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Living and traveling on a boat/yacht. Talk me out of it...

AK_F250

Red Rocket
Joined
May 19, 2020
Member Number
178
Messages
744
Loc
Alaska
So the last few years I've been looking at larger (to me) boats to cruise the east and west coast of the US via panama. No idea why, I'm only 33, but it just seems like a complete blast in my head. I'm young but very financially secure and in a trade where I'm constantly headhunted by companies and contractors I deal with, so no worries about taking a couple years off. GF and potential wife of several years is going to hit 20 years in the military in 4 years, and that seems like the time to do a 1-2 year excursion like this since her retirement alone would cover fuel and basic supplies.

All that bullshit aside, looking in the general Washington area I can pick up a nice 45'-65' boat or ship or yachtwhateverthefuck for under 200K, and that's just surfing CL. Could go up into the 80's even, sacrificing some fuel. Something that cruises at 8-10 knots burning 2-3 gallons an hour with 600-1000 onboard seems appealing. Pick up and drop off friends at various spots to offset costs maybe, but I also hate people. It looks like in that price range I can either go tiny or massive on engines, but being able to putt along for 2500+ miles is more appealing to me than having two 600hp engines sucking down fuel to get into the teens. Both are out there in that price range.

What say IBB? Anyone done it and live to tell the tale? Zero interest in sailboats or sailboat living, I'd want to feel like I was in a house at sea not a cramped condensation sarcophagus.
 
Buy a 5th wheel.

I’ve got one, but this is more about the experience to me. I love being out on the water for several days like we normally do around here, but I’d like to do an extended version with some of the amenities of home. Plus motoring to where I want to drop anchor for the night and picking which town/port I stop at or bypass just has a certain appeal.
 
Sounds like you’re looking for a trawler style boat. they look like a tug & have the smaller motors but they’re super efficient at that 8-10 kt range. Start doing research now on the boats pros & cons and you’ll be ready in a couple yrs to make an educated decision.

I believe the kind of fuel efficiency you’re talking about would be more in the 30-40 ft range. And les so in that 40-60ft range. Marinas will charge you by the foot for dockage (like 3-8$/ ft / night) and haul out service fir repair, so bigger boat = bigger travel cost there in addition to more fuel to propel it.

There’s good info on cruiser forums & some on youtube but you do have to filter through a bunch of happy horseshit to get to the tech.
 
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sounds neat. I don't like water much so wouldn't be my thing but the appeal is there.

Maintenance on salt water stuff and knowing how to handle the boat properly seems the biggest hurdles to me.
 
Sounds like you’re looking for a trawler style boat. they look like a tug & have the smaller motors but they’re super efficient at that 8-10 kit range. Start doing research now on the boats pros & cons and you’ll be ready in a couple yrs to make an educated decision.

I believe the kind of fuel efficiency you’re talking about would be more in the 30-40 ft range. And les so in that 40-60ft range. Marinas will charge you by the foot for dockage (like 3-8$/ ft / night) and haul out service fir repair, so bigger boat = bigger travel cost there in addition to more fuel to propel it.

There’s good info on cruiser forums & some on youtube but you do have to filter through a bunch of happy horseshit to get to the tech.

Yes lots of trawlers with those specs but there were a surprising number of bigger boats in the 50s with hino, Lugger, Volvo penta or ford Lehman diesels that were citing those numbers in the ads. Not that that means much I guess. I’m also not totally opposed to twin 5.9 or 8.3 Cummins, but it seems like a lot in the 50-60 range have twin Detroit’s or bigger cats which sound like fuel killers to me. No point in my mind in having 700-1200hp on tap if the goal is economical cruising.
 
Had a friend that lived on a boat for 2 years in Hawaii. He spent the weekends sailing to the other islands. He said it was his favorite by far.
 
Yes lots of trawlers with those specs but there were a surprising number of bigger boats in the 50s with hino, Lugger, Volvo penta or ford Lehman diesels that were citing those numbers in the ads. Not that that means much I guess. I’m also not totally opposed to twin 5.9 or 8.3 Cummins, but it seems like a lot in the 50-60 range have twin Detroit’s or bigger cats which sound like fuel killers to me. No point in my mind in having 700-1200hp on tap if the goal is economical cruising.

The big motor cruisers like to tell fuel mileage stories about like Cummins guys getting 30 mpg. I’d Definitely find a performance bulletin with fuel burn rates for that engine to determine plausibility.

big motors = bigger engine rooms, or more crowded engine rooms for worse accessibility.

thinking about parts availability in Central America & the Caribbean yanmar is a solid bet as they’re common in sail botes too.
 
Happiest day of a boat owner.
Second happiest day of a boat owner.

Boat in general, and especially twenty year old boats, are money pits. Get a professional appraisal on the seaworthiness of the vessel. Get some training on how to operate a ocean going vessel. Spend more that you think is necessary for preventative maintenance and buy more spare parts than you could ever use.
 
Yes lots of trawlers with those specs but there were a surprising number of bigger boats in the 50s with hino, Lugger, Volvo penta or ford Lehman diesels that were citing those numbers in the ads. Not that that means much I guess. I’m also not totally opposed to twin 5.9 or 8.3 Cummins, but it seems like a lot in the 50-60 range have twin Detroit’s or bigger cats which sound like fuel killers to me. No point in my mind in having 700-1200hp on tap if the goal is economical cruising.

Twin screaming jimmys or gtfo.
 
The upkeep on a saltwater boat is pretty major, especially one that is 20 years old.

The saltwater is actively trying to destroy all the plumbing and the hull.

It's pretty close to a full time job taking care of an aging boat.

Not saying don't do it, because It would be quite the adventure, but make sure you have plenty of contingency and savings for when things inevitably go sideways.

Also, I guess insurance is expensive and can be a real pain, make sure to factor that in.
 
No catamarans. Unless its a small one the berthing fees will kill your budget.
Also ignore the naysayers especially ones saying stupid shit like "The two happiest days". Generally theyve only owned either a bayliner or a tinny.

Dont get more boat than youre ready for. Piloting a large boat is not the same as jumping into a Class A RV with no experience and drivi g down the road.

Learn the difference between a displacemnet and a planing hull. That will be the deciding factor in economy if youre cruising at 8-10 knots. A planing hull (most sporties and cabin cruiser type boat) will be plowing through the water creating a huge wake. Youll be able to crank up the speed when you want but youll be burning fuel. A displacement hull (trawlers) will do that same 8-10 knots while sipping fuel.

Have a proper survey done on any boat you are seriously considering buying an appraisal isnt worth shit. All that does is tell you the approximate value. This will cast roughly $4-500 or more but will consist of both a mechanical and a structural survey. A good survey should consist of two people one guy does the hull the other should be a certified mechanic. There are a few good surveyors that are certified mechanics that do the structural (plumbing and electrical also) part as well but dont go the other way. Both are very important and need to know their shit.

Hull integrity such as water logged bulkheads, stringers or decking, corrosion and delamination are just as important as whether or not that CAT needs resleeved, turbo replaced or the water jackets are completely shot. Engine exhaust and cooling are another checkmark. Possibly the worst is the wiring. Youre looking at several thousand feet of copper in a saltwater environment most of which is hidden behind something.

Get your Captains (merchant mariner cert) OUPV or 25ton or at least take the course. Youll need to learn AToNs, lights, right of way(on the water sometimes it is just whos bigger) plotting and navigation, radio usage(dont be the jackass blabbing on about the size of the fish or the strippers titties unless shes still on the boat and were all invited on the monitored channel). There are a lot of rules and if you think theres a lot of idiots on the road you aint seen nothing yet.

Lastly if you take the plunge, find a qualified captain, and pay him to teach you about your boat. Everything, not just driving it although that is really fucking important. ESPECIALLY DOCKING! I guarantee you will fuck up and someone will be there to record it for posterity and post it to youtube. Have him teach you how to operate everything on the vessel. The engines, fire suppression, electronics, water systems, bilge and other pumps, generators, petcocks, and every other little thing. Unless youve spent a lot of time on a boat you have no idea the kind of of shit that can go wrong.

Ive run several large boats up to 85' and they can be a handful BUT being on the water is awesome. If you can swing it, do it. It sounds like you have plenty of time to get ready. Just dont be those fucks on youtube that did the sailboat thing then almost drowned and lost their boat and did a gofuckme. Or if you do film it so we can all laugh.
 
Mr.Ratbastard did it, I think the wife was constantly on the sauce :flipoff2:

Plenty of Navy guys here should chime in-

Ha! I drank a lot of beer back then, the wife might drink a beer in the evening.

To the o.p. We started with a 40' trawler then switched to a 51' sailboat. The sailboat was huge inside compared to the trawler. I wouldn't bother looking at a sailboat under 50' though. Imho if you are really going to travel look at a 50-60' sailboat or 40-45' catamaran. You would probably like a Lagoon cat. If you really want to cover some miles and learn a lot look up "Sail Libra" (60' sailboat)and book a couple spots. You will learn more doing that than all the reading, videos and talking to people for the next few years will teach you. After that go charter a catamaran somewhere then a motoryacht.
This would be money well spent I promise. Our boat was paid for and it cost more monthly than the house we live in now. It's not an expensive house just keep in mind slip and insurance can be pricey.
We lived aboard 15 years and had a lot of fun. We didn't go anywhere but played on boats a lot.
 
Some people admire these kids I just think they have more money than sense.

Sailing Yaba
We are now owners of a big wooden schooner that needs A LOT of work done. Many people told us the boat we chose was doomed, but we refuse to settle on that thought and we are going to do whatever it takes to make this boat a great sailor again. We are both rookies when it comes to boat ownership and carpentry, so this is going to be a steep learning curve for us which we are ready to embrace. We are keen to learn so we can do as much as possible ourselves. Join us on our refurbishing journey as we get our hands dirty and share the highs and lows of owning and fixing a big wooden sailing boat.
[video]https://www.youtube.com/c/SailingYaba[/video]



While there are several that are rescuing old historic boats, like Leo rebuilding Tally Ho
I’m on a mission to rebuild a 109-year old English sailing yacht called Tally Ho. Designed by Albert Strange in 1909, she is a well-known and important historic vessel – but after many adventures she was left in a remote port in Oregon to rot for decades, despite some valiant attempts to rescue her. I bought her and moved her to the Olympic Peninsular earlier this year, and am now starting to rebuild her from the keel up. Eventually I hope to sail her back to the UK.

[video]https://www.youtube.com/c/SampsonBoatCo[/video]


Peter redoing Geordi

Travels with Geordie is the ongoing story of the life and travels of Peter Knowles and his pup Geordie. The story begins in 2013 in Nova Scotia where we set out on a life of perpetual travel. First around North America in a vintage Airstream towed by an even more Vintage Land Rover. In time, Geordie and I arrived In Victoria British Columbia and fell in love with a 1953 38' Monk motor cruiser and we promptly moved aboard, beginning a long and thorough refit to enable us to cruise extensively. Come and join us as we enjoy our life afloat with a mix of sawdust, good food and drink, travel and music.
[video]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzjS_6kYzuWNznwIfQdqt1w[/video]


Salvage Of Gimlit They have refloated this thing so many times they have finally hauled it out in Dec so they could work on the bottom


[video]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1Xo5JrDMSLt-e7kTl1YU3A[/video]

Ship happens, Iusually don't have problems with English accents but these two especially her I have to run CC because I can't understand half of what she says

Our journey of buying a WW2 boat with the dream of restoring her back to a usable condition! After being left to rot in the mud, we face a massive challenge, with the boat itself and also working on her in the location where she is! And researching all of the history of the boat from WWII and what has happened to her since then. Please follow us as we embark on this crazy journey!


[video]https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGYfor_-g_k8ib-rBzXOLWg[/video]
 
Do not buy a project! Period, do not unless your goal is boat rebuilding.
 
I fell in love with the idea and looked into it for years. I read ALL the books and dreamed of the sea every night.

Eventually I learned it’s a great fantasy, but the reality is it’s just an RV on the water except when you drop a tool it’s gone forever.

slips aren’t cheap, and anything to do with repair is expensive.
 
U-tube isn't always the best depiction of real life. Real life is mostly boring and monotonous.
that doesn't make for very entertaining videos. Like the sailing yaba channel, they will most likely spend more than the boat is worth replacing almost the entire hull. If they weren't in Brazil they would have had to scrap it. But scrapping a boat doesn't make good content.
 
So the last few years I've been looking at larger (to me) boats to cruise the east and west coast of the US via panama. No idea why, I'm only 33, but it just seems like a complete blast in my head. I'm young but very financially secure and in a trade where I'm constantly headhunted by companies and contractors I deal with, so no worries about taking a couple years off. GF and potential wife of several years is going to hit 20 years in the military in 4 years, and that seems like the time to do a 1-2 year excursion like this since her retirement alone would cover fuel and basic supplies.

All that bullshit aside, looking in the general Washington area I can pick up a nice 45'-65' boat or ship or yachtwhateverthefuck for under 200K, and that's just surfing CL. Could go up into the 80's even, sacrificing some fuel. Something that cruises at 8-10 knots burning 2-3 gallons an hour with 600-1000 onboard seems appealing. Pick up and drop off friends at various spots to offset costs maybe, but I also hate people. It looks like in that price range I can either go tiny or massive on engines, but being able to putt along for 2500+ miles is more appealing to me than having two 600hp engines sucking down fuel to get into the teens. Both are out there in that price range.

What say IBB? Anyone done it and live to tell the tale? Zero interest in sailboats or sailboat living, I'd want to feel like I was in a house at sea not a cramped condensation sarcophagus.


OP.

go for it. We sold everything we had, bought a boat, sailed from South Africa to the Caribbean and eventually the states. Lived the life for 5 years, 200 ton RYA offshore yacht master, dive master, chartered in the US and British Virgin Islands. Sailed most of the Caribbean and Bahamas. Consultant on design of Catamaran sailing yachts specifically for charter both bareboat and crewed charter.

without a doubt this period of my life generated some of the best memories I have. We had a blast. Worked extremely hard to be successful but I got to see and do stuff others can only dream of doing or are paying excessively to experience - and I was getting paid to do it.

The failure rate trying to be a yachtie is surprisingly high. Strange as it sounds it is not easy ( I arrived in St Thomas with less than $250 to my name).

size does not really matter. I knew an Aussie/Kiwi couple that were on their third circumnavigation on a 27’ sailboat. :eek:
they had more experiences and saw more shit than the owners of the mega yachts that are tethered to the marinas most of their lives and need a crew of ten.

figure 10% of the cost of the boat to maintain in in that exact condition annually. Maintain it to your standard figure 20 or 25%. Then add marina and berthing costs and diesel and replacing a generator instead of going on a vacation :grinpimp:

the best advice you are going to hear in this thread.
Boating in any form is much cheaper on someone else’s dime.

Find a way to make that happen. I can tell you running someone else’s 100’ plus gin palace paid a lot better than a couple guests did on our own 42’ sailboat. I made more in tips on one charter than I made in a year on our boat.

i would go back to that life tomorrow

Do it or you will forever regret it. I bet you make memories of a lifetime and have experiences other will envy


Stuck and Mr Rat speak a lot of sense
 
Just going to throw this option out there for you. Buy a tuna troller and liecense. Get paid to go glorified sports fishing and see the coast. Chase them north and south.
that's what I do for a living. But it's not a job. It is just awsome.
At least that way you have an income and are not going backwards. You can fish as much or as little as you want.
we have a 6v92 in the boat as a main and a 4bt running a 50 kilowatt genset. If we are running both for 24 hours it's 130 gallons a day. Pushing a 53 by 18 by 8 foot hull. Has all the amenities we need and packs 4000 gallons of fuel. Enough to go to Hawaii or wherever you want. Takes about 50 fish a day to break even and pay for fuel. You don't have to clean them. Only bleed and freeze and they offload them for you when you sell.
 
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Just going to throw this option out there for you. Buy a tuna troller and liecense. Get paid to go glorified sports fishing and see the coast. Chase them north and south.
that's what I do for a living. But it's not a job. It is just awsome.
At least that way you have an income and are not going backwards. You can fish as much or as little as you want.
we have a 6v92 in the boat as a main and a 4bt running a 50 kilowatt genset. If we are running both for 24 hours it's 130 gallons a day. Pushing a 53 by 18 by 8 foot hull. Has all the amenities we need and packs 4000 gallons of fuel. Enough to go to Hawaii or wherever you want. Takes about 50 fish a day to break even and pay for fuel. You don't have to clean them. Only bleed and freeze and they offload them for you when you sell.

That is an amazing lifestyle.

Congrats!

I am really impressed, I would have loved to have had that experience in life.
 
That is an amazing lifestyle.

Congrats!

I am really impressed, I would have loved to have had that experience in life.

Best part is since it's a Canadian boat we can really only fish from June till october... damn your countries 200nm limit 😆. So the boat in an average season catches in-between 100 000to 150 000 lbs at 2 to 4 $ a lbs depending on markets. Pretty decent chunk of change for glorified sports fishing :smokin:. And I only work for 4 months or so haha.

Also with a commercial license moorage goes way down. In Canada it's a $1 a foot a day in most places
 
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I had a friend here at work quit about 4 years ago. Bought a sail boat and fucked around for three years in the gulf and the Caribbean. He came back to work last year. Said he was glad he did it but was ready to come home.
 
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