Cruisers & Sailing Forums (
-   Liveaboard's Forum (
-   -   Is this feasible? (

shadowdanser 22-07-2008 09:34

Is this feasible?
hello everyone,

I am completely new to boating as in never even drove one (well a ski boat and got pulled over first time I did it-another story) anyway, My husband and myself and three children (17,14,9) have begun the process of selling our household items, when we have accomplished this we will put the house on the market, our goal is to purchase a boat and live aboard.
So my concern and question is two-fold ( more like a thousand fold) We are looking at the 53 hat, older model ,1974, wondering approx,cost of maintenance etc..We are looking to purchase wherever one is available in the right condition for a very good price(I know dreaming big :D ).After purchase we would like to hire a captain to take her and our family to mexico (we would use the trip to learn as much as possible in her handling etc.) We intially will keep her docked as my husband works overseas ( on offshore construction vessels) His schedule is basically a 6 weeks on 3 weeks off rotation. This leaves me the kids and the boat alone for 6 weeks at a time. Though I am confident I can handle this is it really feasible?. Also, we are on a very limited budget. Intial buying moving budget is about 100,000.00. Then about 4000 a month actual living expense. Is a boat this size way beyond that budget range?, Is a boat this size something newbies can handle? Please understand safety is a BIG issue with us ( my husband is a safety guy ) so we would not wish to place anyone in danger by handling this boat without proper instruction.
So, can this be done? am i dreaming way to big?

Any and all advice is very welcome

Thanks in advance,

Morgan Paul 22-07-2008 09:50

Hi Shadow and welcome to the forum. You are sure making a radical life style change. I do not feel qualified to give you advice but good luck with your plan.


Vasco 22-07-2008 09:53

Fuel costs will eat up your $4000 per month budget quickly. Just check how many gallons per hour!! If you intend to travel anywhere it's going to cost a bundle. It'll burn about 40 gallons per hour (if you're lucky). That's about $250 and rising for just one hour which might get you twenty miles! That's $1250 to go 100 miles. As for handling, all that can be learned. Have you thought about sailing? You can do quite well in a sailboat on $4000 per month.

Pblais 22-07-2008 10:34


We are looking at the 53 hat, older model ,1974, wondering approx,cost of maintenance etc..
Budget is probably too tight or the maintenance will become a serious issue as it does not take much to accumulate a lot of expenses. At 100,000 it would need a lot of work I expect. I saw a yachtworld ad for exactly that for $169,000 so I doubt you walk away with at 100,000. You would have to add that price too. I'm not sure where you plan to start from but a long trip down the Pacific coast would require everything to be in exceptionally good shape even if you later tied to a dock and didn't travel much after that. That means a lot of things would be required to be refit the day you get it and before you can think about taking off. That takes time and cash. Upgrading boats is a cash business only.

A boat more in your price range won't be ready for open ocean cruising or probably even suitable. Most open ocean motor yachts cost a lot more. Operationally the fuel bill alone to run an old Hattrass might be $75/hr depending on the engine. Going a long way with associated fees is easily 4 zeros tacked on the end of some number.

Buying a boat already where you want to be saves that problem of open ocean transport and delays all the upgrades that you could do a little bit at a time. But the cost of owning a boat that large chips away once you consider slip fees, insurance, bottom paint and just upkeep. There isn't really a limit to these costs as they will vary a lot depending on the location.

Handling the boat I think is not beyond anyone. If I assume you can read and write and can learn through practice I think you could learn to "handle it". It takes time though and you can't learn it all on the trip south. The harder part is the management of it financially and getting to point of doing things for yourself. I assume that would be the goal.

If you changed the destination and went with a smaller boat say a 37 ft double cabin trawler it might come closer to your budget. I would make the money work then adjust some to the destination options so so that part works too. On a budget you require more flexibility.

There is certainly a lot of parts to the puzzle and it take some hard work to put things togther so they all work. At the end it would be nice if you enjoyed it too. There are a lot of ways to make living on a boat work. Exploring around here you can read about a lot of them and find soemthing that gets closer to something that works and you like.

shadowdanser 22-07-2008 10:57

Is this feasible?
Thank you for the information, it helps a lot while making decisions on how to approach our goals. Our actual income is a little more then 3 x the amount i listed monthly, however, I had hoped to manage on the 4000.The ultimate goal is to allow my husband to stop doing his current work schedule so he has more "home" time. As to the 100,000.00 I think that is all we can manage cash wise to begin with and actually probably only 70,000.oo as down as I would probably need the other available cash to move the vessel. Hmmm.. lots to think about.. did also look at a 43 it was a 60's model, it looked well loved but without a survey i couldn't say for sure. my concern is space..With three kids one of which is 17 bigger then his dad ( 6'3 ) .so i am afraid a 37 may be to small? again many variables. Again, I appreciate your alls input it helps me evaluate and re-evaluate all of them.

Thanks again,

Vasco 22-07-2008 11:15

Operationally the fuel bill alone to run an old Hattrass might be $75/hr depending on the engine.


The Hatteras 53 with the 450hp Detroit diesels burns 57 gph at 100%, at about 70% it'll burn 40gph. At these revs it'll do well under 20 knots. Diesel is well over $5 a gallon. At Nantucket this week it was over $7 a gallon! My $250 per hour in fuel was a conservative estimate. There's little possibility of running these things at 15 gph ($75/hr).

shadowdanser 22-07-2008 11:33

refit question
Just wondering what you all think a refit would run for a hat 53? I realize this would be a very rough estimate..But to ball park it what would you guess?. An example i am looking at a 53 at 129,000.00 and a 43 at 84,000.00. depending on what the survey and engine survey say ( we will assume needs lots). Can you give me some ideas?

Thanks in advance,

Adaero 22-07-2008 12:05

You are lucky there in the US with fuel at $5 USD per gallon try nearly $10 per gallon here in the UK and over $12 per gallon for road legal diesel.

I know sailing boats seem daunting to people who have never sailed before and you feel more comfortable with a couple of big diesels behind you but you have a steep learning curve with any boat so why not sail?
With any boat you will need to learn the "rules of the road", emergency procedures, navigation, radio licences etc, etc. Sailing definately isn't rocket science and can be picked up quite easily enabling you to get from A to B safely. You can then hone your skills over the years. Most sailors will tell you that the most frightening bit is getting in and out of a berth in a marina without hitting anything and you will still have to do that in a power boat.

If you are set on a HAT then I wish you well but make sure you have very deep pockets to keep filling the tanks, 702 gal @ $5/gal = $3500 per fill.
Using Vasco's calcs that tank will last you around 14 hours in which time you will have travelled around 280 miles. How many miles is it to Mexico?

Vasco 22-07-2008 12:14


Using Vasco's calcs that tank will last you around 14 hours in which time you will have travelled around 280 miles. How many miles is it to Mexico?

I made an error on the speed. At those revs that big heavy mother will only do about 12 - 14 knots not 20 so 14 hours running would be under 200 miles. A 1000 mile cruise (this is a short cruise) would cost $16,000 at $5 a gallon. A lot of these boats remain in the marina nowadays.

shadowdanser 22-07-2008 12:24

LOL, no doubt :) what you say is absolutely correct. The truth is my first thought was of a sail boat, but I was (am ) afraid. Understand the fear is not for myself but my children if it was me alone i would happily jump on board get my hands and feet wet and sail off to wherever the wind took me (very happily) But my concern is my lack of knowledge and the safety of my children. Of coarse it did not help family members saying "sailing, are you nuts?, you will get yourself killed" I guess my fearless escapades in my younger years (riding dirt bikes of cliffs etc..again another story) has come back to haunt me...But in all seriousness you are correct about the learning curve so maybe i need to go back to my trusty drawing board and re calculate things.
Thanks for the input,

swagman 22-07-2008 12:57

Hi Shadowdancer,
Sorry to see the quandry you've got to but all I would say is that sailing does not need to be dangerous - it can be all calm, peace and quiet.
There is absolutely no doubt anyone (easpecially a 14 year old kid or a lady like you) can learn to sail safely in a very very short period. In fact, I'd feel a lot more comfortable having younger ones handle a sail boat than handle a 50 foot power yacht.
We've had pals who set of worldwide cruising with what I at the time considered inadequate experience - and even today I meet people out sailing oceans who only 6 months before had never stepped on a yacht.
But they all manage - they all do it - and it is only very very few who fall into any danger.
So why not conquer the fear and consider doing a short course on sailing (thats the whole family) and then charter say a 45 foot catamaran in the Caribbean and see how you find it?
I suspect you'll be pleasantly surprised how peaceful it can be.

Adaero 22-07-2008 13:02


Good decision in my book.
Have a look at some sailing blogs on the web from families who have been there and done it with young children (I'm sure some posters here can recommend some). I have read lots of stories of families with even small babies crossing oceans (not that I totally agree with this) so your situation with nearly 3 adults will be fine. Catamarans have the space you are looking for and can be made safer for young children but within your budget I think you may be struggling.
Best of luck with the search.

Vasco 22-07-2008 13:03


Very few folks get killed sailing. It's probably one of the safest recreational pastimes. Many families with younger children than yours are out there cruising. Lack of knowledge can be remedied. There are many courses you can take. I would try an introductory keelboat course and see how you feel about it.

shadowdanser 22-07-2008 13:10

Thanks to all of you for the replies, I am indeed broadening my search to include sail boats. My daughters favorite saying when she fears something is " You don't have to see the whole stair case, you just have to take the first step " I guess I need to take a page from her book and conquer my fear of the first step =)

thanks all of you again,

imagine2frolic 22-07-2008 14:42

And how old is this intelligent young lady?

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:20.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.