I would only add that you consider the disadvantages of a larger-than-needed boat. Of course, nobody wants to get into a boat the "might" be too small for them later - buyer's remorse is no fun - but also consider the implications of a larger boat.
I looked at some Lagoons, and here's what I found - the 44 was instantly too large. I didn't think that would be possible, but the moment I saw it I said "No, it's too big".
Here are the benefits I see in a smaller boat:
1) Access. I want to be able to access relatively remote
locations, beachfronts, maybe even some riverheads or backwater.
On a 40 or 41, the draft
is about 4 feet. While I would love a 2ft draft
, I realize that would make the boat essentially unsailable. This is a boat which, if beached intentionally or unintentionally, can be (maybe) manhandled by myself, or perhaps with the help of a few friendly natives. 4ft means I will be in water to my midsection - that's deep, maybe too deep even for leverage, but at least it is not over my head
. This is something I still need to verify. I don't think I could manhandle a 44, and certain not a 57.
height may also be a factor, though I'm not sure how much. Bridges are usually drawbridges, or designed to handle tall boats. I'm not sure, realistically, how often mast
height would be a limiting factor compared to a smaller vessel.
2) Operation. Unless you plan to have a full time crew, consider the difficulties of operating a vessel that size.
are heavier. All the components on the boat, in fact, are heavier. What if a winch
fails. Will you and your husband be able to handle the lines and chains?
Full-time cruising is not a week-long charter
or a luxury cruise
. There are real world risks that you will have to handle on your own. What if your husband becomes sick or injured? Will you be able to handle that boat on your own? Or even if someday you want to make a crossing, and you will need to take a night watch. Will you feel secure operating a vessel that size? At night? Possibly on a pitching sea? Will you have sufficient visibility from some comfortable position on the boat to be able to keep watch?
I don't know this vessel, but I have seen vessels which were too large to be operated by a woman under 5'5". The 420 for example. I don't think my wife, at 5'2" could operate the helm
on that boat. Are there any similar considerations for you on the boat your considering?
3) Daily maintenance
Maybe this is no big deal, but a bigger boat means more maintenance
. More deck
area to be washed. More cushions
to be picked up, put out, and rearranged. It means deeper rises and descents between different deck
levels - perhaps 4 steps into the hulls, rather than 3. Maybe a very tall step from the cockpit
. This is probably a minor concern, offset by the additional comfort, and probably more meaningful to an older couple.
Ha ha! Well, this turned out to be more negative than I intended. I meant it to be a short essay on the virtues of a smaller vessel. I certainly don't want to sour your experience, I just wanted to illustrate some examples of where, sometimes, smaller CAN be better. And of course, there is the old maxim that just because you CAN do something doesn't mean that you SHOULD do something.
I'll join the others in congratulating you on your successes and hope you have the greatest adventures and pleasures in this, or any other boat you finally choose!