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Old 12-01-2011, 16:56   #1
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Technomads Moving from Land to Water . . .

Greetings all -

My partner Cherie and I are full-time traveling technomads, software developers, and travel bloggers. We've spent the past four years roaming the US in our custom built solar-powered fiberglass travel trailer, we are now spending the winter subletting a place in St. John USVI (on the mountain over Coral Bay), and we are contemplating liveaboard life on a sailboat for our next adventure.

We already know how to live together in a small space, now we just need to find the perfect boat and learn how to sail it. *grin*

Top priority in a boat for us is something that feels comfortable for two geeks to live and work in, especially considering we spend 4 to 20 hours a day working on our laptops. So far the idea of spending all that time down inside a monohull with no view just isn't very appealing. Maybe something with a pilothouse...

Catamarans on the other hand just seem like a better fit in almost every possible way. Except perhaps cost.

We went to the Miami boat show last year and were underwhelmed with most of what we saw - boats intended for the charter market seem to be a poor fit for us, and that was seemingly all that was on display. Since then we have not bee actively shopping, but have lately been doing more and more reading, researching, and boat-lusting. Later this week we hope to check out a Fountaine-Pajot Venezia that is for sale near here.

The favorite designs I have seen (online) have been the Manta (awesomely thought through for a liveaboard couple), and the Catalac 12. But in many ways we are still very early in our search and in figuring out what will be the ideal fit for us.

We are overall novices when it comes to boats larger than hobie cats, so we are hoping to tap into the wisdom of the forums to better figure out what we want.

We blogged about our initial boat wish-list here: Boat Wanted | Tales from Technomadia

You can read our initial thoughts on size and cruising plans there. As for price - unless our next iPhone app is a huge hit, we are looking in the $50k - $150k price range. An older boat that has been lived aboard for years and has been well cared for, upgraded, and maintained is ideal for us. We are particularly keen on finding something that will be a good fit for us as our floating office - with a comfortable place for the two of us to spend our days working on our laptops, with ample solar power to keep us going without needing to run a generator. Off-grid autonomy is very important to us. I am also comfortable doing a lot of the electrical systems upgrade work myself to get it in line with what we need. I've designed the solar / electric systems on our past two trailers.

Anyway, that's where we are at. I'm excited to (virtually) meet you all, and am looking forward to participating in these forums over the years ahead.

Sending warm wishes from the Virgin Islands,

- Chris (and Cherie) // Tales from Technomadia
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Old 12-01-2011, 17:16   #2
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technomadia,

Welcome aboard the CF. Sounds like you two are on a real journey.
This one may interest you and its in your price range.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...tml#post595174

Mark
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Old 12-01-2011, 17:28   #3
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im guessing that a larger boat like what you maybe looking for may take quite a while to learn and operate, and maybe difficult to operate with just the two of you...

You may want to consider a smaller boat, maybe to learn on and experiment with and then move up if you choose or move on ...

but, for disclosure purposes, I know diddly.. i am in the process of buying my first boat, (in the 28-35' range)

to me, that size is huge and i couldnt think of diving head first into anything bigger...
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Old 12-01-2011, 17:29   #4
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Chris and Cherie.

Good luck in your next adventure.
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Old 12-01-2011, 17:33   #5
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Bergovoy,

I know what you mean. We started with a Catalina 30 then a Catalina 380 and now have settled on a Mahe 36. Seems like just the right size for two.

Mark
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:08   #6
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experienced traveler, interested in sailing

I have been travelling to the Dominican Republic for about three years now, but i have never sailed. I am interested in taking lessons and buying a sailboat to sail there. My intentions are to rent a live aboard slip and leave the boat there. When I visit , i can stay on the boat and sail it there. Any advice?, I'm in Tampa , Florida and I usually visit the Dominican Republic one week per month. And yes... I know , I should just move there... and i would, But even though I am retired, I have two wonderful boys, ages 9/10. I have them most the time, except one week out of the month. Size sailboat, marinas, prices for the slips...ect?
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:11   #7
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Before choosing a boat, learn how to sail and then charter a few boats. Having the knowledge and practical experience first will make you a more educated buyer. I think you will learn better what works for you and Cherie.
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:18   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David M
Before choosing a boat, learn how to sail and then charter a few boats. Having the knowledge and practical experience first will make you a more educated buyer. You will learn what works better for you and Cherie.
Couldn't agree more sail first buy later.

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Old 12-01-2011, 18:28   #9
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Before choosing a boat, learn how to sail and then charter a few boats. Having the knowledge and practical experience first will make you a more educated buyer. You will learn what works better for you and Cherie.
Hi David - I appreciate this advice, but for some reason chartering just doesn't have much appeal to me. I've seen solid monohull sailboats selling for what it would cost to charter a catamaran for two or three weeks, and before you can charter don't you need to invest in expensive certification courses before they will even let you?

I'd much rather learn on my own boat while living aboard it, learning the systems inside and out, and inviting along friends who are experienced liveaboard sailors to tap into their expertise as I learn to sail.

Before moving into an RV I didn't experiment with rentals, and I never regretted diving in head first there. Even in hindsight, I now know that I wouldn't have learned anything valuable by renting first that I couldn't learn better by doing my own research. All I would have done is spent a lot of money for a sub-par experience.

I know the conventional wisdom says "charter first", but I don't see why it would be any different than in the RV world.

Thoughts?

- Chris
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:34   #10
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Because an RV is simple to use, the sea is a hard master and sailing isn't sometimes simple. But the main reason is how can you choose a boat if you don't know anything about them.

You don't have to charter just crew for free on a few deliveries. Equally your partner needs to ensure she likes sailing and the sea and is comfortable about it. Otherwise you could make done expensive mistakes.

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Old 12-01-2011, 18:40   #11
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Couldn't agree more sail first buy later.
To be clear - we are looking for a boat to live in. Mastering sailing it is important, but secondary to finding a great space we enjoy living in. We'll be spending a lot of our time moored and working, writing software while enjoying being in paradise. We've already made good friends with some of the folks living here in Coral Bay in the USVI, and we'll be getting time-on-water sailing with them soon.

We want a boat we can move onto, and live on while we learn to sail it.

Maybe chartering makes sense, but I'm not convinced.

Have others "bought first", moved on board, and then regretted it? I'd love to hear other people's experiences.

Cheers,

- Chris
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Old 12-01-2011, 18:46   #12
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Hey Technomadia.
I really look forward to reading more about your adventures as time goes on and this adventure develops for you.
If I can stress one thing however, learn to sail before you get too keen on buying a boat, as once you can sail and know more, your desires for a boat may well change greatly.
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Old 12-01-2011, 19:07   #13
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But the main reason is how can you choose a boat if you don't know anything about them.
The same way I choose anything else - hundreds of hours of research, and then ultimately trusting my gut. Is it any different than choosing a car, or buying a house?

And if what you first buy isn't ideal, take what you learned and use it to find your next step, and then sell your first and move on to your second.

Our first RV was a great design, but it was lacking in a lot of ways (particularly for two people). After two years living in it, we knew exactly what we wanted, and were able to spec out and have our second RV custom made to be a perfect fit for us. The things we learned owning and living in the first trailer we could never have learned via renting.

I imagine it will be the same with boats. We will learn a ton living in our first boat. But I can't imagine learning much during just a week or two of chartering, particularly since when chartering you aren't exposed to the maintenance issues or the underlying system internals.

When we sold our first trailer, we actually didn't even lose money on it either because of all the upgrades and improvements we had made.

I don't think a "floating RV" will be all that different.

I do however really like your advice of serving as delivery crew. I will post on the forums here to see if we can land a spot. That is much more appealing than chartering!

- Chris
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Old 12-01-2011, 19:11   #14
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Hey Technomadia.
I really look forward to reading more about your adventures as time goes on and this adventure develops for you.
If I can stress one thing however, learn to sail before you get too keen on buying a boat, as once you can sail and know more, your desires for a boat may well change greatly.
Thanks for the encouragement, JJB!

Cherie and I both grew up with boats, so it is not as if we are unfamiliar with the water. My family spent every possible weekend living on our SeaRay Cabin Cruiser at the Jersey Shore back when I was in high school, and I sailed Lasers and crewed on larger sailboats whenever I could. And Cherie grew up sailing hobie cats.

We've both been away from the water for a long time now, but it is calling us.

Cheers!

- Chris
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Old 12-01-2011, 19:12   #15
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I bought a fairly large boat. I didn't find it that big of a deal learning to sail and care for her but ... things are always changing and owning and sailing the boat has taught me a lot that I don't think I could have learned any other way. I love my boat but I could have been just as happy with less boat. You'll find a lot of opinions on the subjet represented here but they come from people who have found their own choices and made them work for them. If there is some way you can spend time on and in a boat to see what it is like to live aboard I would recommend it. Your experience with the trailer will help but it isn't the same. The effort required to get out and stretch your legs (without getting wet) for one thing Boats are way more fun for another!
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