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Old 05-06-2005, 05:28   #16
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…to Tania Aebei, in her 26-ft. Contessa, and Robin Lee Graham, who went the majority of the way around even smaller.

s/y Eagle's Wings— Catalina 30 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." — G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 05-06-2005, 08:52   #17
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Doesn't minimise what you stated though. Doing what those two acomplished must have been mighty uncomfortable.


For God so loved the world..........He didn't send a committee.
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Old 18-07-2009, 04:40   #18
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Haave a look at our Westsail/Kendall 32, Home - we picked her up in Auckland for NZ60K, but did a lot of work on her over the 10 years we had her before we went cruising, so probably spent about 40K getting her up to Cat 1 and liveaboard comfort. We have been living on her and in the process of circumnavigating for the last 3+ years and are very happy with her. There are 2 of us on board, and one is 6 feet tall - we have headroom throughout.
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Old 18-07-2009, 12:53   #19

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60K to 70K Kiwi is a hell of a lot of money, for the type of boat you are seeking.
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Old 20-07-2009, 02:09   #20
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Hi Brent,
Not really if you are looking for a sound, sturdy ocean-going vessel that doesn't need a lot of maintenance and that two people can live board comfortable. We looked at a lot of boats before we found one we'd be happy going to sea in long term, lots of cheaper coastal boats, but I want something sturdier offshore. Admitted in the current financial "crisis" it is a buyer's market, but I just had a quick look on Trade Me and wasn't overwhelmed by the choice in boats much cheaper. As always I guess it depends on your comfort level with what you are prepared tp go to sea in.
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Old 20-07-2009, 22:21   #21
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What I really miss in this thread is the stuff about the handling of the conditions by the boat, which really is what it is about when looking at criteria for min. boat length. Also, there's different ways of going around the world, with different sea conditions and thus different requirements for the boat in those conditions.

All the stories about small boats being fine are just that, nice stories. Truth is that it is either luck, good seamanship or a combination of those two factors that matter for small boats, because they can be overpowered by waves which would not hurt a bigger boat.

For any size boat you need one that is designed, build, maintained and equipped right. Many boats are not designed for ocean crossings; most boats are designed for chartering.

Next thing is making an inventory of the conditions that you are likely to encounter in the areas you want to sail. It's the sea conditions that matter because any good sailboat can handle any wind; it's the waves that flip you (I'm not going into the multi-hull thing here).

I don't have the data at hand (well, I have so many books at hand that I don't remember which one has the data) but there are easy rules, like a 10' wave can never (so even if the helmsman tries to...) capsize a boat which is longer than x feet. Another consideration is the vertical surface area, so the freeboard and the side surface of the superstructure. These break the momentum during a knock down (preventing a roll) and help sliding off the face of the wave (again, negating the momentum by aligning speed and direction with the wave).

I suspect the data is in Dashew's "Surviving the Storm" book.

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Old 21-07-2009, 04:21   #22
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Minimum boat length - its the one you can afford.

Have a read of the books " a speck on the sea". Written by William H Longyard and published by Mc Graw Hill .Some really weird boats and people, but they have done it there is no denying.
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Old 21-07-2009, 16:27   #23
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Originally Posted by mattplowman View Post
I am wanting to get members opinions on what they think the min length for a blue water cruiser is. Also any recommendations on makes / models one should look at buying (2nd hand , entry level in terms of price) would be appreciated.
Just one data point, mine.

Medium displacement: 30'.

Heavy displacement: 27'.

Both will have about the same storage, which for long ocean crossings becomes the critical issue.

My strong preference for a size floor, however, would be 32 feet. I had a 33' boat (Wauquiez Gladiateur--medium displacement) and space wise that was great. Cruising can and has been done in less than 32', but I would not want to.

About boat size: Boats are three dimensional things. If you take a cube with a length of one unit and then increase each of the three dimensions by 26% you will have doubled its volume. (1 increased by 26% is 1.26; and 1.26 cubed equals 2, which is the double of 1).

A boat is not a cube but the concept is similar, particularly in smaller boats sizes. So a 26% increase in length nearly doubles a boat's volume. Ergo, jumping up in length can result in large volume increases. For storage alone, this is important. This is why a 34' boat is nearly twice as big as a 27' boat, assuming similar L/D ratios.

But be very wary of trading strength for size. Strong boats are typically not cheap boats. There are reasons why some boats cost less than other similiarly sized boats.

In the hands of competent captain, small boats are not necessarily less seaworthy than large boats. You just have to resort to drogues, sea anchors, or series droques sooner and more often.
John, sailing a custom 36' double-headed steel sloop--a 2001 derivation of a 1976 Ted Brewer design.
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Old 25-07-2009, 19:52   #24
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From the "less is more" philosophy...
Looking at Stonehorses a few years back. I got addicted to the line in the brochure that talked about the wisdom in getting the least amount of boat you could afford. It made a lot of sense to me, and has greatly influenced what I'm looking for in a retirement vessel.

(Wow! I'm still getting familiar with that word, "retirement"! It's a few years off, nonetheless, closing in fast!)
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Old 25-07-2009, 21:35   #25
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Visit James Baldwin’s site at and I think you will find his philosophy, general advice and “boat list” very enlightening.
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Old 26-07-2009, 12:38   #26
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I recently completed a 3-year "Atlantic Circle" in my Vancouver 32 PH. It was fast and comfortable. The pilothouse kept me warm and dry. And the double berth amidship was pleasant in all sea conditions.
Along the way I didn't see a 40 footer I would have traded for even up.
The sails, ground tackle and expenses are all much easier to handle in this size boat.
Good Luck!
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Old 26-07-2009, 13:43   #27
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We have started with our little Cal28 (very similar in design to the Lapworth24 that was the Dove...) to see how we like cruising and if we can stand working with each other in such quarters...

(after YESTERDAY, which involved a knot on the main halyard giving way and Himself refusing to hoist me up the mast AT ANCHOR so I could retrieve it before it slithered back thru the hole in the mast, that is more questionable than it was the day before... }: -E

While we have no circumnavigation goals we would be fools to set out in a boat that couldn't handle the Pacific coast, one of the more unpleasant stretches to sail. So in essence any decisions we make will take into account most of the concerns a blue water sailor would have.

Our plan is to move up to a Cal40 for serious cruising. The Cal28 is something of a small model of the 40' Lapworth design, so we think that learning to sail it will stand us in good stead if we do move up. Suprisingly many folks have told us that when the time comes we may want to seriously consider remaining in the 28. Rather than considering size persay, it seems to have a reputauion for stability and reliability that are of course paramount in challenging sailing conditions... so maybe it's not size that counts... but performance. Now where have I heard that before?

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Old 26-07-2009, 15:32   #28
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hmmm.... in the 50's it was about 21 ft. Trekka
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Old 29-07-2009, 18:33   #29
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there are folks out there in flicka and dana models of pacific seacraft boats--dana is 24 ft with goood sized interior and the flicka i believe is 21 ft---has room inside for a single person to be comfortable...if you have to pay 60k-70k, you are looking in the wrong places....gooood luck--is a purely buyers market--should be something out there for ye...~~~~~~~_/)~~~~~~~
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Old 29-07-2009, 21:47   #30
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Hi Zeehag,
We we discussing price in the New Zealand dollar (Pacific peso), which translates to around US$35-40k for something not needing much work. Also, I reckon it'd be a very stoical person (or a midget) who could live and cruise comfortably on a 21 footer for any length of time. Maybe if you just coastal cruised, but the space taken up by supplies and safety gear for ocean crossings (compulsory for the original poster if he leaves from home in a NZ registered boat) wouldn't leave much space. And forget about taking a partner with you or enticing one to join you on the way!

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