What we were looking for in a liveaboard sailboat

During our fifteen plus years of touring, inspecting, researching and eventually selecting our boat we cherry picked a list of design characteristics and features from various boats that we liked.  Once we had our list of preferred details, we were always concerned we might not find a boat with even half of our desired attributes and would have to settle for a boat with the essential basics and then upgrade the rest of the features ourselves, increasing our cost and extending our timeline.  We looked at a LOT of boats.  We seriously considered a couple of very very nice, upgraded, older sailboats.  One (A Gulfstar 50′) had about 75% of what we were looking for but we felt that the overly open design of the interior made it unsuitable for any rough weather crossings and therefore didn’t make the cut.

Here’s the final list that we used to evaluate the boats we looked at…..

40′ to 47′  LOA
6′ or less of draft due to slip depth
ICW suitable mast height
Solid glass hull w full filleted, bulkhead and hull tabbing
Skeg hung rudder
Keel stepped mast
wide side decks uncluttered no lines or tracks in way
Generous engine and/or genset access
Limited, Accessible, all bronze hull bolted through hulls
Center cockpit preferred but not mandatory
Sloop or cutter rigged w furling
Encapsulated lead cutaway keel
Sta-Lok rigging…no rod rigging
Baffled* Plastic/Poly/ Monel water tanks in bilge
Aluminum fuel tank(s) in bilge
Two cabins w convertible settee
Two heads maximum w fresh water flush* and overboard discharge option (Lectrasan or composting heads a plus, We added a Lectrasan)
Separate shower stall in at least one head
Encloseable cockpit and dodger
Large cockpit drains
Anchor windlass
Genset w suitable sound insulation*
Swim platform or transom steps
Transom Deck shower and anchor wash down
Aft arch w solar panels / antenna / radar
Wind generator(s)
S/S framed / Lexan opening ports
Some solar powered vent hatches
Reverse cycle AC/heat*
Solid lifeline rails*
Bow thruster?? Prob only for >45’*
2 or more HP per 1,000lbs of displacement
500 mile cruising range under power alone
NO teak decks

We ended up with all but five of our listed features in Kitty Hawk….the five she didn’t have weren’t crucial items….

*indicates a feature that our boat did not have when we purchased her.

Don’t forget to check out our front page for a list of items with which we can assist you during your search for your new floating home……

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I'm the average sailor...converted from a landlubber of course. While I was born with a love of the ocean it has evolved into a love of sailboats and other vessels that ply the open seas and connected waterways. I am probably like most of the people who (hopefully) will read our blog with the exception that we are now doing what we always dreamed of doing and I hope to help others do the same. I am NOT any of the following...a naval architect, a marine surveyor or connected commercially to any builder, distributor or boat sales organization. My opinions are generally my own, although influenced by many years of research.

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