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Old 11-12-2013, 03:59 PM   #1
City: San Diego
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 1
Am I Dreaming?

WOW! This forum has served me with a wealth of information that is unbeaten as of anywhere else on the web I've come across. You all really know your stuff!

With that in mind I have a few things I'd love to get any/all advice possible on from this library of experience. I've always had a dream of living on a boat- but I don't even know where to start. I'm in a position now that I'm seriously considering giving up life on dry land and could financially do it. This is probably ridiculous because I have no real experience to speak of, save a summer aboard a commercial fishing boat with my grandfather at 15 that was the best of my life.

I'm really wanting to take some classes and learn as much as I can about piloting, talk to people with real liveaboard experience, get advice on the typical pitfalls of first-time boat buyers and really any other reccommendations that you wish you had had anywhere along the way.

So far in my research I've realized I'd rather motor than sail, and that have a serious aesthetic yen for wooden boats but I realize this may be a HUGE mistake for a total newbie. (I'm keeping my eye on a 41ft '73 Roughwater & a 38ft '67 Owens Grenada for sale in my area... both under the 70k mark in case there are specifics I should know even deeper for either of those...) I've also figured out that I'd realistically be a dock queen for quite awhile with an occasional jaunt to Catalina until I have WAAAY more experience under my belt. Then the real questions start... twin engine v. single, fiberglass maintenance v. wood maintenance, flybrige v. salon piloting, and that's just the beginning. I find the more I am learning, the more I realize that I am a total idiot when it comes to anything about boating and that I am in need of some serious guidance.... my head is spinning.

This is where you all come in! Please help a girl out. I'm pretty handy, and love to repair/restore things myself, but I realize that at the ripe ol' age of 28 and thinking about doing this solo, I could also just be living in a total pipe-dream and not recognize my you-know-what from a hole in the ground. I am a sponge for anything you can teach me, and any links or resources you can point me toward that will help me make an informed decision as to if I can even pull off this lifestyle. And if so- what questions should I be asking myself- and what questions should I be asking others? I sure hope that I'm not just kidding myself. Slap some sense into me please!
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Old 11-12-2013, 06:17 PM   #2
RT Firefly's Avatar
City: Slicker?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,508
Welcome aboard Ms. DBSD. If I may be so bold...$70K seems a bit steep for a 28 year old lass but best wishes in your quest.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:11 PM   #3
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City: Longboat Key, FL
Vessel Name: Bucky
Vessel Model: Krogen Manatee 36 North Sea
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 5,196
Dream-on. Get aboard whatever you can. Join the local Power Squadron if you have one. Take classes, volunteer as crew to delivery captains and other Power Squad members. Visit marinas and do-it-yourself boat yards and talk to people about their boats. Study Yachtworld and pick out what you think your preferences in style, features and economy. Most of all, have fun doing it.

"When life gets hard, eat marshmallows”.
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Old 11-12-2013, 07:11 PM   #4
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City: Victoria TX
Vessel Name: Bijou
Vessel Model: 2008 Island Packet PY/SP
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5,290
Sounds fun to me!

Sure better be handy because you are looking at some pretty big old boats...

What about starting out with something cheaper and smaller and maybe newer? Gas powered express cruisers are pretty cheap over here in Texas but not sure about CA.

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Old 11-12-2013, 07:16 PM   #5
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City: Bayview
Vessel Name: Puffin
Vessel Model: Willard Vega 30
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,441
Do not fear wooden boats! Grand Banks, Island Gypsy and others can all be found in great shape and reasonable prices. Good Luck.
What kind of boat is that?
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Old 11-16-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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City: Southern Maine
Vessel Model: Prairie 36 Coastal Cruiser
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 2,709
Welcome aboard! One summer commercial fishing puts you ahead of a LOT of people who call themselves boaters in the experience department. Navigating, beyond just using local knowledge, would be something you'd need to learn, but you can do that a little at a time.

Living aboard can be cheaper than living on dirt. Do the numbers and see if it adds up for you.

Maintenance costs on a boat are sometimes estimated at 10% of the purchase price...when new. Costs go up with age. A lot has depends on how handy you are with tools, and how willing to learn. A gal who enjoyed commercial fishing should do fine.

As to what boat to buy, all I can say is spend a LOT of time looking around. Start with some basic parameters (cost, max length, minimum equipment like head, separate shower, proper galley, comfy berth, etc.) Visit some, look at pictures on line. Add requirements to your list. DON'T buy on impulse. Every boat you don't own looks 1,000 times better than it really is. Once you've bought it, you start to notice the blemishes.

On an older boat, it's not just the hull to think about. Water leaks around windows and hatches can cause all kinds of problems with interior finishes and coring. All very expensive to fix.

I have to second the idea of a modest (30' or under) express cruiser. Maybe a trawler is more your style, but at least consider the express boats.

Once you're spending any time at a marina, you'll run into people who are happy to share their knowledge. Even if your boat stays tied up at first, you'll probably end up going out on others.

Frankly, being a 28-yo female will only work to your advantage. I'm not trying to be sexist or anything. It's just that lots of us old guys have a soft spot for a young lady who's interested in learning about boats.
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Old 11-16-2013, 01:15 PM   #7
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City: Ft Pierce
Vessel Name: Sold
Vessel Model: Was an Albin/PSN 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 28,082
Don't fear wooden boats...just don't buy one with your experience level and expect to cruise it. Dock queen maybe...but I wouldn't ever take it anywhere.

Many "experts" a wooden boat maintenance can't keep up with them and have failed to notice things that have resulted in sinking and loss of life...not a good idea for a novice to take on.

A 15 foot wooden boat and grow from there...fine...just don't start with a wooden trawler as a "learner".

Don't know if it would work out there in San Diego.....but you might learn a lot more by taking trips with a delivery captain or working part time for a marina or finding a "boat handyman" and apprenticing.

Talking with recreational boaters is great..but many have a very narrow range of experience..if you can find one with breadth...great! But keep an eye out for one that has run hundreds of different kinds of boats and has some practical experience with major repairs/rebuilding.

Often you'll hear some boater say about some boat model..."she's built like a tank"...then the guy standing next to him giggling will lead you over to one and show you 20 things right off the bat that prove the fist guy has read a lot of brochures, talked a lot with other brochure readers, has owned one but never even installed or rebidded a cleat, etc...etc...

What gets tossed around here is valuable stuff sometimes...but without a frame of context to put it's tough to sort it all out .
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Old 11-16-2013, 06:47 PM   #8
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City: Chicago, IL
Vessel Name: Bay Pelican
Vessel Model: Krogen 42
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,993
Welcome aboard. The website for the San Diego Power Squadron is San Diego Sail & Power Squadron | "A unit of the United States Power Squadrons". You will find a schedule of classes and get to talk to other dreamers/boaters.

Enjoy, you are starting something which will be with you for life.

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Old 11-16-2013, 10:32 PM   #9
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City: Port Townsend
Vessel Name: The Promise
Vessel Model: Roughwater 35
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 1,569
Yes you're dreaming! That's a good thing. I don't know much about Owens, but Roughwaters are great boats from a great NA, Ed Monk, both Sr & Jr. Best wishes in your search!

Roughwater Boats, Trawlers, Ed Monk, Monk Design,Boats, Cruisers, Puget Sound, Diesel Trawlers, Trawlers, Roughwater
Roughwater 41 great live-aboard

Oh, I would suggest one with a fiberglass hull.
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