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Old 21-08-2013, 07:30   #1
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Boat Size vs Slip Size

I found plenty of threads on "how big is too big to single hand" but couldn't find anything directly relating to "how big is too big to dock and store". So as we all want a boat that's just a bit bigger, how big is too big for docking and storage? I realize catamarans become a problem due to width, but my question mainly concerns length. Whether mono or multi how long can a boat be before it becomes too difficult to find a decent place to store her? It would seem at a certain point you would be limited to pulling alongside docks designed mainly for commercial traffic and would loose the benefits of a nice marina. I'm sure haul out would be a problem at a certain point as well.

Tom
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Old 21-08-2013, 07:49   #2
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Re: Boat size vs slip size

Tom,
In my experience on the east coast of the U.S. and the Bahamas there is ample dockage in slips at most marinas for vessels up to about 50' +/-. Most marinas can accommodate vessels much larger as well, but the number of slips and availability begins to decrease. Aside from marinas designed for many mega-yachts (common in s. Fl), you don't see too many finger piers over 50'. Anything bigger is usually relegated to along side bulkheads or t-heads. With a little advanced notice, however i have never had any difficulty finding overnight dockage for even very large yachts. Long term dockage seems to be readily available most places for 30-40' range and may require a stint on a waiting list as the length increases. Generally cost is linear as it relates to length, but some marinas charge a premium for cats and T-heads. I have a 46' sailboat and have had no trouble finding space.
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Old 21-08-2013, 07:55   #3
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Re: Boat size vs slip size

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Originally Posted by Tscott8201 View Post
I found plenty of threads on "how big is too big to single hand" but couldn't find anything directly relating to "how big is too big to dock and store". So as we all want a boat that's just a bit bigger, how big is too big for docking and storage? I realize catamarans become a problem due to width, but my question mainly concerns length. Whether mono or multi how long can a boat be before it becomes too difficult to find a decent place to store her? It would seem at a certain point you would be limited to pulling alongside docks designed mainly for commercial traffic and would loose the benefits of a nice marina. I'm sure haul out would be a problem at a certain point as well.

Tom
Have you ever been to ft launder dale, Newport, etc?

300 ft starts to get unmanageable
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Old 21-08-2013, 08:19   #4
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Re: Boat size vs slip size

In most east coast USA marinas it seems the majority of long term slips are geared for 40' max. Anything bigger can be accommodated, but at a T or along side piers, but usually not a long term berth.
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Old 21-08-2013, 08:55   #5
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

I guess to be more specific I am searching for more of an "average". I am sure there are slips all over designed for mega yachts, but in considering my future boat purchase I will most likely be in the 45' to 60' range and will in all honestly probably end up right at 50' or so. My main concern is, not having owned a sailboat in the past, buying a boat and then not being able to find an easy place to berth it. Obviously I will check locally before any purchase, but while cruising it would be nice to know that my 50' boat will be easily accommodated by most marinas. Besides, you never know I could stumble across a great deal on a larger boat. I've noticed sailboats, like houses, get sold at a huge range of prices based on the situation of the current owner.

Tom
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Old 21-08-2013, 08:57   #6
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

50' slips are common around here.

-Chris
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Old 21-08-2013, 09:16   #7
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

I think this all comes down to cost. On my dock ($110/foot) the biggest is 36 feet. In the same marina there are larger slips and across from us is a 56 foot Jeneau but he pays $150/foot. On the T-head of that dock is a 185 foot mega-yacht that charters for $100,000/week. The rumor is that they pay $135,000 for April through October. All of this is in the Boston area.

For me, 36 feet is just about my limit. If I went bigger than that I would go to a mooring due to cost.

As far as actually docking, I have docked up to a 56 foot boat with a bow thruster and 46 foot boat without. I almost always stern in. I wouldn't want to dock anything bigger than 56 feet into an actual slip (i.e. non-Tee head) because I find it becomes difficult to have a good perspective on both ends of the boat. Anything bigger I would want to be on a mooring or a Tee-head.

Fair winds,

Jesse
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Old 21-08-2013, 09:30   #8
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

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I think this all comes down to cost. On my dock ($110/foot) the biggest is 36 feet. In the same marina there are larger slips and across from us is a 56 foot Jeneau but he pays $150/foot. On the T-head of that dock is a 185 foot mega-yacht that charters for $100,000/week. The rumor is that they pay $135,000 for April through October. All of this is in the Boston area.

For me, 36 feet is just about my limit. If I went bigger than that I would go to a mooring due to cost.

As far as actually docking, I have docked up to a 56 foot boat with a bow thruster and 46 foot boat without. I almost always stern in. I wouldn't want to dock anything bigger than 56 feet into an actual slip (i.e. non-Tee head) because I find it becomes difficult to have a good perspective on both ends of the boat. Anything bigger I would want to be on a mooring or a Tee-head.

Fair winds,

Jesse
Interesting, I hadn't considered a mooring. Seems like a mooring would be more hassle since you would lack shore power and would need to dink everywhere. Not sure if I would want to use a mooring at my home port. I'd also probably not be comfortable leaving the boat for long periods of time (weeks or months) while on a mooring.

Tom
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Old 21-08-2013, 09:35   #9
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

It's kind of like hull speed...if you throw more HP (or money in this case) you can go faster (find a slip).

Under 25', you can get in just about anywhere. 30-35' most marinas can get you in. 35-45' you won't get into some of the small marinas geared towards small fishing boats or in shallow areas. Above 45' most marinas will only have a small percentage of slips set aside, often t-heads. Over 60', you may be down to 50% of marinas that can be counted on but it's hit and miss depending on the area.
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Old 21-08-2013, 10:08   #10
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

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Interesting, I hadn't considered a mooring. Seems like a mooring would be more hassle since you would lack shore power and would need to dink everywhere. Not sure if I would want to use a mooring at my home port. I'd also probably not be comfortable leaving the boat for long periods of time (weeks or months) while on a mooring.

Tom
I wouldn't leave a boat for weeks or months unattended period! At least not in the water. If you are going to leave a boat for that long, you really should have a friend, or pay someone, watch it.

As far as the hassle, most cruisers avoid marinas like the plague. They cost a lot, are like floating trailer parks and there are very often issues with the electrical. Unless you simply have a day sailing or racing boat, you will need a dink and most likely a motor (unless you like to row). The worst thing for anything with moving parts is to leave it idle, especially in a salt environment. So running the dink multiple times daily is good for it. And it really isn't that big of a hassle.

As for power, I have had power surges fry my charger and a 150 lbs 4D battery and go through two zincs every 2-3 months because other people on the dock don't maintain their electrical systems. I am in the process of designing my solar panel system so I can stop using the marina's power. It can be one of the worst things for your boat.

One other option that I didn't mention before was a marginal pier (pier in the middle of the water not connected to land). My marina has one and we are likely going to move to that next season. Slightly better than a mooring without some of the problems of a slip.

If you are buying a boat big enough that your are worried about slip size, it was most likely designed to be away from the dock (i.e. 12 volt electrical, inverter, large water storage, etc.). With a few choice upgrades (like solar panels) it would likely not need to see a marina for extended periods of time.

You also have less opportunity for damage, IMHO. We got hit by our slip neighbor this year simply because he doesn't know how to handle his boat and came in without dock lines or fenders. He also comes in drunk a lot. Luckily the marina was able to move him after we complained enough. Our new neighbor just came in last week and he has never owned or handled a boat before.

Just my opinion.

Fair winds,

Jesse
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Old 21-08-2013, 10:37   #11
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

I have to disagree. From our experience, the majority of cruisers would prefer to be tied up at a dock but it's a cost issue so they deal with the hassel of using the dingy if they can't afford to dock.

While we enjoy an occasional night out on the hook, it's far nicer to be able to step off and see the sights. We always joke that if we don't like the neighbors, we can move (never have had to though).

Most of the problems are easily addressed by tying up properly and checking the power supply for sufficent voltage. If you don't know how to tie off and fender properly thats a different story.

In some areas where slips are in short supply, slips get very pricey and moorings become a popular alternative (bootkey harbor, annapolis, etc.). They can be good options but especially if you will be away, rig a secondary line to the mooring ball. That's the one thing I don't like about them is there is a single failure point before the boat goes off on a trip by itself. I guess since you were asking about large boats, make sure the mooring is intended for a boat your size also.
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Old 21-08-2013, 10:39   #12
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

Seattle, Puget Sound, 60 ft for most marinas and 50 tons for most yards. The Eagle is 59 ft and 45 tons so she is right at the max. However, we do not mind being on a commercial dock if a pleasure is not available.

The Eagle beam is only 14 ft which has help finding slips as most newer boats hae a wide beam, so two new wide beam boats can not fit in the slip. I alway mention the narrow 14 ft beam.
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Old 21-08-2013, 10:45   #13
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

just based on what I've seen, I think 50 ft is often accomodated. 60+ will be a little tougher. If you like the smaller funky marinas then 40 maybe easier...
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Old 21-08-2013, 14:31   #14
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

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I have to disagree. From our experience, the majority of cruisers would prefer to be tied up at a dock but it's a cost issue so they deal with the hassel of using the dingy if they can't afford to dock.

While we enjoy an occasional night out on the hook, it's far nicer to be able to step off and see the sights. We always joke that if we don't like the neighbors, we can move (never have had to though).

Most of the problems are easily addressed by tying up properly and checking the power supply for sufficent voltage. If you don't know how to tie off and fender properly thats a different story.

In some areas where slips are in short supply, slips get very pricey and moorings become a popular alternative (bootkey harbor, annapolis, etc.). They can be good options but especially if you will be away, rig a secondary line to the mooring ball. That's the one thing I don't like about them is there is a single failure point before the boat goes off on a trip by itself. I guess since you were asking about large boats, make sure the mooring is intended for a boat your size also.
Hey, everyone has there own personal preferences. Me, I would much rather be on the hook or a ball than in a trailer park.

As I do with all things cruising, I typically go to Cap'n Fatty Goodlander as my guide: I believe that the ability to anchor is the bedrock skill of a cruising sailor. I've lived my whole life swinging to my own anchors.

Fair winds,

Jesse
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Old 22-08-2013, 06:25   #15
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Re: Boat Size vs Slip Size

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Hey, everyone has there own personal preferences. Me, I would much rather be on the hook or a ball than in a trailer park.

As I do with all things cruising, I typically go to Cap'n Fatty Goodlander as my guide: I believe that the ability to anchor is the bedrock skill of a cruising sailor. I've lived my whole life swinging to my own anchors.

Fair winds,

Jesse
I agree that having the ability to anchor securely is a key skill among many and we do use it but when we come in somewhere where there is a free dock that is open, 95% of the cruisers gravitate to the free dock if they can get in.

You can make what aspersions you want about appropriate ways to cruise and it may be your preference but if you look at it statistically, I'll give you 10-1 odds if you take money out of the pitcure, the vast majority of cruisers will be in a well appointed marina.
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