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Old 03-06-2013, 12:09   #1
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Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 young boys.

I have many questions regarding purchasing a boat and I was hoping for some guidance. I have already searched the forums extensively and read many posts for hundreds of hours. I have questions regarding some boat builds along with mono vs cat. I know this is asked quite a bit so Ill include specifics that I couldn't find. We are young 27 and 26. I work and she stays home with the boys.

My wife and I would like to eventually liveaboard. We currently have an O'Day 272 and have been as large as an Irwin 33. We have 2 children, both boys 6 and 3. We have a friend that spends most of his winters in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. We would like to live in that area. I know there may be other desirable areas but we have friends in that area and other personal reasons. I've looked at 37-44 foot monohulls and 34-38 foot catamarans. We have little money saved (we are young and kids are expensive) but we are working on that. We would like to move down to Mexico as I mentioned but it may be a few years (5-7 years) we currently have our boat in Solomon's island MD on the Chesapeake bay.

Questions: I don't know if we should buy a bigger boat now, spend some time on it and eventually move aboard or wait till we can move overseas? I like catamarans but they're expensive. I like the seawind 1000 and pdq36, wife likes the prouts. It seems if we save up and put a downpayment $25,000 down 100,000 total financed we'd be better off with a monohull? I like some of the newer monohulls Catalina 350, 400 some hunters but not sure how they are to liveaboard? I know what people say about them being coastal cruisers and that's how ill mainly use them. I like the large cockpits and salons for entertaining, are they okay as a liveaboard? Do you spend much time in the cockpit when not sailing as a liveaboard? I'm worried that with the Chesapeake summer and winter it's either too hot or too cold. Not much just right weather. I like some of the older csy 33 and 44 and Pearson 422, gulfstar cc boats but it seems to get a nice one I'm looking at the same price as a newer model catalina. I imagine they're built better. Which is a better liveaboard? I like cats bc I think it'll make the wife happy. I realize we don't own a house by choice, if we buy a boat we can start making payments and live aboard. I feel like the money I'm talking about spending 60-100k is not enough for a cat though? We also like center cockpits for separate areas with kids. Not sure though? Sorry, I know I rambled, prob had poor grammar and out question marks behind things that weren't questions. Typed in a hurry on a phone. Thanks for any help. I really have been reading these forum for months before asking this. Thanks again.
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Old 03-06-2013, 12:16   #2
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

I don't know what your questions is, but if you have done your reading and have an understanding of the trade-offs (and you say you have) my advise is - get the boat that YOU like not the one some unknown person on a forum says.
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Old 03-06-2013, 13:09   #3
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

Buy something quickly before she changes her mind.
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Old 03-06-2013, 13:15   #4
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

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Buy something quickly before she changes her mind.

Things that she may see as "her role" may be significantly harder for her. Cooking is tricky in a small galley, new equipment and heat sources, etc. Providing clean clothes for everyone is more work.

What I'm saying is make sure that HER dreams about sailing are addressed as well as yours.

When you're looking at boats, look carefully at the storage. It will need to be really good and easily organized for four people. Think about things like keeping clean and dirty laundry separate, whether places you need to store things will be low enough humidity that things don't get ruined, etc.

Of course look at the sailing characteristics of the boat, but consider the practical side very carefully as well. By the way, I have "lee cloths" for the shelves on my boat, which makes it easy to secure contents before sailing.
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Old 03-06-2013, 14:10   #5
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

Well if you ask me, the Pearson 422 is the boat for you. Then DonL might recommend a Hunter.

Seriously, either boat would work for you. Many Hunters have a large, open salon that makes for a less claustrophobic space for cooking and dining. Some are a little bit too open and I have seen some comments about moving around the cabin safely in bouncy conditions: so big that it's hard to find a good handhold. Don could probably comment on that issue, at least in regards to his specific model.

I found when I was a live aboard that the cockpit was a significant part of the living space. Most dinners were in the cockpit. Morning coffee in the cockpit. Friends and neighbors spent most of the time in the cockpit. A really good awning will make the cockpit much more liveable. Keeps it cooler in the summer, dry in the rain.

Since you already have experience with the O'Day I assume you have already experienced the lifestyle, at least to some degree so no need to go charter for a couple of weeks to find out what it's like.

Regarding cat vs monohull, as a general rule, for the same length a cat will be a lot more than a monohull. But if you look at the cost on the basis of living space or sq footage then the difference isn't as significant. However in my own, biased opinion I think the smaller cats look very boxy and prefer the sleeker lines of the 40' or bigger. That however, may be out of your budget. For your budget and family, to get a little privacy, peace and quite for mom and dad, a center cockpit, aft cabin layout is hard to beat. Put the kids forward and the parents in the back. Another option is a layout like some Hunters and Beneteaus that have two cabins aft under the cockpit and a master suite forward. That way both of the boys have separate but equal spaces.
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Old 03-06-2013, 14:16   #6
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Sorry, after looking over my questions they really are unclear.


We both understand life aboard can be difficult. We have a couple of factors that I believe will be to our benefit. We currently pay $700 for rent. I'm a firefighter in Fairfax County. I'm planning to take care of some of the laundry at work, my grandfather has extra space that we will store some clothes.

When I look at some of these newer boats, e.g. Catalina 350, catalina 380 400 or similar models they cost 90,000-120,000 around the same price as these older model csy 44 and gulfstars. I know it is due to build quality but with some of these older boats I don't wish to fall into a boat that needs massive system upgrades. Would you buy a monohull or keeping saving and look for a cat for the future when I hope to live in Mexico?
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Old 03-06-2013, 14:23   #7
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

Did I understand that right, you want to buy a boat to live on in MD while you work as firefighter to pay it off, then when paid off, retire to live in it in MX? So not really cruising with it, just living on it?
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Old 03-06-2013, 14:26   #8
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

All great suggestions so far especially Rakuflames recommendations. I'm going to shock Don L with this one.... Look at the Hunter 450, your wife will love it. The only thing lacking on the 450 will be some storage space but the interior is truly enormous for a monohull and you can make some modifications, and it's in your price range. We moved up from an O'Day 20 to the Hunter 450. Plenty of tankage, and since you didn't say crossing oceans is something in your immediate plans, the Hunter will be fine as a coastal cruiser, just be aware that it can be a little "tippy" when it gets windy, but that's because of the shallow draft keel, which will come in handy where you plan to travel. And yes, my wife and I lived aboard our Hunter 450 for a little over a year. Make sure you look for one with a washing machine, air conditioning and a generator.

Now someone please help Don Lucas up off the floor .
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Old 03-06-2013, 15:17   #9
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

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I'm going to shock Don L with this one.... Look at the Hunter 450 ......

Now someone please help Don Lucas up off the floor .
get a real boat one with an aft cockpit and a "deep" draft of at least 6'

but if you are only planning live aboard, costral cruising, or the milk run type of sailing; a Hunter 450 tank will do you well and your wife will LOVE it



see I ain't on the floor
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Old 03-06-2013, 15:36   #10
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

Also, on the Hunter 450 center cockpit you'll get some needed separation from the boys, which will be very necessary in tighter living quarters.
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Old 03-06-2013, 16:22   #11
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

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Originally Posted by Don L View Post
get a real boat one with an aft cockpit and a "deep" draft of at least 6'

but if you are only planning live aboard, costral cruising, or the milk run type of sailing; a Hunter 450 tank will do you well and your wife will LOVE it



see I ain't on the floor

Looking at my Hunter 31' (not Cherubini) it is clear that marketers had what was once called the "little lady" in mind. It came with some completely impratical features. My favorite example of that is in the galley. The cubby for dishes is cut out in the shape of dishes. Isn't that cute??? And REALLY awkward to use. Rebuild that space and it can be used much more efficiently.
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Old 03-06-2013, 16:35   #12
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

Get a larger older boat in good repair and bring up to bristol on your schedule. Get a large cockpit and large salon. Beam mono...and rigged for short hand sailing. Mpre value in a used boat.
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Old 04-06-2013, 01:32   #13
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Re: Wife has agreed to liveaboard with 2 yound boys.

Hi and welcome to the Cruisers Forum.

I can see where you're coming from, wanting to buy a boat and to sail to paradise. It's what this Forum is all about. And from your question you're already starting to get a sense that it's expensive, hard work and can be disappointing.

Rather than thinking about buying a boat why not think about what you really want. If you want to be with your friends why not fly down and visit. Friendships change with time, particularly as children grow up so it's best to enjoy then in the present. If it's quality family time then a boat may be the answer. And if it's a retirement plan than it's a very long time in the future.

Noonsite has a page on Mexico in general and Isla Mujeres and Cozumel in particular. The related reports should have much information.

My impression is that this is a good area to visit but that staying permanently on a boat is not common.

Do read up on the guides for this area and consider the weather, seasons and distances carefully before making a decision.
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