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Old 22-07-2011, 19:58   #1
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What Size for Coastal Cruiser

Hello All,
I am a newbie to sailing here so please be easy on me! I would like to know what is a good MINIMUM length boat you would accept for cruising along the eastern US coast where you would spend nights at inlets and marinas and sail all day to the next inlet. My home base would be Winyah Bay in Georgetown SC. Therefore, a typical trip might be to Charleston or Savannah and back (a day there, and a day back). I would go out about maybe 10-20 miles offshore to get a straight line to a destination. I am considering an older 22 foot Catalina with a swing keel. Would this be too cramped overnighting it for a few days at a time? Or would I need something a little bigger.

Thanks for any kind replies
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Old 22-07-2011, 20:07   #2
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Re: What size for Coastal Cruiser

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Originally Posted by bluegrassholder View Post
Hello All,
I am a newbie to sailing here so please be easy on me! I would like to know what is a good MINIMUM length boat you would accept for cruising along the eastern US coast where you would spend nights at inlets and marinas and sail all day to the next inlet. My home base would be Winyah Bay in Georgetown SC. Therefore, a typical trip might be to Charleston or Savannah and back (a day there, and a day back). I would go out about maybe 10-20 miles offshore to get a straight line to a destination. I am considering an older 22 foot Catalina with a swing keel. Would this be too cramped overnighting it for a few days at a time? Or would I need something a little bigger.

Thanks for any kind replies
The minimum size I would like would not necessarily be the same size that you could take. Really a matter of personal preference. I once met four Germans on a 27' boat in the Caribbean that had sailed there from Europe and had been cruising together for six months when I met them. I met a couple that thought 36' was too small for two.

I have a friend that weekends on a 21' with his wife and daughter. One trip it poured rain the whole time and he said it did get really cramped stuck inside for hours at a time.

The best thing to do is go look at the boat, sit inside it for a while, move around, access the galley and climb around. See how comfortable you feel.
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Old 22-07-2011, 20:55   #3
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Re: What size for Coastal Cruiser

Well, I bought my 1986 Nonsuch 30 Ultra in 1995 and have not looked at another boat since! I do mostly solo sailing and it is very roomy for a 30 foot. Lived aboard it too! Conventional wisdom is if you plan to sail without crew a 30 foot boat is about the biggest size you might want to consider. If you sail with a crew then going larger is not a problem. Except in increased costs of maintenance, dock fees etc...
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Old 22-07-2011, 21:17   #4
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Re: What size for Coastal Cruiser

Your question about boat size is akin to asking us what shoe size you should wear. You are the only real judge of that.
More interesting to me is that you want to sail a Catalina 22 from Georgetown, S.C. to Savannah, Ga. in one days worth of daylight. You might want to research that some more.
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Old 22-07-2011, 21:21   #5
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I would go with the smallest boat you feel comfortable in while at anchor relaxing/eating/sleeping. You can have a lot of fun with a $4k boat if you keep your eyes open to local deals.

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Old 23-07-2011, 16:14   #6
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Bluegrassholder,
I would not be comfortable sailing 10 to 20 miles out in a swing keel 22 footer. The length of the boat isn't as important as the design of the boat. And size in port is not as important as size on the water. Sailboats can get pretty small in a storm. On the other hand, every foot you add adds more cost and care.
Personally, I would want more stability than a swing keel allows and a little more length for speed, so that you could make port. I would want a 25 to 27 footer for relatively safe and comfortable sail, preferably with some kind of fixed keel. Lots of boats qualify. I sail a 26 footer with fixed keel and would coastal cruise anywhere.
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Old 23-07-2011, 16:54   #7
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

It depends on the boat. A 22 ft Falmouth Cutter will cross an ocean. But you won't get one for $4,000 either.

Also the condition of the boat is a huge factor. To venture offshore the boat has to be well maintained: chainplates rebedded, reliable engine, reliable electronics, hatches and ports don't leak, etc. etc.
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Old 23-07-2011, 17:11   #8
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

i always say get the heaviest well built cruiser you can afford .. IMHO the catalina 22 is not made to go offshore. when you get caught out in 30 knot winds you will see why.
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Old 23-07-2011, 17:25   #9
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

Spent a lot of time coastal cruising SoCal in my little Columbia Challenger after I built in a bridge-deck/cooler and added two drains to that giant cockpit. Really enjoyed that boat. A bit wet but easy to sail and tough as nails. Always felt safe. Loved that I could push it around easily with an outboard as well.
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Old 23-07-2011, 17:31   #10
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

I solo sail my boat it probably is a bit large for one person but hey you spend 75 % in port somewhere so the condo is good... 47 feet not so bad for one guy who still hanks on his sails.. For you it's your call do you want to camp or live? 20 miles off shore can beat ya up as much as 100 miles off shore so me at my age would get a 30 foot solid boat. Just saying
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Old 23-07-2011, 19:05   #11
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

My nephew does well living aboard his Catalina 22. I don't think the question is wether the boat, if well fitted, is capable for the coatal crusing that you describe, but wether you have the ability to adapt to the boat.
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Old 23-07-2011, 19:17   #12
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

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Originally Posted by bluegrassholder View Post
Hello All,
I am a newbie to sailing here so please be easy on me! I would like to know what is a good MINIMUM length boat you would accept for cruising along the eastern US coast where you would spend nights at inlets and marinas and sail all day to the next inlet. My home base would be Winyah Bay in Georgetown SC. Therefore, a typical trip might be to Charleston or Savannah and back (a day there, and a day back). I would go out about maybe 10-20 miles offshore to get a straight line to a destination. I am considering an older 22 foot Catalina with a swing keel. Would this be too cramped overnighting it for a few days at a time? Or would I need something a little bigger.

Thanks for any kind replies
It all depends on your and your partners tolerance for inconvenience. Even a bigger boat can get pretty cramped for some people. You ask a question only you can answer. Try it out a few times and you will know.

On a boat that small a boom tent will add to the on deck living space. I have one the wife whipped up on a 26 foot sloop and wouldn't be without it. Handy in all weathers. Getting ashore either from a dock or a dinghy helps curb the cabin fever.
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Old 24-07-2011, 11:54   #13
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

GoneSail,
Okay, what if I downgrade my coastal cruising in this case to simply day sailing out of Winyah bay for the day along the coast and back and within eye view of land? I would make sure I could return to the bay by nightfall on a 22 footer Catalina.
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Old 24-07-2011, 12:40   #14
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Re: What Size for Coastal Cruiser

A swing keel boat is great for gunkholing in shallow water and learning about sailing and boating. It could be a great first boat for someone who wants to develop basic skills before going on to a bigger boat and longer-range destinations. And, so long as you have some common sense caution and basic safety gear, mistakes in a small boat tend to be inexpensive.

As to whether someone would be comfortable with the motion of a small swing-keel boat on the open ocean, that's an individual decision. Also, intense thunderstorms and violent weather can pop up fairly quickly on the coast, so the owner of a small boat even on the edge of blue water will want it very well prepared, and to learn as much as possible about weather.
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Old 24-07-2011, 13:28   #15
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Certainly. I've coastal cruised in a Precision 23 and never felt in danger. Always paid attention to weather and didn't venture out when I wasn't comfortable with the boats ability... as much as for the stress on the boat as for safety. You may want to check out the Cat 22 sailing association at http://www.catalina22.org/ for information on how other sailers use the boat.
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