Could you live in this Craigslist floating 'tiny house'? Only $10,000 – SF Gate

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Craigslist seller Jeffrey Charles is offering his 1967 Chris-Craft Crusader for $10,000. The 36-foot wooden boat “Vesper” has a covered berth in the Vallejo Marina. Charles thinks potential buyers are more likely to use her for inexpensive housing rather than pleasure cruising, although the cabin cruiser is a capable seagoing vessel, he says.
A view of the helm of the 1967 Chris-Craft Crusader offered on Craigslist for $10,000.
Vesper owner Jeffrey Charles says the “backyard” sunsets at the Vallejo Marina are often spectacular.
This is a 1960s ad for the Chris-Craft Crusader, perhaps out on a three-hour tour.
The cabin’s stove has two burners, but Charles mostly relies on his microwave and Instapot for cooking.
The breakfast nook is also the dining room table and office desk. The 1967 Chris-Craft Crusader is being offered on Craigslist for $10,000.
When you have only a 110-square-foot living space, you become very selective about the books you keep and the artwork you display. A painting by Charles’ daughter was given a prime spot.
Yep, that’s real mahogany.
What did we tell you about the sunsets?
If you are old enough to have watched “Miami Vice” or its reruns, you’ll recall Detective Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) lived on a sailboat with a pet alligator.
Sonny drove a 1972 Ferrari*, zipped around in a cigarette boat and changed his white and pastel outfit up to eight times per episode. All that on a Miami cop’s salary. No wonder he had to cut back on housing costs.
Well, now you can live on the water like Sonny, but in the Bay Area instead of Miami.
And the best thing is, you can own a “home” for considerably less than a year of rent would run you for the typical one-bedroom unit in San Francisco.
Craigslist seller Jeffrey Charles is offering his 36-foot 1967 Chris-Craft Crusader moored at the Vallejo Marina as a “tiny house” for $10,000. The Crusader, named the Vesper, is a wooden cabin cruiser, not a sailing vessel, but the living space appears to be roughly the same.
While Charles says the Vesper is seaworthy and could be be sailed as a pleasure boat, he expects that the buyer would use her as he has — as a floating alternative to paying an exorbitant Bay Area rent or mortgage.
The big question for potential buyers is, can I live comfortably in 110 square feet?
Charles concedes it takes some getting used to.
The 54-year-old IT professional bought the boat while going through a separation and divorce, and needed some place inexpensive to live.
“When I moved out we decided that I really didn’t need a whole lot of space and it was a good way of cutting down on all the extraneous stuff that I didn’t need to be carrying anymore,” Charles said.
For one thing, that meant reducing his wardrobe to just one-week’s worth of clothing and then doing laundry every weekend. He had to tell the cleaners to stop putting his shirts on hangers — there wasn’t enough space to hang clothes.
Sharing his nautical abode with a teenager also presented problems.
“The big challenge was my daughter was with me half time … when she was aboard, it was like a tornado hit,” Charles said. “Her stuff was everywhere. And then I’d have to recover when she left.”
RELATED: Here’s how one Bay Area IT worker dumped her job for boat life
The $10,000 won’t cover all your housing expenses, of course.
There is a $600 monthly charge for the marina slip and live-aboard fees, but Charles notes that gets you “unmetered electricity and water, all the garbage service you can imagine, free parking, on-site security service 24 hours a day, laundry, mail and shower facilities.”
The boat features a two-burner stove, half-height refrigerator, electric flush toilet, and kitchen and bathroom sinks with running cold water. There is a water heater that has not been wired up.
One of the features of the Vesper is the large open deck on her stern.
“A brochure for Chris-Craft in the ’60s showed people actually skeet-shooting from the back deck,” Charles said.
However, he used the space to hold regular jam sessions with fellow musicians.
“There was enough room for 10 people to sit in chairs in a big circle and play, so that was a big plus,” said Charles, who described himself as a “hack guitarist” specializing in folk, country and Americana.
The Vesper does need a few repairs — “projects large and small are a feature of life onboard a 50-year-old wooden boat” — which might raise a red flag with buyers.
For openers, the boat needs to be hauled out and the bottom painted. If you do it yourself, Charles will slash the price by $3,000. Then there’s the mahogany transom, which needs to be repaired and revarnished.
And one of the engines has a bad starter that may need to be rebuilt.
Still, the $10,000 asking price for a 36-foot cabin cruiser seems reasonable despite its flaws. Here’s one asking nearly $40,000 (in what appears to be immaculate condition).
What are the best parts about living on a boat?
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“You get to be rocked to sleep. And I always found it nice when there was a rain storm, the water (hitting) on the deck overhead. That’s very nice and romantic I suppose,” Charles said. “But I really appreciated living a bit more sparsely and with a little bit more discipline.
“Now that I’m moved — I’m definitely looking for some place small and not looking to accumulate more stuff.”
So if you ever dreamed of captaining your own ship — or floating apartment  — and at the same time downsizing your life, this could be your big chance.
*Technically, Crockett’s car was a Ferrari replica, with a Corvette chassis.
Reporter Mike Moffitt has been writing and editing stories for newspapers and news websites for more than 25 years. Before joining the SFGate team, he worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Arizona Republic and Phoenix Gazette. He covers news, politics, science, sports, outdoors and Bay Area history.


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