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Old 08-11-2012, 19:14   #1
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Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

Am currently shopping, i had said my sights on 42-44ft but after 18 months talking, researching and reading in some detail on here I have now changed my search for 36ft, I will be a single liveaboard, spending 1st 12 months in a marina in Southern Spain getting to know the boat inside out, before heading to the Canary Islands and on to the Caribean, Im mid 40s, fit, RYA Day skipper (so far), will be looking at making the bigger crossings with at least 1 friend maybe 2! My question is regarding the difference in size, I am looking at boats like the Bayfield 36, the Valiant 40, I like the passport, Hallberg (if its priced right) .......is the motion hugely different on a 36?? Its clear that marina fees will be less, there will be less storage space, single handed should be easier as well as mooring up alone, etc......but are there any big negatives ive not considered by having a 36 instead of 40 or above?? Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2012, 19:31   #2
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

I moved to power 7 years ago so I am not an expert on boat sizes. Recalling my earlier sailboat, my thoughts then were....bigger was better, gave more comfortable sail especially in winds 25+, got you there where ever "there" happened to be FASTER, greater room = greater creature comforts and many other attributes. Downside--- docking, just finding a place for large boats is getting difficult around here. Docking, big boats=bigger bucks.

If I was making a choice between a larger vs a smaller without know more, I would lean towards larger every time.
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Old 08-11-2012, 19:43   #3
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

It's the $$$$'s. Once one goes over 40' the price of everything starts to climb fast with every extra foot. The rig is harder to replace. Moorage is easier to find in some areas but the cost is above the average income. Sails become difficult to handle. If some rigging brakes it can be really dangerous. And it starts to take more then one person to run the boat unless it's setup for single handing.

But there is more room, comfort, storage, privacy and that's more attractive to the women. It's a toss up between needs and wants.
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:29   #4
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

I feel like there is a big difference in the ride between a 40 ft and a 36 ft. This is my personal feeling, and some people will disagree with me.

The problem most people don't see is the mass difference and the height difference. With a heavier boat (larger) the keel mass is much greater. Also the mast is taller. This gives a slower pitching and rolling moment. This helps to smooth out the ride, to a degree. Also having sail up higher from the water tends to grab stronger currents which also offset some of the motion.

Some weather conditions are never going to be smoothed out totally, like when the seas are confused, or the wave period is smaller than height.

A smaller boat will tend to move faster (pitch and roll, not forward speed) due to a lighter keel mass, and a shorter mast.

This comparison is based on two boats that are manufactured the same, and similar hull geometry. If your comparing two different boat types, then the comparison gets somewhat complicated.

This is my opinion, your mileage may vary,

James L
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:41   #5
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

I think you need to look at factors other than LOA to know about how a boat feels. Consider displacement and hull form for starters.
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Old 08-11-2012, 20:47   #6
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

Thanks James, that is exactly the type of feed back i was hoping to get, maybe I need to compromise and look at some 38s? I have seen some really nice 36s though, the Bayfield 36 is such a lovely looking boat and seems to be as tough as old boots although rather sluggish in a marina im told, but if those extra 3 or 5 feet make such a difference?
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Old 08-11-2012, 21:04   #7
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

I agree with James L. 100%.
The only thing I would add is that there is not a big difference between a 36 and a 40. There is a phenominal difference. It's not just 4 feet longer (11%), It is usually wider, higher and much heavier. The difference in overall volume is well beyond the 11% increase in length.
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Old 08-11-2012, 21:20   #8
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

Its not LOA so much as LWL and displacement.

My Wauquiez Hood 38 is 22,000 lbs displacement on paper, 24,000 in reality and so is as spacious below as many 40-42 footer (actually very similar to a Valiant 40/42 below). Sails like a 42 but handles like a 36. Best of all worlds.

For me, 38 was the sweet spot. And kept costs more reasonable.

There were quite a few good 38's built in the 80's. Very solid construction in those days.

Best

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Old 08-11-2012, 22:18   #9
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

We have had our cutter rigged 40' Caliber for almost 18 years. We have lived aboard off and on for 12 years. I have single handed the boat for many thousands of miles including several 250 mile open water crossings. I have single handed in the tight, confined, and very busy waters of Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and San Diego Bay. During the last 17 years - I spent over 1000 days at anchor as a single hander.

There is nothing especially difficult about single handing a 40' sailboat IF it is set up for single handing and you plan and act before a crisis occurs. I have done a lot of single handed sailing, both up and downwind, in gale conditions and never felt the boat was a problem to manage.

Once a boat gets to be over 30' or so no single hander is strong enough to man-handle the sails or rig - it takes thought, planning, timing, and good equipment. I believe that a bigger boat is actually easier to single hand 'cause it is a more stable platform and has more room to work and usually a lot of winches, blocks, hoisting points, places to clip your harness to...etc.

I cruised Mexico with several other single handers who had boats in the 36 foot to 45 foot range and they all felt that the size of the boat was no big deal.

The volume of the boat is very dependent on the beam and how far fore/aft the maximum beam is carried. The old rule of thumb is that the volume (and cost) of a boat (and the equipment on the boat) increases as the CUBE of the beam.

Going from a boat with a 12' beam to a 14' beam is a 36% increase in volume, and probably cost.

A quick example - our boat has a 12' 8" beam and 42' LOA and feels fairly roomy and spacious. Friends just purchased a 2002 Island Packet 420 (44' LOA) with a beam of 14' 3" and it feels HUGE inside compared to our boat - that 19" increase in beam makes a world of difference in liveability. And their waterline is almost 5' longer than ours

We both have forward heads - I bump my elbows when I turn around in our shower stall - they can easily fit two people in their shower stall.

Our main saloon is comfortable but not spacious - theirs feels like a real living room.

Their cockpit is quite a bit more roomy than ours

Another friend has a Norseman 447 with a 13' beam and 44' 7" LOA - that boat does seem a little smaller in the main cabin than the Island Packet but the Norseman has a huge aft cabin with standup head room.

I cruised all through Puget Sound and 2400 nautical miles south to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in my brothers Tartan 42 (the owners aft cabin version of the Tartan 41 SORC race boat). That boat did not feel as big inside as our Caliber 40 - the cabin was deeper in the water and had beautiful dark wood but it did feel a little cramped. My brother single handed that Tartan 42 all over western Mexico and he started with very little sailing experience.

The handling characteristics will be much harder to define and can probably only be determined by sailing the boat in the conditions you will most frequently experience.

Our Caliber 40 was initially designed as a Caliber 38 and then had a swim step and reverse transom added to make it a forty. In my opinion, based on 18 years and over 10,000 miles sailing, it is just about the perfect sized for single handing or for a couple who like each other.

However, if I had the money I would be glad to purchase and single hand a J-120 or Sundeer 60.
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Old 08-11-2012, 22:21   #10
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I think a safe policy is to go with the smallest boat that's comfortable. After that you pay for space you may not need, extra docking and storage fees, and greater difficulty in handling the vessel single-handed.
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Old 08-11-2012, 23:21   #11
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

I always wonder how it would feel to fall 15' and land on a table edge. Not good I bet.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:27   #12
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

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Originally Posted by pablothesailor View Post
....but are there any big negatives ive not considered by having a 36 instead of 40 or above?
The only positive of the bigger boat is living space, and space is a luxury which brings its own ample rewards.

But space also brings penalties. For example, a 42 footer would likely have about 50% higher displacement than a 36 footer - and that means (roughly) 50% higher costs in rig, sails, winches, lines, motor and so on. And of course extra crew to handle it all.

For the needs and purposes you've described, a 36 footer would your best fit.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:06   #13
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

Silly us, we have two boats.

33', 17,000lb steel cutter, I love it, just my size. Single hand fine. Does bounce around and bang. Small 13hp motor so I'm not punching into the wind. Put the Wife on board and it is cramped. Always tripping or crawling over one another. Sleeping in V berth, if inside one has to get up to pee, has to crawl over outside mate. I have about 3,000 miles on this boat.

44', 44,000lb steel cutter, I love it, huge amounts of space. Bear to single hand, I am intimidated by the size of the sails. 6' sprit so her sail plan is more like a 50 to 52. Getting the main up in a breeze is a challenge as we don't have a big autopilot. It's a snap with my Wife aboard. Double bed aft, don't wake one another. She does not bang, she squishes through the water. Very comfortable, which helps keep Wife aboard, a major challenge. 72hp motor can plug through some pretty good wind and waves. I have about 4,000 miles on this boat, most all this summer.

If alone, I'd take the 33. With Wife or more, its the 44.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:12   #14
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

What Wand states is true to some degree.

I would love a 40 footer, but I just can't get there with price. I will be going with a 36 ft. myself.

I know the ride is less comfortable, but I will have to compromise to get where I want to be.

James L
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:17   #15
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Re: Big difference between 36 & 44 feet????

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The only positive of the bigger boat is living space, and space is a luxury which brings its own ample rewards.
And speed, and comfort, and tankage.

And costs. My current 43' OA boat is costing me about $50/yr more than my last older 39' OA boat did (the newer boats insurance pretty much wiped out the money of the larger boat)

But comfort and motion is mich more than that length and within a few feet is more of a style/design issue.
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