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Old 14-10-2007, 21:47   #1
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Newbie Looking to Sail/Live Aboard

Hi, So I'm looking for some guidance/advice. I recently had the itch to live aboard. I'm a software engineer, living in San Diego, and I'm a big surfer. I'm a younger guy, renting a cottage right by the cliffs. I make a good amount of money, just not to buy a 400,000 house right now Recently my friends are all buying houses out here and the thought of buying a very expensive house inland does not appeal to me. Someone mentioned living on a boat and it kinda click with me and now I really got the bug. I'm thinking instead of wasting a good amount of money in rent, why not live aboard. Sail to all the surf spots in Californa and Baja. Sounds like the life to wake up jump off my boat and be yards away from the break. So I'd like to know what my first steps are in this whole process. I'm totally willing to take classes (I'd like to take them to make sure I like the whole thing). My Dad has always said how much he loved sailing, so I think I'd rather be into that than a motorized boat. I wouldn't be doing a lot of traveling with the boat. Mostly trips up and down the coast to surf and maybe a big trip once a year. Maybe if I just blurt out some questions it would be easier. What kind of boat should I be looking for? Can you even sail a boat by yourself? What are the different types of sail boats and pros and cons to each type? Sorry for such a long post, but I got a lot of questions. I'd love to talk to someone in the area and chat them up on what it's like. Thanks for your replies in advance! Awesome, Troy
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Old 15-10-2007, 17:26   #2
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Troy - Not to be discouraging but there are more than a few people thinking like you.

The number one problem is to find a marina that will allow you to live aboard. Then find one that has a space.

I am going to go out on a limb and say that you probably have to be in the inner circle on something like this and any liveabord berth in San Diego is going to change hands by word of mouth.

There area lot of dynamics causing this, not the least of which is that communities generally don't understand liveaboards and so they don't like them and attribute all kinds of environmental disaster to them.

For this reason and others, liveaboards are a very low profile species and Marinas that allow it are also very low profile.

So like parking places in NY I'd find the berth first and worry about the boat later.
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Old 15-10-2007, 18:13   #3
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I'm a sailor in San Diego living on a boat; I also work in software (.Net). I'd be more than happy to give you the skinny on how to pull it off. My fiancee and I also have our blog loaded with a lot of stuff about our move onto the boat (four months ago?).

I'm on the boat right now, using my dsl connection, watching South Park on the flat screen. You can do it and have fun!
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Old 17-10-2007, 12:12   #4
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Originally Posted by SurfNSail View Post
. . . I'm a big surfer. ~ ~ ~ . . . Sounds like the life to wake up jump off my boat and be yards away from the break. ~ ~ ~ . . . I wouldn't be doing a lot of traveling with the boat. Mostly trips up and down the coast to surf and maybe a big trip once a year.
There's nothing wrong with your plan, Troy, except (as Dan has pointed out) finding a liveaboard slip or mooring anywhere close to where you want to live. If you live ashore somewhere close to your vessel, however, you can easily do what you're contemplating.

If you want some real inspiration, check out the story in today's 'Lectronic Latitude about a woman doing what you're dreaming of, but in the South Pacific. Go to:

Latitude 38 - The West's Premier Sailing & Marine Magazine

and scroll down to the piece entitled, "Swell Surf for Liz" to read about this Santa Barbara-based sailor/surfer aboard her Cal 40 Swell.

Now, she's awesome!

"Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakens."
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
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Old 17-10-2007, 19:46   #5
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Wow, thanks for all the responses. Ex-Calif, I'll definitely make sure I can get a slip before diving into getting a boat. Thanks! rebel heart, that's really cool. Sounds like you are the guy to talk to. Ah C#, wish I could do that all day. I work at High Moon Studios doing the new Jason Bourne video game, so we do mostly C++ and all that But yeah I'll totally check out your blog and talk with you more about the process. TaoJones, that was a cool link. Liz is doing exactly what I'm dreaming of. I continue to follow Lat 38. Thanks! Well thanks for all the great help. I have been collecting a lot of info. I'm going to take some formal courses as well, but I'm very excited about the whole thing! Wish me luck. Awesome, Troy
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Old 23-10-2007, 08:04   #6
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Surf -- Can’t help you with advice pertinent to the West Coast, but Dan is correct… you’ll probably have to dig a bit to find the marina that allows (or at least acquiesces in…) liveaboards… My current marina (I no longer live aboard, but did for some years in both Washington, DC and Baltimore back in the 80s/early-90s) says simply, “we don’t allow liveaboards, but you can stay as long as you like…” In other words, don’t put us in a predicament where the environmental police ask us…

As for the boat, your personal space requirements and the (possible) need for enough space to live in a 9-5, suit & tie environment can be at war with having a boat that lends itself nicely to impromptu daysailing or shorthanded/singlehanded weekend jaunts – always a bit of a compromise. I suggest erring on the side of sailability, as versus floating storage space – you can always rent a storage closet somewhere, etc., etc… With wireless communication (as compared to my day, when I needed to be online – 1200-baud, yikes…), it is easier to find a marina with the necessary basics… All of these issues are solvable, and I doubt any two folks solve `em the same way… Although it’s been awhile, I remember the liveaboard community as subdued, restrained, tight-knit and quietly pleasant – socially rather private, but always ready to lend a hand to another liveaboard day or night – we were our own “rescue squad” on more than one occasion…
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Old 13-11-2007, 18:42   #7
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I think you have a GREAT idea!

I learned to sail in Mission Bay enough years ago that I don't want to say when. BUT- as far as getting a slip.... Previous responses have already stated that many Marinas have become somewhat adverse to liveaboards. It's a bummer because as was stated, we are not a problem to anyone and certainly tend to look out for each other and our "community". I can't speak for San Diego but I can tell you that there are liveaboard slips in Ventura, Ca. Be aware that living aboard may not be as inexpensive as it would seem at first glance. We have a 60 ft slip and we pay about 1400.00 a month for it. It would be 1200 but they charge 100 per month per person as a "liveaboard fee". Now again, this is for a slip that would be more than what you would likely need so it's all relative. Some marinas (like ours) won't allow liveaboard on a boat under a certain length. Here I believe it's 35 feet. Visit or call some marinas and ask plenty of questions. If you purchase your boat through a broker, oftentimes the brokers have a "relationship" with some marinas that will help you get a slip as well. Don't let me dampen your spirit at all with any of this. That is certainly not my intention and I hope my post doesn't come off that way.. My wife and I sold our house and moved aboard 4 years ago and I have never looked back. For some, it is the lifestyle that just "fits". Being someone that loves the ocean and rides it with a surfboard, I would imagine that you would absolutely love to go to sleep and to wake up to the sound of the surf. (Infact, I'm hearing it crashing now in Ventura and it sounds pretty big!). Go after this one. It's a wonderful life!
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Old 13-11-2007, 19:55   #8
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No shortage of SD advise


I am a broker in SD. Finding a live aboard slip in SD depends on the marina. I know a couple that are pretty easy and others not so. Just sold a 44 boat to a couple they had a live aboard slip in 2 weeks.

Join a sailing team there are plenty of boats out looking for crew try this link San Diego Waterfront, the first place for news about the big bay - yacht clubs, sailing, boating, chartering, yachting, racing, scuba diving and surfing

Good luck it is a great dream.

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Old 02-01-2008, 16:52   #9
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I've actually fairly recently come into the same idea and just last night found a boat i was interested in. It's probably a little more important to me to have a slip ready and waiting because I hope to move from my home in Ohio and I want to avoid paying rent if at all possible. This morning I sat down with a long list of marinas in the San Diego Harbor and called them all. I found one yacht club that didn't have a problem with my boat being 33' but most marinas I spoke to had a minimum requirement most started at 35' and others went all the way up to 38'. Several places I spoke to had waiting lists up to 9 years long (!). I was hoping to end up at the oceanside marina but their waiting list is 5-8 years long and you have to have the slip before you can get the live aboard status. I hope you're doing well in your search.

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Old 05-04-2008, 19:54   #10
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We bought our boat in SD and were told "no slips, no availability, no liveaboards no way" ---- when we called. We walked into a few places and magically there were slips without a problem, but no liveaboards. We decided to put the boat in Chula Vista for awhile at the CYM CV there, just to have a place to moor it before we could leave ---- aside from the paperwork process, got a slip, no delay. Put the boat there, cleaned her up and left her spic and span while we went off and put the rest of our life in order, came back, asked, got liveaboard no sweat. They wanted to see:
nice boat, quiet people, dress nicely, pay bills promptly (put the payment on an autopay and they never have to wait), help others --- like let them know if you see something fishy around the marinas, or note a neighbor's boat whose bilge pump keeps running.............

Have found that getting liveaboard is just being clean, neat, presenting your boat well, being the best neighbor possible, and following ALL of their rules scrupulously -- never look like a sneakaboard and tell them you want to never have them think you are doing so.

Rambling. It is do-able, but buy a boat that is clean and pleasing to look at vs a junker fixer upper if you want to get into liveaboard sooner.

Check in with Leslie Steinkonig at Yachtfinders/Windseakers there in Shelter ISland. She has circumnavigated twice, has taught some of her boat buying customers to sail, is a licensed ASA instructor as well as USCG CPT, is honest and fun, and is also a broker. She will do right by you.
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Old 05-04-2008, 19:56   #11
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And our buying broker, Jack, also at Yachtfinders/Windseakers is an amazing craftsman and a straight shooter about getting into something appropriate. I'd also steer you at him for good advice, esp. if you have any mind to fix things up. He, by the way, is the guy who turned us onto the CHula Vista scene.
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Old 16-04-2008, 06:48   #12
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Thumbs up Greetings fellow Sailors from western Ky

Marty's my name sailing was my game I loved every race, new to crusing however being X navy and considered it an honor to serve my country, got out lived in va beach til 90 raced the bay and area 7 yrs aboard a morgan 36t which I understood it had been built for ocean racing however the Captian/owner was a great man I admired him much still do he had raced alll his life well he took a chance on me and I worked on maintaining the boat some along side him eventuallly working my way to regular race crew with a key to the boat I felt honored I started sailing in pensacola fla on a sunfish, the next time i sailed it was a morgan 36t and geeeeeee what a difference fall races to me were my favs since the wind usually blew hard, just wanted to greet the community with Gods riches blessings and fair weather and following seas from Paducah sincerly Marty
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Old 16-04-2008, 07:25   #13
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Hi Blezzed:

Nice post. You might want to do it over in the meets and greets section. Anyway welcome aboard. Lots of great people and lots of good info.
Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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