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Old 08-01-2019, 15:26   #1
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Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

Most husband-wife couples who undertake a cruising lifestyle select the largest boat that they believe they can handle safely. The size of boat so chosen has gradually increased over the course of years with 37' being something of a standard starting in the late 1980s. Many couples are now choosing boats in the 42-44' range, and there are notable examples of yet larger boats being sailed on passages by husband-wife couples.


So what's going on here? Sails, masts, booms, and lines aren't any lighter than they were 30 years ago. I can think of some explanations:
  1. The original thinking was unnecessarily conservative, and with time, we've figured that out.
  2. The availability and reliability of power assistance has improved enough to change the perceived limits, with electric winches, bow thrusters, and power sail handling becoming common.
  3. People are sailing in boats larger than what they can handle safely because they insist on vessels large enough to provide creature comforts that previous generations of cruisers lived without.
  4. Today's cruiser is more able bodied and therefore able to handle a larger boat.
  5. Cruisers are no longer engaging in voyages to areas remote enough to require the level of self-sufficiency previously considered necessary, and are bringing on crew for the rare passage they undertake that takes them beyond the sheltering wings of Sea Tow
Your thoughts?
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Old 08-01-2019, 15:33   #2
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pirate Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

No..
Yes..
Yes..
No..
Yes..
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Old 08-01-2019, 15:44   #3
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
No..
Yes..
Yes..
No..
Yes..

That's what I was afraid of. Sad.
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Old 08-01-2019, 15:52   #4
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

That's just one posters opinion..
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Old 08-01-2019, 15:57   #5
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

If you're just motoring around close to marinas. . .

and higher standards of comfort, prioritized **much** higher now
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Old 08-01-2019, 15:58   #6
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

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That's just one posters opinion..
Yeah, one poster with tons of experience.
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Old 08-01-2019, 16:05   #7
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pirate Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

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That's just one posters opinion..
So contribute yours.. it all counts.
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Old 08-01-2019, 16:13   #8
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

I took the pledge and tried to quit sailing in 1985, in the 90's I fell off the wagon and went sailing on a friend's 43' Bene in the San Juans.
The changes were earthshakingly obvious.
Headsail furlers that WORKED and were reliable.
Two speed SELF TAILING winches !!!
GPS !!!!!!
Autopilots !!!
Propane et al
Etc, Etc.
Think about it, we used to wander around having to handsteer in the fog with a compass, tailing sheets one handed, hanking sails on and off while trying to get a fix on the RDF and making coffee on an alcohol stove.
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Old 08-01-2019, 16:18   #9
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

Furlers for headsails, often powered on mid to large boats, and furling mains have become more common. As have bow thrusters. These things make larger boats easier to handle.

But I agree that the desire for more comfort is probably the primary driver in the move to larger boats.
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Old 08-01-2019, 16:30   #10
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

Boats are much better designed now. Bigger, self tailing and electric winches are available , furling jibs and mains are available , bow thrusters are now cheap and available, electric anchor handling is available. All this makes bigger boats more accessible to more people. You can ignore all this because it might break, or you can take advantage of it and enjoy a bigger, more comfortable boat.
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Old 08-01-2019, 16:43   #11
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

Also, larger boats are now available because they were made in volume more recently. In the 1980s if you wanted a 50' boat in good condition you had a pretty limited number of options, most of which were either unmanageable or very expensive. Nowadays you can take your pick of any number of well built boats in good condition between 10 and 20 years old for very sensible prices, many of which can be sailed single handed with little work or kitted out for blue water cruising with a little more funding.
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Old 08-01-2019, 16:49   #12
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

There is no doubt that technology has made the tasks of sailing a boat easier. Itís probably also made it safer (although arguments abound on this point). Necessities and demands for greater luxury have certainly increased, but I think thatís a symptom, not a cause.

I think the real reason boat size has increased is due to affluence. Middle class generations following the New Deal, and especially following WWII, got noticeably and significantly richer. Wealth drives affluence which allows for more Ö in the case of cruising boats, more means bigger and more luxurious.

Iíve said it before, but I predict weíve hit the peak of ďmore.Ē The middle class generations following the Baby Boomers are poorer, and smaller in number. I think we will see a decline in the number, and size of cruising boats going into the future.
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Old 08-01-2019, 17:00   #13
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

These days folks want all the comforts of home while anchored along the ICW.

It's not about just sailing anymore otherwise a 36' boat (or smaller) would be just about right for coastal cruising or crossing oceans

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/rustler-36
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Old 08-01-2019, 17:13   #14
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Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

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These days folks want all the comforts of home while anchored along the ICW.

It's not about just sailing anymore otherwise a 36' boat (or smaller) would be just about right for coastal cruising or crossing oceans

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/rustler-36


You donít have to choose, you can enjoy sailing and be comfortable. If someone can afford a 50 ft boat, who are you to say they should be happy with a 36 footer. I would much prefer the former.
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Old 08-01-2019, 17:19   #15
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pirate Re: Changing upper bound of boat size considered suitable for couples

I would choose the latter.. I just dont feel comfortable with all the extra costs and maintenance..
Living comfort on a 36 is great these days.. centre folding tables and bench seats became history in the 80's..
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