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Old 12-07-2010, 09:16 PM   #1
vjm
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New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP

Hi everyone,
I have been reading everything on the site, and thought it would be polite to introduce myself, rather than creeping around anonomously.

I am 40, finishing my last year in law school after many years a chef, and have been interested in living aboard for the past three years. I started researching seriously about a year and a half ago, but then my boyfriend and I broke up, and I didn't feel comfortable with the idea of doing it on my own.

I rethought the whole thing, and realized I can do this alone. Just differently. I will be working in West Palm Beach when I graduate in May, so expensive dockage and RIDICULOUS* insurance (if you can get it). Back to the drawing board.

I came up with the following:

1. I won't be making a ton of money, so I need to keep the whole thing as affordable as possible.

2. I will be using the boat to live on, to go offshore a couple nights a week and eat dinner, and anchor out/ stay on the hook somewhere on weekends, hopefully going to the Bahamas when possible. I will be single handing a lot of this, although frineds may come along sometimes.

3. I would love to do the Loop, but probably not in this boat. It is possible though.

4. I* have no real boating experience. Small boats yes, but nothing relevant.

5. I know jack about engines, electrical stuff or plumbing.

So, I decided I need:

1. To charter a small trawler in August and see if I even like them.

2. Take all the boating classes I can. Knowledge, and insurance break.

3. Take a bunch of classes in diesel engines, electric, plumbing. Community college? I wouldn't mind getting certified in marine diesels.*

4. I need a starter boat, one I love, that is in my budget to buy, keep safe and use.

Initially, I was looking at Hatteras (Hatterii?) of all sizes. I loved their lines and the solid fiberglass keel.* But, I feel better about a single engine, in terms of cost and chance of damage in case of a "bump". I need something that is easy on fuel if I am going to be able to go out and use the boast.

So, I looked and looked. Then I found the perfect boat for me (I think): the Prairie 29/ Atlantic 30. They fit a lot of my "gotta haves" (to the extent that I know what those are right now), and they have a family resemblance to a Hatteras.

This was way longer than I intended, so thank you for reading if you made it all the way to here.

Does this seem reasonable to all you experienced boaters? Any advice welcome.

Thanks in advance, and thank you for a great site!

Virginia
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Old 12-07-2010, 09:30 PM   #2
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Welcome, Virginia.* Come on in the water is fine.* There is a great amount of knowledge to be gained here.* The good thing about this*forum is the willingness to share info.

You have a discerning eye.* I believe that the Prairie 29 was designed by Jack Hargrave.* He was the designer of almost all of the early Hatteras yachts.* Most are classics with fine lines.

Whatever boat you pick*get a good hull and engine survey.

-- Edited by Moonstruck on Tuesday 7th of December 2010 10:32:05 PM
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:15 PM   #3
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RE: New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP

VirginiaWelcome to our group and most importantly, to life on a boat.
I'm not familiar with the Prairie other than a couple photos seen here, but having been aboard many boats while doing safety inspections, I don't think that I could live on that small a boat. I would think I could put up with a thirty six footer, if it were a tri-cabin, offering an extra stateroom just for off season clothes and miscellaneous storage. I recommend you make a realistic list of all the stuff you would insist on having aboard, and then visit a broker for a bunch of boat visits.
I think you will love living on a boat if you can get the right one. Living aboard can be challenging enough without leaving yourself short of space. Enjoy the search. And again, welcome. Don't be bashful. Ask every question that comes to mind.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:48 AM   #4
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Yes, Welcome Virginia. Sounds like you have researched quite a bit already, and that is a sign you are not all pie in the sky, and will do ok. I would just reiterate what the others have said....you can't have too much room in a boat, but that also needs to translate into what's affordable and useable in terms of overall size, so keep planning and looking. The right one for you will come along. But yes - doing all those classes will never be wasted. Don't forget to include one on basic seamanship and rules of the road, either....
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:23 AM   #5
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to go offshore a couple nights a week and eat dinner

I think you mean run somewhere inside and anchor.

Outside is the OCEAN , with the Gulf Stream not far out, and rough and difficult (deep!!!) anchoring.

A 32- 36 ft Tiawan boat should run about $20K - $25K in useable live aboard condition .

A Hat 40 here, went for that price , so keep looking as the Hat is a far better boat .
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:27 AM   #6
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I will go against what others are saying because I lived on a P29 for 5 years!!! My then girlfriend(who is now my wife) lived on it with me for 3 of those years. The P29 is an excellent boat and an excellent liveaboard. I do not know how they fit all of that space in 29ft but it is amazingly roomy. There was one time in Port Aransas,Tx where we were on a little trip and trying to get a transient slip. The harbor master met us at the boat. They had rates that were up to 30ft and then 30-40,etc. I told him the boat was 29ft and he said, "NO WAY"...and we ended up having to pay the price in the 30-40 range...I showed him the survery and everything....no dice...I guess you had to be there but it was funny because he wouldn't budge and admit the boat was less than 30ft. It is definitely the "little boat that could"!!! I'll post a pic when I get on a different computer!!! What makes it work as a liveaboard more than anything are 3 GIANT drawers backed up by 3 smaller drawers and a huge hanging locker!!!...space you rarely find in boats all the way up to 40ft. Just make sure you get one with the biger engine(85hp on the Prairies.....the Atlantics had bigger engines in them....they even built a couple with twins). Anyway, welcome aboard and good luck. You can do it!!!
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:31 AM   #7
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RE: New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP

Welcome,

The size of the boat and the one*vs two engine discussion could (and will)*go on for ever.* As a Chef I'm sure you are use to working in confined spaces more than once so the smaller size may not be much of an issue.

You might consider using your skills as a Chef to worm your way aboard a crew to move a larger boat from the south north in the spring.* Good experience.

Enjoy and have fun.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:34 AM   #8
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I thought you might be quite encouraging re her boat choice leaning John, and thanks for the down-under events pozzie. (Antipodean for position).
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:27 PM   #9
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Hello Virginia and welcome. I'm in a similar situation. Early forties, I was looking for a boat on which I could live during the summer (would love to do it year round but I live in a northern climate!). I was also looking at the Prairie 29 because I liked the lines and the small size. Ended up buying a slightly bigger boat (Marine Trader Sedan 34) because that's what happened to be on the market when I was ready to make the move. So look around and the right boat will present itself at the right time.

And don't worry about all the things you don't know. If you are curious and hard working (I have the feeling you are from your message) you will learn what you need to know along the way. Most systems on older boats are not that complicated and you can learn a lot from books, sites like this one and from asking around at the marina. Most DIY boaters are eager to share their knowledge and will even give you a hand on occasion.

Owning a boat is a great journey. Enjoy the ride and don't worry too much about the details. Before you know it you will be sipping a cold drink at anchor watching the sunset with your friends.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:20 PM   #10
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Thank you so much everyone. Those are all great suggestions and observations, and I will certainly remember them all.

Surveys are an absolute must. I like getting a thorough "to do" list from a neutral and knowledgeable party, and I am sure the insurance folks will want one.

It is a small boat, but I am one of those people who is happiest with very little "stuff". I will have to see how I feel about the size once I have actually been on one. This is all based on internet research and pictures, and the reality could be very different.

FF- You can see how much I have to learn. Thank you, that is just what I meant.

Baker- Your posts were some of the first I saw when I googled "Prairie 29", and it was great to hear that it has been done as a liveaboard. I so agree about the available storage. The overall design really made me feel like someone was thinking when they designed it (Thank you, Mr. Hargrave!). So far I have seen a bunch that I am assuming were repowered with bigger engines. There is one on YachtWorld right now with a 200. I am hoping for something in the 85 hp range, if I can find it when the time comes. Could you comment on galley up v. galley down? I think I would prefer a galley down (JD is right, smaller cooking spaces are actually more comfortable for me), but I don't really get what that layout does to the rest of the space.

Thank you all!
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:41 PM   #11
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RE: New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP

I had a Camano 31, lenght on deck 28', very roomy boat inside and well made. Small side decks so it has a large salon for it's size. No separate shower stall, might be inconvenient for liveaboard.
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:47 PM   #12
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Great suggestion, Steve! I am fine with no separate shower, since I use the one at the gym in the morning anyway.

Thanks!
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:58 PM   #13
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Also give the Califronian 34 a look as well as the older Mainship 34 Sedans. THose were the 3 I cross shopped with the Prairie. The wife ultimately made the decision....or at the very least, influenced mine.
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:07 PM   #14
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Hiya,
** Ms. vjm.* A belated welcome and to comment on your thread title "New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP"...Surprise, you've already joined!!!!!
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Old 12-08-2010, 08:39 PM   #15
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Quote:
vjm wrote:

*Any advice welcome.

A person can live on any size boat they need to live on.* For a single person a 29' foot boat would work fine.* You just need to have a realistic idea of how much stuff you can accumulate.

Your idea of chartering a boat as a first step is a good one.* If you have little or no boating experience a charter company may require you to take some "lessons" or go with someone who has sufficient experience.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking you have to have all sorts of knowledge and instruction to get into boating.* You don't.* Most people buy a boat they can afford and comprehend size-wise and learn to operate it pretty much on their own.* Taking the Power Squadron or USCG Auxiliary boating class is a smart thing to do, in my opinion.* My wife and I did this when we bought our first boat, a 17' Arima fishing boat and it was worth it.

Boating, like pretty much everything else, is 80 or 90 percent common sense.* Yes, you need to know how to navigate and the rules of the road and so on.* But you don't need to know everything there is to know about them before buying a boat.

In my opinion the number one rule in boating is the same as the number one rule in flying a plane--- Know Your Limitations.*

Almost everyone I know in boating didn't take lessons or read every book on the subject.* They got a suitable boat and started boating.* Forums like this are good sources of information but every question you ask, from how many engines are best to what kind of anchor is best to what's the best way to tie up a boat will get you so many opinions and counter-opinions that you may well end up more puzzled than you were before you asked the question.* And as you read through all the answers, opinions, and arguments, it may intimidate you into thinking there's no way you can learn what you need to know in order to start boating.

So my recommendation is this--- don't give the forums much weight in your decision-making process.* Try to find out answers to your questions by asking people in person--- boaters in your area who are doing things with their boats similar to what you want to do, and have boats similar to what you think might work for you.* Forums are great for spouting out a lot of theory, but theory has a way of overwhelming reality and intimidating the hell out of someone who doesn't already have a pretty good base knowledge of the topic.*

The local boaters, shipwrights, boatyards, diesel shops, electronics shops, etc. in your area are--- in my opinion--- the best sources of information for you since they are all dealing with the same environment, cruising grounds, marinas, etc. that you'll be dealing with.* A boater in the Pacific Northwest will tell you all sorts of stuff about navigating, anchoring, marinas, ad infinitum, much of most of which won't be all that applicable to you if you're in Florida or boating the ICW.* Unless the boater giving you the advice has boated these waters, too.

Reading stuff is a good way to put together a base knowledge of boating topics--- at least you won't be faced with a real-time*deluge of conflicting opinions when you read a book.

But above all, don't get intimidated by what you don't know.* There was a day when every boater on this forum didn't know squat-all about boats.* We all started out with an interest, which turned into a desire, which manifested itself in the acquisition of our first boat (or for some their only boat), and the learning began.* Boating forums didn't exist when my wife and I decided to get into boating.* We talked to people with the same interests we had, we chartered a boat, and one thing led to another and here we are.*

Had we never learned about or participated in boating forums--- be it the Grand Banks owners forum, Trawlers & Trawlering, this one or others--- I doubt our boating experience would have been any different.* We learned to work on the boat from shipwrights we met in our marina and from books on brightwork and whatnot, and we met people along the way like Carey of this forum who taught me a huge amount about boating in these waters, from the best ways to dock to picking our way among the infinite number of rocks and reefs in the islands.**We knew about navigation from flying planes, but we learned about marine navigation from talking to people about what the best systems were, deciding what to put on our own boat, and then learning how to use it.

But most of our learning has been and continues to be comprised of applying common sense.* That and the inherent ability to know if a person you're talking to really is knowledgable or is just feeding you a bunch of theory and BS.* If you've got those two things working for you, the rest of it's actually very easy.



*
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:14 PM   #16
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RE: New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP

VirginiaMore thoughts from my noodle. If you do only one thing toward increasing your knowledge of boating and boating safety, I would highly recommend the USCG Auxiliary "Boating Safety and Seamanship" course. It is far superior to others. It is an intensive course that if taken in it's original form, is about six weeks of two hour classes, two nights a week. In addition to that, you might consider purchase of "Chapman's Piloting, Seamanship & Small Boat Handling". Read it, and keep it on the boat. A good book on diesel mechanics will be another best friend in the boat library.


I must also speak to the size issue. The Prairie 29 appears to be an awesome little boat, and reminds me a lot of the first boat I chartered. It was a 30' Camano built in Canada. It also felt like a much bigger boat. It truly felt like about 35' inside. I have my doubts about galley down being the best option on that boat, but if I was wrong, it would be at least the second time.*
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:34 PM   #17
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RE: New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP

Virginia:

All the advise written here so far has been well intentioned but here's the bottom line:
You are a 40 year old female and single! Buy a boat to follow your dream, park it in a marina, and believe me, you are going to have more help than you want!
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:47 PM   #18
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RE: New poster, looking forward to joining you all ASAP

Carey, the Prairies were galley up. I did see an Atlantic 30 with a galley down...it seemed like it worked although I have no idea. A P29 has a 12ft beam...a lot of beam for a boat that size.

And I agree with Walt...
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Old 12-08-2010, 09:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
Baker wrote:

Carey, the Prairies were galley up. I did see an Atlantic 30 with a galley down...it seemed like it worked although I have no idea. A P29 has a 12ft beam...a lot of beam for a boat that size.

And I agree with Walt...
I also agree with Walt, but let's not scare Virginia. She might want a little quiet time on the boat.*

The Prairie appears to be identical to a boat I chartered years ago, but it was 30', and was built (I believe), by Camano, in British Columbia, prior to the models they build today. It was also a very nice boat. That particular boat was powered with a 250 hp Cummins, and cruised at 11 knots. Way overpowered, but handled like a dream.

*
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:28 PM   #20
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I am sure I will need all the help I can get, and I don't scare easy, but I do want to be able to evaluate who knows what they are talking about when they are helping. Or even, what they are talking about.

Marin, thank you so much for that post. It is easy to loose track of the fact that boating is something you do, not something you just study. I am looking forward very much to moving to Florida in May and starting to get some perspective from locals.

Carey, I just ordered Chapman's for myself for Christmas, and I will look into a USCG course for spring. Can't hurt to get this show on the road. I have a Calder book, and I read it without really totally "getting" it. I am the same with cooking. I can see what a recipe is getting at, but until I jump in and get my hands dirty, it doesn't really come alive for me. Thank you so much for the great suggestions.

Those Californians are a nice option as well. I found a 30 in TN I liked enough to spend a few minutes trying to figure out what one of my kidneys would bring on the open market so I could buy it right now. Sigh...
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