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Old 03-03-2008, 06:46   #1
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Newbie Issue

Newbie Issues

Ok, so I’m having some issues with some of the things I’ve read on this board. I’m planning to buy a boat to single hand (No, I don’t plan on entertaining anyone…or sail 2-up. I don’t enjoy having people around) but the price differences between sizes seem like a lot of money.

For example, a Hunter 31 compared to a Hunter 34 is around 20-30K and sometimes even more. I’ve seen Hunter 31s from 2000 for 50-65k. There is nothing new that gets close in the bigger boats.

It seems that no one recommends a smaller boat than a 34 yet I’ve seen plenty of boats in the 30 category making transatlantic crossings and circumnavigations.

20-30K means a year or two worth of cruising money for a single handler….maybe more for me. Why should I go on to the bigger size? Just wondering.

Also, take a look at these links….specially the last one. All small boats. It seems to me that a lot of people are staying home working to buy that bigger boat or restore the proyect older bigger boat. Doesn’t seem like its worth it to me….

Is there any single handler out there that actually feels confortable in 30 footer?

And this 14 y/o boy crossed the ATLANTIC in what almost looks like a raft.

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Old 03-03-2008, 07:26   #2
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You can sail just about anywhere in anything. The larger the boat the more comfort, and things you can bring along. Where, and how will you stow your dinghy, and outboard. These are the questions you need to ask yourself. You will need to take extras of almost everything. Where will that go? What about tools? The list is long, so make your list, and then figure out how much room you need just for yourself. You don't want to feel so crowded you are your own prisoner..............BEST WISHES

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Old 03-03-2008, 08:12   #3
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What you’re seeing is wide variations in types of experience and personal preferences that have developed from different encounters… and even the most experienced sailor is a novice at something – so that isn’t as big a jump as you might think…

You’ve correctly observed seemingly unfathomable swings in costs between vessels that don’t appear to be all that dissimilar… from the sailing stand-point… I’ve watched these too – for many years… Usually less expensive used vessels will be less well equipped, occasionally less well maintained, lacking in pedigree and probably designed less for blue-water than for bay or inshore and certainly less well festooned with glittering, beeping and blatting techno-gizmos… whether that is a factor you need to consider depends a lot upon your own proclivities, your skills and your willingness to put in sweat-equity rather than cash… some thrive in austerity, some (or their crew) become uncomfortable with “camping” on the water…

You’ve also correctly observed that myriad voyages have been successfully completed on vessels far more modest than the 33-37’ vessel that seems to be the sweet-spot for many discussions… the question is, what are the trade-offs, what is important to you, what is not… recall, Capt. Bligh traversed several thousand miles of ocean in an overloaded open boat, but that doesn’t make it a great idea – “doable” and “attractive,” let alone “wise,” although not mutually exclusive, come from value systems that are not always in synch with each-other… still, these days I am increasingly more attracted to the reality-sized vessels, having been through more than a few seasons of being the chief maintenance officer, cook, navigator, trash collector and occasional skipper on a larger six-figure vessel (supposed it was “owned” by me, but in truth I began to feel like it was the owner…).

But ya take yer choices – I’d say don’t be too wary of `em as long as you truly know the factors and are comfortable with how they shake out – safety should not be sacrificed, but that nebulous item of “comfort” is something you’ll be a better judge of than anyone – so long as you’ve done your homework and truly know the trade-offs… Side-note; some of the so-called required safety features from some skippers are merely nice-to-have comfort features for others… Seaman-like is probably far more sailor than boat… Most of the early cruisers left in, and successfully completed many voyages in, vessels that would be embarrassingly under-equipped by today’s technical/monetary/size standards…
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Old 03-03-2008, 08:17   #4
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Nobody can say what is right for you. Only you know that. What is certain is that more money generally equates more comfort, more speed and more safety. You have to decide which of those factors best suits you. I know a guy who solo sailed around the world on a 25 foot Folkboat and he was fine with that.

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Old 03-03-2008, 09:44   #5
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I have only skippered 30s and 32s so far and I've had some helm time on 34, 38, 42, and 44 footers. Most of the 30s have been Catalinas with one Newport and one Sabre thrown into the mix. All of the 30s were built in the 80s and all of them have the main halyard winch on the mast. This seems like it would make single handing challenging because you would have to leave the cockpit to raise and lower the mainsail. I don't think that's ideal. You can change the rigging, but I'm not sure about the cost. The 32s have all been Catalina 320s so far. Those have been rigged so you can do everything from the cockpit. So far, I find the 320s to be comfortable and pretty easy to sail. I don't singlehand, but I could do it in a 320 pretty easily if I were forced into that situation. I would suggest joining a sailing club and trying different types and sizes of boats for a little while so you can get a feel for what you like and don't like. Of course, many clubs won't allow you to singlehand, which you might not like. Good luck and welcome (from another newbie).
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:59   #6
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If you haven't seen anyone recommend less than 34 then you haven't read my posts. My opinion is that you sail with what you are comfortable with. I recommend from 32-36 LOD aft cockpit cutter with a diesel engine. If you are going off shore a good deal of the time don't settle on a Hunter. If you can stand beside the boat when it is out of the water and push in on the sides and indent it (it oil cans) with hand pressure you don't want to buy it.
If you can take very small spaces and don't want to carry too much with you then you can't do any better than an 26 foot International Folkboat.
Also, in my opinion, any boat can be easy to single hand if you set it up for that purpose. All halyards and reefing systems can be rerigged to be worked from the cockpit if that's what you want to do.
You can find a very good boat for $25K or less if you really shop around.
Good luck,
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:01   #7
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I posted on your other thread by the same title.

Can someone combine these two threads?
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:17   #8

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Before anybody should be making recommendations about types of boats, they should be asking what you plan to do with it.

For coastal cruising and the occasional island hop where you can wait for a weather window as long as you like, pretty much any boat will do.

But, the size of the boat is not really a great measure of it's seaworthiness. It's true, all other things being equal, bigger is better. The problem is all other things are NEVER equal.

For sailing across oceans stricly by myself, I'd prefer a more robust, but smaller boat than the Hunter 30. Not that it is a bad boat, there are just others more strongly built and available cheaper.

The smaller the boat the easier it will be to handle when things go wrong. If I was sailing myself around the world, I would consider 30 feet to be the BIGGEST boat I would consider, not the smallest.
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:20   #9
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People go sailing in all manner of unlikely craft. Still, there are many small boats that are well regarded as bluewater capable. The only reason that this seems strange is because most cruisers are couples and in the 21st Century this generally demands a bigger boat.

As a single hander you have a tremendous advantage. You can make a life-style decision and stick to it without having to ‘negotiate’ with a partner. But if you are going cruising, this is not a trivial decision and you need to spend some serious time thinking about it. If you go cruising, you will spend 90% of your time at anchor:

1. One way or another most full time cruisers wind up with overloaded boats. How big a boat do you need to be comfortable and how much stuff are you going to ask this boat to carry? Life-style and live-aboard comfort are personal to you, but there is a big difference between camping for a week and camping for a year. Do you want/need to be able to stand up and move around below deck without stooping/crawling? Can you sleep comfortably in the V berth or settee or quarter berth? What about refrigeration and hot water? Can you haul your dinghy/outboard everyday or do you want davits? How much water can you carry - do you need a watermaker to spend time anchored off a deserted island? How many batteries will it take to keep you comfortable; how much do they weigh; and how will you charge them? Do you need a place to lounge around below deck or is a church pew settee OK? Can you get comfortable in the cockpit and just watch the world go by?

2. If you are going to be making multi-day passages or crossing oceans, then you want a bluewater boat. If you are coastal cruising or island hopping the Bahamas/Caribbean, you do not need a bluewater boat. There’s nothing wrong with having one, but it is foolish to buy one IF it involves some compromise in live-aboard comfort just because you ‘might’ want to cross an ocean some day.

3. I didn’t exactly keep track, but in the Bahamas/Caribbean we met single handers on everything from 27 to 43 footers. Pretty much the same as couples. We spent 2 ½ years on a Hunter 34 and it was acceptable for us (and Yes - it was overloaded)..
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Old 03-03-2008, 10:55   #10
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buy and read this John Vigor book Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere: John Vigor: Books

You'll find that in order to get a small offshore capable boat you'll need to look at older full keelers..

Nobody builds them anymore because of the cost required to build strong...
That and most 1st timer buyers, and a lot of repeat buyers, look no further than the size of the salon and number of berths..

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Old 03-03-2008, 14:30   #11
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IMHO - it is easier to live in large boats - it is easier to sail (single / short handed) small boats. It is much easier (cheaper) to maintain small boats. It is safer with more crew but that requires larger boat. Cruising is a mix of living, sailing, maintenance and safety. You have to work out your own proportions of the mix. And remember sea worthiness is not determined by size but by design, construction and maintenance. I prefer to sail short handed in 31 ft, some friends prefer to live on 45 feet and sail with crew of 6 when passage making. Most do something in between.
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Old 03-03-2008, 14:58   #12
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Not so much the size..

It's not so much the size as the TYPE of boat.

You have basically two types of boats.

Blue Water capable boats
- examples;

A) Westsail
B) Pacific Seacraft
C) Passport
D) Vineyard Vixen
E) Allied
F) Valiant
G) Morris
H) Niagra
I) Contessa
J) Luders 33
K) Cape Dory
L) CS Yachts
M) Hallberg Rassy
N) Alberg
O) Cal (older models only)
P) Camper Nicholson
Q) Pearson (mostly earlier models)
R) Beneteau (some FIRST series models ONLY !!!!)
S) Shannon (the 28 is affordable)
etc. etc.

Coastal Cruising boats - examples;

A) Catalina
B) Beneteau (anything other than First series)
C) Hunter
D) O'Day
E) Jenneau
F) Cal (Later models)
G) Pearson (mostly later models)

A Hunter is not a blue water boat built or designed for crossing the pond.

Size is a personal preference. I personally would sail across the pond in a 26' Morris Frances long before doing it in any of the coastal built cruisers regardless of size.

Having fallen off the face of a wave during the "Perfect Storm" only to hit the trough and be knocked flat in a 50' Shannon I have a first hand understanding, build quality wise, of why I would never cross the pond in a coastal cruiser!

Having weathered more gales, Nor Easters & hurricanes, in 34 years, than I'd care to remember, I can assure you my first criteria would be BUILD QUALITY and NOT size or the year the boat was made...

Just my .02...
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Old 03-03-2008, 15:05   #13
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Originally Posted by Acoustic View Post
It's not so much the size as the TYPE of boat.

You have basically two types of boats...........

..............Having weathered more gales, Nor Easters & hurricanes than I'd care to remember I can assure you my first criteria would be BUILD QUALITY and NOT size or the year the boat was made...

Just my .02...
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I would suggest first step is to look at your budget, work out what boat you could afford to buy / refurb and then live on for the period of time you want on your budget..........and then decide whether you want to do so on the boat you can then afford.

Nothing wrong with the answer then being "no thanks" - some folk could not happily live on, say, a 28 foot boat, others would have no fundamental problem.......if wanting to do something on a budget then it is useful to not "need" everything!
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Old 03-03-2008, 21:00   #14
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Aloha Acoustic,
You didn't list the International Folkboat. Definitely bluewater. Lots of them cruising even if they are only 26 feet.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:24   #15
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I'm currently in the anchorage in Chagaramas Trinidad, which is a crossroads of world cruisers. When I look out my window, I see all types and sizes of boats. There are exceptions, but in general the trends are:

The Americans and Canadians boats are typically 45 ft, fiberglass, bright and shiny, with windlasses, davits, RIBs with big outboard.

The Brazilian boats are more like 30 ft, dirty fiberglass or rusting steel, some engineless, pulling their anchors by hand, with rowing dinghies (except for the gleaming megayacht in the Marina). The Brazilian sailors tend to be younger, and less affluent.

The Australians tend to 40 footers of steel or fiberglass, but well maintained with all the same equipment as the Americans.

The European boats spread over a larger range, from low to big budget.

The point is, all the boats made it and everyone is having a good time down here in the warm sun, regardless of boat size and cost.

(I don't see any Hunters)

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