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Old 28-06-2016, 16:28   #1
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Handling a 45+ foot boat

So my wife and I are flying to Annapolis this weekend to look at some boats for living aboard and cruising the world with my wife and 3 daughters. I found a broker in the area that came highly recommended by some of the members on here (via search), explained what we want: 3 cabin, center cockpit. He is vehemently trying to steer me toward smaller boats, 2 cabin in the 40-44 foot range, saying a 47 footer will be too much to handle, especially at a marina with kids aboard. I understand there are many good reasons to get a smaller boat, but my concern is that as my family grows older we'll outgrow it; and I don't want all of the transaction costs associated with selling/buying another boat.

I've sailed a 40' Hunter with my dad for several years (bay sailing), but he said it would be like starting over from scratch on a 47'. I understand they'll be different, but should I be as concerned as he apparently is?

He also advised against a host of other boats we had on our short list, gulfstars, morgan, formosa, hardin, and a heritage saying they were all pretty crappy. Granted he knows the boats better than I do, but when the conversation ended I felt really discouraged by the whole thing.
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Old 28-06-2016, 16:35   #2
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

Just my two cents but if you are getting advice from a broker about how easy/hard a boat is to handle the boat is probably too hard for you to handle. One thing I know for sure is a boat with two screws is much easier to handle when docking than one with a single screw. Adding bow thrusters makes things even easier. Since you did not mention either of these factors in how easy/hard a boat is to handle I would suggest you get a lot more experience before you get any boat over about 20 feet.
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Old 28-06-2016, 16:43   #3
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

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Just my two cents but if you are getting advice from a broker about how easy/hard a boat is to handle the boat is probably too hard for you to handle. One thing I know for sure is a boat with two screws is much easier to handle when docking than one with a single screw. Adding bow thrusters makes things even easier. Since you did not mention either of these factors in how easy/hard a boat is to handle I would suggest you get a lot more experience before you get any boat over about 20 feet.
Ok so maybe I should clarify that. We are looking specifically at sailboats. I never asked the broker for advice on the size of boat, he didn't even necessarily volunteer it but more assumed that would be too big of a boat. Bow thrusters are nice but rare on sailboats under about 50 feet. When I asked "what about this Tayana 47" he balked stating what I mentioned above.

However, what I'm doing here is trying to vet his statement before I write him off! Given I've never handled anything above 40, is there really that much difference between 43 feet and 47 feet?
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:04   #4
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

My 1st sailboat boat was 48'7"...just the right size. Bigger is better. Brokers do not have your best interests in mind.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:30   #5
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

How comfortable did you feel around the docks in the 40'? It really depends on the person and their comfort level and a blanket statement from a broker doesn't apply to everyone. Hell, first boat I lived on was a 42' Catalina, and then jumped to a 53' Norseman. I never had any problems with the transition.

Really that's what fenders are for! But seriously, if you're nervous put the fenders out and practice, practice, practice and you'll do fine. This year the wife has been learning and we cut off the pump out service to make her dock in all kinds of weather - she's a pro now. Go with your gut and what you feel comfortable with, not some one-size-fits-all statement by someone who doesn't know your competence level.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:32   #6
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

First, you have some sailing experience, which is a good start. Perhaps consider getting your wife enrolled in a sailing class if she doesn't have any. Same for the kids if they are old enough. More experience before stepping on, the better.

Second, of course a 47' boat is harder to handle than a 40' one, but only marginally so. If you act on good common sense and slowly ease into the learning process, it is entirely possible to be safe and happy. It is really up to how to boat is set up, its sailing characteristics and the area where you sail.

Docking, particularly in strong currents, is where the larger boats are harder to handle. Also. the forces involved on a larger boat are considerably higher than a smaller one, making it more difficult for the wife and kids to help raise and trim the sail, etc. That said, most sail'ability problems can be solved by throwing money at it (eg, if your wife can't raise the mainsail, install a (costly) batten car system).

Again, if you take the time to learn, you'll figure out what changes can be made (and spend the money to make the changes) to allow your family to sail the larger boat. A 47' really should be do-able. Want to buy the boat and immediately sail to the Bahamas? You're asking for trouble.

My first sailboat is my current 38'er. After only a few weekends sailing her with my wife, I was able to go out alone.

PS - A larger boat does generally cost more to operate than a smaller one, holding all else equal. For example, the rigging on a 50' boat might be 15% more expensive as compared to a 45' boat (where the increase in size is only 10%).
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:40   #7
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

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Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
-----Given I've never handled anything above 40, is there really that much difference between 43 feet and 47 feet?
No.

It might well be wiser to buy a smaller boat to start with, maybe a 30' +/- for daysails, weekends, etc. There's a difference between crewing vs. captaining. If you want to stick with the bigger boat first I recommend a lot of lessons beforehand. Get qualified to take a bareboat charter, perhaps with a captain for the first charter, or at least the first day lol.

As for the broker's low opinions of so many other boats, his whole attitude sounds to me like he has one particular boat he wants to sell, and you seem to him to be a likely buyer.

There are lots of boats for sale. Good luck to you.
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Old 28-06-2016, 17:50   #8
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

Is there a difference in 47 vs 40? Yes a pretty big one. But if you are comfortable with a 40 it won't take long to be comfortable at 50.

Frankly I think most people overestimate the difficulty in dealing with larger boats. Once you understand that the boat is too large to ever manhandle (somewhere between 45 and 50') everything larger than that is just increasing the scale.
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:15   #9
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

Imagine I/we went from 16ft to 37 ft. no problem! You have to understand the dynamics! I would say, that if YOU don't feel comfortable handling a boat of x length, then you need to down size! I feel that a bigger boat is easier to handle! Only in that it is more forgiving as the wind increases, if you are paying attention! I was really surprised at how easy it was to transition from day sailor to bigger. I guess the it never occurred to that there was a difference. I was expecting a whole lot more to do to keep the boat trimmed, etc. I know there is more running a sailboat than that, but that is the question, unless I am missing the point!!!!!!
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:21   #10
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

We just returned from a 2-year cruise with our kids. We met "kid boats" of every size and design, with small and large families. It's all possible.

The biggest advantage of a larger boat is storage, tankage, and comfort in wind and waves. The biggest disadvantage is maintenance. Do not underestimate this. Buy a clean boat that is exceptionally well maintained above all else: design, builder, layout, cabins, etc.

You can learn to handle a bigger boat. Docking in adverse winds is a hassle, but you may find that once you leave home port you don't visit marinas very often. If you have a watermaker and decent sized tanks (or jerry jugs) you won't visit fuel docks very much, either.
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:23   #11
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

Thanks for the replies everyone!

We are currently taking lessons from my dad (who has owned the aforementioned 40, as well as a 26 and 30) on a 23' trailer sailer. It was his dream at one time to travel by boat as well but his wife was not so agreeable to it as mine is.

I completely understand about maintenance costs being higher and I want to keep those low. Also want to pick a boat we can keep for the longer term though - 46-47 feet is about the smallest in this configuration we've found. Can find smaller and newer 3 cabin aft cockpit versions for the same price... we haven't ruled those out yet.

I get the feeling he was steering me towards his own boats as 2 of the 3 he recommended were on his dock. Might call a different broker tomorrow, but who???
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Old 28-06-2016, 18:56   #12
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
Thanks for the replies everyone!

We are currently taking lessons from my dad (who has owned the aforementioned 40, as well as a 26 and 30) on a 23' trailer sailer. It was his dream at one time to travel by boat as well but his wife was not so agreeable to it as mine is.

I completely understand about maintenance costs being higher and I want to keep those low. Also want to pick a boat we can keep for the longer term though - 46-47 feet is about the smallest in this configuration we've found. Can find smaller and newer 3 cabin aft cockpit versions for the same price... we haven't ruled those out yet.

I get the feeling he was steering me towards his own boats as 2 of the 3 he recommended were on his dock. Might call a different broker tomorrow, but who???
I'd try John Albertine who used to be at Passport Yachts in Annapolis. He sold us our Tayana 47 almost 3 years ago and I was very happy with him before, during, and after the sale. He's not high pressure and is very knowledgeable about boats and sailing but is also pretty laid back and has extremely high intergrity. About the furthest thing from a "used car salesman" type yacht broker. I haven't spoken with him in a couple of years so am not sure if he's still there at Passport, but if he is, I'd try to hire him to find your boat for you.

It seems to me that the broker you've been working with might be trying (possibly misguided) to do you a favor by trying to discourage you from buying too much boat right now. After all, generally speaking the bigger the boat the bigger paycheck for him so maybe he has a good point (or at least good intentions) or maybe he doesn't adequately understand your ability or needs?

I personally find our Tayana 47 to be very easy to helm. It's heavy and stable with a long enough keel to be stable but Bob Perry designed it to have a very effective rudder so it turns tighter than you'd probably expect, and of course the bow thruster is great to have when you get in a really tight spot and need to make a sharp turn.

Good luck with your search!
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Old 28-06-2016, 19:31   #13
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
So my wife and I are flying to Annapolis this weekend to look at some boats for living aboard and cruising the world with my wife and 3 daughters. I found a broker in the area that came highly recommended by some of the members on here (via search), explained what we want: 3 cabin, center cockpit. He is vehemently trying to steer me toward smaller boats, 2 cabin in the 40-44 foot range, saying a 47 footer will be too much to handle, especially at a marina with kids aboard. I understand there are many good reasons to get a smaller boat, but my concern is that as my family grows older we'll outgrow it; and I don't want all of the transaction costs associated with selling/buying another boat.

I've sailed a 40' Hunter with my dad for several years (bay sailing), but he said it would be like starting over from scratch on a 47'. I understand they'll be different, but should I be as concerned as he apparently is?

He also advised against a host of other boats we had on our short list, gulfstars, morgan, formosa, hardin, and a heritage saying they were all pretty crappy. Granted he knows the boats better than I do, but when the conversation ended I felt really discouraged by the whole thing.
I don't know the broker.

But, if he has many years experience with boats and boat shoppers, I would consider his comments carefully.

As for brands of boats, perhaps his comments are based on preferences because he has seen some beauties and some dogs and pigs, assuming he has been on a lot of boats.

For a larger boat 45+, he has probably seen poorly maintained or finished or constructed boats, such as the Hardin, Gulfstar, Formosa, etc. I have too. Bigger is not necessarily "better."

Given a big enough budget, there are nicer, newer, and better boats in that size. But they are likely more expensive too.

I am guessing the broker probably sees you as a inexperienced, and wanting a big boat without spending the money needed to get one in top condition or build. His advice to start smaller may seem conservative, but I suspect it is based on seeing many dreamers get into bigger boats that are too much for them to handle. I would not take it personally as an affront.
-----------

If I were getting a 45+ foot or full keel boat, I would seriously consider a bow thruster.
-------
Post some photos of the boats you see, along with your impressions. You have an audience here.

For example, I would go with the owner of the Olympic, and ask him to allow you to get in the engine space and talk you through the procedure yo change the engine oil, change the impeller, maintain the generator, check the shaft gland, etc. you don't have to do it then, just have him show you and you can see if it would be difficult or easily done because of engine access. see for yourself how difficult or easy the boat design makes that.

Good luck
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Old 28-06-2016, 19:41   #14
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

My 2 cents:

Handling in close quarters largely depends on how often you will be in close quarters...

In the 32 years I've had my boat I've spent only a few nights in a slip... and of course wet winter storage in slips.

I don't want to be in marinas and tied to docks... I want to be achored off or on a mooring. So I don't get into close quarters all that much... and boat handling is not much of an issue.

My boat is 36' and I single hand 99.9% of the time... Wife does nothing related to boat handling or docking. 36 is not 48 and so it's perhaps hard to extrapolate.

My concern for you would be simply the forces that a larger boat represents... raising a heavy main, anchor, trimming... In mild conditions I think the size is manageable. And if you can be a fair weather sailor... you probably could deal with all this and tough it out when you got caught in rough conditions... which will happen.

You need to consider how much sailing help your crew can and will provide...

But all this depends on where you intend to sail as well...

Good luck... you'll make the right decision.
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Old 28-06-2016, 20:33   #15
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Re: Handling a 45+ foot boat

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Originally Posted by sailingunity View Post
Ok so maybe I should clarify that. We are looking specifically at sailboats. I never asked the broker for advice on the size of boat, he didn't even necessarily volunteer it but more assumed that would be too big of a boat. Bow thrusters are nice but rare on sailboats under about 50 feet. When I asked "what about this Tayana 47" he balked stating what I mentioned above.

However, what I'm doing here is trying to vet his statement before I write him off! Given I've never handled anything above 40, is there really that much difference between 43 feet and 47 feet?
My point was that there is no such thing as a generic 43 foot boat or a 47 foot boat. There are 43 foot boats that are harder to handle than 47 foot boats and vice versa. While there is definitely a chance the broker may be trying to sell you a particular boat as others have pointed out bigger boats usually have higher prices which means a bigger commission for the broker.

The broker seems to be under the impression that you are somewhat inexperienced. I got the same impression by your question. Another poster suggested you post some pix, and by implication, more details about particular boats you are considering. That would make it much easier to provide advice on how hard or easy a particular boat of any size would be to handle.
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