Converting a boat to liveaboard

Discussions about all things related to boats.

Moderator: TMAX

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby stuartcnz » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:41 pm

The problem with buying a boat to liveaboard, is that there are very very few that are designed for such purpose. In this regard I am talking about sail powered boats, almost all of which are designed for racing, or as racer/cruisers.

What this means in practice is very limited storage and the most spartan of domestic spaces (galley/bathroom/heads, etc..).

A few years ago I bought a boat to convert into a liveaboard, and I thought a narrative of how I went about the choice of boat and the conversion would be a good way to kick off the boat section of the forums.
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Postby stuartcnz » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:54 pm

I was living in a rented house in 2007, had some money from a previous house that I had sold, and didn't want to continue paying rent. The problem was that I didn't have enough money or income to buy a house in the part of the country that I now live in. I really wanted to live in a house truck, but couldn't afford a suitable one that was already fitted out, so having grown up living on boats, decided that was a more practical solution for me at the time.

The last boat that I had lived on while growing up, was a Herreshoff 28, or more precisely an H28 buy Compass yachts. These where 18 inches longer than the original and the hulls were built out of fibreglass. Though they were never originally designed for it, a number of them have done circumnavigations of the planet. They are a good sea boat. I saw that as a good starting point, particularly for a size perspective. Big enough to live on, but not to big to handle.
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Postby stuartcnz » Thu Jul 28, 2011 4:42 pm

I had a look at a few H28's from around the country, but they were either asking more money than I was prepared to pay, or they would cost to much in money and time, to make them seaworthy enough to sail home. In the end I found a boat of a different design, a Hartley Tasman, which though a little shorter than an H28, is actually a bigger boat. Best of all, it was already in my area. In fact it was exactly where I wanted to moor a boat for living aboard.

Image

I went for a trial sail in it, and as was to be expected on such a heavy small boat, it sailed like a pig, though she is plenty seaworthy. Never the less it's sailing abilities were not what I was looking for, rather I wanted something that would make a comfortable home. For her size there is plenty of space inside, including full headroom throughout.

My main condition for purchase was that the mooring came with the boat. This turned out to be easier than expected. All I had to do was write a letter to the local boat club, and gain membership. The beauty of this mooring is that it is within a break wall, which keeps the seas small in any amount of wind, allowing a dinghy to get to and from it in any weather.
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

Stealth Camper
Posts: 746
Joined: Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:17 pm
Location: Oklahoma
Contact:

Postby Stealth Camper » Fri Jul 29, 2011 1:17 am

Nice.

As with the bus, I have been interested in building a boat (wooden) for duck hunting and fishing. Much smaller scale than your project. I found a magazine here called "Wooden Boat" that has been my inspiration, and have found a couple of plans for building that I am trying to choose between.

This is starting out interesting to me. Herreshoff is very big in the history of wooden boats, and it is no surprise it would be done in fiberglass. All things boat should be very applicable to land projects. I have learned a lot from reading the magazine....

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Postby stuartcnz » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:25 pm

Stealth, feel free to start a topic on your idea for your boat, I will most certainly add my two cents to it.
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Postby stuartcnz » Sat Jul 30, 2011 9:37 pm

Here are some interior photo's from when I first bought the boat, looking forward, starting with the port side of the saloon.

Image

Next is the starboard side, with the galley in the foreground and seating forward of that.

Image

And from the forward end of the saloon, looking aft.

Image
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby stuartcnz » Sat Aug 06, 2011 9:47 am

I had a number of requirements to make the boat a home. It had to have a workable double bed, which required lengthening. It needed a workable galley, which means a decent size counter top and storage space. It also needed heat (the boat isn't near shore power).
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

rlaggren
Posts: 380
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 2:32 pm
Location: San Francisco/Chicago
Contact:

Re: Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby rlaggren » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:53 pm

I think head room is fairly important over the long run. I have found that the exact same type (model) of boat can vary as much as two inches free cabin height between individual boats; and that's from the GRP "subfloor" to the GRP cabin top - it's not just because of finish surface material. So when looking around it pays to continue checking boat types which were close-but-not-quite.

Free headroom has to be either LOW or FULL STANDING - one or two inches too low is way worse than bend-over height. If just inches too short, I tend to slump and slouch and get a crick in my neck. But I lived on a Newport 30 for 6 months and that was "bend-over" except at the main hatch and it was fairly workable with no long term bad affects.

The first thing I did on my Westsail 32 was cut out the (structurally unneeded) beams over the center of the cabin so I could walk upright the full length of the cabin from hatch to forward bulkhead. Made a world of difference to my back and my forehead.

The second thing I did was remove the 3/4" finish floor and put down thin rugs anyplace I didn't want to walk on GRP (fiberglass). That was a good sanitary step anyway - it was laid in planks and the joints collected mess and didn't dry well.

A place you will potentially spend years in really needs to fit you the way you want to end up being; cuz you're eventually going to end up shaped by that space. Any sailer knows how powerful and inevitable a phenomenon chafe is. Well, the space we inhabit will operate the same way on us. The boat is a lot tougher than we are and if there are places we don't fit.... Well, we _will_ fit before very long and it might not be an improvement we like!

Rufus

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby stuartcnz » Tue Aug 09, 2011 11:14 pm

Rufus, I agree about the headroom thing. This boat has full headroom for us everywhere in the cabin.

One thing the boat did have, which I removed straight away was carpet!

The hull is ferro cement, which I have never been that enthusiastic about in the past. But having owned the boat for a few years now, I can say that with the diesel oven running,it gives a warm dry cosy feeling.
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

rlaggren
Posts: 380
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 2:32 pm
Location: San Francisco/Chicago
Contact:

Re: Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby rlaggren » Wed Aug 10, 2011 7:31 pm

> carpet...

Carpets in a boat are like carpets in a bathroom... What _were_ they thinking? <g> But small throw rugs, especially thin ones take the chill off those certain places and can be thrown out, hosed down and left to dry - and all done and back in by day's end.

> ferro
From what I have read of ferro it's a viable material; a little heavy below 50' perhaps. I bet it's pretty quiet below decks.

Rufus

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby stuartcnz » Wed Aug 17, 2011 1:36 am

This is a composite photo of how it ended up. The sink, which you can't see in the photo remained unchanged. The forward bearth has been extended aft, to give enough useable room for two. The doorway into the heads has been shifted around to the port bulkhead, because the bearth extension went across the original entrance. The galley basically now goes down the whole starboard side of the saloon. Starting from the aft end, moving forward, there is a sink, then the Dickinson diesel oven, then a big benchtop with shelved storage underneath.

There are still two quarter bearths aft, which would have been converted to storage, had we have moved aboard, instead of buying a house.

Image
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)

rlaggren
Posts: 380
Joined: Mon May 03, 2010 2:32 pm
Location: San Francisco/Chicago
Contact:

Re: Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby rlaggren » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:13 pm

That looks like an interesting layout - have to think about it a little. Nice to have a decent sized galley space. And I like the innovation of the head entry, though I'm not sure whether it'd get to be hassle or not. Can't be worse the most existing heads, though. <g>

But one thing I see in this layout is a lot of open space. That makes for a most pleasant living area, but when sailing it makes for a long ways to fall when you get tossed around. I think I might install a horizontal bar (probably some nice wood) fore/aft above the table about 4' off the floor to reduce that open space and prevent any exciting long distance trips below when in a sea. Not sure how it would be installed or anything, but I have found that there is such a thing a too much space when the weather gets up.

Rufus

User avatar
stuartcnz
Site Admin
Posts: 840
Joined: Fri Dec 19, 2008 8:05 pm
Location: Aotearoa, New Zealand
Contact:

Re: Converting a boat to liveaboard

Postby stuartcnz » Fri Aug 19, 2011 12:40 pm

rlaggren wrote:But one thing I see in this layout is a lot of open space. That makes for a most pleasant living area, but when sailing it makes for a long ways to fall when you get tossed around. I think I might install a horizontal bar (probably some nice wood) fore/aft above the table about 4' off the floor to reduce that open space and prevent any exciting long distance trips below when in a sea. Not sure how it would be installed or anything, but I have found that there is such a thing a too much space when the weather gets up.

Rufus


I agree entirely about the open space thing. In this case however, the boat was intended to spend it's time within a break wall. So, while it does get exposed to some real wind, it never gets to experience real seas. In a way it's a catch 22. The way I see it, the more time you spend traveling on a boat, the smaller your requirements are. Were as the more time you intend on being stationary, the larger the boat needs to be.

While this boat is certainly a capable sea boat, and would in my opinion be a good size for a couple to travel in. I think it is really only big enough for a single person to live comfortable on, in it's intended stationary position.

Despite appearances, it does actually have ready hand holds from everywhere inside and the greatest open distance width wise is around 24 inches.
https://stuartcrawfordmedia.com/
https://nomadichome.org/
https://hubzilla.nomadicista.org/channel/stuart
https://ethicallogistics.com/ Challenging the way you think.
JID:stuart@nomadicista.nz
sip:stuart@nomadicista.nz (TLS connections only)


Return to “Boats”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests