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Old 27-02-2011, 22:36   #1
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pirate Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

Hi! Just joined and looking for some advice...

I'm a 23 year old guy, recently done with school and getting a nagging legal mess finally cleared up this summer, and I'm looking to take advantage of my soon-to-be freedom! I want to buy a small sailboat and live on it while cruising around where ever, seeing and experiencing as much of the world as possible! I'm new to sailing, but I live very close to some good size inland lakes that will make a great training ground before I head to the sea. (I can sail all the way to the gulf of mexico from here though, once I become competent enough)

I plan to have up to 10K (probably want to limit boat to 6K and save 4k for solar panels and such though) saved for boat purchase funds by this summer, and have started my boat shopping. I'll be living at anchor, and I wont have an income while cruising. The more I can stretch my dollars, the longer I can stay on this journey before having to take a break to go back to shore and work for a while. I plan to move around as much as possible, so I need to find a balance of good sailing characteristics, comfort for living aboard, and price.

I was hoping you experts could help steer me in the right direction as I start shopping. I know I'll be looking at old boats, probably in the 25-30 ft range. Which models make comfortable liveaboard thats still nimble on the water, as much as that's possible in my price range? Would something like a Cal 29 be good? What do you think would be ideal? What specific features should I look for? I'd guess there are some things that are cheap and easy to install after purchase, and others that I had better make sure come with the boat in working order.

thanks for your help in starting my journey!
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Old 28-02-2011, 00:58   #2
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Re: Newb looking for advice on budget liveaboard cruiser and such...

Quote:
Originally Posted by redpointist View Post
I plan to have up to 10K (probably want to limit boat to 6K and save 4k for solar panels and such though) saved for boat purchase funds by this summer, and have started my boat shopping. I'll be living at anchor, and I wont have an income while cruising. The more I can stretch my dollars, the longer I can stay on this journey before having to take a break to go back to shore and work for a while. I plan to move around as much as possible, so I need to find a balance of good sailing characteristics, comfort for living aboard, and price.

I was hoping you experts could help steer me in the right direction as I start shopping. I know I'll be looking at old boats, probably in the 25-30 ft range. Which models make comfortable liveaboard thats still nimble on the water, as much as that's possible in my price range? Would something like a Cal 29 be good? What do you think would be ideal? What specific features should I look for? I'd guess there are some things that are cheap and easy to install after purchase, and others that I had better make sure come with the boat in working order.

I was originally intending to buy and cruise a Cal 29, that fell apart when I became involved, got married and had a couple of anklebiters. A Cal 34 or 36 is now the plan. For a single person the Cal 29 would be great, but I'm not sure you could get one on your budget that didn't need so much work that you would still blow your budget.

I am impressed that you see right up front that outfitting the boat is going to take a significant fraction of your budget.

Below is a rehash of a post I made for someone else.

I would look at a Cal28, Cascade 29 or a Triton 28 (Aeromarine preferable, but Pearson is fine too), all have headroom for anyone under 6' and will cost $4-10k in OK shape with the Cascade being most expensive, and the Triton possibly a bit higher on average than the Cal. A Catalina 27 is also a possiblity but you would be pushing the limits of what the boat was designed for.

CAL 28 Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com
CASCADE 29 Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com
TRITON (AEROMARINE) Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com
TRITON (PEARSON) Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com
CATALINA 27 Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com

Cal advantages
a)raised deck giving great volume below for a 28' boat.
b)quarter berths maximising use of space
c) probably a bit faster than the Triton
d) probably has outboard freeing storage space under cockpit.
e) Masthead rig

Cascade advantages
a) quarter berths maximising use of space
b) probably the fastest by a small margin
c) Probably has inboard engine giving better motoring performance in waves. Normally the inboard would be more reliable than the outboard too but the Cascade is likely to have a 40-50 yr old Atomic 4 vs the 0-20yr old outboard on the Cal.
d) Masthead rig
e) Heaviest hull construction

Triton Advantages
a) Somewhat heavier hull construction than Cal
b) better motion and easier steering at sea
c) Probably has inboard engine giving better motoring performance in waves. Normally the inboard would be more reliable than the outboard too but the Triton is likely to have a 40-50 yr old Atomic 4 vs the 0-20yr old outboard on the Cal.
d) reccommendation from Dan Spurr for offshore work (Pearson Triton Sailboat)
e) Aeromarine version has a slightly heavier hull and has a masthead rig, Pearson version has a fractional rig.

Among the big things to check before buying is that none of the bulkheads are rotted out. Some delamination of the deck core can be repaired. Once you have the boat you will want to consider glassing over the hull-deck joint. Also you may want to replace the rigging. Sta-loc or Norseman terminals are the quickest and best way to do the work and preserve resale value. Cheaper is to learn to splice eyes and do it yourself using 7x7 wire. See Brion Toss's The Rigger's apprentice.

Specific to most Cal boats you would want to make sure the steel beam under the compression post has not rusted thru. This beam may be buried under the liner so checking may be difficult. The beam is one more thing to check on Cal's but they do a better job of supporting the mast. See how one owner replaced the beam at Wilkie's Sailboat Page

Consider adding built-in water tanks, more storage for the volume occupied and in the event of a holing thru the hull into the tank, the boat doesn't try to sink, the tank already had water in it, you just can't drink it now. See Atomvoyages link below.

Consider adding a removable inner forestay for a staysail. More sail area in light conditions, better balance in heavy conditions, staysail not as far foreward in heavy conditions, extra rigging gives the whole mast better support.

You will need 3 anchors:
A) main is a 25# plow/CQR or Claw/Bruce on 100-150' 1/4" chain & 200-300' 9/16" nylon 3-strand rope with bow roller and chain pawl (chain pawl allows you to go without a windlass),
B) backup is a 15-18# Danforth type anchor on 30' chain and 250-350' of rope and an oversized cleat; and
C) stern/kedge anchor is a 10# plow, claw or Danforth on 15' of 3/16" chain and 150-200' 7/16" rope.
D) If you are feeling flush get a 40-50# fisherman/herreschoff/Luke with same rode as B) for difficult rock and kelp situations.
A lot of the anchor stuff you might be able to pick up at swap meets if you attend early and stay late. This will save a lot. Some of the new anchors are getting better reps than the Bruce or CQR but have not hit the 2nd hand market yet.

You will need a small dinghy. Buying an inflatible is the current general answer but it will cost you, even second hand. A hard dinghy with oars, building one may be a more durable and economical answer if you have a place to do the work. There are various plans available for nesting dinghy's that take up a lot less deck space.

You will need to build a selfsteering windvane. There is a recent book that includes plans or checkout
In Memoriam Walt Murray
or
http://www.windautopilot.de/_de/7_dy...rray_Pages.zip

You may want to seal some of the storage compartments in the boat using waterproof hatches for access. This will provide floatation in the case of holing. This is discussed at
Atom Voyages | Sailing and Boat Project* Articles by James Baldwin

Make sure you have a drifter, being able to continue sailing in light air really saves on fuel. If the main is in good shape all's it may need is a 3rd reef. Decent sails can be had from used sail dealers.

For the Cal an outboard of 4hp would push you at 4-5kt in calm water, 6hp would get you to hull speed in a calm, 8hp would get you hull speed with 12-18kt wind or waves against you, over 10hp is a waste of fuel and extra weight in the stern since it won't push you any faster in a calm and in winds heavier than 18 or so the prop is going to start coming out of the water. Outboard has to be a 4-stroke, almost twice the fuel milage of a 2-stroke and a lot less pollution.

For the Triton and Cascade, get an engine manual.

You will need a solar panel or 2, preferably on a good mount, see above Atomvoyages for one idea. 2 or 3 new group 27 flooded batteries or a pair or 2 of new 6v golf cart batteries from a 2nd tier supplier would probably be adaquate if usage is limited. Evans Starzinger has intersting things to say about batteries at Systems.

To conserve battery power you want flourescent fixtures in the cabin, 1 or 2 in main & 1 in v-berth. Incadescents can remain in head and berths. You will want a single bulb Tricolor fixture at the masthead for sailing. At anchor get a LED fixture should go with the anchor ball. (Bebi Electronics-Home of the Finest Marine LED Lighting Products on Sea (or Earth)! is one source that I have heard decent things about.) If motoring and the outboard has a generator/alternator the existing incanscent bulbs in the bow and stern lights are fine, otherwise consider replacing with LED.
Limiting the amount of electronics on the boat will help with battery conservation, deptho (make a backup lead line), speedo, simple mounted GPS (no chart plotter with color screen needing be backlit all the time), VHF, shortwave, and maybe a stero/CD player are about all you need. You will want a fan or 2 and if you locate them right they can do double duty blowing both over berths and thru the social areas of the main cabin. If you really need a computer, get one of the netbooks, they are optimized for low power draw to stretch their batteries as far as possible.

Convert the Icebox to shelves or drawers for storage. Same with the hanging locker across from head.

Read John Vigor's The Seaworth Offshore Sailboat (Section in back about Beefing up a Catalina 27 for offshore.
Read Don Casey's This Old Boat
Read the Lin & Larry Pardey Books SelfSufficient Sailor, CapableCruiser and CostConsciousCruiser.
Read Annie Hill's Voyaging on a Small income
Read Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook
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Old 28-02-2011, 01:33   #3
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Re: Newb looking for advice on budget liveaboard cruiser and such...

Tartan 30!
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Old 28-02-2011, 08:51   #4
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Re: Newb looking for advice on budget liveaboard cruiser and such...

There are several items that could be budget busters such as new sails and new engine (if you need an engine).

Other big expenses are new standing rigging, bottom job, new water/fuel tanks, dinghy, vhf/gps, ground tackle, head, and stove.

If you buy a 30 year old boat, do all of the above work, and sell it again, you will recuperate hardly any of your costs. As a buyer, you get most of that work for nearly free.

Rather than focusing on a particular model of boat, I would recommend instead looking for a boat that has as much as possible of the above. Given your budget, the success of your endeavor depends far less on the specific type of boat you get than on not breaking the bank.

It should be possible to find a boat that most, or all, of the above work already done if you look long and hard. This will make all the difference in your budget. Especially try to find a well-cared for boat with a well maintained engine and relatively new bottom, sails, and rigging.

They are rare, but out there.
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Old 28-02-2011, 08:59   #5
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Re: Newb looking for advice on budget liveaboard cruiser and such...

I think Raindog is giving you very good advice - the cost of upgrades/repairs is virtually never recouped when you sell a boat, hence you will be better off paying more for a boat that already has new(er) sails, rigging, auxilliary etc.

Brad
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Old 28-02-2011, 09:08   #6
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Re: Newb looking for advice on budget liveaboard cruiser and such...

Welcome aboard Redpointist and WOW, very nice write up Adelie!
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Old 28-02-2011, 15:01   #7
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Re: Newb looking for advice on budget liveaboard cruiser and such...

Wow, thanks for all the advice! Adelie, thank you so much for all the very valuable information, and also for advice on reading material!

I'm glad you all mentioned to try and find a boat in good working order with the features I'd want, because I wasn't sure if it might end up being cheaper to just find a junker and retrofit it to my liking, but from what you all are saying, it sounds like that isn't likely to save me any money in the long run.

I'm so excited! This weekend I may go out to some marinas and see what kind of selection i have to choose from in my area. I'm sure it'll change by the time I'm ready to buy, but I'm getting antsy!
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:22   #8
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Re: Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

Good Luck with your shopping.

Want more advice? Take a girl along with you. Pref your girlfriend. But even if she's not your girlfriend, she'll give you an idea of what future girlfriends may love or hate about your potential buys!
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Old 05-03-2011, 21:52   #9
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Re: Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here. You might check out the book recommendation and some of the links after my signature. I'd add Columbia 29 to the list.
kind regards,
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Old 05-03-2011, 22:16   #10
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Re: Newb looking for advice on budget liveaboard cruiser and such...

Quote:
Originally Posted by bunter View Post
Tartan 30!
x2

Not much out there above 27 foot for $5k unless you get a really sweet deal... I'd focus on finding those sweet deals. Shop the 27-30 footers that are asking around 10k until something works out. Anything you get will need some work and lots of gear. Plan on taking it slow at first, do the major work the first year as best you can, get some sailing in, cruise a little, then start gearing the boat up for bigger plans.

Living at anchor requires a larger initial investment. You need solar panels, batteries, multiple anchors and rodes, and a dingy, at minimum...It's not always so simple to just go out and buy that stuff right away even if you have a little money left over... not that you couldn't, just saying to be careful and maybe do some marina shopping while you're shopping for boats, always make backup plans... Figure out where the cheap places to live are, where you can also find work.

Also look at smaller boats. there are some really great 25-26 footers out there for under $5k that will do just fine as long as you can deal with the space issues. So check them out and decide for yourself, don't let other people tell you you need a bigger boat... you're young

Start looking at boats now, go out and see as many boats as you can as close to home as you can. Not for the purpose of buying them, but just to start getting an idea of what you really want. You'll learn a lot. And you'll get good at finding deals and looking for problems... that stuff takes practice.
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Old 05-03-2011, 22:59   #11
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Re: Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

Though I don't own the boat, I am shopping solely for a Tartan 27 or 30. They've been "proven" many times on this forum as a "do it all" boat.
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Old 06-03-2011, 07:45   #12
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Re: Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

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Though I don't own the boat, I am shopping solely for a Tartan 27 or 30. They've been "proven" many times on this forum as a "do it all" boat.
They are both excellent boats for their size and price range. But they are two completely different types of boat. The 27 is a heavy full keeler with a centerboard, while the 30 is a much different hull shape with fairly long fin keel and a spade hung rudder. Both are good, but serve different purposes and have very different sailing characteristics.
I looked at a few T27's as well, I love the way they look but I wasn't so thrilled about the interior space. If you're going to live on a small boat, the functionality of the interior is critical in my opinion. The second generation Tartan 27's (27-2) are much better with a slightly raised deck and a more functional layout, everything else is the same, but it's usually a bit more expensive and harder to find.

The 27's are proven though and certainly a good option, those are just a few things to consider... I definitely wouldn't pass one up if the price was right.

tartan 27
tartan 27-2
tartan 30
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:24   #13
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Re: Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

There are a number of boat brands that will work for you, the most important factor is for you to start out with a boat that is "structurally" sound; solid hull, good standing rigging, good steering, etc. You can always add-on extra anchors, batteries, new sails, etc. The condition of the individual boat is more important that which brand (within limits).
And don't let anyone talk you out of it; getting an apartment, working for a few years, etc. etc just creates stuff that you will have to let go of later.
Don Casey's book "The Sensible Cruiser" is a great souce of information and encouragement.
And don't forget you can comparison shop at www.yachtworld.com.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:29   #14
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Re: Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

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There are a number of boat brands that will work for you, the most important factor is for you to start out with a boat that is "structurally" sound; solid hull, good standing rigging, good steering, etc. You can always add-on extra anchors, batteries, new sails, etc. The condition of the individual boat is more important that which brand (within limits).
And don't let anyone talk you out of it; getting an apartment, working for a few years, etc. etc just creates stuff that you will have to let go of later.
Don Casey's book "The Sensible Cruiser" is a great souce of information and encouragement.
And don't forget you can comparison shop at www.yachtworld.com.

Good advice...

I think the book you mean is "Sensible Cruising, The Thoreau Approach"
I'd highly recommend it as well, probably the most sensible budget cruising book there is with a lot of information about selecting the right boat.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:35   #15
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Re: Newb Looking for Advice on Budget Liveaboard Cruiser and Such . . .

That's the book!
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