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Old 10-10-2020, 20:16   #1
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Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Hello Sailors,

Long time lurker, first time posting.

Backstory:
My wife and I have wanted a boat for as long as we’ve been together (we met at sea). We started sailing lessons years ago, but my wife sustained an injury (not while sailing) and our plans had to be put on hold. She has some physical restrictions now, but is stable. We are looking towards getting back on track with our dream.

We’re based in Melbourne Australia, and with the Covid-Lockdown are unable to take action till possibly the end of the year, so we’re using the time to gather some intel/research.

The Plan:
We want to make sailing our lifestyle; living aboard full time, and work towards Bluewater cruising full time as well. My wife will be learning with me, but we are realistic that I’ll be doing the majority of the heavy lifting.

We’ve been “window-shopping” for second hand monohulls, and think between 42-47ft is our sweet spot. Ideally a two cabin layout, single mast.
As an indication of the type of yachts we’re looking at, our current list includes a Lafette 44, a Beneteau 42CC, and a Catalina 470


Questions:
What are your thoughts on buying a boat straight up & learning while living aboard vs studying/completing the courses and attaining qualifications first (RYA competent crew to Yachtmaster, etc)
What are things to watch for when looking at boats, as we are real novices, don’t want to be duped into buying a lemon? FWIW - When we do eventually go inspect, I’d like to take a surveyor along. Any pointers will be great.


Any advice will be appreciated!

Apologies if this is a little vague, happy to elaborate.

Cheers
SaltedYeti
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Old 10-10-2020, 22:37   #2
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Bula from Fiji.
Hoping that you'll gain help and useful information from the forum and ultimately achieve your goal.

Also feel free to post your own thoughts, questions and ideas. The forum only works when people post, and 95% of members here seem reluctant.

My original goals started out somewhat similarly to yours. But I had children and appreciated it was going to be 15 years till they'd flown the coop (it's been nearly 20). So I bought a small 26 foot keel boat and learnt to sail. Did trips all over the New Zealand, sailed races at the local club, did maintenance of course, and learnt about boats. I also completed a variety of courses including ocean yachtmaster and commercial skipper. All of that took much time, effort and considerable money. But eventually bought a blue water boat that I am still learning about. Covid has obviously buggered Pacific cruising for the foreseeable future, but hoping we'll see an end to restrictions soon.

But if there was one thing that really helped me to make progress it was being an ACTIVE member of the local yacht club. You sail regularly even on crappy days you'd rather stay home watching the telly. You get to talk to old salts with a wide variety of knowledge and experience. You can hang out at the hard stand and look over most people's shoulder to see how they fix/replace/install such and such. And you can get to crew on a variety of boats; skippers are always looking for crew. Whether it be for Sunday's race or a 3 week trip to somewhere remote.

Also put your hand up to crew on long passages. Being hungry, wet and cold on an ocean passage in disgusting weather certainly builds character and focuses the mind.
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:13   #3
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Salter Yeti a bow thruster on a vessel that size will make life easier. I don't see why you can't dive into the deep end unless you start to panic at the first time a bit of excitement happens. Really the biggest issue is getting your wife comfortable docking the yacht while you handle the lines. I would pay a skipper to give you a week's lesson on your new yacht then start learning yourself. Just go out in gentle breezes and get your confidence up.
No need to let Covid slow you down. I have surveyed at least 3 yachts that people have purchased and not even stepped foot on until they are out of lock down. Crazy really as you need to get a feel for the yacht your buying.
Cheers
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Old 11-10-2020, 03:29   #4
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

before jumping in to the deep end, my suggestion is that you learn to crawl before you walk and then run.

you are proposing you start with a marathon !

start small...get a 30'er...join a club...do short trips...meet/talk to people...build your skills, knowledge and experience.

after 3 or 4 years you might be ready to start looking at a bigger boat & longer trips

you also need to realise that the live aboard / cruising lifestyle is not for everyone, and is often not what you think it will be. a bit more hands on knowledge before jumping in could avoid a costly mistake...and perhaps a terminally strained relationship

cheers,
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Old 11-10-2020, 05:23   #5
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

[QUOTE=SaltedYeti;3251625

Questions:
What are your thoughts on buying a boat straight up & learning while living aboard vs studying/completing the courses and attaining qualifications first (RYA competent crew to Yachtmaster, etc)
[/QUOTE]

The only thing is if it turns out you don't like sailing at all. But I don't have problem with it. But I would recommend instead that you take lessons first before you get a boat and then maybe look for a sailing club to join for a few months first.

People will say you need to start small and crawl, but I don't really agree. As example my wife and I took lessons on a 36' boat, joined a club for 3 months and sailed on 33; boats, there got our first boat 39'. Sailing isn't hard, but experience does come into play lots of times.

Good luck
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Old 11-10-2020, 06:48   #6
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Not to dig into your personal life but since you brought it up...what are your wife's medical issues? That could change some of the recommendations.

Big difference between she has a mild limp from a knee injury but otherwise is fit vs a head injury that requires you to constantly keep an eye on her. I assume it's somewhere between those extremes.
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Old 11-10-2020, 08:36   #7
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Amen to the yacht club idea.
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Old 11-10-2020, 08:40   #8
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Go and get your boat and, as already suggested, learn as you go. RYA etc qualifications are fine but Slocum never had any. And you cannot beat hands on experience. Go for it !!!!!
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Old 11-10-2020, 09:03   #9
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Before considering whether a bow truster is necessary, and before taking a surveyor along for the ride, do you own homework and looking. Not every boat will be acceptable for an offer, do the background work first. I call it a roller coaster ride, every possible boat is a likely candidate until you get aboard, then, heartbreak. It took us 2 years, and we knew what we were looking for. Brokers with videos are the norm now, so armchair looking saves a lot of groundwork. Good luck.
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Old 11-10-2020, 09:39   #10
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Hmmm , bow thrusters, why!! If you plan to go cruising I would expect you will be anchoring, no need for a bowthruster.
No need for a bowtheustwe if you learn how to dock a boat.

As for size get the biggest now and take the leap of faith and determination now, no point losing money, time, hassle , going up the ladder of yatch ownership unless you plan to sail in 15 years
Get a skipper on your new to you large boat and they will teach you more in a week that a sailing club will in a year
Then go out and learn, if you cannot learn then you should not do it , simple really
Sailing is no different to learning any other skill practice practice practice
Enjoy
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Old 11-10-2020, 10:31   #11
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltedYeti View Post
Hello Sailors,

Long time lurker, first time posting.

Backstory:
My wife and I have wanted a boat for as long as we’ve been together (we met at sea). We started sailing lessons years ago, but my wife sustained an injury (not while sailing) and our plans had to be put on hold. She has some physical restrictions now, but is stable. We are looking towards getting back on track with our dream.

We’re based in Melbourne Australia, and with the Covid-Lockdown are unable to take action till possibly the end of the year, so we’re using the time to gather some intel/research.

The Plan:
We want to make sailing our lifestyle; living aboard full time, and work towards Bluewater cruising full time as well. My wife will be learning with me, but we are realistic that I’ll be doing the majority of the heavy lifting.

We’ve been “window-shopping” for second hand monohulls, and think between 42-47ft is our sweet spot. Ideally a two cabin layout, single mast.
As an indication of the type of yachts we’re looking at, our current list includes a Lafette 44, a Beneteau 42CC, and a Catalina 470


Questions:
What are your thoughts on buying a boat straight up & learning while living aboard vs studying/completing the courses and attaining qualifications first (RYA competent crew to Yachtmaster, etc)
What are things to watch for when looking at boats, as we are real novices, don’t want to be duped into buying a lemon? FWIW - When we do eventually go inspect, I’d like to take a surveyor along. Any pointers will be great.


Any advice will be appreciated!

Apologies if this is a little vague, happy to elaborate.

Cheers
SaltedYeti
Start here Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection. The Lafettes are known for being more performance oriented than as a classic cruiser, not many were made and many of them started their life as drug runners in the Caribbean, they'll be a bit long in the tooth if you do happen to find one. For blue water, the Catalina 47 might be the better choice. I'd try for something under 20 years old if you can swing it. Hire a good captain to take you up to the Whitsundays and back and show you both the ropes (so to speak) Might beat the hell out of classes in terms of learning to sail your boat safely. Nothing against classes but you really need to know your boat before you go heading off to NZ or farther. BTW, the PI probably has much better deals on live aboard cruisers than you'll find in OZ. While you're twiddling you thumbs you may want o invest in some books like Jimmy Cornell's Cruising Routes or almost anything by Nigel Calder.
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Old 11-10-2020, 10:38   #12
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

Not knowing exactly what your wife's injuries are or how mobile on a boat she might be...or your financial situation, I would suggest you take it slow at first and gain the experience you need to make your decision. Join a local yacht club. Take the classes from 101 on up and buy a smaller boat to start with. The smaller and less expensive boats are easiest to learn on as well as trade up. Take some day trips that lead up to weekly trips on your smaller boat and it will tell you more about whether you are ready for full time live aboard. As you experience limited liveaboard time it will tell you what your full time needs will be and what type boat will ultimately be just right for you.
Cheers mate and welcome aboard!
Jim
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Old 11-10-2020, 14:20   #13
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

No idea what your wife's physical restrictions are now, Grant, but if it significantly involves lower extremities, back, balance, or upper extremities she might find a monohull in the size range you're considering a daunting challenge with the 6-7' descent/climb of the salon companionway ladder and the incessant heeling, as my wife with degenerative hip problems did - even after replacement of the worst one.

We had been monohull sailers for 25 years before retiring in '94, and cats were the perfect solution with only one step up into the salon, and 2-3 down into the hulls. We started with a Gemini 34, which was great for the E coast ICW and Bahamas (except for the table-shaking pounding on the Bahama banks do to low under-clearance) and not really spec'd for blue water cruising. Realizing we wanted to range more widely, we ended up with a Fountain-Pajot Antigua 37 in Seattle which carried us in great comfort and safety 20,000nm+ from the top of Vancouver Is. to the Bras d' Or lakes of Nova Scotia and back to FL.
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Old 11-10-2020, 14:47   #14
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

I jumped in at the deep end, moving aboard when I first bought my first boat, which was a 33 foot monohull. i had been told (incorrectly) that there would be lots of people just hanging around itching for a chance to go sailing. There are, but lots of times there aren't. I was singlehanding a few months after moving aboard. But, I disciplined myself to go sailing every week, year round, because, with or without instruction, time on the water (practice) is crucial. With the exception of a four year break, I have lived aboard ever since, and it was 38 years ago. I now sail a good size cat, but am about to downsize a bit, to a smaller cat (PDQ36). Good luck, and amen to either hiring a skipper or instructor, for a week, or joining a club, or, better yet, doing both. And, read.
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Old 11-10-2020, 15:09   #15
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Re: Live aboard dream, seeking advice.

RYA courses don't do any harm but they don't really set you up to live aboard a boat full time. I see three aspects to learning to run a boat.

1- navigation, chartwork, buoyage, rules of the road. You do need to know this stuff, but the RYA courses do labour over things like 'course to steer' which IMHO you don't really use in the real world, at least not in the way it's taught. Recognising buoys and the various navigation lights is a matter of rote learning from flashcards or smartphone apps. Not rocket science, although some people have a knack of explaining it well.

2- sailing, i.e. pulling bits of string and making the boat go in the right direction. People often think this is the hard bit, as turning wind into motive power seems like witchcraft. But it's incredibly simple and you'll get the first 95% of it within a day or so. The remaining 5% is what you need to know to win a race, so don't sweat over that. Handling under motor is mostly a case of practise, and getting to know your particular boat. Exercise caution, be prepared to back out and try a second time, no shame in putting out every one of your fenders and asking for someone to catch your lines.

3- running and maintaining the boat. This is the big one. Unless you have very deep pockets, you will have to be able to keep all of the vital systems on the boat operational by yourself. Learn how to bleed your engine and change the filters, belts, and impeller. Long term cruisers talk about having one day a week dedicated to boat maintenance. Avoid paying other people to do work on your boat, or if you really have to, work alongside them and use it as a learning experience. Get to know every single pipe, cable, and other fitting on the whole boat, and stay familiar with it all. Fix problems before they get out of hand. If you can do this, you will have total confidence in your boat, and that is worth more than any RYA course.
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