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Old 11-06-2018, 08:16   #1
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How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Hello....
I am new to this forum. We recently moved to Florida from the MidWest. I would greatly appreciate advise on what size Power Boat Cruiser and what equipment would be recommended to safely cruise the gulf and ocean around Florida. I have boating experience in the Great Lakes...but no boating experience in the gulf or ocean. My crew would usually be a crew of two, me and my wife. We would mostly cruise in sight of the coastline..but at times we may cruise out to sea for an overnight adventure.
I could pay up to $500K for the right boat.
Thank you in advance for any advice you may have.
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Old 11-06-2018, 13:07   #2
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

For safety if you watch the weather, almost any boat size will do. If you don't, nothing is big enough. Ask the captain of the El Faro. Everything else is about how fast you want to go, how much fuel you burn and how much comfort you want. The ocean is very different than lakes, the swell, tides, and currents all effect the ride and safety in new ways. Your wife may not like the ocean. It's a common problem.

With your ocean experience, I would buy a starter boat for a lot less than your budget. One that will not lose much value in a couple years. It's not easy to make the right boat choice in one step.
You need to learn basic electronic navigation, rules of the road, USCG equipment requirements (and smart people go beyond the minimum requirements), how to operate in reduced visibility and so on. That will dictate what equipment you buy.
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Old 11-06-2018, 13:45   #3
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

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Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
For safety if you watch the weather, almost any boat size will do. If you don't, nothing is big enough. Ask the captain of the El Faro. Everything else is about how fast you want to go, how much fuel you burn and how much comfort you want. The ocean is very different than lakes, the swell, tides, and currents all effect the ride and safety in new ways. Your wife may not like the ocean. It's a common problem.

With your ocean experience, I would buy a starter boat for a lot less than your budget. One that will not lose much value in a couple years. It's not easy to make the right boat choice in one step.
You need to learn basic electronic navigation, rules of the road, USCG equipment requirements (and smart people go beyond the minimum requirements), how to operate in reduced visibility and so on. That will dictate what equipment you buy.
Thank you for the reply....
I should have stated that I am a very cautious boater and that there is no one who follows the weather more than I do. Lake Michigan can kick up some horrific storms.
So let me reword my question. Would a Searay Sundancer 350 Coupe (35 Foot) be a good choice for the Florida Seas? Any recommendations?
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Old 11-06-2018, 13:48   #4
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Saltlife-
I'd suggest asking around. The US Power Squadrons (USPS) and USCG Auxiliary in many areas put on boating safety classes. If you are born after, vaguely 1988, you MUST have a boating certificate to operate a motor vessel in Florida. It can also get you an insurance discount. And, the folks presenting the class can put you in touch with local boaters will local opinions about the waters you plan to be in.
In Florida the weather is the killer. Literally. Folks go out all the time in perfectly adequate waverunners. Or, Boston Whalers. Or, 40' go-fast boats. And then sometimes the weather goes bad fast--which it DOES in Florida, especially quickly. And then "enough" boat becomes very inadequate.
So, learning the weather patterns in Florida may count for more than the boat. If you stick to good days and calm waters, no problem. But ask those guys what they've seen, and how folks make really simple mistakes. The USCG is literally out every day in Florida, picking up people in the water.
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Old 11-06-2018, 14:07   #5
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltLifeSpirit View Post
Hello....
I am new to this forum. We recently moved to Florida from the MidWest. I would greatly appreciate advise on what size Power Boat Cruiser and what equipment would be recommended to safely cruise the gulf and ocean around Florida. I have boating experience in the Great Lakes...but no boating experience in the gulf or ocean. My crew would usually be a crew of two, me and my wife. We would mostly cruise in sight of the coastline..but at times we may cruise out to sea for an overnight adventure.
I could pay up to $500K for the right boat.
Thank you in advance for any advice you may have.
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltLifeSpirit View Post
Thank you for the reply....
I should have stated that I am a very cautious boater and that there is no one who follows the weather more than I do. Lake Michigan can kick up some horrific storms.
So let me reword my question. Would a Searay Sundancer 350 Coupe (35 Foot) be a good choice for the Florida Seas? Any recommendations?

The Sea Ray 350 is likely enough boat for those waters, assuming caution, practice, viable weather, etc...

But much of the choice should depend on how you'll actually use the boat, or what "cruise" means to you. If you mean to sleep on board with family or friends -- or maybe even just the two of you -- the 350 is maybe too small except for occasional overnights. If you mean to hop from marina to marina and stay at hotels on shore, the 350 or similar is maybe fine. Maybe an occasional hop to the islands? Could work easily... or you might want something slightly larger.

This is an instance where looking at boats in person, and then imagining yourself doing things you're likely to want to do on board that boat... see if the vision mates with the factoids. For example, imagine cooking a meal. Imagine eating that meal. Imagine stowing all the stuff you might want aboard to cook that meal. Imagine cleaning up after enjoying that meal. Imagine whether you've go room for enough food on board for the next meal.

And so forth. (Another fun "imagine" chain starts with "imagine showering..."

You might also think about deck arrangements and features you might find helpful. For example, Sea Ray express boats in that range often don't give you much of a side deck to walk on, and that often in turn means access to mid-ships cleats sometimes sucks. Which in turn can make docking a pain if you really really need to use a spring line sometime...

Another factor might be about your expected "mileage" or travel distances and speed. The short version is that gas can be great for short trips, diesel for longer journeys... and that's a "pay more over time" (gas) versus "pay more up front" (diesel). You wouldn't have to solve that right away, since many boats in the 30-40' range come in both configurations... but it's something to be thinking about.

There are a bazillion boats listed on yachtworld.com, and you could rummage through those to get an idea of what's out there, how those are laid out, what might work...

What boats did you run in the Great Lakes?

-Chris
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Old 11-06-2018, 15:25   #6
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

With your budget and situation and goals....

I would seriously look for a used Jeanneau Lagoon 42 PowerCat.

I just finished a 640nm offshore voyage on a 52 foot Lagoon Catamaran, and it made a strong impression on me about comfort, space, etc.

I would search for the "Owners Version" (as the owners cabin is outstanding).

but if in a hurry, I would take a look at this one.

2005 Lagoon Lagoon 43 Powercat Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Note the mention of fuel economy and RANGE!

Quote from ad:
" The main benefit, without doubt however, is the fuel economy, even with her upgraded powerful 320 hp twin diesels,at 7kn of speed, she is burning 1.2l/hr in total, which can save a significant amount of your fuel bill in comparison to a conventional motor yac ht. With these big engines in her, she will do 24kns ... and cruise great at 15-18kn ... from slow and leisurely, burning about as much fuel as a sailing catamaran ... fast enough to get out of the way of weather or make the anchorage before nightfall. With the largest crossing in the Caribbean being under 60 miles ... nothing is more that 4-6 hrs away for this boat, and turning on her own length making her easy to manage, even in the tightest places.

The catamaran hull also offers a far greater range, making long distance cruising a breeze. Her 1600 ltr capacity will give her a range of over 1300 nm!"
____________

In my opinion....(I have not yet cruised on this boat)...
A boat like this could be a very comfortable cruiser for a couple and allows guests. The space is great. A flybridge gives great 360 degree visibility. The boat won't heel or rock as much as most monohulls will. I suspect you would feel very comfortable and safe too (redundant engines).

Save money for some new curtains and cushions.

Good luck with your decision. And take me as crew to the Caribbean, as I would love to get some time on one of these.
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Old 11-06-2018, 20:43   #7
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steadman Uhlich View Post
With your budget and situation and goals....

I would seriously look for a used Jeanneau Lagoon 42 PowerCat.

I just finished a 640nm offshore voyage on a 52 foot Lagoon Catamaran, and it made a strong impression on me about comfort, space, etc.

I would search for the "Owners Version" (as the owners cabin is outstanding).

but if in a hurry, I would take a look at this one.

2005 Lagoon Lagoon 43 Powercat Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Note the mention of fuel economy and RANGE!

Quote from ad:
" The main benefit, without doubt however, is the fuel economy, even with her upgraded powerful 320 hp twin diesels,at 7kn of speed, she is burning 1.2l/hr in total, which can save a significant amount of your fuel bill in comparison to a conventional motor yac ht. With these big engines in her, she will do 24kns ... and cruise great at 15-18kn ... from slow and leisurely, burning about as much fuel as a sailing catamaran ... fast enough to get out of the way of weather or make the anchorage before nightfall. With the largest crossing in the Caribbean being under 60 miles ... nothing is more that 4-6 hrs away for this boat, and turning on her own length making her easy to manage, even in the tightest places.

The catamaran hull also offers a far greater range, making long distance cruising a breeze. Her 1600 ltr capacity will give her a range of over 1300 nm!"
____________

In my opinion....(I have not yet cruised on this boat)...
A boat like this could be a very comfortable cruiser for a couple and allows guests. The space is great. A flybridge gives great 360 degree visibility. The boat won't heel or rock as much as most monohulls will. I suspect you would feel very comfortable and safe too (redundant engines).

Save money for some new curtains and cushions.

Good luck with your decision. And take me as crew to the Caribbean, as I would love to get some time on one of these.
Thanks to all for the input.
I especially like the idea of a PowerCat. I am thinking I will go with the Leopard 43 Powercat as it fits my wants and needs...Very efficient and low drag which is important here in Florida...especially when cruising to the Keys.
Steadman...I will most definitely keep you in mind when I am in need of a crew member. Thanks again!
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Old 11-06-2018, 21:21   #8
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltLifeSpirit View Post
Hello....
I am new to this forum. We recently moved to Florida from the MidWest. I would greatly appreciate advise on what size Power Boat Cruiser and what equipment would be recommended to safely cruise the gulf and ocean around Florida. I have boating experience in the Great Lakes...but no boating experience in the gulf or ocean. My crew would usually be a crew of two, me and my wife. We would mostly cruise in sight of the coastline..but at times we may cruise out to sea for an overnight adventure.
I could pay up to $500K for the right boat.
The answer is dependent upon your experience and how pleasing the vessel is to your better half.

Granted, Lake Michigan can kick up quite a bit. I've seen it for myself. The lake has a long fetch and is not to be trifled with. And when the winds come howling, watch out. The only difference really between the lake and Florida is the Gulf Stream and shoaling waters. If you can handle Lake Michigan you can handle an ocean. That's not hyperbole.

It is not the waters which should be your main concern. It is how fit are you to command a vessel? Your command will necessarily include provision of comfort for your crew. If you have that down pat you're good to go. If not, I suggest a course through the local, I emphasize local, USCG Auxiliary. Any talk of this or that vessel is getting into the unnecessary granular details. However, a 35' would be more than adequate.
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Old 12-06-2018, 10:48   #9
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltLifeSpirit View Post
Thanks to all for the input.
I especially like the idea of a PowerCat. I am thinking I will go with the Leopard 43 Powercat as it fits my wants and needs...Very efficient and low drag which is important here in Florida...especially when cruising to the Keys.
Steadman...I will most definitely keep you in mind when I am in need of a crew member. Thanks again!
I second the idea of a PowerCat, your spouse might really like the idea too.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:01   #10
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

My vote is definitely cat. So many great features.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:21   #11
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltLifeSpirit View Post
Thank you for the reply....
I should have stated that I am a very cautious boater and that there is no one who follows the weather more than I do. Lake Michigan can kick up some horrific storms.
So let me reword my question. Would a Searay Sundancer 350 Coupe (35 Foot) be a good choice for the Florida Seas? Any recommendations?

Hello, welcome to sunny South Florida!
I am from your area also my parents had a 36 Trojan.

I traveled in the HOMES area.
Searay makes a good all a round boat, however with the amount of money you are planning on spending you can get a VERY GOOD Hatteras!
We have a 1972 58 Tri-cabin that we are doing a complete refit.
If this is your first boat then start with one in the mid 40ft range 1985-1995.
They will all be in the $90,000.00 - $125,000.00 price range and will not drop much over the next 2 - 3 years.
Hatteras yachts are very well built, after the last storm one came loose from her moorings was pushed up on dry land, the owners hired a BIG crane lifted her up put her in the water and they drove her back to the slip.
Fair Winds & Following Seas


Steven A. Deckhand (Master Unlimited Oceans & Great Lakes Pilot)
Sandra J. Admiral (Full Time Grandma)
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:48   #12
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

You said power boat and only the two of you. I'd look at a boat in the mid 30ft. range.
Maybe a " flush deck motor yacht" well below $500K. Florida is a buyers market.
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Old 12-06-2018, 13:31   #13
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steadman Uhlich View Post
With your budget and situation and goals....

I would seriously look for a used Jeanneau Lagoon 42 PowerCat.

I just finished a 640nm offshore voyage on a 52 foot Lagoon Catamaran, and it made a strong impression on me about comfort, space, etc.

I would search for the "Owners Version" (as the owners cabin is outstanding).

but if in a hurry, I would take a look at this one.

2005 Lagoon Lagoon 43 Powercat Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Note the mention of fuel economy and RANGE!

Quote from ad:
" The main benefit, without doubt however, is the fuel economy, even with her upgraded powerful 320 hp twin diesels,at 7kn of speed, she is burning 1.2l/hr in total, which can save a significant amount of your fuel bill in comparison to a conventional motor yac ht. With these big engines in her, she will do 24kns ... and cruise great at 15-18kn ... from slow and leisurely, burning about as much fuel as a sailing catamaran ... fast enough to get out of the way of weather or make the anchorage before nightfall. With the largest crossing in the Caribbean being under 60 miles ... nothing is more that 4-6 hrs away for this boat, and turning on her own length making her easy to manage, even in the tightest places.

The catamaran hull also offers a far greater range, making long distance cruising a breeze. Her 1600 ltr capacity will give her a range of over 1300 nm!"
____________

In my opinion....(I have not yet cruised on this boat)...
A boat like this could be a very comfortable cruiser for a couple and allows guests. The space is great. A flybridge gives great 360 degree visibility. The boat won't heel or rock as much as most monohulls will. I suspect you would feel very comfortable and safe too (redundant engines).

Save money for some new curtains and cushions.

Good luck with your decision. And take me as crew to the Caribbean, as I would love to get some time on one of these.
that must be a typo on fuel consumption,1.2L per hour for 320 hp is not possible
more like 12 liters per hour for both at low revs

or 1.2 liters per mile is more likely
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Old 12-06-2018, 18:09   #14
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
that must be a typo on fuel consumption,1.2L per hour for 320 hp is not possible
more like 12 liters per hour for both at low revs

or 1.2 liters per mile is more likely



Yep, 1300 miles range on 1600 litres is 1.23 litres per mile.
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Old 12-06-2018, 18:47   #15
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Re: How big of a boat do I need? Please Advise..

Quote:
Originally Posted by atoll View Post
that must be a typo on fuel consumption,1.2L per hour for 320 hp is not possible
more like 12 liters per hour for both at low revs

or 1.2 liters per mile is more likely
Good catch!
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