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Old 08-08-2018, 18:55   #1
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Travel health professional. I am interested in living aboard and beyond

Hello all,

I recently completed some sailing courses: ASA 101,103,104 which confirmed that I am definitely interested in all that sailing has to offer. I currently travel as a medical lab scientist doing 3 month contracts in different locations at short-staffed hospital laboratories. This gives me a lot of flexibility in how much, when and where I want to work. If I were to get a sailboat to live aboard, my options would be locations near the great lakes in summer, ICW, the gulf and maybe the Mississippi. I get a housing stipend from my company which would go toward my boat and slip fees etc, and hopefully I would be better off financially than getting a short-term apartment lease. I would like to get any input about how likely it is to be able to get 3 month slips, as well as the ballpark costs associated. (I know this varies greatly depending on season, location, loa etc. *ballpark* lets assume 35')

I would like to travel for fun via sailboat when I have the funds and free time, eventually moving up to water sailing">blue water sailing. I am wondering people's thoughts on if I should get a coastal cruiser initially and then buy the more expensive blue water sailboat later, or if it would be more cost effective to just go for the blue water boat right away and get it set up how I want for more extensive trips later.

As it stands I don't know all the things I want in a boat, other than I would like to be able to stand up while down below (6'3") which kind of seems like I need to be in the 35ft+ loa range. I learned on a 39ft o'day from the 80s and I really liked the privacy that 3 cabins offered, standing headroom and the cockpit size. I also sailed a Catalina 320 and down below was a bit small for my liking, doable but not quite what I want if living aboard. Correct me if i'm wrong, but neither of these would be considered true blue water, right?

Anyway, enough rambling for now. Curious to hear people's thoughts.
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Old 09-08-2018, 03:28   #2
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Re: Travel health professional. I am interested in living aboard and beyond

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, borshi.
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:10   #3
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There are saltier salts than I here to suggest the "right" boat, but it sounds like your stomping grounds resemble those of the Great Loop.

Getting from the Great Lakes, ICW, you may encounter bridges and a 35-40+ footer may not pass without a lot of work or expense. First thing I'd look at would be what boats fit the waters to be traveled, especially for mast height and draft.

IMO, never buy the biggest boat you can but get the smallest boat that fits your real needs. Being as tall as you are is rather a liability as to all standing headroom. You could do jumping jacks under a cockpit or deck tent, slide a hatch to stand and cook, shower sitting down.

Another "first" question is what is the budget? You buying with savings or are you financing? Lenders may restrict your taste in boats, which also leads to insurance! I would think insuring a 30+ footer for a green sailor could be a problem, or more costly, kinda like a 16 year old boy with a Vet or a Cobra. Not sure but all of my yachts have been bought with cash and insured under my homeowner's policy (LOL) meaning under 30ft.

Surf these forums, I'll bet most advice is get rid of stuff to live on a boat, don't go big for the sake of hauling stuff you'd keep in a house. Be a minimalist. Go with the KISS method starting out.

Again, if the real goal is to live cheap and have fun, then go small and sail more often.

Everything is a compromise, there is no perfect boat;

Welcome to the forum and all the best
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Old 11-08-2018, 23:07   #4
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Re: Travel health professional. I am interested in living aboard and beyond

My understanding for the icw and mississippi is that the mast would need to come down. I talked to someone that said people ship ($$) their mast to the end location sometimes rather than lashing it to the deck. My thought behind wanting to do icw/mississippi was that I may be able to find freshwater boats (here on the great lakes) that are in better shape than those that spent their life in saltwater. But I could definitely work on getting a contract on the coast somewhere and find a boat that is nearby, probably the cheapest and easiest solution.

Being tall, it is sort of second nature to duck under things anyway.. and when I'm down below I'd be sitting or sleeping mostly, so maybe I am overestimating the inconvenience of a smaller boat. My theory behind a slightly roomier cabin also would be that I'd be more likely to convince friends and family to visit haha.

Budget is still undecided. I could either finance or pay cash, but I would likely need to sell some of my stocks to make a cash payment happen and my returns have been better than an interest rate on a loan would be. SO my gut says loan would be the best option. I was thinking 30k is kind of where I would want to be (obviously less is better). I am relatively handy and would be willing to do some fixing up, but I want an overall safe/seaworthy boat.

I don't have a ton of stuff since I already travel, so not many issues there. (motorcycle, bike, suv.. )

But yeah, I guess the overall point is to try something new, get more sailing experience and see where it takes me. All while having my travel job keeping me good financially. I'm 26 and single so it's probably the best time to do it anyway.

Thanks for the reply, you got me thinking about some different angles.
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Old 12-08-2018, 10:54   #5
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Re: Travel health professional. I am interested in living aboard and beyond

Quote:
Originally Posted by borshi11 View Post
Hello all,

I recently completed some sailing courses: ASA 101,103,104 which confirmed that I am definitely interested in all that sailing has to offer. I currently travel as a medical lab scientist doing 3 month contracts in different locations at short-staffed hospital laboratories. This gives me a lot of flexibility in how much, when and where I want to work. If I were to get a sailboat to live aboard, my options would be locations near the great lakes in summer, ICW, the gulf and maybe the Mississippi. I get a housing stipend from my company which would go toward my boat and slip fees etc, and hopefully I would be better off financially than getting a short-term apartment lease. I would like to get any input about how likely it is to be able to get 3 month slips, as well as the ballpark costs associated. (I know this varies greatly depending on season, location, loa etc. *ballpark* lets assume 35')
It sounds like your job and lifestyle would be ideally suited to living aboard. Getting a slip for 3 months should be no issue. As far as costs, those would vary widely, anywhere from a few hundred dollars a month up to 800-1000 a month depending on where you are geographically, how close to a large city, and the amenities at the marina.

The biggest issue with the great lakes -> ICW transition is the need to unstep the mast on any sailboat trying to make that trip along the short routes.

Quote:
As it stands I don't know all the things I want in a boat, other than I would like to be able to stand up while down below (6'3") which kind of seems like I need to be in the 35ft+ loa range. I learned on a 39ft o'day from the 80s and I really liked the privacy that 3 cabins offered, standing headroom and the cockpit size. I also sailed a Catalina 320 and down below was a bit small for my liking, doable but not quite what I want if living aboard. Correct me if i'm wrong, but neither of these would be considered true blue water, right?
If you're going to be sailing it alone, I wouldn't look at anything over 35. The larger the boat, the deeper the draft, limiting the places you can go (particularly relevant in the Bahamas) and making it easier to run aground (in the ICW). Sails are larger, are more work to handle, and more expensive to replace. Slips are harder to find and more expensive. Look for a 33-35. Keep in mind that the things that you like best about a boat while living aboard in a slip will be the things you like least about a boat when you are out sailing it, particularly as the weather deteriorates.

Odays and Catalinas (and Hunters and Beneteaus) aren't generally considered to be bluewater cruisers due to the general lightness of their construction and hardware. Some things can be upgraded easily (standing rigging), others cannot (design decisions in putting together a hull deck joint or the hull itself).

Now that you've finished a few ASA courses, I'll recommend a book for you to read.

"Sailing a Serious Ocean" by John Kretschmer...short, sweet, to the point, it has all sorts of good advice from dealing with weather to buying a boat.

Good luck
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Old 15-08-2018, 10:57   #6
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Re: Travel health professional. I am interested in living aboard and beyond

Thanks for your input, I picked up a copy of sailing a serious ocean and will probably start reading it today if I get the chance. One boat that has caught my eye in the area is an island packet 31 with the center board. I am not sold on the idea of a center board, but it seems to have the things I want from the interior. Based on the reviews it sounds like it can have odd behaviors since it's so beamy etc. I know those boats are built well though, so maybe I'll go take a look at it.
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