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Old 23-03-2008, 03:42   #1
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What length boat?

In at least one of my other posts, I describe the yet-to-be-purchased Ma Douleur as a 30-ish foot long boat. As a single-hander living aboard, do I need a boat that long? The primary importance is seaworthiness - heavy weeather, etc. However, I've read stories about arduous passages in shorter boats. I also saw this ad for a Catalina 27 that looks sturdy and roomy: Catalina 27 Sailboat Great Boat, Must Sell!. Shorter would be nicer as far as initial purchase price and maintenance costs. However, seaworthiness and confort come first...

Opinions welcome!

Thanks - Jake
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Old 23-03-2008, 03:51   #2
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What's your budget?
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Old 23-03-2008, 08:59   #3
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Originally Posted by MaDouleur View Post
... do I need a boat that long?....

Opinions welcome!

Thanks - Jake
Rule of thumb - 1 foot for each year of your age plus 5 feet. This makes my boat about 30 feet too short.
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Old 23-03-2008, 09:14   #4
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Catalina 27 Sailboat Great Boat, Must Sell!. Shorter would be nicer as far as initial purchase price and maintenance costs. However, seaworthiness and confort come first...

Opinions welcome!

Thanks - Jake
OK, I'm not a sailing person, but I have one comment. I'd much rather have a diesel engine. Safety, efficiency, dependability, maintenance.

Safety: No gas fumes that can ignite.
Efficiency: Better fuel consumption
Dependability: Lower RPMs, heavier built
Maintenance: No ignition system
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Old 23-03-2008, 09:26   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaDouleur View Post
In at least one of my other posts, I describe the yet-to-be-purchased Ma Douleur as a 30-ish foot long boat. As a single-hander living aboard, do I need a boat that long? The primary importance is seaworthiness - heavy weeather, etc. However, I've read stories about arduous passages in shorter boats. I also saw this ad for a Catalina 27 that looks sturdy and roomy: Catalina 27 Sailboat Great Boat, Must Sell!. Shorter would be nicer as far as initial purchase price and maintenance costs. However, seaworthiness and confort come first...

Opinions welcome!

Thanks - Jake
Seaworthiness depends on the seas on which you intend to sail. The Catalina 27 is a coastal cruising boat. I would not take one out of protected waters. Several other features on that particluar one would also dissuade me:
  • Gasoline engines do not have reliability of diesel, nor the safety record.
  • The alcohol stove will not have an oven; therefore, will not gimbal properly.
  • The Autotiller is not appropriate for heavy seas.
  • The Danforth anchors would need to be replaced by more substantial anchors.
  • The companionway is way too big - heavy weather boards would need to be installed.
  • It needs tether attachment points and a good jackline system
  • The windows do not appear able to withstand a wave.
It might be a good first boat on which to learn, but it would need a thorough survey.

Jack
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Old 23-03-2008, 09:28   #6
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As a single-hander living aboard, do I need a boat that long?
How much stuff do you expect to carry? An overloaded Catalina 27 on the high seas sounds like a near death experience to me. Living aboard is about displacement and hauling tons of stuff (fuel and water count too). A light weight boat is just the thing for a fun fast weekend not an extended voyage.

In a marina you could have a barge on oil drums but to travel you have to carry the load to weather. Being comfortable is an aside. The structural capability of the design is an aside as well. On basic tonnage it's a bust.

If you can live your life with just a clean shirt and a bag lunch then the tiny boat works. There are many sub 30 ft boats that work well. A Bristol Channel Cutter comes to mind.
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Old 23-03-2008, 09:34   #7
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MaDouleur

for "seaworthiness and confort come first..." look at a Nor'Sea 27!
If Jill and I can live aboard and cruise her, it would be roomy for a single hander.

You can see a lot of info on our Nor'sea 27 on our web site.
Nor'Sea Guenevere's Adventures, main page

Greg
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Old 23-03-2008, 09:51   #8
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MaDouleur

for "seaworthiness and confort come first..." look at a Nor'Sea 27!
If Jill and I can live aboard and cruise her, it would be roomy for a single hander.

You can see a lot of info on our Nor'sea 27 on our web site.
Nor'Sea Guenevere's Adventures, main page

Greg
I have not sailed a Nor'Sea, so I cannot comment.

I have sailed a Dana 24. I was impressed; very solid, great engine access, well built, quality equipment. They are actually 27 feet LOA, 24 on deck.

One big downside of smaller boats is a slower hull speed.

Jack
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Old 23-03-2008, 10:15   #9
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Jack,


We are a bit slower than the 40 footers. And we are slower when motoring any distance. The Nor'Sea 27 waterline is not all that short for her size. She is a 27, but that is on deck. We are a bit over 30 foot overall with the bow and Monitor wind vane.


Catalina 30 water line length 25 foot
Nor'Sea 27 water line length 25 foot


I also find that we move a LOT sooner (and faster) than a larger boat in light air. Also, due to the small size (ready that easy handling) of our sails, we tend to adjust them a bit more than larger boats do.


Greg
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Old 23-03-2008, 10:26   #10
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The Catalina is not an open-water boat, unless you spend considerable time and money reinforcing it. For roughly the same amount of money you can buy an Alberg, Cape Dory, or Pearson Triton that are much more heavily built.

I think you would do well to buy a boat now and start sailing, and then sell it and buy something more seaworthy when you're ready to go off-shore. You might think that you're not really wanting to wait that long before you head off in the wild, blue, yonder, but there is a very strong likelihood that you'll change your opinion on that as you spend more time afloat.

Good Luck !
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Old 23-03-2008, 10:48   #11
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Thanks for the feedback, folks. The Catalina link was simply an example of something that looked decent at first glance. However, the detailed feedback that some gave is going in my list of things to consider.

Thanks to Jackdale and Sailormann for the info about the Catalina not being an open water boat. (Does this apply to all of their models?) I will only have one chance at buying a boat and I'll need it to last a while. So, while it may be some time before I do any open water cruising, it does have to be considered in my purchase.
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Old 23-03-2008, 11:00   #12
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I'm in the same mind frame about buying a boat as the OP ( I think). Smaller less expence to up keep and I can live out of a back pack.

But for me the sailing will be from Miami to the Bahamas then down island and around S.A.-C.A.-Mexico.
So my needs are different than someone going Cali-Hawaii-Fiji.

My point is think about where you are heading when chosing a boat, it would be nice to have a crewed 65ft "Bluewater" but will you really need it?

And Just what is open water anyway? I have seen much worse storms on the Great Lakes than some of the crossing I've made thru the Gulf Stream.
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Old 23-03-2008, 11:23   #13
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What are you going to really do with it have you planned any thing out. That boat is great for close to shore and icw. I would suggest you borrow or rent a small size boat for 1 week and see. I owned a 33 hunter and that was new and it was ok but I dont know about living on a smaller one. With the smaller ones yo just dont have the room inside. Go live on one and see.
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Old 23-03-2008, 11:24   #14
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Deepblueme


I agree with you! I have seen some of the storms on the Great Lakes! They can be much worse than some of the stuff we have been in so far in the Pacific.


A friend once said that one of the major benefits of the Nor'Sea was not only that she can take you ANYPLACE, and that she was a lost less expensive to maintain and sail, she was also a lot less expensive to NOT sail!


By that, he was saying that after you did a circumnavigation, you could put her back on her trailer and keep her in your back yard.


Greg
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Old 23-03-2008, 18:51   #15
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<do I need a boat that long…>

The length is only a modest indicator of “size,” as others have intimated… and a lot depends on how you plan to “live aboard…” For dockside living/entertaining, interior volume is a nice thing to have, but for some it begins to pale in attractiveness once one is away from the dock… how much you need has a lot to do with your lifestyle… are you a backpacker or a Winnebago style camper…

The recommendation of the Dana, Triton and North Sea-esque boats are great suggestions, especially if you plan to go somewhere… However should you choose a more modest displacement/length vessel, it is not at all unusual for the boat to be in the mid-30 foot range as you originally proposed… after carrying for boats upwards of fifty-foot as a live-aboard over the years, I descended into the “less is more” school of thought… but something as light as a Catalina 27 probably wouldn’t be a choice of mine even if I had no qualms about its structural strength… and while I might sail contentedly for an extended cruise on my little chunk of a Bristol (think of her about halfway between a Flicka and a Dana -- although not remotely in that class of fitment), I’d think her a bit undersized if I was liveaboard, and trying to hold down a 9-5 coat a tie job… so, as usual, your ideal vessel size is heavily influenced by your own proclivities, lifestyle and sailing expectations…
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