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Old 27-02-2019, 02:45   #46
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Only you know your ressources, preconditions and requirements, you'll find it out what works for you and what not.

One fact applies to all, water is destructive, especially salt water, there is constant movement and degrading. Maintenance and fixing things will be more frequent than on land.
Lagoon 400S2 refit for cruising: LiFeYPO4, solar and electric galley...
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Old 27-02-2019, 03:58   #47
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pirate Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Personally I would suggest something like this..
Unsinkable, transom hung rudder, bilge keels..
All good for economy, ease of maintainance and safety, plus they come from a good pedigree so will hold their price well..
Comfortable, fast and sail very well.
Some will say pointing into the wind is an issue but they point much better than a full keeler.
Re Brexit.. you may be restricted to 90days in 90 out but the boat is good for 18mths.. also IF Brexit happens I think it will now be soft so dont sweat it.. to many MP's not ready to surrender their all expenses soirees to the EU rather than heed the will of the people.
Buy now and play rather than waste time finding reasons not to.
A couple of seasons cruising the S Coast, Channel Islands and hops to France will set you up for further afield when the political climates settled.
Enjoy the future today..

Born To Be Wild.. Double Click on the picture.
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Old 04-03-2019, 07:39   #48
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Best advice I got while in your shoes, "buy some food and put it on the boat" Then go.
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Old 04-03-2019, 08:53   #49
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Buy a good boat that fits your budget.


Been out here 5 years - everyone loves kid boats. Kids do amazingly well!
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:32   #50
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Just dont stop thinking with that question. The big question that no one ever asks is, "What happens next?" I bought my BR 44 from a guy that quit his job and sailed with his family for 15 years. Came back with no job (and technology had passed him by) and a depreciated boat and not yet old enough for Medicare and a retirement check that would not make it for this inflated future. I hope you will not die onboard so think about how you will live after you get too old to man the will happen.....
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:38   #51
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Originally Posted by Puddleduck View Post
About 5 years ago my wife and I had an idea of travelling the world on a sailing boat without ever having stepped aboard a sailing boat (familiar theme right). Tried a few local sailing weekends, loved it. Took a couple of courses, loved it. Bareboat Chartered a couple of times in the med and really loved it. So decided to go whole hog and sell up and go boat shopping. Then life got in the way....wife and I fell pregnant so our plans were put on hold.

2 years of learning to be a parent and 5 years on after that initial spark and my 5 year plan alarm bell has started ringing! So itís time to pick up where we left.

Back to the original point.... Apart from a boat and being able to sail, what are the most important skills and traits to learn before we jump in? My time and money are limited so I guess Iím trying to prioritised what I need to do to move forward.

All help and advice is greatly appreciated!

Buy a solid boat bigger than 25 feet. Solid means a good power plant as well. This will be your house, so put your cash into this, not your land life.

Make the boat life work for your crew. Make it a team play or you will find yourself a very capable singlehander.

Network in your boating community and learn the area you live in. Where the good anchorages are and interesting trips. This will make you a proficient skipper on local terms. (consider buying boat tow insurance in case things go pear shape.

Then when the time is right, and you and your crew will know, leave the dock for extended periods (6 months - years).

No harm in buying what appears to be the right boat and then trading up or over based on features you think are important. You may get by for a couple of years then the right bluewater cruiser comes available.

Good luck!
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Old 04-03-2019, 09:45   #52
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

I have a little experience - cruising for 6 months with our 3-9 month old daughter. We bought and refitted a Bavaria 40 Ocean in the space of 3 months to head off across Biscay before October.

You do need a bit more space with a young family than then minimalist cruisers would advocate - being in the same space for long periods with nowhere to seek comfortable privacy will make some insane. Also with kids there's a fair bit of stuff you need storage for - strollers (ours took up a whole locker), toys, books, nappies, endless supply of wetwipes etc. The microwave came in very handy. Electrical power was a problem - it cost over £3,000 to fit ours with a big battery set/high power alternator/AC inverter.

We spend a small fortune - mainly on marina fees (up to €120 per night - eg. Alicante), but also meals/trips out, car hire, flights. We thought we'd spend more time at anchor but it's boring being onboard all the time when there are exciting places to explore, and getting all your stuff (inc. a stroller) in and out of a small dinghy every time you want to go ashore isn't much fun. In retrospect a boat that would be more stable at anchor (ie a multihull) with decent ground tackle and a reliable larger tender (therefore needing davits) would have allowed us to spend less on the marinas. Being able to dry out makes might some of the maintenance cheaper/easier. However if you plan on being in marinas often then a multihull will be more expensive as they often charge by length X beam (or just double the price).

Good luck trying to find a boat for long term use without buying it - I tried and got nowhere. I couldn't even find a company that would charter me a yacht for 6 months and allow us to sail long distance - their insurance won't cover it. Even if you could it will almost certainly not have some of the equipment you might want.

We still own a 40ft monohull in Devon which is chartered - I suppose it might be possible to arrange a long term charter at a discount but it would have to be outside of high season (ie between October - March) and would still be about £500 per week. You would need evidence of sufficient sailing skills/experience and I'd have to check if the insurers would allow it. PM me if interested.

Otherwise the best way to get started is to buy a boat, then triple what you think it will cost to get it ready! It's probably cheaper in the long run to buy one that's already been long distance cruising as it will probably have most of the gear that you might want (and will cost a lot to fit) - eg. decent domestic battery set, watermaker, AC generator/inverter, proper liferaft, solar panels, wind generators, davits etc.

My mind was certainly focussed on getting the boat ready once we'd purchased and were paying £200 a week for it to sit in the marina!
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:36   #53
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Aside from al the sailing / mechanical / problem skills, THE most important thing to learn in how to live in close spaces with your family for extended periods of time. Everyone has to learn how to move around each other, both physically and social/emotionally. Everyone has to learn how to live with periodic high-stress and boredom, how to communicate, how to not take things personally, when to back-off and give space, etc. This is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT!

This is accomplished by taking a series of tiny trips (e.g., weekend anchor-outs), then longer trips (1 week, then 2-weeks, etc.) so you build up to an actual life-style. Many fools think that can just shove off and everything will work out. It seldom does.
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Old 04-03-2019, 10:47   #54
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

I've got some ocean miles in as a racer, but was never a long distance cruiser. Most of my cruising has been on pocket cruisers in protected waters like the San Juans and Gulf Island. I would, however, recommend that anyone contemplating the cruising lifestyle read John Kretchmer's book "Sailing a Serious Ocean". Besides some great heavy weather advice, he also discusses boat design and makes recommendations for boats (some very affordable) and gearthat he likes in the ocean. This guy was a delivery skipper and, hence, sailed a lot of different boats across oceans. It'a a great read, imho....
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Old 04-03-2019, 11:37   #55
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

"Back to the original point.... Apart from a boat and being able to sail, what are the most important skills and traits to learn before we jump in? My time and money are limited so I guess Iím trying to prioritised what I need to do to move forward. "

Stay motivated.
Watch "Chasing Bubbles" it's fantastic chaos.
Watch SV Delos, Gone with the Wynns. Sailing Ruby Rose. It's pretty and gives newbie sailors the "If they can do it I can do it" feel. But the captain on Delos is an engineer and he puts out some very solid information on electric systems etc, the wynns do to, Nick on Ruby Rose is a Mechano-geek and does whole videos on "what tools I have and why".
There's plenty of Bikini clad videos out there, I wait until the blood alcohol level makes learning impossible before watching them.
59 North by Andy Schell is a great pod cast. He has interviews with cool people and he gives talks on all things sailing.
Sailing Emerald Steel, no fancy graphics, I can listen to them in the car. You'll pick up bits of useful wisdom. They are an amazing couple, their backstory is worth knowing just for a motivation bump.

Read Books: I very literally have at my bedside..
Dove. Great read. Amazing sailing.
Jimmy and Donna Cornell World Crusing Destinations, World Crusing Routes
Jean-Du-Sud and the Magick Byrd
The Pacific Crossing Guide by Kitty Von Hagen
Get Rid of Boat Odors Peggie Hall
One minute guide to Nautical Rules of the Road Charlie Wing
How to read a Nautical Chart Nigel Calder
Wilderness Medicine by Paul Auerbach (ok I have this because I am an ER doctor!
And a pile more.

Predict wind, download the free version and play with it. I look at this more than teen boys look at internet p... well lets say I look at it a lot. When I just have a few seconds of down time look at windy, try to "see' the weather and what it's doing. Just a familiarization with weather graphics is useful.
Navioncs free version
CPN Open you can get a plug in USB gps and play on your laptop.
CrusiersForum, yea those whacky guys and gals.

Exercise. Sailing looks like loafing around with a drink and a funny looking hat. It is not. Get in shape, stay in shape. I do 45 push ups in a row, 5 pull-ups, one minute plank, 100 jumping jacks and repeat 3 times. At 51 that is very very hard, but I must maintain my physical body as much as my mind. Do not neglect your body.
Learn to do without. Can you go without internet for a week? Your phone? AC?
Learn to cook something good. Nothing cheers them up like a really good meal. My go to is homemade Cinnamon rolls with cream cheese icing. I also learned to make bread from scratch, pasta too. It is easy.

Be honest with yourself and your spouse. Thank goodness I have the woman I do, she is married to a selfish ass but she seems to tolerate him well. We have a bid out currently on a 42 foot catamaran...waiting on French folks to say Oui or no. She's possibly more enthusiastic and anxious than I am, I get hourly texts "do we own a boat yet?!?".

Stay motivated and honest. Those are really the only two skills you need. Never hurts to have a great wife though!
"We can choose what we learn but have little or no control over what we forget, fill your head carefully" Dr. R
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Old 04-03-2019, 11:47   #56
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Try to make long-distance boat delivery. It will show what you can expect. Or try Velvet Adventure Sailing. They usually run "classes" deliveries between UK and Canaries.

Quite soon a lot of boats will migrate form Caribbean to Norther US, UK and Europe. The trip might take up to 2.5+ weeks or more, depends on a route. You may see beautiful Bermuda or Turks and Caicos or San Salvador. You will learn about customs, entering and leaving the ports, using radio, cooking in small galley, what food you need and what is optional. It will teach about round the clock watches and what to do when huge cargo ship going your direction at 2 am, and how to spot this ship in moonless night.

One week ocean passage will teach you more than all classes and books. And after it you will start reading how to fix small issues like odors, paint jobs, of best off-shore cooking recopies or pleasures of tropical beaches.

Basically try to sail distances, not just near shore short cruises, experience the weather, because you will see it a lot, even near the shore. Make sure you can stand constant waves, possibility of sea sickness (this is not if, but when). Get a lot of Stugeron. It is easy to get it in UK and Bermuda and not available here in US or Caribbean.

You can not spend your life in marina or anchorage. Eventually you would need to go distances, even for few hours. Passages will teach a lot about day and night sailing, winds, waves, ocean. Spring/summer passages are much easier than winter passages, when weather getting nasty in the Northern Atlantic ( up to 31 north). South of it is easier, but at winter you get Christmas winds up to 17-20 knots. Gulf-stream crossing, even in good weather is another story. Learn weather - this is must. All this is for the warm water cruising. High altitude cruising is different story and additional equipment and skills.

Spend your money on good equipment, such such a boom brake, autopilot, solar, modern electronics, AIS, life raft (always off-shore grade, unless you are always within 25 miles of coast), EPIRB. Do not spent money on satellite phone. inReach communicator or iridiumGO will do the trick.

Especially for woman it might be a bit too much few days of waves pounding, 25 knots winds, etc. So make sure you wife can stand it. Happy wife - happy life. Keep your admiral happy.

Also you would need the boat big enough to keep your space. I found out that 36 ft is bit too tight for family. 38+ will be much better, however it is personal preferences.

Make sure that your boat is stiff and dry, and bulkheads are tabbed to the hull (i.e. Hanse, Malo, X-boats) not just inserted and glued (i.e Beneteau).

Also try to learn scuba. It helps to clean up the bottom and replace zinks. Short haul out the boat here in US cost up to $400. Good practice is to replace zinks twice a year.

Most important - do not procrastinate. Tomorrow will be the best day of or lives and we will accomplish a lot, but when you wake up it always today.
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Old 04-03-2019, 12:52   #57
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Lots of good advice on here, I had/have a similar plan to go travelling on my boat. Many years into my five year plan I've still not set off and that is primarily because I thought it was a good idea to buy a fixer up and live on it whilst I did. Whatever you do don't buy a fixer up and try living on it. If you can buy a boat ready to go then thatís best, if you need to buy a fixer up don't live on it otherwise it will take four times as long to get it ready and you will go through some pretty miserable times.
I've seen may relationships pulled apart by living in a confined space for extended periods of time and thatís often because couples donít talk things through, learn to have healthy disagreements and learn how to lose a debate without taking it to heart.
Learn the basics of boat maintenance, definitely do a diesel engine maintenance course. learn how to solder wires if you not know already. Learn how to use a multi-meter. If it's going to be you your wife and kid(s) you may need to think about home schooling, there are some really good resources out there any kids on boats are often far ahead of their main stream school peers both intellectually and socially. And finally the bst bit of advice I can give you is to remember that YouTube videos are heavily edited. They cut out the boring bits (no one wants to watch three weeks sat at anchor waiting for a weather window), they cut out the unsavoury bits (no one wants to think about taking a dump in a bucket because the head has broken and the spare part wont be available for a week) They cut out the personal bits (very few people want to publish their squabbles, hissy fits and the rest.
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Old 04-03-2019, 19:07   #58
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

I don't think I saw this question come up, but I agree with "Blue Heron" relationships are the bedrock. I didn't hear mention of the spouse in the thread... most of all it has to be a team approach/decision.
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Old 04-03-2019, 19:24   #59
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

Lots of good info and advice so far. A couple of other thoughts:

1) Realize that it takes a while to 'get into the groove' of being a live aboard. The first year is so overwhelming with new information, new skills and new experiences that you will feel off-center and unbalanced much of the time. Accept this and realize it will get better as you accumulate experiences.

2) We agree with you with regards to your strategy on buying the boat: namely that you wait until you are ready to go and then buy the boat you want/can afford and then go. To us, buying a 'practice boat' was simply a drain on the finances. This may change if your departure timeline is far off in the future, though.

3) Just like a 'total immersion' language course, you'll learn fastest when you have to. The amount of new skills you'll acquire once you live on the boat will surpass any land based courses you can take. That being said, courses related to an overview of Diesel engines and 12v wiring will help you address the specific issues you are sure to face. And as someone mentioned, getting certified in Scuba is both fun and useful (bottom scrubbing and the occasional anchor retrieval).

4) Plan on lots of work needing to be done the first year and cruise areas that have easy access to repair parts and services before heading out to the more remote areas.

5) Now is a good time to go with your child. As they get older, you'll have to start adding homeschooling in to the mix, but there will be a few years before you have to worry about that!

These are just a few thoughts from a family that's now in our 6th year of cruising (left E coast of the USA, currently in Malaysia) with 2 kids, now ages 11 and 12. Link to the blog (certainly not rose-colored) in the signature line...
Boats, kids, and all that jazz.
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Old 04-03-2019, 20:49   #60
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Re: What does it take to become a liveaboard cruiser?

One more take amongst an ocean of good replies:

The overridingly important aspect is having shared buy in and keeping your family happy. Make sure it's everyone's dream and keep it fun (even tho it won't always always be fun). Share in the cooking and cleaning onboard. Share the responsibilities of safe passage planning and navigating. No one wants to be just a galley wench! During the gear up phase, maybe you and your wife could divvy up and specialize in certain aspects of the life that are of particular interest.

Keeping everyone happy and sharing the buy in is the secret sauce. It will free up your timetable to learn and go at your own pace. And if you can manage both of those, it'll be hard to ever go off the rails. It might take you a couple years before you're ready to throw off the dock lines, or it may take a couple months.

Know enough about what your family wants in the boat to know what you are buying is going to work. It seems like you might already have a good idea, but that's hard to prognosticate over the internet. Enjoy the boat buying process. Maybe fall in and out of love with a few boats before buying. Then buy one that you feel good about putting your sweat, money and time into. After that, forget about the "an extra foot here or there would be great for..". There is no perfect boat, they're all compromises, and there will always be times when a little more or a little less boat will be appealing. Some families do it on 25ft monos and some wouldn't on less than 50ft cats. No objectively wrong answers.

That's my take. No absolutes, only what works for you. Just make sure you have a good enough idea of that where you don't end up in something unfit for your purpose. The rest is up to you, and is entirely doable and worthwhile.

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