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Old 10-05-2020, 23:30   #1
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AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Hello! And thank you in advance for any advice you have.

I have 17-years in service (Air Force...I'm prepared for any and all jokes from Army folks) and will be retired in three. I have multiple side-jobs that rotate around researching, freelance investigation, and writing. I'm single, prefer to stay that way, and have an incredibly active lifestyle. After I retire, I plan on travelling and adventuring until something eventually kills me.

Here's my honest question: should I liveaboard?

On the very shiny surface, it seeks like a no-brainer, even with little experience. Especially since I plan on buying something for cheap(ish) and learning how to fix it up, so that I'm in a good position for a more blue-water worthy boat come retirement.

Money isn't going to be a huge issue. But I am almost certain that I am drastically underestimating the workload. And with my lifestyle, I truly don't know how much of my life will be dominated by making my floating house stay floating (or at least keeping my toilet flushing properly). I also don't fully grasp the logistical practicality of "just sailing to Europe/Asia one day." Forgetting passports and laws, I'm assuming that I can't just "park my floating basecamp wherever, hike for a few weeks, then sail to the next place."

I could just join the Merchant Marines. But you know how it is, when you get the thought of sailing the world stuck in your imagination...and five years later, the thought is still there. So...who wants to smack some wisdom into me?

Thank you, and the first round is on me - Fox
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Old 10-05-2020, 23:38   #2
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Welcome.

Fill out your profile, indicate where you are for location, doesn't need to be real precise, and for boat indicate you are looking.

These 2 bits of info display under your name on each post and save answering the question repeatedly.
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Old 10-05-2020, 23:40   #3
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Doing so now!
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Old 11-05-2020, 04:33   #4
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox Wilde View Post
I have 17-years in service (Air Force...I'm prepared for any and all jokes from Army folks) and will be retired in three.

Here's my honest question: should I liveaboard?

Welcome, thanks for your service (from another zoomie), and it depends.

Maybe start by asking yourself if you could like in a shoebox. Shoebox can vary in size, but think of it as approximately half the size of temp quarters if you were to go TDY someplace. Or perhaps half the size of a CONEX if you're deployed in those.

Maintenance, service, repair time depends too... but if you buy a decent boat, fix everything you can find that needs fixing right away, subsequent work eventually devolved to "one chore daily." That one chore may be as simple as refilling the beer fridge... or it could mean replacing a water pump... or since you mention it, making something flush again. Still, at a one-a-day rate, it wouldn't necessarily beat you up.

Some climates are more friendly than others. And you can move around from climate to climate...

-Chris
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Old 11-05-2020, 05:34   #5
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Welcome! What kind of AF experience?

Pilots seem to be over-represented among the ranks of cruisers, and boaters in general. The whole idea of navigating in two dimensions seems easy compared to three.

I should point out that rigorous planning, and a reasonable expectation of reaching your expected destination on time are concepts that some pilots have a hard time giving up. You are not in control on a boat; the winds and seas are.

On the other hand, a boat is similar to a plane in one way; there are lots of different systems all intertwined, they all have to work or bad things happen, and you need to understand how they all work. And how they fail.

People with a technical or mechanical background, who aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, tend to do well with boats.
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Old 11-05-2020, 05:39   #6
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Welcome to the forums!
The title of your thread and content of your first post are curious. Not yet retired. ROAD (Retired On Active Duty) program? I kid.
It's definitely a good idea to start making plans early. I retired myself 2 years ago after 26 years in the Navy and Army. There are a lot of resources and opportunities available to veterans for education and mentorship. Make sure you ask when you go to your transition assistance meetings. If you're flexible with locations and still have your GI Bill benefits available, you can find schools to gain experience and certifications in the USA and abroad.
I can understand questions which arise regarding finances as well. Depending on your savings, lifestyle, and plans for retirement (full retirement, if you plan to work another career) you should be able to afford a nice monohull or multihull. Most things will depend on your perspective of time. Take the time to learn and experience the boating/sailing/cruising lifestyle in stages, or jump right in, but still be ready to invest time in learning as much as possible and you'll be fine. Just like most things in the military, it's usually best to take a crawl, walk, run strategy. The amount of time and attention you intend to focus on sailing and living aboard is up to you. More would, of course, be better.
All of that said, I am by no means am expert. I'm probably just a few terrain features ahead of you in navigating this decision to possibly transition to liveaboard. My current plans are to get recertified for basic sailing and then certify for ASA 103, 104, 114 on a week long learning charter for catamarans, then charter a few catamarans this year (maybe?) and next year to check out the models I (think I) like. If you haven't already, once "normal" movement, activities, and events resume, you should attend some yacht shows.

Cheers, and good luck!
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Old 11-05-2020, 06:40   #7
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

The thing about living aboard is the flexibility it provides in location. Short of living in an RV you have the most choices. And since most populations are close to water you have access to most big cities, for better or worse.

Living aboard can be relatively simple or extremely complex. We opt for simple and that’s complex enough for me. More complexity means you spend more time fixing or money having fixed.

That said we very much enjoy live aboard. Unless you get stuck for 25 years in one marina, and some do, you can just pick up and move.

Services like St. Brendan’s Isle solve the mail issue pretty effectively, a few issues still remain for hard headed government agencies. But you should be used to that. Many of us live at 411 Walnut Street.

Any boat you buy should have self supporting (diesel) heat. Cold boats suck, warm boats cuddle. They can be had and installed for under 3k, there are some newer makers, racking up good reputations, that have brought the price even lower. Think Espar or equivalent, threads here on that. And keep the installation as simple as possible.

Your main headache will likely be black water refuse. I can not advise on your solution, it is personal preference. Traditional tanks will require periodic pump out. Then there are some that treat the waste allowing it to be discharged (not everywhere, research) or composting heads which have their own +/- issues. Dealing with the black water can really degrade the experience, or not.

Other than that I think it’s a great choice, no brainer as you say. This Covad is making it a PITA for travel he t hopefully that will disappear some day.

Best of luck.
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Old 11-05-2020, 17:47   #8
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Hi Fox, former Portlander here, they let zoomies live there now??!! (just kidding, you wanted crap from Army guys) I am an ex Army officer and maintenance professional, retired and living in American Samoa until i can complete escape plans. Welcome to the site and feel free to hit me up with any maintenance type questions, i will help if i can.
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Old 11-05-2020, 18:13   #9
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Re: AF Veteran, here. Pleased to meet you!

Well, I haven't yet figured out how to reply to everyone individually. So...thank you all for taking it easy on me. I figured, after 17-years of free cable and a dessert bar while on deployment, I'd have gotten worse.

I kid, I kid.

I never considered the possibility of education abroad afterwards. Living on a ship opens up both new possibilities and complexities where that is concerned. But man, is there a lot to consider. I'll try for more concise replies shortly!
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