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Old 08-05-2021, 09:51 AM   #1
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A newbie preparing for a great journey

Hello All,

I'm 24 and infatuated with the idea of living aboard and cruising the east coast from Maine down to Florida. However, my height and need for space as I'll be traveling with my fiancée have led me down the path of trawlers.

As I've looked into it more and more, the plans are really materializing to start this journey in less than 3 years.

The basic idea would be to purchase the boat and store it at a nearby marina until it was fully fitted for our purposes and I felt suitably experienced. I would expect that process to take a year or so. From there, we'd embark very early spring from our home port in NJ and reach Maine at the beginning of summer. From there we would work our way down the coast at our leisure, ending in the keys, and hopefully selling the boat in Florida, before returning to normal life.

We would ideally spend as much time on anchor as possible versus marinas both to save money and be immersed in nature. The freedom and solitude are things we especially value.

The interesting twist is that my fiancee works from home and we plan to keep her employed to help fund this jaunt, and because she loves her job. So the setup to have zoom worthy internet and minimal generator use will be a challenge.

I'm excited to join the community and I'm eager to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of the userbase here. I also promise to use the search function 1st before making a new thread

Happy Sailing!
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:07 AM   #2
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Welcome aboard. Have fun with your search.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:14 AM   #3
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Leaving NJ northbound much earlier than May might be a mistake as unsettled, windy, rainy, cool weather can persist into early June.

Depending on the boat a lot of the northern part of this trip is in open water and weather can play a big role.

My advice is start in June, head north and plan on being back to NJ in mid Sept to be in Norfolk by 1 Nov.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:16 AM   #4
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why not? sounds reasonable to me, i've been living aboard for around 30 years now. granted, i'm at a marina so i have power at my disposal, but i could easily be self sufficient on the hook. topping off the batteries is usually the biggest challenge.
i get my internet through a t-mobile 5g router that works amazing. i can use my phone as a wifi hotspot too if i want. i stream my tv so no cable any more.
i'm on the opposite coast, so our waterways are a bit different, i'm not sure what the best style boat for the intercoastal would be. i bet you need to be concerned about draft and mast height though.
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Old 08-05-2021, 10:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Leaving NJ much earlier than May might be a mistake as unsettled, windy, rainy, cool weather can persist into early June. Depending on the boat a lot of this trip is in open water and weather can play a big role.

My advice is start in June, head north and plan on being back to NJ in mid Sept to be in Norfolk by 1 Nov.
Thanks for the advice. May was our original ballpark for when we'd be leaving, so that should work well.
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Old 08-06-2021, 09:13 AM   #6
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Maybe its me that has it backwards, and maybe I am just old fashioned, and for sure it is none of my business, but maybe the quality of your life would be better if you and your wife both worked and put off your adventure until you could better afford it. Or perhaps I am reading too much into your statement about avoiding marinas in order to save money.
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Old 08-06-2021, 09:22 AM   #7
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It is far more sustainable financially if your wife is pretty much modeling minimal swimwear and you post it all on youtube and start a patreon account. I'm not advocating the objectification of women, just observing the current trend.
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Old 08-06-2021, 09:54 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maybefoolish View Post
Hello All,

I'm 24 and infatuated with the idea of living aboard and cruising the east coast from Maine down to Florida. However, my height and need for space as I'll be traveling with my fiancée have led me down the path of trawlers.

As I've looked into it more and more, the plans are really materializing to start this journey in less than 3 years.

The basic idea would be to purchase the boat and store it at a nearby marina until it was fully fitted for our purposes and I felt suitably experienced. I would expect that process to take a year or so. From there, we'd embark very early spring from our home port in NJ and reach Maine at the beginning of summer. From there we would work our way down the coast at our leisure, ending in the keys, and hopefully selling the boat in Florida, before returning to normal life.

We would ideally spend as much time on anchor as possible versus marinas both to save money and be immersed in nature. The freedom and solitude are things we especially value.

The interesting twist is that my fiancee works from home and we plan to keep her employed to help fund this jaunt, and because she loves her job. So the setup to have zoom worthy internet and minimal generator use will be a challenge.

I'm excited to join the community and I'm eager to tap into the vast knowledge and experience of the userbase here. I also promise to use the search function 1st before making a new thread

Happy Sailing!
Couple questions come to mind:
1. What is your budget for purchasing a boat?
2. You mention ¨my height and need for space¨. What does this mean?
3. What do you think ¨felt suitably experienced¨ means?
4. Have you determined the size of boat yet?
5. What is your experience level with boats?
6. What does this include ¨fully fitted for our purposes¨?
7. Are you mechanically inclined?

I ask these so that we can better help you with your adventure.
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Old 08-06-2021, 10:27 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by MYTraveler View Post
Maybe its me that has it backwards, and maybe I am just old fashioned, and for sure it is none of my business, but maybe the quality of your life would be better if you and your wife both worked and put off your adventure until you could better afford it. Or perhaps I am reading too much into your statement about avoiding marinas in order to save money.
I think my explanation was more simple than it deserves. We are more than financially capable of paying for Marinas, and I expect, especially on the ICW to be more reliant on them, but the solitude of anchoring will be one of the big draws and the financial ease it will provide will be icing on the cake. We're also from the NJ area on the Hudson, so the marina prices I'm used to are more eye-watering than what we will encounter for most of our journey.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill V View Post
Couple questions come to mind:
1. What is your budget for purchasing a boat?
2. You mention ¨my height and need for space¨. What does this mean?
3. What do you think ¨felt suitably experienced¨ means?
4. Have you determined the size of boat yet?
5. What is your experience level with boats?
6. What does this include ¨fully fitted for our purposes¨?
7. Are you mechanically inclined?

I ask these so that we can better help you with your adventure.
Hi Bill,

This was meant to be more of a general introduction since I plan to ask more pointed questions and search more on the forum, but since you asked, I'll answer.

1. We are aiming to hit 80-90k at the top end before upgrades etc.
2. I am 6'6", so I need decent headroom. Ideally >=6'4". I'll be slouching regardless, but there's a big comfort difference between slouching and having to bend over. The big one is that I need the full 6'6" in the galley, which seems easy to find with galley-down layouts.
3. This is a tough one. I would like to take some time with an experienced captain. I want to be proficient in docking and familiar with all maritime protocols. Additionally, I want training specifically for adverse weather scenarios.
4. We're shooting to be 36-40ft, but I am recently enamored of 80s mainship 34s, so we might go that direction.
5. I have minimal experience sadly. I have driven pontoon boats but that is about it.
6. She will be working on a computer during the day, so we will want to avoid running the generator in that time. From that, I think a serious solar setup would not be wasted money. Additionally, I will probably be building a watermaker. I need to determine if it will be needed based on marina access, but that's part of my upcoming research.
7. Very much so. My weakness would be inexperience with diesel engines, but that's a small obstacle as I have friends who do have diesel experience.
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Old 08-06-2021, 11:30 AM   #10
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I think you need 2 out of 3 of the below to have good chances of success.


1) Boating knowledge


2) Ability to diagnose and fix random stuff


3) A deep check book.


It sounds like a great journey, and I hope it's very successful. I have always thought cruising when you are young is a great choice if your life circumstances permit it. Most do not, or people don't allow it. But everyone I know who has done so when young has had no regrets.
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Old 08-06-2021, 12:37 PM   #11
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Alex
I love people that have a dream that they are willing to turn into a plan and ultimately make work.
With a few yrs available I would recommend finding a Americas Boating Club chapter (aka US Sail & Power Squadron)near you and for you and your mate to soak up as many training g courses as you possibly can. They are many, varied and very well done IMO. The side benefit is you gain an almost immediate network of folks with similar interests and a wealth of knowledge owned get & experience. Courses include marine Wx, Piloting, Cruise Planning, Engine Maint, Electronics, etc, etc

My std response for choosing a / your boat is for you and your mate (separately) wriite down your anticipated use and cruising style, then list Must Haves, Nice to Haves and Don't Wants
Then and only them compare notes and compromise where necessary. Remember the art of compromise... just do it her way! Seriously make sure you not only understand her lists but the whys. Resist any urge to "win" too many conflicts. With combined lists in hand go look at as many boats as possible, talk to as many owners about their style and what they like / dislike about their boats for their use. The tricky part is converting inputs and specific boats to your use & musts & wants.

Lastly... consider chartering / renting before you purchase as a way to confirm what you think you want.

Dont make any of the above a chore or job... be sure to have fun along the way. Some traing & exploring can be mini vacations and fun.

Good luck with the adventures
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Old 08-06-2021, 02:08 PM   #12
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Welcome. Except for the wife modeling joke, you have received some great comments here. I was dreaming of a trawler around your age, but took until age 39 before I was able to buy one. Nice to see this is a possibility for you. IRT boating experience, maybe you show consider a week long charter experience, partially with an experienced captain after you take Bacchus' advice above about training. There are online courses to bolster the in-person training.

Marina costs vary widely from region to region and marina to marina depending on quality. I once ran the costs through my mind while running the Tombigbee Waterway. I considered the annualized maintenance costs for the previous ten years for my generator and added in fuel for 8-10 hours of running it to get air conditioning in the sultry southern nights. The cost comparison for stopping in a marina to anchoring out was a wash.
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Old 08-06-2021, 02:39 PM   #13
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Welcome. Except for the wife modeling joke, you have received some great comments here.
My apologies
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Old 08-06-2021, 03:19 PM   #14
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Alex
I love people that have a dream that they are willing to turn into a plan and ultimately make work.
With a few yrs available I would recommend finding a Americas Boating Club chapter (aka US Sail & Power Squadron)near you and for you and your mate to soak up as many training g courses as you possibly can. They are many, varied and very well done IMO. The side benefit is you gain an almost immediate network of folks with similar interests and a wealth of knowledge owned get & experience. Courses include marine Wx, Piloting, Cruise Planning, Engine Maint, Electronics, etc, etc

My std response for choosing a / your boat is for you and your mate (separately) wriite down your anticipated use and cruising style, then list Must Haves, Nice to Haves and Don't Wants
Then and only them compare notes and compromise where necessary. Remember the art of compromise... just do it her way! Seriously make sure you not only understand her lists but the whys. Resist any urge to "win" too many conflicts. With combined lists in hand go look at as many boats as possible, talk to as many owners about their style and what they like / dislike about their boats for their use. The tricky part is converting inputs and specific boats to your use & musts & wants.

Lastly... consider chartering / renting before you purchase as a way to confirm what you think you want.

Do take any of the above a chore or job... be sure to have fun along the way. Some traing & exploring can be mini vacations and fun.

Good luck with the adventures
Thanks for all the wonderful advice! We're fortunate to be very in sync in our desires for the boat so that's much less of an issue. It helps that we're young and used to less living space.

America's boating club seems like an excellent resource and I will definitely be taking courses there to get some experience. We're also looking at chartering something like we would be buying beforehand to make sure the life is right for us.

Frankly we're excited for all of the steps along the way. It's going to be a great learning experience and push us to new experiences.
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Old 08-06-2021, 04:01 PM   #15
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My apologies
It is true however - all the Youtube Patreon channels are FULL of them.
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Old 08-06-2021, 05:01 PM   #16
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To have an admiral that can earn a board has to be a dream come true. Almost nobody has that. Congrats.
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Old 08-06-2021, 06:05 PM   #17
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Selling a boat in Florida is not as easy as it may sound. There are lots of Loopers and others who end up in Florida and want to sell their boats. Supply and demand will bring you a smaller price, plus, generally people think all Florida boats are ruined by salt water, no matter where they spent their life.

ANyway, good luck,

pete
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Old 08-06-2021, 06:48 PM   #18
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I remember the days when you spent years honing skills in your area of interest, seems these days of the internet, folks figure they can become proficient at just about anything in a few months as long as they have WiFi! I just got back from bringing my current boat home to play with and met up with several “loopers”. It is amazing the number of people who don’t have a clue. They follow prescribed routes on iPads it seems to alter from the prescribed route is forbidden. Very few adventuresome folks out there. We began cruising full time in 1999 before there was a loop and loopers. Cruisers were much more independent and interesting. Many are so damned busy posting things and looking to see who they can find on noon or zoom or some app that tracks you like the nsa, they miss out on a lot of options. So busy getting opinions on which side of Lake Michigan to rush through , they forget they can slow down and do both, or parts of both at least. So intent on a flag and picture on YouTube they are really missing the boat.
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Old 08-07-2021, 03:57 PM   #19
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It is my belief that you MUST plan for full headroom or you will be miserable. Plus, this is a safety factor too. Should a problem occur that requires your Immediate attention, you need to be able to run full speed to resolve said issue.

There are boats, albeit larger, which have the room you need. For instance, I believe the bigger Hatteras models would work for you. These are wonderful boats, and some of the older models are within your budget. Hatteras have a solid fiberglass hull, and are known as bullet-proof. With twin engines, maneuvering is easier than one might imagine.

Basically, start your search with height in mind. If every time you move about the boat you are hunched over that will destroy your back.

Good luck, and hope to see you along the waterways...
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Old 08-07-2021, 04:16 PM   #20
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It is my belief that you MUST plan for full headroom or you will be miserable. Plus, this is a safety factor too. Should a problem occur that requires your Immediate attention, you need to be able to run full speed to resolve said issue.
In the interest of friendly debate, I don't think that headroom should drive the consideration of boat type or size for the OP. I lived on boats through most of my twenties and at 6'4" had full headroom in none of them. My 32' sailboat has about 5' of headroom and I love it. My current liveaboard has a couple of spots where I'm sure I could touch my head to the door frame. But I don't. If you're tall and 24 and poor I'd suggest you suck it up and stoop. It opens up a whole range of options.

As far as safety, you learn pretty quickly where to duck, just as you learn where to avoid stubbing toes, where the hand holds are, etc. And you don't run, or even walk around much on the size boat the OP has in mind.
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