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Old 12-24-2012, 05:15 PM   #81
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Good thread, big subject

I'm new to this forum and ran across this thread, last post back in July. Thought I'd give it a bump and see if Danno had any luck finding the perfect liveaboard!

I spent a decade living aboard a 34ft sailboat in my younger (single) years, and now my wife and I live aboard (not full time, I admit) a 37ft powerboat. I've spent the last 30 years in the boat biz as a repairer, installer and surveyor, so I've got more than a few opinions. There have been a lot of good ideas expressed here, by many experienced boat owners. I have raised most of the same issues in seminars I have led at Trawlerfest the past couple of years on exactly this subject: how to find, and refit, an older boat for living aboard and serious cruising.

As a liveaboard who's also an active cruiser, I needed to find a boat with the right dockside amenities *and* the right cruising features. I agree with the several posters here who have said that finding the boat already equipped the way you want it is the way to go.

We knew we'd found what we needed two years ago when we found our Uniflite in Anacortes. My wife had already decided that the Coastal Cruiser had the layout she liked I had already owned three smaller Uniflites, and I was impressed with the equipment list: Webasto hydronic heat, almost new Northern Lights generator, oversized house battery bank and inverter/charger, recent Simrad autopilot, almost new windlass with two sets of ground tackle, and Perkins diesels with numerous spares, shop manual and a complete logbook showing continuous maintenance.

If you add up parts & labor for the heating system, the generator, the inverter and battery bank, the autopilot and the windlass, you get a total that's just about what we paid for the boat!

We bought it in November from experienced cruisers who had reached 80 years old and had decided it was time to give it up. In the two years we've had it, we've redone the interior, replaced the fridge, cleaned up the fuel system, added a battery monitor, rebuilt the cooling systems on both engines, re-plumbed the hydronic system to preheat the engines, and replaced the dinghy. We've still got a lot of stuff to do - add a new davit for the dinghy, replace most of the canvas, numerous electrical projects - but the boat is comfortable and functional.

Aside from the upholstery and carpeting, we've done all the work ourselves. My experience, and a couple of wholesale accounts at marine suppliers, has saved us a pile of money. I'm not getting any younger, and I won't be able to keep jamming myself into corners to do the grunt work for much longer, so I want to get most of the major stuff done in the next couple of years. It will be easier when I retire next summer - both to find time to work on the boat, and to go cruising!

So, anyway, Danno, what have you learned so far? Have you found a boat to live on? Let us know how your plans are proceeding.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:17 PM   #82
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I know it's been awhile since this thread has been active but I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. I'd like to refresh the question to our panel of experts with a slight shift: I am single, 56 but with good knees ;-). Thinking of something 37-42 feet. I will be primarily in Southern or Central California, so a lot of outside/sundeck living will be done. I am a writer, so I will be spending a lot of time on the craft. If I could find a boat with one large (aft?) cabin, an occasional sleeper in V-berth or even sofa in parlor, that would be optimum. Single diesel would be great and of course all in wonderful shape, newer than 1972* and cheap (I know, I know... pick any two).

OK, have at this newbie! Much thanks.

*[Flexible here, just want fiberglass]
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:40 PM   #83
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1978 Marine Trader Double Cabin Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

View Boat Photos - YachtWorld.com

This may let you see what a cheap price can get you. I would say make almost any offer, and don't be surprised if it is accepted.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #84
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Nice One~

Nice boat! Thanks for the input. I've spent hours on YachtWorld, mostly looking at the West Coast states. But shipping is not as much as I had feared, so perhaps I should broaden my search.

I love Grand Banks (I've only seen a few in person), but the single beds in the main cabin would make me crazy. I've read good things about MT (and their Asian brethren), so long as one checks out the ply inside the walls, right? The 1870's Chris Craft Catalinas look nice, tho I don't know about build quality. Tolly's look marvelous, but of course one pays for the privilege.

Then there is the flock of oddballs/risky ones: wood hulls, weird makers, one-offs. Some great prices, but ohhh the pain, the pain... I just cannot see myself backing out a couple thousand brass screws and replacing caulking. I wish I could say otherwise, but it's important to be honest with one's self. I've done some house improvement and auto resto, but I know it's not a transferable skill set.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:47 PM   #85
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I've done some house improvement and auto resto, but I know it's not a transferable skill set.
Well it is and it isn't a transferable skill. Throwing away the framing square and learning to scribe is a good start. Good painting and varnishing skills transfer. Most diesel skills will transfer. Building a library of how to on boats will be a big help. Above all patience is a virtue.

For my money, Many Boats has it right. Get a boat that someone has dumped the money and work into. You will be ahead starting out.
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Old 07-12-2013, 08:59 PM   #86
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Agreed. The trick is to find one that had money dumped into the right places, with the right skill set and results. It always seems to be a trade-off... recent cooling upgrades but high engine hours... new electronics but old plumbing (these are just examples; I can do fine with old electronics), square footage vs... wood hull.

I know this is not news to you guys, just gives a shopper a headache sometimes. But time is the buyer's friend; impatience/zealousness/stupidity his enemy, right?

As mentioned, for the first few years (during which I will amass some boat upgrade money) I will be spending far more time at the dock than on the far side of the breakwater, so livability is key.
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:14 AM   #87
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Any thoughts on the Chris Craft 420 Catalina? Interesting layout (tho I have not yet seen it in person), and looks like it would either be very spacious of a fussy pain in the neck.

Downside of this particular vessel- gas engines have 4500 hrs each...
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Old 07-13-2013, 04:37 AM   #88
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Any thoughts on the Chris Craft 420 Catalina? Interesting layout (tho I have not yet seen it in person), and looks like it would either be very spacious of a fussy pain in the neck.

Downside of this particular vessel- gas engines have 4500 hrs each...
Would this be the boat?

National Liquidators - 1987 Chris Craft 420 Catalina AC, 42 ft. - National Liquidators

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1987...s#.UeES0o3VCSo
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Old 07-13-2013, 07:42 AM   #89
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Get a boat that you don't mind looking at .You will spend a lot of time looking at it.
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Old 07-13-2013, 11:22 AM   #90
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Get a boat that you don't mind looking at .You will spend a lot of time looking at it.
Of all the things to consider when buying a boat, and there are dozens, this TF member has hit on one that I think is very important. Whatever you decide you're going to do with the boat, there will be maintenance, insurance, slip fees, etc. and if you "love looking at the boat", all those costs are more easily swallowed.

I can't help it but I absolutely love looking at my boat!
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:11 PM   #91
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Craig- indeed it is. Really interesting split-level setup, tho I would imagine the Galley can be a bit of a cave...

And agreed about "looking at the boat." My Coronado 25 was an ugly little thing (tho she sailed well); the 27 I had was much handsomer. If I had my druthers, I'd be buying some Lake Union 1925 wood cutter/yacht, but sanity prevails over looks in that case. I like the cut of most trawlers, but the Grand Banks Europa sure has a nice set of lines...
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:14 PM   #92
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So now that the Chris 420 is out in the open, thoughts?
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Old 07-13-2013, 12:48 PM   #93
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Walt, that Chris may be cluttering up a dock next to your boat... it's in SD as well
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Old 07-13-2013, 05:37 PM   #94
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walt, that chris may be cluttering up a dock next to your boat... It's in sd as well
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:54 PM   #95
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Welcome Dan, We have a large flybridge but the nicest place to eat drink and chat is the cockpit, with instant access to the cabin. Some trawlers have a longer cabin which makes cockpit sitting area too small.
Something I noticed about quite a number of trawlers....rear deck cockpits too small to really be of use,...and often not covered.
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Old 10-11-2016, 12:37 PM   #96
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these are most of the questions that quickly come to my mind, as i also embark on my journey of retirement on the sea. so perhaps you could give me some quick advice, as i give you my rundown

i'm married, no kids and look to retire with my wife in about 2 years. i embrace the spartan lifestyle. my whole wardrobe fits in one suitcase
i love the trawler for it's amount of liveable space that's protected from the elements. flybridge not wanted, but upper galley a must. my wife cooks fish. we will mostly be parked in a marina nearby our condo, but a little light fishing and some island hopping up to 100 miles at times as well. looking to spend $150-$250K, depending on what i find. while there is no skill or technical knowledge that i don't possess; i've done every trade in building houses, fully restored autos for years, HVAC, appliance repair, computer programmer, you name it. still, i prefer newer and smaller (28'-34') at my age (51) not being a slave anymore to problems and upkeep in retirement. if i had to pick something from what i've been looking at, i'd say "american tug" 34' roughly 2006-2012. with the set of initial questions you put out, i think you may have the insight that can help point me in the right direction. please give me your feedback?
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Old 10-11-2016, 02:51 PM   #97
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my journey of retirement on the sea.

....we will mostly be parked in a marina nearby our condo, but a little light fishing and some island hopping up to 100 miles at times as well.
So where is this condo?

And you only expect to travel 100 or so miles from it??
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Old 10-11-2016, 03:59 PM   #98
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our condo is in cebu, philippines. the logistics and steps of having a liveaboard vessel in that area is a whole big topic of discussion itself. even though the country is made up of over 6,000 islands, my main use of my vessel would be as a houseboat. i may change my berths from time to time, but just a few miles from my marina for some fishing and open sea is all i need to mark a perfect day.


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So where is this condo?

And you only expect to travel 100 or so miles from it??
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Old 10-11-2016, 05:24 PM   #99
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We are not flybridge fans either... we're IN retirement and looking to keep at this game of fun boating as long as reasonable and feel the less stairs, ladders the better.

We spend most of our time in / around our marina & lake but do travel on canal, great lakes, etc usually once / yr for 4-6 wks. Our 34 is a great boat for 2 people.

We looked at galley "up" layouts but didn't like them as they were rather spartan galleys and cut into living space. Ours is 2 stpes down but open to saloon & light / air etc - best compromise for us - really like it compared to completely down or up

Our Bacchus website (linked below) has some pics, projects etc - take a look and ask any questions that might come to mind
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Old 10-13-2016, 12:44 AM   #100
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Sticking with original question.. Grand Banks, followed close by Defever and Sea Ranger... No trawler just for coastal and lakes, Bluewater
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