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Old 07-09-2016, 06:35 PM   #1
City: Bellingham, Wa
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 9
New Member!

Hi all!

Just made my first post here but wanted to make sure and not derail a really informative post.

Anyhoo, hubby and I are very close to purchasing our first boat. We've been "looking" for about 5+ years now and are finally in the financial and mental position to not only take the plunge, but we've decided we're might even go live-aboard as well.

I work in healthcare, and hubby has recently retired from the Navy after 20+ years of busting knuckles on diesel engines in the bowels of Navy cruisers. I'm bringing the $$$, he's bringing the boat knowledge (although I have been hard at work learning and have already taken several boating courses!). Because of the changes in healthcare, I decided to travel for work for the past couple of years. We own a home overlooking the Everett Marina / Everett NS which we rented out until this October. We are seriously considering NOT moving back into it. Not because it's not lovely, but because, frankly, we downsized CONSIDERABLY while traveling. We have literally been living out of hotels, small (<1000sq ft) houses, and a 17ft vintage travel trailer for 2 years. We sold almost everything to do so (and have saved TONS of money not buying more stuff to haul around). We still have some large stuff in storage (a bed, washer/drier, fridge, and my old race car, etc) but to move back into the house would require many thousands in furnishings, kitchenware, yard utensils/machines, etc....not to mention all the maintenance to keep the house up, etc. Money is not really the's the fact that we don't want to buy the stuff again. You see, since we were military for 20 years, we have bought and sold/given away entire households of stuff MULTIPLE times over the last 20 years. We're over it.

Since we've learned to live MUCH smaller, and because we've wanted a boat FOREVER, we're thinking about just going for it. We will likely keep renting out the house, or we'll sell it (since it's in a really desirable neighborhood) and move north to Bellingham, where I am in negotiations for office space. My new office will be in the Bellweather Center at the Port of Bellingham, and the "dream" is to have the boat moore at Squalicum and I'll just walk to the office!

As for the boat, like most newbies here....I'm here to reconcile what I "think" I want, with what is realistic, affordable, and safe.

Initially, (5 years ago) we just wanted a weekend cruiser, but now that we are considering liveaboard, the boat, and budget, has grown in size. Someone posted an amazing list on the other thread, so I've copied and filled in as much as I can answer, while still in the learning phase:

Budget: under $250,000, but under $125,000 would leave us money for lots of improvements. (We've already priced moorage & are aware)
LOA: under 50', but more than 36' (I just need more room)

-Where do I intend to cruise 95% of the time? Puget Sound
-Where might I go 5%? Victoria/Vancouver, CA & Coastal Oregon?
-How many people aboard 95% of the time? 2
-How many 5%? 6?
-What size crew? 2, but would like hubby to be able to single-hand
-How long do you see yourself on the boat at a time? daily
-How much of the year? All year
-Do you want a flybridge? No idea....have to read up on pros and cons...
-Do you prefer a separate Pilothouse or the helm an extension of the living area? that I've been on boat layouts, I have confirmed that I hate have the helm in the salon!
-What do you need in a galley? Large fridge, stove, microwave
-How much will you cook? Probably most nights, but nothing fancy...we've been cooking on a 3-burner propane stove in our trailer for 2 months now, lol!
-What is the nature of your cooking? See above
-Do you need it up or down or care? Prefer up
-What climate will you be in? COLD. Honestly, this is my biggest concern as we are already quite familiar with the cold, rainy, icy winters that we get in Everett/Bellingham. However, I'm actually most concerned with simply walking off the boat and up the dock, rather than being cold onboard.
-Will you generally be at marinas or anchoring? Marina
-What are the issues regarding sleeping quarters to you? I'll likely need my own space...hubby snores and is a big/tall guy. He'll elbow me to death in a typical v-berth
-On heads how do you feel about wet heads vs. separate shower stalls? Prefer separate shower (with a tub or seat!), prefer 2 heads, but 1 will do
-How important is space in the engine room to you? Hubby is a big/tall guy...he'll probably need/want some room
-What kind of speeds do you want? Moderate? at least 8kn?
-What kind of economy do you require? Moderate? I am going to assume this is just like cars....if you want to go fast, you're going to burn more fuel. We'll look for a happy medium?
-What kind of head space? How tall are you? Hubby is 6'2"
-Means of moving between bridge and main deck and of moving to and from the engine room? I don't know what I'm supposed to know here
-What kind of dinghy or tender, how will you use it? No idea, but we'd only likely use it on occasion to get to shore if we're anchored out with friends somewhere.
-How do you prefer it handled? Davit
-Twin engines or single or are you open to both? Dual, MUCH preferred. I'm paranoid. When I was a little kid, my uncle bought a brand new, center console, sport fisher. On the maiden voyage, it left us stranded, under the Fort Myers bridge, in a severe thunderstorm. I will never forget my grandfather coming to rescue us in a friends boat. Granddaddy did NOT like boats. I was only 7 at the time...still remember it like it was yesterday. Lol! (Boating PTSD???)

-Stabilization? I'm ignorant here
-Thrusters? Yes. This will be a 40'+ boat
-Maintenance requirements - Do you like dealing with teak or not? Teak is mandatory....I love the stuff. I know it's a pain. I still want it.
-Will maintenance by DIY or paid? DIY for small stuff, Paid for big.
-Visual appeal. Not to others, not what others like, what you like. Most of us don't want to own a boat we think is ugly. Most of us can accept perhaps plain or simple but not something we just don't like - we're drawn to older Carvers and Grand Banks types, although we LOVE Tugs....just haven't seen any that have an open salon that I like.
-Generators, inverters, solar all determined by your type of use and climate? Likely all of the above at some point, but not a deal-breaker if not there initially.
-How willing and capable are you to do a lot of work upfront? Very willing. We completely restored our vintage trailer, and I turned my 95 Cobra into a 10-sec quarter-mile car (I'm actually more mechanically inclined than hubby...I just have to learn the new systems). We have done almost all of the restoration and maintenance (including plumbing/electric) on our houses...including the 1924 Craftsman we own in Everett. We anticipate buying sometime in the next 3-4 months, so would have several winter months to do some fixing....although we don't want to buy anything that has any major issues.
-People who you would like cruising with you whether family or friends? We have a few close friends and I think they'd all be fine with whatever we'd buy, lol! If not, we'll make some new friends who do!

If you're still reading, thanks for your attention and perseverance! Can't wait to learn from all of you, and further refine our search.
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Old 07-09-2016, 07:52 PM   #2
City: Bellingham, Wa
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 9
Oh, and I guess, based on the other post I responded in......I need a recommendation for a respectable buyer's broker, on top of boat recommendations.
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:04 PM   #3
tadhana's Avatar
City: New England and Canada to Florida
Vessel Name: Tadhana
Vessel Model: Helmsman 38 Pilothouse
Join Date: Jul 2011
Posts: 596
We live aboard a Helmsman 38 on the east coast. We have lived aboard for 7 years. We find this boat is good size for a couple. and we rarely have overnight guests. So this layout is excellent for a cruising couple.We cruise extensively up and down the east coast now. The boat seems quite efficient. These boats are imported into Seattle.
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:04 PM   #4
RT Firefly's Avatar
City: Slicker?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,245
Welcome aboard...Saloon...Just sayin'
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:40 PM   #5
Russell Clifton's Avatar
City: La Conner Wa.
Vessel Name: Sea Fever
Vessel Model: Defever 49 RPH
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 877
Wow, I like you guys already. Usually the first thing new members ask is what boat should I buy and I don't really know what I want. Your on the right track here.

I think you will like the marina in Bellingham. Lots of walking paths and a great boat yard (Seaview North). One boat that comes to mind that meets many of your likes is a 49' Defever Pilothouse. They have a fairly good size engine room, some teak, a raised pilot house, will sleep 4 guests, good size galley, and if you remove the built in seating in the salon, you can really make it your own.
And they can be had for about $200,000, depending on the year. Another boat to research would be a 50' Ocean Alexander Mk1. Several of those currently for sale in Washington.

I'm sure your going to get many more suggestions. Good luck you guys.
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Old 07-09-2016, 08:44 PM   #6
City: Satsuma FL
Vessel Name: No Mo Trawla
Vessel Model: Hurricane SS188
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 2,300
Originally Posted by tadhana View Post
We live aboard a Helmsman 38 on the east coast. We have lived aboard for 7 years. We find this boat is good size for a couple. and we rarely have overnight guests. So this layout is excellent for a cruising couple.We cruise extensively up and down the east coast now. The boat seems quite efficient. These boats are imported into Seattle.
A well equipped new or newer Helmsman 38 would be well beyond their budget of under $250K.
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:16 PM   #7
City: Bellingham, Wa
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 9

@RT Firefly....thanks for the correction! I'm still learning, and I'm a bit OCD so I actually took the time to look up your suggestion.

This came up as an explanation on another post in the Cruiser Forums (how I found you good folks!)

"Boating Encyclopedia has this to say about the two words:

"Many boaters seem to find the word cabin rather lacking the elegance and significance they associate with their boats. Therefore, they refer to their cabin as a salon, a fancy French term for reception hall or a room filled with perfumed finery.Hairdressers, beauticians, and couturiers have salons; sailors have a saloon. The Encyclopedia of Nautical Knowledge defines a saloon this way: “In a cargo and smaller passenger vessels, the main cabin, or that serving as a dining-room, assembly room, etc.” The Oxford Concise Dictionary describes a saloon as a “public room for first-class or for all passengers on ship.”The only dissonant note is sounded by Webster’s New World Dictionary, which allows the use of both salon and saloon but then confesses that saloon is “specifically, the main social cabin of a passenger ship.” Nevertheless, whereas most sailors use the word saloon, most powerboaters seem to prefer salon.It’s possible that some boaters use the word salon because they don’t want their boats to be associated with saloons where strong alcoholic drinks are served and rough men indulge in fisticuffs. But a better choice than either salon or saloon would be cabin. What could be simpler or more correct?""

As the lady in the mix, I do admit that I would rather be associated with "perfumed finery", but I'm hoping there will be some "strong alcoholic drinks" served, on occasion.

I do hope to avoid any instances of fisticuffs.....
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Old 07-09-2016, 10:35 PM   #8
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City: Gig Harbor
Vessel Name: Kinship
Vessel Model: North Pacific 43
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 9,045
Welcome Star.

As others have said, you seem to have your act together. You guys will do fine.

One thing... to go from not ever having owned a boat, or much experience with personal boats, to living aboard is a big jump. As you pointed out, you have already dealt with many of the issues but even so...

Flybridge. Initially I didn't want one. I have one now anyway and in our three short months of power boat ownership we have used it several times. It is nice during the nice weather.

I would strongly encourage you to look at boats that have a covered aft cockpit due to our weather.

I wouldn't worry about Air Conditioning, but you need to have a good diesel furnace.

If you are living aboard, consider your marina carefully. If you have ready access to a head, shower, and laundry on shore, then you eliminate a lot of the interior moisture in the boat, which in our part of the country is a constant issue. Also, seriously look at a small, portable dehumidifier. It can address a lot of those moisture problems during the winter months.

Cruising grounds. My guess is that you could spend a couple decades cruising from Olympia to BC before feeling the need to go down the Pacific coast.

Unless you do decide to go down the Pacific coast, don't worry about stabilization, you won't need it.

Since you like teak and want to maintain it (fool though you may be), there are lots of older boats with wonderful teak exterior features that can be absolutely beautiful with the necessary maintenance. The nice thing is, folks like me avoid those boats like the plague, leaving better prices and more options for you.

Good luck.

SPOT page
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:04 PM   #9
TF Site Team
City: Ex-Brisbane, (Australia), now Bribie Island, Qld
Vessel Name: Now boatless - sold 6/2018
Vessel Model: Had a Clipper (CHB) 34
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 10,033
Starchanger, welcome to the forum. It sounds like you have really done a lot of legwork and research already, so I am sure you're going to be fine. I think we will be able to learn from you in very short order.

I will therefore confine my comments to the logistical side of things you mentioned, because my wife and I are in the throes of trying to de-clutter, sell off, downsize belongings as you have done right now, in order to move to the smaller dwelling we now need, to free our over-large home up for the family it deserves. And to have some change left over of course. Hence we can relate to you not wanting to buy a whole lot of stuff needed for land-based living. Living aboard is not my wife's thing, but it occurs to me that if things were as you say, and you have divested yourself of a lot of accumulated baggage, so to speak, you will never be in a better position to try the live aboard life. If that's possibly your thing, go for it now, and good luck with that. There will never be a better time.

PS. I note you mentioned you are in Healthcare. I'm interested in that and wonder about your role, as I am a GP in Australia. As an aside, if hubby snores a fair bit, maybe make sure you get a boat with two staterooms..? Oh yeah, and have you tried the old trick of a tennis ball in a sock pinned to his back..?
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:14 PM   #10
City: Bellingham, Wa
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 9
I'm an Ob/Gyn, who's giving up the nights and weekends (ie: Ob)...
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Old 07-09-2016, 11:28 PM   #11
TF Site Team
City: Ex-Brisbane, (Australia), now Bribie Island, Qld
Vessel Name: Now boatless - sold 6/2018
Vessel Model: Had a Clipper (CHB) 34
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 10,033
Originally Posted by Starchanger View Post
I'm an Ob/Gyn, who's giving up the nights and weekends (ie: Ob)...
That's the ticket. I've dropped to 4 day week now - don't do Mondays. Luvin' having a long weekend every weekend. Gave up the delivery business some years ago. That is the thing that has you out at night most, for sure. I sort of miss it, but then again, I sort of don't...
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