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Old 11-04-2015, 09:03   #16
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Re: How big is too big?

Like some other things....size isn't as important as what you do with it �� Much depends on what kind of sailing you plan to do and where. A "bigger" boat will cost more, you will pay more for marina slips, you will be limited in where you can go because of your deeper draft (no gunk holing, some anchorages will be out of the question) and maintenance costs will be greater. If you are sailing in warm climes then you will spend most of your time on the porch (ie. The cockpit) so interior space isn't as critical. If you intend to cross oceans then yes a bigger boat MAY be better. However if you are only coastal cruising then not so necessary. Go to a marina....you will find hundreds of happy cruising couples on36 to 42 foot boats. Then again if you are into collecting a lot of 'stuff' on board that you will rarely use then you will need a bigger boat. FWIW my recommendation for a couple cruising is to buy a solid well-made quality boat (not some of the currently built junk intended for 5 years charter trade) in the 36 to 42 ft range ....anything else is a case of 2 foot itis or a bad case of hubris.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:09   #17
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Re: How big is too big?

As a group we think too small in general.

A big probably isn't really too big until it has TWO helipads.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:12   #18
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Re: How big is too big?

We've had a 40' and a 48' boat. We sailed the smaller boat halfway around the world, and the larger one halfway around the Caribbean (and plan to go further).

We miss how casual and easy it was to drive our small boat. Neither one of us feels confident maneuvering the large boat in tight spaces. My wife especially dislikes it. Our small boat -- we could just shove the bow, hop on, and motor away. Or make a three point turn in any tight channel.

My parents 52' boat has a bow thruster. Which helps a lot, but it's still does not feel casual and mellow to park. We've borrowed their boat for a few months, and feel the extra size is in rooms (and a bathroom) and systems that we don't need (3 air conditioners!).

Our current and previous boat have nearly the same equipment. I feel the maintenance will be about the same. We did not get much fancier with systems on the large boat. The luxury is the pilothouse, swim platform, and all the space. It feels extravagant to have mostly empty storage and machinery spaces. That's nice.

At sea our larger boat is significantly faster and more comfortable. It goes fast without even trying. Maybe the second time we do Galapagos - Marquessas will be 18 days instead of 26. That's fun but I am not sure it's important.

I don't know where we stand with this. Sometimes I fantasize about getting a larger boat. They look so shiney and fun on Yachtworld. We'd have spare bedrooms for the au pair and sherpa. But then my wife and I also talk about getting another 40'-ish something when the kids are gone.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:16   #19
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Re: How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by sailorboy1 View Post
As a group we think too small in general.

A big probably isn't really too big until it has TWO helipads.


As American cruisers, most on CF think way too small. Head over to Europe and the Med, where you'll find that a 50ft sailboat or powerboat will usually be one of the smallest boats at the anchorage.


I really don't understand the "minimalist mindset" so many seem to have on this forum where "less is better." We spend no more time or money maintaining our mechanical systems than the folks with solar panels, wind generators etc.... especially when one considers the amount of time the minimalists need to spend searching out laundry services in new ports, and hauling water, food and laundry back and forth. The minimalists probably spend more time and money than we do on these mundane tasks.


Because we have more complex systems onboard we can stay out of marinas for 5-6 months at a time and ultimately... save a small fortune on berth and mooring fees. Plus, we carry along an extensive inventory of spare parts, so there's no waiting around in marinas for parts to arrive.
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Old 11-04-2015, 09:24   #20
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Re: How big is too big?

I have read her book and continually reference it. From my experience in purchasing a boat and refitting it, preparing it for offshore I would say 40 ft is sufficient . Simplicity is best. Unless money is no object then there is no problem money can't fix. I have a friend with a 34 ft boat who is doing the same thing as myself. His frustrations are minimal mine are greater and from other friends with larger boats and larger budgets their frustrations seem to be even greater . The friend on the 34 ft boat spends the least amount of time fixing things and just enjoying his boat, the larger boats rarely leaves to go out and sail , their always fixing something or waiting for some part to arrive. My advice is to go as small as you can live with not as large as you can afford .


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Old 11-04-2015, 09:45   #21
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Re: How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by brookiesailor View Post
I am reading the "Voyagers Handbook" by Beth Leonard. She goes into detail on how to decide what is the best size boat for your budget. She portrays three types, the simplicities, the moderates and the extravagantly. (Or something close to that). We fall in between the moderates and the extravagantly. We are of the mindset of the moderates for sure, but don't mind spending money where important. We have been looking at boats in the 55 foot range that have all our wants and needs. But in reading the book I have come to realize this is going to cost us greatly over a boat five feet smaller. The moderate in me isn't sure the trade off is worth it. The extravagant in me wants it anyway. So for two people sailing alone, when does comfort get overshadowed by cost?
My apologies for serving up the Smart Ass Reply, but I would suggest that if you need to ask whether a 55-footer is too big for you, well... chances are pretty good it is...

:-)

One thing I do know, even if I could afford one, it would be way more than I'd ever want... :-)

However, I don't know how anyone can really give sound advice on such a query, without knowing anything about your sailing experience, or what you plan to do with the boat, where you'll be sailing, and so on... We haven't a clue... Will you be cruising the East coast of the US, for instance? If so, most 55-footers will keep you out of the ICW, for instance... Will you be doing all your own maintenance, or will the boat be largely yard maintained? If the former, then keeping a 55-footer bristol can sometimes amount to a full time job...

One thing I would suggest if you really have plans to go places with the boat, and be entirely self-dependent, is something many people overlook initially, until it's too late, when stepping up in size...

Take a few trips to the masthead in succession... Few exercises will quell some folks' unrealistic Big Boat Dreams quicker than that...

:-)
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:09   #22
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Re: How big is too big?

Charter first. 55-feet is a big boat. Charter and get experience on various sizes.

While in the interior volume goes up exponential with the size, cost seems to do the same, but then any boat will eat as much money as you have.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:22   #23
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Re: How big is too big?

Excellent book. I've read it twice and followed on to almost every book it references. Their website also has a ton of good stuff.

Most of the answer depends on you and spouse. We started out chasing big boats (50'+) because of the quality-of-life add-on's like washing machines and shower stalls. Then we looked at smaller boats so our beach-bar budget would be fatter. Seriously, dunno which book I'm paraphrasing here, but ... a boat is just a collection of parts. And all of them break. And all of them are expensive. The bigger the boat, the bigger, sturdier, and pricier the parts are. And for everything you might want to do with the boat, the price is always "by the foot."

Things is (or so I've realized), you don't know what YOU need. Not yet. We don't either. After two years of boat shopping and preparation, we have a contract on a 44' sailboat, survey and sea trial next week. We're going to sail it and live on it for a while to figure out what we need. Do we need a washing machine, or is the space it would take up more important? We'll figure that out and maybe buy one. We probably do need a watermaker, but not until we leave the USA and windward islands. We'll get one then. And so on.

I think it's a mistake to try to imagine everything you might want or need and then put it on the boat. You'll (probably) end up with a lot of expensive ballast and a too-small beach-bar budget.

I'm babbling. I'll stop now.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:24   #24
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Re: How big is too big?

Less is more.

I vote for simplicity. Fewer systems. Even fewer through hulls.

When you don't have refrigeration, that ice cold drink when you finally arrive tastes so much better.

No frig means no genset.

Smaller boat means smaller engine, less fuel, smaller fuel tanks, less fuel money.

Less stuff means less weight slowing down the boat.

Less stuff means less stuff to be stolen.

Less stuff means more freedom

Less is more.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:29   #25
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Re: How big is too big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brookiesailor View Post
I am reading the "Voyagers Handbook" by Beth Leonard. She goes into detail on how to decide what is the best size boat for your budget. She portrays three types, the simplicities, the moderates and the extravagantly. (Or something close to that). We fall in between the moderates and the extravagantly. We are of the mindset of the moderates for sure, but don't mind spending money where important. We have been looking at boats in the 55 foot range that have all our wants and needs. But in reading the book I have come to realize this is going to cost us greatly over a boat five feet smaller. The moderate in me isn't sure the trade off is worth it. The extravagant in me wants it anyway. So for two people sailing alone, when does comfort get overshadowed by cost?


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We just went through this same exercise over the last 3 years, culminating in acquiring our next cruiser just last year. We, too, consulted Beth's advice through her book.

Having owned and cruised 37ft and 47ft [Bob Perry] boats in the past, we had a good feel for what we wanted this time around.

This time around we wanted two steering stations [one in a livable pilothouse] so we quickly focused on the S&S designed Nauticat models. [40, 43, & 52 ft] We loved the 52, but found the usable space in the 40 and 43 rivaled many 50+ foot designs by other manufacturers. We ultimately decided on a Nauticat 43, and our spec list matches yours, and all that was already on the boat.

The 50ft LOA of our 43 is the magic number for the occasional stay in a marina. [i.e., We aren't competing for the 'large' slips- of which there are typically fewer available from our observation, at lease in the Northern Pacific Northwest...]

I guess it boils down to how one defines 'comfort.' For us this is it, and likely the last cruiser we will own...

Regarding budget, I've always joked I will buy the boat with rigging turnbuckle size I can afford to replace: the 3/4" on the current boat are within budget; the 1" on the 52 were borderline... Everyones mileage may vary...

There are more details (philosophical and otherwise) on our blog if that is useful to you.

If you aren't already aware, another great objective resource all about your quest is Attainable Adventure Cruising "The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site." [Membership required, but well worth the ~$20/yr.]

Have fun!
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:30   #26
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Re: How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
My apologies for serving up the Smart Ass Reply, but I would suggest that if you need to ask whether a 55-footer is too big for you, well... chances are pretty good it is...

:-)

One thing I do know, even if I could afford one, it would be way more than I'd ever want... :-)

However, I don't know how anyone can really give sound advice on such a query, without knowing anything about your sailing experience, or what you plan to do with the boat, where you'll be sailing, and so on... We haven't a clue...
Absolutely.

Kinda like trying to get an answer on a complicated wiring question with (maybe only) pictures and no wiring diagram.

My friend who sailed his C34 from Vancouver to Mexico said this about water makers:

The watermaker was a great investment. I've seen the other side - people buying their water in 5 gallon jugs and trying to sneak in a little shampoo as they steal a beachside shower from a resort. It doesn't look like fun. We love the watermaker. Capacity is important. The cheaper low volume units have to run forever to make enough water. Something in the 150 gpd range is much better.

Unless you're marina hopping, going "out" to islands with either limited or questionable or expensive water sources makes no sense without a water maker. When he returned home he sold it for 85% of what he paid for it. Never had any issues with it in over a year for sailing.

By the time you get to the mid-30s, boat systems are essentially all the same, within reason, to the 50 foot range, right? Electrical, plumbing, engine... Only difference is size.

So, beyond the rigging/sail size, the SPACE becomes important, critically.

For example, my C34 and a Beneteau 35 (1980s-90s model) have almost exactly the same layout down below BUT the Beneteau swapped the aft head and galley from side to side. The end result is, in my mind, horrible. By putting the aft head enclosure (teak wall) on the other side of the boat, they took the exact same flootprint and made it visually entirely cramped. Instead of looking at the open space, i.e., the galley, from the easiest settee to sit one (not the saloon table), one looks at the big teak wall. Never made any sense to me. Same footprint, much "tinier" "apparent" space. Our boat "feels" a WHOLE LOT BIGGER down below. [We've owned our C34 for 17 years and bareboated a few B35s.]

This is just an example of how "floor plans" of boats can look similar but can be hugely different in reality.

Good luck, anyway.
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Old 11-04-2015, 10:41   #27
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Re: How big is too big?

We ended up with a bigger boat than we intended, 54 ft on deck, 60 something with bowsprit and davits, and at 30 tons she's a hefty lump, but she never feels too big on the ocean or at anchor, only manouvering around marinas which we don't do much. As liveaboards she is ideal and we don't get out of practice handling her. If we were weekend sailors I'd go for something around 40 ft.
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:16   #28
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Re: How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
Less is more.

I vote for simplicity. Fewer systems. Even fewer through hulls.

When you don't have refrigeration, that ice cold drink when you finally arrive tastes so much better.

No frig means no genset.

Smaller boat means smaller engine, less fuel, smaller fuel tanks, less fuel money.

Less stuff means less weight slowing down the boat.

Less stuff means less stuff to be stolen.

Less stuff means more freedom

Less is more.


Ummm... that extends to "nothing is everything" -- and some folks just aren't ready to wait for several days 'til the next cold martini becomes available.



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Old 11-04-2015, 11:23   #29
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Re: How big is too big?

During a much earlier budget squeeze-down from the same dumb trickle down economists in the late last century, the Admiral of the Coast Guard said: "The end result of doing more with less is doing everything with nothing!"

Of course, there are anecdotal gibes of this sort all over the place.

As far as boat size is concerned, it is so very much a personal choice: what you had in your prior life, what you think you "need," how good you are at getting rid of "stuff" (just ask Mike, right?!?), and where you plan to go.

No "right" answers.

Wow, here's quiz even I can ace!
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Old 11-04-2015, 11:34   #30
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Re: How big is too big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
Less is more.

I vote for simplicity. Fewer systems. Even fewer through hulls.

When you don't have refrigeration, that ice cold drink when you finally arrive tastes so much better.

No frig means no genset.

Smaller boat means smaller engine, less fuel, smaller fuel tanks, less fuel money.

Less stuff means less weight slowing down the boat.

Less stuff means less stuff to be stolen.

Less stuff means more freedom

Less is more.
Awesome! We should all aspire to such lofty goals.
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