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
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
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.