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Old 10-04-2019, 06:37   #1
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looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

Hi Folks,

this is my first post here.

about us:

Wife and I are both 36, 3 kids, 9,6,4. Live in Canada in the suburbs of Toronto. We own a physical therapy clinic and homeschool all 3 of the kids.

Neither of us love the suburban keeping up with the jones' lifestyle and want to travel with our kids and show them the world, to give them and ourselves different perspective on life and what really matters.

I'm very handy, proficient in most building trades, electrical, plumbing, carpentry etc. Spent the last year gutting and rebuilding our home. Pretty decent with engine repair and troubleshooting engine issues with cars and small engines.

Most of my boat experience is with power boats in cottage country. I have some experience sailing on Lake Ontario, mostly just day sails. Haven't sailed at all in the ocean.


To fund the venture we would our house here. If we did that, we would have about $1.5-2M in cash. I'd like to keep the boat budget under $250K if possible. From the research i've done, speaking with other families of similar size etc , we would be looking at purchasing a catamaran in the 39-45 foot range.

I know the first thing we should do is probably do a charter for a couple weeks or so to give us an idea of what its actually like living on a boat. That is something we're looking into.

I have a bunch of questions about cruising life, but im going to get this post out there for input first !

Thanks in advance for your advice !
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Old 10-04-2019, 07:01   #2
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

I wouldn't rule out a mono hull. Perhaps charter one of each, say a cat in the Carib and a similar sized mono in Greece.

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Old 10-04-2019, 08:09   #3
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

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Originally Posted by sliceoflife View Post
...Neither of us love the suburban keeping up with the jones' lifestyle and want to travel with our kids and show them the world, to give them and ourselves different perspective on life and what really matters...

...I'd like to keep the boat budget under $250K if possible. From the research i've done, speaking with other families of similar size etc , we would be looking at purchasing a catamaran in the 39-45 foot range...
I don't mean to speak poorly of catamarans or catamaran owners, but given the statements in your post it must be said that many rational people would consider buying a 39-45 foot catamaran an act of keeping up with the Jones'. A monohull that can comfortably (by traditional standards) fit your crew can be had for half the stated budget (while possibly offering higher latitude sailing opportunities). Traditional standards=what the supermajority of people in the developed world accept and live by up to this day.

One of life's most important lessons is learning to live with compromise, learning to know when you have enough. A lot of adults haven't figured this out at all and for the rest of us it's a constant struggle.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:46   #4
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

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I don't mean to speak poorly of catamarans or catamaran owners, but given the statements in your post it must be said that many rational people would consider buying a 39-45 foot catamaran an act of keeping up with the Jones'. A monohull that can comfortably (by traditional standards) fit your crew can be had for half the stated budget (while possibly offering higher latitude sailing opportunities). Traditional standards=what the supermajority of people in the developed world accept and live by up to this day.

One of life's most important lessons is learning to live with compromise, learning to know when you have enough. A lot of adults haven't figured this out at all and for the rest of us it's a constant struggle.
I can totally see your point there. At what point does want surpass need. The families we have spoken with who sail, all have cats, so I guess I should consider talking to families that sail on a monohull as well. Seems though cats are more stable and have somewhat more livable space.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:56   #5
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

.........Neither of us love the suburban keeping up with the jones' lifestyle.....

Then forget the cat (the Jones lifestyle preferred boat) and go for a mono hull, for your budget you can buy a mono that let you both forget a cat in 5 minutes.
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Old 10-04-2019, 08:58   #6
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

We are currently working towards the same goal but in western canada. I am 37 spouse is 42

What we did aside from learning to sail 9 years ago was, 4 years ago bought an old catalina 27 with a trailer. we keep the boat in okanagan lake year round and haul to the coast for a 3-4 week trip with out girls ages 7 and 9 i also grew up boating on a large variety of different size boats on vancouver island

We have since bought a larger mono (65' steel) and have our home for sale and will be cutting lines next spring for an undetermined amount of time
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Old 10-04-2019, 09:54   #7
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

As an alternative which is both neither keeping up with the Jones but also still buying a catamaran, how about considering a big good quality Wharram (especially if your aim is tropical cruising)?

Your budget would easily allow for that, if your family are open to something other than the classic 'condo on the sea'.

You can still have most of the comforts that you need if you look at the Pahi 52 and 63 size range (you need a bigger Wharram relative to normal boats as they long and narrow by simple comparison).

As an example of what is possible, here is one of the best Pahi 52s around (not currently for sale): Pahi 52 for sale E. Med (ref 1245) - Scott Brown Multihulls (look at that awesome swim platform)

This boat will cruise easily at 10kn in trade wind conditions with very low stress, and relative to a modern 'condomaran' is simpler to maintain once you are out there.

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Old 10-04-2019, 09:55   #8
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

We did this with our two daughters, 1 and 4 at the starting point. Have written a bit on the topic at www.sailingohana.com to avoid having to repeat as this question comes up often :-)

All the best!
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Old 10-04-2019, 10:09   #9
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

You did not mention a time frame. If you have a year, I recommend that you consider joining a yacht club in your area while you prepare to leave. This may give you a good bit of experience with different boats. While it is important to see what you like, it can be equally important to see what you don't like. Generally speaking, yacht club owners have a good variety of boats and that will help you get a fairly quick bit of experience.


In my marina, there was a family of five and the three children were all teenage boys. They lived on a 32 foot boat and all were quite happy. I personally think it was a bit tight but then each person and each family is different. Consider the ability for each person to get some bit of space when they need it. One person on this site mentioned that he reconfigured his boat to have more, but smaller cabins so that each person could have a small but private space when needed. Others find that a center cockpit provides some breathing room when needed.



A good dodger and Bimini combination with the right side curtains can also add quite a bit to the available space. Depending upon how long and how often you will be on the boat, you should think about side curtains that can roll up and still offer screens, as will as allow for covers on the outside.


Consider also the ability to carry your activities with you. For example, you may want some room for kayaks (inflatable?) and a hard dinghy (perhaps a Port-a-bote). If you are in warm climates, will you want SCUBA gear?


I also would watch some of the cruising videos on YouTube. The glossy productions are good, but don't rule out others that are less refined from a production point of view. They can give you ideas on activities, things to prep for, repairs you're likely to encounter, etc.


Another advantage of being a yacht club member is that all boats need maintenance and repair. By helping out the members, you'll get a good feel for what sort of things need tending to on a lot of different boats. You'll also get a feel for what spares to bring. This won't make you an expert but it will give you a good beginning.


The Great Lakes are a great place to start cruising. There are a good number of individuals who go cruising on the Great Lakes who are active on this forum. Mike O'Reilly comes to mind (very knowledgeable and friendly) but there are others too. Starting out on the Great Lakes is serious cruising; these waters are not to be taken lightly. You may also find there are financial advantages too in that you may be able to keep you present insurances for a while longer until such time as you head out to international waters.


Good luck with your quest!
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Old 10-04-2019, 13:18   #10
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

May I suggest you consider buying a much cheaper house that you can keep (and maybe rent out) as a bolthole/mailing address/cheap storage for that stuff you find you really can’t part with (old photo albums, family mementoes, other sentimental stuff). “Getting rid of it all” is easily said, but VERY hard to do, especially if you have kids. We have about 3 cubic yards of “stuff” in my parents attic, and we got rid of a LOT. Also, being ‘entirely’ boat-based does cause some administrative issues, like staying registered with a doctor, and other such stuff. An address helps.
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Old 10-04-2019, 15:57   #11
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

If you want a cat get a cat. Although I'm more of a monohull fan there are a lot of benefits to cats, especially for less experienced boaters. Big living room, big cockpits, lots of cabins, usually faster & no heeling. However, they are the boat du jour which has resulted in pretty high prices plus you're renting 2 slips, maintaining 2 motors & having a harder time finding someplace to haul your boat. But with your budget I'm sure you can make it work.
https://www.catamarans.com/?utm_sour...m_medium=email
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:01   #12
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

Hi. Nice post!

When comparing a sailboat to a house, the answer always comes up catamaran because its a boat most like a house. But a boat is not a house. It is not a collection of square footage and bathrooms.

Your kids are at a great age to go sailing as a family RIGHT NOW!

Its not the size of the boat that matters, but the magic in it.

I suggest you take your kids and go sailing this summer.

Here are a couple suggestions:

Kingston Sailing Charters, Kingston Ontario Canada

Ahoy Sailing Charters - 21 Ontario St., Kingston ON

A life changing move like you are discussing does not need to be like jumping off a cliff. Why not ease into it, see how you like it, and make some incredible memories along the way.

Here is another great option for you:

https://www.kijiji.ca/v-sailboat/cit...ationFlag=true
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Old 11-04-2019, 06:57   #13
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noisykate View Post
May I suggest you consider buying a much cheaper house that you can keep (and maybe rent out) as a bolthole/mailing address/cheap storage for that stuff you find you really can’t part with (old photo albums, family mementoes, other sentimental stuff). “Getting rid of it all” is easily said, but VERY hard to do, especially if you have kids. We have about 3 cubic yards of “stuff” in my parents attic, and we got rid of a LOT. Also, being ‘entirely’ boat-based does cause some administrative issues, like staying registered with a doctor, and other such stuff. An address helps.
When you rent out a home it becomes a leased fee estate. In essence the tenant takes possession of the home & you lose the right to call it your residence or store your things there.
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Old 11-04-2019, 07:28   #14
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

May be different in U.K. - we were able to store stuff in the garage, and exclude that from the rental.
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Old 11-04-2019, 18:48   #15
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Re: looking for advice in planning stages of moving family of 5 onto a boat

Tricolor and Singularity I like your thinking. As a surveyor it often has me beat as to why a lot of first time boat owners insist on a cat. I can see the advantage of the room and not heeling while sailing but it all comes with a price tag. One cat newbie at the start of the year half way through the survey already started bitching about the cost of the slipping and antifouling quote that the yard had prepared. I was like have you looked at a modern mono? They were not interested at all, considering their first taste of sailing was the sea trial that morning I though that was a bit of joke.
Which brings me to another point what other sport or hobby is there where you can invest 300k+ and have no idea if you like it or not?
Good Luck with the choices Sliceoflife but what ever you choose at least have a look at a some modern production monohulls. The amount of room in a Beneteau or Jeneau is just amazing.
I think a mono can work depending on what type of family you are? My family (2 kids 8 & 12) love being around us and seem to have no concept of personal space. A cat would be better if your kids enjoy a bit of privacy and escaping from the "parents"
Cheers
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