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Old 15-03-2017, 17:09   #1
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How do you use your boat?

Hi Everyone,

I've heard that most live-aboards spend 80-90% of their time at anchor.

I want to find out just how true this is, so did up this quick little survey.
https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DZ7LM3Y

Less than 10 questions, and only 100 people can fill it in - so first come first serve.

I'll post the results when it closes.

Thanks in advance,
Renee
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Old 16-03-2017, 00:38   #2
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Some of it depends how you measure the percentage but in general terms that's our experience.

One issue particularly when coastal cruising, is if you do a leisurely 3hr hop to the next harbor does that count as 3hr or 1 day?

To put that in easier to understand numbers, lets say you travel 36days per year with an average run of 3hr.
- Is that 98.8% of the time in port? (only counting hours under way)
- Or 90.1% of the time in port? (counting any day you were under way)

Ocean crossings obviously will rack up bigger percentages but more than 2-3 big crossings per year is an aggressive cruiser.

Let's say you do 3 - 4week crossings plus 20 days of coastal hops. That still leaves you in port roughly 70% of all days. If you only count the hours, it's around 74% of the time.

Also, this discussion is typically discussed in terms of being out in bad weather and does a boat that handles bad weather better trump comfort (assuming both boats are reasonably seaworthy). If that's the case, you can typically discount day hops because if the weather is nasty, most cruisers will simply wait for a nicer day. That only really applies when you start talking about longer multi-day crossings where the weather forecast isn't accurate that far out.
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Old 16-03-2017, 01:41   #3
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Hi Valhalla,

Very good points, and I think it is generally agreed most live aboards spend the majority of time with their boat at anchor.

Here's where my mind is going with all of this.

My plan is to either start building a boat next year, or have a custom boat built for me. My dream is a 40 - 42 foot catamaran.

Now, I know those 2 sentences alone are enough to spark off 100 threads. But, I'm not here to get into cat vs mono or building vs production.

I have a slightly more philosophical question I'm looking into.

Do cruisers buy a boat they can live aboard, when actually what they need is a home they can sail?

Subtle difference there, so let me explain.

One of the boats I'm looking at is Broadblue's Rapier 550. This is a very different catamaran as the cockpit, and all the lines and everything is in one large, open plan upper deck. There isn't an inside salon and an outside cockpit. It is one room, all enclosed. In fact, the cockpit looks more like the driver's seat of a car, or the cockpit of a motor boat.

One of my reasons for considering this design is that my wheelchair bound best friend may be sailing with me, and we need the option to have things on one level and indoors, but that is another story.

One push back I hear a lot about catamarans is that you don't feel like your sailing. The boat doesn't heel (sp?), and it's not quite the same as sailing. Which I think is a valid point.

That is even more so in the Rapier 550, where you are sat inside with a little steering wheel, protected from the wind, waves and rain.

But, are live aboards sacrificing the comfort of a home for the pleasure of feeling like you're sailing when 90% of the time your boat is a home, and only 10% of the time it's a sailboat?

I love sailing monohulls. They are an absolute blast, and I too love the feel when you have a fantastic wind and you feel connected to the water, and the wind and all that. But when it comes to living on a monohull, I often feel like 5 people are living inside a 2 man pup-tent.

Sorry, don't mean to get on the mono-vs-cat debate. My question is, if 90% of one's time is spent using the boat as a home, and 10% sailing, then shouldn't the boat be designed to reflect that percentage? Even if the split is 80/20, or 70/30 - are you living on a sailboat, or in a home that sails?

Now, I do also appreciate that many cruisers, when at anchor, don't necessarily spend a huge amount of their time on the boat. There is sight seeing to be done, snorkelling, scruba diving, etc. etc., and the boat becomes more a place to store your gear, sleep and eat between sails.

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Old 16-03-2017, 02:30   #4
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Slight variation but similar principal. A solution if you want to feel the rush is to get a sailing dingy. With a 40'+ cat, you could probably take a small hobbie cat, sunfish or sailboard to feed the sailing needs.

Also, love the idea of a single level deck. Your average cruiser is in their 50-60's. You can say "young at heart" as much as you want but climbing up and down gets harder as you age and for every 80yr old still out there doing it, there are dozens who've moved back to land long ago. If a well designed boat allows you to buy a few more years, why not.
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Old 16-03-2017, 02:42   #5
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Sailing is inherently risky, particularly if you are undertaking long offshore passages. At some time you WILL experience serious weather conditions. It is vital that your vessel can withstand these challenges.

I sail a 40 foot monohull. I have lived aboard for over 17 years. During that time I have crossed oceans and also spend long periods in one place. Yes the living areas are compromised because I live on a sailing boat but that is the price I pay for a secure and safe enviroment when I am at sea.
My home has to be able to withstand days of storm conditions as well as provide me with a comfortable home at anchor/in a marina for long periods of time.

I found it impossible to complete your survey as i have no such thing as a typical 12 month period!
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Old 16-03-2017, 02:42   #6
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Valhalla,

Those are wonderful points - hadn't thought about taking a hobbie cat onboard. Sounds like fun!

I must admit, I am in my 50's, and want to sail for as long as I can. I'm also not in as good of shape as I'd like to be, but working on that. I do find monohulls a bit physically intense - but only because I don't sail enough and spend way to much time at my desk.

Not being someone who grew up on boats, I could never fully understand why you'd design a catamaran with an inside area for seating, and duplicate that with an outside area for seating. Just have one area. And, as I currently live in England, have it all indoors.

The Rapier 550 and Rapier 400 are the only designs I've found so far that think along these lines. And the good people at Multimarine have sent me concept drawings of a boat where everything is on one level, specifically designed for people in wheelchairs. In fact, one of their customers in a wheelchair solo sailed across the Atlantic! That's seriously cool!
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Old 16-03-2017, 03:27   #7
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Re: How do you use your boat?

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Sailing is inherently risky, particularly if you are undertaking long offshore passages. At some time you WILL experience serious weather conditions. It is vital that your vessel can withstand these challenges.

I sail a 40 foot monohull. I have lived aboard for over 17 years. During that time I have crossed oceans and also spend long periods in one place. Yes the living areas are compromised because I live on a sailing boat but that is the price I pay for a secure and safe enviroment when I am at sea.
My home has to be able to withstand days of storm conditions as well as provide me with a comfortable home at anchor/in a marina for long periods of time.

I found it impossible to complete your survey as i have no such thing as a typical 12 month period!
Hi AnnK,

Thanks for your input, and I totally agree. If you are living on a boat, even if the bulk of your time is at anchor, you are still on a boat, and that boat must be robust enough to take on an ocean (or many oceans).

I believe there is a line between comfort and practicality. I would never sacrifice the safety designs of an ocean crossing yacht for creature comforts. That would be daft.

What I'm trying to explore is where can one place that line. Do I design a boat more with comfort in mind, but keeping it ocean worthy. Or do I design an ocean master and sacrifice comfort?

We could drill this down even further. Should I sacrifice space and weight to have a large head, with a full shower and room to turn around, or do I just go with a wet room that is barely big enough for a toilet, or something in between? Or, as some have done, do you take it to the extreme and just use a bucket and shower on deck?

If I were racing across the ocean, and speed and weight were the critical factors, and once I reached my destination I was going to move into a hotel, then a bucket might be sufficient. Perhaps, I might even stretch to having an actual toilet.

But I wouldn't want to use that day in and day out, all year round. I'm 50 something, if sailing means squatting over a bucket and hoping for it to rain so I can have a shower, then sailing isn't for me.

But sailing doesn't have to mean that. There is a HUGE range of options between extreme comfort and extreme practicality.

I'm not dissing anyone who likes the practical, who takes the approach of "I'm a sailor, and a bucket is good enough." If that works for you, awesome. (not saying you use a bucket, just making a point.

My survey, and discussion here, isn't meant to get anyone's knickers in a twist. I'm just trying to get a general feel for how much time live aboards spend actually sailing their boat (at the helm, tacking, changing sail plans, etc.) and how much of the time do they spend with the boat either at anchor or on auto pilot.

Everyone says it's important to be able to feel the wind, to feel like you're sailing. We all cherish and love being at the helm, either when the wind is great or if the wind is bad and the boat needs 100% of our attention. But if you are only doing that one specific activity 5 - 10% of the time, how important is it in the big picture?

I don't know. I don't have the answer, and I'm not criticizing anyone's answer. Just asking the question.

MoxieGirl
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Old 16-03-2017, 04:58   #8
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Re: How do you use your boat?

We live on board, 365 days year. With the exception of 2014 when we did Panama-Galapagos-French Polynesia-New Zealand in one year we don't spend 36 days a year making passages.

Sure, we move the boat around when you get someplace that merits that. But passage making...not that much.

We don't really day sail for fun. Too much work to make everything tip proof.
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Old 16-03-2017, 06:27   #9
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Re: How do you use your boat?

I have the impression that "days anchored" are all days where you are not underway including at anchor, on a mooring or at a dock and "days sailing" are all days that include some time underway including under sail, motor-sailing or motoring.

Most all of us have changes in our status while living aboard that make the survey awkward. We spend thirty years living aboard while we were employed ashore and this limited our cruising days to weekends and vacation times, but we spent fifteen years aboard while cruising most of each year. We spent about twenty years with children and four aboard and twenty-five years with just two aboard.

We've left our boat at a dock for a month at a time and cruised on other boats. For eight of our liveaboard years we would leave our boat for ten weeks in the summers to spend time in a mountain cabin. Other times we would be aboard for ten weeks while anchoring out in different location without taking our boat to a dock.

We had times living aboard a boat that was too small for me to stand upright and times living aboard with unused spare cabins and extra space, but always in comfort with a home that sailed.

I would find it difficult to expect that you find reasonable information about the needs for your liveaboard home and your needs from a survey such as this. It might be best to survey your plans individualized to your expectations.
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Old 16-03-2017, 06:55   #10
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Re: How do you use your boat?

What is your budget?
That is what determines boat choice more than anything, just most will not admit that or accept it.
Unless you have nearly a 7 figure US budget, I think maybe you need to re-think a home that sails, and many want to be outside, weather in lots of the world is not conducive to sitting in a glass box unless you run a generator and AC 24/7, but that gets pretty quickly back to what's your budget, cause that gets expensive, fast.
Note budget does not mean personal wealth, many such as myself just will not put much of their personal wealth into a boat, depreciating asset and comes with a limited time that it will be used, we will go back to land one day, I just do not know if it will be in one year or twenty.
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Old 16-03-2017, 07:19   #11
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoxieGirl View Post
One push back I hear a lot about catamarans is that you don't feel like your sailing. The boat doesn't heel (sp?), and it's not quite the same as sailing. Which I think is a valid point....
No, you just don't feel like you're leaning. In fact, to the non-monohull sailor, that evaluation is silly on the face of it. You decide what sailing feels like, but I'm pretty sure if I put the hammer down you'll know we're sailing. There will be spray. The knot meter will be over 10. I don't understand what leaning has to do with it.

Part of it is that "leaning" is how many sailors judge pressure on the sails. My answer to that is that advanced multihull sailors have tuned other senses and gauge motion differently.

Just make sure that you buy a sailboat, not a poky ex-charter boat.
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Old 16-03-2017, 07:21   #12
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How do you use your boat?

Most Cruisers / Live-boards today want the most comfortable roomy boat they can afford.

Another-words they want the most efficient small island that can efficiently and safely be moved to other beautiful locations.

Sailboats are the only vehicle that allows a Cruiser / Live-boards to do this cheaply.

A Broadblue's Rapier 550 would fit the bill perfectly if you have that budget. Most do not, so they go with something a bit smaller.
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Old 16-03-2017, 07:25   #13
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Interesting philosophical question being posed, so can't help but jump in!

Rather than argue any particular position, I will simply share how we came to purchase our Hanse 400e.

First, we're a couple that has been married for 38+ years and like our alone time - that means that we don't need 2 heads nor do we need 2 additional cabins... one extra cabin for the occasional guest is more than enough.

We prefer to spend the bulk of our time at anchor/mooring ball - so we needed space for plenty/varied ground tackle.

We love to cook, so we actually removed the brand new oven that came with our new boat and replaced it with one we felt would better meet our needs.

No matter how you slice the question, this is our home, so we redid the upholstery to not only make it look good, but to make it easier to maintain in our wet/sandy/salty environment.

Our first boat had been a Catalina 30, which we loved, but we made sure our new boat had cabinets with doors to better protect/control our "things" (glasses, dishes, bottles, clothes, etc.) Yes, we do not use plastic - if a glass breaks, we replace it. Like everything else on our boat/home the cabinets serve a purpose, albeit different purposes, for each environment/role. When serving as our home, it brings a sense of order/neatness to our day to day lives (a place for everything and everything in its place). When we head out, it brings control/safety/tranquility to our sailing life. When it gets rough, things don't fly around the cabin and there is no noise coming up from below causing concern. BTW, yes part of our departure ritual is to pack kitchen towels in with our glassware and put away anything that moves! We've found, that for us, it's a small price to pay for piece of mind.

We added a wind generator and added additional battieries (see that space where the other cabin would have been sure came in handy ��) to increase our abilty to be self-sufficient... we'll also,be adding solar panels in the near future.

For what it's worth, the fact that our Hanse is Lloyd's "A" rated (Ocean) worked it's way into the equation... Yes, I know it's simply a rating; open to interpretation; a marketing ploy even! Nevertheless, it was a factor. We obviously knew it was not a "true" bluewater boat, but felt it was at least built to withstand a beating in the right hands. Yes, I'm a firm believer that a well maintained and equipped vessel under the command of an experienced crew is more important than any particular style/design.

This was probably the biggest compromise on home vs boat and might be the crux of your question. While we would be crossing oceans in our Hanse, it would be a very small portion of our time aboard and poor weather during those times would be an even smaller percentage. The narrow beam of a "true" bluewater boat was simply unacceptable as a home. So we chose to give up comfort during those few times for comfort under most sailing/anchoring conditions.

BTW, we have yet to cross an ocean, so only time will tell.

Anyway, the gist of all this rambling is that we made compromises on both fronts to ensure both our safety & comfort, because Rocinante is both our home and our means of exploration!
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Old 16-03-2017, 09:04   #14
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoxieGirl View Post
Hi Everyone,

I've heard that most live-aboards spend 80-90% of their time at anchor.
That's not my impression at all. I wonder what led you to believe that? Or maybe when you say "liveaboard" you really mean "cruiser"? Ie, someone who is actively cruising - sailing around to different places. Often coastal cruisers still own a home where they keep all their stuff, and they only do coastal cruising 2 weeks to 3 months of the year, returning to their home and job when done. Although we "live aboard" while doing that, and spend 80-90% time at anchor, I would not consider us "liveaboards" - simply cruisers.

If you spend 80% of a 3 month cruise at anchor, that is still only 20% of the year at anchor.

Liveaboards usually means people who live aboard their boat permanently, do not own another home (or don't live in it much), and, generally, pick their location to be near a job. In the PNW in my experience most liveaboards live in a marina - I've met hundreds of liveaboards of that nature, and only one who lives aboard 80-90% of the year at anchor or mooring (I'm assuming you intended to include moorings as approximately equivalent to "at anchor").

Perhaps this is different in warmer areas with accessible anchorages near cities (but how many places like that are there?). The reason I say near cities is because for every 1 liveaboard at a remote tropical island, there are thousands near cities - because that's where more jobs tend to be.
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Old 16-03-2017, 10:50   #15
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Re: How do you use your boat?

Evenstar,

The boat I do most of my sailing on is a Hallberg Rassy 36. They are beautiful boats, a pleasure to sail.

Hudson Force & Tessellate,

Apologies for my lack of precision with my wording.

Here's basically what I'm after, and possibly I made it more complex than it needed to be (damn overthinking).

Over a period of time (a year or whatever), how much of that is spent not sailing (anchor, marina, mooring, on the hard, etc.) and how much of it is spent sailing?

Of the time spent sailing, how much of that time are you at the helm vs the autopilot?

I should have just worded it that way and kept it simple.

As far as liveaboard vs cruiser is concerned, must admit, I hadn't actually thought about the difference very much. I suppose, once I get my boat and I'm living on it in England, and just sailing around the English waters with it, I'll be a Liveaboard. Then, about 4 years later, when I head South to blue waters, I'll turn into a cruiser.

Thinwater,

Well said, very well said.

I'm probably going to piss people off by saying this, and my experience is limited, so feel free to call me a clueless novice if it makes you feel better. I once spent a weekend camping with friends at a festival, and the only space we could get was on a hillside. There were probably a few more people than there should have been for the size of tent, so we were always shifting things around to sit down, and stepping around each other. When I sail on a monohull, I get flashbacks to that camping trip. A crowded, confined space at an angle.

I'm not saying that is bad or wrong, just not for me. And I'm cool with that for a few days, or a week or two. But I wouldn't want to live that way.

Also note, my sailing experience has mostly been on fairly narrow boats (around 12' beam). I do appreciate a beamier boat doesn't feel so cramped.

Cotemar,

Ah yes, money. Always comes down to money. If things go well with a project I'm working on this year, money won't be the limiting factor. If things don't go well, then it is a 36' Rassy (or similar) with duct tape holding the sails together.

But, I'm planning on things going well, and I'm working my hardest to make that a reality.

SVRocinate,

I like how you guys think.

One of my annoyances with catamarans is the 10 toilets, and 12 if it's a charter. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration. I can see the argument for 2, one in each hull, but not the 4 or 5 heads that some Cats have.

And how many bedrooms does a single girl need? I need one, a 2nd one for my best friend or long-term crew, and some bunks that can be pulled out when needed.

Another of my pet peeves with the galleys I've seen on most mono's is their size. I love cooking and baking, and want a proper kitchen (well, proper for a boat).

I'm a writer and computer geek. So one of the things my boat will need is a proper desk. Working off a laptop propped up on a couch won't cut it, not for the amount of time I spend at a computer. And yes, I hope to spend less time behind the screen than I am now, but it's still important for me.

But I digress.

Finding that balance between a home and a boat is my mission, and the purpose of this question.

Sailing is, as I'm learning, all about compromise and balance. Monohulls and Catamarans each have their pros and cons. It seems the only hard and fast rule in sailing is finding that balanced solution that works for you. Sometimes, when you're learning, you have to ask around to see what works for other people first.

MG
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