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  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Summer Walton, Winter Iberia
    Posts
    9,289

    Thumbs up Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Quote Originally Posted by V1701 View Post
    Hi,

    If you're in a marina with decent facilities don't worry about a shower, almost all marina liveaboards use marina facilities no matter what boat they have. You can use the sea toilet to pee but pooing in the marina is a no no. Or swap out the sea toilet for a porta potti, that's what I did on the Vega that I lived on happily for two years. Just make sure you can at least stand up in the main cabin, which you'll not be able to do in the Contessa 26 but you will easily in the Nic 26, e.g. (unless you're Michael Jordan). Don't get too hung up on makes/models, it limits your choice unnecessarily and you may well miss out on some good options. Most older fibreglass hulls should be fine, a bit of osmosis (blistering) on the hull isn't really a problem (and you'll get the boat cheaper). The key things are age and condition of engine/sails/standing rigging/bunk cushions and at least basic instruments like depth sounder & vhf radio. Go and see as many boats as you can to start to get an idea what you're looking at, try to look beyond the often poor presentation of older boats and if there's anyone you know who knows about boats take them with you if you can. Good luck & go for it, it's all very doable and a really good time to buy...
    Good advice✔️
    Last edited by nortada; 03-03-19 at 09:11.
    🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿Neither a Remainer or a Leaver be. Hoping for the best but planning for the worst✔️

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Coast UK
    Posts
    2,872

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Very quick look on Apolloduck found this, e.g:

    https://www.apolloduck.com/boat/cobra-yachts-850/512395

    Replacement of the old engine with a newer one is always a big plus. Re hot water, you'll have mains electric so just use a kettle. For heating, again if you have mains electric then an oil filled radiator or two, possibly a (dessicant type) dehumidifier as well. Electric blanket for winter and you're sorted. There are other heating & hot water options but honestly if you are in a marina I wouldn't worry about it...

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12,292

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Quote Originally Posted by ross84 View Post
    Hi all,

    Thanks! I'd be putting it in Liverpool Marina - which has good facilities I understand. I can live in parents house too if it got too uncomfortable in winter. The idea was spending half my time on the boat at least, maybe more in warmer months.

    Long-term I'd want to go cruising - maybe to Ireland, then around the UK, and then themed? While it's a long way off, doing an ocean crossing is something that excites me. After that I'd live on the boat full-time. I've lived in tents before for month on end, so a boat would be a luxury for me.

    But I understand doing a nine-to-five and coming back to a wet, cold damp boat with no hot water is just not realistic.... hence my questions. Good to hear different opinions. Useful so far. Many thanks!
    Well, it's a lot easier living on a 26 footer in a marina than it is on open water or anchored up some little inlet with no facilities. Do make some descrete enquiries about their attitude towards liveaboards before you commit a lot of money. Most marinas will have clauses in their rules that forbid liveaboard - usually specifying a maximum number of nights per year that you can sleep on the boat. Equally, most marinas turn a blind eye towards breaking that rule provided you make it easy for them to not notice you. Some are stricter and you would be wise to ask around and confirm that there are at least a few others that have successfully resided there for a period of more than a year.

    If you are based in a decently equipped marina, then permament residence on a 26 footer is a more realistic prospect. The shower and sewage holding tank are less of a priority since the marina facilities should cover those requirements and heating is a lot easier given the availability of shorepower. A single fan heater should keep a 26 footer adequately warm in all but the coldest of weather. It would be more expensive to operate than a diesel air heater, but unless the boat comes with the diesel heater already fitted, you'll be looking at several hundreds of pounds to add one, so it would take quite a long time to pay for itself relative to the fan heater.

    If you are living aboard throughout the winter, you will almost certainly need a dehumidifier to keep the interior adequately dry.

    Do some detailed numbers for your running costs before commiting. Marina berths are not free - and the prices can be quite high in a decent marina. Liverpool is not going to be as expensive as the luxury south coast marinas, but you may be surprised at the price. Most marinas insist that all boats are covered by a pretty comprehensive insurance policy and, as a new sailor, you can expect to be charged several hundreds of pounds for that too. Boats need regular maintenance too - at least if you want them to be in a fit state to sail. All manner of little plants and animals will attach themselves to your hull within a very short time - they will not sink it, but they will make it impossible to sail as they clog the propellor and increase drag on the hull. It will need to be lifted out, scrubbed and given a new coat of anti-fouling paint every year or two. Assuming that you are young and fit, you should easily be able to do that yourself on a boat that size, but you'll still have to pay for the lift out and the materials.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Quote Originally Posted by V1701 View Post
    Hi,

    If you're in a marina with decent facilities don't worry about a shower, almost all marina liveaboards use marina facilities no matter what boat they have. You can use the sea toilet to pee but pooing in the marina is a no no. Or swap out the sea toilet for a porta potti, that's what I did on the Vega that I lived on happily for two years. Just make sure you can at least stand up in the main cabin, which you'll not be able to do in the Contessa 26 but you will easily in the Nic 26, e.g. (unless you're Michael Jordan). Don't get too hung up on makes/models, it limits your choice unnecessarily and you may well miss out on some good options. Most older fibreglass hulls should be fine, a bit of osmosis (blistering) on the hull isn't really a problem (and you'll get the boat cheaper). The key things are age and condition of engine/sails/standing rigging/bunk cushions and at least basic instruments like depth sounder & vhf radio. Go and see as many boats as you can to start to get an idea what you're looking at, try to look beyond the often poor presentation of older boats and if there's anyone you know who knows about boats take them with you if you can. Good luck & go for it, it's all very doable and a really good time to buy...
    Thanks!

  5. #15
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Loch Snizort, Isle of Skye
    Posts
    4,858

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Good advice on here.
    You need to think of the boat and the berth together- is it a viable package?
    Your plans to use a marina berth and to have your parents as a backup option mean that you will absolutely fine on a small, basic boat. Use shore facilities as much as possible (showers, laundry, toilet, electricity) and the boat becomes a floating tent.
    Living on a boat whilst sat at anchor somewhere is much, much harder- especially if you need to come and go every day for work.

    Your £10k budget is ample. I saw someone advertising an Albin Vega the other day for under £3k! Loads of small, cheap boats out there. Maybe have a look at the 31ft Westerlies (Pentland, Renown, Longbow etc) because they are now falling into your sort of price range and offer a lot of boat for the money. But don't get fixated on particular models or 'must have' features.

    If the boat you end up with has no fridge, you have a few options- in ascending order of price:
    - Use a coolbox, and get someone to freeze blocks for you (your place of work? Your parents?)
    - Buy a tabletop 240v domestic fridge for under £100, and run it off shorepower- if you have space on the boat
    - Buy a self contained 12v fridge- the Chinese are now starting to make these at around £200, or you can get a more reputable one from Waeco for about double that
    - Buy a marine fridge installation kit with compressor, plate, etc, and build it into a locker- this could cost £500+ but is the best option for long term life aboard once you get cruising.
    Moody 39- Deb 33- Wayfarer- Wanderer

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    North Wales, sailing Aegean Sea or Menai Strait
    Posts
    21,689

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    The huge advantage of the Sadler over the other 26 foot boats is the absence of condensation thanks to the double skin. Living on a conventional small boat in winter can be a very damp affair but with the Sadler condensation is almost eliminated. We lived on our 34 in Holland in winter for a time before we had diesel heating and it was a pleasant experience.
    Answers to some technical queries at new website http://coxeng.co.uk

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Plymouth
    Posts
    8,374

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Quote Originally Posted by ross84 View Post
    ......
    But I understand doing a nine-to-five and coming back to a wet, cold damp boat with no hot water is just not realistic.... hence my questions. Good to hear different opinions. Useful so far. Many thanks!

    Good man, you seem to have your head screwed on. But it's something you really, really have to want to do, long term.

    A girl was living on board a 32 footer next to me in the marina last year. Hearing her coming in from college at 5pm to a dark, basic, older boat was a bit dispiriting for me, let alone her. It was damm cold, ice on decks; what do you do with the 6 hours before going to bed? To be fair she stuck it out though.

    The marina is not going to be less than 40 quid a week and could well be 60, or more, think on. I agree with the others you might look for something a bit larger but don't buy a wreck, you will almost certainly regret it.
    Last edited by doug748; 03-03-19 at 14:00.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Plymouth
    Posts
    8,374

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Quote Originally Posted by vyv_cox View Post
    The huge advantage of the Sadler over the other 26 foot boats is the absence of condensation thanks to the double skin....

    Yep. My first reaction was that 10 grand would be too little to buy a 26 but I see there are quite a few around at that price now. Plus....:

    https://www.theyachtmarket.com/boats_for_sale/1687995/

    A fine boat design for that money. Handily placed for looking at ross84.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    28

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Thanks for the supportive responses. None of the usual negativity around; that's refreshing. All replies have been read and reflected on. Cheers!

    Quote Originally Posted by doug748 View Post
    Yep. My first reaction was that 10 grand would be too little to buy a
    26 but I see there are quite a few around at that price now. Plus....:

    https://www.theyachtmarket.com/boats_for_sale/1687995/

    A fine boat design for that money. Handily placed for looking at ross84.
    Great spot!!!

    Actually some people I know are selling their SHE 31 for around 7,000k, which I understand is a solid bluewater boat.

    As long as it can be sailed single handed, has some space down below, and is ocean-worthy, I'm not too fussy... is there a big difference in cost between a 26, a 29 and a 31 in terms of maintenance and berthing?

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    12,292

    Default Re: Can I live on a 26ft Vega/Nic/Contessa/Sadler?

    Quote Originally Posted by ross84 View Post

    ...

    As long as it can be sailed single handed, has some space down below, and is ocean-worthy, I'm not too fussy... is there a big difference in cost between a 26, a 29 and a 31 in terms of maintenance and berthing?
    Assuming that you are willing to DIY the maintenance, then the bulk of your annual running costs will be the mooring fees and the cost of a lift-out and relaunch for maintenance. Unfortunately, those are usually charged by the foot (or metre these days). There are generally a few "break-points" in the price schedules based on the length - our boat is a 42 footer, but we pay a fair bit more than twice the price for a 21 footer because we come into a price band for larger boats. There's no hard and fast rule about the way prices are calculated at different marinas - you really have to get a copy of the price list for the marina you want to use.

    On the subject of "ocean-worthy", many would say that a 26 footer is a bit small for genuine ocean crossing. People have certainly done it, but it is pretty demanding of a boat that small. Apart from safety questions, you have some practical issues storing enough provisions to keep you alive on a long non-stop passage. The ARC fleet sails from the Canary Islands to St. Lucia - just about the shortest passage from one side of the Atlantic to the Other - and the small boats take close to a month to get there. This is not to say that you should not buy a 26 footer - we had a lot of fun in one for our first couple of years of sailing, but we did limit ourselves to coast hopping. But if you do decide to graduate to sailing round the world, be prepared to upgrade to a larger boat.

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