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Old 14-07-2009, 23:17   #1
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35-40' Monohull for First Boat

Howdy I'm Troymclure you might remember me from such threads as "realistic liveaboard boat".

Well the search continues and now i've narrowed it down to two boats, the albion 35 and an adams 40.

I'm planning on living aboard (working from a home office aboard as well) and eventuallly (say within 2 years) cruising up to the mediterranean.

If at all possible i'd just like a bit of input on two things.

1. The albion 35 has a 3mm hull. I know Dennis Ganley designed his 35's with a 3mm hull but this albion is 25 years old and i'm a little concerned about that as I know 4mm is standard.

2. Can I (being a 27 6" mildly fit) individual handle a 40 foot boat? The reason I ask is because the price difference of 10k between the boats doesnt' seem like alot for 5" of boat with the extra speed/storage/space that goes along with it. In addition the adams 40 already has a shower installed which will save alot on time/hassle, has a better appointed interior and is 5 years younger so should hold it's value alot better.

Any advice is much appreciated.

Oh and no I don't know how to sail, i've logged a fair bit of time in Virtual Skipper and the family used to go sailing when I was a kid but this will be my first boat and the boat i learn on.

ps:- Loan is approved, inspecting adams 40 tommorrow already had a look at albion 35. Should hopefully be moving aboard sometime in the next week or two.
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Old 15-07-2009, 02:02   #2
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3mm does not sound like much...

3mm does not sound like a lot of thickness for a hull. Even 4mm might be on the light side for a 40'er.

I trust that you have checked along frames, stringers and bulkheads for internal rust, and that the engine/gearbox is sound.
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Old 15-07-2009, 02:17   #3
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I am sure you will get a lot of opinion on this and here is a first opinion.

As a first boat a 35 or 40 foot boat is a lot of boat. It is not impossible or even inadvisable in my opinion. What is adviseable is to have a very solid training plan.

A person herre bought a 40 foot boat as a first boat and the broker - a completely stand up fellow - has been sailing with the owner for a year. In return the broker gets to "use" the boat periodically.

Forces are hihgh on a 40 foot boat. Things can go wrong and especially if you plan to single hand you need to have experience.

The boat mentioned above is a "cruiser/racer" and in race mode we have 10 crew on board including 3 people to tack the Genny.

Good luck with your plans.
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Old 15-07-2009, 03:05   #4
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All things being equal, the 40' will give you a lot more live aboard room, especially if you are going to have a dedicated office area. It is not too much boat for you to handle.
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Old 15-07-2009, 03:05   #5
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I agree with ex, learning on a 40' boat means you will need to organize a crew and experienced skipper-mentor for every outing. It's a little bit like buying a 18 wheeler semi (incl. trailer) when you're learning to drive.

Learning to sail is an incremental process, much like any other skill. I'd start with something under 30' and then move up. I honestly believe this will give you a much broader experience base. and ultimately more confidence.

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Old 15-07-2009, 03:29   #6
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I kow people who's first boat was 46 and 49 respectively, they've done fine. Take your time, get some lessons, and enjoy the boat. Oh, I would go for the larger boat.
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Old 15-07-2009, 03:36   #7
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Inspected the albion and so far as I could see no internal rust on the frames etc. There was a bit on the inside of the hatches and a couple of spots on deck (paint coming off with maybe coin sized blotches of rust). Engine on the albion appeared alright (unfortunately I don't really know what to look for) but I will of course be getting a survey (there was a survey on the albion done by someone else, showed rudder needs repair and has same hull thickness (3mm) all the way around).


I do have a training plan sort of organised. I was going to get a berth at a local marina (in the brisbane river) for a month or two to start with. Spend that time sailing with other people as much as possible, getting to know my boat/organising my office and liveaboard setup and practising docking as much as possible. After that i'm out to one of the marinas in the bay which will mean i can start volunterring for races and taking the boat out for sails in moreton bay (which is nicely protected and probably a good place to learn to sail). I thought I might get a couple of lessons/courses done as time/finances allow during that time as well.

Alot will depend on how the adams goes tommorrow of course. I'll check hull thickness then.

I know I should probablly spend the next few years learning to sail on trailor sailors and working my way up till I know if i feel most comfortable on a 35 or a 40 but I think given the and my situation it may not be best right now.

I figure with the current economic climate, it's a great time to be buying a boat. Not so much in 2 years time. In addition I'm getting a 2nd mortgage to fund the boat purchase, the good news is that the rent from my apartment will cover the boat loan costs + some so i'll actually be making money by moving onto a boat (thats with maintenance/insurance/marina fees etc factored in).

And there is also the "go now" factor. I'm 27 years old and cause of my work (home office) and a lucky property investment 5 years ago I can actually afford to go cruising the wild blue yonder... just as soon as i learn to sail. I'll still have to work while doing so but between spending the next two years working 16 hour days sitting in front of my computer occasionally staring out my apartment window at the lovely brick wall view it has and working 16 hour days on a notebook computer lying in a hammock on the deck of a nice cruiser in some secluded anchorage... i'm going with the secluded anchorage .

Tis not that i disagree with the notion that learning to sail on a 35 or 40 foot boat is not the best idea it's just that for me and my situation I think it actually does make the most sense.

ps:- Thansk for all the opinions/advice, still trying to absorb as much informatin as possible. Tis a big descision. Definately a good one though .
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Old 15-07-2009, 03:42   #8
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There is nothing wrong with learning on a 40' vessel, and the learning curve from a 35' to a 40' is negligible, the interior volume difference is very noticeable.
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Old 15-07-2009, 07:19   #9
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What size boat on which to learn is a common question - everyone has a different opinion. The real answer is that it depends on you, not the boat. Some folks have trouble learning on a larger boat; others do fine and that experience colors their opinion as you can see here.

Some people have problems handling a small boat and then there are those who never quite "get it". It is a learning process just like anything else.
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Old 15-07-2009, 07:55   #10
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Smaller boats typically respond faster and that is the reason they are typically used by sailing schools. You get a fast feel for what your doing, the smaller the faster. Just ask any sunfish owner what occurs when you over power or over helm one.

The good thing about larger boats is that they are slower to respond and in open water that can be a good thing, in close quarters it generally is a problem for less experienced skippers.

I would agree the the suggestion on getting competent training with a "Guest" crew or skipper. Personally I don't think the learning curve is very hard to accomplish if you have basic ability.

As far as handling the 40, as a "27 mildly fit" you should not have any trouble in average conditions and your ability will expand with added experience. If you do more sailing than living aboard... you will most likely find the mildly fit situation changes to reasonable fit at the minimum. Setting in a marina using the boat as a floating house will not do much for your fitness except possibly worsen it.

A good marine surveyor familiar with the boat type should be your best guide as to the quality and condition of the boat.

Also note... boats do not "hold value". That is just a game we play with ourselves where we talk ourselves into buying something. Just like buying a fancy car.... Don't worry... it is OK to play the game... just be aware it is a game!
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Old 15-07-2009, 09:37   #11
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I assume you are talking aluminum or steel boats when you mention 3 or 4 mm? at any rate you can handle 40 ft fine if that's what you want. Most of your handling issues will be motoring and docking. Some help learning this might be invauable. For sailing just learn your boat and learn how to reef quickly.
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Old 15-07-2009, 09:57   #12
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My first boat is 36 ft. (the largest I could afford.) I didn't want a sailboat that I couldn't live on.

I still spend as much time on my friends smaller boats (lasers to 26ft as I can.) I feel like the time at the helm of the smaller boats makes me a better sailor because of the instant feedback from the tiller, boat speed and angle of heel.

Buy a big boat and practice on as many different boats as you can. I don't think I have heard anyone your age say "I wish I got a smaller boat," unless it was a concern about economics.

How did you decide on the hull material?
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Old 15-07-2009, 10:09   #13
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Look, My lovely wife and I purchased a 41' cat in April with the intent of staying close to the dock and sailing in the Chesapeake. Nothing hairy like the middle of the oceans or far from the safety of TowUS. It was our first boat and we took a week of lessons in the Abacos. I sailed last year with a friend who raced out of Harrington Harbor on a 28' mono and it was totally different than the cat. Our broker has become a good friend who has had delivery experience and loves to go sailing with us and is a fun teacher. So far we haven't broken anything, haven't hit anything (our dock doesn't count right?), and haven't run aground (yet). You stated it was going to be a live aboard and as long as you take it slow and easy, fined some friends who do sail and want to go out on a bigger boat and enjoy the hell out of it. I can't name all the new friends at the dock who have been ready to help and talk with. I know Cindy and I have had a great time over the last 3 months and are happy with our decision.

Steve in Solomons
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Old 15-07-2009, 10:53   #14
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a quick way to learn to sail well is to crew on a racing boat. There are skippers looking for crew all the time.. You'll learn to trim sails, reef, change headsails etc etc.. all under pressure which is how it often occurs at sea....
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Old 15-07-2009, 12:51   #15
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Ok thank again all, seems like the general concensus so far is that a 40 is not too much more difficult to sail singlehanded then a 35. Likewise for learning to sail. Which is definately good to know, truth be told i think i'd be quite happy on either boat but I'm currently leaning towards the adams mostly on account of the 3mm hull and shower/hotwater already installed. Still inspection later today may make all the difference.

I decided on a steel/alumnium hull on account of my lack of sailing skills and that i'd be living and working aboard while singlehanded. Figured that my chances of collision would be a bit higher then most boats (due to singlehanding and learning to sail accidents) and i could afford to put a hole in the hull less then most because of work and having everything aboard; including the ships cats who probably won't take to manning the liferafts too kindly.

So I decided to go for a metal boat on account of the extra collision strength. I know it's a bit more maintenance but as I'm a liveaboard I should be able to find the time to keep up with all that.

Oh and i'll definately be taking the learning to sail process slowly. I'll also be sailing as much as I can given that I'm aiming to leave for the mediterranean in about two years, that should let me refit the boat a bit, save some money (still work while i'm over there though) and learn to sail. If i'm not comfortable enough with my sailing ability by then i'll probably look to take on crew for the trip up. Though i've kinda got the idea of doing a singlehanded journey I realise it may not be feasible to be able to do that after just a couple of years.
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