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Old 29-03-2009, 23:51   #1
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Pros & Cons of Cruising on a Mid Size to Small Boat


What do you all feel the pros and cons of cruising on a mid size to small boat are. Say something like 27-36 footers.
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Old 30-03-2009, 02:00   #2
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How many crew?

To me it comes down to how many crew you have.

A 36'er would be nice with two crew. If it's just you a well set up 27' might be the ticket.

By well set up I mean all lines set up to single hand with dodger, bimini and a good autopilot.
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Old 30-03-2009, 02:57   #3
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Ditch,

Have a look at this website, dedicated to small boat cruising.

Small boats cruising long distances, & KISS principle cruising | sailFar.net

Enjoy
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Old 02-04-2009, 19:14   #4
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I cruised full time for 7 years on a 35' Alden sloop. Did about 1/2 of it singlehanded. A 35 foot boat that is set up right shouldn't be a problem, if the skippers skills are up to it.
My boat doesn't have self tailing winches, and untill the last year of full time cruising, didn't have a windlass. Being a believer in using 2 anchors, anchoring sometimes got interesting! I could write a book!
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Old 02-04-2009, 22:15   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ditch Leroi View Post

What do you all feel the pros and cons of cruising on a mid size to small boat are. Say something like 27-36 footers.
I loved my Westsail 32 cruising mostly in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. I could have circumnavigated in that yacht except that my wife doesn't like boats that heel over. Hence we ended up with a catamaran.

27-32 feet would work for me if I was singlehanding. If there were other people on board, I would proportionally increase the size of the yacht.
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Old 06-04-2009, 19:05   #6
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Over40Pirate: I would love to hear some of your info/stories about anchoring!

Maxing out: Yeah I was advised to check out some Westsail 32s and I did,I like what I saw as far as the boat but the prices were a bit high.

Ditch
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Old 06-04-2009, 22:08   #7
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The Westsail 32 is a very strong yacht, and it performs well when sailing off the wind. Going to windward is a challenge because it carries its beam so far forward, and you really smash into seas when beating. The broad beam forward does create a lot of interior living and storage space for a small offshore cruiser.

The Westsail 32 has round bilges and has a tendency to be tender. When going to windward you often heel over to a significant degree. The rounded bilges present little resistance to initial heeling, but once you reach 30 degrees of heel, the boat stiffens up. Going to windward for prolonged periods can be very tiring when heeling over so much.

Not all Westsail 32 are created equal in the ballast department. Some of them are underballasted with steel punchings rather than lead. If I was getting a Westsail 32, I would want to drill a hole into the keel and find out if it was ballasted with lead or steel punchings. My Westsail was underballasted, and I had to add ballast to stiffen it up.

In spite of the tenderness of our Westsail, I still like that design.
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Old 09-04-2009, 06:51   #8
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Well, first of all, I think there is a huge difference between each end of that spectrum! For about 8 years, I had 26-foot pocket cruiser, now I have 33 foot boat.

Here's what I felt about the 26-footer:

Mine had standing headroom, but many in that size range don't.

Sailed almost like a dinghy, but heavy displacement handled weather.

Minimal auxillary equipment required. Could pull the anchor up by hand.

It's easier to keep everything simple on a small boat.

Parts are cheaper on a small boat.

Slips and storage are cheaper but, many storage options start at a minimum of 30 feet.

Insurance may be cheaper - but getting anything beyond coastal, may be a challenge, especially if the boat has a trailer or outboard.

Can use an outboard reasonably instead of an inboard if desired (cheaper)

It will be slower than larger boats of the same build, but when you look at hull speed formula, I think this is not all that significant.

I think the biggest disadvantage is reduced interior space - Less breathing room, less ability to carry people and less ability to carry stores. Related to this, boat builders tend to put just as many berths in a 27-footer as they would a 38-footer. My 26-footer supposedly slept 6. Having this many berths came a the price of making them all small and giving up storage space. There's no way I was ever going to sleep that many on board, so I would have rather had few, larger berths and storage space designed as storage space.

Given two boats of similar build, I think the larger one will likely be more seakindly. At some point, the larger boat having more forces on it and require more mechanical aids and/or more crew to accomplish things.

While these are some generalities I've experienced, I think it's important to always keep design and outfitting in mind. My 26-foot heavier displacement boat handled seas better in my opinion than many lighter 30-footers. Convenient reefing systems may make a much larger boat easier to manage than a smaller boat.

I thought my 26-footer was great for solo sailing. I could sail it solo in most any conditions. It was a bit tight for two people for cruises of a month or more.
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Old 10-04-2009, 02:10   #9
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Thanks for your thoughts Nautical62. I have recently been checking out the boats from this list: atomvoyagesDOTcom/articles/boatlistDOThtm
I have been trying to find a boat that has two separate berths. Most of the time on the boat it will be my sailing partner and I. We dont mind a small cabin but would like to have separate sleeping areas-a little hard so far.
So far on the list there are a lot of boats that seem like solid sailors. I am leaning towards a sloop. And although I dont want a lot of the upkeep that comes with teak, I really like the Cheoy Lee Offshore boats.I think once I get the list down to as few choices as possible I will start taking trips and checking them out.
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:33   #10
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Ditch, I've read his page before and I think it's very inspirational and contains some great observations and recommendations. It's one of the best lists of traditional, solid cruisers I've seen.

I've never sailed a Cheoy Lee, but have heard wonderful things about them.

For me one thing that's very important for anything more than a weekend is standing head room. I'd cross about 1/3 of the boats off that list for that reason. Since I knew from the beginning I wanted to gunkhole in the Bahamas, draft was very important to me and why I selected a Westerly Centaur. I'd have purchased either a Berwick or Konsort in a second when I last looked if there had been a reasonable ones on the market.

I met one couple that purchased a Perason Vanguard very affordably and spent a couple years fixing it up. They have sailed both sides of the north Atlantic in that boat.
Most Westsail owner's I've known echo everything Maxingout said in his posts.

One more thought of something to check for in pocket cruisers and that is how easily the anchor chain goes down into the chain locker. Given a small v-birth often the chain pipe is so far forward the chain piles up in the front corner of the chain locker. This may sound like a small thing, but if it doesn't feed down, one must come up with a deck storage option or go below and pull it through by hand, both of which can present safety concerns.

Both the Pacific Seacraft Flika and Dana have excellent reputations as well built small cruisers, but you usually see that reflected in the boat price!

One thing I'll say about many of the boats on that list, is that while most are older, but very capable designs, most also offer very little space inside for their length. I point that out because you mentioned sleeping space. It's why I recently purchases a Hunter 30 instead of an older style boat. I feel my Hunter would be a bad choice for a offshore boat, but I don't plan to take any farther than the Bahamas. I guess that's my last rec: Buy a boat for what you will realistically do with it, not what you dream of doing.

Best of luck with your boat search.
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Old 10-04-2009, 09:25   #11
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i would say there is a lot of difference between a 27 footer and a 36 footer. the 36 can be big enough to go anywhere but a 27 is maybe too small if you are in a big ocean.
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Old 10-04-2009, 10:37   #12
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I cruised off shore for 3 years on a Cascade 29. My wife and I split time in the single quarter berth when underway, and used the v-berth for storage. Two quarter berths would have been nice, but would have limited storage even further if both were being used for sleeping. We were happy and comfortable, but stowage takes a lot more thought on a 30' and under boat. Time is something that you actually do have when cruising. We crossed the Pacific on and off with friends: one couple on another Cascade 29 and the other on a Cheoy around 30' The Cheoy was a ketch, sailed with a nice motion and had a big cockpit (relatively) for entertaining.
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Old 10-04-2009, 14:23   #13
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The pros: They are affordable, don't need additional crew just to leave the slip, big enough to carry what you need, fast enough to get you there, few systems that will break and must be maintained at the cost of your cruising.

The cons: Won't impress too many people because of your ostentatious spending habits.

There is a big difference between a light and heavy displacement boat. A Lyle Hess designed BCC 28 is a lot more boat than its 28' would leave you to believe. The same goes for a Westwail 32 which is really a forty foot boat in livability and carrying capacity and 43' in cruising trim to the marina for slip fees.

There is also a huge difference between 35' and 27' in everything. Most every 35' boat will be commodious enough to take a couple cruising comfortably. A 27' boat will be cramped for even a single hander. The smaller boat also will have less fuel and water tankage and less storage for consumables and boat gear. The smaller boats sailing performance will be more adversely affected by the weight of the gear and consumables that creep into a cruising boats existance.

I wouldn't discourage you from sailing off in a small boat, just be aware that it will require more compromises. It seems that most people are over boated when they go off cruising. They have wasted too many years being able to afford a boat that is larger than they really need and/or the boat takes too much of their cruising income when they are out. The most important part of any cruise is untieing the dock lines. The boat that gets you out there the soonest is the best boat for cruising.

We lived aboard and cruised a w32 for four years. Can't see needing more boat except to bring more toys that we really didn't need and would have used very seldom. Having said that, our current boat, a Pearson 35, is not nearly as big as our W32. So you have to be very cognizant of what a boat is all about. Modern boats tend to be dockside condo's with large open areas and lots of useless space. Storage capability and a comfortable motion are way more important. Open space in a boat is just more acceleration potential to seriously injure yourself in a seaway. Storage areas for food and gear will make a boat way moire livable.
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Old 10-04-2009, 18:42   #14
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Ditch, I sail a Cheoy Lee 41 Offshore Richards and I am extremely happy with it. I will be taking her tomorrow to Puerto Rico from the Virgin Islands and then to Cartagena in South America, feel free to contact me if you need additional information about Cheoy Lee's 41 Offshore, I think I have gathered some good info about them.

Here is my tracking link:

Please wait for redirect
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Old 10-04-2009, 20:48   #15
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Nautical62
Head room: Im only 57 but my sailing partner is 61 so yeah a lot of the boats quickly get x out.
Anchor chain pipe: thanks for that tip, I will make a note. Tips like this are priceless to me! : )
Buy a boat for what you will realistically do with it, not what you dream of doing. Also good advice!
Tareua: Thanks for the practical space/storage account. Also for conveying your feeling about your pacific crossings on a smaller boat-this is encouraging for me.

Roverhi

Thanks for pointing out the size of a boat can be deceiving

I wouldn't discourage you from sailing off in a small boat, just be aware that it will require more compromises. It seems that most people are over boated when they go off cruising. They have wasted too many years being able to afford a boat that is larger than they really need and/or the boat takes too much of their cruising income when they are out. The most important part of any cruise is untieing the dock lines. The boat that gets you out there the soonest is the best boat for cruising.

Finding a comfortable balance will be key thanks for the above, well thought out comments.
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