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Old 08-08-2010, 05:50   #1
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Family Cruiser / Liveaboard: Do We Have to Get to 40' ?

Hello!

We have begun our search in earnest for a boat that will comfortably get our family (2 adults, 2 kids currently ages 4 and 6) as far as we want to go. That's to say, we'll likely start out by sailing along the East Coast and to the Bahamas and then head for the Caribbean and beyond. We dream of a circumnavigation eventually.

I've read lots of threads here (thanks!) about suitable boats for our purposes. Some of them come up again and again: Whitby 42, Morgan O/I, for example. Yet, we don't just want a floating condo. We'd like something that sails well and isn't too large for us to manage for a daysail either.

My question for you all: are there boats below 40' that we should investigate? On our current list are:

Cabo Rico 38
Catalina 36
Endeavour 37

Ideally, we'd like two cabins but this isn't entirely necessary (we think).

Thanks in advance,
Reba
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Old 08-08-2010, 05:51   #2
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I forgot to mention our budget - the magic number for us is $100,000.
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Old 08-08-2010, 06:47   #3
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I'd scratch the Cabo. The 38 is really a 41 with the bowsprit and they aren't great sailer, but very nice boats.

How about a Morgan 384 or Wauquiez Hood 38. There are several on the market to chose from and they are good sailers. Both by good designers and well made, especially the Wauquiez.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:12   #4
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We own a Morgan Classic 41 - it is the 41 OI hull but with a modified sloop rig and a modified keel, and a redesigned interior that was produced by Catalina yachts after they bought Morgan marine mid 80's. We have sailed her all over the caribbean, and while she is no thoroughbred she sails just fine. From what I have read the old OI's were less than impressive sailors.
We would not trade her for anything (in the price range!!). The interior is voluminous, with tons of room for kids to make a mess while Mom and Dad have private cabin aft. The front cabin is also over sized with plenty of room for 2 kids.
We looked at the endeavor 40 and almost bought one. The master aft cabin on those boats were gorgeous, but the salon was smallish which is where most of the business of life is transacted. Survey found leaky tanks, so we move to the Morgan berthed next door! Fortuitous.
Zig Zag is not for sale BTW so this is not a sales pitch!
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:52   #5
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Advice given to me here which has proven very true: If you have not, you will need to account for 20% in refit and enhancements on a used boat (some will argue a new as well) That means $100,000 is really $75,000 depending on taxes.

Refit costs include things people take with them to their next boat (bedding, plates, glasses, life jackets, tethers, jack lines, etc. ), renewable items (flares, first aid kit, etc.), things you will just need (tools, spare parts, etc.) and finally things you will want to add (water maker, life line netting, pots and pans, or coffee pot). Then there are the costs to enhance the boat so it can be single handed sailed. Never going to go that way? It doesn't matter. Imagine you are two days out from the Bahamas when the stronger of the two of you steps through a hatch and breaks an arm. Unless you plan to abandon ship on a relatively minor injury - the weaker of you must be able to handle the boat during rough weather to get it into a dock. Then add the costs of a wildness or open water first aid course for the two of you.

The good news is most of these costs are not incurred immediately so you have time to absorb them. However, if you overbuy, they will make the dream impossible.

Finally, with a family of 4 (two adults, a teen and a pre-teen) you definitely want the extra room. Being able to split up the kids (or adults) after three days of rain is an item most people cannot appreciate. Plus - not having to convert the couch to bed and back to couch every single day is another minor life improvement you can appreciate after just a week of it.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:41   #6
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I would also consider the CSY 37.
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Old 08-08-2010, 09:48   #7
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Originally Posted by svzigzag View Post
............. From what I have read the old OI's were less than impressive sailors...............Mom and Dad have private cabin aft. The front cabin is also over sized with plenty of room for 2 kids........Zig Zag is not for sale BTW so this is not a sales pitch!
..........and here we are on our old OI. We've lived aboard and cruised old Morgan Out Islands since we bought one new in 1973. You guys have the cut away foot and a liitle more draft, but I don't see the "Classics" doing anything that we don't do,- no offense taken though. We were aboard years before our son and daughter were born and they've since grown and flown. We split the aft cabin port and starboard for our children at ages 7 & 9 and, even now, we keep the V-berth and leave the aft cabin for guests. Ours is the "walk-over" which is wonderful for the kids cabin and guests and also allows for a larger engine room space. All these differences are compromises, but the boat has and continues to excell for us. .....and like Zig Zag, we're not selling either! Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 08-08-2010, 19:06   #8
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Quite honestly, I don't know the difference myself - just quoting hearsay, although I think the draft at 4'10" is the same.

As to the 20% cost for re-fit, we had exactly that experience when we bought Zig Zag, and the owners left everything behind.

Space while living aboard for us has been vital, and having a separate cabin/bath aft with ample living space forward has made frequent visits by many guests and family members very easy.

Even marital spats fade swiftly, if one has somewhere else to go temporarily.

As to mother/fathers in law from both sides, all 6 (yep six) of whom can be err - overbearing at times, closing that cabin door from time to time is nothing less than miraculous.

And then for how long the cruise - toddlers are one thing, but pre-teens up?? Space shall be required!

Quick note to the refit - we spent a few bucks on unneccessary items like air conditioning, generator (hondas X 2), oversized refrigeration, watermaker (small) etc.. Hurricane season in the carribbean can be miserably hot and still, and we enjoyed these little luxuries a lot when we needed them. Our boat is our house for the most part and these indulgences really make her feel like home
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Old 08-08-2010, 20:03   #9
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Well, now I haven't considered in-law visits. That is a GREAT reason for a 2 cabin set-up, I agree.

My husband is under the influence of a friend who didn't have great things to say about the O/I as a sailing vessel. But, your experiences seem to tell a different story. So, is all this "you'll have to motor all the time", just a whole lot of hoohah?
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Old 08-08-2010, 20:38   #10
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Originally Posted by Reba View Post
Well, now I haven't considered in-law visits. That is a GREAT reason for a 2 cabin set-up, I agree.

My husband is under the influence of a friend who didn't have great things to say about the O/I as a sailing vessel. But, your experiences seem to tell a different story. So, is all this "you'll have to motor all the time", just a whole lot of hoohah?
Reba,

If someone hasn't already pointed you to this site it is well worth looking at. It can help you narrow down your search and point out the pros and cons to different styles of boats.

Mahina Expedition - Boat Selection

The list at the end can be a good guideline (not an exclusive list though), which is better than relying too much on a lot of personal preferences.
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Old 08-08-2010, 20:42   #11
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Two adults and two kids might be able to survive on anything from 35 to 45 feet depending upon the cabin layout. It is only statistically that the average cruiser is about 42 feet - that means an equal amount under and some over.
- - It really depends upon how "close" your family is physically. You will be climbing over each other in anything under 40 feet. That is not bad except for one major thing everybody forgets about - - all your stuff you will be taking with you. I have seen boats with stuff piled high on the salon ends, V-berth and any other corner or recess. Four people need a lot of "stuff." And especially with kids on-board. Books, toys, clothes, video/sound stuff, school books. You do not need any blankets as all their stuff ends up on top of them when they are asleep.
- - The adults have even more "stuff" and add in all the extra food for 4 mouths, two of which are like hungry pirhana eating everything in sight. 40ft and a little more but less than 45 feet seems to be the happy popular size. Again, primarily because of all the "stuff" that surrounds raising and educating two young-en's.
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Old 08-08-2010, 21:04   #12
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sailing

We did not have to motor anywhere - it was always a question of time and patience. I can absolutely say for sure that our boat will sail to weather, tacks easily etc etc. We are in the trade winds area with mostly north easterly winds at all times, so to go straight from homeport (Vieques) to St Thomas means the winds are on the nose. So if I am honest we pretty much always end up motoring part of the way because the alternative is a long day. But this is a personal choice. Spending many hours tacking or motoring in for a cold beer at Tickles before sunset is usually a very easy decision for us. Plus I am a little paranoid about coming into anchorages after 3 pm, so we often motorsail the last leg of our trips for that reason alone.
We did the trip on a friends bennateu once and that boat definitely went closer to the wind than we could, and was 1.5 knots faster overall. But the interior space was much smaller than our boat of same length. And to make it for happy hour we still had to motor the last leg - just for a little less time than we normally do. But this is island hopping. Longer passages are a different animal, and long tacks for a few days are fine and fun. Our sails are easy to balance and she tracks fine without much help from the autopilot.
This is definitely the most forgiving boat I have ever been on. Sudden squalls tend to just lean her over a bit; we have never broached. We once got caught in really bad weather for half a day, and we always felt safe.
Motoring another time though the final part of the Anegada passage after an overnight sail from St. Martin found us with large following swells mixed in with very confused chop, and we had no problems with surfing or anything else. She just blasts her way through without complaint.
But again, she is no racer and she likes a breeze. Happiest in winds 18 - 24 knots, seas permitting. Much less than that and the gennaker is hauled out for anything but sailing close to the wind, and then we are definitely motorsailing.
Docking Zig Zag was a challenge for the first few months until I figured out how to make her happy. Reversing is interesting, but with practice it actually all works fine.
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Old 09-08-2010, 04:50   #13
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We have a Cheoy Lee 35 that we lived aboard for six months when the kids were 3 and 5. Worked just fine. Bring less stuff! Seriously, as mentioned, it depends on your mindset. We have friends that cruised longer on smaller boats with younger kids. Put your in-laws up in a hotel: it's more fun for everyone. You will want to have at least 25% left over to equip and repair the boat to cruise. Don't spend it all up front: you'll have some surprises I'm sure! We loved our experience sailing with our young kids and if I was doing it again I would concentrate on finding the best equipped and maintained boat in my price range and then seeing if it fits. Fixin' broke boats when cruising with small kids is no fun. Berst of luck!!
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Old 09-08-2010, 05:22   #14
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Several people have mentioned putting aside 25-30% of your budget for upgrades, etc. to the boat. Generally, I would agree and you probably would never go too wrong following this advice, but you may get lucky ... we did. We bought a little over a year ago and during our search we saw several boats that were pretty much ready to go. Seems there are some retiring from cruising and selling the whole kit not moving up to something else. We came across a several Canadian boats (owners) like this. For one reason or the other they were done cruising and were ready to settle down for good. I remember looking at a Cape Dory 36, Shannon 38, two Wauquiez Pretorians (one which turned out to be ours) and a Vancouver 36, all ready to go again. Sure, you may need to upgrade some flares, get a new GPS, etc. but you may be able to get by with a lot less than the 25-30%. Also, you may have excess equipment you can sell to help defray some of the new stuff. We sold quite a bit using Bacon & Associates in Annapolis.

You may not be a lucky as we were, but don't rule it out. There are a lot of boats out there that are well equipped if you are flexible on what you want or need.
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Old 09-08-2010, 07:00   #15
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Back to the size question; I think as time goes you are going to want more of the living space of the "condo" boat. A poll I did last year clearly showed that most cruisers wanted the living space over performance (not talking the extremes on either end). Bigger boat is faster, more comfortable out on the water and when in. Difference in being able to handle the boat between a 37' and a 45' is minor (I'm old and fat and got a 39' boat as my first boat and don't have any problems handling it).


Your budget allows a better cruiser boat.

The boats you mentioned aren't light air boats because they have low sail area, but are going to sail just fine in 10+ wind. I find when I'm just cruising around sailing that comfort is more important to us that speed and if the wind is going to be at 16 knots all the time we reef and lose the 0.5 knot of speed for the comfort (and lots of times it is faster being reefed besides being more comfortable).

In the end I think getting there in a reasonable time, but not all beat up, is more important in the long run. And once you are there do you want to have to be cramed into a small space with those kids?
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