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Old 01-18-2016, 06:12 PM   #1
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Really considering the plunge

Hello all.

We are mid atlantic family with a five year plan to retire (semi if necessary) with much of our time to be spent in the Pacific NW. We are seriously considering a liveaboard trawler to explore and pick that perfect town/marina to spend most of the time. We have not been trawler owners/liveaboarders but spent several years living and sailing the texas coast on a full keel sloop. Most importantly we havent lived in the pacific nw.....My wifes dream has been to find a great marina in SE Alaska.

So much to learn! Boats? (older but ready to cruise, i am thinking a minumum of 47 with a budget of less then $250K, three staterooms), great marinas for live aboards? good towns (Sitka)? Perminant slips (waiting lists)?

Advise is greatly appreciated!

The Cline
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:18 PM   #2
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Greetings,
Welcome aboard.
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Old 01-18-2016, 07:54 PM   #3
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Welcome to the forum! Sounds like a great adventure.

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Old 01-18-2016, 09:00 PM   #4
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Nice dream!
We just got back from a month on our boat and its in Portland Or. Not wanting to do much more of the winter thing any time soon. Was a somewhat unusual winter what with Ice,Snow, gales and such. Oh, ok, the sun did peak through for a few hours one day.
Maybe spend a winter up there in an Apartment on the waterfront first, the Admiral may feel a little different after that.

Best of luck, don't let me being a puss sidetrack ya!
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Old 01-18-2016, 09:11 PM   #5
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Well, my kind of people

You will want to explore Alaska, then if you are inclined you will possibly decide to make somewhere a more permanent spot.

Alaska weather favors a raised pilothouse design because even on nice days very few people drive their boats from a flying bridge.

Because of our rain (think twice as rainy as Seattle) a covered cockpit is a much desired feature.

That said, in the size, and the price range you specified it will be hard to beat the Meridian 490, and Bayliner 4788 for a live aboard for Alaskan waters.

But then again I'm biased.
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Old 01-18-2016, 11:18 PM   #6
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Really considering the plunge

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Originally Posted by Crusty Chief View Post
Nice dream!
We just got back from a month on our boat and its in Portland Or. Not wanting to do much more of the winter thing any time soon. Was a somewhat unusual winter what with Ice,Snow, gales and such. Oh, ok, the sun did peak through for a few hours one day.

Best of luck, don't let me being a puss sidetrack ya!

Yikes! Snow? Ice? Gales? That does not sound fun!

It was 60 at the boat today, and I was cold when I got out of the sun. I'm also a puss, obviously.
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Old 01-19-2016, 12:08 AM   #7
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Most if not all the marinas in the Puget Sound region limit the number of liveaboards. It is generally a very small percentage number compared to the total capacity of the marina. I don't know what the situation is regarding liveaboards in the harbors in BC.

Moorage fees tend to come down the farther one gets from the Tacoma/Seattle/Everett core.

The advantage of being in the Puget Sound/BC region is the weather is generally boatable year round. However a lot of year-round boaters we know as well as ourselves have noted that winters seem to be getting much windier over the last few years. This has a habit of curtailing one's boating plans as the inside waters can get quite nasty in a strong wind despite the lack of ocean swells.

I grew up in Hawaii and so have had more than my share of sun and "nice" weather. I much prefer rain and snow and fog and overcast and cold although I appreciate the occasional sunny day if for no other reason than to remind me how fortunate I am not to be living in that kind of same-boring-crap-every-day environment anymore. But I don't like wind as it screws up everything from boating to flying to steelhead fishing in the rivers.

There are all sorts of waterside town environments one can live in here from the big-city atmosphere of Seattle and Tacoma to medium size towns like Everett, Bellingham and Anacortes to the small community atmosphere of places like Poulsbo, Gig Harbor, and La Conner.

From a boating aspect (actually from just about all aspects) I much prefer British Columbia to Washington State. But as one moves up the coast it becomes a "tougher" environment to deal with I think. A lot of people like that, of course, which is part of what makes "up there" far more interesting to us than "down here."

I've never boated in Alaska, only done a lot of floatplane flying in SE Alaska. So I'm not in a position to comment with any credibility about what boating or living on a boat is like up there. Kevin is the one you want to talk to about that. But if one wants to get away from the busy lower-48 atmosphere that's the place to go, there or the BC coast north of Campbell River.
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Old 01-19-2016, 02:02 AM   #8
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I can't imagine as a retiree choosing to be a liveaboard in the PNW or Alaska. You're shortening your warm weather boating season considerably. Now, summer in the PNW and winter in Mexico would work. Otherwise, I'd think long and hard before committing to that climate.
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Old 01-19-2016, 08:01 PM   #9
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Welcome aboard!

http://youtu.be/3qVPNONdF58
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:32 PM   #10
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ksanders,

Thanks for the info! Great website of Lisas Way. I have read about SE Alaska, but still am not confortable about how common and acceccable are anchorages. Through texas and our carolina cruising (I failed to mention we spent a few weeks every year for a decade cruising on dad's sloop from south carolina) it was common to find an anchorage every evening if a marina was not available. Many times we could find an anchorage where we could go ashore and realy enjoy a small town. Ok maybe not a quaint town every day in south texas! But always a river or inlet to anchore for the evening without worrying about the time or tide to much. I assume this is not SE Alaska cruising? I picture amazing scenery while nerviously planning the daily route, heading out according to the tides and watching the chart plotter and clock every second. You pull into a small fishing village hoping to tie up, without knowing if there is any other option if they dont. We never minded finding a very reomote anchroage and hanging out for a number of days. I hope that is possible.
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:45 PM   #11
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sorry as i fumble around here, as this is my second forum experience ever!...
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Old 01-19-2016, 09:47 PM   #12
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sorry as i fumble around here, as this is my second forum experience ever!...
No problem. Your thread issue has been cleaned up and you are good to go.
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Old 01-21-2016, 01:54 PM   #13
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As I learn to navigate this form,I found out i cant reply to a private message a sa "newbie"for spam sake.

I hope this is with the realm of forum ediquette but i posted my response to Ufish2 below. He povided some good information and i would like additional informtion.

Ufish2

thanks! very helpful. We loved to fish and with my wifes new found alergies, she lives on fish, shellfish, chicken, rice and veggies......I had thought i read that you are limited the time you can spenon the hook in SE Alaska. So temporary moorage for a month could add up quickly, perhaps $1K a month for a boat in the 50' range? Beyond our budget. Please let me know how off i am on this estimate. I have only checked a couple of marinas in SW alaska. NOW traveling from anchorage to anchorage living off the see sounds like us! Our kids may still be with us part of the time, so a perminanat slip at Sika, Ketchikan or the like, may keep them somewhat sane.

Your 6:00 to 2:00 daily schedule between anchorages sounds great. You mention the BC area being great, we have never been there. As a US registered boat, are there large complications staying a summer? Is it possible to get a perminant moorage in BC?

A neat video of the inside passage; http://www.pacificnwboater.com/venture-to-alaska-1-fleming-65.html you probably have watched it, gets me pretty nervious about the tidal currents. I have defeintel, used them to my advantage on the carolia coast when tides can push 5-6 knots but certainly not as critical for safety sake as an 18 knot current in SE Alaska ( I believe that is correct).

I see your living in NM, I assume you keep your boat in SE alaska or WA? We are hopefull to travel back most winters to WV/Va but may have to stay in AK, depending on budget...

Thanks for your help.
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Old 01-21-2016, 02:06 PM   #14
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As I learn to navigate this form,I found out i cant reply to a private message a sa "newbie"for spam sake.
You should be OK on the PMs now. Try it.
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:31 PM   #15
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I understand. Sometimes, it's an itch that you just have to scratch for yourself and find out. I agree with KSanders about the covered aft being a BIG asset for that climate. I love my boat and Sitka and the boating around there. The harbors are going to be filled with commercial boats for the most part and I enjoy that aspect too. You can contact the Harbormaster and get on a waiting list but even without a permanent assigned slip they can usually find a spot for you though it is going to be subject to moving often. I don't find myself inclined to winter aboard, but you may see it different. The winters here in southeast Texas are my cup of tea.

Good luck!
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Old 01-21-2016, 04:54 PM   #16
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ksanders,

Thanks for the info! Great website of Lisas Way. I have read about SE Alaska, but still am not confortable about how common and acceccable are anchorages. Through texas and our carolina cruising (I failed to mention we spent a few weeks every year for a decade cruising on dad's sloop from south carolina) it was common to find an anchorage every evening if a marina was not available. Many times we could find an anchorage where we could go ashore and realy enjoy a small town. Ok maybe not a quaint town every day in south texas! But always a river or inlet to anchore for the evening without worrying about the time or tide to much. I assume this is not SE Alaska cruising? I picture amazing scenery while nerviously planning the daily route, heading out according to the tides and watching the chart plotter and clock every second. You pull into a small fishing village hoping to tie up, without knowing if there is any other option if they dont. We never minded finding a very reomote anchroage and hanging out for a number of days. I hope that is possible.
In Alaska there are literally millions of coves to anchor off in. I do not want to sound like I'm exaggerating, but I really do believe that the number of coves are in the millions.

Towns are further spread out. Most of the towns have a harbor, and I've never not found a place to tie up for the night.
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:00 PM   #17
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What the heck is a cove? Don't think we have those in south Texas.

We have marshes...

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Old 01-22-2016, 11:06 AM   #18
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I have read about SE Alaska, but still am not confortable about how common and acceccable are anchorages. Through texas and our carolina cruising (I failed to mention we spent a few weeks every year for a decade cruising on dad's sloop from south carolina) it was common to find an anchorage every evening if a marina was not available. Many times we could find an anchorage where we could go ashore and realy enjoy a small town. Ok maybe not a quaint town every day in south texas! But always a river or inlet to anchore for the evening without worrying about the time or tide to much. I assume this is not SE Alaska cruising? I picture amazing scenery while nerviously planning the daily route, heading out according to the tides and watching the chart plotter and clock every second. You pull into a small fishing village hoping to tie up, without knowing if there is any other option if they dont. We never minded finding a very reomote anchroage and hanging out for a number of days. I hope that is possible.
Hi Cline,

We've spent 13 summers so far cruising SE Alaska, and have accumulated a list of nearly 200 anchorages that we like. You do always have to be aware of the tide - it can go up and down as much as 24 feet - know where you are on the tide when you arrive, and how far both up and down it will go while you're there. Anchoring is very doable in a zillion protected locations, and one of the most delightful parts of cruising SE AK. Amazing scenery for sure, and critter watching, fishing, dinghying to shore......

One source of anchorage info is the Douglass Exploring Series cruising guide. Another is Active Captain - sign up on their website. As more and more skippers enter info on their favorite anchorages, there are some markers for anchorages either not found or not mentioned in detail in Douglass. Great fun just looking around on the charts via AC's Live Map, and reading the info on the markers.

SE AK tidal currents can be significant in the various narrows, but never 18 knots. 10 is about the max I know of, and most narrows never reach that. There are stronger ones in BC. Have the current tables available when you plan to transit one of the significant narrows. There are not all that many, and they're easy to figure out from the tables. We often transit with or against a 4-6 knot tide, but usually avoid stronger ones. Currents in most main channels rarely reach 3 knots.

Moorage costs: very reasonable. For one example, Petersburg in 2014 charged transients only $6/foot for a month, plus sales tax and electricity. Full year moorage was even less.
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Old 01-22-2016, 12:43 PM   #19
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While Alaska is far too cold for us to consider it in winter, a few observations.

Kevin's comment on a million anchorages. I think he may have understated it. We don't anchor often but we would slow or stop to enjoy the beauty and it seemed nearly everywhere we turned would have been excellent for anchoring overnight. Then the best part, not crowded. Anchorages all to yourself. Coming from the mid-Atlantic, the first thing you'll notice and feel is the lack of other people and boaters, the ease of finding places away from others.

As to marinas, at $0.45-0.65 per day, $4.50 to $6 per month, a real bargain and the surcharge for liveaboard, where there is one, is modest. The one thing that is less of a bargain is the electricity. (We boat sometimes in areas where that monthly rate is the daily rate).

There are places with waiting lists for permanent slips but transiting through we had no problems finding dock space.

It's a different world that you will enjoy more than you anticipate. Your eyes will be opened.

One other thing we enjoyed about some of the marinas was that as a recreational boat we were surrounded by fishermen. For those with us who fish, there was a regular exchanging of information on fishing they'd done vs. fishing in Alaska. We did go out a couple of times with local fishermen who chartered. Also, always fresh fish readily available.

You look at the next section of the waterway as you approach and you see nothing but trees ahead. All looks the same. That is, until you get closer and you realize how much there is to see. Nature and wildlife at it's finest. You savor those special moments you find. We enjoyed taking our RIB around and just exploring miles and miles of shoreline. Often it was for just capturing those few unique and special moments. There would suddenly be a "Omg, look at that" and the others of us would look.

None of us had ever seen a glacier before. Just the magnitude of them. The beauty. Now we were there during the summer so the temperatures were tolerable for us, even though we wore far more clothes than we're use to and used heat every night.

As a tourist, transient boater, one could find no more relaxing area to cruise than Alaska.
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