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Old 01-10-2005, 16:32   #1
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OK, here we go again with another one of those (trite) questions about boats.

The senerio:
I will be singlehanded (singlehandedling?)
the ICW and coastal cruising between Maine and the Bahamas. I'm not young or an experienced sailor. What would be concidered the LARGEST PRACTICAL boat for me?

P.S. I'm leaning more towards the smaller size boat for economy but I'm curious as to how large a boat I could concider. I also know that there is probably not going to be an easy answer but....


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Old 01-10-2005, 16:45   #2
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Peruse the threads a bit. There is another thread with this same topic, as well as several similar. The bottom line is, get out there, sail, and find out what your needs are. Check out some yacht clubs. Many have races on the weekends, and you can usually get on as crew. This wil give you a chance to learn a bit about what makes a boat sail, and also some of the finer points of how to and not to rig a boat.
I prefer a smaller boat, in the range of 28' for single hand cruising, but my best friend single hands his 43' ketch, and would not even consider anything smaller.

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Old 01-10-2005, 19:37   #3
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Size boat

You need something that will take care of you if the wind gets too strong too soon, and not too big. Something like my Tanzer 8.5m would be nice, or similar up to about 34 feet. Also something that steers fairly straight by itself.
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Old 01-10-2005, 20:40   #4
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I looked at the tanzer and it's a nice boat! I did not realize that a boat could (at least to some degree) steer it's self. I thought I would need to have auto pilot.

Of course, I'm not going to buy right away, nor until I know a lot more about boats and have had the oppotunity to sail several, but I was also looking at a 1978 ,Shannon 28 and was wondering if you or anyone else has an opion about those as well.

I'm completely new to all of this and so if I appear ignorant, that's because I am.

Thanks for your patience!

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Old 01-10-2005, 21:04   #5
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I can not comment on the Tanzer, but a boat that sails itself is refering to a boat that is well balanced under sail. You will still need some sort of self steering, but the strain of hand steering, and the life of the self steering will be much better on a well balanced boat. The motion of the boat, and the boat speed are also better on a boat that is balanced. There are allot of factors that go into that, rigging, sail size, hull design, rudder design, and location just to name a few.
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Old 10-10-2005, 16:38   #6
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Red face Of course opinons are like.....

Of course opinons are like.....


in that everyone has got one, but I am not sure why anyone in your positon would have to have anything larger then a legitimate 25-30' boat.

My full keel Alberg design has enough room for a single hander to be comfortable, and all amenities (standing head room, etc).

It is easy to sail, tracks well and easy to single hand. Follow links in my signature to learn about the cruising mods some make, but the Ariel/Commander has gone around the world in stock form FWIW.

Just 2 more cents.
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Old 10-10-2005, 21:42   #7
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My personal 'limit' for singlehanding is the size/weight of the largest sail that has to be 'manhandled' while on a violently pitching flooded deck .... that weight/size equivalent to standing balanced on top a basketball while trying to hold a sheet of plywood upright under one arm in a windstorm while holding onto a lifeline/grab rail with one free hand. That answer translates to about 350 to 400 sq. ft. of (sodden) sail area and that, for me, corresponds to a about a 35ft. length boat.

Smaller is probably better for many reasons: maintenance costs, insurance costs, docking/mooring expenses, the physical requirements of manhandling sails (above) in an emergency, the need for less weighty ground tackle of a smaller boat, etc. etc. etc. Smaller to me also translates to 'simpler' and more easily maintained systems: tiller instead of wheel (cheaper and simpler auto pilot), smaller engines, etc.

Notwithstand all the above, I'd also seek the smaller boat with the longest possible (comparative) waterline length so as to be able to sail fastest (safety). Id also seek a boat with Internal framing (original or added) to support the hull and prevent flexure hence fatigue, especiallly in an 'older' boat.

For a such a boat of moderate to heavy intended usage I'd also tend towards a more 'robust' design where the in-built factors of safety approach a 'blue-water' design for longer rigging life, chainplate life, etc. I'd stay away from 'racing' designs as these tend to be very 'light weight' and wear-out / fatigue faster, and dont usually sail well when fully loaded with stores when they are 'deep' in the water.

So the simple answer (for me) would be a boat of past 'good quality' of loooooong waterline length in the 32-35 ft. size range, 5.5' fin keel with balanced spade rudder w/ tiller, sloop with added 'solent' rig ... as an ideal for simple long distance coastal or island-hopping traveling.

Hope this helps.
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Old 11-10-2005, 03:04   #8
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In my humble opinion almost any length boat can be sailed single handed and indeed, often a larger yacht is easier to sail than a smaller vessel in all conditions.
But when it comes to berthing / mooring and of course when you have to fund your budget, the smaller the yacht the easier you will find it.
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Old 05-11-2005, 07:23   #9
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In general: The bigger boat is easier to sail and harder to dock.
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Old 05-11-2005, 10:04   #10
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I've referenced the Dashews a few times recently - and here I go again.

In general they, Linda and Steve, say get the biggest boat you can afford.

They, seem to live by that idea since both of their last two boats have been in the 85ft range. The two of them seem to be able to handle that size boat by themselves very comfortably.
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Old 05-11-2005, 17:11   #11
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Comfort in handling the boat is subjective. After fighting a 600 sq ft main into the second reef, most of us would question the idea that a bigger boat is easier to sail. Docking a bigger boat with 1 or 2 people can be a challenge, but it just requires more seamanship, and better planning, not more strength or more hands. The way bigger boats react in rough seas at short intervals is miserable. A smaller boat gives a better ride in most cases. That being said, a bigger boat gives a certain feeling of security in big seas, and at anchor, a small boat can get very clostraphobic. Of course, that can be incentive to go ashore and enjoy the place rather than sitting aboard and vegging for a couple of days. On a larger boat, things are not so critical to be in perfect order, as there is more room, but it can also lead to too much stuff on the boat, and also things getting damaged because they did not get stowed properly. Less incentive to stow things that are not in the way. Especially for a day sail.
I go with the smallest boat that I am comfortable aboard.
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Old 05-11-2005, 17:23   #12
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if i follow all of the advice above it works out the same. biggest boat i can afford, largest sail i can safely handle / change alone and smallest boat i can fit in - it all comes out to 30 to 35 feet. guess i am in balance.
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Old 06-11-2005, 03:14   #13
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capt lar,

I would only add. A boat big enough to hold all your stuff.

I think that is what drives the "biggest boat you can afford" logic. Properly equiped, you need a great deal of stuff. Then there is all the stuff for you and the crew. Then add food, water and fuel. Luxury items then follow. Then add all the junk you accumulate along the way.
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Old 06-11-2005, 03:53   #14
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The larger the boat, (within reason) the easier she will be to handle as momentum will reduce the impact on sudden changes of wind/tide etc.

However, you then need to be able to raise and lower sails, anchors etc, and these can all be done provided the boat is set up to do it singlehanded ( big or even power winches etc)

However, the bigger the boat the greater depth (unless a multi) so you need to look at where you intend sailing and decide on the maximum depth first. If you decide on a multi, the width can be an issue for example most of the modern cats cant transit through european canals.

Another crucial point is that as boat size creeps past 40 ft, everything starts getting very expensive due to size and weight of materials required. The boats also become harder to find suitable slips.
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Old 06-11-2005, 03:53   #15
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