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Old 04-05-2019, 21:30   #1
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Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

Has anybody here lived aboard a tiny sailboat before? I'm talking between 20-26 feet. If so, how was it and how did you dealt with the cramp space?

I know ideally you would want a larger boat (28 foot or greater), but I'm currently looking at getting one in Australia and it seems like there's not a lot of sailboats here like in the States. The whole idea right now is to use it to live on it here by Melbourne while I work and when I'm not working, taking it out sailing to build up experience. (I've skippered 420s, Lasers, and crewed on a 22 foot boat as well as a 65 foot.) My plan then would be to sell it in around five years and get a much larger one for water sailing">Blue Water sailing and go out into the Pacific and see where it takes me.

As much as I would love to get a larger boat (28 or 30 foot) to live on, there doesn't seem to be many here in Australia which are within my budget.
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Old 04-05-2019, 21:53   #2
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

Welcome aboard Andromeda! Well I lived on my 24 footer (Columbia 24 like the one in the photo attached, a very good choice if you can find one) off and on, and much of college when I was FAR younger. THAT helps. I had a lot of extra clothes and things stored in my car. I had VERY few possessions. I showered in the marina bathrooms that were very clean and convenient. My boat had NEARLY standing headroom, that helped A LOT. I almost never cooked on the boat, there was a college across the street with a culinary school so the cafeteria was very reasonable and food was usually delicious. My work did not require me to dress formally at all. So it can work, but to swing it so that you can still sail it, that's the trick. DON'T collect any extra stuff on the boat. I was able to take her out on some evenings after work in the summer, and weekends usually, but it could be a hassle. It helped that friends encouraged me to take them out sailing and helped me clean up afterward. Good luck in your search!
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Old 04-05-2019, 21:56   #3
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

A solar water heater for taking showers
Solar panel to keep battery charged

Be naked all the time so you rarely need to do laundry
Use onshore toilets (yes, you need to put on shorts before heading over)
Food would be a pain. Not a lot of room for storage, so you have to visit grocery store a lot and not keep anything perishable unless you intend to eat it right away.
Not an idea for everyone, but some would enjoy it. I think I would.
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Old 04-05-2019, 22:17   #4
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

I most likely would be on the docks here but I've got to check if the place would allow it here. I'm currently waiting to hear back about a job offer for me as a Dock Hand here at one of the marinas in Melbourne and if the job works out, I'll talk with them to see about the possibility of living at a slip in the Marina.

Thus that would make taking a shower easy as well as there will be onshore toilets. Also the docks will most likely have shore power but I would want to add a solar panel or two to keep battery charged and have power when I do an overnight sale. I could also build a small ice box and install one of those water cooled refrigeration things (I forgot what you called those things but they use sea water to cool the ice box)
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Old 04-05-2019, 22:22   #5
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

Never tried, but I did live out of a VW bus for a year around the Med. No fridge, no heating, no toilet, solar 2 gallon shower.... I loved it 😍 living in a tiny space is all about the mind shift to enjoy it, the cosiness, the minimalism... If you get that, you'll be fine.
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Old 04-05-2019, 22:29   #6
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

I was living out of my car for around three weeks here by Melbourne when I was job hunting/searching for a place to say. It wasn't too bad. A 22 foot sailboat would have a lot more space then a car which would be nice! The key with living in a small space is not having much and realized that you don't need much to get by.
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Old 05-05-2019, 01:01   #7
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

As far as I know, living aboard isn't allowed but there are those do it by keeping a low profile so no hanging the washing out. Some have had success by asking in person as the official line is it is not allowed. Whereabouts are you thinking and what's your budget for the boat and for the marina fees?
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Old 05-05-2019, 05:56   #8
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

In 1996 in response to my life crashing down around me, I moved aboard my 1969 Cornish Crabber. 24 ft on deck, flush deck (no standing head room), centerboard, gaff rig, tan bark sails, 12 hp Renault diesel. The boat was equipped with a marine head. I added a holding tank, a Kenyon two burner pressurized alcohol stove purchased used from a consignment shop, and a cooler that plugged into a 12 volt outlet. There was no water tank on the boat so I purchased a 15 gallon oak keg, made a cradle and mounted it on deck with a hose running through a ventilator to a wash basin down below. I sold or gave away most of my possessions and stored a few things in my parents basement. I left New England sometime in October and made my way down the ICW to North Carolina, arriving in a storm on New Years day 1997. A crew member accompanied me as far as Cape May. Free dockage was used when available but most nights and bad weather was spent on the hook. I lived on that boat for over a year then purchased a larger one. You can certainly live on a 24 footer. Take Webb Chiles who on a Moore 24 just completed his 6th circumnavigation. You can cook, keep yourself clean, carry enough supplies and sail anywhere a larger boat can. If you need hot water just put the kettle on the stove. Last week I left the marina in New England where I spent the winter on my 34 footer and will be living on the hook for at least the next 5 or 6 months, probably longer if I head South this year.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:13   #9
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

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Take Webb Chiles who on a Moore 24 just completed his 6th circumnavigation.

he doesn't live on his boat .. he sails his boat. otherwise on shore most of the time.
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Old 05-05-2019, 06:25   #10
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

I lived for weeks at a time in a 26-footer (Mirage 26). I spent perhaps a week living out of a 22-footer. Iíve also lived for months at a time out of a tent. I think Iíd be fine to do so as a single person. In fact, if I ever became single again Iíd downsize to a 28 to 32 footer.
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Old 05-05-2019, 07:04   #11
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

I guess I fall in the grey area between big and small. I've been living aboard a 27' boat for three years. I'd consider displacement over length. It's the difference between a 24 foot canoe and a 24 foot PSC Dana. Look for 8,000-10,000 pounds for the first occupant then add 5,000 for each extra person. Consider tankage as well, 40 gallons+ of water, keep everything simple. Small is good.

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Old 05-05-2019, 07:26   #12
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

There is a VLOG "Abandon Comfort" where the couple decided their Hallberg Rassy 35 was too big and just bought a Falmouth 22 as a liveaboard. Might be worth following.
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Old 05-05-2019, 08:37   #13
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andromeda1947 View Post
Has anybody here lived aboard a tiny sailboat before? I'm talking between 20-26 feet. If so, how was it and how did you dealt with the cramp space?
I haven't.

But I feel you can see all the problems the boat size represents and if it looks doable to you you should just do it.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:05   #14
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

Much depends on the make and displacement of boat versus length. I lived for couple of years on a Pacific Thunderbird 32' (just me) and for months at a time cruising (with wife) on a Dana 24'. If I had the choice of which to live on now between the two, the Dana would be the one without a doubt.
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Old 05-05-2019, 09:17   #15
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Re: Living Aboard a Tiny Sailboat

I would note that when I lived on my 32' boat I was a computer programmer and could show up to work in jeans and tee shirt. Later I got a job in sales and needed to wear slacks and tie, and often a suit, and be clean shaven every day. I found keeping clean unwrinkled dress clothing without boat smells, and showering every day to be a huge hassle living on a small boat and so then moved into a shared apartment to make life easier.
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