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Old 11-04-2015, 17:14   #46
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Re: How big is too big?

Never.

If you can afford what you want, go get it.

Too big, get crew.

Remember you can grow in both dimensions.

b.
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Old 11-04-2015, 18:22   #47
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Re: How big is too big?

What I find is that the people stating "boat is too big" do not have a big boat, while none of the people with a big boat do so as they are all very happy with it. It seems that this is just a case of denouncing what they not have so as to not have to deal with the thought that there is something better out there
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Old 11-04-2015, 18:29   #48
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Re: How big is too big?

Well now, I have sailed numerous times between Newport RI and the Bahamas on a 70' boat and I have twice sailed to Bermuda and back on a 48' boat and I would not want either one. Both are extremely nice boats, they were comfortable and had much to recommend if you like large boats...I prefer smaller boats. We own the boat we want...38' is just right for us. I wouldn't trade for much larger...
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Old 11-04-2015, 18:48   #49
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Re: How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by Bruce Beard View Post
Well now, I have sailed numerous times between Newport RI and the Bahamas on a 70' boat and I have twice sailed to Bermuda and back on a 48' boat and I would not want either one. Both are extremely nice boats, they were comfortable and had much to recommend if you like large boats...I prefer smaller boats. We own the boat we want...38' is just right for us. I wouldn't trade for much larger...
Which leads to the question of what kind of boat your 38' is and what kind of boat the 48' is. If the 48' is a modern sloop, cutter or even ketch then I don't believe you but when it is a traditional (old school) boat then it makes perfect sense
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Old 11-04-2015, 19:15   #50
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Re: How big is too big?

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Which leads to the question of what kind of boat your 38' is and what kind of boat the 48' is. If the 48' is a modern sloop, cutter or even ketch then I don't believe you but when it is a traditional (old school) boat then it makes perfect sense
Someone doesn't agree with something you say, therefore they must be wrong?
Wow!

I misspoke when I said 48...The boat is actually a 46 Morris. Our boat is a Sabre 386 with a tall carbon rig, saildrive, good sails and a good bottom.

Believe it or not (you seem to think not...whatever), I'd take our boat any day... Three Newport to Bermuda races, ten years of cruising the coast between CT and Maine and I am sure. It is all the boat we want. Maybe someday we will trade her in on something else and we might consider something around 40' or so, maybe not...certainly nothing larger!
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Old 11-04-2015, 21:24   #51
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Re: How big is too big?

Ok experience: my husband races extensively on big boats when younger. Is well versed on boat handleing and a great reason resource. My big boat experience is limited to the day skipper course and a charter in the Seychelles where we were met with two squalls one with 35 knot winds.

Our plans: to sail to the Bahamas,around South America, sail the South Pacific, Asia, Seychelles, and nz Australia and South Africa.

Boats: when we originally started looking we looked at a passport 47 which I thought was perfect and my husband thought was claustrophobic. We looked at the 51 which he liked. For a number of years we set our sites on that and saved our pennies. Then our list of wants grew. Especially after the charter. We found ourselves wanting a bigger boat to get all our wants in. Now needs are a different thing. I still think we can get away with the 47 footer.

Maintenance: hubby is a marine engineer. He lives for that stuff.

Boats we are considering
Amel 54
Passport 54
Passport 51
Passport 47

Our charter was a jeanneau 409. I didn't like the way it was set up with the main and jib sharing the same winch. I didn't like the storage it had, but I did like the way it handled in adverse conditions. I have also sailed a 47 foot coat during my class and feel comfortable with a boat that size. I like the way the amels are set up, specifically the hydrolics and protected helm. I like that they are set up to be sailed by a couple. But I think we could build that into a smaller boat too


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Old 11-04-2015, 21:29   #52
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Re: How big is too big?

It was only about 30 years ago that if you had a 32 footer you had yourself a big boat. Times change and so do the people. I don't know how big is too big for you, and it would be wrong for me to tell you. There has to be a limit to usable size, but with all the systems available to today's sailors only you can draw that line. There is a big difference in size between 30 and 40, less so between 40 and 50. No matter how big you go within 12 months you will be wondering what the issues were.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:16   #53
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Re: How big is too big?

Thanks simon!
We are still two years away from our purchase. I tend to be the optimist and my husband the pessimist when it comes to selecting a boat but since our vacation the rolls have somewhat reversed. The more we sailed the more convinced I was that I wanted an amel. I wanted the protected helm station and controls at my fingertips. But then I started reading and worrying that a boat that size is too big for us. I voiced my concerns and he reassured me that we would select the right boat when the time comes. I just want to make sure I am looking in the right direction before I waste everyone's time and energy


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Old 12-04-2015, 05:37   #54
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Re: How big is too big?

So far I've only chartered and never dealt with marina fees, so someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I've done some research and it looks like a boat of less than 15' beam and 50' length are good for keeping those fees down. Beam less than 15' can fit in a standard slip, and in Europe, boats over 50' LOA really rack up the higher fees.

For us, the size issue is also connected to the number of cabins and heads. We need at least 3 cabins, and most boats in the 38-40' range can provide that. However, we also prefer at least two heads, and the boats at that size with two heads have them pretty cramped without a separate shower. Seems like the 45' range can do two heads more comfortably, and still have a decent size sail locker, instead of a very pointy forward berth going forward as much as possible.

Sail handling is a separate issue, and it seems like a boat of any size will be fine if set up properly.
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Old 12-04-2015, 05:54   #55
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Re: How big is too big?

If you plan to cruise in the intracoastal waterway(ICW), you may want to consider mast height. Someone please correct me if I am in error, but I believe a mast height of 65' is max to transit under the fixed bridges. This could be at low tide, not sure. May want to consider a boat with a mast height less than 65'. I think 50' footers tend to have mast heights over this length.

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Old 12-04-2015, 05:57   #56
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Re: How big is too big?

For us we are a family of five...one heading off to college this year and one next year. That leaves one behind. Of the three only one shows interest in sailing, the eldest, and the others participate begrudgingly. When we first started looking it was at 47 feet and three cabins. To me this was enough, but the broker took us on the next model up, the 51 footer and my husband's eyes glasses over. Later they came out with the 54 footer and he was in heaven. Then the question was how do you pay for that with two kids in college and one in boarding school? I am slowly shifting back to my original concept. I have sailed a boat of 47 feet. I know that I can handle it under most conditions. I dream of the 54 footers but maybe they are meant to be a dream.


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Old 12-04-2015, 06:58   #57
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Re: How big is too big?

When speaking about size, a few things are important to keep in mind.

First, I suggest thinking about size in terms of displacement, not LOA/LOD/etc. Interior volume, forces/stresses, and therefore equipment (e.g. rigging, ground tackle) sizing tends to go with displacement, not LOA.

Second, it is important to differentiate maintenance complexity from size vs maintenance complexity from toys/add-ons. One may not have an option to include a dishwasher and washer/dryer on a 30'er, but one doesn't have to include them on a 50'er either.

Third, costs really do go up with size (displacement) -- beyond the obvious dockage costs, pretty much everything else costs more, from fuel to sails, docklines to deck hardware.

There are many non-obvious advantages to having a larger boat. 200nm days make passages quicker than 150nm days, but they also make evading weather easier. The extra size makes traveling in heavy weather more comfortable. It makes sailing in normal conditions easier and more relaxing -- I know this might sound controversial, but the motion of a larger boat is more relaxed and she is less tender.

While I can single hand our 58'er, and my wife and I can easily sail her together, having the extra room is great for passages because I can bring extra crew aboard. During passages, keeping a proper watch and keeping all crew well-rested is much easier on a boat with 4-6 people than with just two.

Both because of the extra displacement and the bow thruster, I find our larger boat is easier to maneuver and dock than many smaller boats. A big difference is that you cannot rely on "muscle" to put the boat where you want it, though.

When we were shopping, 58' seemed huge, and 64' out of the question. Now, I don't think we would have any trouble handling 64'. In other words, size is largely a function of what you get used to.

Having owned and sailed boat on both ends of the size continuum for couples cruisers, the only time I really miss the smaller boat is when it comes time to pay the bill. However, I cannot say that I enjoy cruising any more on our 58'er than I did on our old 28'er. The sunsets are equally beautiful.
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:03   #58
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Re: How big is too big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Beard View Post
Someone doesn't agree with something you say, therefore they must be wrong?
Wow!

I misspoke when I said 48...The boat is actually a 46 Morris. Our boat is a Sabre 386 with a tall carbon rig, saildrive, good sails and a good bottom.

Believe it or not (you seem to think not...whatever), I'd take our boat any day... Three Newport to Bermuda races, ten years of cruising the coast between CT and Maine and I am sure. It is all the boat we want. Maybe someday we will trade her in on something else and we might consider something around 40' or so, maybe not...certainly nothing larger!
C'mon, Bruce, get with the times, will 'ya? Don't you know 55 is the new 45? :-)

Life at 55 | Sail Magazine

Seems like guys with our perspective are a vanishing breed, for sure... Why would anyone today want less than they can afford? All those modern "systems" have made sailing boats of such size "a breeze" for any Mom & Pop couple, after all... Well, as long as everything keeps working at the push of a button, at least... :-)

I'm definitely a wimp when it comes to sailing larger boats offshore, the forces and the potential for having to deal with situations way beyond my own physical ability to deal with them if stuff begins failing, breaking, or otherwise going pear-shaped truly frightens me... I can only wonder at the ability of the typical Mom & Pop couple to deal with something like a broken gooseneck on a Leisure-Furl boom on something like a Hylas 56, for instance... We've recently seen how difficult it was for 3 young and fit professional crew to deal with the sort of calamity that occurred aboard RAINMAKER. How well do you suppose the owner and his wife would have dealt with such a situation by themselves?

Dealing with ground tackle is one of the most fundamental perameters of a cruising boat's maximum size, for me... I would never be comfortable knowing I could not get the hook back up manually, if the need should arise. I'd also want the ability to move the anchor off the bow by myself, or have the possibility of deploying a Luke storm anchor or an equivalent Northill without too much drama... On boats approaching 50 feet, such ground tackle quickly approaches the point of being unmanageable, at least for me...

Not to mention, I think the simple joy of sailing can sometimes begin to disappear with larger boats... Sail handling chores that are easily carried out on a boat the size of my little tub, can often give one pause once you get up around 50' or more... I doubt I have ever seen a cruising couple flying a chute on a 55-footer. I'm sure someone here will claim they do so, but it's certainly not something I see often, if indeed at all... I ran a Hallberg-Rassy 43 north awhile back, not a particularly big boat, and we did at least half of the trip sailing wing & wing DDW. The boat had a aluminum pole that weighed a ton, it was close to my own limits of dealing with it alone, and frankly a bit dangerous to manage by myself. The owner later confessed that he had NEVER once used it, due to its weight, and the prohibitive cost (for him) of going to carbon fiber... I dunno, seems I see just as many big boats as smaller boats motoring everywhere they go, if not more... :-)

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Old 12-04-2015, 07:14   #59
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Re: How big is too big?

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There are many non-obvious advantages to having a larger boat. 200nm days make passages quicker than 150nm days, but they also make evading weather easier.
Yes, one hears that claim made often... However, do you really rack up 200 Mile Days routinely?

If so, you would appear to be the exception...

:-)

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/200mile.pdf
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Old 12-04-2015, 07:48   #60
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Re: How big is too big?

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Yes, one hears that claim made often... However, do you really rack up 200 Mile Days routinely?

If so, you would appear to be the exception...

:-)

http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/200mile.pdf
Jon,

Data from bethandevans seems to support my assertion: "In perfect conditions, cruising boats with less than 45 feet of waterline will only very rarely sail a 200-mile day, but those with over 50 feet will do so regularly"

I seem to oscillate between unbelievably fast passages and those that, for one reason or another, take days more than I anticipate. For example, a recent Newport->Bermuda passage, which should've taken only 3.5 days, took 5.5 days as I was dodging TS Faye. The net result was barely 100nm/day. Yet, the Bermuda->St. Marten leg, which should've been 5-6 days, was accomplished in 4.5 -- that's 4.5 straight 200nm+ days!

The data at the start of that article comes primarily from the Bermuda (sailing) race. When I'm delivering my boat from point A to point B (as opposed to racing), I'm not afraid to use the motor if winds are unfavorable or light. (the dirty little secret of deliveries). If one lacks tankage for fuel, motoring may not be an option for longer passages, but larger displacement vessels are likely to carry greater tankage.

I can report that I regularly opt to take 10-20nm off my daily tally (taking it below 200nm) in favor of sailing more comfortably, with less stress on the vessel and crew, with less chance of being caught overpowered -- particularly after dark. If we had a shorter waterline and slower top-speed, I might be less tempted to make that trade-off.
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