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Old 14-09-2017, 18:45   #1
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Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Hi guys, first time posting here so I hope this is in the right sub.

So, background: I'm currently in college, going to graduate in 2019, and I want to live on a sailboat. I'm thinking of spending 3 seasons (spring/summer/fall) sailing the Americas. Since I'd rather anchor than stay in a marina and am a typical broke college kid, I wanna go small with my boat. Like, really small. Currently I'm considering a West Wight Potter 15 (15' LOA).

I've lived in a 2-door jeep before for about 3 months, so I'm confident I'll have no problem with the lack of living space. Here's where the problems start: I have absolutely zero knowledge of how to live on a sailboat (besides stuff I can gleam off of the big youtubers). I know how to sail a dinghy (like a Sunfish or RS Quba), and I know how to live in a small space, but that's it.

From what I can gather, the main categories of gear needed are:
-Boat accessories
-sleeping stuff
-cooking stuff
-bathroom stuff
-laundry stuff
-food/water
-dinghy and accessories
-emergency gear
-recreation gear
-electrical stuff (solar panels/batteries/etc)
-sailing stuff (anchor/line/sails)
-clothes/shoes
-tools

Within those categories, is everything that might possibly be needed covered? If not, I'd love input on what I'm missing.

Assuming I covered all the categories, my gear list (currently) is as follows:

West Wight Potter 15
-5hp outboard
-canopy

sleeping
-summer/winter sleeping bag
-sleeping pad
-pillow

cooking
-single burner electric hot plate
-pot
-pan
-aeropress
-cutting board
-measuring cup/spoons
-thermometer
-plate
-bowl
-2 sets utensils
-spatula
-whisk
-knife set
-aluminum foil

bathroom
-compost toilet
-toiletries and products

washing
-bucket with detergent

food/water
-12 volt refrigerator
-electric freshwater sink
-15 gallon water jug
-watermaker

dinghy
-inflatable dinghy
-2hp outboard

emergency
-full med kit
-locator beacon
-multiple radios/gps
-PFD

recreation
-snorkel gear
-fishing gear
-hiking gear

electrical
-solar panels
-battery bank for appliances
-WiFi hotspot
-Tablet with navigation
-fan
-led lights
-laptop

sailing stuff
-storm sails
-sail covers
-backup sails
-patch kit
-anchor
-backup anchor
-backup rope
-charts
-compass

clothes
-a week's worth of normal clothes
-lots of swimsuits
-cold weather gear
-rain gear
-hiking boots
-running shoes
-water shoes
-boat shoes

Tools
-small toolbox
-all tools possibly needed for boat repairs

Workspace
-foldout table/companionway door

Other
-electric skateboard
-logbooks
-electric ukulele with amp
-backups of essential stuff (compass, charts, etc)
-small library



Please let me know if there's anything I either included but don't need or need and forget to include.


Obviously, I'd need lots of stowage to keep all that stuff (plus other things I probably forgot) aboard. Unforunately, I can't for the life of me find any diagrams or plans of the WWP15 that shows whether there's any stowage or not. The most I can make out is that there's a small locker under one of the cushions that's used for extra line and sails and stuff.

To store all my gear and food, I thought of cutting out the fiberglass that the cushions sit on and making that area into small storage areas. I would do the same with the bench seats in the cockpit (I would make them into hinged chest style storage compartments). My issue with this is that I'm pretty sure that all the space I'm planning to cut out and turn into stowage is used for positive flotation foam...

So I pose the question: Is it possible (and safe) to cut out all the foam and still have the boat sail well (and without fear of sinking)?


Thank you for reading all the way through and not just laughing at the prepostouros idea

If you have any answers, suggestions, critiques, ideas, etc, I'd absolutely love to hear them. Any other general sailing/living advice would also be greatly appreciated!

Have a good day,
Ivan Tiniakov
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Old 14-09-2017, 18:48   #2
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan Tiniakov View Post
Hi guys, first time posting here so I hope this is in the right sub.


If you have any answers, suggestions, critiques, ideas, etc, I'd absolutely love to hear them. Any other general sailing/living advice would also be greatly appreciated!

Have a good day,
Ivan Tiniakov
Are you about 4 feet high? I have a 19 WWP, and I get tired of stooping and crawling and would love to switch to a Macgregor 26x so that my stooping and lack of a marine head would not continually blow me away. If I could find one where I live, I'd get it. Shipping sight unseen from 900 miles away doesn't appeal.
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:20   #3
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Cooking with electricity is difficult away from the dock for large boats, alcohol would be a better bet......
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:26   #4
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Welcome aboard CF Ivan, interesting first post!

First, yes it is possible.

However whether you can do it remains to be seen. 15' is very small, both space and headroom will be challenging. You will have to delete many of the "essentials" on your list.

Given you want to anchor, think how you would live in your previous jeep if it did not have doors and you had no access to ground it was parked on for days at a time.

Possible, yes, doable probably no. 20-25 foot becomes much more "doable".
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:28   #5
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Sailing author Bruce Bingham lived on a 20' Flica for quite some time, & I'm sure folks have done it on smaller boats. But it is nice to have a little bit of living space, especially if you have, say, a date

And somewhere to keep one or two nice outfits, even if but neatly packed as if you're going traveling comes in handy. You also probably will want some but netting. Enough for all of your hatches, & probably to enclose the boom tent. Since the cockpit is one of your primary living spaces.

Otherwise, if you've ever been backpacking, then you have an idea of what it's like to live in a small space, with very little. Like when you & a buddy are stuck in a tent for 3 days while it pours.
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:36   #6
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Quote:
Are you about 4 feet high? I have a 19 WWP, and I get tired of stooping and crawling and would love to switch to a Macgregor 26x so that my stooping and lack of a marine head would not continually blow me away.
I know that it seems crazy to some people, but I honestly believe that I would be able to live with 4 feet of headroom. I lived in a jeep with about as much room for an extended period, and honestly, I never really thought about it much. If I wanted to stretch my legs, just go outside. With a boat, if I wanna stretch my legs, just go out to the cockpit. After all, someone spent 80 days in WWP15 without ever getting off of it (the '70s trip to Hawaii from California), and they seemed to regard the experience as overall positive.

Even if I might end up disliking it, if I can find a Potter for under 3 grand, I'll be willing to buy it and try living in it for a week or two, just to see. If I don't like it, I can just sell it without too much of a loss

Thank you and have a good day,
Ivan Tiniakov
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:50   #7
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Ivan welcome aboard .
Secondly where are you located?
I lived on my islander 24 for a year on the hook. Yes it w poo uld be possi le on a wp15 but I would actually not want less than I have/had in the islander.
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:51   #8
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Bad idea.
Use the $3k to find a slightly bigger boat, at least 20'
At that price level none of them will be blue water boats or beauty queens, just a floating bed so you might as well keep looking for something bigger.
No extra points for living out the most hare brained idea.
Yes, I have been young too and I know it is possible, in some tortured way, just not practical.
Search eBay, barns or boat yards, sooner or later you will find bigger boat for the same money. Even a free boat, clean it up and move aboard.
(Somebody gave me a free 50' fiberglass sailboat once, if I moved it within 2 weeks. I cleaned it up and sold it on eBay)
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:54   #9
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Quote:
Cooking with electricity is difficult away from the dock for large boats, alcohol would be a better bet......
One of my biggest goals for this plan is to be as cheap as possible. I would be ok with a large upfront investment (for good gear, etc) but I'd wanna keep on-the-road expenses to a minimum. A gas stove would require me to buy more gas, which might not be available sometimes...

Also, in regards to electricity, I was planning to install a very large battery bank. I build electric bikes as a hobby, and have plenty of experience with DIY lithium ion packs (usually using 18650's). From what I've seen, most sailboats have under 200AH of batteries, which runs all their stuff just fine. I might fathom a 200-300Ah pack running at 12 volts, with an inverter to power the electric stove. I'm not sure exactly how large, heavy, and expensive it would be, but I believe it can be done (for a high, high cost). The only problem would be recharging...

Of course, solar is easy, but there's not lots of deck space on a WWP15. I was thinking about a high output solar panel, 100W max, and a small wind vane to get an extra 100+ watts. Even though I understand that neither would work all day everyday, I think as long as I keep my stove usage to a minimum, I should last...and maybe even with a much smaller battery size (100Ah @ 12V, ideally).

Quote:
However whether you can do it remains to be seen. 15' is very small, both space and headroom will be challenging. You will have to delete many of the "essentials" on your list.

Given you want to anchor, think how you would live in your previous jeep if it did not have doors and you had no access to ground it was parked on for days at a time.
First off, thank you for entertaining my idea

I like your analogy with the jeep...I think it'll just be a matter of keeping myself busy (which, if the youtube videos are anything to off by, keeping myself busy with maintenance and repairs won't be a problem).

You mentioned I'd likely need to cut many things off my list...what items were you thinking? Would my gear list be more similar to an extended backpacking trip's gear?

Quote:
And somewhere to keep one or two nice outfits, even if but neatly packed as if you're going traveling comes in handy. You also probably will want some but netting. Enough for all of your hatches, & probably to enclose the boom tent. Since the cockpit is one of your primary living spaces.

Otherwise, if you've ever been backpacking, then you have an idea of what it's like to live in a small space, with very little. Like when you & a buddy are stuck in a tent for 3 days while it pours.
I'm planning on investing in smell free/maintenance free clothes that lots of live-out-of-a-backpack travelors prefer (such as Patagonia wool shirts, etc)...so no suits xD

You mention nets, but that's not a term I'm familiar with...do you mean nets such as the net between the hulls of a catamaran? I apologize for the ignorance.

As with the backpacking analogy, again, I think the hardest part will be keeping myself entertained


Thank You and Have a Good Day,
Ivan Tiniakov
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:57   #10
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Arrow Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

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Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
Bad idea.
Use the $3k to find a slightly bigger boat, at least 20'
At that price level none of them will be blue water boats or beauty queens, just a floating bed so you might as well keep looking.)
I paid 2k for my columbia 29 defender that I now live on.
The deals are out there
(When im totally off my 24 it will be up for sale somewhere around a grand.)
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Old 14-09-2017, 19:59   #11
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Quote:
Secondly where are you located?
I'm in Illinois currently, but planning on buying something near Maryland/East Coast, for I can take a cheap flight out there and take a look at the physical boat before I buy it.

Quote:
At that price level none of them will be blue water boats or beauty queens, just a floating bed so you might as well keep looking for something bigger.
It is a hair brained idea, but my purpose of the boat would basically be a floating bed/gear storage while I stop frequently at small islands, coastal towns, etc. I'd prefer to make my way down to the Caribbean, and maybe back up again or across Panama to the West Coast...I like to think of my plan as glorified backpacking

Thank You and Have a Nice Day
Ivan Tiniakov
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Old 14-09-2017, 20:11   #12
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Quote:
. From what I've seen, most sailboats have under 200AH of batteries, which runs all their stuff just fine. I might fathom a 200-300Ah pack running at 12 volts, with an inverter to power the electric stove. I'm not sure exactly how large, heavy, and expensive it would be, but I believe it can be done (for a high, high cost). The only problem would be recharging...
Most sailboats probably have double the 200Ah you are quoting. (I had 450 on a 33')
Forget big batteries, electric stove and big solar panels on a WWP 15, no room and the gear will cost more than the boat.
The problem is always recharging, electric stove is a very bad idea. Get a butane single burner and a dozen bottles on eBay, should run you $65 or so.
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Old 14-09-2017, 20:12   #13
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Have you read "Shrimpy"by Shane Acton? He sailed around the world in a 18' bilge Keeler.
What about when you get "company"? I once surveyed a folkboat that had a lowered V-berth. The owner was sick of his backside hitting the deck when he had "company". LOL. Some of my best sailing memories are the wife and I sailing around the Great Lakes when we were 21. So I would not be surprised if you find a mate along the way.
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Old 14-09-2017, 20:31   #14
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivan Tiniakov View Post
.......

Assuming I covered all the categories, my gear list (currently) is as follows:

West Wight Potter 15
-5hp outboard
-canopy

sleeping
-summer/winter sleeping bag
-sleeping pad
-pillow

cooking
-single burner gas
-pot
-pan
-aeropress
-cutting board
-plate
-bowl
-1 set utensils
-spatula
-whisk
-knife set
-aluminum foil

bathroom
-compost toilet
-toiletries and products

washing
-bucket with detergent

food/water
- freshwater sink
-15 gallon water jug


dinghy
-inflatable dinghy
-2hp outboard (maybe???)

emergency
-small med kit
-locator beacon
-handheld VHF
-handheld GPS
-PFD

recreation
-snorkel gear
-fishing gear


electrical
-solar panels
-battery
-WiFi hotspot
-Tablet with navigation
-fan
-led lights
-laptop

sailing stuff
-sail covers
-patch kit
-anchor
-backup anchor
-backup rope
-charts
-compass

clothes
-2 sets of normal clothes
-one swimsuits
-cold weather gear


Tools
-small toolbox
-all tools possibly needed for boat repairs

Workspace
-foldout table/companionway door

Other
-electric skateboard
-logbooks
-ukulele
-



Please let me know if there's anything I either included but don't need or need and forget to include.


............ My issue with this is that I'm pretty sure that all the space I'm planning to cut out and turn into stowage is used for positive flotation foam...

So I pose the question: Is it possible (and safe) to cut out all the foam and still have the boat sail well (and without fear of sinking)?
..........
Stowage space is a big issue (on any size boat). On 15' it becomes critical and you have to dump stuff that would normally be considered essential.

I modified your list to what I consider is important and that you might have room for.

Yes, you can remove the foam, the boat will still sail. Is it safe, no not really. Can you live with less safety - mostly yes but it is the risk you have to decide.

Shane Acton circumnavigated in 18' boat. See Shrimpy: a 18 foot Robert Tucker designed boat that sailed around the world

I meet a Russian guy In Australia who in the 90's who had sailed from Russia, though the med, across the Atlantic and the Pacific in 18' trailer boat.
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Old 14-09-2017, 21:42   #15
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Re: Liveaboard in a West Wight Potter 15

The reason to own a boat that size is if you need to tow it home and park in a standard garage. Besides the "look how cool I am because I live in an ultra small space", what compelling reason could you have for a boat this size?

1) Anchoring is free regardless of length (usually).
2) Self sufficiency will be low since you can't bring spare parts, tools, extra food or water along with you. Heck, even a 4 pack of toilet paper requires too much spare space.
3) The price is higher for these than a larger boat
4) Even something in the mid 20 foot length will be freaky small to your friends and still allow you show off how "different" you are

Ugh, kids these days

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