Boat living primer


Want to figure out if it makes sense for me to start living on a boat, and how to get started with that in Asia or Oceania without bankrupting myself.

How should I do that in your opinion?

(Larry G) #2

Great question!

In my opinion, yes, it’s absolutely a good way to start. One of the keys to seasteading is experience living on the water.

Look around this forum for threads on live-aboard, for the book “Sailing the Farm” and on there are many books about the live aboard cruising lifestyle and how to do it on a budget. There are websites with people living this oifestyle and they are very open to sharing info.

(.) #3

"…start living on a boat…“
How should I do that in your opinion?”


(more in email)

(Chad Elwartowski) #4

I love watching this couple for inspiration.

This girl is great. I think she just saved enough for a downpayment and instead of rent paid the amount of the loan.

And this guy has a good video about his boat life.

I would suggest starting small so you are making decisions on your bigger purchase based upon what you know you like. A bed, toilet and a way to cook are the essentials. Work your way up from there.


What do you mean by “starting small”?
I’ve been watching a lot on Utube, but they seem to only be good for inspiration.

I’ve started reading the boating forums too - cruiserforum and sailnet.

So far, seems like I don’t want to start small, if it means buying the smallest boat that would do for me.

It’s a major investment.
So, seems like I should buy something that’s just right for me from the beginning. I know that I’ll have to pour money into it to make it just the way I want it, which I won’t be able to get back once I sell it. It’s the same way with a house on land.

So, if I buy it, pour all that money into it, and then sell it a few years later to upgrade to exactly what I want, but still used and needing another cash injection, seems like I would be penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Is my logic sound on that?


Good luck w/that. Only you can figure that out,…As a rule of thumb (after living aboard for 10 years), YES, IT DOES MAKES SENSE living aboard. You will pay LESS “rent” (zero rent if living “on the hook”= Anchored, in sailor’s lingo). You will pay LESS utilities. You can travel cheaply (if on a sailboat), you can experience more, afford more, save more, and/or party more, not give a shit more, etc.

Buy a cheap 26 footer, $3-4K, or whatever your budget can afford… Start living aboard, start learning sailing, navigation, seamanship.

Are you in Asia or Oceania? Then, see above. If not in Asia or Oceania, then you’ll have to get there, You need @ least a solid 40 footer ocean going sailboat. @ least $40k for the boat. To be on the safe side.

Another $20k to get there and “get around” for a while.

You can do it for cheaper, smaller boat, less money, etc. But the cheaper, the riskier it is. Your call.

(Bob LLewellyn) #7

I lived on a boat for a year in preparation for living at sea. Buying a boat is like buying shoes for a kid, get one size too big, it won’t be that way very long. My 40 foot cabin cruiser was just a touch too small for my wife and I, but actually a 45 ft will serve nicely. There are a gang of boats available, you can even get one free, if you’re willing to fix it up and remove it from where ever it is.

There is nothing like living on a boat, life slows down and starts to make sense, well some of it. There is more room on a cruiser but everywhere you go cost fuel. Sail boats are better if you are going to be moving around. If you get in an area or island that you like and are ok staying there for long term, then a cruiser will treat you better. If you choose the cabin cruiser, you will need another source of money, (until we get a real community at sea where there will be other sources of income).

For me, I use an automated trading robot that is loaded on a VPS on the internet. It trades all the time so I am free to live away from internet service. However, Hughes network has a big foot print so more options may become available.

(.) #8

Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere; John Vigor

John Vigor turns the spotlight on twenty seaworthy sailboats that are at home on the ocean in all weather. These are old fiberglass boats, mostly of traditional design and strong construction. All are small, from 20 feet to 32 feet overall, but all have crossed oceans, and all are cheap. Choosing the right boat to take you across an ocean or around the world can be confusing and exasperating, particularly with a tight budget. Vigor sets out to remedy that in this book. He compares the designs and handling characteristics of 20 different boats whose secondhand market prices start at about $3,000. Interviews with experienced owners (featuring valuable tips about handling each boat in heavy weather) are interspersed with line drawings of hulls, sail plans, and accommodations. Vigor has unearthed the known weaknesses of each boat and explains how to deal with them. He rates their comparative seaworthiness, their speed, and the number of people they can carry in comfort. If you have ever dreamed the dream this book can help you turn it into reality.


Thanks! I am in Southeast Asia.

Financially, so far seems like buying a smaller starter boat makes more sense also while I’m single. If I weren’t, from what I see on Utube, a self-respecting western or even westernized woman probably wouldn’t be content on a boat any less than 35ft, even if she is ideologically aligned…

And looks like a $3-4K boat that size would be a real junker, and not comfortable for living aboard at all. At least $13-14 seems more like it for a decent one. No?

Would I be able to sell it just as easily, without taking a big loss, when I need to upgrade, for example to accommodate her and a child, or do business or science from the boat, such as aquaculture?

My education was in biology; not marine, and i didn’t work in it, but did do published research, and it’s been 5 years since I left it.
So, I would want to get busy experimenting and trying ideas from the boat, rather than just float about and wait for seasted platforms to show up.

Given all that, would a 25-30 foot boat really be worth buying first, rather than a 40 foot one from the beginning?

Is the Pacific Ocean really pacific enough to go say from Singapore to Tahiti in a 25-30 foot boat?

(.) #10

That logic makes sens, in my opinion.

However, different people have different preferences.
I had smaller boats, and not so seaworthy boats.
I bought the boats, and I sold the boats.
At this point I would like to get a boat that is big (50 feet, or 45 feet).
It took me to experience smaller boats, to understand the advantage
of bigger boats.

I am a kind of self starter. My first boat was a Cal25. I bought it
without any knowledge of sailing. The boat had a 10Hp outboard
engine. I used the engine to go out to the open water. I stopped the
engine, I pulled up the sails, and I watched what happened.

Later, I got a few pointers from friends: turn into the wind, and let the
boom out, and the boat straightens up. I went from there.

A few electronic things are good to have: chart plotter; radio; AIS… etc.
Life wests are good to have too. You can never have enough engines
on a boat. It is possible to “ghost” a sailboat and “scull” a sailboat.

And etc…

(.) #11

“ghosting” I mean : in no wind condition, it is still possible to move a
sailboat by putting up the main sail and moving/rolling the boat left to
right by body weight. At this point the boat fans itself forward.
It is slow.

“sculling” single ore used at the aft like a gondola in Venice.

(.) #12

For live-aboard conditions it is important to consider the head (bathroom).


NO. It’s just another ocean with 25 knts+ winds, 10-30+ foot waves, storms here and there, hurricanes, etc.

Of course it can be done. Would I do it? No, not on a 25-30 footer.

LOL. Who told u that ??

I met a whole bunch of “self-respecting” westernized HOT women who were VERY “content” to spend LOTS of quality time on my 25 foot sailboat.

Well, “given all that” don’t mean a damn thing if the only boat you can afford is a 25-30 footer… If you have the money to buy a 40 footer, buy it. BUT, if you never had a boat, it would be wiser for you to buy a smaller one first and see if you like it or not,…

Do you get seasick?


:slight_smile: “Quality time” with YOU, maybe, but what would they say if you asked them to live there with you?

I see from the Utube boating couples what kind of boats gravitate to them.
And i’ve lived long enough to know that "Women control HALF the money, and ALL of the you know what…"
So, it’s plain to me from where the wind is blowing with these >35 foot boats these couples are driving, and ordinary couples are selling on yachtworld.

Also, they are just nomading around - having fun, coastal cruising, and stopping in marinas a lot.

Seasteading seems more about spending more time offshore, outside EEZs, than doing what any desirable chic I know would consider quality time.

We were just subconsciously programmed by our 1st world upbringing to consider a certain amount of living space a comfortable minimum. With boats and modern women, 35 feet seems to be that, even for coastal cruising.

Women are the glue of society, and make any frontier steading bearable. If they ain’t comfortable, we’ll know about it, and won’t be comfortable either until they are!
That’s the way of the apes.

For me, it ain’t about pleasure cruising. It’s about ideology and making money.
So, with the right-size machine for the job, I’ll deal…

I’ve never had an ocean boat, but I was in a sailing club as a small child for a while and putted around on a sailing dingy on a lake.
Ain’t nearly the same, but I understand the basic dynamics and physics of it. The rest just seems like living in an RV that might be buried in an avalanche if you’re careless.

I don’t get sick coastal cruising, but never been on an offshore boat in a storm.


Makes sense. It seems real roller-coastery on those big waves even on the bigger offshore boats, and skipper is at the helm, as they get “pooped” or whatever that’s called when the wave crest drenches it.

Maybe it’s a stupid question, but I’ve seen those hefty nylon anchor snubbers y’all use as a shock absorber on the ground tackle if I remember the name right.

Is something like that attached from the skipper’s harness to the boat on both sides to keep him from getting jostled about and washed overboard as he is steering over those big waves?


Well, one said YES, we end up living aboard on a 33 footer in San Diego for 8 years and we’re still together after 30 years :blush:

It’s called a JACKLINE. A MUST for offshore passages.


Mine was a Cal 30. I also didn’t no much about sailing when I bought it…


Ok, so I was only 2 feet off. And women are more demanding nowadays probably, because they are less traditional, and see more Joneses to keep up with on the Internet. :slight_smile:
So, I still think 35 foot boat is a good safety margin on the absolute minimum for a woman to be content, particularly on an offshore boat.

The other day, I saw online a nice 35 foot Bavaria a German couple is selling in Tahiti. They seemed to have it equipped nicely and were cruising with 3 or 4 kids.
Maybe that’s why they are selling it to get a bigger one. Must have been pandemonium in such a small box with so many kids!

So, 40 feet seems optimal, if one is going to also work off the boat, as I will.


Bavaria are the “Audis” of sailboats. Remarkable quality and VERY well built passage makers. But pricey!!

What did they asked, around $80K?


No, I’m sorry; it was a 36 foot Marine Projects Sigma: