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Old 15-08-2014, 21:57   #1
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Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Hi,

Been reading all of your posts for quite a while and thought I would try to get some valuable input for my family.

I am currently doing research for a boat purchase within the next 6months. My family (2 adults, 3 kids : from 7-12 yo) are planning on cruising next Spring (or earlier).

I have been researching boats in the 45-50' range, and hoping to get some feedback on others who have traveled with kids (or others) and can recommend a boat that meets the following:

- good cabin layout (3 cabin?)
- ease of sail (we are intermediate sailors but also want our kids to be able to handle aspects of the boat)-- wife has some sailing experience but limited to smaller boats
- center vs aft cockpit (have not sailed a center cockpit before but have read MANY discussions on this forum before)
- relative comfort (again...kids)
- price 150K (or under to have room for updating)

So far, the Stevens 47 is rising to the top, for the many positive reviews I have read (although never boarded one)
But also:
Beneateau Idylle 51


Our goal is to coastal cruise (Carib/Mex in year 1, and then embark on a passage year 2).

Thanks for any input and any Pros and Cons.
It is very overwhelming deciding on such an important purchase, especially as it impacts the entire family.
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Old 15-08-2014, 22:36   #2
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Welcome aboard, nealy2k.

What a huge issue for a meets & greets!! This is a very personal choice you're talking about. Just take into consideration that those kids grow up fast, and in 5 years, your 7 yr. old will be almost adult size, so your kids' collective ability to live in close quarters will be one factor to consider.

My personal preference would be the Stevens. I know there are many people who are very keen on Beneteaus, but I am not one of them. Some of the early ones have served quite well. Consider it a personality flaw.

Aft cockpit preferable, dryer. Dodgers smaller and less obtrusive. Some people like cc boats for the separation of living space. It won't be like that, with three kids, you're all going to be in each other's space a lot. Also, the saloons are often cramped. You will want enough space for all the kids to do homework.

Someone is sure to try and talk you into a catamaran, but would an appropriate one fit your budget? Are you willing to try to learn new sailing skills?

I suspect that you have adequate sailing experience behind you to make good choices for your new boat.

Fair winds,

Ann
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Old 15-08-2014, 22:37   #3
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

People who choose a boat, then look for it tend to take a year or more to find their boat. People who look at what is available in their chosen area and price range can often find something that suits their needs within a few months, often having spent less on travel in the meantime.


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Old 15-08-2014, 23:15   #4
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Thanks for the input

Ann
Thanks for the input. Yes I know the rap against the Beneteaus, esp the newer ones. The ones in the 80s are of better build quality. The Stevens, however is a CC.
I'm open to other cruisers, just haven't sailed many as my experience is more suited ofr day sails and crewing in San Francisco bay area.


Greenhand, great comment, maybe it's more of AVOIDING the wrong boat vs finding the perfect boat.
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Old 16-08-2014, 01:07   #5
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Give some thought to this...I am or have been in a business where I deal with budgeting and costing on a daily basis and I am good at it.
I have prepared 4 different boats at different times for offshore cruising and I have never come close to what I originally budgeted, and guess what.. they were all over budget. So with that thought in mind be very careful about over buying because as the boats get bigger the costs rise exponentially. You may be far more succesful buying a slightly smaller boat and actually have a cruising budget left.
It doesn't matter what size of boat you buy(within reason) you are all still going to be on top of each other but that's not a problem with family.
A Stevens 47 is a nice boat, we cruised with one for a while in the South Pacific BUT its a 47 and its not the cheap seats to outfit. Considering that if most offshore sailors were completely honest they would fess up that from the time they bought their boat they probably put close to 40-50% of the original cost into outfitting and prep. So if your budget is $150 large you should be shopping in the $110 range, in my opinion. That might knock you down to a 42 foot boat and if its designed right that size is very doable. Some folks we know sailed around the world with their 3 kids in a 38 footer and had nothing but fun.
Whatever you choose to do, good luck, its a lot of hard work getting a boat ready but it is all fun because of the end goal.
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Old 16-08-2014, 01:24   #6
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Take a trip to the area you intend to cruise and charter a 45ft monohull for a close encounter vacation week. See how you like it. Living on a boat with all your stuff and no privacy is quite different than touring the boats at the boat shows. See how you all adjust to the close quarters. Try digging around in the engine compartment with the kids and all their stuff around you. It's not for everyone.

Not trying to discourage, but I think it's good to get a taste of what you'd be I getting yourself into.

Ken
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Old 16-08-2014, 02:23   #7
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

One more important thing to consider, not every day is a fun day in the sun with lots of outdoor activities for the kids. For example: Although the summer weather here in Sardinia is beautiful, we've found ourselves kind of restricted to our boat over the past three days due to higher winds 25-35 knots. There are going to be many days, where the five of you will find yourselves locked inside a space no larger than a small kitchen. Know how all of you are going to react to the situation.

A center cockpit will work out much better for privacy, and two heads along with a decent size shower is a must have. Water maker that produces 20 gallons plus per hour and a genset are certainly items to put on the must have list.
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Old 16-08-2014, 04:53   #8
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Take a trip to the area you intend to cruise and charter a 45ft monohull for a close encounter vacation week. See how you like it. Living on a boat with all your stuff and no privacy is quite different than touring the boats at the boat shows. See how you all adjust to the close quarters. Try digging around in the engine compartment with the kids and all their stuff around you. It's not for everyone.

Not trying to discourage, but I think it's good to get a taste of what you'd be I getting yourself into.

Ken
Absolutely a great idea. 47 foot is big but budget is important.

I would charter a 41-42 and see if you can live with it.

Spend 5 days aboard - We chartered in SFO twice. Great time plenty to see and on a 5 day charter you will not get bored and not see all of the things you want in SFO.

In the big scheme of things it's ~$3,000 well spent.
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Old 16-08-2014, 05:40   #9
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Look towards cats. The cat families I know seem to be very happy families.

b.
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Old 16-08-2014, 08:57   #10
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Ex-Cal/Kenomac:

Good idea. I hadn't seriously looked under 45', and we can certainly charter one, there's plenty that size available here. We've spent plenty of time on boats, just not for extended periods (yet).
Any sub-45' reccos are much appreciated, although I'm sure I can shortlist a few quickly.

And I do like saving money.

Barnakiel:
Yes, wife loves the way cats feel, and as usual, that's a debate we are having. I'd have to adjust my budget though.
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Old 16-08-2014, 09:38   #11
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

From what little I've seen, it takes a bigger boat to pull off a CC, as in 45' or larger, just doesn't work in my opinion in 40'.

A week is vacationing, anything is vacationing if your marina hopping. Our delivery was ten days and we left the boat once for a couple of hours to re-provision, and even then I don't think ten days really tells you a whole lot, but I guess if it gets old in ten days, then a month would be murder

From what I've seen Cats are nice I guess, I don't like them but that is a personal thing, perhaps if I spent significant time on one that would change, but they seem to be considerably more expensive as they are the fashionable thing to have, like an SUV or a Harley, two other things I won't have as I think they are overpriced based on fashion.

I may have missed this, but is this boat to be a home, or a vacation cruise thing? If home as in for several years then you wanna go big if you can afford it, if for a few weeks at a time, then 40' is probably plenty
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Old 16-08-2014, 09:48   #12
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

a64, thanks for the reply.
It will be our home (at least for a while).
Here's the way I look at it, you just have to go. We'll figure out how to make it work. There is no "test" to see if the family will make it work long term if we just don't sail off and go.
However, what I can do, is prepare as much as possible by researching the best vessels that may fit our needs. The old management saying about people is " Hire slow, fire fast".

Well, I'm looking at it as "Buy slow, then sail fast".

I'm not sold on CC, I actually have never sailed in a CC as my experience is on smaller racing boats and weekend charters, so I have no opinion other than the wisdom shared with me here.

It does make sense to have a larger saloon as our kids will be 'boatschooled' and will need workspace.
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Old 16-08-2014, 10:17   #13
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

CC - consider docking. If you'll have that big crew, maybe, but I wouldn't even begin to figfue out how to singlehand dock a CC, and I've been singlehanded docking our boats for 35 years.

"Best" in anything related to boating is an oxymoron. It's all a compromise. 2 adults, 3 kids growing, on a boat? Nah, never been done before in anything less than an Oyster 63. C'mon, I'm just kidding. But there is no BEST boat for you, wishin' don't make it so.
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Old 16-08-2014, 10:49   #14
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

Start getting rid of stuff now.

Have everyone go through their closets and toy chests and identify everything they haven't worn in a year, won't fit into next time that season comes around, or haven't played with in 3 months.

That is, shed off the first, easy layer now and everyone will have time to imagine not having something they cling to now. Purging gets easier with practice.
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Old 16-08-2014, 11:11   #15
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Re: Advice for Family of 5, Type of Boat

The Stevens is a boat that most owners really like. That says a lot to me. It would be very nice to have a good swim step with the big family though. That's a tough one. For extended cruising I believe you want a substantial boat; not a Bene, Catalina etc. You are going to want at least a 3 cabin layout... so that will dictate a lot of boat choices. Also, you need a big dingy... and somewhere to carry it and/or substantial davits.
The comments on budget above are very good. You can easily spend an additional 30-40% on repairs, electronics, watermaker, refrigeration, charging system, dingy etc.
You don't mention your experience, but one option is to buy a boat post-charter in the carribean and sail there for a couple of years. Then decide if you really want to cross oceans. many charter boats can be had with 3 full cabins.
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