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Old 28-06-2017, 05:35   #16
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

I've been on a Morgan 34 with 4 people on a delivery for 5 days. It would be fine for an adventurous family of 4 for a vacation, a boat to cruise for weeks at time then going back to a house. Keep it simple, reliable and ready to sail. I never felt cramped or crowded, but we were on the move every day, not stuck in crappy weather with nothing to do. At the time, the wife and I lived on a 36' boat, so we were used to the space.

A Morgan 34 would make a pretty lousy full-time home for a family of 4.
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Old 28-06-2017, 05:36   #17
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

Sounds like you have the fixit skills but do be aware that while it may sound like a joke it is too often true that any boat project takes twice and long and costs twice as much as you estimate.

The little sleeping area under the edge of the cockpit is called a pilot berth.

The main concern about living with the family will be the lack of personal space. The two kids will have only the public area for their room so sharing the space at night for sleeping and no private space at all during the day. If they're OK with that you could make this work. If not, it could turn into an unpleasant experience. If the boat could be converted to having two pilot berths, one under each side of the cockpit this would give both kids their own "room".
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Old 28-06-2017, 05:40   #18
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

Really the best way to maintain harmony is to have space .
Get a Catamaran with positive bouyancy its such a reassurance that you cant sink .
I know it could be beyond your budget but lets face it as soon as you are on the water on your little leaner and see the beauty of others sailing flat and walking around the cockpit (not crawling) your wife will point and say I want one of those .
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:00   #19
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

I have said to many friends "their is nothing more expensive than a free boat" I agree with the survey idea, know what you are getting in to and what it will cost to get it ready to go. It sounds like you are a close family and it would be a great experience for all, if you are taking 3 or 4 weeks off at a time I recommend the Exumas in the Bahamas it would be more fin than stuck in a marina.
good luck
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:04   #20
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

A 34 should be plenty of space for your family of 4.

I used to own a C&C25, and our family of 4 would happily spend a week at a time aboard. The key to success was finding great anchorages and interesting places to visit, so that we actually spent most of our time swimming, sailing, or exploring. Having a dinghy was a huge help too, since it meant we could get off the boat at anchor and go explore.

It sounds like you have a great opportunity with that Morgan 34. From what you have said regarding your lifestyle, I think you will love, love, love being on that boat with your family. Not only that, but your family will be close (emotionally, not just physically), which is a very positive thing.

I think you would be crazy not to do this. Definitely do it. Get the boat running and in the water asap so you can enjoy the boating lifestyle.
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:07   #21
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Reynolds View Post
Really the best way to maintain harmony is to have space .
Get a Catamaran with positive bouyancy its such a reassurance that you cant sink .
I know it could be beyond your budget but lets face it as soon as you are on the water on your little leaner and see the beauty of others sailing flat and walking around the cockpit (not crawling) your wife will point and say I want one of those .
"Buy a cat" Really? Why do monohulls represent 93% of all sales then?

Catamarans can flip, sailboats can sink. That is likely a toss up.

A guy considering a 60's vintage sailboat is not the best prospect to suddenly decide to buy a cat....which was quite rare until the 21st century.
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:20   #22
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

Sounds like you have the skills to get the boat water ready but it will be far from free. You might begin by having a rigger look at what you have and what it will cost to get the mast rigged right. He can also examine the sails to see if they are usable as is. Because she has been stored on the dry corrosion may not be an issue, your wiring might need little work. However, I see two possible deal breakers. If your 34 is anything like my Morgan 33 Out Islander it is very roomy for its size but still is very small for a family of 4. Roughly 250 sq ft of cabin. That might work for an active vacation when you are doing stuff all day every day but not for hanging out at home on a rainy day. Think camping in 2 small tents. Some families love it, some go nuts. Your second issue is budget. You may only plan to use it a few months a year but she needs to be safely stored year round. Figure $1000 a month for a marina when using plus several thousand to haul and store when idle. Net, is this a lot cheaper than buying a vacation home? Absolutely, but plan on spending a lot more than is obvious today. There are all kinds of costs involved in boat ownership. Depending on her actual condition it could be as cheap as $5000-10000 or much much more.
Before proceeding why not charter a similar sized boat for a few weeks to see if it could work for your family?
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:24   #23
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

This sounds like a wonderful little project to develop both your family sailing skills and your boat maintenance skills.

I would keep an eye on costs as to not over capitalise the boat but get it back on the water asap and simply use it as is... do the basics and safety stuff. You will know within a few weekends / short holidays if it is going to work on this boat and possibly on any boat! I bought an excellent boat from a guy whose wife walked off the boat after the first passage and said her or the boat... he made a mistake and sold me the boat.

Over the years I have known many families who have cruised on smaller boats than this with great success. In 1980 the average length of a British circumnavigator was 29ft (yes I know heavier displacement) In 1998 we sailed in company from Thailand to Israel (up the Red Sea) with a couple on a 26ft 1960's Pearson and they enjoyed the adventure.

Family dynamics is a funny subject and many will be miserable on a 50 footer while others will get along on a 30 footer..... your mileage will vary.
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:26   #24
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

coming from another angle...

Does your wife want to learn, and well as you, how to sail, and to go out cruising and sailing with the family for extended times or...

Does she want a floating house on the water ?

We have been highly involved in sailing for nearly four decades , including professionally, and we live on or near the ocean.

We know people who buy an old boat....sail, or power that they do not sail, some are not even able to leave the sip, and some of the power boat dudes, have boats that the engine never operated or is not even in the boat.

They just get a good deal, pay the slip fees, and they have a boat in Dana Point Harbor, or really a floating house on the water in a great area. Pump out of marine heads comes into play here as well. So you need to have a vessel that you can take to a pump out station. These guys do not.

Also, you need to find a marina or harbor that allows live aboards. Any , violation and they can boot you out , and of course a fine by the authorities .


before embarking on this project, which might just turn out to be more demanding and expensive that estimated, you might sit down and find out really what your family wants.

As far as I have read, and I did not read all of the excellent advice, but the OP and family seem to have zero experience sailing, or boating.

If you just want a floating house on the water, you might look around for that and a boat that you do not have to re build. I like your idea of larger.
Also, a catamaran is much more spacious than a monohull. Living on a 34 ft, monohull with 4 people is going to get quite cramped .

I like the idea of getting out for a week or so , on the water, making ocean passages, with the entire family. Learn what you all are getting into.

I have talked to people who invited family members to go on a bare boat sailing cruise in the BVI, and the mother in law, thought that that she was going to be on a SHIP.....like the comfort of a cruise liner. She heard Cruising the Caribbean.....well, that trip did not work out so well.

Pleased to hear the OP loves fixing and building, but what does the rest of the family want. A sound grip on reality might be a good plan.

Personally, for living aboard, and we love sailing, a lot, dast I say this, we would get a decent well found and seaworthy power boat that has a whole lot more easy living space.

Lordy, King Neptune is going to hunt me down, and send my insolent self deep down to Davy Jones for even thinking of that.

Just some additional ideas to go with all the other great suggestions.

Some old sayings....Look before you leap, and prior proper planning prevents P..s poor performance.
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:30   #25
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

Boats are easy to buy, hard and expensive to maintain, difficult to sell, especially when starting with a project boat. That's not even counting the slip fees and basic insurance. IMHO rent a few times to see if everyone is still aboard with the idea. That is expensive also but really not money wasted. At least if you all don't like it you can walk away. Also by trying several you will begin to learn on what fits all. An on going learning curve. As for the kids, I as an old white man do not have the experience of living with kids on a boat. But from what I have observed they seem to adapt quite well. At least for a vacation. Full time? "no sey." At any rate keep it simple.
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:36   #26
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

Gah. Just when I think I'm going to just walk away from the boat I find a review or a technical manual that looks encouraging. But I think I'm going to pass on it anyway. for no other reason than I don't want to owe this part of my family a favor (think, "can you fix the burner in my <cough> <mumble> lab?"). I figure, he sorta owes me for making the engine run but I doubt he'll see it that way. Heck, I might even take a swing at putting it back in place and hooking it up for him next time I'm there just so maybe he'll stand a better chance of selling it to someone else.

And the distance from Savannah to Naples makes for 6+ solid days of sailing or paying someone to get it there. We could forgo free slip in Naples and get one in Palm Beach (kind of what we had in mind to begin with) and that knocks it down to a 350 mile trip. That's about the same as running Chicago to Mackinac Island. And... now my head swings back towards taking it and giving it a shot.

It's a pretty boat, and solid. I can see about having the deck probed for soft spots. The hull is solid fiberglass and the paint was put on right before it was put up on its stand. Not sure if paint goes bad if the boat is out of the water. Otherwise it's been inside a big garage for the last 8 years.

On the other hand, I think redoing half the interior to give me quarter-berths (they're called quarter berths ... I found that out) and move the galley to midship would put me beyond what I want to spend time-wise. If it had that layout already I would probably have decided for it by now. Heck, it's got close to 500 lbs of bronze on it between the keel and ... everything else. There's easily a $1000 in scrap metal. Is the keel really filled with 5000 pounds of lead? (aka $2000 worth of lead?) Now I'm back to maybe motoring it down the coast to a spot near Palm Beach and having a good long look at the thing. Knowing I can always get $3000 out of it from a scrap yard changes the calculus just a little.

Damn.

As for...
Quote:
Get a Catamaran with positive bouyancy its such a reassurance that you cant sink .
I know lots of people love their catamarans, but my wife and I both agree they are an abomination. When the wind hits you from the side, your boat is supposed to react. These big wide buggers just sit there like they aren't a part of our physics. Not natural. They look like the first guy to show up at a motocross event on a quadrunner. No. Just no. You don't belong here. On purely objective technical merits I will concede every possible argument in favor of them, and maybe I'm some kind of boat bigot (a boagot? Bigoat?) But they skeeve me out.

How profanity friendly is CF? Just picture me loosing a filthy tirade and I'll leave it untyped.

Damn pretty boat though.
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:48   #27
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

why not charter a boat for a week or two to see if everyone is on board with the idea and enjoy the sailing experience. before buying
also agree need to be able to work on the boat systems
good luck
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Old 28-06-2017, 09:49   #28
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvisailing32 View Post
coming from another angle...

Does your wife want to learn, and well as you, how to sail, and to go out cruising and sailing with the family for extended times or...

Does she want a floating house on the water ?

...

As far as I have read, and I did not read all of the excellent advice, but the OP and family seem to have zero experience sailing, or boating.

...

Living on a 34 ft, monohull with 4 people is going to get quite cramped .

...

we would get a decent well found and seaworthy power boat that has a whole lot more easy living space.
The wife is onboard for the adventure (being code for all the worst parts of this sort of project.

I have a fair bit of experience Great Lakes day-sailing and some occasional cruising. I crewed 9 'Race to Mackinac Island' and the return trip to Chicago. But it has been a while and while a long trip, the race isn't anything like cruising around Florida or living aboard would be. There were no beds or kitchen and I think the only interior seat other than by the radio was the toilet.

We've decided that it must be a sailboat. Was not even my decision, just a spontaneous consensus. Mostly because of the looks and ability to sail without engine noise. Also (and this is my daughter's input) because if there is a zombie apocolypse, diesel may be scarce.
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Old 28-06-2017, 10:03   #29
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
To put things into perspective, you're going to spend $20,000 or so and countless DIY manhours to put a $3,500 boat back in order. Then you'll have a 1969 vintage 34ft boat worth $6,000 on a good day, that's still too small four four people to live on.

Doesn't sound like a good deal to me.
This exactly right. You can't put four people especially children on a 34 foot boat. Buy a house boat.

You will have a divorce on your hands in no time at all. The wife will leave with the kids, and then your 34 foot boat will be great for just you.

Were you looking to get divorced and trying to figure out how? This is it.
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Old 28-06-2017, 10:46   #30
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Re: Family of 4 in a Small Liveaboard, Courting Disaster?

If the boat is basically sound, given the info you have given us, go for it. Used hardware in usable condition abounds for this size boat. Lots of "the cup is half empty" people on this forum. Find someone to help with the rigging and you are home free.
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