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Old 05-08-2020, 09:30   #16
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

It's a mistake waiting to happen to make a lifestyle decision without first experiencing it, because the IDEA of something is usually very different from the REALITY of it.

Especially boats.

So to get some experience I like the idea of a 26-30' sailboat that you can learn how to sail on, easily singlehand and dock it yourself, stay on it for extended periods (it won't have the comforts of a larger boat, but you'll learn what you need and don't need, like and don't like), and you can find one in good shape for under $5K.

Once you have some rudimentary experience sailing, docking, anchoring, navigating and living on a small cheap boat, and you decide based upon reality that you want to proceed and become a liveaboard, you can sell it and move up.
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Old 05-08-2020, 09:30   #17
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Originally Posted by chrisr View Post
you want to live aboard a small yacht and sail this yacht internationally, but you have never been on a boat...
really ??
first step : join your local sailing club and learn how to sail and something about boats
you should budget say two years for this...less if you're a real quick learner and a natural boatie
after this come back and we'll talk some more
Totally agree. I spent about 2 years reading, sailing, getting lessons, figuring out what kind of world I was entering....and that was before moving onboard about 3 years ago. I'm 60 now, and still on a high learning curve for taking care of the boat. At 65 years old, the adjustment and money needed seems monumental. I suggest you ease into sailing slowly, and you will find a place for it in your life...maybe you don't make it to Caribbean next year, but instead you meet some new friends, sail on their boats, and have fun. If you jump in too deep, you and your sailing dreams are likely to sink.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:07   #18
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Some are seasick at de dock.
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Old 05-08-2020, 10:49   #19
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

I know you are 65 (I'm 73) and are probably feeling seriously pushed for time - but I'd really take some time to make sure this is REALLY what you want to do. It's a HUGE commitment. Buying a boat is expensive and maintaining it even more so.

Spend some serious time talking to your old girlfriend about the realities of living aboard: the tight spaces, particularly during bad weather, the probable lack of a shower, having to dinghy ashore (assuming you will be anchoring out) for EVERYTHING, the lack of privacy if living at a dock, etc.

Try to do some sailing before committing to buying a boat. Join a local sailing co-op. Try some different boats. Take some courses. Volunteer as crew for some local racing. It's not the same as cruising but it will give you an idea of what's involved in actually sailing a boat. Volunteer as crew on here for a passage or two. Surely you can bring SOME skills to the party. Being willing and able to cook could get you a lot of berths. Get an idea what you are getting into before you leap.

I'm of the group that suggests that maybe something in the 33 to 36 foot range is probably best - small enough to afford and handle - but big enough to provide SOME room to live in.

Good luck!
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Old 05-08-2020, 11:15   #20
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

By your living in New Mexico I can understand why you may have never been on a boat. Sailing and cruising is a dream for so many; some have the opportunity to take to the water earlier in life, some later like yourself. Given your circumstances I'd find a friend or two willing to go with you (and split the costs) to charter a skippered boat in the Caribbean as some have mentioned. Pay the extra to have a teaching skipper aboard. It'll be enjoyable and give you a sense of living on a larger sailboat for a week or two. You'll also get a sense about the money needed to operate and maintain a boat large and nice enough to cruise and live on comfortably. Good luck with your aspiration.
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Old 05-08-2020, 11:25   #21
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Originally Posted by river251 View Post
Thanks sailorboy1….you give me a dose of hope. I know it’s a long path to buying a boat.
It is not really. It is just a matter of pulling the trigger. The danger in that is the analysis paralysis.
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Old 05-08-2020, 11:27   #22
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Hi, first question about living aboard life

Go to your close friends Morgan 41. Go sailing. Find out if you like it. That is your starting point. Hard to see why you wouldn’t have already unless she is on the other side of the world?
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Old 05-08-2020, 13:49   #23
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

When we decided to go cruising, we had lots of experience sailing small dinghys and nothing at all on keel boats. We set off on a multi-year plan, and it took us about 10 years to make it a reality.

Our first step was a crewed charter in the BVI. Is this really something we wanted to do? If you don't have the bucks for a crewed charter, there are plenty of chances to get on a boat through Offshore Passage Opportunities and other similar groups.

Then we took some sailing classes. We had a great experience with US Sailing companies, but there are plenty of other options. Can't afford tuition? You can get where you need to be by volunteering as crew. Or, we have great sailing/volunteering opportunities through the Chesapeake Region Accessible Boating organization. There are likely similar options near you.

Then we bought a small (30') boat. Yes, you can spend a bit less if you go smaller, but it isn't that much less (looking at 30-year old boats), and the comfort level is much higher.

We finally were able to purchase our dream boat, and set off for the Caribbean. We've sailed there winters for more than 10 years.

The point is to take it step by step, and to be patient.
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Old 05-08-2020, 15:17   #24
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

I'm in year 3 as a liveaboard (who also actually does go sailing!). It wasn't really my dream lifestyle choice; I already knew the basics of how to sail... I just happened to be between land based accommodation and already had the small (25 foot) boat, so it seemed like a good way to spend the summer. I realised it would be do-able long term, and had no great rush to go land based again. I'm now in a 30 footer that's capable of crossing oceans, and although that's some way off yet, I clock up around 1500 miles a year.

As others have already mentioned, take it in small steps. Don't fully commit (especially financially) until you're sure it's what you want to do. It can be a great lifestyle, but on the flip side, at times can be a bit miserable. (Cool, damp winters where I am, cool wet summer days spent at anchor with cabin fever setting in )

The great thing is if you get fed up with somewhere, you just stow things away and head off to the next place, and if you are retired, there's nothing holding you back, such as that pesky work thing.

Best advice I could give would be to try to get a casual crewing position on a yacht sailing locally for a week or two, in a variety of weather, and in marinas / dock's, plus at anchor, and see how you get on...
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Old 05-08-2020, 16:13   #25
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

I understand where you are. I am 73 with some of the same concerns. There are a lot of boats that can be rigged for what you want, but the Hinterhoeller Nonsuch catboats were built from the waterline up almost with this in mind. I have a 33', but you might like a 36' better. I am not saying that the Nonsuch is the only boat, but with only one sail and all lines leading to the cockpit, including the reefing lines, it's kind of a no brainer if you can find one in good condition. With the mast stepped all the into the bow, there is as much room as a bigger more traditional monohull. Most that are available were built in the 1980s but Hinterhoeller was in business until the late 1990s. Mine is 1995.

Nonsuch boats have a rabidly dedicated following and generally have held their value well. Check out the International Nonsuch Association website which has boat listings as well as "how to sail" videos. Good luck!

You miss 100% of the shots you never take. (Wayne Gretzky)
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Old 05-08-2020, 16:15   #26
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

I would go for something between thirty and forty feet. You are single now--but female crew are often happy to spend time aboard--some a LONG time, and they need good space and galley and washrooms, so thirty-two feet would be my minimum and thirty six or so about as big as I can easily handle in a blow--and not too heavy on maintenance. The smaller the boat the cheaper the maintenance, the shallower the waters you can navigate, the more places you can go, rivers you can hide in from storms, and all that.

Go as small as you can, but buy for two. You will always find the possessions soon fill all the space available unless you are in ruthless self-denial.

I single-handed a forty-two foot trimaran when I was older than you--but next time it will be smaller because the costs of keeping a larger vessel than one really needs are so much MORE. The smaller vesssel is so much LESS, even if you have to anchor fore-and-aft to get a decent night's kip.
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Old 05-08-2020, 17:49   #27
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Originally Posted by RaymondR View Post
I think 26' is too small for an older person to permanently live aboard, 34'-36' a better choice.

One of the things to be mindful of when you join senior citizenshiphood is declining mobility. Springing about like a monkey on a boat which has the motion characteristics of a bucking bull is not to be carelessly contemplated by older folks.
Raymond is right on. 41' is nice but a 34'-36' liveaboard with only you is as comfortable and easier to handle. 26' is too small. And their are a ton on decent boats with reasonable prices in the 34'-36' range.

Good luck, keep us updated.
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Old 06-08-2020, 09:30   #28
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

From the responses to OP's question, it looks like I am on the right track.
I am looking at getting a sailboat to semi-liveaboard for my 60th birthday, in about a year.

If it were just me, I would get a Cape Dory 30 and be happy. But since my wife is interested too, and my Daughter, SIL, and two grandkids are all water-people. I have to go a bit larger, without loosing the ability to single hand if needed. So I need a boat that can sleep 6, or five if you count the hobbitses as half. ;}

My short list is as follows, and I would really appreciate help trimming or even adding to it, if I have missed something exceptional.

C&C Landfall 33,35,38
FUJI 35 Cutter
Mason 33 Cutter
Watkins 36C
Halberg Rassy Rasmus
CSY 33,37
Tartan 34-2,37
Niagara 36
Islander Freeport 36,38

For the Second String:

CONTEST 35s,36s

I would prefer a cutter, but realize I may have to settle for a sloop because so many more are produced. And I have never been on a ketch, but they look intriguing.

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Old 07-08-2020, 04:47   #29
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Scorpius – thanks much. Do you mainly anchor out? I’m watching the Old Seadog videos, thanks to you guys. He always anchors out, but then he is always traveling, not living in a marina. Being in New Mexico, it’s hard to spend a lot of time checking out boats, etc. I will crew at least once before deciding to sell my abode in NM. It’s a big step. My plans change daily. I have thought today that it would be great to be in a Marina in New York City during summer, for the jazz scene, and go south for the winter and cruise the Caribbean. We’ll see what I think of tomorrow. I bet it’s hard to find a marina slip in NYC.

Bumpman – thanks. I need to check into the expense of chartering. Don’t happen to have any friends here in NM with such a crazy dream as mine, that may be hard. I will ask another question about costs later, surely folks here can give me an idea of their expenses over time.

Sailorboy1 – especially since living here in the desert, a long ways from water, it will be hard to spend a very long time investigating, so I may be making the leap faster than I would if I lived around Florida.

Wayne, she sold the 41 years ago when she got divorced. She then got a Morgan 35 or so, but sold that recently and is switching to a houseboat due to health. And yes she is in Port Charlotte and I’m in New Mexico. Good idea though, thank you.

DMCantor – I suspect chartering is out of my budget, but those specific tips will help me find a boat ride. Then I’ll think through the next steps after I see what it’s like to actually sail.
Probably will decide to crew a second time, and after that, decide to plunge in, and take classes then buy a boat, sounds like a 35 might be a good choice from folks here. 10 years is probably beyond my window, at 65. Yes, the freedom to pull up the anchor and live somewhere else, or just travel, is a primary reason I am considering this, and the sailing.

Mike and rmfesfo, yes it seems like the mid 30 foot range is a good choice. I hope not to need to buy a second boat. The first one’s hard enough.

4eyes – hope you get some answers, we’re traveling a similar road and the answers will be instructive. Wonder what your budget is?
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Old 07-08-2020, 05:38   #30
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

As an FYI

I feel chartering tells you about as much on whether you will like cruising and living on a boat as renting a vacation rental does about whether you will like living in a tent.
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