I grew up sailing a small board boat and loved it. Got away from sailing till I had a relatively permanent job near the ocean. Decided to buy a boat and move aboard as a house was too expensive and blah. Immediately, my social life picked up and never wondered what I'd do on the weekends. There seemed to be some magic with the ladies when I'd mention going out for a jaunt on my yacht, actually a 26 footer. Ended up living aboard
and cruising fairly consistantly for the next ten years. Kids
finally ended our boat life but never regretted the time and money
In most major coastal cities, living on a boat is cheaper than almost any other ownership
situation. If you buy right and keep up with the cosmetics and reasonable improvements, you may break even on the boat when you sell, I'v even made money but had Carter's inflation to thank for that. Still better than pissing the money away on an apartment. The key to living aboard
is finding a liveaboard slip
and then a boat that you will be able to be comfortable in. In SF, liveaboard
slips in decent areas are hard to find and usually take a few years on a waiting list to get in. Assume that is a common problem in many places. Check the availability of slips and the costs. Most marinas
will get you for additional charges to live aboard.
As far as a boat, I'd suggest at least 30' but I started out on one smaller. With careful looking you should be able to find a boat for under $10,000 and even less than that for a serious fixer upper. The engine
is the biggest thing to worry about. If the boat has an inboard, make sure it's in good shape. Rebuilding an Atomic Four is not cheap
and switching to a diesel
can run into the 5 figures. As you gain more experience around boats, you'll find ways to cut the cost of ownership
. Used small diesels turn up all the time for under $3,000 that have been pulled because the owner simply had to have more hp to pull skiers or something. Sails
are available used from Bacon's in Annapolis
, on Ebay, and Craig's List. The mainsail
is the only one you may have to buy new as they are pretty boat specific.
Don't waste your money on sailing lessons
unless you want the experience with an instructor. A small sailing dinghy
will teach everything you need to know about the basics of wind
, boat, and getting somewhere. If you do any cruising, even if it's just overnight, a dinghy
will be a necessity in any case. I'm sure you could find someone around the marina to go out with you the first few times you take out the boat if you felt the need. My first sail on my first boat turned out to be a couple mile run down the coast at night with a friend who'd never been on a sail boat before. The helper from the boat broker
got drunk and passed out and the boat yard wouldn't let me leave the boat there overnight. Necessity is a great teacher. You can learn the rest by hanging out on sites like this, reading sailing magazines and books
. A new boat can take care of your reading wish list for a couple of years.
I'd say go for it. Just be aware that living on a boat does require an adjustment and some sacrifice of space.