Originally Posted by s/v Jedi
Another approach: all who say 50' and up is too big are either stuck in the past where you'd have to send 20 men up the rig to deploy sails or they are just green of envy. They probably never sailed a boat of the size they claim to know all about! Only on CF
Sticking up for CF here, I'll debate the point. By way of credentials, although my current
boat is a mere 46', I've crewed extensively on an Andrews 53 in offshore
It took two guys to handle the spinnaker
pole on the Andrews, and a spinnaker
jibe involved four people just on the chute. Add a helmsperson, a main trimmer and someone to manage the runners, and you needed seven people on deck
to jibe. Folding a headsail after a race
was a four-man operation, and then it would require two sturdy guys to carry the #1.
On my cozy 46, Wonderblond and I can manage a spinnaker jibe together so long as we have the assistance of the autopilot
. Just last week we swapped the lapper for the yankee, and we were able to fold and transport the lapper ourselves without needing a third crew member
. No sail has an area larger than 500 square feet.
I readily admit that there are advantages to larger boats, but we already benefit from most of those advantages while remaining under 50'. For example, the cabin sole
on our 46 is one level, and we can walk from any cabin
to any other cabin
without necessitating a step up or down. This was not possible on our previous boat, which was 41' LOA
. For living aboard
, the biggest advantage of the larger boat is the stand-alone shower
in a compartment separate from the two heads.
Regardless of prospective advantages, I think there would be diminishing returns going to a larger boat, especially if our objective is to undertake passages without requiring additional crew. On the current
boat we have ample room to carry two kayaks, two folding bikes, and to keep the dink on davits
, even underway. We make ample speed with a 40' waterline. Our standard tankage is sufficient, with 200 gallons of water
, 100 of diesel
, and 50 in the holding tanks
. What else would we want?
It may be the the question posed by the OP is misdirecting us. Perhaps, instead of arguing about how big is too big, we should be asking ourselves what size is ideal. When Wonderblond and I asked ourselves this question, we ended up considering the economics of cruising when retired, realizing that a boat we can currently handle in our 50s will be different from what we may feel comfortable handling in our 60s.
While we enjoy spending time at anchor
, we want to be able to take an affordable slip from time to time, and there seems to be a strong dividing line between berthage for boats that can fit in a 50' slip and boats that require a larger berth. With our dink on the davits
, we fit into a 50' slip with a foot to spare.
More than anything, I don't want to be one of those guys who feels he must switch to a power boat
at a certain age. A smaller boat will keep me pulling the strings later in life. Therefore, the final answer to "How big is too big?" for me is that a boat is too big when it makes you want to voyage on the dark side of the sail/power divide at an older age.