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Old 07-12-2016, 09:32 PM   #1
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Live aboard in dry dock?

My plan (and budget) is to buy a project trawler and spend months to bring it up to snuff. This will be a live aboard Looper and what ever comes after that. The idea is to sell the up north (and only) home, store all the stuff worth keeping, and move into the boat for a year plus.

That means finding accommodations during the months of fixing and refitting the boat. I suppose we could find an apartment near where ever we find a boat, but is there such a thing as a live aboard dry dock? Or is the dry dock phase of hull hole work short enough to live aboard during the work?
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:43 PM   #2
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Many, maybe most yards will let you live aboard while on the hard. Don't know what "hull hole work" means. But usually a week is plenty to haul the boat, do a bottom job, replace zincs and any rotten thru hulls. It is very do able to live aboard on the hard for a week.


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Old 07-12-2016, 09:43 PM   #3
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Yes you can live aboard in some yards...it is a royal PIA to live aboard during major projects, even worse when on the hard...except for the few projects that need you there.

I am going on 5 years aboard with a complete makeover and if there was any other way for me...I would have done it differently.
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:51 PM   #4
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Your makeover project has run five years? Love the dedication! I may find myself in that very situation in a few years. So you lived aboard year round in New Jersey? I've spent my share of time there in winter months. Sounds tough!
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Old 07-12-2016, 09:53 PM   #5
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Don't know what "hull hole work" means. But usually a week is plenty to haul the boat, do a bottom job, replace zincs and any rotten thru hulls. It is very do able to live aboard on the hard for a week.
It means I don't know the lingo! That's what I tried to convey though; replacing seacocks and any other through hull equipment. So a week would do it?
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:03 PM   #6
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A better approach might be to find the boat first, determine what needs to be done, and then figure out if you can do the work while living aboard on the hard. As David mentioned, doing the basic hull maintenance, maybe some seacocks, and paint might be a week (until it rains for 2 weeks). Have some delamination or excessive blisters, you might be there quite a bit longer.

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Old 07-12-2016, 10:03 PM   #7
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Your makeover project has run five years? Love the dedication! I may find myself in that very situation in a few years. So you lived aboard year round in New Jersey? I've spent my share of time there in winter months. Sounds tough!
I have been going round trip to Florida every winter for 4 to 5 months.
I did live aboard here and in Annapolis on another boat a decade ago while still in the USCG.

The reason the makeover has taken this long is living aboard with another and a dog and trying to keep out of each others way, clean up good enough to live every day, protect against dust and fumes, replace windows while in the water and exposed to high wind and rain.....is a major effort. Up in a yard for more than a month or so?.....I probably would have given up.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:06 PM   #8
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Living aboard a boat while on the hard is a royal P ITA. You will have no water for air-conditioning. You will have some ability to use your heads. But bow yards are typically dirty dusty places, and And you will be tracking dirt everywhere inside and outside the boat. Best is to get the boat in the water as soon as you can and you complete all of the work while in the water if possible.

Good luck
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:12 PM   #9
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The reason the makeover has taken this long is living aboard with another and a dog and trying to keep out of each others way, clean up good enough to live every day, protect against dust and fumes, replace windows while in the water and exposed to high wind and rain.....is a major effort. Up in a yard for more than a month or so?.....I probably would have given up.
I can believe that. Living aboard sounds like quite an adjustment without the makeover. Far more with.

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Best is to get the boat in the water as soon as you can and you complete all of the work while in the water if possible.
Is it safe to assume that any engine work can be done in the water?

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A better approach might be to find the boat first, determine what needs to be done, and then figure out if you can do the work while living aboard on the hard.
For sure. I hope to find a boat with mechanical issues I can handle, but a hull and decks that are in sound shape.
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:15 PM   #10
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Consider a camper on site if allowed!

Just a suggestion from a retired contractor... make a plan or at least a sequence of what how when. Many people with with restoration in mind, get cars, boats or houses and tend to "tear, rip, pull demolish then find they are in over their heads. Even in my own 150 year old house I'm overwhelmed. But I may still live long enough to sell it! LOL Not sad about it but I've used most of my boat building lumber in the house..
cherry counter top on the pass through of the kitchen, ash for a vanity. more cheery in the din room for casework. Sigh...
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Old 07-12-2016, 10:52 PM   #11
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Well- been there done that. Living on the hard sucks. Living on the boat while doing anything major also is a pain. I have moved off my boat for now and get more done in one weekend than I did in a month living aboard and trying to do major overhauls.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:12 PM   #12
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I've lived onboard three boats over the last 20 years. Portions of my latest refit have been done on the hard for two weeks at a time, it is much more difficult. The rest of my (so far) 18 month refit have been done in water,
Got some photos of the process at Our New Boat. Thats 18 months of working at least three or four 16hr days per week on the boat.

Yes you can bottom paint and replace throughulls in a week .... if you have every part you need on hand when you start but not if you lose 2-3days trying to find a certain type seacock or throughull or waiting for it to arrive then finding out they shipped the wrong part or finding other problems you didn't expect like cutless bearings, props, shafts, rudders, blisters, delamination etc. I'm in the middle of what should have been a two day job that has stretched to five weeks because of incompetence in this industry.

I'm not usually so negative but I've been taking a beating on this project lately.
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Old 07-12-2016, 11:17 PM   #13
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I did six months on the hard while staying aboard about 80 percent of the time. I won't do it again if I don't have to. It's impossible keeping any order, cleanliness or comfort in a working yard with minimal electric, no A/C or heat, border-line bath facilities. Maybe when I was younger, but not now.
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Old 07-13-2016, 01:38 AM   #14
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In the '60s on a destroyer, we stayed aboard in drydock. We had all the usually services, water, power, steam. And that's before holding tanks. The yardbirds attached heavy hoses to the overboard discharges that led to grates in the bottom of the dock.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:57 AM   #15
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Just the up and down the ladder in the heat, with the bugs everytime you need another tool or part or glass of water.....woooffff...

Have to do it again for a week at the end of Sept.....last year the week was so hot I was beat and dehydrated at the end of the week, lost a couple days good work in the water due to exhaustion.

Yep, can be done, travel trailer on site would be perfect...but not often allowed.
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Old 07-13-2016, 07:24 PM   #16
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I couldn't do it.

Spent a few weeks on an oil tanker many years ago in a yard when I was young, and one day on a 44 ft boat last year when I was old. Didn't care for either experience.

As others have said, dirty, noisy, lack of privacy, very limited amenities. And the blue black paint dust on your shoes will be everywhere.
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Old 07-14-2016, 11:26 AM   #17
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What a great reality check this thread is.

Poker, don't get discouraged, we all admire your handiwork on that thing.
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:42 AM   #18
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A 5 year rebuild sounds daffy.

Just keep looking for a boat that is outfitted for the task you desire and purchase it.

The biggest improvement most inexpensive boats need is mostly cosmetic.

You can cruise , anchor out ,live aboard, have a great lifestyle as you simply refinish.

Knowing what to trash BEFORE going cruising , is very difficult if you do not have a good in depth background.

Perhaps just cosmetics for the first year of cruising and the sledge hammer for improvements the second might work.
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Old 07-15-2016, 06:50 AM   #19
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Got some photos of the process at Our New Boat. Thats 18 months of working at least three or four 16hr days per week on the boat.
Wow!

Somehow I'd never seen that site before. All that in 18 months??? That's just incredible.

Just remember, it'll never be 100% perfect in your eyes. But to everyone else, it's a work of art.
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Old 07-15-2016, 07:03 AM   #20
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Lived aboard on the hard several times in the past 20 years. Down south I rented a window airconditioning unit and fixed it to the forward hatch. Also arranged for a dock cart to serve as water collection device so we could use the washing machine and take showers on board. The head was the biggest problem but I have had friends who have used porta potties on board and dumped it out every day or so.

Most trawlers do not have water cooled refrigeration so the refrigerator and freezer worked.

Generally I would avoid this if my wife were aboard but I have done it for a month by myself.
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