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Old 07-10-2008, 14:38   #1
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Hey all,

My name is David. I'm active duty USN training on Coronado Island and I'll likely be permanently stationed here at the completion of my training.

Which is why I've been lurking here some months: instead of living in the BOQ on base or at some rundown place in Imperial Beach, I'm seriously considering living aboard (Fiddler's Cove at NAB Coronado has options for me). I'm just trying to absorb as much knowledge as I can so I can find the right boat when the time comes.

I own next to nothing (I can put all my possessions in the trunk of my VW hatchback) and I like it that way, so living on a boat shouldn't be much of a stretch in terms of stowage or space. I eat simply, and often will be going to the mess on base anyhow...so I'm not looking for a gourmet kitchen. A small refrigerator and a couple of burners would be sufficient for me. I am, however, a clean freak, so a nice head (not a porta-potty - this is a dealbreaker for me) with a decent shower is required. Mostly, I'm looking for a good, clean, smallish boat.

But the big reason I want a boat is to sail, obviously. With my hectic training and deployment schedule, I won't have the luxury of picking which days I sail, so something that can move in light winds is huge to me - I DESPISE motoring. Max speed is fun, but not as important as moving in light wind. It also needs to be something I can singlehand. I won't be doing bluewater - at most a little jaunt up and down the coast for a few days.

I can't afford it, but I'm enamored of the Dragonfly line (especially the 35), so you can see where my uninhibited head goes. My REAL budget is somewhere in the 60-75k range, so multis (though I love them passionately) are pretty much out of the picture for a while.

I've been looking at Beneteau, Hunter, Elan (if I could find one in the US), but I'm honestly not sure which are better for what I'm looking for.

Good to meet you all, I'm learning a ton reading your conversations!

Any advice about which directions to look would be well-appreciated.

David
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Old 07-10-2008, 15:10   #2
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I have had a lot of friends live there (Fiddlers Cove)over the years and most ended up moving to Glorietta Bay or Chula Vista or one of the Island Marinas, Shelter or Harbor.

Living on the strand can be pretty attractive because its very inexpensive relatively speaking but it can get real lonely. In the end it will feel just like living in the Q except worse.

I would live on Pt Loma near the Red Sail if possible. You will be more likely to enjoy or love your life afloat. There will be social activity within walking distance year around. That will really matter around early January when there is absolutely nothing stirring in the marina but you and the sand blowing in from the state park. (and the retired farts of course)
I know it would cost a lot more to live in a civilian marina but I would seriously consider it.
My friends that lived behind the Chart House on GB absolutely loved it. Dannys and Mc Ps are stumbling distance. If you are able to pull it off you will find life on the bay will be awesome. Catalina is no problem on a 3 day weekend.

Good luck with the boat search.
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Old 07-10-2008, 15:38   #3
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1988 Catalina Sloop for sale in San Diego, CA: Daysailor/weekender - SailboatTraderOnline.com

2002 Hunter 326 For Sale In Dana Point, CA: Cruiser (sail) - BoatTrader.com

Here are a couple of likely candidates. They would both be comfortable for a single guy to live on and hull maintenance would be negligible compared to something with a lot of used wood.
They are new enough that the wiring might be in good to very good condition assuming the previous owners didn't get too creative by trying to fix things they weren't qualified to work on.
If it was me moving aboard a used boat and everything seemed in order I'd invest in a new toilet, holding tank and associated plumbing if it was easy enough to get the old stuff out.
Just that simple fix would go along way towards giving the boat a fresh new smell.

Changing cushions would be my next task. I'd go to Tijauna and have a new set made.

Also think about down the road and what happens when you get sent east. The Navy will pay to ship your boat. Most hulls in the 30-35 foot range will be more or less easy to move across the country by truck.

Just some thoughts.
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Old 07-10-2008, 17:19   #4
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Welcome aboard brassmonkeyboy. I think you have a great opportunity!

I'd agree with brassmonkeyboy and stick with later model Catalinas and Hunters. They'll perform well in lighter airs than heavier displacement boats of the same length.

Get roller furling if you can and lazy jacks. Look for a good halyard and sheeting system led back to the cockpit within reach of the helm. Look for some sort of auto steering. All in the name of easy single handing.

For single handing I like a tiller rather than a wheel because you can install a very simple ST1000 or ST2000 tiller pilot for about $1,000.

Good luck in your search - Lot's of boats available on the southern California coast.
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Old 07-10-2008, 17:24   #5
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Hi brass, First thank you for serving. Second I would look on www.yachtworld.com or on www.boattrader.com they usually have lots of boats to choose fromand you can do a custom search of their site, good luck.
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Old 07-10-2008, 19:17   #6
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Aloha Brass,
Welcome aboard! I did a tour of instructor duty at Coronado in the 70s and had CI/SERE training there late 60s. Is that a long time ago or what? They used to have a great sailing club at Fiddlers Cove and I was there nearly every weekend. I like the solitude and the closeness of Fiddlers but only because I'm a bit reclusive. Coronado is just up the strand and there are a few entertainments there.
Thanks for serving and good luck on finding the right boat. I'd pick the Catalina over a Hunter.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 13-10-2008, 21:59   #7
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Thanks for all the advice guys!

Those other marinas sound really nice... but I was under the impression they're almost impossible to get into. Is that not the case? Also, it might be hard to justify a substantial increase in cost when I'm not likely to be home more than 30-40% of the time I'm NOT deployed... what sort of cost comparison can be made? They do sound pretty awesome though... McP's is a great place to stumble from!

I've started to zero in on the Catalina 320...it looks pretty well perfect for what I'm looking for and is easily within the price range I'm after. Anyone here have experiences or thoughts either way about it?
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Old 14-10-2008, 00:48   #8
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I lived aboard at NAS Norfolk when I was stationed there in the early '70s. With our squadrons deployment schedule of week to two week det's. nearly back to back and all my life fitting into an MG, it was a perfect situation. The Navy facilities were old aviation rescue slips/mooring field with no amenities. Went through the back end of two hurricanes, one on a mooring and the other at a slip which was interesting in the Chinese sense. I used the BOQ for showers and stashed my uniforms in the squadron locker room. Unfortunately, I ended up in a lawsuit with the boat builder due to dangerously poor construction so didn't have much opportunity to explore the Chesapeake. I talked a fellow sailor/bank manager into giving me a loan that would make subprime seem like a Treasury note. My take home was around $300 after I paid the boat loan. He must have felt since I USN, the income, what little there was, was at least guaranteed. Without the per diem pay, I would have been on an involuntary diet.

As far as boats, get something that has an easy resale. Unless the Navy has changed drastically, you probably won't spend that many years in SD and will have to sell the boat on relatively short notice. The Catalina 320 had a huge production run so is pretty much a commodity item with a fairly well established value. It is not a boat I'd fall in love with, however. Best bet for you is to find a good broker who knows the market and can steer you into the best boat to sell in the future. There are a ton of boats out there, especially now and you could easily shop from SF to SD. One word of warning, production boats usually have areally crappy storage. Usually big open lockers that aren't worth a damn unless you like to dismantle a locker when you have to find things stacked on top of each other.

Aloha
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Old 14-10-2008, 11:53   #9
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The 320 may be attractive right now but a week after you move aboard you'll be looking at your stuff wondering where it will all go. My advice is to buy the biggest boat you can barely afford now. One advancement from now the payment will seem like small change.
Regarding wait lists to get into Shelter Island or Harbor Island sign up now. Hang out at the strand until you get the call. Make sure a someone you trust has a power of attorney every time you deploy so they can act if you get a slip.
They don't have to move the boat they just have to put down the deposit.
Make sure you have a very trustworthy boat type person who can go to your boat weekly when deployed or immediately when called in the event an issue arises.
Not all of your friends will be qualified to handle the awesome responsibility of saving your boat if something goes wrong. Fewer will be able to recognize a problem in the making. As soon as you move in you need to befriend a fellow liveaboard in the marina who will be there for the duration of your deployment. They will know what to do when something comes up and are much more likely to make good decisions in the best interest of your boat. At a minimum you should start at 36 and go up from there.
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Old 14-10-2008, 13:01   #10
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Don't get suckered into too big a boat. Get something you can single hand easily and won't be a problem getting in and out of slips and also should be cheaper and easier to sell. My boat in VA was Morgan 35. Crappy storage and not very good for live aboard. After that, built a Westsail 32 that my wife and I lived aboard and cruised on for 4 years. Plenty of room and storage galore. Can't see needing a bigger boat except to store large toys or have a shop.

I got transfered twice while owning a boat in the Navy. First one took 6 months to sell after I changed duty stations. Fortunately, I was TAD in training enroute to my permanent duty station so wasn't a big deal. Would have been a pain if I'd had to find living arrangements in new area while making payments on boat, insurance and slip in my old.

Aloha
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Old 14-10-2008, 13:13   #11
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I would agree Peter if it was 1970 or 80 something but these days kids and the rest of us have stuff and lots of it.
Speaking in terms of military liveaboards now we have laptops and printers and lots of uniforms and books and tools and stuff. A 36 Catalina can easily be singlehanded as can many boats in the 30 plus range. Autopilots which are now common on most boats make a lot of boats singlehanders. You might not be leaving the helm in confinded water or when traffic is present to get uner sail but as soon as the coast is clear any of us can set the course and start pulling lines.
I deployed twice for 9 months each living in an 8x8 equipment shelter on deck along with the gear that was supposed to be in there. I was quite comfortable. Today a 20 footer might seem cramped. Its all about how comfortable you want to be. I vote for comfort and size.
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