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Old 10-09-2014, 17:21   #46
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Re: Large or Small?

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
..................
We are 60 days into our current voyage, and the boat continues to feel just right. .....................
.............. How much space do you really need for two? ...
We're at the same weight, but four feet longer and two feet wider. 'sounds like you're pretty robust. When I looked at your design on sailboatdata.com I noticed that you had one full smooth line from the stem to the rudder shoe. That's not commonly seen any more! As you are 60 days out I'm wondering if you're out of the Great Lakes and southbound. ...? Our larger size is only a consequence of having our two children move out of our aft cabin. The space we thrive in is probably similar, if not a little smaller than yours. Many do with less, but you might have found the "sweet spot"!
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Old 11-09-2014, 08:00   #47
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Re: Large or Small?

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We're at the same weight, but four feet longer and two feet wider. 'sounds like you're pretty robust. When I looked at your design on sailboatdata.com I noticed that you had one full smooth line from the stem to the rudder shoe. That's not commonly seen any more! As you are 60 days out I'm wondering if you're out of the Great Lakes and southbound. ...? Our larger size is only a consequence of having our two children move out of our aft cabin. The space we thrive in is probably similar, if not a little smaller than yours. Many do with less, but you might have found the "sweet spot"!

Yes, thanks for saying so. I've always liked the IO designs as well. I looked at a few before finding our Rafiki 37. For us though, I think we have found the goldilocks boat. Not too big, not too small. Most importantly, it is designed with extended cruising in mind for a couple. I bet our living spaces are comparable HF. For the two of us it seems just right. We have enough living and storage space for our life afloat.

We're slowly making our way through the Great Lakes. Have spent the last months cruising from Superior, down here to L. Ontario. We're going to winter the boat on the eastern side and then carry on down the St. Lawrence next spring. The plan is to cruise NFLD and the Maritimes for a few years and then turn south at some point.

P.S. We do cruise with our cat. But I've never actually checked to see if I can swing him ;-)


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Old 11-09-2014, 08:31   #48
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Re: Large or Small?

I can't say what is too large, in my case I'd have to say experience, age (physical capability) and technical ability all play a roll.
A larger boat usually also means more systems with ever more complexity and increased loads everywhere. Although powered winches, windlasses, and other labor saving devices are nice they are also another piece that can fail, usually at the worst time.
We originally had a 38' boat that was fine for my wife and I, but with the two boys it was a bit tight and didn't have enough storage. Soooo we went looking for another boat, one we can do extensive cruising with, at first we figured 42' - 44' but after three years of looking ended up with a 47'.
Are the loads higher? Of course they are. Can I handle them, yes I can but I know that it might be a handful when I'm at an advanced age.
As in many things, what you want is not necessarily what you need. First be really honest about what your going to do with it, then go for the most modest boat that fits your needs. Be honest about your technical capability, sure that nice fancy system does many neat things but what can you do if it fails?
When I started sailing most people bought a 24' - 28' boat as a first boat, their needs were simpler, they weren't as worried about extensive creature comforts, stepping up to a 32' - 34' boat seemed like a huge step up into the lap of luxury. Now people won't even consider a 30' boat as a starter, it's too small in their eyes, unfortunately it sometimes backfires as those same people feel it's too expensive and labor intensive to keep up a larger boat and get out of it completely.
The pendulum seems to be swinging toward larger and more luxurious boats at this point, I know I never planned on having one this large, I do know however that when the kids get older and are not with us I'm going to a smaller, simpler boat as soon as I can, I just don't like to have to be dependent on all the powered accessories required to run a larger boat. Who knows, as the baby boomers age out of the scene maybe the younger crowd will move towards smaller simpler boats, as in MUCH LESS COSTLY AND LABOR INTENSIVE.
For now, other than the windlass, every other sail control device on my boat is manual and simple, but I couldn't see going larger without having to loose that simplicity.
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Old 11-09-2014, 14:01   #49
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Re: Large or Small?

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....................................

.............. Who knows, as the baby boomers age out of the scene maybe the younger crowd will move towards smaller simpler boats, as in MUCH LESS COSTLY AND LABOR INTENSIVE.
For now, other than the windlass, every other sail control device on my boat is manual and simple, but I couldn't see going larger without having to loose that simplicity.
As a "boomer" myself I recall my own first liveaboard, like those of others my age in the late 1960's & early 1970's, was simple. Our boats were with nothing powered,- all hanked on jibs, rarely with refrigeration, no power windlasses or winches. My boats have gone from 30' to 41' since that time, but the only change in managing the boat has been a roller furling jib, GPS, an electronic depthsounder an a manual windlass. I suspect the "boomers" that have all the powered stuff started late in life! ....maybe I'm wrong, .... maybe I just didn't "grow up" as a consumer!
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Old 11-09-2014, 14:38   #50
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Re: Large or Small?

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Originally Posted by lifeofreilly57 View Post
Who knows, as the baby boomers age out of the scene maybe the younger crowd will move towards smaller simpler boats, as in MUCH LESS COSTLY AND LABOR INTENSIVE.
I think in general people, even the younger cruisers are moving towards larger boats. The entire industry is moving there so why wouldn't they?

We quit everything and started cruising when I was 30 in 2005. We decided on a 47' boat because of the space to live aboard and the speed at which we could travel. There was just my wife (28 at the time) and our dog, but we made use of ALL of the space on the boat. We ended up trading it in for a bigger 49' boat just a few years later to make more room for the 34GPH water maker, Generator, and even bigger engine. Yes they cost more but I wouldn't assume that the next generation of young cruisers don't have enough money or desire to do the work to keep up a big boat...

I think the biggest factor in how big a boat is "top big" is how much time you are going to be spending actually living on the boat. We were out for 5 years and never left the boat once to go fly somewhere else. The boat was our house so it needed to be big or we would go insane. I think if we were only on the boat and cruising for a few months at a time, a smaller boat would be more suitable. For living on it full time, a bigger boat is always better in my mind.
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Old 11-09-2014, 14:49   #51
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Re: Large or Small?

I too started in the 70's, I think, I don't fully recall....
Because I started on smaller, simpler boats and have always done my own work I have a better idea of what you really need and what is fluff.
What I do see a lot of these days at boat shows and in the waters around me are more financially flush, older boomers getting into the sport later in life and wanting all the luxuries and space of their homes but in a boat. The large entertainment sized cockpit, all the electronic gadgets available and large cabins. More power to them if they have the means, of course that also means more stuff to break, more boat to handle and a steeper learning curve. Let's face it, yacht manufacturers need to cater to the people who are buying their boats, for the most part these days that's people with more available cash looking for more luxurious accommodations. I don't see that trend changing anytime soon.
From my own experience though I tend to be a bit more conservative, I have to fix all the stuff on my own boat, I have to be able to handle the sail plan manually, I have to be able to handle any emergency issues that arise. Nothing ever seems to fail at a convenient time or anywhere near a good source of parts, the bigger the boat the more potential for failures.
I didn't plan on owning a boat the size of our current one but in this case our needs dictated our choice. Yeah, I now have a water maker and refrigeration to maintain but otherwise it's pretty basic on electronics and gadgets. Yeah I have GPS and the other handy devices but I still carry a sextant and full charts. Now if I could just remember how to use it, it's been awhile.....
I just hope the current trend of going bigger and the expense that brings with it doesn't discourage younger sailor/adventurers away from this pursuit, there are still a lot of good smaller used cruising boats out there but that fleet is aging.
I do know that when my kids age out and are off to college I'm definitely going to be looking to downsize, sometimes simpler is better. At least that's what works for me. Going up in size has had benefits and detriments, it all depends on what your willing to live with.
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Old 11-09-2014, 15:11   #52
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Re: Large or Small?

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Originally Posted by RumRunnerSail View Post
..................

............... The boat was our house so it needed to be big or we would go insane. .........................
This corelation is difficult for me to understand. "was your house", suggests that you're no longer living aboard and the "house" part implies you didn't adapt to the boat as a home. When you and your wife we're looking for enough space for two and moving to a 49' boat, at the same age, my wife and I were enjoying comfort with our two children on a 33' boat that we kept for 13 years.

I am not suggesting that one form of living aboard is best or right, but I do believe that there are huge differences in what people need, expect and value in terms of functional space and a need of "psychological" space.

'still living large in a small space since 1971.
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Old 11-09-2014, 15:44   #53
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Re: Large or Small?

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Originally Posted by RumRunnerSail View Post
I think in general people, even the younger cruisers are moving towards larger boats. The entire industry is moving there so why wouldn't they?

We quit everything and started cruising when I was 30 in 2005. We decided on a 47' boat because of the space to live aboard and the speed at which we could travel. There was just my wife (28 at the time) and our dog, but we made use of ALL of the space on the boat. We ended up trading it in for a bigger 49' boat just a few years later to make more room for the 34GPH water maker, Generator, and even bigger engine. Yes they cost more but I wouldn't assume that the next generation of young cruisers don't have enough money or desire to do the work to keep up a big boat...

I think the biggest factor in how big a boat is "top big" is how much time you are going to be spending actually living on the boat. We were out for 5 years and never left the boat once to go fly somewhere else. The boat was our house so it needed to be big or we would go insane. I think if we were only on the boat and cruising for a few months at a time, a smaller boat would be more suitable. For living on it full time, a bigger boat is always better in my mind.
We spent almost 20 years living aboard different catamarans ranging from 30'-43'. We have settled on a sweet spot of 33'-38'. Any larger and we have a waste of space and the cost goes up. Any smaller and they didn't have the load carrying capacity. Definitely a personal choice.
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Old 11-09-2014, 16:13   #54
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Re: Large or Small?

Definitely a personal choice, but also based on individual capacities (financial, sailing and maintenance skills, luxury level needed, etc.), as well as each person's experience or exposure to what is normal. I suspect if one comes into cruising where all the boats are 45+ feet, then naturally that's the kind of size you'll look for when it comes your turn to buy.

Once a boat is large enough to carry adequate supplies of food, water, clothes, gear, and general sailing/cruising equipment, and can comfortably sleep, feed and support the crew, then it is big enough. Big enough was upper 20s to mid 30s through the late 1960 to mid 1970s. Individuals, couples and families happily cruised far and wide in these boats. Affluence and expanding "needs" have driven cruising boat sizes ever-upwards, much like houses.


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Old 11-09-2014, 21:02   #55
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Re: Large or Small?

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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.
I agree about comfort, except the comfort I am looking for is the ability to get thru bad weather. Conventional wisdom (after Fastnet) dictates that a larger boat is inherently safer. Every bluewater sailor I have met said 40' is the minimum size they would sail. Keep in mind I am only talking about a few dozen people. I am looking for the smallest boat that has a separate shower, dedicated nav, keel stepped mast, and decent tankage. For me and my wife with our limited experience, 38 to 43 seems about right.
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Old 11-09-2014, 21:13   #56
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Re: Large or Small?

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Every bluewater sailor I have met said 40' is the minimum size they would sail.
What then are the many folks we meet in South Pacific anchorages... folks who sailed there in boats much smaller than 40 feet in length? Are these guys not "b.w. sailors"?

I think you need to expand your circle of "BW" sailor friends!

From personal experience, we've made BW passages in 30, 36 and 46 foot yachts. For sure I like the latter vessel best, but we did about 25,000 miles in the 30 footer, 86,000 in the 36 footer and are working on 45,000 in our current boat. No plans for a larger one ever, no desire to return to a smaller one... but there are lots of smaller boats out cruising.

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Old 12-09-2014, 04:15   #57
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Re: Large or Small?

Few new to cruising really know how much it really costs. Guys like Mike OReilly will be cruising while many others will be heading home to make some money. Larger boats are just so much more expensive to operate and maintain.
If your serious about spending some real time at this game you better have a lot of money or a smaller boat that doesn't break the bank.
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:06   #58
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Re: Large or Small?

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This corelation is difficult for me to understand. "was your house", suggests that you're no longer living aboard and the "house" part implies you didn't adapt to the boat as a home.
I don't think just because we were only out for 5 years means we didn't adapt well to the boat being a home. We lived and traveled over 15,000 miles and 21 countries in 5 years. I rather think it means our adventure of cruising ended for us because we accomplished what we set out to do. We could still live on the boat, but we thought we might be more comfortable in a house if we were not travelling anymore...

It is great you are on a smaller boat and have lived on it longer than we did. Everyone has opinions and I was just giving my answer to our opinion on size because of the topic. I don't think big boats are for everyone, but they were for us.

And yes, after 5 years the thrill for us of living aboard wore off and we now also have a land based home. I still consider myself a "cruiser" at heart and still go on trips (we are planning on going cruising for a few months a year).
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Old 12-09-2014, 10:23   #59
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Re: Large or Small?

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I don't think just because we were only out for 5 years means we didn't adapt well to the boat being a home. We lived and traveled over 15,000 miles and 21 countries in 5 years. I rather think it means our adventure of cruising ended for us because we accomplished what we set out to do. We could still live on the boat, but we thought we might be more comfortable in a house if we were not travelling anymore...

It is great you are on a smaller boat and have lived on it longer than we did. Everyone has opinions and I was just giving my answer to our opinion on size because of the topic. I don't think big boats are for everyone, but they were for us.

And yes, after 5 years the thrill for us of living aboard wore off and we now also have a land based home. I still consider myself a "cruiser" at heart and still go on trips (we are planning on going cruising for a few months a year).
Well said and well understood. This is why I stated, "I'm not suggesting that one form of living aboard is best or right........ ". 'just my attempt to expound upon the variety.
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Old 12-09-2014, 11:27   #60
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Re: Large or Small?

We started sailing 7 years ago and bareboat chartered for several years in the 30 to 42 feet range. At a certain point we started to look for our own boat and from the beginning it was clear it had to be > 40 feet, due to our space and comfort requirements. After searching a suitable boat for 2 or 3 years the size requirements had increased to > 50 ft and we bought Laroobaa a Tayana 55. Friends warned me that it is impossible to handle a boat of such size as a wife/husband crew and I admit at the beginning we had some situations while docking I am still ashamed of. Manouvering a 55 footer in tight Med marinas is a handful without bow thruster and still there are times when the wind is blowing too hard, that I refuse to enter a marina until it settles and anchor out or just continue cruising.
The sailing is the easy part and we do not have any electrical winches. Genoa and stay sail are roller furled and the main sail with lazy jacks. I am in my late 50s and my wife is a petite asian woman. When it is blowing a little bit harder, she takes the wheel and I operate the jib sheets while tacking. On a boat of such size, everything goes a little bit slower, no need to rush. In 30 knots with all sail area up Laroobaa sails very comfortable, if we have stronger gusts, we ease the sheets a bit, bear away a little and everything is fine again. Can not imagine to do this comfortably in a 30 something footer. But usually we take a conservative approach: when leaving a sheltered anchorage and I am unsure about the conditions outside I put a reef into the main from the start to see how things are developing.
We can not imagine to downsize, as we are extremly happy with our choice.
Downside of it are the maintenance and marina cost. And now that we decided to stay one more season in the Med, I am seriously considering to install a bow thruster.
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