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Old 29-05-2017, 08:21   #1
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New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

Me and my fiancee both keep talking about how we want to travel the world. So I talked to her about my dream.. Which is to sail around the world, and living aboard the sailboat.

Now I know a lot of you probably do just that, but I'm 21 and I've never even set foot in a sailboat. Fishing boats in a lake, sure. But never in a open ocean. I was born in landlocked Kentucky so not much ocean there.

We're currently full time in our 1987 29' RV, and have been for a year so we can handle the close quarters. I even learned what the bow, aft, starboard, and port sides of a ship are!

So I'm confident we could do it, I'm just trying to get an idea of what to expect so my questions are as follows.

1) how much should I expect to spend on the boat itself? I've seen boats range from $1000 to $100,000. But also for a few for $300.
1a) if I bought a boat that's in the $1000 range what should I expect? I've done fiberglass work so hull repairs shouldn't be an issue. What about electronics? What would need updated?

2) what boat would you recommend? I could save up 60k to buy a newer boat, but I think an older 70s or 80s would do just fine, and I'd hopefully get on the water sooner!

3) what maintenance does a boat need? How much does it cost if I buy the materials and do it myself. I don't pay myself for labor :P and I'm use to diy stuff

4) what about not often replaced stuff that u may need to buy? Like sails and rigging? How much does this stuff cost? How often would it need replaced?

5) how much do you guys spend a month? Can you break it down for me? At the moment me and my fiancee are getting by with $200-$300 a month with no issues. Do you live off a savings? Or do you work while sailing? Where could I find jobs while sailing? I'm thinking charging tourist for a romantic night on deck would work well.

6) what's different from a boat compared to a RV? Should I expect a 'wet bath' like some smaller RVs have? How common are stand alone showers like my RV has? How is waste handled? Does the boat have black and gray tanks like RVs? What about appliances? My RV is propane stove and fridge, what can I expect in a boat?

7) what do you do for safety gear? Inflatable life boats? Life jackets? Railing around the entire boat? What about for SOS signals?

8) how much water do you guys use on average per month? I'm worried 100 gallons won't be enough for more than 2 months. What about diesel? Or cooking fuel? What type of cooking fuels are used on boats?

9) how much space would be enough for two adults and one child

10) what extra equipment do you bring? Diving gear? Telescope to see in the distance? Radio? A map of some sort in case electronics go down?

11) how long would it take to sail around the world going what speed?

Also I figured I'd list the 'wants' for whatever boat, if you guys can recommend one:

1) a large tank. I see the Morgan 44 has something like 200 gallons.

2) it would have to be long distance capable. I want something that can handle ocean, not just shallow water

3) length is kind of workable. My fiancee says she's okay with 20 feet. I want something larger, like 30-40 feet.

4) needs to be able to be crewed by myself. There will be two of us, but I'm not sure how much she would want to do.

5) a head/bathroom. Seen a boat where you lifted the bed to get to the toilet.

6) built in stove is a plus, I hear when you have a flying flaming appliance it can cause issues.

7) a dining area isn't needed, we would just like a living area

8) two beds is a huge plus.

9) speed isn't a big deal either. Slow is okay with me, not trying to win any races.

That's basically it I think. My son is a year and half now, and I want to be sailing by the time he is 5 ideally. I'm okay with buying a fixer upper boat as I'm use to doing work myself, and if it saves be some money thats a plus!

Also how are boats transported? I see some sail boats around 20' being transported by people with their SUV or pickup. Others by semi. Where's the cut off before transporting by semi? I plan to have the boat moved to my property in Nevada until I'm ready to sail so that's a factor. Transporting by semi still isn't a big deal though, my parents drive semi and I could hire them to move it.

This is a long term dream of mine I've had since I was young, so I want to make it work out. Any help or info you guys can give is nice, including any resources on actually learning to sail! I plan to take some sailing courses in the future though.

Thanks guys!
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Old 30-05-2017, 04:44   #2
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Re: New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Nuget.

1a. Everything
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"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 30-05-2017, 05:19   #3
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Re: New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Nuget.

1a. Everything
Thanks! And yea, I kind of figured as much if I got a cheap boat it'd cost more long term.
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Old 31-05-2017, 09:39   #4
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Re: New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

Two musts for women 1) head for shower 2) functional galley
Size: what's big enough for 2 to live comfortably and what's small enough for 2 to handle.
Good thing you are young...suggest you take lessons then join a sailing club to get experience on different sizes. Getting ready to circumnavigate takes years. Most buying fixer uppers never make it. There is no one size fits all. Cruising and happiness require team work.
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Old 31-05-2017, 09:55   #5
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Re: New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

I learned to sail about your age, loved it. Joined a club and spent weekends and vacations on boats up to 30 foot, loved it. 20 years later I bought a 36 and lived on it for a couple years, loved it. Am in the market for a 45 footer now to get in some last retirement living and sailing before health stops it.
Like they always say, keep the woman happy if you want a pleasant life. If she loves the boat, you're a lucky guy! Wishing you the best.
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Old 31-05-2017, 15:35   #6
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Re: New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

No, you're not crazy, but some of your questions might be premature. I imagine someone who wants to play hockey and wondering what type of hockey stick to buy before they know how to skate.

Nothing could prepare you better for a life aboard a sailboat than learning how to sail. Skills with a little 8 to 12 foot sailboat will give you most of what you need and these abilities will transfer to a bigger boat later.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 31-05-2017, 17:16   #7
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Re: New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

Thanks for the info guys. As for learning to sail on a smaller boat, that's probably a good idea.

I may look around at the marinas in the San Francisco bay area and maybe try to get in touch with some boat owners to see about looking at their boats. I've looked at floor plans and I get the idea but getting on one may the best idea.

She's all for the boat thing too, since she wants to see the world.
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Old 01-06-2017, 21:34   #8
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Re: New to boats, wanting to live aboard. Am I crazy?

Welcome to the chaos, Nuget!

I've spent the past year struggling over these questions. Then I took the A101 and A103 sailing courses, and that really helped A LOT. Don't wait. Sign yourselves up TODAY. You won't regret it. I know, it's not cheap, but it's worth it.

You'll want a good sized boat. I'm 6'1, and this 34' Hunter I'm looking at is just enough for me, maybe a buddy, a couple is fine. If you're going to spend time on it, the more space the better. In your case, I'd go with something 36' and over, but a bigger boat is more intimidating. The good news is, bigger boats are slower to maneuver... the bad news is, bigger boats are slower to maneuver. How you train, learn, will have a big effect on what you can handle. If you can practice with others before you make a purchase, you'll understand.

If you can find a decent boat that's from a year 87 or so, it'll be okay, but just keep in mind that what's old now may need to be replaced soon. Are the sails new? Do the electronics work? Is the wiring corroded and nasty? Is it just a bird's nest of clusterfreak? Is the rigging solid? Corroded? Is the running rigging pliable, not dry and stiff? Are the batteries new? Is the engine good, less than 1000 hours? 2000 hours? Are there oil stains under the engine? Motors are EXPENSIVE. Don't buy a boat that doesn't look cared for. Does it have upgrades? Does it have GPS Navigation? Depth finder? Standard USCG safety stuff? A freshly painted hull? The safety features you'll need? If you find a good boat, the survey will reveal the truth, so be certain to find a good surveyor that will provide a good report. Also, research, research, research.

If you're bringing a child on board, all of these things need to be thought about twice. A well documented boat (repairs, upgrades, replacements) is a better bet than a new boat with nothing. You can certainly buy a decent older boat that's awesome, just as you can buy a new boat that doesn't have what you really need. Keep reading forums, watch the videos. Don't fall for the 'it's easy' screed, but be sure that your own skills are what will save the day when the going gets tough.

I also plan on single-handing, but if your lady won't help you tie up the boat (the hardest part), well, you might not be a happy sailor.

Go shopping for boats. Lots of boats. See what they have. Smaller and larger boats. Find a broker who will help find a boat for your needs... temper your expectations. Be picky, and after a few boats, you'll have a better perspective of what you want along with what you need. Don't settle for what you 'might' want. Get what you need. Don't compromise... it's going to be your new home.

Again, go look at some sailboats. You'll answer your own questions about cooking, space, etc. Just don't expect any more Hollywood showers. A 200 gallon water tank is nice, but you should be only rinsing with fresh water, not taking a bath. Plan to stop to get water, unless you get a watermaker (cha-ching).

You'll be fine overall. If you're a DIY guy, the fixes aren't the problem, because all boats break. All the time. Nickel and dime stuff, sure, but it's a never ending process. Don't let that stop you.

Now, keep in mind... I'm only just buying my first boat. I knew nothing 3 years ago, but here I am, ready to set sail. Do I really know anything? Nope. But I sure know where you are, so I hope this helps.

Finally, don't be scared... but you should be wary. The sea is an unforgiving mistress, so being prudent is important. You'll see.

Keep collecting cool.
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