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Old 24-08-2011, 18:59   #1
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Opinions On Boat Size ?

Greetings,
I would like to have some real life opinion on the difference between a 35' an a 40' boat, I currently have a 30' Islander that the previous owner modified with a taller mast, longer boom and bigger sails. The result is that the boat moves way better in light air than a "stock" Islander 30, but is a bit more tender than it should. And I'm fine with that, I just have take a reef earlier. So now that I want upgrade to a bigger boat suited for blue water, my original plan was to get a 35' such as a Niagara 35 or a C&C Landfall 35. In terms of actual size 35' would fit my need, but since I really like "fast" boats I'm wondering if I'm not better to get something like a C&C 40? What I would like to know is if any one out there ever regreted buying a boat bigger than they needed only for performance sake? I understand that there is quite a cost difference for maintenance, outfitting and marina fees in the long run between a 35 and a 40', although the 3 boats I mentionned are roughly in the same price range.
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Old 24-08-2011, 19:14   #2
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Re: Opinions on boat size?

I feel you are never sorry about having the bigger boat. The difference between my last boat of 39' and current that is 43.5' overall is huge! Faster more comfortable etc.

And the upkeep difference between a 35' and a 40' is minor!
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Old 24-08-2011, 21:00   #3
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Re: Opinions on boat size?

Is this a boat for just tooling around Montreal, or for longer voyages?

Do you sail alone or with a companion, or with a crew?

Do you like to sail fast or to actually race at the club level?

Answer those questions and you'll have more focus. I do agree that on some levels the bigger boat is more fun and (usually) more pleasant to sleep aboard/cruise for a week, but Montreal's season is brief and yards and clubs charge winter storage by the square foot or metre, as do insurance companies.

Evaluate your needs vs. your desires. A hot-rodded Islander 30 might not be such a bad thing in retrospect.

Blue water boats: again, if you are solo, I would say 35 feet is a comfortable limit for single-handing and the LOWER limit for a couple. The Landfall and the Niagara 35 are both offshore-capable, if again, prudently employed. The C&C 40 is fine for blasting down the East Coast of the U.S. to the Caribbean, where you will find its keel touching a lot of places and that it's a bit tender for cruising/open ocean work without a nice four to six person crew.
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Old 24-08-2011, 21:39   #4
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Re: Opinions on boat size?

niagara and landfall will gain 1/2kn in terminal speed 0ver your present boat...each more then 5000lbs over yours, this means less efective light air sailing???

I love all these boats...especialy yours!!!

why do you think your boat is not seawarthy?

few weeks ago I saw an islander 30, a grampian 28, a c&c 45 1960 and a hunter 40?
all sailing against the st laurence 2-3kn courent wind on the nose...I was sitting on a bech in trois rivieres port and they headed toward the bridg (to lac st pierre) anyway the islander showed best performance folowed by the c&c, the hunter and grampian almost went backwards, it was rediculous to watch...dont know if the crew was responsible for this poor performance??

I have visited this islander befor and the owner has sailed her many times to sagney and ils de la madelain, he thinks highly of this sailboat.
hops he sees this post.
cheers
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Old 24-08-2011, 21:47   #5
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Re: Opinions on boat size?

I have a Caliber 33 which is almost identical to a Caliber 35 (minus the swim step on the stern) - In last year's Caribbean 1500 we got to the BVI's in time for the party just like the folks on the 40 and 50 foot boats. Sure, it was a bit slower but it was great for my wife and me to hop up and down the islands - Much easier to single hand than a 40 would be. It was a bit small to have guests on but for a couple it was great
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Old 24-08-2011, 21:49   #6
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Re: Opinions on boat size?

went from 35 ericson to 41 formosa. i LOVE the formosa.
i also love the ericson--different kinds of boats for different kinds of sailing. i love cruising my formosa. is comfy and roomy and heavy and beautiful inside. and SOLID
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Old 25-08-2011, 06:29   #7
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

Isn't there an old saying that goes along the lines of "The smaller the boat the bigger the fun"?

That being said, I sold my 23 footer and am in process of purchasing a 30ft boat. 23ft, while perhaps doable, does not quite meet my requirements for longer term cruising.

Still, I remember being out on a Finngulf 43 in a fairly slight breeze, about 10 to 15kts, in sheltered waters. Sure, the thing went seven knots, no problem, but it was so dull... Like being on a barge. No sense of velocity at all! Now if you go 7 knots on an H-Boat, or some other feisty smaller boat, you feel like you're getting somewhere. And don't get me started on wheel steering. Give me a tiller in my hand any time over an unresponsive wheel with hydraulic autopilot between it and the rudder.

Also, it takes a while getting used to maneuvering in harbors, and not just because of the larger turning radius and general bulk. Point being, you can still stop a thirty-footer from banging into the quay at slow speed with your foot, but try that with a forty-footer and all you'll get is a hell of a lot of pain and an expensive medical problem.

Basically, I generally think that people are cruising in boats that are way, way too large for the skill level they posess. That fact becomes very obvious when observing a crowded anchorage / marina in the height of the summer season, there's always gonna be some dunderhead or two in a 50ft boat bumping about.
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Old 25-08-2011, 07:32   #8
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

G'Day Dangen

The incremental costs of 40 feet over 35 feet are not all that large, with the exception of marina/hauling fees. You can determine these with a phone call. If the increment doesn't sink your budget, you are ok there.

Equally, it isn't (in my personal experience) very much harder to operate the larger boat. Length is a poor measure of "difficulty" of operation. A better measure is displacement, and even this is trumped by design, layout and rig of the subject boats.

I've made the jump from 15 to 22 to 30 to 36 to 46 feet OAL. After a few days of familiarization, each bigger boat was easier to sail, motor, and maneuver than its predecessor. One needs to modify some procedures as you learn, but crikeys, it isn't rocket science!

Finally, being interested in sailing performance is ok for a cruiser despite what some of the CF pundits would have you think. The Dashews, in their first book, recommended that one purchase the longest LWL boat that you could afford. They felt that this was the single most important factor in a cruising boat (possibly with the exception of floating). This couple has managed to do a few successful miles cruising...

So, to me, it sounds like you have things prioritized well... so hang in there and do what is good for YOU.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:01   #9
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

I agree with Asmodean. And I have seen many folks nervous about bad conditions in boats too big. It limits their sailing, and maximizes their maintenance. There is an old saying about price, too....."buy a boat you can afford to lose". Not that you are trying to lose it, of course, but if you are making your decisions, rather than some insurance company, you WILL be safer.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:12   #10
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

If you what to be safer I would think you would want a boat that you can not afford to lose.

I don't understand why people are always saying that a 40' boat is hard to manage. After getting bareboat certified, then 3 months of weekend sails, I got my first boat that was 39'. Now have a boat that is 43.5 overall length and it is even easier to handle. If 2 older fat people with only 3 months of weekend sailing handle their "big" why can not all you people with all this sailing experience?

I'm going to stick to my belief that a crusier should get the largest boat they can afford to buy and maintain. You will have a much better time on it.
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:29   #11
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

I'm mostly sailing nearby Montreal but I like to head towards lake Ontario whenever I have the time. it's about 100 nautical miles with currents up to 6 knots in a few places and usually with the wind straight on the nose! it usually takes 2-3 days motoring. There is no club racing at the marina I'm at. I'm more a white knuckle sailing type, usually when the wind is below 10 knts I'm not having that much of a good time, I rather throw the anchor and open a can of beer in those conditions. In my current sailing grounds there are alots days with winds less that 15 knts until mid August then it gets more windy. I don't have a crew but often have guests aboard. I'm not to worried about single handing a 40' boat, When I rig up the spinaker I always do it by myself.

Those are the reasons that motivates me into buying a "fast" boat. I absoulutely don't need a blue water capable boat for now, I just want one! My reasoning is that I want to have a "go anywhere" boat as an escape plan! i.e. if I ever loose my job, then I'm ready step out of the rat race and go sailing for a couple years. So I'm thinking that a C&C 40 ( one with Keel/center board) would be give more enjoyment and more actual sailing hours for my current needs and If I have the chance to do some extended cruising, I think it would fit the bill as well for a cruising couple.

My concerns on the 40' thing, are upkeep cost like Alchemy mentioned. And because I've never sailed any other boats than mine, I'm worried that on a 10knts day even a C&C 40 would not be that exciting to sail either? Am I building too much expectations on the sailing characteristics of a C&C 40?

Jobi, it's not the seaworthyness the issue with the Islander 30, it's the tights quarters and limitted storage space.

Thanks

Daniel
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Old 25-08-2011, 08:47   #12
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

I don't think length is as big of a factor as weight and keel design. My Ingrid 38 with an 8ft. bowsprit weighed 25000 lbs and had a full keel. Being a ketch, rigging was 40% more than a sloop. While it was a great ocean boat, it was a run away freight train getting it into it's slip. One time with a cross wind, I wiped out my neighbors rail on his trawler. That being said, a Peterson 44 of the same weighed is easy to dock. If you want to do some "comfortable cruising" I think you're wise to step up to a 35' and the Niagara I hear is a good boat.
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Old 25-08-2011, 09:13   #13
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

Sorry, Don, I did not make myself clear. If one really gets out and about, goes offshore, maybe crosses an ocean, sails in the tropics during hurricane season, singlehands, that sort of thing, one runs into others, mostly shorebound, who seek to put limits on itineraries, schedules, crew requirement, etc. etc. I am not talking about friends and family. Rather, these can be government officials, but usually it is insurance companies. I remember, for instance, when planning on a Pacific crossing in my 33 foot monohull, that insurance companies simply said "we don't insure such voyages in anything under 37 feet, no matter what, and extra crew don't matter". Never mind that most of the great, successful cruises one reads about were done on smaller boats. There were other times when taking a third or fourth crew was specified. The point I was trying to make was that, for the experienced sailor, taking everything into account and making an informed decision one's self, is much better than doing whatever someone else, in an armchair, is requiring. But, if you depending upon those others to bail you out, financially or otherwise, then you are giving them those decisions. And that, in my opinion, is not as safe. Soooooo.....if you are going to sail uninsured, which many cruisers wind up doing at least part of the time, "sail a boat you can afford to lose". Otherwise, you will be turning important decisions over to whoever insures it, regulates it, etc.etc.

It is not a matter of which boat is more comfortable. Obviously a larger boat is. And it is not a matter of what is safer, all other things being equal, which is also the larger boat. The point is that not all other things ARE equal. I currently sail a 45 foot cat, and I am very comfortable singlehanding her. Just like my other boat, a 33 foot monohull, or the larger yachts I have been paid to sail.

The point is that on my 33 footer, which I could afford to lose, (but which I stayed on board, at anchor, as the eye of a hurricane passed overhead, precisely because I was determined NOT to lose her) my cruising was much less fettered by insurance requirements, maintenance, or regulations, than it is aboard my 45 foot cat, whose loss I would have a much harder time dealing with financially. Both boats have always been maintained and equipped to a very high standard. But the number of systems on the big cat make the work load the equal of a fleet of two or three of the monohulls. And much more dependent upon visits to outside technicians, or even boatyards, even though I do most of my own work.

It is no secret that the farther a boat cruises from its home base, the smaller it is likely to be, for all the above reasons. So, if you are planning on staying in your home area, go big, if you can. If you are planning on maximizing speed or comfort, go big. If your budget and the facilities available allow it, go big. If you can handle the boat yourself or with minimum crew (and I do think that far more people could do this than think that they can), go big. I absolutely love sailing, cruising, going fast, and living aboard my big cat.

But...if you plan on going far afield, if you don't love boat maintenance, which you will be doing yourself under those circumstances, if you want to preserve as much of your time as you can to actually savor the places you go, if you don't want to depend upon others occasionally to help you move the boat, think again. AND, if you want the last word on where you are going, when and with whom, then "sail a boat you can afford to lose". Just remember to work like the devil not to lose it! I also loved cruising my 33 foot mono, and I had lots less to worry about.

I have done this both ways, and have enjoyed it both ways, and am totally comfortable aboard or even singlehanding both boats. I have taken each boat many places, and would basically be happy going "anywhere", within reason, in either. But, clearly, they are opposite faces of the sailing "compromise". And, I have met many who don't understand this, and they are usually waiting for someone to help them in a marina, rather than in a beautiful, uncrowded bay.

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 25-08-2011, 09:56   #14
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I've made the jump from 15 to 22 to 30 to 36 to 46 feet OAL. After a few days of familiarization, each bigger boat was easier to sail, motor, and maneuver than its predecessor. One needs to modify some procedures as you learn, but crikeys, it isn't rocket science!

Finally, being interested in sailing performance is ok for a cruiser despite what some of the CF pundits would have you think. The Dashews, in their first book, recommended that one purchase the longest LWL boat that you could afford. They felt that this was the single most important factor in a cruising boat (possibly with the exception of floating). This couple has managed to do a few successful miles cruising...
+1

The only drawback of a bigger boat, in my opinion, is cost, berthing, and close-quarters maneuvering. Everything else is a plus.

I would also echo the comment about sailing performance. Unless you really don't care about sailing and really don't mind whether you sail or motor, sailing performance is extremely important in a cruising boat, IMHO.

A few degrees of pointing ability can make a large difference in what proportion of trips you can sail on, and which you have to motor because it's just not practical to tack -- you just can't make enough windward progress.

With that in mind, you might consider not only some of the great classics you have listed, but some more modern production boats like Beneteaus. You get more for your money, so you can buy a larger boat. And recent ones with their plumbish bows and small overhangs have more LWL for their LOA. They generally have vastly better sailing performance than "classics". You might give up some seaworthiness, but I agree with the poster above that sailing performance is a supreme value for a cruising boat -- for those of us who really like to sail, that is.
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Old 25-08-2011, 10:10   #15
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Re: Opinions On Boat Size ?

i would recommend a 35 foot boat for cruising and sailing. if you step up to 40 you will pay more for almost everything associated with the bigger boat. plus they are harder to handle especially in the marina and harbors. 6 or 7 tons is plenty of boat for me and my wife and we do live aboard
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