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Old 17-01-2021, 07:56   #1
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Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

I'm 25 years old and looking to transition to the "liveaboard lifestyle" in the next couple years. I've been doing quite a bit of research but most of the information I'm getting is from couples or even families living aboard their boats. This is good but not completely accurate for what I'll be doing. I'm wondering the following things:

1) In what size range should I be looking for my boat? (I plan to cruise around the Caribbean and only the Caribbean).
2) Are there any online resources (i.e. YouTube channels) with solo liveboard-ers providing tips?

Thanks!
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Old 17-01-2021, 08:07   #2
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Before everyone else asks, I'll go ahead. What is your sailing experience and what size/boats have you sailed before? Where are you right now? Is that where you'll get started from?
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Old 17-01-2021, 08:18   #3
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Are you looking for a 'Chick Bait' boat or are you after something more realistic..
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:13   #4
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

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Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
Before everyone else asks, I'll go ahead. What is your sailing experience and what size/boats have you sailed before? Where are you right now? Is that where you'll get started from?
I have no sailing experience.
I'm from St. Louis, Missouri, so picture my starting point as a canoe on a calm lake. I'm planning on taking ASA 101 and other courses based on recommendations I collect here. For example, if people say "For solo liveaboard, basic keelboat should do the trick." Then I'll do ASA 101 and gather some additional sailing hours where I can to better prepare. But if people say "That's stupid. You'll need something larger for traversing the Caribbean." I'll look into doing higher ASA courses for larger boats.
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:13   #5
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Well there is a lot to consider regarding boat size. But if I were single I would still want about what I have (41'). Yes I could do smaller, but the pros of that are all wiped by cons to me.
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:16   #6
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

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Are you looking for a 'Chick Bait' boat or are you after something more realistic..
Haha, probably something more realistic! My primary purpose for island hopping in the Caribbean is to study languages (French, Spanish).
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:24   #7
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpaul7005 View Post
I have no sailing experience.
I'm from St. Louis, Missouri, so picture my starting point as a canoe on a calm lake. I'm planning on taking ASA 101 and other courses based on recommendations I collect here. For example, if people say "For solo liveaboard, basic keelboat should do the trick." Then I'll do ASA 101 and gather some additional sailing hours where I can to better prepare. But if people say "That's stupid. You'll need something larger for traversing the Caribbean." I'll look into doing higher ASA courses for larger boats.
I think that you're going to want to take more than just ASA 101 if you go that route. Alternatively, you could spend a couple years trying to crew on people's boast for experience, or a combination of both. Either option seems like it would be difficult to do from St. Louis. Another option, I suppose, is to buy a boat and hire a captain to teach you on your new boat. If you watch a youtube channel called Take the Waters, a couple with essentially no experience bought a 46ft Beneteau and then took lessons onboard their own boat.

ASA courses aren't really about the size of the boat, AFAIK they teach various sailing/boating skills. Boat size has an effect on cost, maintenance, maneuvering, and of course the size of the sails and forces involved (and more importantly the repercussions when things go wrong). I'm not sure how much ASA can really help with that.
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:34   #8
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

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Originally Posted by Muaddib1116 View Post
I think that you're going to want to take more than just ASA 101 if you go that route. Alternatively, you could spend a couple years trying to crew on people's boast for experience, or a combination of both. Either option seems like it would be difficult to do from St. Louis. Another option, I suppose, is to buy a boat and hire a captain to teach you on your new boat. If you watch a youtube channel called Take the Waters, a couple with essentially no experience bought a 46ft Beneteau and then took lessons onboard their own boat.

ASA courses aren't really about the size of the boat, AFAIK they teach various sailing/boating skills. Boat size has an effect on cost, maintenance, maneuvering, and of course the size of the sails and forces involved (and more importantly the repercussions when things go wrong). I'm not sure how much ASA can really help with that.
So, ASA would give me good general knowledge but I shouldn't rely on it solely for my preparation? In other words; nothing is better than hands-on experience?

I also started this idea with just doing a trawler instead of a sailboat. But then, as I started browsing trawlers online to get an idea of the cost, I found that sailboats were (perhaps not surprisingly) much more cost efficient. If I were to go forward with a trawler for my solo liveboard, would ASA certifications plus a few extra hours of sea-going experience (where I can find them) be adequate? I realize this probably opens up more cans of worms.
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:38   #9
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

BTW - talking boat size without talking a specific boat/design is kind of a waste of time
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:40   #10
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Whoever suggested crewing above was dead on. After you have crewed for a couple years you will be able to answer your own questions. Also there must be sailing clubs around where you live looking for crews. With your age you have lots of time. There is a tab above on people looking for crews. If you are concerned about what some of the people might ask re crewing come back to us for advice. Just my opinion.
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:46   #11
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpaul7005 View Post
So, ASA would give me good general knowledge but I shouldn't rely on it solely for my preparation? In other words; nothing is better than hands-on experience?

I also started this idea with just doing a trawler instead of a sailboat. But then, as I started browsing trawlers online to get an idea of the cost, I found that sailboats were (perhaps not surprisingly) much more cost efficient. If I were to go forward with a trawler for my solo liveboard, would ASA certifications plus a few extra hours of sea-going experience (where I can find them) be adequate? I realize this probably opens up more cans of worms.
I've never taken an ASA course, but I've looked at the course descriptions, and it seems like they will teach you to sail, nautical rules, navigation, etc. And that stuff is really important. But I'm not sure how much they teach you to dock a boat, to navigate a tight marina, to take care of your engine or other boat systems, etc. And honestly those are the harder parts. Also, I have no idea if they do ASA courses on inland lakes, but the sailing school boats I've seen in the Narragansett are something like 25ft boats, which are great to teach you how sailing works, but won't really translate to handling a 45ft boat.

As far as I can imagine, going with a motorboat will only really cut out the learning to sail part. It might make it a bit easier to handle for various other things, like docking, but you're still talking about a large heavy boat, just now with more horsepower. None of this is really a situation where taking a couple lessons and being on the water for a couple hours is going to cut it.

If you're really serious about this, I would honestly suggest moving to a coastal city with a boating culture and then pursuing experience there for a couple years. Unless you have the money to burn and just want to jump in and eat the cost if it doesn't work out.
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Old 17-01-2021, 09:49   #12
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

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After you have crewed for a couple years you will be able to answer your own questions.
Exactly. Right now you don't know enough to even know the things you don't know. If you can get some real experience on a boat, then you'll start to get an idea of what type of things you'll need to focus on learning about.
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Old 17-01-2021, 10:05   #13
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpaul7005 View Post
I have no sailing experience.
I'm from St. Louis, Missouri, so picture my starting point as a canoe on a calm lake. I'm planning on taking ASA 101 and other courses based on recommendations I collect here. For example, if people say "For solo liveaboard, basic keelboat should do the trick." Then I'll do ASA 101 and gather some additional sailing hours where I can to better prepare. But if people say "That's stupid. You'll need something larger for traversing the Caribbean." I'll look into doing higher ASA courses for larger boats.

You might be able to crew on a boat in the races held at this club in your area: https://csa-sailing.org/



"The Carlyle Sailing Association (CSA) Cabin Fleet is the social and racing organization for cabin/cruising boats from 21 to 26 feet long. The Cabin Fleet is made up of well-known boats such as: San Juans, Catalinas, Rangers, Hunters, O'Days, Beneteaus, S-2s and J boats."


Racing will teach you a ton. Especially how to yell at your crew.
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Old 17-01-2021, 10:07   #14
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnpaul7005 View Post
I'm 25 years old and looking to transition to the "liveaboard lifestyle" in the next couple years. I've been doing quite a bit of research but most of the information I'm getting is from couples or even families living aboard their boats. This is good but not completely accurate for what I'll be doing. I'm wondering the following things:



1) In what size range should I be looking for my boat? (I plan to cruise around the Caribbean and only the Caribbean).

2) Are there any online resources (i.e. YouTube channels) with solo liveboard-ers providing tips?



Thanks!


This may sound crazy, but since you are in the Mississippi River, why not buy a basic River boat and learn how to navigate the River down to New Orleans? That will teach you some very useful skills: navigating in a crowded environment, trip planning, negotiating tides, docking and anchoring, bridge navigation, and hopping from place to place.
Once you make it to the gulf, you would accumulated enough hours to experiment with what type of vessel suits your new lifestyle.
Being 25 you are young and can basically sleep in any type of sailboat. My advice is to get a starter sailboat small enough to be seaworthy and easy to handle 25 to 30 ft is a good size. Spend as little as you can as this will be a boat to cut your teeth. Expect to have it for 2 to 3 years before you find your next boat.
Use the KISS principle
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Old 17-01-2021, 10:14   #15
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Re: Boat Recommendations for Solo Liveaboard?

Hi! I'm in a similar boat, pun intended, and landlocked in Kansas City. Here's what I'm doing. I took ASA 101 in Minnesota two summers back and loved it. Came home and realized that I needed some real practice but couldn't afford to rent bareboats every weekend. Decided I wanted to buy my own boat with which to practice. So, just yesterday, I bought a 1989 MacGregor 26S.

It's a trailer sailer, so I don't have to spend $$ on dockage, if I don't want to. And I can take it anywhere. I'm married with grown kids, and I want to have something to retire on or with within the next couple of years. My husband isn't a boat guy, so it'll be just me doing single handed sailing.

So, my plan is to practice as much as I can, get ASA 103, 104 certified (probably more), and either keep the little trailer sailer or upgrade to a bigger boat when hubby realizes how fun it is and how much freedom there is with a bigger liveaboard.

And yeah, everyone (except my dad) thinks I'm outta my mind. But I see full-time liveaboard, cruising as the ultimate freedom from the traditional "Great American Dream," which I've always thought of as being trapped with a giant ball and chain.
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