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Old 16-06-2018, 19:57   #1
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Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

My wife and I are fairly new to sailing, but we are contemplating possibly spending a few months (or years) at sea if we sell our company next year. We plan on chartering a boat or two, as well as attending the Annapolis sail boat show this year, but I thought it might be a good idea to get some good feedback on what to builders/models to look at before we go.

Here are our primary criteria:
- Fits a family of 4 (3 cabins minimum)
- Bright interior with at least a moderate amount of sun light let in. (I still have to convince the wife after all)
- Sea worthy even for those starting out without a lot of experience. We plan to start on the east coast U.S. and work our way down to the Caribbean. No immediate plan to cross the Atlantic in the future, but would be great to have a vessel that could if we grow into it.
- Our kids are 4 and 6, so we would need to be able to sail short handed
- We are not filthy rich or anything, but we plan on selling the house and cars along with the company, so we would prefer a newer boat, but not a new one to avoid the up front depreciation.
- It can be a cat or monohull. I must admit I've always been partial to the Lagoons, but I do love the feel of sailing a mono. I could be convinced either way.

As someone without a lot of experience, I'd have to say sea worthiness in rough seas and my ability to judge how good a particular boat would be is my main blind spot. Any information would be great!

Thanks!
David
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Old 16-06-2018, 20:21   #2
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

David,

I have a firm rule, that you should take to heart.

Anybody who tells you what kind of boat to buy without spending an hour asking you questions is actually telling you the boat THEY want to buy.

For ME and my kind of sailing I have no interest in multihulls. For some people they are the perfect answer. It is really hard--no make that impossible--to answer the kind of question you are asking generically. Is is just too personnel.

However this is the internet, and people WILL give you answers...
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Old 16-06-2018, 21:01   #3
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Welcome aboard David! Yes, to help you in your efforts it helps to know more about where you plan to go and for how long and what kind of budget you have, what are the must-haves (like some say they MUST have a shower, stuff like that.) As far as seaworthiness goes, well folks have sailed the Atlantic in bathtubs and then there was the unsinkable Titanic, and well, we all know that story. That being said there are some boats that I am attracted to and others that make me say, ho-hum, but any time out on the sea in a half decent boat for me is heaven. I knew a guy who used to sail around the Channel Islands here in a Sea Mew (14') Google that one! He never had any trouble and he had just a blissful time in it. Other folks wouldn't probably want to go daysailing in it. My point is, tell us which designs or boats really light a fire for you and someone here probably has some good firsthand experience with it. Budget and cash flow you can dedicate to the boat will likely figure prominently in the calculations. But as your sailing practice and experience grows, your tastes may change too, and the particular boats that you see and hear about will influence you too. Any boat can be safe or unsafe, and beyond all the basic structural stuff and safety gear, it depends mostly on the sailor, the weather he or she decides to go out in.
This website has a lot of good possible choices and be sure to check the "vote for upcoming boats" for a lot of good choices too. Granted, these are not new boats, but they are tried and true designs.
Sailboat Reviews of Offshore Cruising Yachts : Bluewaterboats.org
Good luck and let us know where you're headed, literally and figuratively!
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Old 16-06-2018, 22:04   #4
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Boat Buying Questions


We continually see questions like this. "What boat should I/we buy???" regardless of the qualifiers, some better than others.

The reality is that there are simply so many boats available for sale that the question is practically and realistically unanswerable.

We don't know what these folks like, and "like" has a LOT of impact. Some folks dislike certain brands, just visually. It's a reality.

Buying a used boat has a LOT of serendipity involved. Timing is everything. Cost, when reasonably budgeted, rarely is. Just read all the "I have X $$$ budgeted, what can I buy for it..." questions.

For example, for one earlier questioner: BOTH a C34 and C36 would meet the criteria. The 34 has an aft head and NO ONE is exposed to being only a thin plywood wall away from being pissed on when someone's in the head. The C36 has a fwd head, which I don't like in a seaway. The saloons are like night and day. But the boats have identical systems.

A good friend who had just spent two years perfecting their C34 jumped when another friend was selling their Hunter 356.

For the OP, when a question like this is asked, 99% of the time the answers are essentially "I love my boat, you will, too." Why is that? ‘Cuz we all bought what we liked and could afford. Some of us kept them (me: 20 years) others moved up to bigger but remember, fondly, their mid-30 footers. Some have even downsized.

And there are two ways to buy a boat:

1. I want a mid-30s for $X budget.
2. I want a [specific boat, C34] and I'll spend the time required to find one (I did).

One cannot do #2 without walking the docks and doing research to narrow down what YOU seem to desire, and, more importantly, dislike so as to avoid.

Oh, did I mention walk through transoms yet? [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Stu/AppData/Local/Temp/msoclip1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG][IMG]file:///C:/Users/Stu/AppData/Local/Temp/msoclip1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG][IMG]file:///C:/Users/Stu/AppData/Local/Temp/msoclip1/01/clip_image002.gif[/IMG]

Good luck.
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Old 17-06-2018, 00:33   #5
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

It’s that kind of thing you’ll need to think about. For us, we needed a walk-through transom for access issues, which led to stern-to mooring, and twin wheels. Room for a fourth cabin became a significant issue too. Those sorts of things will gradually thin down your options. Get out to a brokers and walk around a few boats of different price points, and you’ll pick up on what you need and what you don’t.

Some families of 4 are happy in a Sadler 29. Some cruising couples insist on 70ft plus. Only you know what you’ll be happy with.
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Old 17-06-2018, 01:41   #6
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Here are *my* must haves for a monohul, if you want to live aboard for extended stays:

Head and galley right down at the companionway.
You don’t want to go halfway through the boat, let alone pass through cabins to reach their ensuite head, with dripping wet oilies in a heavy seaway. It has to be right at the bottom of the stairs.
If you like to eat in the cockpit, it’s very nice to be able to pass food directly from the galley without walking around with it.
Also, the area in front of the companionway is usually the most stable one of the boat. Best for cooking at sea.

A separate shower stall.
Usually we like to wash from the stern but when anchorages are crowded or the weather is a little cooler it’s very nice to be able to wash inside without splashing all over the head and the sink.

Seats 4 at the indoor table without having to unfold table leaves or hampering mobility inside.

All lines, especially reefing, lead aft to the cockpit so you can do the heavy weather sailing without ever leaving the cockpit.

Walk through transom to facilitate boarding from the dinghy with your hands full of groceries. Also the nicest way to take a swim, or for washing yourself as mentioned above.

One of the smallest boats corresponding to the above whilst sporting 3 cabins, is the Beneteau Oceanis 361 that I’ve owned and loved very much. Crossed the Atlantic twice with it. You may want a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40 from around 1999 (the 3 cabin - 1 head layout) for a bit more payload and space in the forward cabin and twin cockpit wheels that facilitate mobility to and from the walk through transom. Otherwise a very similar boat. These are two ‘budget’ options, which seem to be the prudent choice given the description of your means. Better spend far less on the initial acquisition cost than you think you can afford.
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Old 17-06-2018, 11:22   #7
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Look for a Freedom 32 or 36. I love my 32. Start with a couple of YT videos.
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Old 17-06-2018, 11:28   #8
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidJH View Post
My wife and I are fairly new to sailing, but we are contemplating possibly spending a few months (or years) at sea if we sell our company next year. We plan on chartering a boat or two, as well as attending the Annapolis sail boat show this year, but I thought it might be a good idea to get some good feedback on what to builders/models to look at before we go.

Here are our primary criteria:
- Fits a family of 4 (3 cabins minimum)
- Bright interior with at least a moderate amount of sun light let in. (I still have to convince the wife after all)
- Sea worthy even for those starting out without a lot of experience. We plan to start on the east coast U.S. and work our way down to the Caribbean. No immediate plan to cross the Atlantic in the future, but would be great to have a vessel that could if we grow into it.
- Our kids are 4 and 6, so we would need to be able to sail short handed
- We are not filthy rich or anything, but we plan on selling the house and cars along with the company, so we would prefer a newer boat, but not a new one to avoid the up front depreciation.
- It can be a cat or monohull. I must admit I've always been partial to the Lagoons, but I do love the feel of sailing a mono. I could be convinced either way.

As someone without a lot of experience, I'd have to say sea worthiness in rough seas and my ability to judge how good a particular boat would be is my main blind spot. Any information would be great!

Thanks!
David
Here she is!!!!!!!

Just put her on the market, happy to deliver her to Europe for you if you would like :-)

Read “Hunter, Really” on blog. PM if interested.

Tri cabin ;-) pics from two weeks ago sailing solo from Bahamas back to FL.
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Old 17-06-2018, 11:32   #9
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

If you're already partial to Lagoons I'd start there. Plenty of them cruising successfully. I recommend getting the smallest version that will get the job done in the best condition you can afford. I think the 380 is easily big enough for your family.
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Old 17-06-2018, 13:08   #10
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

You need to rent some boats and it sounds like you are still just learning to sail -- my advice is buy a small boat and take care of it, have it hauled, cleaned, inspected and painted to learn all about what having a boat is like. Then sail it and learn all the systems -- standing and running rigging, sails, engine/motor, tiller/wheel, anchors, lifeines or not, how to manage ports and hatches, all the basics of boat handling, maintenance, docking, mooring, and so on. And get your sailing gear and clothing organized, all that will take a year in my experience if you work at it, then look at used boats, hundreds of them -- online, in magazines, and especially in person. Sail different boats or go on them and crew for the owners, big, medium and small. Cook on them, sleep on them, go places on them, etc.
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Old 17-06-2018, 13:39   #11
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Quote:
Originally Posted by ogod View Post
You need to rent some boats and it sounds like you are still just learning to sail -- my advice is buy a small boat and take care of it, have it hauled, cleaned, inspected and painted to learn all about what having a boat is like. Then sail it and learn all the systems -- standing and running rigging, sails, engine/motor, tiller/wheel, anchors, lifeines or not, how to manage ports and hatches, all the basics of boat handling, maintenance, docking, mooring, and so on. And get your sailing gear and clothing organized, all that will take a year in my experience if you work at it, then look at used boats, hundreds of them -- online, in magazines, and especially in person. Sail different boats or go on them and crew for the owners, big, medium and small. Cook on them, sleep on them, go places on them, etc.
Welcome aboard, ogod!
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Old 17-06-2018, 14:14   #12
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Welcome aboard!
I was in a similar situation before purchasing my Jeanneau. I had thought that I would get a "blue water " boat and fix it up. I had a 200k budget plus an extra 50 over a year. I needed something to serve as a home and office that would be welcoming to my non sailor wife and sailing grown children on vaca. I wanted a monohull because my "sailing" experience on a 40 ft cat reminded me of a floating brick.
So I went to the Newport Yacht show and climbed aboard every boat I could and realized that the older style blue water boats left me feeling claustrophobic. They all felt small inside and dark and I could not seeing living in a closet. I climbed aboard a Jeanneau and experienced a different feeling, one of lightness and space. Too bad they are expensive when new.
So perhaps a lightly used boat would be ok. I looked at 45 DS thru 54 DS around 2003 -2007 and found that the prices were variable depending upon the site of sale.
The further south, the less expensive. I inquired about boats out of charter and was told they were heavily used, but the prices were very interesting. The most important fact about buying a used boat, charter or non charter, is the survey. Fortunately I was able to find buyers agent who helped me find a decent boat and a good surveyor. I bought a boat in just about the condition as was described by the surveyor and knew what it needed before hand. I made a deal with the previous owner to share the cost of repair and bought the boat and have been happy with the purchase. The Jeanneau DS 54 is bigger than what I needed but is a fantastic deluxe yacht. It held up to everything..until Irma. I am now waiting for a new mast and sails. PM me if you have questions. Good luck!
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Old 17-06-2018, 15:35   #13
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

Hi Everyone,
Thanks for all the advise so far everyone!

Quote:
Originally Posted by billknny View Post
David,

Anybody who tells you what kind of boat to buy without spending an hour asking you questions is actually telling you the boat THEY want to buy.

However this is the internet, and people WILL give you answers...
I totally get this and its great advice. Being so new to sailing though, it does help me to hear what others preferences because I am already seeing things that I may not have considered when choosing a boat.

@2big2small
Some great pointers in here. We were sailing a couple days in heavy weather recently and having the reefs run aft (which they didn't) would be very helpful and almost a must short handed with kids. Great to keep in mind! I also do love the newer Jeanneau Sun Odyssey's. I know its a classic look, but I am not a huge fan of dark wood in the older ones. One thing that did worry me is I've seen people reference that Jeanneau isn't a "Blue Water" builder. Not sure what aspect they were referencing. I also wonder about speed with such a wide beam.

@Don C L
Budget would max out at 350-450K if we decided on a large Cat, but I would hope to spend much less. Exact location and length are still up in the air, but likely East coast U.S. and Caribbean to start

@Tillsbury @Stu Jackson
Hoping to get as good as an idea of what we are looking for before the Annapolis show and then do walk throughs. I'm doing my best not to get my heart too set on one thing before.

@Scout 30
Planning on going through all of Lagoons line at this years show. My initial feel is that a 42 or 45 would be the right size, but I agree that the smallest possible is best from a handling/maintenance/cost perspective.
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Old 17-06-2018, 15:43   #14
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

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Originally Posted by bjymd View Post
Welcome aboard!
I was in a similar situation before purchasing my Jeanneau. I had thought that I would get a "blue water " boat and fix it up. I had a 200k budget plus an extra 50 over a year. I needed something to serve as a home and office that would be welcoming to my non sailor wife and sailing grown children on vaca. I wanted a monohull because my "sailing" experience on a 40 ft cat reminded me of a floating brick.
So I went to the Newport Yacht show and climbed aboard every boat I could and realized that the older style blue water boats left me feeling claustrophobic. They all felt small inside and dark and I could not seeing living in a closet. I climbed aboard a Jeanneau and experienced a different feeling, one of lightness and space. Too bad they are expensive when new.
So perhaps a lightly used boat would be ok. I looked at 45 DS thru 54 DS around 2003 -2007 and found that the prices were variable depending upon the site of sale.
The further south, the less expensive. I inquired about boats out of charter and was told they were heavily used, but the prices were very interesting. The most important fact about buying a used boat, charter or non charter, is the survey. Fortunately I was able to find buyers agent who helped me find a decent boat and a good surveyor. I bought a boat in just about the condition as was described by the surveyor and knew what it needed before hand. I made a deal with the previous owner to share the cost of repair and bought the boat and have been happy with the purchase. The Jeanneau DS 54 is bigger than what I needed but is a fantastic deluxe yacht. It held up to everything..until Irma. I am now waiting for a new mast and sails. PM me if you have questions. Good luck!
Thanks for sharing your experience! I relate to this sentiment, and I know its going to be hard to convince my wife to sell the house if it feels dark and small inside. As an experience Jeanneau owner, what would you say the main things are about this boat that makes it not "Blue Water" capable. Is it its ability to handle rough seas, or is it just not outfitted for longer journeys?
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Old 17-06-2018, 16:23   #15
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Re: Sailboat Recommendations for Family of 4

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I know its going to be hard to convince my wife to sell the house if it feels dark and small inside.
Hmmm, I think I see a cat in your future...in the Med...
i just picked this one out at random...
my wife might sell the house for this one...
https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...g#.WybfiCMrInU
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