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Old 04-08-2020, 19:39   #1
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Hi, first question about living aboard life

Hi. My name is Jim. A lifelong, single bachelor, sadly. Aside from a welcome msg, this is my first post. I'm 65, nearing retirement (not sure when), and thinking about living on a sailboat. I have many questions, and I have never been on a boat. Period. Any kind. I went to a boat show in LA 30 years ago and wanted then to get a boat and lilve on board, but I never did. I've watched many youtube videos which have been helpful to a point. I have a close friend, a girlfriend from 40 years ago, who has spent many years living on a Morgan 41, and she has been very helpful.

I have benefited from forums before and know it's best to ask one question at a time. I'd like to sail the Caribbean, maybe someday to Europe. My budget is very limited, say a used Morgan.

My first big question is, is there a sailboat that I can pilot myself, alone? Can sailboats be adapted to do so?

Thanks. Maybe I can buy you a drink in a marina someday.

Jim
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Old 04-08-2020, 20:15   #2
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Welcome Jim,

If you are looking to eventually liveaboard and travel solo on a limited budget you likely want to look for an older boat around 26ft in length. That is a good balance between single-handedness and sufficient size and payload capacity for living aboard. I mean don't get me wrong people have gone around the world in 10ft boats and people have single handed boats as large at 200ft and more commonly up to 50ft but I would start there.

This list might help. In fact the entire set of articles is likely helpful it is about traveling around the world on a smaller boat. Not specifically solo but shorthanded and on small boats.
https://atomvoyages.com/planning/goo...oats-list.html
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Old 04-08-2020, 20:23   #3
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Short answer, yes it's very possible to single-hand most sailing boats. I do, for example. As do many on here. It is more convenient and safer if they have been set up to do so easily, but it's not particularly difficult to do.

Search youtube for "How to sail oceans". Very together guy, somewhat younger than you, sailing an old small boat alone without engine around the US and transatlantic. Includes detailed information on budgets and costs.

Also try "Adventures of an old Seadog" on the same source. British guy much closer to your age, previously worked with lifeboats but not a sailor, living and sailing around the world alone on an old cheap boat. Currently in NZ I believe.

Both useful and interesting channels for what you're thinking of doing.

26ft would count as very small indeed for what you're intending, but it can be done. 41 foot would be very much more comfortable and more than enough space. Naturally, budget would come into play and you might prefer a better condition smaller boat than pushing a 40-footer. Remember that a "cheap" 41-foot boat is likely to cost you a great deal more than its initial asking price. Watch "Patrick Childress Sailing" or "Sail Life" to see how much work you could end up needing to do if you make the wrong choice.
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Old 04-08-2020, 22:35   #4
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

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.
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Old 04-08-2020, 23:20   #5
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

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

cheers,
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Old 05-08-2020, 01:09   #6
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

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Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
Short answer, yes it's very possible to single-hand most sailing boats. I do, for example. As do many on here. It is more convenient and safer if they have been set up to do so easily, but it's not particularly difficult to do.

Search youtube for "How to sail oceans". Very together guy, somewhat younger than you, sailing an old small boat alone without engine around the US and transatlantic. Includes detailed information on budgets and costs.

Also try "Adventures of an old Seadog" on the same source. British guy much closer to your age, previously worked with lifeboats but not a sailor, living and sailing around the world alone on an old cheap boat. Currently in NZ I believe.

Both useful and interesting channels for what you're thinking of doing.

26ft would count as very small indeed for what you're intending, but it can be done. 41 foot would be very much more comfortable and more than enough space. Naturally, budget would come into play and you might prefer a better condition smaller boat than pushing a 40-footer. Remember that a "cheap" 41-foot boat is likely to cost you a great deal more than its initial asking price. Watch "Patrick Childress Sailing" or "Sail Life" to see how much work you could end up needing to do if you make the wrong choice.
Patrick Childress was in the same boat from 2007 when I met him until recently when he died of Covid. Wife Rebecca still living aboard.
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Old 05-08-2020, 02:21   #7
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Do you know if you get seasick?

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Old 05-08-2020, 03:25   #8
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

River 251 guys like yourself are really good for my business since they usually buy a yacht then 12-18 months later they are selling her again because the fantasy does not match the reality.
You should really charter any boat for a week and see if you can handle all the BS that goes with being afloat. For a newbie things like walking up to the showers and toilets at the marina, dragging anchor, being locked down below during a wet week, getting in and out of a dinghy to go ashore etc all start to wear you down. I also find if you are a tinkerer at home than being retired on a yacht without a workshop is hell for some guys.
The other thing is you really need to minimize your belongings if you are living on a yacht.
Cheers
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Old 05-08-2020, 04:02   #9
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pirate Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

I would look at boats between 29ft and 33ft with decent tankage and storage space..decent head room and a comfortable layout.
Something like the Hunter Cherubini 33 comes to mind.. if you can find a good example.
Remember one important thing about successful small boat voyageing.. the KISS principle.
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Old 05-08-2020, 06:12   #10
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

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Originally Posted by river251 View Post

My first big question is, is there a sailboat that I can pilot myself, alone? Can sailboats be adapted to do so?
Of course!!!!! An autopilot GREATLY helps in this and is among the most loved things on a boat.

Don't next the naysayers get under your skin. Lots of them think sailing is something hard to do. I had never been on a boat other than a nuclear submarine before I decided to go down the retire to a sailboat path. It isn't hard to learn and do. But it will be different probably than you image.
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:04   #11
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Hi Jim,

What you are dreaming about is completely possible.
The big question is "Will you enjoy doing it?"

There is a whole world of activities involved in the sailing/cruising/live aboard life that you can dive into to see if you enjoy the experience.

As ChrisR already said, explore crewing opportunities at a local marina or sailing club.
Get to know liveaboards in your community to see if you feel comfortable.
Try everything and keep doing what you like to do.

Who knows what you might end up doing, with whom and where?

Good luck
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Old 05-08-2020, 07:44   #12
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

26’ is too small, and I bet not much cheaper.
Right now however is not the time to buy a boat, for whatever reason they are selling strongly now, we went overnight from a buyers market to a sellers market.
Wait a while, maybe next year, I give it two years max before most that are buying now will be selling.
I’d say mid 30’s myself, and start looking at boats, find something that you could live on comfortably, don’t get too hung up on what the “experts” tell you that you have to have.

In my opinion if it’s the Med that you really want to cruise, buy a boat there, don’t plan on sailing there, it’s further and more difficult than most think.

I don’t think that crewing and racing have much if anything at all to do with living aboard, teach you how to race I guess if that’s your thing, and maybe the “Yacht club” scene?
I have never done it so I have no experience.

I’ve been on and around boats off and on all my life, but usually smaller powerboats, The times I spent the night aboard I could probably count on one hand before we bought our sailboat, and I had never sat foot on a sailboat underway before we bought this one.

My advice is when prices come back down and your ready to go, move to Fl and find a boat and move aboard, look in Summer, when it’s not “season” there are Millions of fewer people in Fl in Summer.
I say Fl because Fl is very easy to take baby steps, miles and miles of ICW which is as easy as it gets, and the Bahama’s are literally 50ish miles away, and you can get to anywhere in the Bahama’s in day trips.
Then if you want to go further, go, and if not then you don’t have to.

But if the Med is your dream, then go there and buy a boat. Skip the Fl thing.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:19   #13
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

Everything is doable just not everything is practical.


Living on a boat or sailing between the islands there is like very easy / easy and moderate skill level. Passages between islands can be rough, but they are shord day passages only.


It is easy to buy a small boat in the Caribbean and give it a try.


Go to a place that you like - there are many countries there and each has its own style. Find a place that you like, then buy a boat there. One small step at a time.


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Old 05-08-2020, 08:45   #14
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

I would definitely advise chartering a boat with a skipper/instructor somewhere for a week or so. Maybe do a yachting course as well and see how you like it before making a major investment which is going to have on going costs such as marina fees etc. You will either love it or hate it at the end of the week. And you will have learned something about yachting too.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:53   #15
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Re: Hi, first question about living aboard life

https://atomvoyages.com/us.htmlThanks you all for so many responses. Looks like this is a good place to get help. Whew, lots of message to respond to.
Statistical, thanks for the response. That is a great web site, Iíve read much of it. Thanks a lot.
Tillsbury, what boat do you have? Iím glad to hear that a sailboat not originally designed for solo sailing can be set up to be. I will research that. This looks like a good place. I checked out the sources you named, I have already been watching ďHow to sail oceans.Ē I agree, he is a very good source. Old Seadog looks good too. Yes, many of the videos Iíve watched emphasized the post-purchase costs. Good to know, thanks much.
Raymond, is that why I groan when standing up from an hour at my desk? Yes my friend has switched from Morgans to a houseboat for that reason, thanks.
ChrisrÖ..yeah, nuts, huh?  I looked around here in Las Cruces, New MexicoÖ.donít seem to be any sailing clubs. No water around here . Yes, you are right, but I thought Iíd try to learn a little to help me decide if I really want to do this, before I go through the steps you spoke of. Iíve heard of crewing on a boat, I could fly to a marina and crew for a few days maybeÖ.at least see how I like it.
Littlewing, no, I donít know if I get seasick.
Fore and Aft, well, yes, I thought Iíd crew on a boat. I donít know about charters, would like to learn more. Iíd like to know what percentage of buyers of your boats donít last more than a year or two.
Boatman61, thanks much for the Hunter recommendation, I will check them out.
Thanks sailorboy1Ö.you give me a dose of hope. I know itís a long path to buying a boat. Iím still able to hop around a bit. I cycle 2 hours in the mornings.
Olorin, thanks for the encouragement. Yes, crewing at least one voyage is in the cards for sure. Maybe over Christmas break, I get a month off at a professor.
Thanks a64pilot. How long ago did that buyers to sellerís market happen? Yes it would be at least a year before I buy. Crewing would at least let me know if itís fun to be on a sailboat underwayÖ.thatís why I want to do this, to sail. I canít afford to buy another house and a sailboat right now, and Iíll be retiring. I am already thinking about buying in Europe. Sailing the Caribbean has lots of nice water and islandsÖ but I think Iíd prefer visiting European destinations. Iíll definitely consider that. But Florida was my first thought, and I plan to go to the Keys over winter, and hang out in the marinas, looks at some boats, this winter. Try to crew. Maybe I donít like sailboats when they are on the ocean, I have only been on them when parked at a boat show. Thanks for the price tips, very important to know. Once I come back from Florida, then Iíll think about Europe. I am not a big humidity fan, but may be humid everywhere there are sailboats.

Thanks to you all !

Jim
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