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Old 14-03-2006, 14:28   #1
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What Size Boat is Needed for a Family of 6 to Sail Long Distances Easily?

I my family were to buy a sailboat, what size boat would we be able to sail long distances in comfortably? I know a 60 foot or somethin would be awsome but Im looking on the smaller end.

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Old 14-03-2006, 14:38   #2
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That depends on who can bunk with whom. The Copelands were five in a modest size boat (children were all boys). They have a number of books, one of which did go into some detail about their considerations for accomodations in a boat. Their website might be a good start -


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Old 14-03-2006, 16:13   #3

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And... just about anything can be done, so long as the children are able to adapt at an early age. While in Bonaire, we met a nice couple who had been teaching English in Venezuela. They had a 40ft (I forget the type), center cockpit, walkover sailboat and had 6 kids on board... a couple bicycles, and were some of the happiest people we saw the whole time we were there.
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Old 15-03-2006, 04:31   #4
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Old 15-03-2006, 05:31   #5
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I think 12' per person would be about the right size.
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Old 15-03-2006, 06:25   #6
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I agree Gunner - but that's only because we're both over 6ft tall, and uniformed/stupid/inexperienced so others here have told us

Assuming all 6 crew are capable of handling lines - not sure of the ages - then they should be able to handle just about any size craft they want to / can afford.

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Old 15-03-2006, 16:48   #7
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Don't Be Put Off

…by the flippant answers, CC: it is a bit of a naive question, but you have gotten some useful feedback.

The sexes and ages of your four kids, and who could possibly bunk with whom, will determine many of your requirements WRT size/displacement and accomodation. You might need to make some modifications to create more suitible offshore berths. The forpeak's pounding and general motion often makes for a pretty uninhabitable space while underway.

Keep in mind that a large boat may take more than two crew to handle: how many kids can take on serious responsibilities like steering, handling docking lines, trimming sheets, etc?

There are many families who have done it, and lived to write about it. Some cruisers have even had children along the way. You might try some pertinent terms in a search engine: I just got a page full of hits.

Good Luck.
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Old 16-03-2006, 02:44   #8
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There are really three crucial areas in the boat design criteria:

Sufficient bunk space

Sufficient space in saloon for food to be prepared and then served for the total crew (e.g. in harbour)

Sufficient space in the cockpit for you all - and if you have one of these strange tippy up half boats, then this means sufficient space in one side of the cockpit for the whole crew, with enough space for them to operate the winches etc.
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Old 16-03-2006, 03:48   #9
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This is an age old question and it gets asked and answered on a regular basis. It is very individual and there is no "one size fits all" answer Cavecreature. But it merits some serious thought since it entails a substantial investment in time and money. I would suggest you visit the Seven Seas Cruising Associations' web site and read many of the long threads regarding the "right" boat. You can find that site at

Good luck with your dream.

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Old 16-03-2006, 09:07   #10
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If I were to take a family of 6 long distance cruising, it would be on at least a 45 footer, center cockpit, with fore/aft cabins, and maybe one in the middle. It would have at least 2 heads with showers. Kids need their space as well as the adults. With 6 onboard on an overnight cruise, at least 2 are on watch at all times. If the mix of male/female allows it to be paired up, even better. A friend of mine took his family of 6 (2 guys only) on a 3 yr. circumnavigation on a Tayana 52 with 2 aft cabins, and 1 forward cabin. It was an aft cockpit too.

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