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Old 21-10-2012, 16:29   #121
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Exclamation Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by Thames 4 Blood View Post
Sorry but I struggle with the logic here. I dont see that the skipper of a 60ft yacht needs to be physically 50% stronger than the skipper of a 40ft inorder to dock her... The neatest easiest docking I have ever seen was by a bent up old sea dog in Gibralter, alone on a 44ft yacht, without a bow thruster in a stiff cross wind. He didnt rush because he couldnt.

I am not suggesting I have that level of skill or anything like it BUT the size of yacht one sails is not dictated on a scale of huge physical strength or extreme dexterity!

And conversely... Ive never heard of anyone in rough weather at sea who wouldnt rather be in a boat 10ft longer than whatever they were on?

I am completely willing to accept that for you this is not the case but I do wonder if you would have the same size yacht if you were not constrained by budget? Just a thought...
No offence, but it sounds a lot to me like you already know the answer to your own question. That is as long as you have all the bells and whistles, albeit potentially fallible, no boat under 20 metres is too big.

Instead of torturing us folk with limited budgets, it sounds like the best thing you could do is just buy the big thing you have your mind set on. To be polite, after you have had enough hours onboard to let things settle, you might want to come back and post an objective review of your experience?
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Old 21-10-2012, 16:35   #122
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Originally Posted by Adelie

I have not previously read anything about the locals warning them away. That said there was a lot of group-think going on about weather signs that should have been better heeded.

Truly bad weather is a very rare event. But so is sinking and that doesn't talk most people out of carrying a liferaft.
Group think is not how I manage my boat... And I am only picking up on a previous post that said local fishermen were advising to leave.

Not poking at you in particular.

There may be at some point a situation that overwhelms a 2 handed couple on a big boat. Or a 2 handed couple on a small boat. Or fully crewed and experienced race teams - not many say the Fastnet 79 debacle was crew related. Of course weather info is a lot easier to get these days.

The point is sailing within the capabilities of boat and crew.

I think many are imagining grandma and grandpa who have never sailed buying a 50 benne, setting the ap east and crossing the north atlantic in the winter. I dont think there is anyone advocating that.

Really, how big is too big is a personal choice. Nothing wrong with exploring the conditions that make it safer vs. less safe but lets not play chicken little too much. Anytime one goes to sea there is risk. Understanding the risk and setting one's personal tolerance and mitigations is really the key.
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Old 21-10-2012, 16:40   #123
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Going back to the original question regarding handling, I'd like to add one or two elements in boat design which seem to make a significant difference in the ability of two people to handle the vessel with regards to docking and sailing.

The amount of freeboard and the amount of ballast and depth of keel. Our first significant boat, the 45ft Hunter was a relative lightweight at 26,000 pounds with very high freeboard and shoal draft keel; this gave the boat a more "tippy," feeling when under sail, along with us having to really plan ahead while docking in any significant wind. The Hunter tended to get blown around quite a bit which always made my wife nervous. Things happening onboard always seemed urgent.

The Oyster 53 on the other hand, sits very low in the water and weighs in at hefty 49,000 pounds, so for docking and sailing, it has quite a bit of inertia. It responds more slowly to changes in wind and throttle and doesn't get knocked around much at all; and with the deep keel, docking is much easier with less leeward motion. The pace onboard now, is more tranquil... no hurry.

So I'd say, don't be afraid to go big on a boat if that's what you wish to do, but look for one with traits and mechanical goodies that will make your sailing and docking easier.

To the OP: Have you considered doing a bareboat charter of the model you have in mind? Then you'll know if you're making the right choice.
Just spent the weekend at a preperation for crusing seminar in Mackay, Australia.

Went on board 2 vessels operated by couples that had just epent 6 months north from NZ to Tonga, Solomons, Louisaides etc then back into Mackay, Australia.

Were both 46/47 ft monos and size was not an a issue for them rather an advantage. Nice vessels one a halberg Rassy and the other a Hartley ferrocement.

As an aside, being 6ft 2 squeezing into cabins, ducking into cockpits I just reinforced why I am going the cat route. the World ARC that came rushing through here earlier this year had several couples on over 50ft hulls. If you can afford it go larger.

Cheers
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Old 21-10-2012, 16:41   #124
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Group think is not how I manage my boat... And I am only picking up on a previous post that said local fishermen were advising to leave.

Not poking at you in particular.
I did not take it as poking at me and I was not implying that group-think was how you ran your boat.
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Old 21-10-2012, 16:46   #125
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Quote:
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I did not take it as poking at me and I was not implying that group-think was how you ran your boat.
My oost wasn't worded well - sounded defensive and wasnt meant to be. Maybe a better way to put it.

Be careful about managing your boat with group think. Someone that can easily get their 30 footer underway in the middle of the night has different thinking that one who takes 30 minutes to get their 50 footer underway short handed.

It is a tough choice to "stay insafe harbor" vs. heading out. Conventional wisdom would seems to say stay put.
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:50   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie

The Pardey's in one of their books discussed the Xmas '82 debacle in Cabo San Lucas where 29ish of 42ish anchored cruising boats wound up on the beach in an unseasonable gale. They noted, and others agreed, that boats over 37' had a lot harder time when there was only a couple aboard. The boats were just too big to handle effectivelyby a couple. They also noted that a number of folks downsized their replacement boats.
Finances may have played a part in down sizing i would guess.
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Old 21-10-2012, 19:53   #127
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Finances may have played a part in down sizing i would guess.
Seems reasonable that some did so for financial reasons, but my reading of Pardey was that for some of them it was a conscious choice.
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Old 21-10-2012, 20:21   #128
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Hi All!
Havent posted for a while. My wife and I have just passed our RYA Day skipper and Coastal skippers respectively.
Currently looking for a yacht to live aboard. In the Med for at least a year, maybe more and then possibly Atlantic crossing.
We are completely convinced that a Jeanneau will serve our needs well.
We have sailed, among others, a Jeanneau 45.2 and a Beneteau 473.
My Q is how big is too big for 2?
We have found that with a yacht set up for easy handling ( in mast reefing, electric winches, bow thruster for occasional ease etc ) the size does not seem to be much of a challenge. We are both 40ish and fit.
I see a 45ft Jeanneau Sun Oddysey as being suitable but could run to a 50ft if warranted...
The advantages of the larger boat being more space ( duh ) but also a far better bed in the forecabbin ( this matters as I am not short and we need to have some creature comforts ), better sea keeping, a fab lazarette in the bow etc etc....
Now I cant see why this should be disproportionately harder to handle than a 45ft???

Any thoughts?
Ive reached 70 now and after 19 years on my Corbin 39 I am ready to downsize to something smaller. 39ft. is a lot of boat to look after if you like to keep her pristine. besides, I retired to the Great Lakes.
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Old 21-10-2012, 20:35   #129
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

I am going to return to the OP . . .

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Originally Posted by Thames 4 Blood View Post
Hi All!

My Q is how big is too big for 2?

Impossible question to answer. It depends on what you want/expect/demand.

One thing that I have not noticed being mentioned before is that bigger boats (generally) motor more. There is simply more work to get sailing, so for short trips they motor rather than sail; and the light air sails are much more work so they motor rather than sail. Whether this is a drawback or not depends entirely on the owners objectives.

We have found that with a yacht set up for easy handling ( in mast reefing, electric winches, bow thruster for occasional ease etc ) the size does not seem to be much of a challenge.

I have single handed two 112'ers. If the boat is well designed and all the equipment is working, and you anticipate events correctly, then size is no concern in handling and in fact can be a benefit (more stable).

However, if there is a design flaw, or some essential equipment fails, or you fail to properly anticipate the situation then you might be able to get a small boat out of a situation which you could not get a big boat out of (by jury rigging or man handling).

Given your stated experience level (eg relatively little), I would suggest that particularily your ability to anticipate events and situations will not initially be great and that you should be very conservative and create big margins for error as you start out.


Now I cant see why this should be disproportionately harder to handle than a 45ft???

Everything is bigger, by approximately the cube of the length. So just for instance, I could lift the main sail on our 37'er with one hand while I need two people to move the mainsail on our 47'er and a crane to move the sail on a 60'er.



.......
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Old 22-10-2012, 00:35   #130
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

In answer to Don Lucas Q, I think we will proceed with a 45ft yacht. That would be large enough for comfort and its a size we know we can handle in most conditions.
I dont believe we would fare any better than the next yacht in an extreme such as the aforementioned Sea of Cortez event but I would hope never to be in that situation! It sounds so extreme that I am not sure what could be taken from it beyond "listen to local knowledge"... Thats sound advice in my book.
I think I will always listen to local fishermen!
I think I will never be convinced that the option to use modern tools is a bad thing...

I would say that unless we can disagree with each other without causing and taking offence, we are reducing the benefit of this forum!

Have a good week.

Mark.
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Old 22-10-2012, 00:44   #131
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

And another thing....LOL

Thanks Estarzinger! What you say here makes sense!
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Old 22-10-2012, 01:29   #132
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

well the world is changing. When i was a kid in NZ apretty good size boat was 28 - 32 foot. Now i reckon the average cruiser is around 45 foot. Personally i set the limit at whatever size i can handle without resorting to electric winches or power hydraulic assisted anything - except anchor winches, gotta be reasonable. Which means it has to be pretty big to be too big. 'Course the main constraint is budget in my case. How long is a piece of string?
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Old 22-10-2012, 03:05   #133
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

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Andrew makes the most salient point re prudence at sea and the size decision as it relates to life/safety issues. When things get bad and a small crew is on a large yacht they WILL BE overwhelmed.. no ifs ands or buts. This may be the rare situation... may never occur, but when it happens and there will be no happy endings.

So the question becomes how much extra space, and all the risks and costs which come with it are required or how much is a sort of indulgence and creature comforts (benefits)? No one is recommending getting a smaller yacht because it is more manageable when the sh*t hits the fan. The concept here is to get what you can deal with in the worst conditions AND can accommodate your (creature comforts) needs.

I don't see why a single couple engaged in normal (whatever that means) cruising can't be accommodated by a yacht less in the 42' range.

Please explain.

Bigger boats are a luxury, not a necessity unless you have crew or family. No?
As far as I know, all cruising sailboats are a luxury, and not a necessity

I don't know why 42' is any kind of hard line. It used to be thought that anything over 30' was unnecessary. Why not 25'? There is no real necessity I can see in anything over 25', actually.

I think David Old Jersey summed it up quite nicely Choice of boat size is a juggling of considerations just like so much else in sailing. Every boat is good for someone, and bad for someone else, for whatever reasons.

Concerning docking: Someone said that he wouldn't want anything over x feet, because it would be too much boat to manhandle if a docking maneuver goes wrong.

Well, this is just one more in the list of plusses and minuses of different boats. Over a certain size, pushing or pulling using human arms stops being a tool you can use to get in and out of a berth, or to correct a berthing maneuver gone wrong. The guy who sold me my present boat -- a very good sailor -- told me that. He said -- there's really only one big difference between this boat (a 54 footer) and your previous boat (a 37 footer) -- your crew can't alter the position of this boat using their bodies. It means you have to delete that from your list of tools, and use the other tools you have available.

I did not actually find this to be a big deal, since I always considered using human force in docking to be a "mulligan" anyway. Having a bow thruster (which my previous boat did not) more than made up for this difference, in the beginning.

And now, after three plus years and 150-odd sea days in this boat, I would not be too upset if the bow thruster failed. I would know what to do (including simply not going into the dock at all, in some situations). Not being able to push and pull the boat around by human force has forced me to develop other skills -- like warping on and off, something I really never did with the old boat.

I think all this is a kind of rambly way to say that every boat is a compromise, and we generally all get used to whatever compromises we made when we bought our boats. I think 99% of us are happy with our boats, and in fact actually love them, although they all have some drawback or another, and often many. It can make it hard to understand the compromises others make, which is what leads to some of the arguments on here. "Why in the world would you need such a great big fat boat; I'm perfectly comfortable on my 32 footer, who would need more?" "Why would you be so worried about docking; I do just fine with my 60 footer?" Etc.

I'm sure if I had a 32 foot boat for whatever reason, including not being able to afford anything bigger (which I can easily imagine), or not having a place to dock anything bigger, I would quickly get used to it, and manage to be completely happy. When I bought my boat, I thought she was way too big, and almost didn't buy her for that reason. Now I am completely used to her size, and wouldn't want anything smaller, even when single handing, but then again, she's mine, and I wouldn't want a different boat in any case I think most of us are the same
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Old 22-10-2012, 03:27   #134
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
Going back to the original question regarding handling, I'd like to add one or two elements in boat design which seem to make a significant difference in the ability of two people to handle the vessel with regards to docking and sailing.

The amount of freeboard and the amount of ballast and depth of keel. Our first significant boat, the 45ft Hunter was a relative lightweight at 26,000 pounds with very high freeboard and shoal draft keel; this gave the boat a more "tippy," feeling when under sail, along with us having to really plan ahead while docking in any significant wind. The Hunter tended to get blown around quite a bit which always made my wife nervous. Things happening onboard always seemed urgent.

The Oyster 53 on the other hand, sits very low in the water and weighs in at hefty 49,000 pounds, so for docking and sailing, it has quite a bit of inertia. It responds more slowly to changes in wind and throttle and doesn't get knocked around much at all; and with the deep keel, docking is much easier with less leeward motion. The pace onboard now, is more tranquil... no hurry.
+1

This is very true.

I once got a furious response on another forum to my answer to a docking puzzle. The question was how would you deal with getting out of a certain berth in a 30 knot cross wind. The guy was looking for a certain answer -- you need to get all the way out of the marina in reverse in order to keep the bows from blowing off. But my boat, quite similar to an Oyster 53, doesn't handle like that at all. I can swing my compass in a 30 knot wind using idle speed -- my bows just don't blow off like that. The OP there had a Bavaria 32 or something like that and he just couldn't get his bows through that kind of wind even with full throttle -- so he and I just had a completely different set of problems, and different set of tools. So my "correct" maneuver was different from his, which he found hard to accept.

A big minus of a boat this size is you can't correct any mistakes using human force. But there is a compensating big plus -- you don't get blown around nearly so much, and the speed at which you still have good control over the boat is much lower, than in a smaller boat. I have good rudder authority, for example, at about 1 knot, in astern.

So docking is just -- well, different. In a bigger boat, you have to think much further ahead -- because of the much greater inertia. If you fail to do that, you can get in big trouble. On the other hand, once you've planned your docking manuever properly, it will work much more predictably. I enjoy docking my boat -- it's a challenge and a puzzle to plan and execute it just right. It's very satisfying when the plan works exactly right and the boat goes slowly, right into that little space with inches on either side, just swinging right into the dock and kissing it gently. I almost never use the bow thruster going into a dock (always use it coming out, but that's a different story).

That's my boat -- 54 feet on deck, about 60 feet LOA, and about 48,000 pounds at cruising displacement. If someone put me on the helm of a 70 footer with twice the displacement, the challenges -- the plusses, the minuses -- would be different again. I reckon with a little time I could figure it out. And I reckon you could too.
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Old 22-10-2012, 03:57   #135
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Re: Boat Size - How big is too big?

Slightly off topic but sailing in the Solent or just about anywhere on the South coast or East coast ( and probably the rest of the UK too but I dont know those waters ) is more "sailing" than in the Med... In my view! Far more challenging conditions and if I were to spend all my sailing time there I would be very daunted by the size of boat that I find quite comfortable elsewhere!!!
I like the sound of those heavy displacement yachts very much! Just not so much the price ;-(
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