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Old 09-10-2014, 06:59 PM   #21
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Indoor plumbing was a big hit awhile back...and I think it's still caught on. Even the smallest boat can be adequately equipped to deal with today's plumbing requirements without having to "bag it".

Not saying composting is bad...but the vast majority of modern people choose to deal with sewage another way.

As to doing the loop more than once...people do it..but probably less than those that started off thinking they would do it multiple times.

But many sections of it are worth repeating many times over.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:44 PM   #22
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So how does a responsible full time cruiser deal with sanitation if a composting head doesn't work?
Pump outs are getting easier to find on both coasts. And of course if you are on the coast, there is the 3 mile line. If after appropriate research, you think it may be an issue, add holding tank capacity to your specifications. Heads that don't use much water is another spec. There is a reason you don't see many composting toilets on boats. My sister has one at a cabin, and I will say they are not so maintenance free either. I would definitely do what I could to avoid having to deploy one.
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Old 09-11-2014, 01:11 AM   #23
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Couple of thoughts to add

I work on boats that people bought as bargains. These boats quickly become unbelievable money pits. If you think about it everything that has to be fixed needs to be removed ( labor) and replaced at retail prices plus labor , engineering, as you will probably using something else to replace it with. Everything takes longer on a boat as there are almost no standard pieces, everything is custom. BUY THE BEST BOAT YOU CAN AFFORD.
Unlike houses boats go down in value, just because you pour a lot of money in a boat it doesn't mean you will get it back when you sell.

If you're young, one of the things you will be missing out on is the inflation that a home would earn you while your living on that boat. You will be losing some the money you invested in the boat and probably all of the money you spent repairing it.
That's a factor that you need to consider long term.
If your old and retired you should have built your nest egg by the time you retire on a boat missing out on the American dream isn't so significant.
I live on a 48' boat, in my opinion while tied to a dock you can live cheaper on a boat and have water front property without yard maintenance. Maintaining a boat in my opinion is less work than a home with lawns and gardens. Living a minimalist life style isn't for me. My boat has all the amenities of a small home including zoned air, washer and drier, and real household appliances. I think if you want to last , you'll need to not make too many sacrifices. Dragging your laundry to a launderette gets real old fast. Taking spit baths, having to manage electrical power every day doesn't cut it for me. I want a proper shower and the ability to make toast , coffee , and have heat at the same time. There are weekend boats and liveaboard boats.
If you like to have toys like cars and motorcycles you will have to find storage. If you like having a garage to work in, well that will have to rented. or live without. This is a big switch, it's not for everybody.
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Old 09-11-2014, 07:37 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post

The reality is that holding tanks need to be pumped out every 5-10 days. That is ok for people who have the money to stay at marinas and use their pump outs (if they work!).

I think for a liveaboard situation, I might investigate on of the treatment plants.

Might do that anyway, eventually...

Not many no-discharge zones around here, so far.

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Old 09-12-2014, 06:32 AM   #25
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The composting toilets work , but require that you do a minor bit of work, like dumping the liquid tank.

Far less work is what most folks do , install a marine toilet with holding tank and dump it underway or at night.

It is easy to install a setup that is USCG police perfect , yet can do what is needed.

Running the loop a pump out is polite as the CN drink their lake water.
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Old 09-13-2014, 03:42 PM   #26
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A lot of great advice.
I'll only add that if you do nothing else, read some books by folks who have done pretty much what you're planning.

Getting an idea of the range of experiences out there will save you bags of money and give you a direction you need to have.

Lastly, going upriver in any river is not fun.
To do it for any length of time more then ONE day is the reason you've not heard of anyone doing the loop backwards.

Good luck and welcome to the camp
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Old 09-13-2014, 05:48 PM   #27
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I suppose you should know about these guyz here. I don't know what their original intention was, but they are on their 24th loop, doing basically as you have described. I think they must be a fascinating couple, and their boat selection was a Krogen Manatee 36, which is a very spacious and economical vessel built specifically for that kind of cruising. They purchased the boat new and I think they're on their 4th engine.
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Old 09-14-2014, 06:25 AM   #28
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To do it for any length of time more then ONE day is the reason you've not heard of anyone doing the loop backwards.

The loop has been run >backwards< since the 1960s , mostly by small outboard power boats . At 25K a 4K current is not a big deal.

But the std of living ( basically camping out) on a small OB may not impress todays marine motorist.
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Old 09-14-2014, 02:27 PM   #29
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Good to hear the news on the composting toilet. I don't see why I'd need to use one with my budget... and I am doing research on the sanitization systems you can get if I needed or ever wanted to go that route.

The 36ft boats seem to have what we would need, but going larger would be appealing as we would be living 100% out of the boat. I really like the Monk36, and the layout of the DeFever designed boats but I am not putting on blinders when it comes to brands.

Already I've had family and close friends steering me away from this, saying I'm crazy, what about the future, etc...
It seems doing something like this before retirement is rather un-herd of. I'd imagine for good reason, but I'd excited to be taking the risk.

Again, thank you all for the continued input.
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:17 PM   #30
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It may be unheard of in Grand rapids but is reasonably common in certain areas.

Summering in Michigan and Wintering in Fl is pretty aggressive travel. Just going from Jersey to Fl takes about a month and one return for my 4 months off from my job. So it's less about being there and more about getting out of cold and snow as quickly as possible.

I'm on my 3rd liveaboard...1st time Ft Lauderdale, Fl while in the USCG then Annapolis, Md for a couple before I retired. Anything can be done with enough fortitude....it's just something that takes commitment on many levels.

The "future" is a combo of what you make it and what comes down the road to a degree. If they are talking money...as most people fear being poor when they retire/get older...as long as you have a plan and live to it....it doesn't matter if a nest egg is in cash or a house...so living aboard isn't much different if you plan and "re-label" how and where you spend you money and save it.
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Old 09-15-2014, 12:13 AM   #31
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Lastly, going upriver in any river is not fun.
To do it for any length of time more then ONE day is the reason you've not heard of anyone doing the loop backwards.

Good luck and welcome to the camp
Going up the Columbia is a blast and fun
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:50 AM   #32
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I work on boats that people bought as bargains. Living a minimalist life style isn't for me. My boat has all the amenities of a small home including zoned air, washer and drier, and real household appliances. I think if you want to last , you'll need to not make too many sacrifices. Dragging your laundry to a launderette gets real old fast.
Scary I like your post. I saw your post on the Newbies thread. You mentioned that you weren't going to give up certain things. My wife and I are looking to be live aboards in 6-10 years and I've been making a list of things that are "got to haves" so far its a full size shower, toilet, refrigerator queen/kingsize bed, washer dryer, zoned AC & heat and a watermaker. What else could you recommend? Thanks in advance
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:52 AM   #33
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Scary I like your post. I saw your post on the Newbies thread. You mentioned that you weren't going to give up certain things. My wife and I are looking to be live aboards in 6-10 years and I've been making a list of things that are "got to haves" so far its a full size shower, toilet, refrigerator queen/kingsize bed, washer dryer, zoned AC & heat and a watermaker. What else could you recommend? Thanks in advance
Why the water maker? Do a total cost of ownership analysis first. That is, assuming you will be buying water somewhere like the islands and your usage thereof. I was already to install one, but could never get it to pencil out unless we were pretty much full time in pay-for-water waters.

Have you done any cruising yet? So many issues are personal choice, no right or wrong answer.

By the way, after years of chartering boats of different sizes and configurations, we too had all your items other than the WM and never regretted it; quite the contrary. More importantly, begin to understand all the ergonomics (and potential economics) of handling, running, repairing and maintaining the boat. Creature comforts are nice, but if the boat is a misery for you to go boating in, only provide some solace as she becomes a dock queen.
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:28 PM   #34
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Hi George,

I was figuring the water maker for more self sufficiency and longer showers LOL. The personal choice items are what make it more liveaboardable for the both of us. And keeping the repairs to a dull roar is optimum!
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Old 09-16-2014, 08:46 PM   #35
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If keeping repairs to a dull roar is a goal, than a watermaker is not such a great idea. They are high maintenance items. But again, it completely depends on where you are boating and for how long, in some cruising scenarios I could definitely see the utility.

Living aboard full time on moorings or at anchor, 350 gallons (plus 30 in the water heater) lasted us a long time, we could stretch it out to 3 or 4 weeks even with a dishwasher and clothes washer on board. One of the best upgrades we made to the boat was a Watercounter, which keeps very precise track of what is left in the tank. Thus we learned what various lengths of shower used, or settings on the washers.
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:46 AM   #36
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>As for the journey, I can see how that could get very tiring on a slow boat.<

Really depends on your Karma.

Some love the months actually using the boat on a cruise.

However the time can be cut in half with a faster boat.

MONEY will be the key .

If 1500 miles requires 1500+ gal of fuel , will the half time journey become too expensive?

The first few years it is better to contemplate a marina for the sitting season , and anchoring out for the transit period.

All hook, All the time , is a delight , but most owners and boats need time (and cash) to get the boat in an operating condition that works for the owners newest lifestyle.

Lighting , cooking , heat , ventilation are all different away from the power hose.
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Old 09-23-2014, 09:46 AM   #37
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I like the mission, just think some expectations might end up being adjusted and you would have to ask yourself if we didn't want to bring the vessel back and forth then what?
My dream for retiring was house in Maine and condo in Florida and take the boat back and forth, did one trip to Florida and Bahamas then back and I can tell you we loved the trip, but have no interest in repeating the journey, couldn't image doing it twice a year, yea I know people do it, just not me, and coming from Mich is even a longer trip.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:17 AM   #38
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I will chime in and pass on the advice I received several years ago - "Don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest you can live on". We have a 36' Gulfstar that needed work, and we spent two years getting her ready. We spent this summer on the Erie Canal, and loved it! Had to replace a injection pump on one of the Perkins, but wasn't surprised as it was 40 years old. We'll replace the other one next year before we leave again.
I considered the compost toilet, but went with an RV style gravity toilet atop a 30 gallon holding tank. Uses about a pint of fresh water, and is simple. One moving part, and gravity hasn't failed me yet.
Fresh water is easy to replace wherever you go in the US. Some use bottled water to drink, but we haven't had any issues with "town" water yet.
Going slow is something you have to get used to. Out-running weather isn't an option at 7 kts. Our biggest challenge is to have the patience to wait out the weather on Lake Erie for ideal conditions. Hard to do sometimes. The worst thing to do is try and meet a schedule. You'll find yourself pushing your comfort/safety limits to "be there by Thursday".
We sold the house and most things in it, and rent an apartment for now. Best thing we ever did. It is liberating to get rid of "stuff" that you accumulate over time.
Make a want/need list. Then do research, ask around, and be brutally honest with yourself. Many "needs" are really wants, and can hold you back from getting on the water and living your dream.
Best of luck on your search.
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Old 09-23-2014, 10:52 AM   #39
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A real refrigerator

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Originally Posted by Ctsearay View Post
Scary I like your post. I saw your post on the Newbies thread. You mentioned that you weren't going to give up certain things. My wife and I are looking to be live aboards in 6-10 years and I've been making a list of things that are "got to haves" so far its a full size shower, toilet, refrigerator queen/kingsize bed, washer dryer, zoned AC & heat and a watermaker. What else could you recommend? Thanks in advance
I agree that a watermaker is probably only needed if you are in a place where there is no water, or you have to buy it. Tankage is the answer. I carry 450 gallons.
Walk around bed is important, nothing gets older than having to crawl over someone or crawling into a bed from the end.
Hanging closet space, heated in cold climates.
Storage, storage , storage, accessible storage. ( not under the couch or under the dinette.
Comfortable furniture, loose recliner, real couch with a back that's not vertical.
Quiet fans and blowers, toilets.
Good Quiet water pressure with a accumulator At least 50psi.
Shore power, at least 50 amps 240 volts.
A real range, propane or electric, I have a Jenair with electric grill and down draft vent.
A good sized sink, and enough counter space to prepare food.
The list goes on and on. It is possible to get by with a minimalist approach, people live in 26' express cruisers and small sail boats with kerosene lights. To each his own.
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Old 09-24-2014, 05:12 AM   #40
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Great post Scary! My list is getting more well defined. Yeah I only was interested in the watermaker for less reliance on poor water quality at some marinas.
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