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Thread: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

  1. #1
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    Default Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I've always thought a boat around 33-35 foot would do but all the long term cruising live abroards I meet say 40 toot is about right. I have to say having gone aboard a few for a look see the amount of room is a tad seductive.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I've got one of Pardey's books over here Gary, you're welcome to borrow it...one of the later ones ( The Capable Cruiser). They still recommend a bulky 30 footer for a couple and I tend to agree.

    BTW, I bought that computer.
    Last edited by PeterSibley; 02-09-2013 at 10:30 PM. Reason: edited to add title.
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Your budget has a lot to do with it. I'd say that has to be the starting point.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I have given this a bit of thought myself. The boat needs to be a place to cook, eat, sleep, relax, go to the head and store provisions. The surroundings are what one lives for. I would pick the smallest size to easily meet these requirements. I lived on my boat for 2 1/2 months to bring it from Maryland to Lake Guntersville. A 32 foot boat seemed to accomodate these needs well for me. Longer term and it might make sense to go a bit larger. If it is larger then the expenses and hassle go up and the fun of using the boat go down for one of modest or average means.

    I know several people who lived for a year or more on boats 25 feet in length.
    Will

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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    See you Wednesday Peter. I'll have a look at the book.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    See you then .
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Sail or Power?
    Live aboard in one place or cruising?
    On a mooring, in a slip or boathouse?
    Nice amenities at the marina? Laundry, lounge, bathhouse, shore storage area?How big a family and how many pets?

    It all makes a difference.

    A thirty five foot boat on a mooring, after four rainy/snowy days in February, starts to get very small.

    I lived on a 28’ fly bridge powerboat in a boathouse at a crappy marina for two and a half years (with my Doberman). It was one of the best periods of my life.
    Even a fish wouldn’t get in trouble if it kept it's mouth shut.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oysterhouse View Post
    Sail or Power?
    Live aboard in one place or cruising?
    On a mooring, in a slip or boathouse?
    Nice amenities at the marina? Laundry, lounge, bathhouse, shore storage area?How big a family and how many pets?

    It all makes a difference.

    A thirty five foot boat on a mooring, after four rainy/snowy days in February, starts to get very small.

    I lived on a 28’ fly bridge powerboat in a boathouse at a crappy marina for two and a half years (with my Doberman). It was one of the best periods of my life.
    Live aboard cruising yacht, two people with occasional visitors...definitely no pets.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I can lend you a dog.
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    there was a guy that live on a Poulsbo boat in Lake Union....14ft. I don't think he is still living on it.
    "Don't listen to those eastern blockheads." famous Seattle small boat designer and builder.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    Live aboard cruising yacht, two people with occasional visitors...definitely no pets.
    To quote Slocum's "Sailing Alone .....", "What, no dawrg?" Take up Peter Sibley's offer.

    In your proposal, I also think you could be quite comfy in a 9m yacht. Nor need it be as bulky as the Pardey's "Taleisin". Eric and Susan Hiscock's "Wanderer III" was comparatively narrow at around 2.6m beam, but they did two circumnavigations and other long cruises in her quite comfortably. I spent most of a year in a very similar boat (a tad more beam) cruising in the Pacific - got a bit crowded at times, but mostly ok.

    To a large extent it depends on what you consider necessary to have aboard. The more minimalist your lifestyle, the smaller the boat you will be comfortable aboard, and of course the cheaper and easier it will be to maintain the boat and sustain yourselves.

    Many years ago a discussion (in a UK yachting magazine) centred around the smallest size it was safe to go to sea in. Some more Corinthian Victorians considered that 20 tons (TM, I assume) was the minimum, others, no doubt considering the accommodation of servants, put the minimum size at 100 tons "Never beat down-channel in less than 300 tons"). The argument was apparently settled by someone who stated unequivocally that none of the vessels under discussion were big enough . You could apply the same discussion to living aboard.

    My later living aboard offences were 3 years on a 13m yacht (coastal cruising, Wife and three kids), 6 on a 15m ketch (1 or 2 dogs) and 6 on an 11m launch (12m Brokers Overall ) with one dog. The last two periods were really one in two consecutive boats, marina based cruising, by which I mean I have a berth in a marina from which I go cruising, not that I cruise from marina to marina. I do have a lock-up 10 minutes drive from the marina where I keep the necessities of life that I can't fit aboard, i.e. 9 trunks of books, plus non-essentials like spare clothes, extra tools, and what unkind persons refer to as my junk. (Actually they use a ruder word than "junk") A hoarder? Me? How dare you?!
    "The truth shall make ye fret" - Terry Pratchett

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by CapnJ2ds View Post
    To quote Slocum's "Sailing Alone .....", "What, no dawrg?" Take up Peter Sibley's offer.

    In your proposal, I also think you could be quite comfy in a 9m yacht. Nor need it be as bulky as the Pardey's "Taleisin". Eric and Susan Hiscock's "Wanderer III" was comparatively narrow at around 2.6m beam, but they did two circumnavigations and other long cruises in her quite comfortably. I spent most of a year in a very similar boat (a tad more beam) cruising in the Pacific - got a bit crowded at times, but mostly ok.

    To a large extent it depends on what you consider necessary to have aboard. The more minimalist your lifestyle, the smaller the boat you will be comfortable aboard, and of course the cheaper and easier it will be to maintain the boat and sustain yourselves.

    Many years ago a discussion (in a UK yachting magazine) centred around the smallest size it was safe to go to sea in. Some more Corinthian Victorians considered that 20 tons (TM, I assume) was the minimum, others, no doubt considering the accommodation of servants, put the minimum size at 100 tons "Never beat down-channel in less than 300 tons"). The argument was apparently settled by someone who stated unequivocally that none of the vessels under discussion were big enough . You could apply the same discussion to living aboard.

    My later living aboard offences were 3 years on a 13m yacht (coastal cruising, Wife and three kids), 6 on a 15m ketch (1 or 2 dogs) and 6 on an 11m launch (12m Brokers Overall ) with one dog. The last two periods were really one in two consecutive boats, marina based cruising, by which I mean I have a berth in a marina from which I go cruising, not that I cruise from marina to marina. I do have a lock-up 10 minutes drive from the marina where I keep the necessities of life that I can't fit aboard, i.e. 9 trunks of books, plus non-essentials like spare clothes, extra tools, and what unkind persons refer to as my junk. (Actually they use a ruder word than "junk") A hoarder? Me? How dare you?!
    I feel an outpouring of empathy !
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    This may come across as utterly heartless if not ruthless, but the ideal size for a live-a-aboard will be the one you can easily and honestly afford to maintain year round. The variable will be how badly you want to live-a-board. If 22 feet comes up as the magic number, you had better be passionate about living-a-board. On the other hand, if 40 + feet barely causes the wallet to hiccup, quit yer worrying and jump to it! The passion will follow later!



    Cheers!


    Peter
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Looking at if from a monohull sailboat perspective, since multihulls and power boats are radically different:

    Length is the incorrect measure. Tonnage gives a more realistic view of how you can live aboard. It's true that you can get the appearance of considerable space in some very light hulls, but then you've not the carrying capacity for two people with normal gear and food and water for a couple of months.

    Over the last thirty years I've lived aboard:
    Suzanne - about 10 tons I think. A 35' Wm Gardner "Sea Foam" ketch
    Goblin - 12 tons, 43' Alden Schooner
    Granuaile - 20 tons, 55' LFH Marco Polo Schooner
    Marmalade - 7 ton, 25' Hood Chappaquiddick 25 catboat

    Despite 9' difference in LOA, Suzanne and Goblin were surprisingly close in living capacity. For two people, this is your living range. Big enough that you don't have to be super selective about your gear.

    Granuaile was a brilliant layout for single-handing and thus a true luxury choise for living aboard and having guests. Many 20 ton boats are too heavy to handle for most short crew living and cruising so you need to get smarter about how you rig and sail when you get this big. If you can make the step, it's really nice.

    Marmalade is amazing. Biggest 25' boat in the world and really shows that it's tonnage, not length. THere are plenty of 30-35 footers in this tonnage range that have not an iota of greating living capacity. This is a very nice size for one person to live on with occasional extended guest. She's a bit small for two people to live extended.

    When I think of the perfect go anywhere liveaboard cruising sailboat, I think 12 tons, +/- a ton or so.

    G'luck

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oysterhouse View Post
    Sail or Power?
    Live aboard in one place or cruising?
    On a mooring, in a slip or boathouse?
    Nice amenities at the marina? Laundry, lounge, bathhouse, shore storage area?How big a family and how many pets?

    It all makes a difference.

    A thirty five foot boat on a mooring, after four rainy/snowy days in February, starts to get very small.

    I lived on a 28’ fly bridge powerboat in a boathouse at a crappy marina for two and a half years (with my Doberman). It was one of the best periods of my life.
    There's a wealth of good questions and implied answers in there. My younger brother lived happily abourd a mid-30s footer for years on a good marina berth, by himself after a divorce. The shore amenities made it more than comfortable. When he met another woman who had the same outlook they both lived on the boat, and sailed away on it to follow their dream. Got to Airlie and lived on it quite a while together before finally going ashore and moving to Cairns, now back-of-Bundaberg. It was so good for so long mostly because of the shore amenities a short walk from the boat. A better set out 30s footer would be bliss if there are bathroom and laundry facilities a short walk away. Without them you'd risk getting sick of it quickly on a boat that size.

    Alternatively consider the millions of families in Asia living in much less and decide whether you can develop that mindset when you are surrounded by others living in comparative luxury. You could make do in whatever you have if you have to, but do you have to, and if not could you convince yourselves it's worth it?

    Short answer, 34 foot on a marina with all conveniences.

    Bruce

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Something I would not have thought I would ever do but I'm going to look at 40 footers.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Another thought is head-room. The Pardeys are not tall.

    You really get tired of stooping and crouching after a while. Being able to stand up straight, and stretch, is wonderful. For me, with back troubles -- essential.

    Dave

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I should mention that three decades experience has taught me that most "essential" modern conveniences are a total crock.

    My shower is a 1 gal. pump up garder sprayer. Hot water from the stove. This provides hot water for shower in the head or on deck as well as to the gally for rinsing dishes.

    I've not had refrigeration, though this is more arguable. Most things that absolutely need refrigeration are bad for you when sailing so you don't need it when voyaging. It is nice to cool a beer or keep butter from melting, both easily done with a bit of moist cloth and evaporation. In winter, god provides more than enough refrigeration right out the porthole.

    Washing -- Just drop stuff in a bucket of salt water with some Ivory and let it rock about for an hour or however long it takes to remember. Rinse in salt water and hang out. Once dry the wind will snap the salt off and you're done.

    I don't favor living at a dock except in winter when the rates are down and it is actually dangerous to try to row out through the ice. Yes it's an extra deal to bundle into the dink for a mile's row just to get to work, but the transition, especially the row home, is so beyond liberating that the time is well worth it emotionally.

    Everything breaks once a year. If you have 365 systems on your boat, you'll be fixing or lamenting something every day. And if you live the high life at a dock, you'll be spending like a condo for what's still a third world environment. Might as well do that deliberatly, save the money, and truely enjoy the simple life.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    After reading these posts I will add some more bits.

    My 32 boat is net 6 tons.
    I did a sponge bath with "walking hot water" - heated water on the stove and poured in the sink.
    I did laundry more or less once a week at the marina laundry wherever I was.
    Will

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Live aboard cruising yacht, two people with occasional visitors...definitely no pets.
    We used to be a part owners of a 35-foot catamaran, and I always thought it would be an excellent size for the wife and I to live on. Not just big enough, but big enough to be comfortable and have room for the occasional guests. Comfortable to be on in most weather, a big cockpit that always stayed dry; stuff stayed where you put it, and a very easy boat to single hand, besides.

    In fact, we sold the boat to a family with two girls who bought it to live aboard and go cruising, home schooling and the whole nine yards. I think they bought the right boat for the job.

    But it still comes back to budget. There's a human tendency to argue that what they can afford is all they need, and to regard those who have more to be foolish spendthrifts.

    That 35' cat cost between $12,000 and $14,000 a year to own and operate. That includes replacing worn out stuff, hauling, insurance, fuel, everything. (It was a partnership, so we tracked every last penny.) It was an older boat -- similar used boats today cost between $150,000 and $200,000.

    So it's like buying and living in a house, the costs run in the same range. If you had such a budget, I'd recommend it. But of course you can live on a boat the way you live when camping in a pup tent, or living in a converted van. All will provide memorable experiences. But if the notion is to live in a generally comfortable manner, a bit of room on board and a boat that provides a stable and secure platform has to be given some priority.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Power, single diesel, displacement hull, steel, genny, 40 to 55 feet. shower, fridge, propane stove, stowed dinghy.

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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I've lived on lots of boats, of all different sizes. When I was 17 I lived on 18' lapstrake speedboat, it was perfect at the time (except when it rained and the deck leaked). Later 3 of us lived aboard a 75' fishpacker, that too was fine but a great deal of work. Now 3 of us live aboard a 50' ketch and it's a constant challenge to keep up with let alone make progress on projects. All these are old (not perfect) traditionally built wooden boats. One winter 4 of us and two dogs lived aboard a 32' Sea Spirit (fat little boat), and that was fine but tight(we spent more time on deck).

    Now when people ask I always answer that 38' is just right, not too big, yet a long way from small. When the marina asks you can truthfully say 38' and they'll put you in a 40' slip, rig a housing bowsprit and you're good. 38' is enough to carry all your stuff and have a good division of spaces. If the boat is smaller the better the cockpit and on-deck protection (dodger/pilothouse) needs to be. So one or the other of you can, "get away" for a bit. Space for your work is also important, on several boats I've lived aboard the center of the saloon was occupied by a sewing machine, the aft cabin became the dive shop, or the hold the workshop.
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Old dream from the late 1960s ... 300' catamaran, each hull rigged as a three-masted schooner. About 250' wide, diesel-electric auxiliary power. Draft fifteen feet. So big because it had to carry power generation, A/C, and fuel for the CDC Star that operated her, as well as the ammo and guns to defend her. She had a little over a quarter of an acre of deck devoted to gardening. No heliport pad.

    You don't need anything like that. Note this was long before Waterworld. I'll condense and paraphrase Chuck's laughing response to her as "the best thing about these craft is the exercise to be had running fore and aft."
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  24. #24
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by P.L.Lenihan View Post
    This may come across as utterly heartless if not ruthless, but the ideal size for a live-a-aboard will be the one you can easily and honestly afford to maintain year round. The variable will be how badly you want to live-a-board. If 22 feet comes up as the magic number, you had better be passionate about living-a-board. On the other hand, if 40 + feet barely causes the wallet to hiccup, quit yer worrying and jump to it! The passion will follow later!



    Cheers!


    Peter
    Met a fellow at the Ft. Myers municipal marina (very very nice) who lived on a 22 foot sailboat he bought for $500. Seemed to be as satisfied as the guys with much bigger boats (and costs and worries) He said when the hurricanes approach he just heads up river and noses into a clump of mangroves til it is over. I guess being happy with what you have is the most important measure.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    "This may come across as utterly heartless if not ruthless, but the ideal size for a live-a-aboard will be the one you can easily and honestly afford to maintain year round."

    Some might argue that it is 5' bigger than this description. / Jim

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    The definition here is live aboard as opposed to camping. If you have to pack up your bed so you can sit at the table for breakfast, then that is camping. So it seems that the ideal size is 37-40ft. Of course if the boat has a bit of beam like the Hans Christian 33 then you could go smaller. Remember we are talking two people onboard, both with their own interests and pursuits.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    38 feet is the top end, sails are easy to handle, you get a seperate bedroom and living room and kitchen, you can have a spacious quarter berth "cabin". You don't have to play dominoes when searching for stuff.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Whatever we get will be converted to Junk rig and most likely a schooner. So another determining factor will be mast placement verses internal layout.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    WX, you're clearly looking for a Colvin Gazelle.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    It all boils down to...."How much stuff do you REALLY need?"
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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    We used to be a part owners of a 35-foot catamaran, and I always thought it would be an excellent size for the wife and I to live on. Not just big enough, but big enough to be comfortable and have room for the occasional guests. Comfortable to be on in most weather, a big cockpit that always stayed dry; stuff stayed where you put it, and a very easy boat to single hand, besides.

    In fact, we sold the boat to a family with two girls who bought it to live aboard and go cruising, home schooling and the whole nine yards. I think they bought the right boat for the job.

    But it still comes back to budget. There's a human tendency to argue that what they can afford is all they need, and to regard those who have more to be foolish spendthrifts.

    That 35' cat cost between $12,000 and $14,000 a year to own and operate. That includes replacing worn out stuff, hauling, insurance, fuel, everything. (It was a partnership, so we tracked every last penny.) It was an older boat -- similar used boats today cost between $150,000 and $200,000.

    So it's like buying and living in a house, the costs run in the same range. If you had such a budget, I'd recommend it. But of course you can live on a boat the way you live when camping in a pup tent, or living in a converted van. All will provide memorable experiences. But if the notion is to live in a generally comfortable manner, a bit of room on board and a boat that provides a stable and secure platform has to be given some priority.
    Did the $12-$14k include loan payments?
    Will

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I like the internal layout of the kiribati 36 by robert barros, it looks like it would feel much bigger than you would think.


  33. #33

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I thought the 34' Tangeroa I lived on was adequate. If I was living with someone else, the two hulls would also provide some personal space when needed. They seem to take rerigging with aplomb, given the variants I've seen out there for sale.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    WX, you're clearly looking for a Colvin Gazelle.
    Actually no I'm not. I don't want steel and I don't like stayed Junk rig. I consider the latter pointless and in fact it cripples one of the main advantages of the JR, namely being able to square off 90 degrees to the mast.
    My ideal hull construction would be fibreglassed ply but an I know this is anathema to this forum, I will seek out a suitable fibreglass hull.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Did the $12-$14k include loan payments?
    No, it did not. I mention the figure because I know it's accurate and I also know that most people grossly underestimate what it costs to own a cruising boat of any size. We did a lot of maintenance on it ourselves -- only paid outside help for things like hauling it and engine work that was beyond our ability.

    Our costs were, from largest to smallest:
    Marina fees - about 40% of the total
    Big maintenance items, each of which only comes around every two or several years, but at least one of which has to be dealt with almost every year -- i.e., new sails, engine overhauls, replace the bimini, replace the trampoline (catamaran), new battery bank and on and on. About 30% of the total
    Insurance - about 10% of the total
    Annual and other routine maintenance items: semi-annual bottom work and inspection, etc. - another 10%
    Fuel and odds and ends, the last 10%.

    These are rough numbers - the actual varied from one year to the next and the balance changed over the time of ownership, too. But it's generally what we dealt with. Our estimated expenses that we put in our budget when we bought the boat were pretty exactly just two-thirds of the actual.

    I did not factor in depreciation, which was another $3,000 a year, a very low number as things go. On that score we over estimated at the outset. This was one of those French built catamarans, which have held their value far better than virtually any monohull, and do as well as any of the cruising cats on the market.

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I'm not even worrying about depreciation as we expect the boat to see us out. When I'm dead the boat resale value becomes irrelevant. We also expect this boat to be a cruising yacht and we expect it to take us to many different and interesting places.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  37. #37
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
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    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    34,108

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    WX, more of the Gazelle's I've seen are unstayed junk, some stayed gaff schooner. There's one "cat schooner" - unstayed fore and main - as well. But if you won't have steel, there it is.

    One interesting thing about Colvin's - Seems like they were built by one of two sorts. Either a good welder made a boat, a really great hull most perfectly plated with very clean beads and all that, and the interior is a bit amateur. Or a good woodworker learned welding building the hull - good enough but just not professional - and the interior is really brilliant. There are some professionally built hulls that were owner-finished as well.

    Another option in glass is the original Freedom 40. Too many of them are over-equipped with crud I'll not have (like bow thruster, AC, too much nav electronics) but that's a matter of taste and it's true that as those things break they can be tossed overboard.

    I too have been thinking about "Last Boat" and those are my top likelies if I cannot over-indulge myself and build.

  38. #38
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Marietta, GA
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    3,074

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    There is a Freedom 40 at my marina. One thing I've noticed as I have been at the boat a lot recently working on her is that the Freedom actually gets used frequently. 85% of the boats there never leave the slip.
    I wonder if the ease of sailing and simple rig have something to do with this.
    Shes very roomy down below. Also looks great sailing alongside my Coquina, another cat-ketch.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

  39. #39
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Flattop Islands
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    1,836

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    I'm currently helping a fellow convert a dis-masted Allied Princess 36 ketch to a junk schooner. Actually the rig is very close to that on Badger, with equal sized sails, plus a small jib to be set from a running bowsprit. The masts are stock aluminum light poles. He's pretty much a single-hander and didn't care about the vee berth, and the main mast location works well with the galley/nav station bulkheads. We offset the main mast 3" to starboard to ease movement through the cabin.

    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
    http://blog.tadroberts.ca/
    http://www.passagemakerlite.com

  40. #40
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    BC Coast
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    1,780

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Living aboard and living aboard while cruising are two very different things.
    While cruising I found myself completely comfortable on a smaller and simpler vessel for extended periods. Many years ago I lived on a 27 footer for about 3 years with 5-6 months on board in a stretch. About 70 % of my time on board was cruising, year round.
    I bought a slightly larger boat to share with my wife 30 feet. We were very comfortable but now mainly alongside in the Marina. We needed a fairly substantial storage locker to suppliment our space. We ended up with a child and a small dog living with us as well.....
    More recently I returned to living alone aboard on a 45 foot power boat, for a few years. The power boat had a brilliant galley, a room with a great double bed and a head where there was room to do all the things you might want to do. I enjoyed the space. I enjoyed the better creature comforts. I did not enjoy as much the complexity. I was regularly fixing things. I enjoyed being able to take the weekend off and get to another spot within a predictable hour or two and relax. I did not enjoy as much operating the boat. I have always been a sailor, and predicting arrival times at a prefered desination is not a given. In the end a life change and new relationship caused me to move ashore, not issues with living aboard.

    What is the ideal size? for me...alone....... probably a larger 30 ish footer, and I would return to sail. Ians 25 foot Catboat probably meets that criteria. I prefer simple technology rather than complexity. With a second person perhaps 3 to 5 feet longer. You need the daily stuff of two persons, and enough space that you can both be there without necessarly touching. I think you still need a handy storage locker, or a shop.

    Though some people do the living aboard thing to reduce living expences. I do not think there are much in the way of monetary savings if you are participating in community life, a regular job, friends, etc. when you are paying for the boat, pay insurance, pay moorage in a Marina, annual haul-outs. I was certainly paying more to heat my boat than I would be with a normal home. It was a lifestyle choice not an economic one.

    I currently sail a Herreshoff Meadowlark. Though she is in the nominal length size range I would not chose this as a live-aboard. It has great space for cruising and playing. I'd prefer some standing room below, and perhaps some more beam. She is certainly doable, but less than ideal.

  41. #41
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
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    21,801

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by TR View Post
    I'm currently helping a fellow convert a dis-masted Allied Princess 36 ketch to a junk schooner. Actually the rig is very close to that on Badger, with equal sized sails, plus a small jib to be set from a running bowsprit. The masts are stock aluminum light poles. He's pretty much a single-hander and didn't care about the vee berth, and the main mast location works well with the galley/nav station bulkheads. We offset the main mast 3" to starboard to ease movement through the cabin.

    That looks good, will you be using cambered panel sails or are you staying with flat panel?

    GilbertJ, you are I'd say quite correct in pointing out that
    Living aboard and living aboard while cruising are two very different things.
    . Once you stop moving for any appreciable time you start accumulating for one thing but as you say you have to allow for the life ashore as well. A good point.
    The Freedom 40 is worth looking into some more I think given the mast locations would not be far off the locations for a JR. meaning minimal disturbance to layout.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  42. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
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    Flattop Islands
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    1,836

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    That looks good, will you be using cambered panel sails or are you staying with flat panel?
    The owner will make his own sails and as far as I know they will be flat panel. I'm doing another conversion, a Columbia 36 to a single mast/sail junk rig with cambered panels. In that case the owner is working at the sail design himself.
    ___________________________________
    Tad
    cogge ketch Blackfish
    cat ketch Ratty
    http://www.tadroberts.ca
    http://blog.tadroberts.ca/
    http://www.passagemakerlite.com

  43. #43
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Eire/SE AK/WA islands
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    141

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    What an interesting thread so far. After 20+ years living on board, my experience would say 32-36' is plenty. At 6'5, headroom and berth length were big factors for me. As noted earlier, there is quite a difference between sailboats and powerboats. After 2 sailboats, I now am on a 36' trawler..... quite roomy and plush. The comments on simplicity are seconded by me also. Living on board is wonderful even in a marina.

  44. #44
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    West Boothbay Harbor, Maine
    Posts
    22,170

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Too bad you don't want to consider steel. This would do us just fine: http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...url=&imc=pg-fs
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


  45. #45
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    Feb 2002
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by farwesthoops View Post
    What an interesting thread so far. After 20+ years living on board, my experience would say 32-36' is plenty. At 6'5, headroom and berth length were big factors for me. As noted earlier, there is quite a difference between sailboats and powerboats. After 2 sailboats, I now am on a 36' trawler..... quite roomy and plush. The comments on simplicity are seconded by me also. Living on board is wonderful even in a marina.
    Is that as a single person or as a couple?
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  46. #46
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    Feb 2002
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    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    Too bad you don't want to consider steel. This would do us just fine: http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...url=&imc=pg-fs
    It's a bit more than my budget as well. The general consensus on steel is you are always chasing rust. I can repair timber or fibreglass but I don't have any welding skills that count. Nice looking boat though.
    At the age of 62 I have come to realise that you can't breed out stupidity.

  47. #47
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lake Champlain, Vermont
    Posts
    1,187

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Someone may have already mentioned this but there is more usable square footage in a powerboat than in a sailboat and even more in a houseboat. Maybe we need three separate categories in order to discuss this. My 8 by 22 houseboat has standing headroom and not an ounce of space wasted or difficult to access, or course it is uglier than sin but when I am aboard I scarcely notice. Goes faster than hull speed as well with only 25 hp.

    Oldad just sayin'

  48. #48

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    .... not to mention the fact that a 40 foot powerboat can be easily handled by senior citizens. That's why they buy trawlers.

  49. #49
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Northern NSW Australia
    Posts
    47,802

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    Posting from Peter Sibley's new computer. The topic is solely about living aboard a yacht...otherwise it would get too complex. Feel free to start a new thread about stink boats though.
    WX
    Try to work out what the marketing guy wants you to do then do precisely the opposite.

  50. #50
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Barrie, Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    2,177

    Default Re: Ideal size for long term live aboard.

    This may not be politically correct on this website, but in my observation, most live-aboard people would be better served by having a power boat towing a really good smallish daysailor. (I have a feeling that most live-aboards don't cross oceans very often -- my hat off to those who do.)

    You live where there is room, and when you want a sailing adventure you hop into the 14-footer and go exploring.

    It's rarely seen though.

    Dave

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