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Old 10-09-2014, 08:35   #31
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Re: Large or Small?

In boats, it often pays to find the happy medium. The larger the boat, the greater the cost, complexity and work, no matter what.

I think these survey's are deceptive. There may be an increase in the LOA of cruising boats over the years, but, are all those people making good choices?

Here are a couple facts:

Unless you are on an aircraft carrier, your boat is not big enough to quiet the swells.
NO boat under 70ft or so, has the space of a 1 BR apartment. Nor the amenities.

If you look through the designs of boat of various sizes, what you find is that the bigger you go, most often, you are simply gaining more compartments, NOT more space in each compartment (except the saloon perhaps).

I once captained a brand new Hunter 49. The forward stateroom was very nice, but not huge. It had some walkaround space on either side of the berth, that my 38 lacked. Big deal...when I am ready to rack out, I just jump head first into the rack. The rest of the crew were shoehorned into either of two TINY quarter cabins aft, under the footwell...so you could bang your head on the overhead every time you walked in. While I only had one quarter cabin on my 38, it had full 6'6" headroom in it. And a nicer berth.

I met a woman who sailed the carib with her hubby on a 40 for 9 years. Happy as clams. SO happy they traded up to a 60. Within a year or two, they were broke, miserable and divorced. She ended up with the boat and could not give it away for half what they paid.

A good friend lives aboard his 42. And never sails...because he needs crew to sail it. And no one has the time to spend a month anchored out. I solo'd my 38 at will. And had plenty of room for plenty of guests. Once slept 7 aboard after a night in Annap....all in their own berth, except one couple (that included the long cockpit benches which had cushions).

I met a very nice couple who cruised the carib happy as clams in a 36, for three years. So much so that they came back and bought a 47 to go back in. Of course the 47 they bought, for the price they bought it needed a total refit. They spent every weekend for three years and well over $150k working on this and it was STILL a shell, when I left them in my wake, departing Annap.

The teenage Dutch girl sail around in a old cheap 37. And enjoyed it so much that soon after completing her circumnavigation, ended up in the carib, took off for NZ, just for the fun of it. The American teen girl who departed in a completely tricked out Open 40 needed to be rescued in the Southern Ocean.

And we all know the story of the Flying Pig. Two people in a 47, one of whom had never sailed. They ended up on a reef within 48 hours of launching their boat.

Bigger is not always better. It depends on your crew and your needs. Chose wisely, not by polling.

Hope this helps
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Old 10-09-2014, 09:27   #32
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Re: Large or Small?

Costs for maintenance, refitting and repairs go up exponentially as your boat gets larger and unless you have very deep pockets it does not add to your enjoyment and it often puts a grip on your cruising kitty.
I think between a 36 and 42 footer is just about ideal for a couple for long term cruising.
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:09   #33
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Re: Large or Small?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
Though without some luxuries, like A/C or shower stall, water maker, and tons O storage for shoes.
how does one sail without multiple pairs of shoes?

i apply a standard formula:

1 (pair)* days * responsibility + 20% (contingency)

so... if on a given 7 day trip i am cooking, on watch, the helmsman and manning the winches...

1*4*7 = 28 + 5.6 (clearly rounded up) = 34 pairs of shoes.

i am sure you heathens will tell me you **gasp** wear the same pair of shoes all day everyday... THE HORROR!!!!

the 1st step is admitting you have a problem: my name is steve and i have a shoe problem.

-steve
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:14   #34
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Re: Large or Small?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post

(...)

... it'd be nice if there were more of them available, and not at a super premium price (higher by far than most average production boats).
Enlighten me. Where we are the market is full of "small" cruising boats. For all pockets.

Many things would be nice but boats are only goods and as such their price is driven by common market factors.

If you want to see a new Contessa 32 sold at a price of a new Bavaria 32 then it will be a long wait as all rules of economy are against you.

b.
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:16   #35
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Re: Large or Small?

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Originally Posted by ssanzone View Post
how does one sail without multiple pairs of shoes?

i apply a standard formula:

1 (pair)* days * responsibility + 20% (contingency)

so... if on a given 7 day trip i am cooking, on watch, the helmsman and manning the winches...

1*4*7 = 28 + 5.6 (clearly rounded up) = 34 pairs of shoes.

i am sure you heathens will tell me you **gasp** wear the same pair of shoes all day everyday... THE HORROR!!!!

the 1st step is admitting you have a problem: my name is steve and i have a shoe problem.

-steve
I use to have many many pairs of shoes. Alas on a small boat there is just not enough space for lots O shoes. So I'm down to 4 pair of shoes which are: flip flops, walking shoes, fowl weather boots and a pair of motorcycle books. Being from backwoods southern georgia (state not country) shoes in the summer were optional.
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:20   #36
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Re: Large or Small?

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Originally Posted by Randyonr3 View Post
Was wondering when someone would bring up that four letter word "race" when talking smaller vs larger..
oddly enough, its only the smaller boats that call it a race, in a larger boat, its just cruising.
We've always felt that we'd rather have a "fast passage" and stay at sea less.

But we have a little different attitude when it comes to our boat and cruising, as we feel our boat is only a motorhome on the water and able to carry us to new and different places, its the places we visit and the people we meet that give us the best memories and not the trip to get there. for us, the trip is only a formality . having our home where we visit is the plus..
Ah, see that's where we are different. For me the journey is the important part, the destination is just a place to plan the next voyage. I'm weird that way.
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Old 10-09-2014, 10:24   #37
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Re: Large or Small?

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Aside from the handling question(s), & ones on budget/upkeep etc., here's the one which I always ponder. Is how small can say a couple, or small family legitimately go & still have room for all of the stores & spares that a true cruiser needs?
You know, spare; warps/anchor rodes, sails, engine parts, tools, cans of paint & epoxy + the consumables which go with them. Also tools, paper chart portfolios & guides... and of course the obvious ones like the pantry, plus spare edible & consumables stores for "just in case" situations, or long stints away from ports where doing a serious restocking is an option.
One of the neat things about older boats is the lazzerette size. My boat has three lazzerettes, port, starboard and aft. So I have tons of space for spares and tool. My work bench is the cockpit, where I do sewing, wood work and even rebuild a diesel now and then.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:28   #38
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Re: Large or Small?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailorchic34 View Post
SNIP

Being from backwoods southern georgia (state not country) shoes in the summer were optional.
You Yankees are all alike. Where I grew up in Florida no on wore shoes in the summer.
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Old 10-09-2014, 12:56   #39
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Re: Large or Small?

As long as everything works nothing designed for a small crew is too big. The problems start when something breaks or stops working and eventually it will, probably also at a bad time.

I'm currently single handing a 65ft sloop, full electric and hydraulics. Easy job .... as long as everything works ...
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Old 10-09-2014, 13:11   #40
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Re: Large or Small?

I would say 90% is balancing money vs comfort.
- More money buys more comfort but at a higher price.
- For most big boat buyers, any speed advantage is a bonus but not the primary reason for going big.
- You can handle a very large boat...as long as the fancy winches keep working (again this favors the rich who can afford to have them serviced at a very high price on a regular basis)

Reality is we are living in a golden age for those who have saved an invested so more people have the money to shift the balance towards larger boats with more comfort.
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Old 10-09-2014, 13:55   #41
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Re: Large or Small?

I approach this question from the other side: what's the smallest boat my spouse and I can live with? So far we've found our answer in our 37-footer. We are 60 days into our current voyage, and the boat continues to feel just right. It's got large tankage, lots of excellent storage, a manageable and versatile sail plan all controlled with right-sized manual winches, and an easy motion in most seas. Perhaps most importantly, costs to operate are manageable with our small budget.

Yes, it's not as fast, or as roomy, as bigger and more modern designs, but it's not like we're swinging cats in our salon. How much space do you really need for two?


Why go fast, when you can go slow
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Old 10-09-2014, 14:20   #42
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Large or Small?

You know, a common theme in this discussion seems to be the assumption that these bigger boats have sails too big for one or two people to manage.

In other words, it seems this discussion is limited to sloops and triangular sails.

One thing you can do to make a larger sailboat more manageable for a smaller crew is to make your sails smaller. You do this in two ways :
1) add a mast, a schooner or ketch allows you to shorten the foot of your sails.
2) use gaff rigged sails, with a gaffed rigged sails, you shorten the luff of sail.

This will admittedly lower the aspect of your sailing rig, but this can be offset quite a bit by adding sails in the form of topsails.

Even a cutter has smaller sails than a sloop by shortening the foot of the mainsail and adding 2 or 3 smaller jibs and staysails. Or a gaff cutter even more.

Too "reef" this system begins with taking down the topsails, and letting some wind spill out of the top of the main while you pull in a jib or staysail. Finally once you are down to your main and fore, reef them down.

Many smaller sails is MUCH easier to manage than 1 or 2 BIG sails.

In other words, it's not the boat that becomes too big, it's the sails.
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Old 10-09-2014, 14:34   #43
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Re: Large or Small?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I approach this question from the other side: what's the smallest boat my spouse and I can live with? So far we've found our answer in our 37-footer. We are 60 days into our current voyage, and the boat continues to feel just right. It's got large tankage, lots of excellent storage, a manageable and versatile sail plan all controlled with right-sized manual winches, and an easy motion in most seas. Perhaps most importantly, costs to operate are manageable with our small budget.

Yes, it's not as fast, or as roomy, as bigger and more modern designs, but it's not like we're swinging cats in our salon. How much space do you really need for two?


Why go fast, when you can go slow
Haha, made me think of Monty python holy grail and the old lady swinging the cat like a rug beater.
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Old 10-09-2014, 16:41   #44
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Re: Large or Small?

For the folks talking about not passage making and wanting to cruise in different places this might be an option.

Basically a boat swapping club...

They started up a few years ago and I poo-pooed the idea back then as I thought people would not want strangers on their boat. It looks like they are slowly growing and so it must work for some people.

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Old 10-09-2014, 17:20   #45
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Re: Large or Small?

I chose a catamaran for 3 reasons:
1. I've always sailed cats, though I like monos too.
2. My wife does not like heeling.
3. Shallow draft. Important some places.
4. I could get the speed and accommodation space in a smaller boat that is easier for one to handle.

Money was not a factor and I did not buy the cheapest cat out there.

Now that my daughter has gone off to school and it is either just me or my wife and me, a 34' cat is quite enough for cruising weekends and a few weeks here and there. By myself it feels palatial and would do well for extended cruising. More to the point, I have bad knees (surgery tomarrow), questionable back, and stiff fingers. What do I want with heavier gear? I've got a full galley, shower, and 2 queen berths, and enough electronics. For one person, for any money, I would want no more. Would more boat buy me anything that I want, or just work me harder?

If I were cruising full time with my wife I would go up a little, perhaps 40', but no more than 36' for local cruising. It just wouldn't be a help. What would help, as others have pointed out, is reworking the interior to suit 1-2 people. Change the salon table and convert 1 berth into an office, perhaps. No more than 1 head.
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