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Old 29-02-2020, 08:17   #46
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by Captain Puget View Post
For heating while on dock power try:

https://king-electric.com/?s=Marine&...pe=kel_product

Stainless steel and the models that can be build-in only require a 4” depth. Most have secure mounting options to avoid accidental tipping.
Good information! Thanks!
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Old 29-02-2020, 08:43   #47
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by SV__Grace View Post
Hmmm... for your stated needs you can make it work in your existing boat with some creativity, and as you go up in size it becomes easier to fit everything and everybody but the cost increases as well.

Here's a paradigm that you might find useful-

Requirements- gotta have deal breakers. You wouldn't get any boat that didn't have even one missing, no matter how much you like it.

Needs- would be annoying if missing, but you could live without it being met all the time if you really like the boat.

Wants- icing on the cake. Would be nice, but optional, and you wouldn't miss it if it wasn't there.

If you make a long list of what you want in a boat, as long and thorough as possible, and then divide the list into Requirements, Needs, and Wants, you will have the necessary clarity to evaluate your choices.

This paradigm is useful when your choices seems opaque and it seems like you could make just about anything work.

Think about dating- when you meet someone new who is attractive to you, there's often a lot to like, but unless you are clear about the above its hard to know if this person would be a long term choice (I developed this paradigm for what I call Conscious Dating).

This paradigm works for most important decisions, such as buying a car, evaluating a job offer, buying a house, etc.

Choices have long term consequences and you will live with your boat choice for a long time and it's costly to change your mind later (such as divorce). So it's worth the effort above to become as clear as possible, and when you do, you are able to make better long term choices.

I hope this helps!
I was a little perplexed by your post and addition of comments about relationships and divorce. I appreciate your comments about selecting a boat, but I am not in need of any relationship advice. Please do not make assumptions about me, my dating history, my marital status (newly single doesn't neccesarily mean divorced), my ability to select a mate, or my ability to make good long term choices. If you weren't making assumptions, please forgive me for being sensitive to having such advice being interjected into a post about boat accomodations for single people and their dogs.

Thank you
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Old 29-02-2020, 08:46   #48
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by David Mathis View Post
I lived aboard a 28’ powerboat comfortably. It had much more room than a sailboat of the same length. You mentioned Maryland which gets cold and occasionally has snow. Have you considered a mid 30s trawler? They have much more room than a sailboat of equal length and are comfortable for a permanent residence, even with a dog or two. And most have heat and ac.
Thanks! I was thinking about exploring other boat options due to issues about heating and condensation that I am learning about. I will look into that!
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Old 29-02-2020, 09:04   #49
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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It doesnt matter how big the dog is, but you have to teach them to be picked up. Just in case its needed. Lupe and I live aboard our 37 foot Roberts. And at some point he'll need a sturdy ramp to board but I trained him to be picked up and its important he can do this. (no cats!) He's about 90/95 lbs. Nose to tail perhaps six feet, Im not sure.

He has made friends with otters and gone nose to nose with seals who came to visit recognizing a fur fellow..

Oh I see you're asking about BOAT size, not dog size..Gotcha!
Good advice anyway haha! Luckily my dog is only 23 pounds. I would need equipment to lift a 95 pound dog! On a side note, I have a learned fear of otters. I was taking care of one once (zookeeper) and had it clamp down unexpectedly on my calf. It was quite ferocious, shaking its head back and forth like a dog in a dog fight, and the most painful bite I have ever received (years of animal care and lots of bites...just goes with the territory)...left an enourmous bruise and I had temporary nerve damage and pain for over a month...and he was a little guy. Now, I just have 4 little teeth marks to remember him by. They don't have quite the same cuteness as before. I still love them and think they are beautiful creatures...kind of the same way I feel about sharks haha.
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Old 29-02-2020, 09:17   #50
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by GrowleyMonster View Post
I lived aboard a Cal 2-27, a very similar boat to yours, for about 7 years. No dog, though. The Cal gave me standing headroom pretty much throughout the cabin. It is marginally more spacious than the Catalina, the vee berth is a bit wider and much more comfortable for sleeping. I am 5'7" and I sometimes slept crosswise instead of fore and aft. I had salon berths and fold down pilot berths on both sides, and a table that let down. I ditched the table and butchered the port berths to build a shower stall, and put the head in there. The rest of the port berth/settee I used for housing the new and enlarged sewage tank. I wired it for shore power with a proper breaker panel and outlets for 120VAC throughout the boat, and USB jacks as well. Got rid of the alcohol stove, installed a Sea Swing gimbal stove next to the companionway, modified to hold a Butterfly brand Primus knockoff pump stove, burning diesel. At the dock I cooked mostly on an electric induction plate and later rescued a microwave from the dumpster. I could close the forward bulkhead door and a 1000w space heater would keep the temperature tolerable in our short New Orleans winter, and I also had an electric blanket and a couple of rectangular sleeping bags that unzip all the way flat. I was certainly never cold. I built a scoop mount for a window unit AC that sealed to the forehatch for summer cooling, and rigged awning forward and built a bimini and boom tent for aft shade, and I was usually comfortable in the heat of summer.



Staying small enables you to have low cost climate control with one or two space heaters (NEVER let them run unattended on a boat!) and a 5k to 7.5k BTU household AC unit. Get over 30 feet and these cheap solutions don't work so well.


Keep in mind also that when you live aboard, it can be difficult to just say hey, I think I will go sailing to wherever, disconnect shore power, throw off the lines, and begone in three minutes. Doesn't happen. When you live aboard, things just don't stay secured for sea. Things need to be stowed, lashed, or removed from the boat before you go to sea with her. If you keep the boat ready to sail at the drop of a thought, then a lot of ordinary things become somewhat inconvenient.



Small is better, within reason. For me, the Cal was about as small as I was comfortable with. You might try just staying aboard your Catalina overnight a few times, then maybe a few days. Try just anchoring out for a spell, maybe catch a few fish or something. If you are going to get all claustro, you will do it rocking at anchor.


It helps to be in a good marina with good infrastructure. In my marina we have covered main piers but not covered finger piers, and not all slips have finger piers. We have dock boxes, and a few liveaboards though there used to be more. There was a very active social scene with lots of potluck dinners and informal parties, and one dock box was used as a communal bar on our pier, unlocked, help your self, replenish on the honor system. One neighbor kept an electric chest freezer in his dock box and kept it stocked with bagged ice. Plenty of red cups and mixers, paper plates and plastic forks, so we could have a very nice cocktail hour every evening. There are toilet facilities ashore for those with no head onboard or who just don't want to fill up their sewage and have to motor to the pumpout station. Showers, too, though some low tech types would shower in the cockpit with a hose. I had my stand-up shower below so I was good to go, even had a heated showerhead for a while until it burnt out on me. Our location was good, in the neighborhood with probably the lowest crime rate in New Orleans, and numerous restaurants and a grocery and other shops were in easy walking/staggering distance. Everybody looked out for everyone else's stuff, and nothing ever got stolen even though most of us didn't lock up our boats or our dock boxes.



I have seen other marinas where living aboard, especially in a small boat, would be an absolute horror show. Generally speaking, the worse the marina, the more time you will spend below, and the more space you will need for your sanity. The better your marina, the more time you will spend topside or on the pier or other common spaces, leaving the boat mostly just for sleeping, and so a big boat is just a hassle and extra expense. If you have one of those "job" things you go to every day, maybe space is less important. Ditto for going to the "school" thing.
Loved your post! Really good information and you sound really handy and resourceful. Unfortunately, I do have one of those "job" things, haha. I try to spend as many weekends on my boat as possible. I love it and can't get enough, but it is usually in good weather, and never in winter, so there is lots of outside time. The lowest temperature I have been exposed to sleeping on my boat was 40 degrees outside. I had a sleeping bag and jacket on, no heat, but with the v berth door closed it was ok. The daytime temperature was much higher though, so the boat had residual heat.
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Old 29-02-2020, 09:19   #51
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by joelhemington View Post
Given that you're not really sure how much stuff you'd need to be comfortable living aboard, I'd opt for something in the 36' range so you don't limit yourself as you discover things you'd really like to have. Small cats are a great way to comfortably live aboard. Unfortunately very few companies have been building them for awhile. Here's one in your neighborhood https://www.boattrader.com/boat/2000...105-m-7245724/ A Gemini would not be my first choice for any blue water cruising but it doesn't sound like that's your criterion.

Remember, boats are a lot easier to acquire than get rid of so don't get locked into something too small to suit your needs.

Good advice! Thanks!
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Old 29-02-2020, 10:12   #52
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by NewBeginings View Post
Good advice! Thanks!

The only problem with living aboard a cat is getting a reasonably priced slip wide enough for it. In my marina, the 30' and 35" slips, as an example, are only 10' wide or a bit less. My Cal was a pretty tight fit. Nailing the docking in one stab was almost cause for celebration.


A cat at anchor or on a mooring ball is mighty comfortable, though, I must admit, compared to a mono of the same length.
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Old 29-02-2020, 16:07   #53
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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I currently have a Catalina 27'. It has plenty of space and headroom for me, but it lacks a refrigerator and oven. I would also like warm water, a heat source, and air conditioning, and I am not sure where you would fit those on a boat of its size. I don't need anything extravagant, but I would like for it to have those comforts so that it feels like a home to me. I think you are right. It is very subjective. I guess I will have to tour some more boats to figure out what I need. I was planning on taking my sister's family of 4 out for day sailing and overnight trips. Your comment about sitting and sleeping in the same place is definitely something to think about. I currently live in a house around 2500 square feet. There are 3 sofas and 2 armchairs in the living room. I use one corner of one sofa and my bed. That is it. I had a household of three last year and will soon have a household of one. I definitely need to downsize.
A Catalina 30 if your hung up on sailboat would be better but there is no insulation in that hull and you will freeze your but off in the winter with 1 30amp cord on the dock you will not have many creature comforts like micro wave, heat etc. your going to be camping big time and there is always winter pump outs, showers ice and snow on docks you will need to winterize boat in MD
GOOD LUCK
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Old 29-02-2020, 18:51   #54
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

Bob's post above reminds me of some points that I didn't address.


If you want an onboard water heater, you will likely need a second 30a circuit. You will also have a choice to make... hot water at the dock only, or hot water away from the dock, too. I suggest using an electric water heater wired to your 120v system, supplied from shore power. One way to do this would be to have a dedicated 30a connection supplying both the water heater, and a central air and heat system. You may have to trip your climate control loads off while heating water. Or maybe not. There are 120V water heaters that operate with only 12.5 amps available power. Kuuma makes one at that rating, that also has a heat exchanger for heating water with your cooling water">engine cooling water. If you are ever running your engine then this waste heat is free energy. There are also 12v water heaters and I believe the least power hungry models need at least 30a for a couple of hours to heat a very small tank. So you would need a rather large battery bank for such a small boat. If you are mostly just living aboard at the dock, you may as well go with a 120VAC model. Finding a place to install it might be tough. Maybe in your lazarette. Under a settee, maybe, for a unit with only a 3 or 4 gallon tank.


Tankless water heaters are very power hungry while running, and I don't know of any tankless 120VAC water heaters that will run comfortably on a 30a circuit. This is too bad because overall, depending on your usage model, these could be very efficient.


You could maybe look into running your water heater on a timer. Let it turn on a couple hours before you shower, then off again.



FWIW, I have never bothered with a water heater, except for an electric shower head type. I have used black garden hose plumbed directly to my shower head for passive solar heating and sometimes it works okay. Sometimes it works TOO good. If it is really cold, on the boat I just heat a pan of water on the diesel stove or on the induction plate, and take a boat bath. I also had showers available ashore, too.



You really don't need an oven. You would be surprised how creative you can get with an induction plate, an "instant pot" type electric pressure cooker, microwave, and diesel or kerosene backpacker stove in a good mount. You will not use a liquid or gas fueled stove with an open flame while the boat is closed up. First of all, they produce water vapor which creates condensation when it is cold outside. Second, they produce Carbon Monoxide. There is no "clean" fuel that does not. There are vented stoves that do not allow stove gases into your boat's atmosphere, but these take up a bit of room. Some marinas forbid wood fires of any type. There are vented stoves that burn wood or coal that are good for heating or cooking. Diesel, too. Installation on an under 30' boat requires creativity and willingness to sacrifice a settee or something, usually.


If your Catalina is of a certain age, it may have a very primitive 120V system. Or none at all. Fitting a proper electrical system is kind of expensive and you need to know what you are doing. You will want what is called an isolation transformer, and an ELCI shore power breaker, along with a proper breaker panel, and wire and outlets and fixtures that comply with ABYC standards. Don't try to live off an extension cord.



Some small boat owners live without 120v outlets, or just run 120v appliances off an inverter, and their shore power is wired straight to their battery charger, with lighting, etc all 12VDC. This is not best practice. you really ought to have an isolation transformer, or at least a galvanic isolator. Seriously.



For a single person, a cube type dorm fridge is a good option for living in your slip. You will need to secure it good if you keep it aboard when you take the boat out. Add a hook and eyebolt to keep the door from flying open. Or don't. But you will, if you don't. Same with microwave if you elect to have one. If you use a household window unit for air conditioning, best option is to leave it behind when you take the boat out. Most common ways to mount it are in a scoop mount over the forehatch, and a "step-over" installation in the companionway. Portable air conditioners kind of suck but if you have a round porthole of appropriate size you might try to adapt your vent hose to fit the porthole, and put a rain hood over the outside. These make a lot of condensate water and you will want to pipe it into your bilge. You might want to go with an RV roof mounted AC though these seem to have a short lifespan, and you have to cut a hole somewhere. Maybe make a copy of your hatch cover that you can hack for mounting the AC on, and keep the original one for if you ever want to sell the boat. The only drawback with a roof mount is it may interfere with emergency egress through the forehatch, and being permanently mounted means sooner or later it will get its innards doused with salt water.


Central air systems are nice. Darn nice. But a very small boat can present problems with installation.



If you really want to upgrade your boat to its greatest liveaboard potential, you will need to consult with a marine electrician. Playing with electricity on a boat is even more fraught with peril than playing with electricity in the home. Not only for you, but for others, especially divers near your boat.
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Old 04-03-2020, 11:49   #55
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

We now live aboard our Freedom 38 and cruise Florida & Bahamas. Previously we had a Freedom 30 - which might be a good fit for you & the pooch (or F32 which is F30 with sugar scoop). She’s sea kindly, stable, roomy cockpit, very large tri-cabin interior, easy companion way for the pup. As a cored hull boat, she would be very well insulated. We’ve sailed our 38 (essentially larger version of the 30) in the tropics, in wintery weather (coming down US East Coast) and everything in between. Never a drop of condensation on interior & is easily heated & cooled. With bulkhead mounted saloon table up, there is enough room to dance & (if memory serves) 6’3” headroom throughout. Freestanding rig sails great & you will never replace standing rigging or chain plates. Feel free to pm me with any questions
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:29   #56
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

I personally had a list of criteria that I used to narrow down the possible candidates for me with the idea of staying in the 30' range to keep costs down Beam was one criteria that was important because of the feeling of space, but there is a great deal of difference in interior layouts that can override mere beam as far as comfort. I like the full width cabins.... which are rare. The 34' Benford Dory meets all my criteria for a live aboard very well with it's full cabin width and 11' beam...... Lots of space. But it is a plywood boat, owner built, and that matters to some buyers more than others. If built properly with epoxy, they have a very long life. Look at Annie Hill's book Voyaging on a Small Income. She and Pete lived aboard one for quite a few years.
I've come to the conclusion that the boat for me is a catamaran for numerous reasons, not the least of which is stability at anchor, which means that you can anchor out and not suffer constant rolling like a mono.......... I like privacy, and would rather be in a quiet inlet or bay than a marine "trailer park". As has been pointed out, trailer parks.... I mean marinas charge based on size, and many cats are too large for a slip.... But they often can place a cat or tri on the outside of a pontoon, and of course the shallow draft offers options that are often not realistic for monohulls. There is the added advantage that a cat with a bridge deck cabin often has all around view in the cabin, and the cabin and cockpit are on a level with each other. I would sleep in the bridge deck cabin... or cockpit. The price for living "on the hook" is that you have to dingy to shore and may have to pay for that access. There is the fact that most things will have to be hauled to the boat by dinghy, and there is also parking if you have a vehicle to consider. Also power, water and pump out are not available from shore so you have to be mobile for pump out at least. Power isn't a real problem if you are conservative.. solar and wind can meet most all your demands Discharging even gray water is not legal in many places, and it's getting worse. For me the peace and privacy of a quiet anchorage, and the ability to lay to anchor where other boats are uncomfortable would seem to make these inconveniences worthwhile, but I'm a solitary sort. Disclaimer.... I am not living aboard a boat, these are just the conclusions I've reached that will govern my choices when I make that move. There is of course the internet to consider as well.
These "sacrifices" make sense to me as my intent is to be nomadic rather than settling in one place. I won't be commuting to a job, and will not have a car, so the equation is weighted to different priorities than yours.

One ingenious trimaran owner developed a ventilation system that utilizes simple venturi effect to create drafts passively utilizing the tunnel and the top of the deck, to eliminate condensation problems. The boat naturally lays in the proper orientation at anchor to harness the and simple ducting directs ventilation to everyplace it's needed.



If you are tied up in a slip, you are much less likely to cast off and go somewhere, more likely to get in a rut and stay there......... most boats rarely leave the slip.. the just sit there generating income for the marina.
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