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Old 11-08-2010, 00:25   #16
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My first boat was a 43DS. I took lessons in a sistership to make sure I could handle her alone but never once regretted starting with a big boat. As daddle has just stated, bigger boats are actually easier to handle than smaller ones in benign to medium conditions.
Cruising up to a mooring or to a dock in a bigger and consequently heavier boat is easier once you get a feel for the mass and momentum since the wind affects it less. Bigger boats with an autopilot making tacking short- or singlehanded a matter of pressing two buttons and then taking care of the winches. I haven't sailed a ketch so can't comment on the complexities there, but would guess that a well setup boat is a cinch to handle as well.
The problems start with heavy weather and things going wrong - then the additional weight and size of sails can make a big boat a handful.

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Old 11-08-2010, 04:31   #17

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Originally Posted by maytrix View Post
....rented a 47' Catamaran. Largest boat I had handled prior was a 27 footer. Both a motor boat and sailboat. Never a catamaran - closest was a hobie cat ....
You cheated.... sailing flat is relaxing and twin engines makes docking child's play!!

On the other hand, newbies trying to dock a 45' mono would be challenging at best. He didn't mention bow thrusters.

Also, good sailor or not, if she's a sloop the sails will be massive, and the intracoastal will not be an option. Which means the learning curve shortens as it's blue water all the time. If she's a ketch, more manageable and a decent learning curve.

I guess I'd need more information to form an opinion.

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Old 11-08-2010, 04:43   #18
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45 foot is not that big, you won't have any problems and after a bit of time it will seem like "just your boat". You already know how to sail and if you can learrn systems you're off to the races.

Good luck.
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Old 11-08-2010, 05:45   #19
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I started with a 36', but it was my first boat. Now I wish I had bought a little bigger, but at the time it was what I could afford and handle. In the end you have to make your own decision. 36 is very doable singlehanded, (it is not just you but your family too). How is their sailing skills? Good luck. I think the advice of taking an equivalent boat for a spin is a good one. Charter one for a week.
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:06   #20
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Bigger heavier sails tend to not matter with roller furlilng and bigger, beefier winches. I raced and cruised on other people's and charter boats before buying and got the biggest boat I could afford. In the current market, moving up is difficult as it entails selling a boat which takes lots of time, and could be a big money loser.

Go for it!
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Old 11-08-2010, 06:44   #21
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FWIW we did it the traditional way.
Dinghy, 21, 24, 26, 30, 35, 40, 42 and then 46 footer.
The easiest to sail (but maybe not dock) was the 46 footer.
Doesn't sound like you need any more advice on this one - good luck and go for it.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:02   #22
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Originally Posted by Pelagic View Post
Only you can decide, since the difference between sailing 2 relatively small boats (36 and 45) is mostly mental.

In general, the bigger they are, the more forgiving and easier they are in a seaway, but you need to respect the increased forces and loads when working the lines so as to maintain safe working practices. Mistakes will hurt more, both physically and financially.

Docking is a matter of practice and confidence and letís face itÖ. not brain surgery!

Just think of all those 35ft plus rental motor homes on the road with amateur drivers. You will learn as they do.

Your decision should not be made based on your present sailing ability alone, but whether you are ready to commit to a more expensive management investment of the larger boat and whether the added accommodation is a worthwhile hedge in your transition to a live aboard.

Good luck!
+1..Go for it!..
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:25   #23
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Thank you all for the suggestions, I think I'll go for it. I don't want to get a smaller boat and then 6 months from now wish that I would have bough a bigger one. It is not easy to sell a boat these days especially with the economy being the way it is and I might just get stuck with it. As for the handling part I don't see that being an issue, the only big difference I think would be in the costs of operating the boat.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:38   #24
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I guess the OP's comment that "I'm a pretty good sailor" is what a lot of people are basing their advice to go for it on. But I think too little is being said about the tremendous increase in the size of sails and ground tackle that is required on a 45 footer, especially when conditions get tough.

Yes. a 45 footer is a lot more forgiving and easier to sail in moderate conditions. But what has to be taken into account is when conditions get tough..

when the wind pipes up to 20+, can the main be reefed quickly, and again as the wind builds? can a storm jib be set? will the crew be able to handle days of tough conditions at a time?

what about setting a 60+ pound anchor and much heavier chain, and even more important what about hauling that tackle and getting underway in a crowded anchorage?

In these situations, a crew with only one "pretty good sailor" may not be up to the requirements, and a boat smaller than 40 ft. would be much more manageable IMO.

on edit: OP, if you are buying in the Northeast, I can recommend a very good surveyor who will survey the engine as well as the rest of the boat.
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Old 11-08-2010, 07:59   #25
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I went from a 26' Columbia racing tub in 1976 (for 4 months!) to a 42' westsail in 1978 (for about a year or so) to a 50' Bene in 1996 (for about 3 yrs) and now I'm headed to a CAT (hopefully before I die) for the rest of my days. I never really saw much difference in the 26' to 50' except things happened more slowly, like turns, tacks, "stopping!", and things of that nature where the extra mass came into play.
Go for it, if you feel comfortable. No-one on here except YOU can make that decision. Don't let those of lesser ability or confidence stop you from evaluating your abilities. Just because someone says you have to go up in small steps doesn't mean you have to... after all. the fact you're asking for a consensus shows us that you've already evaluated your abilities and feel you're able to handle it, you just need an agreement fromt eh others. So... I agree, take it out, get a feel for it, play for a day or two and you'll immediately know if it's a handful or fun. When you start actually living with the vessel you'll be watching the weather closer and knowing what you can handle and what you should "sit out". It's a lot to do with common sense.
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:15   #26
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Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
You cheated.... sailing flat is relaxing and twin engines makes docking child's play!!

On the other hand, newbies trying to dock a 45' mono would be challenging at best. He didn't mention bow thrusters.
I agree, it was quite easy to handle by the end of the week. It took a little getting used to at the start though. It was like having my house on the water at 47' long and about 24' wide

I do agree handling a monohull would be more difficult. Still, that wouldn't stop me from taking one out on a future charter, but its hard to beat the comfort and space of a Catamaran!
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:28   #27
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45? Sweet!

Ours is a 57', and it's our first - and probably last. I say go for it, and all the naysayers be damned. We live aboard, and take our boat out at least once a week -- we both work, but we're upping the duration and frequency as we get more comfortable. I was scared shitless the first couple (okay, ten or so!) times we took the boat out, and docking definitely requires care, but it's just not as bad as all of the onlookers will make it out to be.

Be careful, dock slow, and anyone waiting behind you (while you get your **** together) can wait. Ours doesn't have a bow-thruster, and I've had to learn to do sort of a turn-in-place maneuver in order to dock... Sometimes people get a little impatient and you just have to learn to ignore them.
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Old 11-08-2010, 10:58   #28
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And our 41' Lagoon Cat was our first boat. After 1 week of lessons and a season on a mono racer we bought a Cat that is perfect for us. We have a 5 year plan and have stuck to it on the Chesapeake. We know better than to go out in the big nasty ocean at this point and into our second season we're doing the weekend trips to get even more familiar with Electra Glide. EG happens to also be an Hybrid with electric motors which added a whole different dimension to the learning curve, she wasn't like anyone Else's boat either (well there are 3 boats like ours) but the shear enjoyment and comfort both (and I do mean my wife also) of us feel on board was worth the extra feet. There are to many boats at the marina that are visited by just the Hubby on weekends (might have been a plan) not to see that the purchase wasn't one sided. After looking at a few 38' my wife declared it to small and we moved on to the next size. What was the saying, "If the Admiral is happy..." Overall as a new to sailing couple I would suggest it's not the size that matters it's the way it's used!

Steve in Solomons MD
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:15   #29
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I'd move aboard and provision that 45' Morgan in the same manner that wise people maintain their funds. Spend less than you make and fill less than your space. 'sounds like good cruising ahead. Take care and joy, Ayhya crew
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Old 11-08-2010, 11:20   #30
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interesting that cost's only been mentioned once.

i read somewhere that ownership costs roughly double every 10'. dunno if that's true, but seems plausible enough. $$ would be my biggest hesitation.

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