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Old 02-06-2015, 11:34   #1
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Second thoughts after refit

My dh and I purchased a lovely 44' Brewer cutter rig last spring. She was custom made for a cruising couple ('95) and maybe one or two crew.We have a small cabin for us (too small, really, but I can deal with it) and two other berths. There is no other enclosed or private cabin. We bought her with the intention of sailing as a couple (full-time) when the kids are in college, but now we plan on leaving sooner. Our younger daughter will be 16 when we throw off the dock lines, and after a major refit of many thousands of dollars, the boat glows with new paint and varnish, but still sleeps comfortably 3, maybe 4.

Our daughter is fully on board with our plans to sail full-time, and she is looking forward to being home schooled. It doesn't seem to bother her (she's 13) that she won't have her own room. My dh says he can make curtains so she can have some privacy, but I am worried that our boat is not going to be suitable for a teen. I know better than to bring it up because DH has spent many, many hours painting, sanding, etc. Plus he loves the boat--a lot. Sigh. So, has anyone sailed with a family on a boat like this? We do have 2 heads, a work shop, washer/dryer and loads of space on our flush foredeck. The boat's craftmanship is impeccable, and she is a very comfortable, if slow (weighs 44,000 pounds) boat.

I guess I just need to know we bought the right boat. Dh is sure we did, but I guess I have just been looking at boat porn too much lately. Anyway, if you have any feedback or ideas for adding more privacy, I would love to hear from you!
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Old 02-06-2015, 12:17   #2
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

If special arrangements can be made for your daughters privacy, I would not be quick to change boats. More often than not, you'll take a big hit in the sale for upgrades. But more importantly, if the boat works well overall, inspires confidence, and accommodates the family ID stick with it. During the day, she may be able to use your cabin some to get away. Hang a hammock on decks, use some curtains, and be strategic about being places where it is easy for her to get off the boat. Inflatable SUP or the like, so she has some independence.

Boat porn is often misleading. You see the bright open spaces and cool features, not the problems that may come with any boat that hasn't been lovingly cared for with some skill like your brewer may have.

Spend some time taking vacation cruises and see how it goes. Actually doing it will tell you a lot, give it a try before you mix it up. Your daughter is going to be gone in a heartbeat anyway.

Good luck, have fun and please post a picture of the boat if you have an chance. That's boat porn for others....


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Old 02-06-2015, 12:52   #3
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Thank you so much for your response! You sound like the voice of reason, and I appreciate your comments.
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Old 02-06-2015, 13:08   #4
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Some families are happy sailing much smaller and more basic boats while others will go bonkers feeling cooped up living even on a much larger and more luxurious yacht. Everyone has different comfort levels and really the only way to find yours is to get out there and try it. Do some one or two week shakedown cruises and see how it works. I think if I were you, with all the time and money into your Brewer combined with the fairly short time horizon your daughter will be with you, I’d find a way to make things work.

Make sure you’ve maximized your current boat's livability. Your cockpit – at least at anchor – should be downright cushy comfortable and have good wind/weather protection. That way it will be like a second salon and give you additional room to spread out. Try to keep the decks and interior as clutter free as practicable. Getting to land often also helps the cooped up feeling. Any day that’s not a traveling day is a day we get our feet on land. It is something you have to make a priority as taking the time to spend ashore will slow your cruising down but it will be worth it for your sanity. A good dinghy is a must and it may even be worth having a second dinghy or a kayak so all three of you don’t have to go everywhere and do everything at the same time. Once a week or so, splurging for an overnight marina tie-up instead of anchoring is also well worth the cost.

If you were to trade up to a larger boat now it could seriously impact your ability to leave in 3 years. It would take several months to sell and buy. You won’t get back everything you put into the Brewer upon resale and your timeframe will necessitate pricing it to move unless you can carry two boats. For the new boat, you’d need to look for something closer to sailaway condition rather than another refit (although even “sailaway” boats require a lot of work).
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Old 02-06-2015, 14:05   #5
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Separate cabins are way overrated. Our cabin doors are open most of the time. A curtain will work just fine, c'uz sound gets around anyway. Sounds like you have a great boat. Go for it.
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Old 02-06-2015, 14:18   #6
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

You can ask Ted what he thinks might work for you guys. His contact info is at: Ted Brewer Yacht Design
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Old 02-06-2015, 14:24   #7
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Thank you so much for your replies! You all had great suggestions, and I appreciate each one. Our boat is beautiful, and certainly has more pros than cons. Fair winds to you all.
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Old 02-06-2015, 14:31   #8
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

I agree with cheoah. Most of one's living time is above decks, while cruising, and one's bunk is for sleeping. My guess is that as she gets further into her teens, your daughter may require more privacy, and might want a curtain for the bunk.

However there may be another issue: if your daughter is college bound, home schooling her at this time may prove a detriment for that goal. it may not be an issue in your particular family, but do think about it. We have another member here who decided to wait to leave for cruising till his daughter was established in the university. My sense of the situation was that although both he and his wife were eager to leave, it was more important to give their daughter the head start she could use. Again, I mean no disrespect, it is only a consideration.

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Old 02-06-2015, 22:43   #9
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

I agree about 2nd cabins being overrated. We didn't even build a door for our stateroom because it doesn't seem necessary--a curtain does it. We do have loads of space but the configuration is pretty open w/o privacy for guests. We have pilot berths with curtains over each settee in the saloon, etc, and there's really only the single stateroom that really has privacy (another double berth turns the entry/charthouse/pilothouse into a stateroom at anchor but that's grand central station and only the bed itself can be private with a curtain. Our boat was owned by several large families over the years and all of them seem to have fond memories of it and don't talk about the lack of privacy at all. Best of luck! Read Herb Payton's Blown Away (mid-70's era book) all about him, wife, and their blended family (many teens) on a tiny boat sailing from SoCal to the South Pacific and having grand times.
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Old 02-06-2015, 23:17   #10
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Sometime your needs change. No harm in looking around.

When our boat requirements changed, I spent 18 months investigating other makes and models, and making offers. Now we have the right boat for us that fulfills our needs.

Cruising should be enjoyable, not like camping. If you can afford it... go big and well-equipped. You won't have any regrets.

BTW: I looked at some online pics of a Brewer 44 cutter online, it's a nice boat.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:09   #11
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Having sailed/lived aboard for nine years with my two sons who started at the ages of seven and nine on a much smaller boat than yours, there was plenty of privacy available (without doors except for the head) for both my wife and I, as well as the two children. Other than that, I can't add anything better than what has already been said.

As the sayings go "Fair winds and calm seas," and "not to worry."

All the best!
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Old 03-06-2015, 10:22   #12
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Home schooled on a sailboat will move her university application to the top of the pile. These are just the type of life experiences we looked for when rating student applications. FYI most home schooled students do better at university as they already have mastered time management in a non classroom environment.
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Old 03-06-2015, 16:05   #13
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

We have had a plethora of cabins on our cats, yet with four children on board privacy has not often been an issue. The cabin doors are usually left open with just a loose hanging mossie curtain in place. We have a simple unwritten rule that no-one disturbs anyone in their cabin unless it is really justifiable. Usually, if someone has the sulks, they slope of to the front of the boat, weather permitting. I really would not be to concerned. Rember, the majority of the time you shall be at anchor. As long as your daughter has the means to get some basic privacy when she needs it, she'll be just fine.
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Old 03-06-2015, 16:21   #14
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

Our son and daughter lived aboard from infancy to young adults leaving the "nest"! For their last nine years aboard they split our aft cabin with a midships dividing wall and about a 7' x5' space for each. The only difficulty that my daughter had was trying to adapt to the huge dorm room and sleep in the cavernous space when she left for college. She made adjustments!
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Old 03-06-2015, 16:31   #15
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Re: Second thoughts after refit

A curtain is fine.
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