller ones still work on gallons per MILE, not miles per GALLON.

Perhaps one of the converted trawlers that people on here talk about would be a possiblity. I have never been on one myself but I know they have a better fuel efficiency than a motor yacht.

Quote:
Originally Posted by azhootie View Post
And trust me, classes will be taken!! Would not go off on an adventure like this unprepared. That would just be setting ourselves up for failure and we want to make this work.
Some people do try and just do it with no training, so I thought I had best mention it. I thoroughly enjoyed my courses and for the second one I chartered the boat for a whole week as well and took the kids as crew. It was great fun, but hard work. I must have enjoyed it because I am still sailing.....

Perhaps if you join the local boat club, you can get others to let you see their boats and crew on them. I crew a couple of times a month, but the upcoming biggie on my horizon is the club's Annual Dinner Dance. I haven't a thing to wear......
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:23   #6
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Live Aboard Simulator

by L. Butler


Just for fun, park your cars in the lot of the convenience store at least 2 blocks from your house. (Make believe the sidewalk is a floating dock between your car and the house.

Move yourself and your family (if applicable) into 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Measure the DECK space INSIDE your boat. Make sure the occupied house has no more space, or closet space, or drawer space.

Boats don't have room for beds, as such. Fold your Sealy Posturepedic up against a wall, it won't fit on a boat. Go to a hobby fabric store and buy a foam pad 5' 10" long and 4' wide AND NO MORE THAN 3" THICK. Cut it into a triangle so the little end is only 12" wide. This simulates the foam pad in the V-berth up in the pointy bow of the sailboat. Bring in the kitchen table from the kitchen you're not allowed to use. Put the pad UNDER the table, on the floor, so you can simulate the 3' of headroom over the pad.

Block off both long sides of the pad, and the pointy end so you have to climb aboard the V-berth from the wide end where your pillows will be. The hull blocks off the sides of a V-berth and you have to climb up over the end of it through a narrow opening (hatch to main cabin) on a boat. You'll climb over your mate's head to go to the potty in the night. No fun for either party. Test her mettle and resolve by getting up this way right after you go to bed at night. There are lots of things to do on a boat and you'll forget at least one of them, thinking about it lying in bed, like "Did I remember to tie off the dingy better?" or "Is that spring line (at the dock) or anchor line (anchored out) as tight as it should be?" Boaters who don't worry about things like this lying in bed are soon aground or on fire or the laughing stock of an anchorage. You need to find out how much climbing over her she will tolerate BEFORE you're stuck with a big boat and big marina bills and she refuses to sleep aboard it any more....

Bring a coleman stove into the bathroom and set it next to the bathroom sink. Your boat's sink is smaller, but we'll let you use the bathroom sink, anyway. Do all your cooking in the bathroom, WITHOUT using the bathroom power vent. If you have a boat vent, it'll be a useless 12v one that doesn't draw near the air your bathroom power vent draws to take away cooking odors. Leave the hall door open to simulate the open hatch. Take all the screens off your 2 bedroom windows. Leave the windows open to let in the bugs that will invade your boat at dusk. Of course, flies are attracted to cooking.

Borrow a 25 gallon drum mounted on a trailer. Flush your toilets into the drums. Trailer the drums to the convenience store to dump them when they get full. Turn off your sewer, you won't have one. This will simulate going to the pump out station every time the tiny drum is full. 25 gallons is actually LARGER than most holding tanks. They're more like 15 gallons on small sailboats under 40, because they were added to the boat after the law changed requiring them and there was no place to put it or a bigger one. They fill up really fast if you liveaboard!

Unless your boat is large enough to have a big head with full bath, make believe your showers/bathtubs don't work. Make a deal with someone next door to the convenience store to use THEIR bathroom for bathing at the OTHER end of the DOCK. (Marina rest room) If you use this rest room to potty, while you're there, make believe it has no paper towels or toilet paper. Bring your own. Bring your own soap and anything else you'd like to use there, too.

If your boat HAS a shower in its little head, we'll let you use the shower end of the bathtub, but only as much tub as the boat has FREE shower space for standing to shower. As the boat's shower drains into a little pan in the bilge, be sure to leave the soapy shower water in the bottom of the tub for a few days before draining it. Boat shower sumps always smell like spent soap growing exotic living organisms science hasn't actually discovered or named yet. Make sure your simulated V-berth is less than 3' from this soapy water for sleeping. The shower sump is under the passageway to the V-berth next to your pillows.

Run you whole house through a 20 amp breaker to simulate available dock power at the marina. If you're thinking of anchoring out, turn off the main breaker and make do with a boat battery and flashlights. Don't forget you have to heat your house on this 20A supply and try to keep the water from freezing in winter.

Turn off the water main valve in front of your house. Run a hose from your neighbor's lawn spigot over to your lawn spigot and get all your water from there. Try to keep the hose from freezing all winter.

As your boat won't have a laundry, disconnect yours. Go to a boat supply place, like West Marine, and buy you a dock cart. Haul ALL your supplies, laundry, garbage, etc., between the car at the convenience store and house in this cart. Once a week, haul your outboard motor to the car, leave it a day then haul it back to the house in the cart, to simulate boat problems that require boat parts to be removed/replaced on your dock. If ANYTHING ever comes out of that cart between the convenience store and the house, put it in your garage and forget about it. (This simulates losing it over the side of the dock, where it sank in 23' of water with a mud bottom or was dragged off by the current.)

Each morning, about 5AM, have someone you don't know very well run a weedeater back and forth under your bedroom windows to simulate the fishermen leaving the marina to go fishing. Have him slam trunk lids, doors, blow car horns and bang some heavy pans together from 4AM to 5AM before lighting off the weedeater. (Simulates loading boats with booze and fishing gear and gas cans.) Once a week, have him bang the running weedeater into your bedroom wall to simulate the idiot who drove his boat into the one you're sleeping in because he was half asleep leaving the dock. Put a rope over a big hook in the ceiling over your bed. Put a sheet of plywood under your pad with a place to hook a rope to one side or the other. Hook one end of the rope to the plywood hook and the other end out where he can pull on it. As soon as he shuts off the weedeater, have him pull hard 9 times on the rope to tilt your bed at least 30 degrees. (This simulates the wakes of the fishermen blasting off trying to beat each other to the fishing.) Anytime there is a storm in your area, have someone constantly pull on the rope. It's rough riding storms in the marina or anchored out! If your boat is a sailboat, install a big wire from the top of the tallest tree to your electrical ground in the house to simulate mast lightning strikes in the marina or to give you the thought of potential lightning strikes.

Each time you go out, or think of going boating away from your marina, disconnect the neighbor's water hose, your electric wires, all the umbilicals your new boat will use to make life more bearable in the marina.

Use bottled drinking water for 2 days for everything. Get one of those 5 gallon jugs with the airpump on top from a bottled water company. This is your boat's at sea water system simulator. You'll learn to conserve water this way. Of course, not having the marina's AC power supply, you'll be lighting and all from a car battery, your only source of power. If you own or can borrow a generator, feel free to leave it running to provide AC power up to the limit of the generator. If you're thinking about a 30' sailboat, you won't have room for a generator so don't use it.

Any extra family members must be sleeping on the settees in the main cabin or in the quarter berth under the cockpit, unless you intend to get a boat over 40-something feet with an aft cabin. Smaller boats have quarter berths. Cut a pad out of the same pad material that is no more than 2' wide by 6' long. Get a cardboard box from an appliance store that a SMALL refridgerator came in. Put the pad in the box, cut to fit, and make sure only one end of the box is open. The box can be no more than 2 feet above the pad. Quarter berths are really tight. Make them sleep in there, with little or no air circulation. That's what sleeping in a quarterberth is all about.

Of course, to simulate sleeping anchored out for the weekend, no heat or air conditioning will be used and all windows will be open without screens so the bugs can get in.

In the mornings, everybody gets up and goes out on the patio to enjoy the sunrise. Then, one person at a time goes back inside to dress, shave, clean themselves in the tiny cabin unless you're a family of nudists who don't mind looking at each other in the buff. You can't get dressed in the stinky little head with the door closed on a sailboat. Hell, there's barely room to bend over so you can sit on the commode. So, everyone will dress in the main cabin, one at a time.

Boat tables are 2' x 4' and mounted next to the settee. There's no room for chairs in a boat. So, eat off a 2' x 4' space on that kitchen table you slept under while sitting on a couch (settee simulator). You can also go out with breakfast and sit on the patio (cockpit), if you like.

Ok, breakfast is over. Crank up the lawnmower under the window for 2 hours. It's time to recharge the batteries from last night's usage and to freeze the coldplate in the boat's icebox which runs off a compressor on the engine. Get everybody to clean up your little hovel. Don't forget to make the beds from ONE END ONLY. You can't get to the other 3 sides of a boat bed pad.

All hands go outside and washdown the first fiberglass UPS truck that passes by. That's about how big the deck is on your 35' sailboat that needs to have the ocean cleaned off it daily or it'll turn the white fiberglass all brown like the UPS truck. Now, doesn't the UPS truck look nice like your main deck?

Ok, we're going to need some food, do the laundry, buy some boat parts that failed because the manufacturer's bean counters got cheap and used plastics and the wife wants to eat out, I'm fed up with cooking on the Coleman stove today. Let's make believe we're not at home, but in some exotic port like Ft Lauderdale, today on our cruise to Key West Before going ashore, plan on buying all the food you'll want to eat that will:

Fit into the Coleman Cooler on the floor
You can cook on the Coleman stove without an oven or all those fancy kitchen tools you don't have on the boat
Last you for 10 days, in case the wind drops and it takes more time than we planned at sea.
Plan meals carefully in a boat. We can't buy more than we can STORE, either!
You haven't washed clothes since you left home and everything is dirty. Even if it's not, pretend it is for the boater-away-from-home simulator. Put all the clothes in your simulated boat in a huge dufflebag so we can take it to the LAUNDRY! Manny's Marina HAS a laundromat, but the hot water heater is busted (for the last 8 months) and Manny has parts on order for it... saving Manny $$$$ on the electric bill! Don't forget to carry the big dufflebag with you on our excursion. God that bag stinks, doesn't it? ....PU!

Of course, we came here by BOAT, so we don't have a car. Some nice marinas have a shuttle bus, but they're not a taxi. The shuttle bus will only go to West Marine or the tourist traps, so we'll be either taking the city bus, if there is one or taxi cabs or shopping at the marina store which has almost nothing to buy at enormous prices.

Walk to the 7-11 store, where you have your car stored, but ignore the car. Make believe it isn't there. No one drove it to Ft Lauderdale for you. Use the payphone at the 7-11 and call a cab. Don't give the cab driver ANY instructions because in Ft Lauderdale you haven't the foggiest idea where West Marine is located or how to get there, unlike at home. We'll go to West Marine, first, because if we don't, the head back on the boat won't be working for a week because little Suzy broke a valve in it trying to flush some paper towels. This is your MOST important project today... that valve in the toilet!! After the cab drivers drives around for an hour looking for West Marine and asking his dispatcher how to get there, don't forget to UNLOAD your stuff from the cab, including the dirty clothes in the dufflebag. Then, go into West Marine and give the clerk a $100 bill, simulating the cost of toilet parts. Lexus parts are cheaper than toilet parts at West Marine. See for yourself! The valve she broke, the seals that will have to be replaced on the way into the valve will come to $100 easy. Tell the clerk you're using my liveaboard simulator and to take his girlfriend out to dinner on your $100 greenback. If you DO buy the boat, this'll come in handy when you DO need boat parts because he'll remember you for the great time his girlfriend gave him on your $100 tip. Hard-to-find boat parts will arrive in DAYS, not months like the rest of us. It's just a good political move while in simulation mode.

Call another cab from West Marine's phone, saving 50 cents on payphone charges. Load the cab with all your stuff, toilet parts, DIRTY CLOTHES then tell the cabbie to take you to the laundromat so we can wash the stinky clothes in the trunk. The luxury marina's laundry in Ft Lauderdale has a broken hot water heater. They're working on it, the girl at the store counter said yesterday. Mentioning the $12/ft you paid to park the boat at their dock won't get the laundry working before we leave for Key West. Do your laundry in the laundromat the cabbie found for you. Just because nobody speaks English in this neighborhood, don't worry. You'll be fine this time of day.

Call another cab to take us out of here to a supermarket. When you get there, resist the temptation to load up, because your boat has limited storage and very limited refridgeration space (remember? Coleman Cooler). Buy from the list we made early this morning. Another package of cookies is OK. Leave one of the kids guarding the pile of clean laundry just inside the supermarket's front door. We learned our lesson and DIDN'T forget and leave it in the cab, again!

Call another cab to take us back to the marina, loaded up with clean clothes and food and all-important boat parts. Isn't Ft Lauderdale beautiful from a cab? It's too late to go exploring, today. Maybe tomorrow. Don't forget to tell the cab to go to the 7-11 (marina parking lot) not your front door, since cabs don't float well.

Ok, haul all the stuff in the dock cart from the 7-11 store the two blocks to the boat bedroom. Wait 20 minutes before starting out for the house. This simulates waiting for someone to bring back a marina-owned dock cart from down the docks.... They always leave them outside their boats, until the marina crew get fed up with newbies like us asking why there aren't any carts and go down the docks to retrieve them.

Put all the stuff away, food and clothes, in the tiny drawer space provided. Have a beer on the patio (cockpit) and watch the sunset. THIS is living!

Now, disassemble the toilet in your bathroom, take out the wax ring under it and put it back. Reassemble the toilet. This completes the simulation of putting the new valve in the head on the boat. Uh, uh, NO POWERVENT! GET YOUR HAND OFF THAT SWITCH! The whole boat smells like the inside of the holding tank for hours after fixing the toilet in a real boat, too! Spray some Lysol if you got it.

After getting up, tomorrow morning, from your V-Berth, take the whole family out to breakfast by WALKING to the nearest restaurant, then take a cab to any local park or attraction you like. We're off today to see the sights of Ft Lauderdale before heading out to sea again to Key West. Take a cab back home after dinner out and go to bed, exhausted, on your little foam pad under the table....

Get up this morning and disconnect all hoses, electrical wires, etc. Get ready for sea. Crank up the lawn mower under the open bedroom window for 4 hours while we motor out to find some wind. ONE responsible adult MUST be sitting on the hot patio all day, in shifts, on watch looking out for other boats, ships, etc. If you have a riding lawn mower, let the person on watch drive it around the yard all day to simulate driving the boat down the ICW in heavy traffic. About 2PM, turn off the engine and just have them sit on the mower steering it on the patio. We're under sail, now. Every hour or so, take everyone out in the yard with a big rope and have a tug-of-war to simulate the work involved with setting sail, changing sail, trimming sail. Make sure everyone gets all sweaty in the heat.

Sailors working on sailboats are always all sweaty or we're not going anywhere fast! Do this all day, today, all night, tonight, all day, tomorrow, all night tomorrow night and all day the following day until 5PM when you arrive at the next port you're going to. Make sure nobody in the family leaves the confines of the little bedroom or the patio during our trip. Make sure everyone conserves water, battery power, etc., things you'll want to conserve while being at sea on a trip somewhere. Everyone can go up to the 7-11 for an icecream as soon as we get the boat docked on day 3, the first time anyone has left the confines of the bedroom/patio in 3 days.

Now go buy that boat! I know you can't wait....
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:41   #7
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Welcome aboard,a shoo tie, that is an awesome first post! It seems to be like you're pretty much ready to go... Before casting off, hwmo and I were living literally in our bedroom and kitchen, and had very little stuff to get rid of, and from what I understand, it's the downsizing that's most people's biggest fear. Sounds like you have TONS of money for what you want to do, and I wish you all the best.

One caveat, you most probably ain't sailing into Australia with your lively lab! But you've clearly read some of our dog threads, so you'll be well prepared. One thing... If you feed your dog kibble, make sure you take along lots of 5liter ice cream containers for storing kibble once big sacks are opened. I mention that because you may have to start eating that ice cream now in order to save enough containers before you leave!
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Old 11-02-2014, 05:57   #8
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

> Perhaps one of the converted trawlers that people on here talk about would be a possiblity. I have never been on one myself but I know they have a better fuel efficiency than a motor yacht.

Delivered a 40ft Tradewinds trawler across the Coral Sea (Cairns-Port Moresby) late last year. At around 6.5 knots in fairly heavy weather the twin Ford Lehman diesels used a bit less than 300 US gallons for 500NM.

(First time I've done that crossing in a stink boat but I've done it quite a few times on mono and multihull yachts from 30 - 50 odd foot. That was by far the most uncomfortable trip to date, I'd have been a lot more comfortable in a similar sized cat with a couple of reefs in)
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:17   #9
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Quote:
I've shared with you our budget, monthly income, and the type of life we'd like to lead. I was pretty sure I wanted a 38' to 44' motoryacht when I first started. Not sure why I am not keen on a sailboat, but for whatever reason, I'm just not. Different strokes for different folks. So I was focusing my searches on SeaRays and various other brands. However after reading this forum I am now leaning towards a catamaran (more open and airy, smoother ride on rougher seas according to the things I've read). I know there are catamarans in that price range but I'm not sure how old is "too old" ... obviously it depends on how much it was used and how well it was taken care of but is there a ball park year range I should be considering? Based on what we want to do is a catamaran a better choice than a motoryacht?
The lifestyle choice of a sailing boat over a motorboat is very different, In a motorboat , you will typically go maybe 5-15 miles away and anchor or visit friends or whatever, you will not as a rule travel long distances. For that given the extra room and amenities a mo-bo is a better bet.

IN a sailboat you have the option of travelling further, slower at lower cost. However only a very small proportion of boat owners have the time to travel any sort of distances, outside normal vacation time, hence most boats, of all types, "potter around"

So when considering a motorboat over a sailboat, take a realistic view of where you will go and what you will do. If travelling is your goal, then pick accordingly, equally , if ini reality you will "potter" around then choose for that. Its a common common mistake that people buy boats for what they'd "like" or dream they will do, when reality they do something completely different and the boat is actually a wrong fit ( Not that you'll get them to admit that !!)


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Old 11-02-2014, 06:45   #10
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I must be the odd ball. I have powerboat with a wash and dryer, dishwasher, kegerator, king size very comfortable bed, a 35 gallon holding tank and LectraSan (legal in most of US), 1040 watt solar array powering the fridge, kegerator, and electronic toys, and a 1000 mile range on 500 gallons of fuel (trawler). She is heavy and that helps riding at anchor and underway - kindly motion.

I havent had to compromise on comfort. I've lived at anchor and travelled on her and she handled weather and seas fine. Granted it is a different motion than a sailboat, but not uncomfortable by any means.

Am I going to cross an ocean on her? Absolutely not, but she will easily island hop the Caribbean, which is all I need

If you want a powerboat, look at older trawlers. My brother is on the market for a live aboard trawler right now.



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Old 11-02-2014, 06:50   #11
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

There is a truism in boating that you should buy the smallest boat that you can both be happy living on. The reason for that is that costs go up very rapidly with the size of the boat, and not in a linear fashion. A 40' boat can cost you almost double what a 30' boat costs in initial cost, maintenance, marina fees, etc.

Related to that, and your initial budget, I would suggest that if you have $200k to burn that you look for a $100k boat and bank the rest, particularly since you're not experienced boat owners. Boat equipment is PHENOMENALLY expensive, and stuff breaks with great regularity. I know a couple at the tail end of a circumnavigation and they always joke that they sail into beautiful, exotic parts and then spend all their time fixing the stuff that broke on the last leg of the voyage. That's an exaggeration, but it puts a fine point on the fact that the sea is a harsh environment and takes its toll on a boat's systems.

I'm not saying that a boat that you buy for $100k is going to end up costing you $200k, but it not only gives you a margin of safety, but also extra cash in the bank for other unforeseen expenses.

Also keep in mind that a boat is a depreciating asset. It will not appreciate in value, so the more you sink into it the more you're going to lose if/when you go to sell it.

If you shop wisely you can get a lot of boat for $100k.

As for sail vs. power, that's a personal choice. Certainly sail has the cost/mile factor hands down, while power has the comfort/space advantage for some people. Those of us that live on sailboats would not have it any other way, in part because we love to sail but also because...well, just because.

Before you decide against sail I suggest you go on a charter. What may seem cramped and small at first blush may end up seeming so compelling that you can't imagine doing it any other way. I'm sort of guessing that if you don't care about things and have managed quite happily to live in a small apartment that the size of a sailboat might not put you off. That said, a sailboat is certainly a more challenging environment as you get up in years.
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:51   #12
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

One quick point...some motorboats do travel long distances but usually harbor hop night to night (especially if you have a dog that won't go onboard)....trawlers can easily have ranges over 1000 miles and get 3-4 miles to the gallon.

This is typical for hundreds if not thousands of power cruisers along the US Atlantic seaboard.

$3500/month is enough but you will have to budget pretty carefully. I rarely anchor because of my girlfriend/dog (working on it). for my annual winter budget I plan on about $1000 per week and usually come in under that. That hasn't included any emergencies in terms of flying or renting a car for family, medical issues. It does include typical repairs along the way. If I had longer to get away, the monthly expenses can go down if you pay marinas a weekly or monthly rate instead of a nightly rate as it does tend to be 30-50% higher in many cases.

It's really your overall cruising goals/dreams that will determine power or sail and whether bluewater or coastal hopper and your budget has everything to do with either loving sitting at anchor and using a dingy or tying up and enjoying conveniences. Even that has crossover so with experience you can adapt.

While the truism might be buy the smallest boat you can be happy living on is mostly solid...it really depends on you knowing EXACTLY what you like and don't care about living n a boat.

Kinda like small houses...don't most have a storage shed out back or the garage is full of stuff instead of a car? Same with a boat...you have to almost start with all the things you love to have (people forget about storing bikes, fishing equipment, diving gear, grilling stuff, etc..etc...)...make sure there is room, power, and support for all that...then all sleeping ,eating, baths....etc...
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Old 11-02-2014, 06:55   #13
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Something to consider when deciding on power vs sail is how you "fit in" with the various groups of boaters (each type has several different subsets-big, little, fast, slow, elegant, like mine...) Not to put too fine a point on it, but do you like hanging out with "stink potters" or "rag baggers"? Do you prefer to hang out with folks that hire most of their on board work, or do you like doing your own work (and smelling faintly of diesel all the time?)

In the earlier posts there are several comments about fuel useage. Fuel consumption depends on how big your boat is, how fast it goes, and the hull type (displacement, semi-displacement, planing, cat, etc.) We have a 38' sailboat that uses 1 GPH @ hull speed of about 6.5 kts in flat water. A similar sized, single screw trawler will get similar mileage. The trawler will have significantly more interior space, but has more windage with all of the associated problems.

Your budget is certainly adequate, but will not support a "fancy" yacht. Consider buying a well cared for and equipped used boat. They exist. New is fine, but you shouldn't consider a new boat to be trouble free. Boats are built in very small quantity compared to autos for instance, and all have teething problems because of that. No matter what boat you end up with, I would suggest taking a few months close to a marine store and service facility until you can get it shaken down and ready to head out. The remote areas (aka prime cruising grounds) are not the place to be sorting out plumbing, rigging, electronics. Don't forget to acquire spare parts too.

I'm glad you are planning to bring the lab too. We would not go if it meant leaving our poodle behind. Have fun!
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:24   #14
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
SNIP

Its a common common mistake that people buy boats for what they'd "like" or dream they will do, when reality they do something completely different and the boat is actually a wrong fit ( Not that you'll get them to admit that !!)


SNIP
Best advice of the thread.

I mostly live on a sailing catamaran with two small outboards and turn them off and raise them out of the water as quickly as possible. The noise and vibration gives me a head ache and the smell makes me nauseous. My max speed with both motors is just over seven knots and in 15-20 knot winds I sail at 10-12 knots. My theory is the worst thing you can do to a boat is not use it so I take the boat out once a week or more.

On the other hand the guy on the ball next to me has a nice trawler with a big genset and stuff like a freezer and even a TV dish. I have never seen the boat leave the harbor but he is happy with it.

Sometimes it is hard to be realistic about what you want a boat for. I want a boat I can single hand around the Florida Keys and Bahamas. I doubt I will ever get to the Windward or Leeward Islands.

You are the only person who knows what you want a boat for.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:28   #15
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Re: Reality Check: Is the Liveaboard Lifestyle Possible for US?

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Originally Posted by Dale Hedtke View Post
SNIP

We have a 38' sailboat that uses 1 GPH @ hull speed of about 6.5 kts in flat water. A similar sized, single screw trawler will get similar mileage. The trawler will have significantly more interior space, but has more windage with all of the associated problems.

SNIP
The problem is you can never find flat water when you want it. Not to mention calm winds and little current.
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