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  1. #11
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    It is not the wood construction per se which is the problem - it is the lack of maintenance. They will not tolerate neglect in the same way that most GRP boats will. Would be more concerned about feeeding and looking after those old GM V12 engines and all the systems that are needed to keep all that lovely interior comfortable, warm, cool and dry.

  2. #12
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    "When I read these sweeping generalizations, I can't help wondering what's the rationale behind them."


    The Medway used to be lined with old MTBs/Barges/MFVs and such like,pressed into service simply because no other cheap accomodation was around after war and over the years you could watch them slowly decline with weeping fastenings and seams visible along the hull until they finally were letting in water faster than it could be pumped out.
    The local creeks were a handy place to sneakly put them ashore in the dead of night at the end of their lives.
    We frequently used to tow old house boats from yard to another,problem was eventually even IF you discovered something solid to put the tow rope around,once underway all the mud got washed out of the seams and the old heap used to start heading straight down. The original owner would promptly make himself scarce PDQ leaving the new owner wondering if his new "investment" was about to sink under him taking all his money with it..
    Is a damp wet world around here and a quick trip out to local nearbye marina will show the problems especially with imported Italian stuff especially very visable.

    If you want to spend you life keeping the thing floating and repainting the hull every year then fine,if not IMHO stick to glassfibre.
    Last edited by oldgit; 31-03-12 at 17:06.

  3. #13
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    All well and good - I did accept that wood needs more maintenance, didn't I?
    But my point was, if given a choice, onboard which of those two boats you'd rather live?
    I can see reasons why someone could say neither, but anyone who would choose the Squaddie (unless strictly for maintenance/costs reasons) is either a masochist or needs psychiatric help...

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tranona View Post
    Would be more concerned about feeeding and looking after those old GM V12 engines and all the systems that are needed to keep all that lovely interior comfortable, warm, cool and dry.
    Agreed, but that's rather driven by size and age, than by the wooden or plastic hull.

  5. #15
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    just saw the thread and since a have a soft spot for old Italian craft, I thought I'll give me 2drx worth...

    Of course the Versilcraft looks much better, much larger etc but the photos do not show much other than what's attractive. There's going to be lots of interesting things behind the skin, and if you're not familiar or don't understand what's going on and not willing to spend serious amount of time yourself (or v.serious amounts of money for someone else to do it...) then you're buying into a large neverending problem.

    My Versilcraft although much smaller than this 25m one, did look neglected (externally) is okayish mechanically and needs a awful lot of work overal to get it to the standards I want. Bought cheap(ish) at 20K euro for the size/year and knowing that I'm going to work myself to get it right. Have a look http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296044for an idea of the issues that may arise (or are well hidden behind a nice new shiny topcoat of expensive paint)

    It looks that for the area you want to keep her and the function to perform, the Versilcraft will be a problem/nightmare (BTW, I assume it's triple planked thing, not ply like mine, right?)

    cheers

    V.

  6. #16
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    Unles it's 100% residential, you'll need a shore based address to get your post sent to. IMO, marinas don't and won't want to receive your post and then that gives the game away as they then know you're a liveaboard. Now this is where things can start to go Pete Tong in the UK...........

    So let's say you get a relative or friend localish to where the boat's moored (you don't want to be driving great distance to pick post up) that agrees you can have post sent to their address, you then have to get on the electoral register at their address. Reason? Credit rating . To maintain your credit score, you'll need a landline phone no. and electoral register listing, the first things companies look for if and when you apply for credit such as a new credit card or personal loan.

    You'll have to give the bank your "new" address along with any credit card companies and notify the DVLA for licence and V5 car details plus many other institutions that want to know you have a permanent address.

    PO boxes and "post restante" only work short term. I know of many boaters that sort of liveaboard but they haven't sold their bricks and mortar - they simply rent it out and avoid all the pitfalls as descibed above.

    Are you used to the convinience and living out of a freezer? Forget it on a boat as you'll be strapped to get a few pizzas and micowave meals in a boat freezer and similarily the size of fridge.

    Water supply - even with the biggest tanks, the time will come when you need to fill up. Not easy in the depths of winter when the hoses on the pontoon have frozen. Pump out - again the time will come when your black tank is overflowing but the weather conditions or lack of crew prevent you from doing this. Has to wait for another day which could be along time away.

    One last thing - laundry. Unless you have an on board washer/dryer, it's trips to your "other" address or friends or the local launderette. Luxury if the marina/moorings have these facilities.

    I went through all of the above and eventually came ashore. However, for a single person or a likeminded couple, it's a great life. I never had any problems with cold or condensation on my Fairline 40 (Fairline Mirage aft cabin prior to that) but I did have 24hr shore power. You learn to live and adapt to the harsh reality of living aboard and to make changes to the boat. I don't think I was sober for two years, such is the friendship and relationships you build up with other bertholders. The winter was beautiful, solitude and peaceful in the marina, even at weekends.

    God, now I wish I was back living on the water

  7. #17
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    Wow! Thank you so much everyone for your excellent advice.

    So, here goes with my long list of responses ...

    @Firefly625 ... You must have read my mind about the Versilcraft!

    Quote Originally Posted by Firefly625 View Post
    ....I can see the dream.... just imagine bringing your mates back to st Cats and pointing over to the pontoon with the Versilcraft sitting there...and saying, thats my house... excellent!
    .
    Thanks for the link to the proper houseboat too. I'd actually seen it before. Looks ok for the money but, having watched far too many James Bond films growing up I just like the idea of something that looks nice on the outside and can sail too. I know, I'm not sensible at all!

    If I won the lottery, just for a laugh, I'd buy that Versilcraft as it would be a great, albeit expensive, project

    @Deefor and @Oldgit ....

    Thanks for the http://www.rboa.org.uk/qa link. I'd seen it before but definitely worth me reading again. I certainly need that reality check

    I'd actually checked with St Kats a few weeks ago and they have a 6 month mooring available for a 25m yacht from September. Sure, it's not cheap but a lot cheaper than the rent I'm currently paying in London.

    I'm currently minimising all my possessions in my flat in preparation for any sort of liveaboard life. I can't stand the clutter I've accumulated in recent years. It's all being sold on ebay and going to Freecycle / charity shops now. Hoping to have a very sparse flat in the next few weeks. I might even go as far as to say it will be "ship shape".

    This whole yacht smell / "perfume" business has concerned me though. I don't want my clothes smelling of marine condensation or whatever the smell is. Naturally, I'll be hooked up to shore power and running heaters / air con / dehumidifiers as necessary.

    @Locki ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Locki View Post
    I don't think its such a crazy idea... The Fairline 50 _would_ cost a lot to maintain _if_ you need to keep it seaworthy all the time, but if your main requirement is domestic appliances, it might not be too bad. I woke up wondering about living on board my Squadron 55 this very morning, and I think you could do it in a snap.
    Thanks! I know I'm pretty crazy but nice to know that there is a tiny bit of sanity in my logic. I'm usually away a few days a month anyway and spend most weekends on the coast so staying underneath the marina's radar shouldn't be a problem.

    @MapisM ...

    Quote Originally Posted by MapisM View Post
    When I read these sweeping generalizations, I can't help wondering what's the rationale behind them.
    I mean, aside from needing more maintenance for wood, which as already mentioned is stating the obvious, how many people actually tried living onboard both GRP and wooden boats?
    I did, and also in pretty cold climates (a few times, with ice surrounding the boat!).
    And it's on the basis of these experiences that I posted my previous comment.
    Actually, for liveaboard - particularly in cold climates - I'd rather go for a wooden 50' than an 80' plastic boat...!
    I don't think the maintenance would bother me too much. I'd much rather keep doing little things on the boat and often to keep it in good shape and take pride in it. I guess I just need to get a handle on the real costs of it.

    I appreciate your comments about living on the Squadron too.

    Funnily enough there are a couple of 70s / 80s style Versilcraft yachts in St Kats. I'm pretty sure they're Versilcraft. One looks like a Challenger (80 / 90) and the other a Super Phantom / Super Vanguard.

    I'd love to get to speak to the owners of them to see what their experience of keeping these sorts of boats in the UK / London is. Anyone here know the boats I mean or the owners by any chance?

    I walk through St Katherine's dock on a regular basis (usually to daydream!) so hopefully I'll bump into the owners one day.

    @virtuvas ...

    Wow! Your project (http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=296044) is truly amazing. That's what I call serious maintenance! I've now added your thread to my favourites and will be an avid follower of your progess.

    Looking at some of the interior photos it reminded me of the 42foot offshore racing boat my dad (a marine engineer) bought in the 70s. Yes, you can see that craziness runs in my family!

    I remember spending many a weekend at the boat yard emptying buckets of water from a wooden hull that was on stilts all the time.

    Sadly, we never managed to get that boat in the water before we had to sell it.

    I'm pretty sure the Versilcraft 80 is a triple planked construction, unlike your ply Mystere 43.

    Good luck with the rest of your project. I can't wait to see the finished boat and see how much it cost to do.

    If I do go down the wooden boat route (don't worry Tranona, I'll try hard not to!) then I can't imagine I'll be able to do as much work on the boat as you're doing on the Mystere 43. Many of my family are carpenters, builders and engineers so I'm hoping that will be useful.

    My desk job doesn't allow me to do as much manual stuff as I'd like. So, my carpentry skills only extend to building stupid rafts to race around Brighton pier each summer. If you want a laugh, you can read about it http://teamflotus.wordpress.com/2011...oes-it-wetter/ or see the silly video of my floating creation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=154qTu71YNs

    @Deefor again ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Deefor View Post
    Unles it's 100% residential, you'll need a shore based address to get your post sent to.
    That shouldn't be a problem for me, thankfully. I'll be registered elsewhere in the UK for electoral reasons, credit, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deefor View Post
    Are you used to the convinience and living out of a freezer? Forget it on a boat as you'll be strapped to get a few pizzas and micowave meals in a boat freezer and similarily the size of fridge.
    I can't see this being a major problem for me. I'm not a microwave junkie and, while I cook at home, I go out in London a lot too. I really appreciate the info though as this is the sort of practical stuff that didn't really cross my mind when I first thought about living on a boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deefor View Post
    Water supply - even with the biggest tanks, the time will come when you need to fill up. Not easy in the depths of winter when the hoses on the pontoon have frozen. Pump out - again the time will come when your black tank is overflowing but the weather conditions or lack of crew prevent you from doing this. Has to wait for another day which could be along time away.
    Yes, this is a concern. Especially in the winter. St Kats was almost frozen solid this winter so I can imagine the hoses / pump outs weren't great during that period.

    The whole black tank / pump out thing is something I'll search the forum for in more detail.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deefor View Post
    One last thing - laundry. Unless you have an on board washer/dryer, it's trips to your "other" address or friends or the local launderette. Luxury if the marina/moorings have these facilities.

    I went through all of the above and eventually came ashore. However, for a single person or a likeminded couple, it's a great life. I never had any problems with cold or condensation on my Fairline 40 (Fairline Mirage aft cabin prior to that) but I did have 24hr shore power.

    God, now I wish I was back living on the water
    All the boats I've looked at have had washers / dryers (even the Fairline Squadron) as I don't really want to trek to the laundrette late one night - just to have some clean clothes for the morning.

    The marinas, such as St Kats have 24 hour shore power so hopefully condensation won't be too much of an issue either.

    Time for me to take a look at some of these boats in the flesh just to get a feel for the actual space (and any smell!) inside.

    For those of you who mentioned that steel barges would be more suited to the UK climate, I do have another option (which will probably make you sigh / raise your eyebrows / tut / shake your head) ...

    This one's got an aluminium hull

    http://www.yachtworld.co.uk/boats/19...-2191221/Spain

    Meanwhile, I'm going to try and find a boat that I can rent as a B&B / hotel / share (without actually sailing it from it's mooring) for a few days.

    If anyone knows of a suitable boat in their marina (anywhere in Europe) please let me know.

    Ok, that really is enough nonsense from me today.

    Thanks again for all your excellent advice

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew72 View Post
    Should I buy an old Versilcraft or a Fairline Squadron?
    this title is similar to my princess or Ferretti thread a year ago,
    could give you some idea's or inspiration;
    http://www.ybw.com/forums/showthread.php?t=260592
    dig deeper in this thread and you will find many examples and pictures from big older boats

    On the liveaboard thing I can't give you advice,
    we use the boat partially as a hollidayhouse in the med, so just like a liveaboard,
    but only part time,
    so I 'm still very exited each time when I can go a week or a long weekend to the boat.
    I simply don't know if the feeling is the same when I would live permanently on her in colder climate.

    lots of good comments here above, pro aswell as cons, so much food for thought,
    but I'm temted to say, follow your hart (and your wallet)
    my main conclusion after my search was, don't be shy to go for the best you can get for your budget.

    In my case I went for a Italian 70ft GRP hull boat, with wooden superstructure
    for me a bit the best of both,

    A planing boat was crucial to me, but in your case some really nice Displacement or semi D are out there
    (some nice examples in my thread are still on the market....)

    I wish you good luck with your interesting plan, and keep us updated with your search.

  9. #19
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    I think I'm right in saying that you would need a Yachtmaster qualification to sail the Versilcraft as its over 23m even just to move it to empty the black water tank

    If I've got this wrong I'm sure someone will correct me

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by MedDreamer View Post
    I think I'm right in saying that you would need a Yachtmaster qualification to sail the Versilcraft as its over 23m even just to move it to empty the black water tank

    If I've got this wrong I'm sure someone will correct me
    Yup you're wrong Meddy! It has to be over 24m load line length, and it's nowhere near that. 24m load line length is typically 27-28m LOA

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