View Full Version : Cart before the horse

12-01-04, 15:09
I would like to get some opinions on what we are contemplating doing. (family of four) We have not yet decided on the sailboat yet, but plan to by the end of summer(36-42ft). At that point we will move onboard. My job is such that I will be able to work from there, and come into the office maybe 1 or 2 times a week. Our (my) sailing experience is limited to daysailers, with no real experience with larger boats. The idea was that we would be able to take sailing lessons on our own boat, and learn while we are living aboard. My question would be if this is a bad idea, pros or cons. thanks, Matt

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12-01-04, 15:21
Despite all the advice to the contrary you can certainly do as you suggest. I did, and can think of more pluses than minuses

You will need onboard help/tuition on a boat large enough to liveaboard, and a healthy dose of caution to start off.

The advantage of getting a larger 40 foot+ boat first are
- that you don't lose money trading up from a smaller boat.
- that crew/wives etc aren't put off by the cramped smaller boats and the interest wanes : a larger boat is more stable, more accomodating.
- in theory (and in practice too) a larger boat is imho EASIER to handle in many respects than a smaller one - you can move about the boat more quickly- and also cos altho the windage (how much is get's blown around) is larger on a larger boat (increasing inproportion to the square of the length) the inertia increases in proportion to the cube of the length - so larger boats are easier to handle - albeit (initially) more daunting.

Go for it! I did.

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12-01-04, 20:04
It can be done, and a boat as large as you can afford is better.
Really the biggest obstacles are personal ones. Are your family
as keen on this as you are!!!???
If so, then slowly does it, as van den Heede said today, " a little impatience
can ruin a big project"!

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13-01-04, 00:17

Thanks for the reply, it was encouraging. We have been planning this for awhile and, I had been debating on the size of boat. I'll start looking at 40+ boats for what I think our requirements may be. I'll keep doing my homework, but thanks again for the advice and encouragement.


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13-01-04, 02:05

I am the one who has to hold my family back. :-) They would have me quit my job tomorrow. But, one in the family has to have a level head. What I am going to have to decide on the boat, is how long I want to be tied to land paying for the boat. I have a good job that I could get a nice boat, but not be able to go far. There is too much of this world I haven't seen. :-)


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13-01-04, 10:04
I did much the same thing about two years ago .. I was experienced with smaller boats up to about 27 foot. My wife had never sailed.

We bought a 44 foot motorsailer in need of a total internal refit.. it had a good hull, engine nad rig. The interior was awful -- thirty years old and neglected.

No mod cons -- half the wiring was shot etc etc.. but the price reflected all that.

Anyway I persuaded SWMBO to buy her and we have spent most of the intervening time working on her on weekends.

I work in London but we live in Cambridge but we have only been back to Cambridge a couple of times -- we are finding the boat nig enough (44 foot overall).

My wiife gets cranky about it from time to time but that soon passes.

The problems of a big boat are that all the bits you need are disproportionately more expensive than smaller boats.

We would probably go for a more moddern design. Ours is a Sole Bay ketch -- very traditional looks, heavy and quite roomy for two, but if there were more of us it might prove tough.

At the show we saw a Hanse 341 which had bags of space,, and the Hanse 411 was enormous. but still offers good sailing ability.

As far as the teaching goes, I have been taking SWMBO dinghy sailing and she enjoys it. This season we'll probabkly buy a little sailing dinghy we can also use as a tender -- the folding Kontender Mirror dinghy lookalike that folds down to the size of a windsurfer looks like a good bet.

If the boat needs work doing to it.. and it invariably does budget on the high side.

One of the reason it took us so long is that I had planned to pay someone to do the cabinetry but it would have cost too much. About the only professional help we get is with the engine -- everything else -- the water, electrics, heating, we have fitted and as a result when things break down we will know exactly how to fix things.

So if you are going to buy as big as you can afford I suggest you set 10 or 15 oercent to one side if the boat is in reasonable shape for all the work you need doing to turn her into a liveaboard and more if she's older.

As for the type -- I'd tend to avoid the modern super lightweight boats Beneteaus Bavarias etc.

Aw I said I was thoroughly impressed witht he Hanse which offer good value for money new -- 85 for aq 37 footer -- Things like water and fuel tankage would need to be extended for average liveaboard =-- 220 litres of water is not alot..

Those are the sorts of things you'll have to consider in addition to the accommodation.

Regarding working from teh boat -- depends what you do.. but both my wife and I work from there from time to time -- I am a journaluist and she is a graphic designer.

We built a huge L-shaped chart table/desk which faces forward with plenty of light and storage for files disks etc. We have a desktop PC with a flat panel monitor. No proper internet connection as yet which is a bit limiting, but we ho[pe the marina will set up a deal with a wireless provider like squaremile soon so we can get wireless broadband.

ALl in all we are pretty happy -- it would have been great had the boat been finished a year ago -- we still have work to do -- but I love the lifestyle. Catherine is a little less up for it, but she enjoys large parts of it -- the marina community for example.

Good luck!

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13-01-04, 11:18
Have a look at a catamaran. You will be impressed by the space. A footer footer won't look so big with 4 people and all the associated stuff on board. Having two hulls usually means more cabins and a bit more privacy when needed.
Prices are higher but there are reasonable second hand ones around.
Berthing can be more expensive but doesn't have to be if you look around for a multihull friendly marina.
The stability when sailing will also be appreciated.

Good luck and go for it!

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13-01-04, 14:45
I agree with everyone who sais: go for it.
We did it 4 years ago and still love it (and still work as well, damn)

Do not let yourself be overly impressed with modern design ben/jan/bav yachts. They have lots of space, yes, but there are usually two disadvantages:

1. they are light weight, that's why they are so fast. But if you live aboard with your family, you will stuff her with many things you would never consider if you would use her just for weekend and holiday sailing. Her performance would suffer considerably, much more so than if you would sail a heavyweight with the same stuff on board.

2. These kind of boats usually have little tankeage. A huge disadvantage, especially in winter when many water taps are closed off for frost protection (depends a little bit where you are) and when a lot of diesel is needed for heating.

Apart from this, modern boats have a much more nervous motion than old-fashioned heavy-weights. Not very reassuring at sea when you realise that you are sailing with all your posessions. IMHO.


<hr width=100% size=1>Peter a/b SV Heerenleed, Steenbergen, Netherlands

13-01-04, 14:56
I agree with all the advice you got !

I did move to a larger boat and I do live and work from the boat in the summer ! (UK)

I find that handling a bigger boat is easier in many ways then a small boat !

Once you are confident in handling a larger baot you will love it !


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13-01-04, 21:41
Maltman, forgive me for butting in on your thread but my SWMBO and I are planning to do pretty much the same thing later this year. We're looking at living aboard in the Med (Eastern mostly) and have yet to buy our boat. We ARE looking at a Jeanneau (the 45.2) though I've heard the good advice Heerenleed has provided before. My question to the forum is this:

Doesn't your choice of boat depend entirely on what you plan to do with her? The SWMBO and I are primarily looking for a home, but a home we can move. So for us living space is king, even if that means sacrificing performance. Since we're going to be aboard all year we won't have to risk bad weather in order to get somewhere. If the forecast is poor we'll stay where we are!

So will we be making a HUGE error if we do buy a Ben/Jen, or am I right in thinking it's more a case of knowing what you want to do with the boat??

Thanks for letting me butt in........Tony Cross

<hr width=100% size=1>There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

14-01-04, 02:16
I would like to just say thank you all for the messages. It has given me just enough push to go ahead. :-) God willing, I will be writing you from my boat by this time next year. I currently work in networking, specifically voice over ip technology. I just returned from Iraq where we installed some wireless networks for the coalition. After thinking about this I may start looking at getting into the networking field that deals with boaters. Internet access/wirless/SAT It would be nice to be working on something that will help myself as well as others.

But THAT is another topic.....thank you all again,


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14-01-04, 09:44
I don't think this would be huge mistake. I rented one in the caribee over xmas - the fwd freswater tank needed replacing which is apparently not totally uncommon (they had spare ones ready) so have a good look at thhe bilge just aft of the fwd berth - it should be nice and dry and no trickling water from a badly-welded or rusted stainless steel tank.

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14-01-04, 13:25
The motion matter won't be a very important issue to you if I understand your plans well. The tankage is still very important. We are very pleased that we only need to refill fresh water once in every two weeks, using water without restricting us. In winter, when it rains cats and dogs, or when frost makes the pontoons slippery, it is not nice to do this job too often.
We also know a couple living aboard a 44 footer which has the water tank way out of the centre, to port. So there's only a couple of hours a week the boat does not heel. Very awkward. So, give the position of the water and diesel tanks a good look. They should be in the centre of the boat and as deep as possible (hence my preference for older designs). If the tanks are positioned under bunks or settees, make sure they are twin tanks so the boat can remain balanced at all times.

The big advantage of a modern design is that the designers have been able to make them much more spacious on the same overall length than before.
Also, if you buy a boat, apart from all rational reasons you must be a little in love with her, no matter what others say..

One more thing, that goes for any boat you may consider: Give the settees a very good try. It's amazing how many boats have uncomfortable sitting positions below decks. If you live aboard, this is essential. Matrasses can be replaced, but a wronlgy designed sitting position is not easy to repair. A new set of cushions won't cure the problem.

All this, of course, FWIW and IMHO

<hr width=100% size=1>Peter a/b SV Heerenleed, Steenbergen, Netherlands<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1>Edited by heerenleed on 14/01/2004 13:32 (server time).</FONT></P>

14-01-04, 20:07
Many thanks Heerenleed and tcm (and thanks again Maltman for letting me "borrow" your topic). Your good advice is VERY welcome.

Tony Cross

<hr width=100% size=1>There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

15-01-04, 08:15
Ubuyusa, don't be put off your Jeanneau by some of the advice on this board. Everybody has different ideas about what makes a good boat, coloured by the waters they sail in and the boat they happen to own. British and other north european sailors have a huge love affair with heavyweight boats, and are often sniffy about lightweight "french" boats. Here in France, we laugh at them as we whiz past them in our "lightweight" fin keelers.

Jeanneaus and Beneteaus are very seaworthy boats. There is a French bloke sailing his Jeanneau 54 around Greenland at the moment http://www.planet.fr/, and he considers his boat ideal for the purpose - who are we to argue with him? There was an article in one of the French mags a while back about a bloke who single-handed is Beneteau 411 around Cape Horn and couldn't fault his boat.

Jeanneaus and Beneteaus are great cruising boats (my preference is Jeanneau) with everything sorted for comfortable life in the Med - big cockpit, bimini, easy access to water, good ventilation. They will easily handle the worst weather you will get while cruising, and the huge advantage is that they will also handle very light winds which you often get in the Med. My boat (Jeanneau) will sail nicely in 5knots of wind - it is hugely pleausrable to bumble along at 2knots on a flat calm Med in summer. I raise a beer to all those "heavyweight" northen european boats (and Catamarans - which also don't like light wind) as they chug past on their motors.

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15-01-04, 15:48
Ric, Very many thanks for this. You've made my SWMBO's day since she's already set her heart on a Jenneau 45.2!!

<hr width=100% size=1>There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

15-01-04, 17:34
Hi I have had a Jeanneau Sun Magic 44 for 10 years, no problem with water tanks we carry 1000lt as not alway easy to get cheep water in eastern Med. And the boat the best avalable, for the hot conditions,lots of the Northern europe types, are much to stuffy for this part of the world .And don`t worry, these boats will see you through anything that comes,With all the junk and water on board she will still make most passages at an average 6-7 kts . Best of luck in finding your boat
cheers bob t

<hr width=100% size=1>boss1

19-02-04, 23:41
Sorry for replying to a question that you didn't really ask, thus is for ubuysa.

We're looking to liveaboard and although we pplan to do some serious cruising, not just potter (not an insult at all) I would say it does matter what you buy.

We have avoided jens/benet etc. Although they do offer more for a live aboard, can you really guarantee that you are not going to hit something a bit rough? Although these boats presumably don't roll over and de-mast at the first gust of wind, they aren't all that hot from what I hear!

Living on a boat is a bit of a compromise when it comes to performance, but have you considered buying a motor sailor? If your not to fussed about the sailing, these tend to offer a lot more space and you can get some quite "yacht" looking ones! Just an idea and although possible not as lush or "plastically?" as jens/benet etc, they are going to stand to you better in a blow.

I'm no expert and yes I would agree that it depends on what you are going to do with your boat, and yes you can certainly get a very lush yacht for the price of a more sturdy one. It really is personal preference I suppose!

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