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Old 19-10-2011, 15:07   #1
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Smaller vs Larger

I am moving a 41' sailboat. A 15-20 day trip. I have very capable person that has a great deal of experiance/teacher/trainer in sailboats of 16-20' lengths.There is a concern that a larger boat will handle in a manner that the muscle memory transition and instinct he has in a smaller boat will not serve him well in a bigger boat.My thought is a 20' sailboat in 15-20 knot winds will be similar to a 40' boat in 30-40 knot winds. This person has heavy weather experiance for some time now.He knows the critical art of heaving to in foul weather, and has perform this many times.I would like some input on this from the more skilled sailors. Time is important for 15 days and then my window closes.
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Old 19-10-2011, 15:20   #2
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Re: small vs larger

From my limited experience, I found docking the boat and maneuvering in the marina was the HARD part of going from a small 20' boat- to a 40' boat. On the open water, it wasn't much harder.
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Old 19-10-2011, 15:27   #3
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Re: small vs larger

Exactly my thoughts. Thanks
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Old 19-10-2011, 15:32   #4
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Re: small vs larger

The other thing your crew will have to learn is that nothing can be manhandled when the boat gets that big unless the winds are light. In most conditions sails, booms, poles etc have to be handled with with finess. If he/she has several years of experience, they know the procedures, it's just a matter of accepting that they have to be used almost all the time instead of just in heavy weather.
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Old 19-10-2011, 15:42   #5
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Re: small vs larger

When I sailed primarily 15-20' boats, speed was of the essence. Not so with bigger boats on a 15-20 day trip....safety is paramount. IMHO, The biggest difference sailing smaller boats as compared to bigger boats is learning how to be conservative. Reef early, respect the wind. Sacrifice speed for prudence. Don't try to hang onto sheets with your hands without several turns around the winch. Enjoy your trip!
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Old 19-10-2011, 15:46   #6
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Re: small vs larger

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Originally Posted by oldman66 View Post
I am moving a 41' sailboat. A 15-20 day trip. I have very capable person that has a great deal of experiance/teacher/trainer in sailboats of 16-20' lengths.There is a concern that a larger boat will handle in a manner that the muscle memory transition and instinct he has in a smaller boat will not serve him well in a bigger boat.My thought is a 20' sailboat in 15-20 knot winds will be similar to a 40' boat in 30-40 knot winds. This person has heavy weather experiance for some time now.He knows the critical art of heaving to in foul weather, and has perform this many times.I would like some input on this from the more skilled sailors. Time is important for 15 days and then my window closes.

There is no 1:1 relationship like that between wind and sails. That said, knowing how to heave to isn't advanced sailing skills. Who has the concern about his skills -- you or him?
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:02   #7
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Re: small vs larger

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There is no 1:1 relationship like that between wind and sails. That said, knowing how to heave to isn't advanced sailing skills. Who has the concern about his skills -- you or him?
Surely it's the SA/D (sail area to displacement) ratio that governs behaviour in various wind strengths, and that tends to be fairly constant for the same class (cruiser, racer) of boat, regardless of length.

For a 20ft and a 40ft boat, both with SA/D about 20, you'll be reefing at the same wind strength.
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:05   #8
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Re: small vs larger

All very good points, and I take them all.We will be on the motor 1/3 of distance, doing 6 knots. We will follow the coast about 20 miles out.I am not in good health with a recent minor surgery. This boat is a designed solo boat for the novice sailor. Very friendly to us. It has a Scaeffer boom that can be reefed without coming up to luff the main.He will never leave the cockpit.All lines go to cockpit. The sheets will furl from the cockpit,etc. His skills will keep us from going down, and I fill he is very capable.All that you have said validates my own thinking. Please add as much to this as you wish. My only concern is to get us and boat home safely. Again thanks to all of you.
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:09   #9
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Re: small vs larger

Maneuverability will still come down to the design of the boat. Long keel vs short keel. Deep v hull vs flat planing hull. Left or Right hand Prop Walk. Freeboard windage. There are so many variables. So its really impossible to compare the two based on size alone.

There are few things you can do manually on a bigger. On a small boat you can manually sheet on a sail or raise a halyard. But on a 41 footer, just about every line will need winching.

Even gybing will be different. On a small boat you can just grab a bundle of main sheet half way up the tackle to assist the gybe. On a bigger boat, you will have to sheet it in to the center then release- else you risk breaking a wrist.

But as long as you prepare for heavier loads, sailing wont really be all that different. Make sure your reefing lines are prepped and that you test the system. There's no point learning that the reefing system is flawed once the poo hits the fan.

Your comparison of wind strength vs length is flawed. 15 -20 knots is fun sailing for all classes. Where as 30-40 knots is hard work in all classes.

But get out there and enjoy it. Sounds like a fun trip.
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:12   #10
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Re: small vs larger

My thinking on this is the same wind force is adjusted to the concept that a 20' boat will reef to 20% of sail while a heavier/larger boat can carry 40% sail.
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:12   #11
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Re: small vs larger

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Originally Posted by oldman66 View Post
I have very capable person that has a great deal of experiance/teacher/trainer in sailboats of 16-20' lengths.There is a concern that a larger boat will handle in a manner that the muscle memory transition and instinct he has in a smaller boat will not serve him well in a bigger boat.
I hope he has SOME experience in the larger boats.
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:18   #12
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Re: small vs larger

The sailing part is easier for a bigger boat (everything is a little slower), but the docking is more difficult (and should be done a little slower).
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:20   #13
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Re: small vs larger

I explained in an earlier post that the boat has a Schaeffer boom that does not require coming up in order to luff the sheet.The boom can stay in postion and reef any length desired as it furls within itself.There is no going forward to handle the sheets or adjusting your tack.
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:22   #14
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Re: small vs larger

This was mentioned before, and this is my persons concern. My thinking is what you say. Big is more deliberate and slower with more thought in advance.A plan.
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Old 19-10-2011, 16:30   #15
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Re: small vs larger

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I explained in an earlier post that the boat has a Schaeffer boom that does not require coming up in order to luff the sheet.The boom can stay in postion and reef any length desired as it furls within itself.There is no going forward to handle the sheets or adjusting your tack.
Thats nice. But no good to you unless you test it in fair weather first to ensure everything is working correctly and that the crew understand where each line is. FWIW, there is nothing wrong with going forward. That's when you find out that the bolt on the gooseneck is loose (for example). With all leads leading to the cockpit, it makes for nice comfy cruising. But on a sea voyage, you should still have a 'walk around' from time to time, checking the systems as you go.
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