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Intro and intentions

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Certeza, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Hi all. I've been lurking here for a while and have greatly appreciated all the knowledgeable posters on these forums.

    I am a complete noob when it comes to the yacht world. The extent of my experience is spending a couple weeks each year on a 60' houseboat in Lake Powell Utah. Obviously, this is a much different experience than coastal yacht cruising.

    My wife and I are both still quite young (33 and 26) and have been discussing the idea of doing a 12 month live aboard 2-3 years from now. We were originally talking about traveling and living out of hotels for a year, until the idea of trading hotel life for yacht life entered the conversation after the latest trip to Lake Powell. While we are generally pretty spontaneous, I feel that this is something that will take a significant amount of research and planning. I really wanted to throw out some basic ideas and get some feedback from the gurus here.

    I have narrowed things down a bit in my research based on our requirements and what we will be doing. Unfortunately, no sailboats. The idea of sailing is romantic, but for the longer term it just isn't what we are looking to do. So it will be a motor yacht, and I've ruled out catamarans.

    We are really leaning toward fly-bridge or tridecks in the 75'-80' range. While a larger yacht would be nice for certain reasons, we really want something that is manageable by ourselves, with the help of my assistant as live-aboard crew.

    In terms of style, we seem to gravitate toward Burger and Hatteras. In architecture I always tend to build homes around classic principals and design criteria, and this is no different in the yachting world for me. The difficulty is that we would like to keep the cost of the vessel down to around $1MM, which certainly means something that is around 10-14 years old.

    The idea would be to work our way up during the summer months from wherever we purchase the vessel to either Alaska or Eastern Canada, depending on the location of purchase. As it gets colder we would intend on traveling south toward Panama and lock through around February. Then make our way North along the other coast till the summer finds us back in the more northern latitudes. I'd love to hear any criticism, feedback, or encouragement that anyone has for us. I'm in the mode of soaking up knowledge right now.

    Regards.

    Brett
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Welcome

    Sounds good, the only glitch in your plan is the part about running a boat that size yourself especially cruising to new areas you are not familiar with. First, no insurance is going to cover you without at least a few months with a captain. Then even if you can get coverage, 75 to 80 is a lot if boat to maintain and keep up as well as systems to be familiar with. You will be spending quite a bit of time working instead of enjoying the lifestyle

    For just under $1M, you have a lot of choices and options, but most likely in the 15year old range, which is fine when dealing with quality boats

    Also, while I understand the desire for privacy and not have someOne on your boat, if cost is a concern a good captain will save you some money when it comes to maintenance... Routine maintenance, troubleshooting, etc can quickly add up at the close the $100 an hour rate most yards charge...
  3. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    I've worked about 10 years and through 3 boats for a man who has never slept on his boats. On the smaller boats (a 40' Formula express and a 46' Carver he got hotel rooms for us both wherever we went. On his 50 Viking I insisted on sleeping on board. He still got a hotel room. for himself). He's been out of boating for about a year and is now looking at boats again with interest in doing the Great Loop. So I'll tell you what I told him, and it should confirm that you're on the right track. Watch Gordon Ramsey's new show Hotel Hell. You may never stay in a hotel again, especially after they turn the black light on the beds. We're now looking at boats that he'll feel comfortable sleeping on.
    Pascal is absolutely right that your insurance company will not permit you to run a boat that size without a captain for at least the first year. It's also just a smart thing to do. There are a lot of system on these boats that you need to learn about, There are also a lot of sandbars and rocks that you're sure to find the hard way without a professional looking over you. Then there's the storms. It's very reasuring to have someone with experience on board to convince you that you're not about to die when you're sure you will, and to make sure it works out that way. That doesn't mean he has to run the boat. The gentleman I work for like to drive the boat, and even plot the courses. He has me for piece of mind and to jump in when the s--- hits the fan.
    BTW, as you look at boats keep in mind that the bigger a boat is, the more comfortable it is to live on, but the fewer places you can take them on the inside. Make sure the boat fits the plan.
    Welcome to YF, and best of luck fulfilling your dream.
  4. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Great info guys!

    So please allow me to ask a few questions.

    1) Is my choice of size correct given the following requirements?

    Needs to sleep 8 comfortably. Preferably, at least, full beam Master Suite, VIP stateroom, Guest stateroom, reasonably large Captains quarters, crew quarters for two.

    Large Galley capable of preparing real meals. My wife is becoming a trained chef, and while she doesn't expect a full gourmet kitchen, certain standards will need to be met.

    2) I'm a decent mechanic. I've taken courses within the last 15 years, but I'm a bit out of practice now. I used to operate a handyman business. If I were to spend time during the next couple years refreshing my knowledge and taking applicable courses in piloting large vessels, how long would be a realistic amount of time to expect to need to hire a captain?
  5. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Point well taken. I should note that we aren't actually looking at this as a vacation, but rather a different sort of living. So we aren't at all looking to be pampered. I am the type of guy who does things himself, even after building a successful asset management company. I should be "enjoying the lifestyle" right now, but instead I am always working on something from home/car maintenance, yard work, etc...
  6. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    You can be dealing with that in a 4 stateroom starting at about 55' with a full apartment size galley with full size appliances depending on the model. Around 70' you could find a very comfortable 5 stateroom with a fairly gormet galley.
    You're going to need a fairly proficient deckhand on any of these boat to handle dockings, and the maintenance can keep you pretty busy. Might as well make it a captain, and take advantage of his experience. No need for him to be full-time however. You can simply hire him when you cruise.
  7. Capt Ralph

    Capt Ralph Senior Member

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    There are folks here that have bilge water for blood. Jack of all trades , master of ALL. And they still learn something new every day.
    Mechanic, Plumber, Navigator, Political officer, Electronic tech, pilot and many years of experience, yada, Ada, yada....

    "how long would be a realistic amount of time to expect to need to hire a captain?"

    Forever, they are already a life time ahead of you.

    I'm not trying to blow your dreams away here. I'm in admiration of them. But cruising each coast & the ditch plus managing help, maintain machinery, medical officer, sanitation engineer, watch and bottle washer is not anything your going to learn from a book, from watching another guy do it for a while and certainly will not compare to anything on a lake.
    Enjoy your dream, Hire an experienced captain, or captains as you go.

    BTW, 8 is a crowd.
  8. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Based on what you said, it s certainly doable. It all comes down to how quickly you learn the systems. It's not rocket science after all

    Space for 8 will probably keep you in the 70/80+ range. It's not just the number of staterooms it's also the systems to support the people on board. Things like holding tank size, water tankage, and in case of an owner operated boat having some redundancy so that a failure doesn't send you crawling in the ER right away. I d put twin gensets high on the list.
  9. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    I guess one of my big questions is whether a guy with bilge water for blood is the the type of guy that we would be interested in spending all day with, every day for a year.

    I also have no idea what to expect to have to pay someone like that.
  10. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Yes, but as we will essentially always be traveling to different places, wouldn't that mean hiring a single captain to take the entire journey?

    Also, I've looked at 55' vessels and they just seem very cramped for what we are looking for. I could be wrong though. We spend a couple weeks a year on a houseboat that size and it is much too cramped to live aboard for a year.
  11. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    For a trip like this, what would you suggest as absolutely required systems?

    You mentioned twin gensets. What about;
    -fresh water maker
    -navigation
    -engines
    -tender
  12. Fishtigua

    Fishtigua Senior Member

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    You don't have to have some raggedy 'Cap't Ron' type of skipper. Most young, competent guys will normally be on a career path, maybe using you as a stepping stone for extra experience.

    You should talk to an established Yacht Broker/Crew Agent as to wage levels.
  13. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    I'm very unfamiliar with the professional yachting world. So your advise to talk to crew agents is good. I recently had dinner with several people in the Caribbean who were on vacation from their jobs as yacht crew members. Two of them on a 85' and four of them on a 150'. They were nice to hang out with but I couldn't be with them for long periods. I guess the take away from this is that I'd have to be just as picky about picking crew as I would be about choosing a vessel.
  14. travler

    travler Senior Member

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    welcome to the forum , i have had several boats over the last 40 years and the advice allready given is good sound advice, i have owned boats for 30 ft too 250 ft the one that i still liked the best was a 70 ft that could go any where , my budget could be diffrent than yours my wife and i took that boat all over the world on 2 diffrent ocassions and i would still hire a capt from time too time and on long voyages i would also take and extra deck hand that had a lot of experiance , there are several members here that have been and are still going all over the world ,

    enjoy your travels

    travler
  15. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    Water maker is pretty standard on a big boat, it s a convenience item though. If it fails, you should be able to last a few days using your water tanks, you re unlikely to be away for civilization that long on the east coast/Bahamas/carib

    Same with tenders... Modern outboards are very reliable and again, not being able to take a ride to that nice beach isnt game over like no genset therefore no air con, forcing you to get back to a marina right away Plus a jet ski can serve as a back up tender

    Navigation: redundancy is cheap and easy... Non issue

    The relationship between owner and captain varies from boat to boat. You obviously need to get along but don't have to hang around all the time... On a larger boat, depending on the layout both owner and captain can have a good amount of space and privacy

    As to costs, you ll often where $1000 a ft a year as a general guideline, butvitvcan vary depending on the details.
  16. Old Phart

    Old Phart Senior Member

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    I dunno
    Just a reminder...

    http://www.yachtforums.com/forums/general-yachting-discussion/18475-end-era-2.html#post149153
  17. Certeza

    Certeza New Member

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    Why don't I ever hear much about solar systems on these yachts? I mean, a 1kW solar system doesn't take much room. That's only 4 panels and could be installed above the flybridge. You're only talking about $3-4,000 installed with a good size battery rack.

    They make no noise and have a 20-25 year warranty. Modern systems work in tandem with generators really well. Gens only come on when panels can't keep battery charge above a certain level. Should pay for itself in less than 2 years on these larger boats.
  18. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Yeah, but usually you find out your watermaker quit working right when you're turning it on to start filling your near empty or low water tank......even though you used it 3 days prior......LOL
  19. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    The problem is, even with a very big inverter you're not going to be using air conditioning for very long off of solar and batteries. But it's so hot that you're ac's are running most of the time......

    And, solar works great down here and in the islands, but not so good in the NE or Pacific Northwest when it's often foggy and overcast yet cool enough that you don't need a/c........
  20. Talon

    Talon Senior Member

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    Use the time with a Captain to get your Ocean / Yacht Master rating, this will further aid your insurance when you take on full Owner Skipper status.

    Water maker use = Always top up when you have 3/4 to 1/2 left. Always err on the side of caution.