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Best Live-Aboard Yacht?

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Old 04-14-2004, 08:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Best Live-Aboard Yacht?

Time to put the collective knowledge of YachtForums members to work. A friend is looking for a live-aboard and asked my opinion. My answer was anything over 100 feet! His reply was... get real!

Here's the parameters... Under $300,000, around 12-15 years old and not powered by wind. Large enough for him and his best friend... a Golden Retriever.

Sooo... what make & model of yacht (or boat at this price!) would you recommend?
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Old 04-15-2004, 01:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I plugged your parameters into "Boats for Sale" and turned up some interesting boats. Lots of them. BTW, in that search, if you don't specific something it will return anything that fits. For example, put in nothing for the bottom price range and 300,000 for the top and it gets anything under 300K.

The nicest real liveaboard is that 63' Skipperliner. Its a house and a half with a steering wheel. Another surprise were the 50' SeaRay express cruisers. $200K seems cheap for that much boat. And then there are Gibsons and Bluewaters but there are a surprising number to look at.

What does the retriever have in mind?
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Old 04-15-2004, 02:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The retriever wants a fenced in, uhmmm... aft deck!

The diversity of yachts and the sheer number of them, even in a limited search profile on YachtWorld, is amazing.

The bluewater boats are abundant, as you eluded to. I've seen them, never actually been on them, but find myself wondering... how well do these boats do in true blue-water conditions.

Anyway, short of classified searches, I'd like to get member's ideas on this too. Sooo, what do you guys think? What's the best live-aboard?
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Old 04-15-2004, 02:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would have to say if he plans on actually doing any coastal cruising the bluewaters and houseboats are out of the question. He will probably want something with at least two staterooms, and most likely three (one for an office). Considering he has a dog most of the flush deck MY's are out of the question because they have stairs to the bridge (i.e. Hatteras, Viking, Chris Craft). A cockpit will also be helpful for a dog and for his own benefit if he wants to single hand the boat. An express cruiser is a little too confining for most people as a liveaboard because of the "cave" feeling.

To get all of the above he will be in the 45-50' range, and with his budget he will be looking at boats in the late 80's and early 90's. To make it dog friendly and possible for the guy to handle by himself the obvious choice is a Pilothouse MY such as a 49' Defever, 48 Hatteras LRC, 48 Navigator, 46 Nordhavn, 48 Offshore, Nordic 48 among others.

So while there is no ideal live-aboard that fits everybody, it is of my professional opinion that this guy needs a Pilothouse MY.
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Old 04-15-2004, 09:11 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Bluewater is about the most seaworthy of the "housecruiser" models.
The boats are beamy and have a rather low center of gravity. Not much house on one level is supposed to be the idea. Certainly not something you would want to consider as a true "bluewater" powerboat, it's just a name. The running gear is housed in tunnels, not immersed deep enough for real offshore work, and of course the boat's hull, superstructure and portals are not made for it...

Your friend's first plan should be is to define what kind of "living aboard" he is intending on doing. At the dock, or cruising.
We have lived aboard for over 20 years, but started out in BC and spent ten years in the Caribbean. A houseboat would not have sufficed.
But, if you just want to enjoy the St. Johns River and live around, say Green Cove Springs, you could have a wonderful time on a decent houseboat or house cruiser.
So, how far off shore do you intend to cruise?
Do you want to do it at displacement speeds or on plane?
Can you afford to do it on plane?
Will you be living in climates where conditions ice over in winter months?
Do you get along with your spouse well enough to live together on a 40 footer, or do you need the tri-decks of an 85 footer to keep sane?
Will you have pets on board and who will be doing the walking?
Will you be diving much? (If yes, a motoryacht without a cockpit won't do...)

I guess the list can go on and on...
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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$300k to buy - but what kind of annual budget is your friend allowing for? A 30 footer is a lot cheaper to own in the long run than an 85 footer. All the questions brought forward above are even more relevent. I fell in love with a 60' aluminium houseboat, but it wouldn't be able to leave the dock if there was more than 5kts of wind.... so I bought a regular house that sits on dirt.
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd be careful of using a Bluewater yacht on true blue water, they seem to be very lightly built. A 15 year old boat that spent it's life on Texas lakes had pretty severe stringer damage (not rot). In some places, the stringers had pulled loose from the hull.

Goes without saying that you'd have to have a survey done on whatever you buy.

Good luck.
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Old 04-16-2004, 11:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I will have to second the above as concerns Bluewaters....why do you think there are so many of them for sale? It's not because of their looks - but because of their poor hull integrity!

I think the gentelman needs to do a LOT more basic , old fashion,"homework", otherwise he wouldn't even have mentioned this vessel......however, if he wants to flush his money away...he can send it to me, instead!
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Old 04-17-2004, 10:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think Mr. Webster was just making an observation about the number of Bluewater boats available in the used market. They're a very popular boat among lakes & rivers. I'm sure their features and price are among the reasons so many people have purchased them. In my response to his post, I only questioned if they offer sufficient freeboard for blue water cruising.

I really like Jim's suggestions about the yachts in the 48' range, i.e., Nordhaven, DeFever, Navigator, Hatteras, etc. These are excellent suggestions in the allocated price range.

The "Live Aboard" post makes an interesting thread, which was one of the reasons I posed the question. Originally, I had some specific ideas on what to suggest, but I knew you guys would come up with some boats I may have overlooked.

Thanks for your feedback guys.
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Old 04-17-2004, 11:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Our Administrator brings up good points, and I'd like to clarify that my remarkes were not intended to say that Bluewaters are bad boats, merely to reflect my opinion that they're not what you would want to be in if the weather turned really rough in unprotected waters.
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Old 04-17-2004, 02:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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A few years ago we were aboard a BlueWater at a boat show. It is really a nice boat for its purpose and that's not really blue water.

Anyway, I asked why the boat didn't have more than one stateroom. The representative said "It's not that kinda boat". He explained that it was more for entertaining. I guess if you need a bedrooms you don't want crowds. And vice versa.
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Old 04-29-2010, 12:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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IMHO Hatteras 58' Yachtfish, preferably with the galley up version so you can remove the center (4th) stateroom and open it up for an office, another salon etc., but the galley down is nice if you move some things around. There are many on the market and the prices are all over the place. DD 8-71T is also preferred.
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Old 04-29-2010, 03:57 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Bluewater Yachts are not yachts, or even boats.. they're houseboats for small lakes.

300k can buy a very nice liveaboard, although i wouldn't limit myself to the 12 to 15 year old criteria. Built quality and maintenance/upgrade history is far more important than age, in short i'll take a 40 year old hatteras over a 10 year old carver or silverton or searay...

many vikings and Hatt. MY will fall in that price range if he's willing to go as far back as the mid 80s. There are many flavor of hatteras MY that are perfect as live aboards although as a L/A i woudn't go smaller than 53. galley up, galley down, cockpit, no cockpit, side deck, no side deck, big aft deck, small balcony... plenty to choose from. in the 250/300 range he can probably find a wider beam MY, like the 54 or 56. didnt' someone post a reduced price 52, early 90s in the for sale section?

Defever are ok but limited space, quality is not as good as a hatt. Express make lousy live aboard unless living in a cave is your idea of living aboard. Unless he has offshore cruising in mind, nto much point is Nordhavn and the like, you loose too much liveability for the offshore capabilities

i've been living on my 1970 53MY for 7 years now, love it. I regret not having gone for a 58Yf (same boat but with a cockpit). back then the wider beams 56 were a lot more money so that wasnt' an option. the layout is ideal...

and i have a 120lbs American Bulldog.. plenty of room for him to roam!
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:01 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I do see some lovely little numbers for sale right here on yacht forums.
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Old 05-17-2010, 07:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm interested in this myself, as for besides a Hatt what is comparable.I see Fleming's every time I leave my marina and wounder how do they stack up compared to, what I always hear..... (Hatteras) and I I'm by no means knocking Hatts just looking for knowledge.And what else is out there.
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