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Old 15-02-2020, 13:01   #1
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Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

I would like to get everyone's input on what boat size they would recommend for a single person + scruffy little dog. My current boat is a Catalina 27, but I am afraid it would get a little claustrophobic living on it full time, and I plan on entertaining. I will be near Charlotte Hall, Maryland. I am wondering about heating/cooling options and how that factors in with size. Also, is ventillation affected by size? I would love to hear about some experiences living in that climate year round, or if some people prefer to get an apartment for a few months a year to escape the cold.

Thanks!
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Old 17-02-2020, 10:25   #2
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

I first moved board a boat that had headroom a few inches less than my height. I discovered that I only stood when washing dishes and brushing my teeth, but the stoop didn't stick. I always sat in the same place and slept in the same berth, so I didn't miss the options of more space. I won't discount the need for some to require more space due to claustrophobic effects, but that's peculiar to the individual and not very predictable.

I think 28 to 30 feet can be very suitable for a single person, but the "entertaining" need is hard to define. Four for drinks and snacks with the cockpit in good weather? Ten couples line dancing? 'there's no way for us to know.
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Old 17-02-2020, 11:09   #3
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

I've really enjoyed the accommodations on two very different 26' catamarans. Never owned one, but thought at the time that with a 10' by 10' cockpit, and a dining table between the hulls, they certainly were more comfortable than the considerably larger and heavier sloops that I sailed.
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Old 17-02-2020, 19:15   #4
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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I first moved board a boat that had headroom a few inches less than my height. I discovered that I only stood when washing dishes and brushing my teeth, but the stoop didn't stick. I always sat in the same place and slept in the same berth, so I didn't miss the options of more space. I won't discount the need for some to require more space due to claustrophobic effects, but that's peculiar to the individual and not very predictable.

I think 28 to 30 feet can be very suitable for a single person, but the "entertaining" need is hard to define. Four for drinks and snacks with the cockpit in good weather? Ten couples line dancing? 'there's no way for us to know.
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.
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Old 17-02-2020, 19:18   #5
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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I've really enjoyed the accommodations on two very different 26' catamarans. Never owned one, but thought at the time that with a 10' by 10' cockpit, and a dining table between the hulls, they certainly were more comfortable than the considerably larger and heavier sloops that I sailed.
Thanks for your input! I do love the living space in a catamatan. I have only been on two huge charters though, and I know nothing about sailing a cat. Aren't they really expensive compared to a monohull?
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Old 17-02-2020, 19:39   #6
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

There are people here that can better advise you on cost and differences than I, and I hope they will. In the general case and my limited experience with them, the 26' cat has more interior and cockpit space than the 40' monohull sloop, lighter rigging, and is faster. I've never heard anyone complain about their cost; the usual complaint if any is that they float better upside down than right side up. But, you are talking about living and cruising, not tackling hurricanes.
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Old 17-02-2020, 20:05   #7
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

Just some notes:
Different boats of same LOA can vary a lot in livable space. I had a 24 footer (Dana) that was more livable than my old 32' sloop. That said I think the Dana is too small for live aboard, yet I knew a couple who did it for several years.
Ducted heating/cooling will rob a lot of locker space on a smaller boat.
Entertaining in warm weather usually in cockpit so space there is important.
If you are working an office job while living on board your storage requirements go up for clothing etc.
Something like a Baba 30 would be comfortable for a 30 footer, but other boats might want 32' or more.
In Maryland I would think smart thing would be to keep your Catalina and get a small apartment. Just my opinion.
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Old 17-02-2020, 20:14   #8
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

Hi from the NappyTown side of the bridge.

Like so many things in life, it comes down to your budget and needs. I'd suggest something in the 30s to have some elbow room yet not too long to prevent single-handing.

Just go on Annapolis Craigslist and use the filters which are appropriate for you.
https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/...query=sailboat
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Old 18-02-2020, 06:13   #9
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by NewBeginings View Post
............... 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................
Added equipment and amenities does require more space; however, judging what's available by vessel length doesn't work well. I've had two boats a little over thirty feet with one having twice the space of the other. There's also a great range in what's available in the used market at the same price.

It might be the best choice to list the basic criteria required and not the boat length and then start searching. About ten years ago I helped my daughter and son-in-law find their boat. We made a list of 10 characteristics, i.e.- living space, propulsion, galley, price, electronics, draft & vertical clearances,.....
We rated each factor from 0.1 to 1.0 and came up with a numerical score. They bought a "8.3" that suited them well. Boat length wasn't on the list, but their final choice was a 36' trawler for their family of three.
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Old 18-02-2020, 19:42   #10
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis.G View Post
Just some notes:
Different boats of same LOA can vary a lot in livable space. I had a 24 footer (Dana) that was more livable than my old 32' sloop. That said I think the Dana is too small for live aboard, yet I knew a couple who did it for several years.
Ducted heating/cooling will rob a lot of locker space on a smaller boat.
Entertaining in warm weather usually in cockpit so space there is important.
If you are working an office job while living on board your storage requirements go up for clothing etc.
Something like a Baba 30 would be comfortable for a 30 footer, but other boats might want 32' or more.
In Maryland I would think smart thing would be to keep your Catalina and get a small apartment. Just my opinion.
Thanks for your input! No office job. I work in the medical field, so I wear scrubs and only need a few sets. I am small, so they take up little space. I have lived in apartments, a townhouse, a small house in the city, a big house in the country, and have discovered that I hate any type of living where I am sharing walls with others. I don't think I could tolerate an apartment for more than 3 months out of the year. For some reason, I don't mind staying in a small boat in a marina. Maybe it is because I own the boat and get to enjoy the water and nature all around.
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Old 18-02-2020, 19:45   #11
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hudson Force View Post
Added equipment and amenities does require more space; however, judging what's available by vessel length doesn't work well. I've had two boats a little over thirty feet with one having twice the space of the other. There's also a great range in what's available in the used market at the same price.

It might be the best choice to list the basic criteria required and not the boat length and then start searching. About ten years ago I helped my daughter and son-in-law find their boat. We made a list of 10 characteristics, i.e.- living space, propulsion, galley, price, electronics, draft & vertical clearances,.....
We rated each factor from 0.1 to 1.0 and came up with a numerical score. They bought a "8.3" that suited them well. Boat length wasn't on the list, but their final choice was a 36' trawler for their family of three.
I love your selection technique! So systematic!
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Old 18-02-2020, 19:48   #12
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by Checkswrecks View Post
Hi from the NappyTown side of the bridge.

Like so many things in life, it comes down to your budget and needs. I'd suggest something in the 30s to have some elbow room yet not too long to prevent single-handing.

Just go on Annapolis Craigslist and use the filters which are appropriate for you.
https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/...query=sailboat
Thanks! I didn't even think to check Craigslist.
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Old 18-02-2020, 21:33   #13
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by NewBeginings View Post
. . .
a refrigerator
oven
warm water
heat source
air conditioning
taking my sister's family of 4 out for day sailing and overnight trips
is ventillation affected by size?
if some people prefer to get an apartment for a few months a year to escape the cold.
Fridge: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L3FLBQ4...NrPXRydWU&th=1

Stove ought to be installed in whatever boat you buy.

Water heater is pretty standard for 30 ft and bigger boats.

Heat source: If not already on the boat, there are numerous threads about what various live-boards are using. Electric heaters when on shore power, small diesel heaters, and even small solid fuel stoves.

Air conditioning: Easiest is a hatch unit like this: https://annapolis.craigslist.org/bpo...051662453.html

5 people for overnight trips: Think about where people will sleep and if they will be tripping over each other using the head or feeding everybody. This is AFTER you already have all of your live-aboard stuff in place. The thought ought to lead toward the size boat you look for.

While this Winter has been minimal so far, there've been times that being a live aboard could have truly sucked. One potential cure could be AirBnB because they do have some month long rentals. Waking up warm and having unlimited hot water can set your mood and be the difference between survival versus appreciating life.
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Old 18-02-2020, 21:34   #14
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

NB, requirements for space vary widely between individuals as you are likely discovering from the posts upthread. Here's my version:

To live aboard in any comfort year round, I reckon the 30 foot mark is a minimum. You will want some form of heating. In a marina environment mains powered electrical is by far the most convenient, easy to install and inexpensive. At anchor, diesel heat of some sort is the only realistic energy source. Installing even a simple pot burner like a Dickenson takes up a considerable amount of room. Ducted heating even more, although distributed differently. Shoehorning such into a <30 footer will be arduous.

I've never been in the Chessie area, so can't judge the need for a/c in summer. Ann and I have cruised full time in tropical areas for many years and have never needed a/c, but we stay at anchor where good air flow is common. In a marina, you might feel the heat lots more than we have. And a/c also takes up considerable room. The best solution for a smaller boat in a marina would be adapting a domestic window unit... looks kinda daggy but lots of folks here in Oz do this seasonally. At anchor a/c isn't really practical long term in a smaller boat, one too small for an installed gen set. Trying to run a/c from a small petrol generator seems to be quite marginal, judging from reports here on CF.

Others have talked about the room needed for personal comfort, and only you can judge how much you need. Boats less than 30 feet seldom have very good galleys or fridge space, so feeding yourself long term is an important factor in living aboard. I like to cook and enjoy having enough counter space to do so comfortably, and a stove with oven is, for me, a requirement for living aboard long term.

You mention "entertaining" others on board. If this means more than a couple of guests, finding space to seat them at table can be a problem. Consider that when viewing candidate vessels.

Finally, I'm wondering how you will deal with your dog whilst you are at work? Cooping one up below decks would be kinda cruel IMO, and if let out on deck could be annoying to neighbors, to say nothing of sanitary issues. Having pets on board boats is always difficult, but for a single person in a marina environment, well, I can see real problems. This is not much related to boat size... just a general comment.

We've lived aboard full time for 33 years now, and I still love the life. But we've been cruising, not working, and that means our experience is not wholly applicable. I wish you well in your future on board, and I'm happy to address any more specific questions that you may have.

Jim
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Old 19-02-2020, 06:23   #15
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Re: Boat size for liveaboard single + dog

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
NB, requirements for space vary widely between individuals as you are likely discovering from the posts upthread. Here's my version:

To live aboard in any comfort year round, I reckon the 30 foot mark is a minimum. You will want some form of heating. In a marina environment mains powered electrical is by far the most convenient, easy to install and inexpensive. At anchor, diesel heat of some sort is the only realistic energy source. Installing even a simple pot burner like a Dickenson takes up a considerable amount of room. Ducted heating even more, although distributed differently. Shoehorning such into a <30 footer will be arduous.

I've never been in the Chessie area, so can't judge the need for a/c in summer. Ann and I have cruised full time in tropical areas for many years and have never needed a/c, but we stay at anchor where good air flow is common. In a marina, you might feel the heat lots more than we have. And a/c also takes up considerable room. The best solution for a smaller boat in a marina would be adapting a domestic window unit... looks kinda daggy but lots of folks here in Oz do this seasonally. At anchor a/c isn't really practical long term in a smaller boat, one too small for an installed gen set. Trying to run a/c from a small petrol generator seems to be quite marginal, judging from reports here on CF.

Others have talked about the room needed for personal comfort, and only you can judge how much you need. Boats less than 30 feet seldom have very good galleys or fridge space, so feeding yourself long term is an important factor in living aboard. I like to cook and enjoy having enough counter space to do so comfortably, and a stove with oven is, for me, a requirement for living aboard long term.

You mention "entertaining" others on board. If this means more than a couple of guests, finding space to seat them at table can be a problem. Consider that when viewing candidate vessels.

Finally, I'm wondering how you will deal with your dog whilst you are at work? Cooping one up below decks would be kinda cruel IMO, and if let out on deck could be annoying to neighbors, to say nothing of sanitary issues. Having pets on board boats is always difficult, but for a single person in a marina environment, well, I can see real problems. This is not much related to boat size... just a general comment.

We've lived aboard full time for 33 years now, and I still love the life. But we've been cruising, not working, and that means our experience is not wholly applicable. I wish you well in your future on board, and I'm happy to address any more specific questions that you may have.

Jim
Thanks so much for your input! I definitely wouldn't do anything cruel to my dog, so maybe I will need to wait until I no longer have a dog. He is a rescue and came out of an abusive situation. He will be my best friend for the rest of his life. Still, I am wondering if leaving him onboard a climate controlled 30-40' sailboat would be any different than crating a dog or confining a dog in a room while away at work when on land (which I am sure some people would object to...some people even object to the idea of having animals as pets altogether). He is a 23 lb senior dog, but he could potentially live another 7 years because he is a long-lived breed. While he is a fiesty terrier with little bursts of hyper, playful energy a few times a day, he sleeps and relaxes most of the time. I do not crate him while I am at work, but he is usually confined to the laundry room when I am not at home. I do leave him loose in the house when I go out for a short while and he is usually in the laundry room when I come home anyway...snoozing in the hamper haha.
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