Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 09-05-2006, 11:19   #1
Registered User

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3
Hi from Baltimore

Hi all!
I live and work in the Baltimore Inner Harbor, and after 2 months of house hunting, I've decided to buy a sailboat instead.
I have never owned a boat and over the past few years I have done very little sailing but I grew up near the water and have always felt a little wrong away from it. For the next 2-3 years I will be primarily docked, or sailing in the Chesapeake on weekends. After that I hope to have some serious blue water time, but in two years anything can happen. I'm researching now what size boat I should buy. It will be just me living on the boat, and I'll need to be able to handle her myself. I also plan to join a sailing club to get more experience.

Looking forward to any comments or words of wisdom you all may have. I've been eavesdropping for a while and you seem like a friendly group.
__________________

__________________
panchita is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 15:18   #2
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Welcome to the Cruisers Forum!

Joining a sail club is a good idea. It's good to try alot of boats and get used to them before picking one. you'll meet more boaters and in genral have more fun with less work.It is a cheap way to get into boating and you don't have to maitain the boat yourself.

The trouble with living aboard is you end up with all your stuff aboard and you can't get out sailing. It's a big problem. Living aboard in Baltimore isn't the easiest place in the winter but people do that. I live at the other end of the Bay and I think it's not easy here, but I don't live aboard. I just sail from home.

No one can just tell you what boat to buy. It has to be big enough for you and all your stuff. It has to fit your budget and you have to get it maintained either with money or your own labor and money. It also helps if you know how to sail it and maybe more important you should like it. It get compliocated after that but those things are pretty much the big things.

You might want to rent an apartment until you can get some sailing experience, join a club, look at enough boats, figure expenses, and perhaps be a whole lot smarter when it comes time to start the actual process. In the end you should get to the point where you may want to ask questions about specific boats and we have a lot of boat owners here that can tell you a lot.
__________________

__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 15:38   #3
Registered User

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3
Thanks for your reply Paul!

Actually, one of the main reasons I want to live aboard is that I don't have any stuff, and I don't want any. I currently live in an apartment in which all I have are my clothes and my bills. It has bedroom and a living room but the bedroom is empty and I sleep on the couch. The good thing about it is that I can climb out my window and sit on the roof of the building next door.

One of the reasons I had trouble finding a house was that they were all so big with space I wouldn't need or want (unless I had a roommate). I am considering in my budget, the fact that I might want to rent a room during the winter, but fortunately my job is on the harbor and has lots of couches and a warm shower.

My only hesitation right now is experience, but I don't want to let my lack of it prevent me from getting any.
__________________
panchita is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 16:14   #4
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Tasmania
Boat: VandeStadt IOR 40' - Insatiable
Posts: 2,317
Images: 91
Welcome aboard

Sounds like living on a boat is going to suit you down to the ground (or to the waterline perhaps). Do not rush into buying the first boat that takes your fancy...there are so many things to take into account. In fact, the boat that is "ideal" for living aboard in a relatively fixed location (or for moving around within a fairly small area) is probably not "ideal" for long term cruising...it is probably going to be a bit of a compromise.

Good luck with your search.
__________________
Weyalan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-05-2006, 16:54   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
You need the experience more than you need a boat to live on right now. I would stick with a cheap apartment til you have a solid plan. Living aboard is not something you do starting from square one. A tiny apartment is more space than you will ever have and should you start making some money you'll acrue more stuff than you can hold in no time at all. I did a move when I was 20 and did it all in 7 cardboard boxes I had shipped and I hitchhiked to where I wound up before I had the boxes shipped freight collect. Cost was $65. Last move was a full moving truck with 2 cars and 3 dogs and a wife. It happens. Your life will too.

Good luck and I'll give you the first rule of boating - "Don't hit anything". It gets easier after that.

I will agree with Weylan. I think if you have to ask what boat to buy then you are not ready. Come back with a million questions and sooner or later you will know how to find one. You'll know when you are ready because you will know and know why. It took my wife and I 2 years to buy the first boat and we already had the money. Everyone needs the time they need. Don't rush it.

You should already know there are lots of people here to encourage you on.
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2006, 00:38   #6
Registered User
 
coot's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 367
Images: 2
Here's a list of thoughts:

I had no problems living aboard in Baltimore, even the year that the low temperature got down to 14 F overnight for a few weeks. It was a bit chilly in the boat during the coldest times, but it was tolerable. This will vary from boat to boat. As I recall, my many neighbors complained about the cold but I don't recall anybody deciding they had to move onto land because of it.

I recommend you not live on a boat if you drink heavily. All the drownings at the marina where I lived happened because somebody got massively drunk and fell in.

I recommend air conditioning for the summer, and you might as well have the reverse cycle kind so it can heat the boat as well. Most marinas disallow unattended space heaters because of the percieved fire hazard, but boaters sometimes ignore that, especially when they can get oil filled or ceramic heaters that can't start a fire. The reverse cycle air conditioning heats well until the water temperature gets below about 40 F.

I know a single guy who lived on an older 27 foot sailboat. IIRC, he paid about $5000 for it and I think it was about $3000/year for slip rental. His standards were not particularly high. He used a space heater in the winter and one of those portable boat air conditioners in the summer.

Given pricing like that, you could say $8000 per year might match your rent, so you could buy a boat even if you sell it on after a year. That doesn't account for maintenance, transaction fees (tax, brokerage, whatever), surveys (inspection of the boat so you can get insurance), etc.

I found a Catalina 34 to be too small for me and my wife. We had a heat pump (i.e. could be either air conditioning or heating) that worked well enough, but we also used a space heater to augment it from time to time. I think it would have been adequate if it were just me.

I lived at Anchorage Marina on Boston Street. It is a fine facility. There is a significant live-aboard community. Parking is limited in the summer, so you park on the street and try not to move your car on Friday night or Saturday. Parking is wonderful in the winter. There is a portable pump-out that comes to your boat unless there is too much snow on the piers. You can use the showers in the rest rooms if you don't want to shower on the boat. You can walk to Safeway and West Marine. You can walk to Fell's Point, but Inner Harbor is kind of a stretch. I left when my slip lease was up this year because I found the new management to be unpleasant.

Baltimore Marine Center charges $300 extra per month if you live on your boat. [from their handout concerning slip fees; data from this year]

Inner Harbor EAST Marina (they always capitalize it like that) prefers that people only stay on their boat overnight on the weekend. [told by the manager to a neighbor who was also leaving Anchorage; data from this year]

Harborview has "absolutely no live-aboards", but they have "a number of people who spend a lot of time on their boat". [from visiting while looking for a slip; this data is more than 5 years old.]

Sailing clubs that I know of are Downtown Sailing Club and Getaway Sailing.

It's a big decision to live on a boat, but you can get a great deal of information by doing web searches. Lots of people write about living aboard and/or cruising on their boats.
__________________
Mark S.
coot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2006, 04:54   #7
Moderator Emeritus
 
Pblais's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Hayes, VA
Boat: Gozzard 36
Posts: 8,700
Images: 15
Send a message via Skype™ to Pblais
Quote:
Most marinas disallow unattended space heaters because of the percieved fire hazard, but boaters sometimes ignore that, especially when they can get oil filled or ceramic heaters that can't start a fire.
The oil filled heaters are the very worst unit you can use. It's not the heat - it's the electricity. They are wired very poorly and not made to use with such a large duty cycle. Expect more marinas to crack down on this. Boat fires are more electrically ignited than from the heat of a heater. Bad boat wiring, bad marina wiring, indoor residential heaters running for a whole winter on a large duty cycle spells fire.

Over the past two seasons we have had 2 major marina fires and several single boat fires. BTW, in most marinas if your boat starts on fire they cut your lines and cast you off (to save the rest of the marina). In all the fires most baots were a total loss if they had any fire damage. Once fully engaged they burn hot and all afternoon with smoke as black as night. They just about have to sink them to put the fire out.

The insurance companies will most likely be the death of marina liveaboards. I would expect it to be swift.
__________________
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
Pblais is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2006, 10:38   #8
Registered User
 
staehpj1's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Baltimore, Md
Boat: Alberg 30 #554 Aurora
Posts: 22
A dissenting opinion

[quote=Pblais]You need the experience more than you need a boat to live on right now. I would stick with a cheap apartment til you have a solid plan. Living aboard is not something you do starting from square one. A tiny apartment is more space than you will ever have and should you start making some money you'll acrue more stuff than you can hold in no time at all. I did a move when I was 20 and did it all in 7 cardboard boxes I had shipped and I hitchhiked to where I wound up before I had the boxes shipped freight collect. Cost was $65. Last move was a full moving truck with 2 cars and 3 dogs and a wife. It happens. Your life will too.

Just an opinion, but... All of that seems like more reason to do it now. If it doesn't work out or if you buy the wrong boat it isn't the end of the world. I say do it now while you have no reason not to.

My only advice is that boat prices are HIGHLY variable and there are great bargains to be had as well as a lot of folks asking top dollar and beyond. Don't be afraid to offer a lot less than the asking price and remember that there are a lot of boats out there so it is no big deal if you miss out on a particular one.

Also before you buy the boat be sure you have a place to keep it. For a liveaboard finding the right marina may be tougher than finding the right boat. Buying a boat with a slip lease that can be transferred may be a good idea.

Best of luck,
Pete
__________________
staehpj1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-05-2006, 18:23   #9
Registered User

Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3
in research mode

Right now, I am just trying to answer all of my questions, and find out if there are any more that I should be asking. I have my apartment for the rest of this month, I am house sitting for the month of June, and in July a friend is leaving the country so I will take over her place when she leaves and then sell all her stuff for her when I'm done with it. So it's not as though I'm in a hurry to find a place to live.
BUT I would like to figure it out sooner rather than later. I'm not trying to make any long term decisions right now, and as I won't be going anywhere far (my boss would kill me), I don't need the perfect boat -- just one I like living on. And I'd like to start living on it before the winter comes, because I'm sure that the cold might bias my opinion a bit.

I'm still trying to figure out what size boat I need, but I think the way to answer that is to look at some different boats and get a feel for what they are like.

Several people I've talked to have mentioned Anchorage Marina, so I'm goign to check it out soon. I know a few people who have lived aboard in Baltimore, but none who do now, so I'm not sure that I'll have any good *contacts*.

Coot, I especially appreciate the information about heating, air conditioning and drinking. Somehow, the three seem related, especially when there are friends visiting.

I've bought some books which I will be checking out, and I'm also trying to decide between Downtown Sailing Center and Getaway Sailing. I'm leaning towards DSC because of its location and its being a non-profit. Also, they have weeknight courses instead of weekend. Does anyone here have any opinions about the two?
__________________
panchita is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-05-2006, 16:33   #10
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,056
Panchita-
Not having a lot of material things will help you here, because normally a sailboat (a boat good for sailing) and a houseboat (a boat meant for living on) are very different things, and when people try to make one into the other...well....<G>....

If you want the boat to be a comfortable place to live, in harbor, you'll want more room and more creature comfort, as priorities. If you really want to sail, choosing a boat becomes much harder simply because you need to spend time on different boats in order to appreciate how they sail, and what handling characteristics you want. And, how easy/hard they will be to handle. If you decide to "really sail" you probably will want a main sail, storm sail, and even with roller furling one genoa and one jib and one storm jib and possibly a spinnaker or asymetrical headsail as well. Those bags of sails take up LOTS of space. And as you'll find out once you get sailing, the typical cheap used boat may have 15-year old sails that still work--but they're like a car with half an engine, they don't work like new ones do.
All that takes some time to appreciate, and the sails that do or don't come with a used boat can be a major difference in the value overall. Don't underestimate that. (Very rough number, one main and one genoa for a 30' boat could run you $5000 for the pair. Add the job and storm sails, you can hit $8-10,000 right away. And choosing sails, ah, that's somewhere between faith and magic.<G>)
Of course if you just want to live on the boat and get into sailing, "anything" will work if it is in decent condition. IIRC in Annapolis you have Bacon, an outfit that carries a large inventory of used sails. That may or may not be a bargain just note it as a local resource.
The "stuff" on a boat can also add up. Self-tailing winches /vs/ plain ones, big dollar difference. Rigging all running aft for single handing, roller furling, a proper marine alternator and regulator instead of the "automobile" type integral one...adequate batteries and power system to run without recharging every day...
Probably one of the best ways to come to grips with the hardware side of things would be Don Street's books "The Proper Cruising Yacht" 1&2. Things like batteries matter more if you're out sailing, but if you don't have a place to locate them...you have to plan ahead, or change boats. And that's also something to consider, look for a boat that has a good reputation and a history of buying/selling fairly quickly and holding its price. That way if your first boat isn't the right one two years later, you get most of your money back.
You can find a lot of comparative information about boats in the "Practical Boat Buying" books from Practical Sailor, a subscription newsletter. They do detailed reviews of old boats in each issue, and these books are compilations of hundreds of them.
Most valuable of all, wherever you take sailings lessons, stop to chat and ask. Most sailors are glad to help bring a newbie into the fold and have you out sailing with them to give you an idea of what it is about. Most places will also have some type of regular racing (weekdays and weekends) and just being on the docks and asking "Does anyone need crew?" can get you a ride. Be honest, let them know you're new, because even new crew can be better than no crew.
Invest in a set of deck shoes or sailing shoes (anything with good traction that doesn't leave marks, white-soled sneakers work fine) and a set of sailing gloves, because rope burns can be nasty. Invest in your own PFD if you want, too. And after that, look for good foul-weather gear if you don't have something similar already. Those basic pieces will last you for years, and make it easy for you to grab a ride on any boat.
__________________

__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
baltimore

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ashore in Baltimore CaptainK Atlantic & the Caribbean 0 30-04-2006 08:57
Marina for the night in Baltimore area tilmonday Other 2 17-04-2006 15:23



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:48.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.