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Old 20-10-2012, 07:03   #46
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by Thames 4 Blood View Post
Thanks all for your generous thoughts!
As much as I admire those who live on 35ft yachts, its not for us. This is somethine we are doing for pleasure and some of that involves some creature comforts!
I am very lucky in that Sam is as enthusiastic as I am about our adventure BUT... That may not survive the move from a large home into a 35ft yacht :-)

I strongly suspect that we will go with a 45ft. I am going to view a Sun Oddysey 45 in Majorca in 2 weeks time which looks perfect in the pictures and is a layout we are very familiar..,

Mark n Sam
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Have you thought of going for one of the better built open plan 44' cruising yachts like the Gozzards? That is, go something maybe a bit older, but better quality and more designed as a big boat for two with occasional guests? These boats actually do make me envious!
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Old 20-10-2012, 07:17   #47
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

Answer to Dockhead: "I would be interested to hear about your docking technique."

No kidding.... Here's a video which shows our standard pulling up to the fuel dock or restaurant dock technique. Given enough room with a 90 degree approach, this method works great and provides us with residual entertainment value of watching the panic on those around us. Having been basically self taught, my wife and I had been doing this for years prior to actually seeing the movie "Captain Ron." I can easily park our Oyster 53 in sixty feet of dock space between two yachts.



Another method we employ which is just as effective:

Our approach is more parallel to the dock with my wife or I calling out the distance to a predetermined dock cleat. We come in relatively slow at most any angle depending on the wind, wind speed and current, but with enough speed to maintain the ability to steer. All of the dock fenders are deployed, and the bow and stern lines are attached and lead to the center of the deck where one of us is standing and holding a custom, short spring line that I made up. The spring line consists of approximately 25 ft of heavy 1 inch nylon rope tied into a large loop with a huge rubber dock snubber incorporated. The loop is tied off on our midship cleat. The snubber is used as a handle/wand, which we then extend out at arms reach to catch the jumbo loop onto the dock cleat. Just as soon as we catch the cleat with the loop, the spring line (loop) is dropped and the helm is alerted. The boat then steers hard away from the dock, while the engine remains at idle in forward gear. The forward motion then draws the vessel tightly into the dock where it remains parallel and in place until we decide, at our leisure, as to when to step down and secure the bow and stern lines. No excitement or jumping off involved.... Our 55 year old knees can't take it. We rarely need to use the bowthruster.
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Old 20-10-2012, 08:27   #48
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

There have been many great points raised in favor of both the larger and the smaller boats. Discussions like this can be invaluable for people trying to make these decisions without real world experience to base them on.

I have to admit, the green eyed monster does rear his head just a bit when hearing descriptions of cruising on the larger yachts. Who wouldn't love that big luxurious cruiser with all the mechanical aides? I sure would. An oven big enough for a Thanksgiving turkey, plenty of room for family and guests, refrigeration, hot and cold running water, real closets........ahhhh, I need to stop now, I'm salivating. If we won the lottery tomorrow no doubt we would get one. No doubt at all. (And if anyone wants to take me for a ride on that big Moody of theirs, I'm all in.)

But two comments made in this thread drove the point home for me (the point being that we can't afford that type of boat). One was that a new suit of sails for a 55' was going to cost as much as the entire boat they'd had previously. And the other was Stumbles comment about buying the best gear you can get, maintaining it and using the best parts there are.

Best gear + best parts = $$$$$. There's plenty of gear you're already going to have to purchase for safe and successful cruising regardless of the size of your boat. We've outfitted a lot of boats in the past. Usually when we are in that phase of a rebuild, if we didn't show up at West Marine or San Diego Marine Supply to make our weekly deposit, they called the house to see if we were okay. (After all, they had bills to pay too.)

But it's undeniable that a lot of very significant costs for equipment and maintenance can simply be eliminated by having a smaller boat. And for people with monetary constraints that is the easiest way to bring the dream within reach. Aiming for the larger yacht, or thinking it can only be done on a larger yacht will simply make it impossible for some people to do at all. I think it's important for someone trying to figure out how to get out there to understand that the big boat is nice to have, but in no way is it essential in order to safely and enjoyably cruise.

The other great point that was raised was to be honest with your aim or your cruising expectations. If you are young (or young-ish), are choosing this as a permanent lifestyle and expect to have a family on this boat, just foresee that you have many years to cruise and/or expect this to be your last "home," or if you have no concern about the money and can easily afford the boat, the parts, and the maintenance, then by all means getting the larger boat that will be the equivalent of a shoreside home makes all the sense in the world.

But I think for people who have a shorter or more finite goal the smaller yacht can offer other advantages as well. I will use us as a case in point. My husband will be 66, I will be 62 by the time we retire. We know that because of our age health problems could put an end to the cruise at any point in time. (True for anyone, but more true for seniors.) Also, even if we remain in good health, just decreasing strength and stamina will no doubt bring us ashore at some point. So when you're looking at a finite, and possibly short amount of time "out there," you have to ask yourself what you would rather spend your time doing.

Even a small boat will require maintenance and upkeep, but there's no disputing that a larger yacht requires more time to accomplish it, and it costs more. So, which would I rather do, spend extra time sanding varnishing and painting, or taking a hike to a local waterfall that I've heard so much about? Snorkeling or cleaning? Fixing something or riding my bike in the local countryside? There's so much to do and see, and in later years much less time left to do it all.

Life is always about choices, but I think the shorter time gets, the more introspective we become about every choice. For us the choice is the adventure, as much as we can get in the time we have left. The boat is just a vehicle to get us there.
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:11   #49
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

I acquired Shiva 28 yrs ago when I was 38... youngish and much stronger and inexperienced. She was new and it took me 5 years to fit her out and lots of cash.. and lots of sailing coastal before *we* were ready to cruise. As a single hander or with a non sailing admiral aboard and the person who does ALL the work, I would hate to have to deal with a much larger yacht. Once I hit 60 spring prep knocked me out and it I pay the yard I knocks my bank account for a loop.

Our income is decreasing as is my strength. A beautiful big yacht makes no sense for us and our 36' is more than enough space, a fast sailor but without the electric crew even a 36 would be a lot to handle in difficult conditions and THOSE are the ones which are the default when you consider size. You simply never know what you will be dealing with out there and there's no stepping off and letting the weather and sea settle down.

I think prudence dictates that you sail what you can handle in the very worst conditions because if you can't handle it you'll be a goner.

Any decent sailor can handle a 70' yacht in a 10 knot breeze and nothing to hit.

Try single handing that yacht in with a new moon, a 30 knot blow, messed up seas, shoals all about, exhaustion and a crowded anchorage as your destination. Then you'll be wishing for a small nimble yacht you can control.
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:20   #50
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

i find 41 ft formosa perfect for me. add a crew-- either you and that individual are mates or that boat becomes very very tiny very very rapidly.
sailing--41 ft heavy displacement is much more comfortable in my cruising experience than was fin/spade performance--that baby was a JOB. my ketch is a dream. yes i love sloops--my 35 ft ericson s that. i prefer to face heavy weather and such other surprises in this ketch.
i am on edge of mebbe needing to install some kind of self tailing device to my winches, as my hands are causing me to call out for crew.
docking isno problem--i have midship cleats with spring lines attached and samson posts on bow with attached dockline, and stern cleats with ready docklines.
i have yet to try cpt ron's specific for formosas docking policy, but parallel is easy .
just be slow in approach.

btw--fyi---if you place a female of any age on deck with lines in hand, or, best, yet--at wheel--you will find you have plenty of dock hands for assistance, so ye dont really even need to step off boat for a bit....LOL
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:25   #51
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

defjef, if you are at that point, with a larger vessel; you make your way back offshore and put your head into the wind until she lays down and then make your approach. I feel no pressure to make land fall in a 30 kt blow. Whether I had crew or not.
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:28   #52
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

A larger sailboat is actually more stable in worsening conditions than a smaller boat. If reefed properly and early, the bigger boat not only handles better but usually offers onboard mechanical goodies not found on smaller yachts such as a bowthruster, hydraulic or electric furling and electric primary and secondary winches, which can also be used manually.
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:32   #53
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

after dark, there is usually somewhere safer to anchor for a few hours until light, so you can find your way in. i usually plan my passages so i enter during daylight--is easily done.
i much prefer heavy to nimble, as i have been there done that with each and all. (schooners pending)
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Old 20-10-2012, 11:36   #54
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

+1, Zee... Phil
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Old 20-10-2012, 12:38   #55
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by zeehag View Post

btw--fyi---if you place a female of any age on deck with lines in hand, or, best, yet--at wheel--you will find you have plenty of dock hands for assistance, so ye dont really even need to step off boat for a bit....LOL

So, blonde wig and shave more often, should make getting help a bit easier.
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Old 20-10-2012, 12:58   #56
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

Some of the features cited as factors of boat size vary by design. I was thinking that I quite commonly "jump" to the dock from my deck with my spring lines. I often tie my bow spring and aft spring together and "jump" to the dock. I can flip the aft spring over a dock cleat or piling and tend to the bow. There's a huge difference in the "jump" by boat design. My 41' is not too large, but the height from my midship deck to most floating docks is 18 inches. This probably doesn't deserve the term, "jump". I've seen plenty of modern designs of less length that have a relative huge freeboard and some larger boats that have no higher a freeboard than mine. I think the trend to raise the freeboard has resulted in some ungainly giant cracker boxes headed for the dock.
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Old 20-10-2012, 13:06   #57
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

36 is our current and I suppose I could still handle low 40's, but anything bigger than that is too much for me (I'm 34 and used to lift weights competitively). It's one thing to handle a boat when everything is okay, but imagine getting all twisted up on a 50' while docking in some nasty conditions.

More money + more time at marinas = get a longer boat.
Less money + more time underway = get a smaller boat.

I've never been underway or maneuvering and said "man, I sure wish this boat was 10' longer."
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Old 20-10-2012, 13:11   #58
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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btw--fyi---if you place a female of any age on deck with lines in hand, or, best, yet--at wheel--you will find you have plenty of dock hands for assistance, so ye dont really even need to step off boat for a bit....LOL
I see a commercial oppurtunity lurking here:

"Inflatable docking aid - foredeck mounting. instant deployment"
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Old 20-10-2012, 13:15   #59
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

Interesting how many experienced people here with boats in the 30s question their ability to handle a boat in the 40s. My current boat that is 43' overall is easier to handle than my last boat that was 39' and even has smaller winches. Design and sail plan is a big part of the whole thing far as ease of handling.
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Old 20-10-2012, 13:19   #60
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Interesting how many experienced people here with boats in the 30s question their ability to handle a boat in the 40s. My current boat that is 43' overall is easier to handle than my last boat that was 39' and even has smaller winches. Design and sail plan is a big part of the whole thing far as ease of handling.
I question my ability to do anything these days. Sometimes I think I should have taken up bowling.
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