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Old 02-08-2009, 13:23   #1
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Does Anyone Live on a 24' Boat ?

Hello all!
My husband and I just bought our first boat...a 24ft columbia! We bought her for super cheap and have cleaned and painted it inside and out, stained all the wood and made her pretty near waterproof. We still need to replace the rigging. We have always wanted to live aboard, but we aren't sure this boat is going to be big enough. We have a 9yr old son as well. We bought an alcohol stove and we were just thinking about using an icebox instead of a fridge. We currently live in Indiana and own a house and we keep our boat at a marina in Florida. So we would live aboard in Florida. Anyone out there actually live on a small boat like this one? Are we just dreaming to think it can be done??
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Old 02-08-2009, 13:45   #2
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Anyone out there actually live on a small boat like this one? Are we just dreaming to think it can be done??
I'm sure there are people living aboard small boats. It depends on what you call living and how much stuff you need to bring. For extensive travel a boat that small can't haul very much. Hauling a lot of stuff is mostly what it comes down to. The limits of what can be done are not based only on length.

So how long is the longest time you have ever spent on board? This should be something you could test out to get some clue and what is too small for you means. I'm not sure the limits of human endurance should be the basis of if you could do this.
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 02-08-2009, 13:57   #3
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Yes it can be done I lived on a 23 ft ranger for a couple years. Two factors though - I was in my twenties, strong back for the no head room pose (hunched over), and I was by myself. I knew a couple with a 10 year old that lived in a 24 ft steel hull boat, and the husband was 6'3"!! Try a month in the summer when your kid is out of school and see how it goes. Good luck,

I lived without fridge for those years too, the cooler thing was too big of a pain in the butt for me. I learned to live without butter and like powder milk ---Now (39), I live on a 30 footer and am a spoiled princess who can't live without her half & half for the morning tea I ams what I ams
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Old 02-08-2009, 13:59   #4
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We have only stayed a couple of nights on board. We are working our way into it slowly. We are planning to spend several days anchored out to get an idea of how much food and supplies we would need and what provisions we would need. At first we will stay at the marina and do some day trips and then we want to do some cruising around the keys and bahamas. My husband is deployed to Iraq right now so we are on "stand-by" until he gets home. Thanks for your advice!
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Old 02-08-2009, 14:06   #5
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lol! my husband doesn't seem to mind having to hunch over in the boat. My son is lucky...he is still short enough to have standing headroom. I hear ya ocean girl! I like my cream in my coffee too. I suppose the ice chest could be a pain, but I like the idea of not depending on electricity. I may change my mind once I get some real experience though.
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Old 02-08-2009, 14:16   #6

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There are folks who live in "teardrop" trailers, but whether the three of you can do that depends on just how unique you all are. Most folks couldn't do it, most 24' boats don't have a shower or toilet and that's the ultimate dividing line for most folks. Again, "most" isn't everyone.

No matter what you do, I'd get rid of the alcholo stove immediately. Especially with a child on the boat, because alcohol stoves burn with a near-invisible flame, and there have been many accidents caused by the invisible flame. Yes, propane and butane can blow up...but that's what fuel does. Alcohol stoves seem to actually lead the count for injuries and accidents though. Ignoring anything else to be said for or against them.
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Old 02-08-2009, 14:36   #7
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24' is small - but possible, but that doesn't mean it will be big / good / fun enough for you & family..........but

............given that you a) clearly know that 24' is small, b) have seen her already and c) are still willing to give it a shot means IMO you have a better chance than many (most?) of doing so, even if your extended use is not for the next 20 years........especially if the boat is used as a means for adventure rather than as a liveaboard tied to the dock.

Will teach you a lot about what you / your family need (or simply want) from your next boat (no doubt that will include another few feet or so, on both length and headroom) and no better teacher than hands on experiance. It even saves you money in the long run by knowing what you want / need .......and being out and about in the world of boats puts you in a decent position to look for / stumble accross your next boat hidden in the corner of a dock out of sight of the internet ......and to be able to assess yourselves whether she is a bargain or a money pit.

BTW c) are still willing to give it a shot ........IMO that's damned good stuff, don't underate that one
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Old 02-08-2009, 15:39   #8
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I guess it depends on how you define "living aboard". I spent 18 months living on a Grampion 26. I had no other home so I guess that would qualify. I was out sailing at least every second day, and every weekend. But when tied up in the marina, I spent a fair bit of time in the local cafe/meeting place. I also spent a goodly amount of time at my girlfriends place. I did spend pretty much every night on board, using the marina laundry and washroom/shower facilities. I had an Icebox for my perishables, and cooked on a two burner propane stove. My girlfriend was down pretty much every day, but never spent a full night aboard as her folks wanted her home (we used to say showing up for breakfast was close enough!)

I will tell you that two adults and a 9 year old will be rough. Especially if the weather goes bad for a week or so. You will tend to go shack happy. Children need to burn energy and need space to do it. That will need to be taken into consideration as well.

My suggestion is for you to maintain a shore base for those days when you just need to get off the boat. 24ft is awful small for day in/day out living and your personal belongings will need to be cut to the minimum. For instance clothing. You have a hanging locker perhaps that will be about 12-18 inches wide. Thats it, and the rest of your clothing will be in lockers. How about toys n stuff for your child? Again, more space needed that will be at a premium.

If all the above don't deter you, go ahead and enjoy yourself. It will be the experience of a lifetime. Once you are hooked, you will crave that lifestyle for ever. I ended up on land for 20 years, but I'll be back afloat permanently in about 18 months.

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Old 02-08-2009, 17:11   #9
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I would not consider putting three people on a boat that you cannot stand up in....except for a daysail.

Before you make any sort of commitment, charter such a boat for at least a week and then see if living on it is possible.

Its easy to get infatuated with a on someone elses boat for a while until that infatuation goes away and reality sets in.

Life begins where land ends.
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Old 02-08-2009, 17:26   #10
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I had a friend, a retired Japanese defense forces sergeant, Tatetsumu Kidokoro, who sailed his 23' boat across the Pacific to San Diego,then to the Galapagos, around Cape Horn (three times), dropped down to Antarctica, across to Cape Town, then onward to Tahiti, and finally back home to Japan. He's a pretty tough hombre, though.
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Old 06-08-2009, 12:38   #11
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Hi there Wannabesailing!
Sure it can be done, but as someone mentioned before I would have tried the onboard living for some period before I made up my mind. 24' is not a lot of room after all, but if you are good friends there should be no big problems as far as I can see.
I live aboard, but got a bigger boat. Two adults and two "kids" (13 and 16) No problems at all!
So yes again, it may absolutely work but find a way to test it before you sell the house
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Old 06-08-2009, 13:44   #12
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Have to go with David on this one. 2 Adults and a Child, 24', Liveaboard?? No way. Do people do it? Absolutely, people also live under bridges, but I do not think I would recommend it. No bathroom, shower not to mention waves get big fast. I know I will get jumped on, and get all kinds of examples of "others" that do it. I think it is a different story if you do it yourself, but if you are going to give examples give the ones with 2 adults and one child and then ask yourself when you saw them if it looked like a lifestyle you would reccomend?
Save up, go day sailing, but to do it right get something a bit bigger with a bit more living space. You will be thankful you did.
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Old 06-08-2009, 13:49   #13
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Buddy Cruised in the 80's with two couples, they had a 24 ft and a 22 ft. The taller couple had the 22 ft! aboard about a year and a half. 24 footer had a teen aboard. Is it possible to go down for 3 months and try it first?
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Old 06-08-2009, 14:15   #14
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My liitle boat has been half way round the world(before me) and the crew didn't seem to mind. I had a friend who lived for many years on a 19ft boat and sailed it as far north as Anchorage and as far south as the Sea of Cortez. He had the money for a larger boat but he was a bit of an odd duck and liked his little boat. I stayed on mine every weekend for 2 years until IKE put me on the beach. Since then shes been on the cradle in the yard.

I lived for 2 years(single) on a 26 ft salmon troller but I was much younger than I am now.

I would not have any qualms about it as a single person but as a family it will be tight quarters.

I have always believed the old saw about there being only 3 things done below decks; sleeping, cooking and reading. None of which I want to do standing up.

Think about how much time you actually spend INSIDE your house. Usually you're only there to cook, sleep and shower. The rest of the time you're somewhere else.

I can think of lots of reasons I'd do it............m

In years gone by LOTS of people lived and sailed great distances on small botas. It seems that the need for space is a fairly new requirement.
I must go down to the sea again.........
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Old 06-08-2009, 16:48   #15
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ive lived on my 27ft catalina now for a few months at least during the week and i find it more than comfortable. at least 2 days a week my 7 yr old daughter stays on board with me, granted im 5'9 and my boat has decent headroom and a good head. anything can be done but just because it can be done doesnt mean that it will be enjoyable.
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