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Old 18-08-2009, 14:43   #1
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pirate What Size Boat Should I Get?

Hi there, new to this forum and I was hoping someone could help me on something.

I am planning a rather long trip through different parts of the world and want to make sure my boat can handle it.

I would be planning it during the best weather so as not to make things to rough on the boat.

Basically I will be going from the east coast of USA (Not sure where, probably Florida as I have family there) to Iceland then to France, Italy then Greece.

Basically through looking at maps it looks like the part I'm
most concerned about it from northern Canada through the Labrador Sea and Reykjanes Basin. The rest of the trip can be done pretty close to shore.

For financial reasons I was looking for a 35' to 38' sailboat.

Would a boat that size make it? Are there any details on it that would "make or break" the boat? (Like fiberglass vs steel hull, etc).

I will be getting lots of experience under my belt before I take this trip of course and I will not traveling with at least one other person.

Thanks for you help, I have not been able to find an answer to this for a while.

-Steve

P.S.

Any idea how long that trip would be?

EDIT: Here's a picture of the area I'm talking about.

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Old 18-08-2009, 16:28   #2
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any boat size would make it , its whether the person at the helm can make the right decisions at the right time in any conditions that you confront , and you have all the right equipment on board
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:31   #3
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Try reading Three ways to capsize a boat by chris Stewart. He did the trip the other way but a good read.
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:34   #4
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Length does matter some for comfort but there are dozens of other considerations. There are large unseaworthy boats and small very seaworthy boats. Read through the hundreds of threads and you will start to get a sense of all the other considerations. It would be impossible to address all the considerations in one post. Its a huge topic for which thousands of books have been written, The thing to do is to start educating yourself. And as beneteau-500 said, its not just the boat that counts, its just as much the boat operator and the crew that determine the level of safety.
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:36   #5
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any boat size would make it , its whether the person at the helm can make the right decisions at the right time in any conditions that you confront , and you have all the right equipment on board
Thanks, I was concerned that I would be wasting my money buying the boat just to find out that I need like a 50+ footer to even stand a chance.

I'm already pretty darn good at quick thinking and making a decision on the fly and I would not leave until I had enough sailing experience to know that I could do it.
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:36   #6
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Length does matter some for comfort but there are dozens of other considerations. There are large unseaworthy boats and small very seaworthy boats. Read through the hundreds of threads and you will start to get a sense of all the other considerations. It would be impossible to address all the considerations in one post.

OK, thank you.

Any particular category of threads to start with?
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:40   #7
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This is one of those questions Steve, that if you have to ask, you're not ready. Kind of like "where do I cut to remove her appendix?". It will take YEARS of experience before you are ready to skipper a voyage like that. First, find yourself a good offshore sailing school and complete an offshore passage or two, then you'll be in a better position to know what you don't know. This is serious stuff, and I would like you to be around long enough to have a beer with someday...IMHO, Chris
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:41   #8
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Originally Posted by stevemedley View Post
OK, thank you.

Any particular category of threads to start with?
Well, not the single sailors category. I think most of the categories relate back to your question in different ways. Think of learning how to be safe on a voyage of that scale as much closer to learning how to fly a 747 than learning how to ride a bicycle.
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Old 18-08-2009, 16:44   #9
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At the risk of sounding unduly negative: If you have to ask those sort of questions, you are probably not ready to make the trip. As has already been pointed out, it is not the boat, but the sailor that is the limiting factor here. People have made solo trips where you are going in just about anything from probably less than 20' to more than 60'... people have died doing it too... in seaworthy boats. When you have done enough sailing and garnered enough experience to "know" the answers to your questions you will be ready!

FWIW, I would reckon a 35 - 38' boat would be fine. Fiberglass would be my #1 choice, but nothing wrong with the other options really, its all about personal choice. Me; I'd be looking for a fibreglass sloop-rigged monohull, deep fin keel, with a decent motor, fractional swept back rig or masthead cutter rig, but thats just me. YMMV
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Old 18-08-2009, 18:28   #10
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Friend used Pearson 365

A friend used a Pearson 365 for the atlantic circuit single handed most of the way, and was quite happy with it. A young man just went round the world in an islander 36, neither one are particularly expensive, both draw about six feet and have fin keels.
If you can afford it, buy an acceptable boat, and sail the snot out of it.
Good luck.
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Old 19-08-2009, 00:26   #11
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The biggest one you can aford that if it sinks out form under you day one, you can buy another to replace it.
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Old 19-08-2009, 05:15   #12
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Your plan only identifies the first bit as difficult.

Maritime traffic through the English Channel and around Brest, and later through the straits of Gibraltar will make a big difference to how you operate the boat

The very strong tides in some of the areas are not to be dismissed

Your route includes the Bay of Biscay. Coast hopping here is not a good solution Personally, I would stay at least 200 nm out from this Bay.
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Old 19-08-2009, 06:35   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevemedley View Post
Hi there, new to this forum and I was hoping someone could help me on something.

I am planning a rather long trip through different parts of the world and want to make sure my boat can handle it.

I would be planning it during the best weather so as not to make things to rough on the boat.

Basically I will be going from the east coast of USA (Not sure where, probably Florida as I have family there) to Iceland then to France, Italy then Greece.

Basically through looking at maps it looks like the part I'm
most concerned about it from northern Canada through the Labrador Sea and Reykjanes Basin. The rest of the trip can be done pretty close to shore.

For financial reasons I was looking for a 35' to 38' sailboat.

Would a boat that size make it? Are there any details on it that would "make or break" the boat? (Like fiberglass vs steel hull, etc).

I will be getting lots of experience under my belt before I take this trip of course and I will not traveling with at least one other person.

Thanks for you help, I have not been able to find an answer to this for a while.

-Steve

P.S.

Any idea how long that trip would be?

EDIT: Here's a picture of the area I'm talking about.

I'd echo what others have said here as re: "if you have to ask ..." Looking at a Mercator Projection downloaded off the Internet is not the way to plan such a trip. You need to look at Pilot Charts and other weather routing tools. Currents against wind, probability of deep lows, etc. etc. Both the Labrador Sea and Bay of Biscay are notorious stretches of water.

If you need "lots of experience" why not do it in a small, inexpensive boat? As any experienced sailor knows, you can easily scale up skills learned on smaller boats to bigger ones.
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Old 19-08-2009, 06:59   #14
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Wayalan has this correct. You need to be enough of a sailor, with sufficient experience before you set out such a plan. Any well found vessel can cruise the world with a skilled skipper.

Assuming that the skipper is up to it, the issue becomes physical strength, comfort/accommodation and cost of purchase and maintenance.

As you get bigger you will need mechanical assists to sail the boat. There is not hard line when you need this, so as it gets bigger you need to be stronger and then you move into electric winches etc. and then this is somewhat mitigated. But handling a big boat shorthanded can be an issue EVEN with a bow thruster.

The comfort/accommodation issue is self explanatory. Bigger is better usually. But sea motion is another matter and some small designs do better in the ocean than others.

If cost is no object and you can afford to pay boat yards to do all the work and a captain to run your boat, go in style and go big. This is usually not a consideration for the typical cruising sailor.

Around 40' seems to be a good compromise.
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Old 19-08-2009, 12:59   #15
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Your Boat

These are a couple of things I picked up on when you posted. Some other folks might have missed them.

"For financial reasons I was looking for a 35' to 38' sailboat.

Would a boat that size make it? Are there any details on it that would "make or break" the boat? (Like fiberglass vs steel hull, etc).

I will be getting lots of experience under my belt before I take this trip of course and I will not traveling with at least one other person."

I always recommend a fiberglass hull aft cockpit 32 - 35 foot boat with a diesel inboard for a single sailor or with one crew.

I think you did mention that you'll be getting lots more experience and it really is good that you recongize that. There are many schools and classes you can take. USCG Auxiliary basic boating is one that'll get you started. I believe they also are offering a new sailing class as well. The reason I recommend those first is that they are inexpensive and you'll know soon enough if you want to continue your education and a voyage on the water.

Good luck in your pursuit.

regards,
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