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Old 10-06-2009, 09:38   #46
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I would read very carefully this article by some well known world cruisers about their jump from 37 to 47 feet...
Great article without being a militant advocate for one point of view or another… Being an older (if not particularly experienced) sailor of many years, I’m re-discovering the advantages/disadvantages of smaller… I find the skipper generally enjoys the compactness and easy of sail handling, not to mention lack of complex systems; however, the Admiral is already plotting to find a larger, more sumptuous, boat – something in the mid-35 range… sailed a 30K pound boat for ten years and really grew to dislike the level of non-recreational effort required, but many do enjoy just that size of boat, so different-strokes… nonetheless, I don’t see me ever going above 20K pounds disp. again, and 12-15K really is about as large as I care to go, which leaves me well short of the current popular sizes…
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:44   #47
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One final comment, springing off the point that Larry made, if indirectly. What's most critical, IMO, is not the size of the boat but her displacement. Displacement determines sail area for the most part. And also, to a degree, ground tackle. The size of each will determine your dependence on mechanical aids.

I think the light D/L ratios that the Dashews advocate works for boats over 45'. But for my size boats, around 35', I think moderate to heavy displacement works better for true cruising, both for seakindliness and better ability to hold and ferry cruising stores. I recognize most people will differ with me here.

In any case, don't get overly fixated on size; keep displacement in mind. You can have two boats of similar size but vastly different displacements, and they will require quite a bit of a different amount of work to make them go.

To my way of thinking the first question is, what's the maximum sail area I want to work (and what kind of sail plan for that sail area)? Next, do I want light, medium, or heavy displacment? Once those questions have been answered, the size of the boat has already been determined.

In other words, the starting place for me is sail area and sail plan, not boat size. Of course, the sail area question begs the first order question, how dependent on mechanical aids do I wish to be? Perhaps that is the real first question in the analysis, the most profound, and the most personal.
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Old 10-06-2009, 18:12   #48
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Well as my previous posts indicate I'm very sympathetic to that article. I know that my 30 ft. cutter is right for me.

Actually its systems are way too complicated. Too many things to go wrong. It even has an electric pump to change the oil.

But on deck she's simple. Good winches, tiller, jiffy reefing, manageable sails. I can be off the mooring in 10 minutes.

Now my wife wants a much larger cockpit and an aft cabin with an island queen. I've told her that if she wants to buy that boat, I'll be happy to crew for her.
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Old 10-06-2009, 19:06   #49
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This may sound crazy, and will be a dead givaway to my lack of knowledge, BUT....... could a Valiant 42 or 50 be built as a center cockpit ketch? I love the lines, and would give up the idea ( but not the boat) if it could not be done

David
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Old 11-06-2009, 10:10   #50
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David:
If you've got the money honey, I've got the time.
It's going to take a lot of money but you will end up with a nice custom boat and I will end up being satisfied with my work.
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Old 12-06-2009, 10:50   #51
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:-) Thanks Mr Perry! I showed your response to my wife and we both burst out laughing! I remember that ol' Willie Nelson tune well. If I ever get into the income bracket I'd need for that dream, it would definitely be designed by the "father of the Performance Cruiser" !
I love many of your designs, but have a special fondness for the Valiant and think the interior of the Norseman 445 could not be improved upon! I have been looking at both designs, but lean to the Norseman because I like a center cockpit. I am getting older (52) and am also beginning to look at a ketch as I am worried I can't winch in that huge mainsail anymore and don't want to trust my life to an electric winch when offshore.

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Old 12-06-2009, 15:11   #52
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My wife and I cruise very happily for months at a time on our Sceptre 36. Easy to handle etc. I charter 50's in the Caribbean but have several crew to run it. The extra amount of muscle power to handle a 50 over a 36 is immense. Go with the 40 and you will be able to handle it and not exhaust yourself rather than having fun or waiting for crew all the time.
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Old 24-06-2009, 00:47   #53
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I guess I would second what Rex says. I have been coastal sailing my Valiant Esprit 37 for 25 years in Southern California. Its perfect for that. Great singlehander and couple boat. But now that I have basically retired, with lots of time, I am agonizing over moving up in size. I would like to take the boat to Mexico, but keep thinking of that Baja Bash home to San Diego. The prospect of 750 miles into seas and wind makes me wonder what another 15 feet of waterline would mean in terms of comfort and speed. I just chartered the possible next boat, a Beneteau 57, with 49 feet of waterline and deliberately sailed upwind from St. Barth to Antigua to try and make up my mind. My take away was that it was uncomfortable, but that my Valiant would probably have been very uncomfortable. And that with the bow thruster, powered primary winches, and roller mainsail furling the promise of short handed sailing is there. But I have this nagging feeling that whenever I wasn't pounding to weather, or entertaining, I would pine for the simplicity of my 37. I guess for me sailing is about freedom, and I am afraid I would be giving up alot of that with a bigger boat.
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Old 24-06-2009, 02:44   #54
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Docking a bigger boat.

The old 24-footer lacked an engine altogether, which was a challenge in itself. I've always liked heavy displacement boats, so the next boat was a 31 ft double ender with a displacement of 6000kg (13000 lb). Engine or no engine, the step from 3800 lbs to 13000 lbs was huge when docking. After owning her for two years I had no problems docking or undocking single handed. Now we've moved up to 41 ft and almost 30.000 lbs, a Transworld 41 (CC version of CT 41). With bowsprit and davits she's close to 50 ft. There's a huuuuuuuge difference docking 13000 lbs and 30000 lbs and previous experience come in handy. I have never ever (knock on wood) damaged anyone elses property, or my own and the trick is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. I never put myself in a situation if I'm even the least bit uncertain about the outcome. That ofcaurse means that I can't always have the spot I wuld have liked, or I might go for a different marina than I would have preferred. Preparation is also a keyword. Sometimes we spend an hour or two docking or undocking. Marinas around here are relatively tight, 15 years ago 32 ft was considered a large boat, it's not anymore and the marinas haven't grown as the boats have, so planning your moves is important and the experience to anticipate upcoming situations and take preventive actions is also very important. I know though, that there are plenty of situations I wouldn't be able to get out of without damage and I only hope that I'll never end up in one.

Sailing the Transworld 41 is a joy and it never occured to me that she might be too much to handle at sea. Being a ketch, each sail is relatively small and I easily sail her alone. If you go large, a ketch or yawl would be a good idea for single handing. Smaller sail are easier to handle and the two masts give you a vast range of different options for different winds.

This boat is probably as big as we'll ever go and she is really all we want. Ofcaurse there are downsides when docking and when maintaining but it's worth it. We'd never use the extra space in a bigger boat unless we end up having lots and lots of kids Consider the size you want and think you need. A well laid out 40 ft boat would probably suit a couple (definately a solo sailor) better than a 47 ft boat. The ofcaurse it depends on how you plan on using her. Lots of kids? Guests and friends joining you? Lots to consider...

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Old 24-06-2009, 03:21   #55
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A lot of people here have expressed a lot of snobbery about their seamanship skills, and discouraged you from buying a boat they might like to have themselves but can't afford. Sorry to say that, but there's definitely an element of that in the discussion, and it may mislead you in making your decision.

A Hylas 47 is not a Swan 56. Not so much because of the size, but because that Swans of that era were just not set up to sail short-handed.

A modern cruising boat in the 45 to 50 foot range, like for example a Hylas 47, is perfectly normal for a person with Road Runner's experience, in my opinion. It will be more stable and secure in heavy weather than a smaller boat. It will have powered winches, which will make short work of handling the sail area. It will likely have in-mast furling mainsail, which makes reefing from the cockpit a cinch you can do alone. It will have a bow thruster, which means it will be easier to dock than a 36 footer without one. "Easier" is relative; docking is a skill which requires a lot of practice on any boat, and certainly requires some knowledge concerning the effect of wind and windage. It will have a powerful linear-drive autopilot and will track straighter than a smaller boat, so it will behave better on autopilot while you mess with the sail trim, than a smaller boat. It will be no harder to single hand, and probably easier, than a smaller boat with non-powered winches and regular non-furling mainsail.

We are ALL amateurs here, with varying levels of skill and experience. That guy in the Carver 57 would have been smashing up other boats in any kind of boat -- the problem was not the size, but the fact that he just didn't get enough instruction or practice before trying it on his own. The right reaction to his misadventures is really not disdain, but a feeling of "there but for the grace of God go I", in my opinion.


I heard a story about a guy, told with affection by some friends in England, some sailors with vast experience, who found out he had cancer at about age 50. He sold his business, spent about a million bucks on a brand new Oyster 485, and set out to sea -- alone. He had never even been on a sailboat before. After a little bit of coastal sailing to get a feel for it, he sailed his boat -- alone -- across the Atlantic, cruised the Caribbean, took her through the Panama Canal, and all the way up to Alaska, before returning to England. He had no serious problems or misadventures. He died soon after, saying he had had the time of his life.

So Road Runner -- don't listen to the nay-sayers. Buy whatever you like, and can afford. Just be sure to get enough practice, and instruction, that's all.
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Old 24-06-2009, 03:49   #56
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I second that sentiment Dockhead. Do what suits you. To me a 50' boat is small.
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Old 24-06-2009, 05:30   #57
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I heard a story about a guy, told with affection by some friends in England, some sailors with vast experience, who found out he had cancer at about age 50. He sold his business, spent about a million bucks on a brand new Oyster 485, and set out to sea -- alone. He had never even been on a sailboat before. After a little bit of coastal sailing to get a feel for it, he sailed his boat -- alone -- across the Atlantic, cruised the Caribbean, took her through the Panama Canal, and all the way up to Alaska, before returning to England. He had no serious problems or misadventures. He died soon after, saying he had had the time of his life.
The idea of impending death certainly would encourage a more carefree attitude towards boat handling skills.

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Old 24-06-2009, 08:15   #58
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Wow BlueWaterSail beautiful story
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Old 24-06-2009, 09:45   #59
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The idea of impending death certainly would encourage a more carefree attitude towards boat handling skills.

BWS
Well, naturally. Nor is RoadRunner proposing to set right out on a transat. Nor has he never even been on a sailboat, like the guy in the story.

My point is he'll do just fine on a boat like a Hylas 47, which will be no harder to dock or single hand than something in the 30-odd foot range, and maybe will be even easier, and you guys shouldn't discourage him.
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Old 24-06-2009, 10:25   #60
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Gotta disagree with you here Dockhead. Docking a larger boat is more difficult and more dangerous. You simply cannot get around the weight. Can RR learn to handle it? Sure, but the cost of a screw up is much higher then the cost of a screw up with a smaller lighter boat. Would I discourage RR from getting a larger boat? No, but I would advise he gets good instruction and understand how it handles under power and in a marina.

That said we own a 61 footer weighing 65k with a 93 foot spar, we are appropriately cautious in the marina and tend to anchor out if conditions preclude our coming in. We've also been sailing for 40 years and have owned everything from lasers on up.

Just my $.02

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Well, naturally. Nor is RoadRunner proposing to set right out on a transat. Nor has he never even been on a sailboat, like the guy in the story.

My point is he'll do just fine on a boat like a Hylas 47, which will be no harder to dock or single hand than something in the 30-odd foot range, and maybe will be even easier, and you guys shouldn't discourage him.
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