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Old 10-08-2010, 17:16   #1
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45' Boat Too Big for First Boat ?

Well here we are, in a couple of months we'll be buying a boat and move aboard. We are planning on sailing Caribbeans, Jamaica, etc...., after that we will plan to cross the pond and spend some time in Europe. Here is the big question: we are looking at a boat in the 36' range but came around a beautiful Morgan 45' Ketch completely redone and ready for blue water cruising. Is too much boat for a first boat? I am a pretty good sailor and my wife is nit so bad either and my oldest ( 11 years boy) is learning really quick.
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Old 10-08-2010, 17:41   #2
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Every new boat the capt'n & crew needs to learn the boat anyway. If you have good sailing experience then it's just a matter of getting use to such a large vessel and all the rig.

At first only take it out on nice days, then spend a couple days on it. And just continue getting to learn the systems and the boats personality. Depending how it's set up it's a bit large for one person but can be handled by one who knows the boat. Docking will be a challenge at first but just go slow and calculate for wind and current.

Also going over 40' starts to add dramatically to the cost and up keep of a vessel. The sails start getting heavy, the rig is more then what West Marine carries fittings for and a b.o.a.t. credit turns into b.o.a.t.$. credits.
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Old 10-08-2010, 17:51   #3
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I'd say if you think you can handle it then its not too big.

We went on our first week long charter last October (our 2nd comes up this Oct) and we 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

I was confident I'd be able to handle it. Trip worked out great and I captained the boat flawlessly. Even backed it into the slip on our last day perfectly in 1 attempt.

So as long as you feel confident and can afford a bigger boat, I'd go for it.
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Old 10-08-2010, 18:17   #4
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A number of people voiced their concern to me that "you can't learn to sail on a 40 foot boat!". Apparently, there is an unwritten rule requiring several years on a 25', then a 33', a 37, and finally a 40' as the natural progression to learn. My reply is simple; I'm 62...not enough time left!

Sailing classes with an experienced captain are strongly recommend especially if two of you will be doing most of the sailing. We had an ASA instructor live aboard for ten days, teaching us everything from channel markers to, to sail handling, to oil changes.

But, docking can still get my blood pumping. Oh, two way radios, sometimes called "marriage savers" are a great aid until you develop your own hand signal system.

Bill and Judy
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Old 10-08-2010, 18:33   #5
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Personally I think it's too big for you to learn properly. Whether you can make it work or not is another discussion. Car racers start on pony stock, no commercial pilot starts on jumbo jets, etc. There are basic skills that you cannot learn as well on a 45' boat that you can on a dinghy. And in regards to not having enough time in your life, that may well be the case but it doesn't negate a widely held and time tested approach to learning how to sail.

I don't think you need to move up three feet from a dinghy to get to 45', but small boat experience is really important. No engine, no winches, tiller, etc.

I'd trust a dinghy sailor on a 45' long before I'd trust a 45' sailor in a dinghy.

Just my $0.02. My current length including bowsprit is 43'.
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Old 10-08-2010, 19:03   #6
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Nice boat...

If it's a good boat (you'll have it surveyed by a reputable surveyor not recomended by broker or marina, of course) then why not?

Do make sure the engine is very sound (get a separate mechanical survey?) and plan on using the engine lots, like if it's over 12 knots...

There's no law that says that you have to put every stitch of sail up and head out into a gale.

Just be careful and take things real easy easy at first.
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Old 10-08-2010, 19:08   #7
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yes, kinda

Well, you can start on something that big, but..

You will have a much better idea of what is important to you, as opposed to what OTHER people tell you is important, if you start smaller. Try buying a inexpensive 25-28 footer first, there are TONS of them at very attractive prices out there. Buy it, sail the (#*% out of it, and hit some docks, rocks and whatever in it. Then sell it, and get the boat of your dreams.

If you have not been sailing this is a MUCH better path to happiness!

Chris

Quote:
Originally Posted by cla6665 View Post
Well here we are, in a couple of months we'll be buying a boat and move aboard. We are planning on sailing Caribbeans, Jamaica, etc...., after that we will plan to cross the pond and spend some time in Europe. Here is the big question: we are looking at a boat in the 36' range but came around a beautiful Morgan 45' Ketch completely redone and ready for blue water cruising. Is too much boat for a first boat? I am a pretty good sailor and my wife is nit so bad either and my oldest ( 11 years boy) is learning really quick.
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Old 10-08-2010, 19:31   #8
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delmarrey & Boracay +1

If you really are a pretty good sailor and at your age, buy the most boat you can afford. The boat is going to be your home, and 36 is a long ways from 45. What you can afford demands you put together the buy price, refit costs, maintenace costs and the costs of cruising. I just bought a 41 footer and I don't have a built in crew as you do. Fair winds.
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Old 10-08-2010, 19:58   #9
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Our first boat was 46-ft. Our second (current) boat is 53-ft. Both my husband and I learned to sail on a 40-ft with the most patient captain/teacher imaginable. Our 46-ft was a sloop and pretty bare basics. The current 53-ft has all the bells and whistles -- electric winches and electric furling sails. It is amazingly easy to dock because of the powerful bow thruster. We have cruised more than 20,000 NM in the current boat during the past 4 years. A smaller boat would be much less expensive in all regards -- purchase price, insurance, berthing, maintenance -- but this is the perfect size boat for us.

There is no reason one cannot learn to sail in a 40-ft or larger boat. The same principles of hydrodynamics and aerodynamics apply.

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Old 10-08-2010, 20:19   #10
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My 46' x16' beam was a "baby" - she did everything beautifully - easier to sail than my dinghy sailboat or 19' ODay Mariner.

To me docking was always a breath-holder. My 17 tons coming up between or against a docked piece of 1/4" floating plastic. It's like flying - 99% boredom, 1% panic.
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Old 10-08-2010, 20:20   #11
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for starters, he said he's a pretty good sailor. So its not as if he's starting from 0.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
Car racers start on pony stock, no commercial pilot starts on jumbo jets, etc.
I think these are poor examples. If we were talking a 100' yacht, then I'd agree, but the differences between a smaller boat and a 40' boat are far less great than the difference between a small airplane and a jumbo jet. Car racing is completely different and could be closer related to baseball and needing to prove yourself first.

Anyway, analogies really don't matter anyway I tihnk the biggest key is that this isn't his first time sailing, just his first boat.

Only thing I might add is that it would be good to get out and sail on a few different boats - maybe charter something similiar to what he's thinking before making a choice and seeing just how it is to handle it.
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Old 10-08-2010, 20:30   #12
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If you are planning on spending months/years cruising, moving from a 35 footer to 45 footer will give you much more liveability. The extra 10 feet will be in the middle of the vessel where you do most of your living below deck. The extra length of waterline will improve speed and stability under sail and power. Other contributors have noted how helpful it is having a qualified, experienced skipper to help you get acclimatized to the boat and explain mechanical, electrical, electronic and sailing systems. He/she should also be able to point out deficiencies and what you might consider adding if you plan to head offshore. You will find that sailing away is a wonderful, fulfilling experience and probably one of the best confidence and relationship builders we have left to us in this complex world of communication and expectation overkill... cheers, Capt Phil
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Old 10-08-2010, 20:34   #13
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Go for it! You've said you're a pretty good sailor so that's not a problem.

I'd sail it for a while before setting off - the big learning curve on a large boat is familiarizing yourself with all the systems. Maintenance also takes a lot of effort. As this is your first boat, don't underestimate the nuts & bolts required to keep a vessel in top shape!
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Old 10-08-2010, 22:22   #14
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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 let’s face it…. 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!
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Old 10-08-2010, 23:29   #15
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Big boats are easier to sail in almost every way. Exceptions are like the weight of sail bags and maintenance of all the worthless cruiser junk they tend to accumulate.
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