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Old 18-08-2015, 21:09   #1
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Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Hi all.


I've been reading the detailed and insightful posts here (on a variety of topics) for over a year, so a retroactive thank you is in order.


I have a 36' powerboat (Vicem Windsor Craft), and am getting ready to switch over to sails (probably), probably within 3-6 months. I love my current boat (she's my first boat), and it is well suited to where I live (New York City), but going fast just isn't as enjoyable as it was in the beginning. At high speeds, in the Hudson river near Manhattan, the level of focus is such that I can't really "hang out" or relax as much as I would like. I'm also ready for a bigger boat after having gotten more confident out on the water in general. Lastly, I'm in a hardtop downeast style cruiser, and I want more air when I cruise. Those are reasons I'm ready to move on from my current boat, but the reason for switching to sails is all the usual reasons - quiet, nature, enjoyment of developing a skill, unlimited range (which I'm unlikely to use, but the concept brings some joy), and just the drama and beauty of the sails up and full of wind.


My typical usage breakdown is primarily warm weather use in and around NYC:
About two evenings per week I boat about 10 miles north, drop anchor, bbq with friends, hang out, and come back.
I take 4-5 long weekend trips over the course of the season, mostly out to the Long Island Sound and out to Montauk. Usually just with my girlfriend.
1-2 trips of 7-10 days per season - also to the Sound, and potentially further north either up the coast or up the Hudson. Also typically just with my girlfriend.
I'm planning on taking the boat to Florida for the winter, and to do some cruising from there - Bahamas, Cuba, the keys, etc. Mostly 3-5 day trips. There is an outside chance of keeping it in the water in NYC throughout the winter and living aboard there, though that is unlikely considering that the Hudson surface froze completely across last year


I chose a powerboat because there isn't typically great wind near NYC, and even when there is there aren't that many places to sail to in close proximity (and time for me is typically limited). Those reasons are still valid, but I'm trying to carve away more time from work, and like I said above, speed hasn't been particularly relaxing.


I'm currently living aboard my boat, which is tight because it wasn't designed for that. I'm not sure if I plan to live aboard the next boat, but I might, at least for some time (12-18 months).
I have some familiarity with sailing, though of course there will be a lot for me to learn. I anticipate hiring a captain to teach me sailing for something like a week at a clip with me practicing between sessions (this is what I did when learning to run my boat).


I have a variety of questions on which I would appreciate input from all you far more seasoned boaters. Before I launch into them, I should mention that I am leaning heavily towards a catamaran, for all the usual reasons (speed, stability, etc.), but considering that I still have many questions, I am obviously not 100% on that (and not looking to ignite a mono vs multi discussion - I've read so many threads on that!)


In terms of gaining experience sailing, what type of progression would you recommend? Would you recommend starting with something very basic and working my way up (spending time and losing money on each trade), or starting with something closer to my goal (and spending a lot of time getting comfortable and undersailing the boat in the interim)?


My (and my girlfriends) parameters are:
I need to be able to handle the boat myself, in any weather condition
I would greatly prefer a king sized bed (this is one of the primary reasons a monohull sailboat is still under consideration), and a full separate shower stall - strongly prefer a full beam owner's cabin
I will want a watermaker, a dishwasher, and a washer drier, though all of those can be added later. A decent galley is also a requirement of SWMBO
I would like the boat to be able to motor at 10 knots, for when that is necessary
I would like the boat to be able to sail decently fast (10knts)
I would like a boat where the reefing and unfurling of the main sail are not so arduous as to discourage me from doing it when the wind is borderline sufficient
I want the area from which I sail to also be in/near the socializing area


None of these are must haves necessarily, as I know compromises will be part of the process.


In terms of single handed sailing, I understand that I'd likely be looking at installing electric winches, etc., and that they will of course break whenever I need them most


I understand the relationships between hull width, speed, displacement, and load carrying capacity. I'm not a pack rat, and I have no need for a ton of storage, though my girlfriend will probably fight me on that a little. I would eventually like to sail from NYC to the Mediterranean, though that is of course years away and should be heavily if not completely discounted as a present consideration.


I love the Chris White designs, especially the Atlantic 47 Mastfoil, with what seems to be an amazingly simple configuration. The interior space leaves a bit to be desired, but as a sailing machine it looks to be very appealing. That is also the size I would be aiming for, if not immediately, then eventually. I've read the very detailed post on the A57 Anna capsizing, and am conscious of the care needed when sailing a cruising catamaran, though I don't see myself being that aggressive anyway. The A47 Mastfoil seems to go a long way towards mitigating that issue. Again, mostly theoretical considering what my usage will be (especially in the beginning), but intriguing nonetheless. In general the forward cockpit seems much more appealing to me.


The lagoons, sunreefs, etc. have interiors (and flybridges) that my girlfriend would love, but the sailing performance predictably suffers (I will of course be chartering any boat prior to a purchase, but based on what I can find online this is the case).
Once speed is being sacrificed on those types of cats, monohulls come back into play to an extent - for the large owners cabins, and the ability to pack whatever I (SWMBO) want to keep onboard. My girlfriend doesn't mind the heeling per se, but she does not like the idea of having to stow everything when we really get underway (we do that in my current boat when we pick up enough speed or the waves picks up enough height). I personally prefer a slow cat to an equal speed monohull, but the price difference is very substantial, and if I will go through a progression of boats as I gain skill, starting with a monohull might make sense (though I could in theory buy a cheaper older multihull for learning). I like the center cockpit designs personally - of course, SWMBO saw a picture of an Oyster interior and decided that if we go monohull, that's the aim!


What recommendations can you offer? Any particular brands I should consider? Considering my usage profile and parameter set, am I looking at something the wrong way (or differently than a more experienced person might)?


I will ultimately consider a semi-custom design also, as I know some of the builders will accommodate design desires to varying degrees.


The only other option I'm currently considering is a power catamaran that I've been eyeing. Beautiful layout, an owner's cabin that my girlfriend adores, storage galore, and cruises at 16knts regardless of wind strength or direction. It doesn't have the same primal appeal as moving the boat with the wind, but is likely the most practical option - but boating isn't exactly a pursuit of pragmatists!


I understand the threshold question of whether I will be living on the boat or not, but for sake of discussion I will likely live on it for 12-18 months - enough time that the modern conveniences will be required.


In terms of budgets, I would liketo keep the price under $1MM if I am getting the boat that I will ultimately want, and much less if the boat acquired is something more akin to training wheels.


Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
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Old 19-08-2015, 08:06   #2
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

I'm not sure where to begin, Joe. You don't need a big cat while you're in NYC, so perhaps start with something smaller or a mono to figure out whether your attraction to sailing will be a fling or lasting. In my view it's best to learn on a mono as they are less forgiving and the fundamentals of sailing are more easily grasped. Try a crewed cat charter in the islands or charter with somebody who can do it bareboat to get a good introduction to life aboard.

A few reactions to your desires:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Safdie View Post
I need to be able to handle the boat myself, in any weather condition
Most cruising boats, mono or cat, can be reasonably handled by one competent person. But this is not always easy and to expect this in "any weather" is naive.

Quote:
I would greatly prefer a king sized bed (this is one of the primary reasons a monohull sailboat is still under consideration), and a full separate shower stall - strongly prefer a full beam owner's cabin
Well, my cat has two king beds. I've never seen one on a similar size mono. Full separate shower stalls are fairly common. I have never seen a full beam owner's cabin on a cat.
Quote:
I will want a watermaker, a dishwasher, and a washer drier, though all of those can be added later.
Watermaker, check. Dishwasher, forget it. Washer, check. Drier, clothes pins on the lifelines. Unless you get a very large boat with a large generator a dishwasher and clothes drier are very difficult, IMHO.

Quote:
A decent galley is also a requirement of SWMBO
Depending on what you call "decent" this should be no problem. However, ovens on small yachts are typically propane and small. They do not generally have the same heat consistency and level of control of household ovens.

Quote:
I would like the boat to be able to motor at 10 knots, for when that is necessary. I would like the boat to be able to sail decently fast (10knts)
Motor at 10 kts? Not typical for reasonable size cats. The bigger they are, the faster they will motor. Just about all cruising cats will sail faster than they can motor. Sail at 10 kts? Sometimes. Sometimes rarely. Again the bigger the faster.

Quote:
I would like a boat where the reefing and unfurling of the main sail are not so arduous as to discourage me from doing it when the wind is borderline sufficient
Reefing usually not a problem. Some boats have better set ups than others. By use of the term "unfurling" in reference to the main, does this mean you really want a furling main?

Good luck,
Dave
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Old 19-08-2015, 08:16   #3
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Right up front you mention relaxing. Sailing is often far from that, at least for the Captain.

While underway, I'm checking my sail trim/heading/traffic/windstrength etc constantly. No time for dozing in a hammock with a GnT!

That said, welcome!
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Old 19-08-2015, 09:01   #4
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

To meet your expectations, in my opinion your better off with a powerboat.
They seem to be good "numbers" and specs for a powerboat, but not a sailboat.
That powerCat your looking at may well be what it takes to make you happy
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Old 20-08-2015, 09:43   #5
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Looking at your parameters the only answer I see is a large cat or a power boat. To motor at 10kts you'll need a 50' + cat. King size bed has to be a big anything meaning 50' and bigger. Washer drier...Cat, dishwasher? Large powerboat only. The cat will be more stable, have more room and let you add items at will without sacrificing space or performance. Something that does both might be the Nordhaven motor sailor. Tons of room, motors easily at 10kts and sort of sails. A big Chinese fiberglass apartment that goes downwind under sail. Not sure if it will fit in your price range though.
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Old 20-08-2015, 09:53   #6
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Safdie View Post

The only other option I'm currently considering is a power catamaran that I've been eyeing. Beautiful layout, an owner's cabin that my girlfriend adores, storage galore, and cruises at 16knts regardless of wind strength or direction. It doesn't have the same primal appeal as moving the boat with the wind, but is likely the most practical option - but boating isn't exactly a pursuit of pragmatists!

I think deep down you know what you want, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
All I'd add is I'm not a very experienced Sailor, but I wouldn't even consider trying to single hand a 50+ sailboat, truth be known my 38' is sometime a handful, can't imagine a 50+ if I got caught in a sudden squall.
But a power boat? Sure I've operated that size Sportfishermen by myself, docking is the only time you need help with a powerboat.
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Old 20-08-2015, 18:00   #7
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

They make some nice superyachts in New Zealand.
That is over 100' which should suit you.
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Old 21-08-2015, 01:35   #8
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

A few considerations, NYC is there a lift in reasonable distance for a cat? Traveling to FL for the winter, large mono watch draft, larger than 45' cat mast height to tall for inter coastal. Not always fun on the outside if you have to be there.

Sailing is fun but 3-5 day trips do not get you very far, and generally will force you to motor more than 50%. You will find when you want to get somewhere the wind is always in the wrong direction, unless you can wait for it to change. (A true cruiser)

Considering you want to go 10 knots power catamaran might be best option. Check out Aquila Yachts well under your 1 million budget.

Sent from my SM-G900P using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 21-08-2015, 08:21   #9
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Thank you all for the responses.
I agree, and accept, that the large powercat I'm looking at is definitely most convenient, and best suited to my uses.
I've always enjoyed my time on sailboats, and want to fully explore that option before I make any decision.
I understand that living aboard, and my (SWMBO) need for conveniences in that case does indeed rule out a variety of boats.
In terms of those conveniences, my impression is that anything can theoretically be accommodated, but that there will be tradeoffs, primarily in terms of speed and/or cost.
I will be taking some time to charter both a sizable cat and monohull to see if one feels preferable to the other, though a cat obviously wins on the space front.
In terms of single handing either, I would be cautious in building up my skill set, but would also plan to lean on electric winches, etc.
Then i will need to weigh in how much sailing I will actually be able to do in my planned usage - i.e., how convenient it is to sail near NYC, or in the northeast anyway. I have seen some sailboats that can motor at 10, but most seem to top off at 8.
The powercat will win on convenience hands down, but I want to fully explore the sail options, which will also prove relevant if we ultimately decide to live on land, since at that point many of the described needs decrease in importance substantially.
I'm not committed to in mast furling, though a friend had that type of set up and it seemed pretty convenient. That being said, I've probably only spent a combined 10 days on a sailboat, only 2 of which were on a cat, so I of course have a lot to learn about even my own preferences.
The aquila cats looked interesting to me, though SWMBO is not a fan of their aesthetics.
The draft on the monos is indeed a concern for me too. The mast height on the cats i hadn't looked into regarding the ICW, but I definitely will, thanks.
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Old 21-08-2015, 15:05   #10
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Safdie View Post
Thank you all for the responses.
I agree, and accept, that the large powercat I'm looking at is definitely most convenient, and best suited to my uses.
I've always enjoyed my time on sailboats, and want to fully explore that option before I make any decision.
I understand that living aboard, and my (SWMBO) need for conveniences in that case does indeed rule out a variety of boats.
In terms of those conveniences, my impression is that anything can theoretically be accommodated, but that there will be tradeoffs, primarily in terms of speed and/or cost.
I will be taking some time to charter both a sizable cat and monohull to see if one feels preferable to the other, though a cat obviously wins on the space front.
In terms of single handing either, I would be cautious in building up my skill set, but would also plan to lean on electric winches, etc.
Then i will need to weigh in how much sailing I will actually be able to do in my planned usage - i.e., how convenient it is to sail near NYC, or in the northeast anyway. I have seen some sailboats that can motor at 10, but most seem to top off at 8.
The powercat will win on convenience hands down, but I want to fully explore the sail options, which will also prove relevant if we ultimately decide to live on land, since at that point many of the described needs decrease in importance substantially.
I'm not committed to in mast furling, though a friend had that type of set up and it seemed pretty convenient. That being said, I've probably only spent a combined 10 days on a sailboat, only 2 of which were on a cat, so I of course have a lot to learn about even my own preferences.
The aquila cats looked interesting to me, though SWMBO is not a fan of their aesthetics.
The draft on the monos is indeed a concern for me too. The mast height on the cats i hadn't looked into regarding the ICW, but I definitely will, thanks.
I'm afraid you'll spend a million bucks and then find your preconceived ideas are not what you imagined.

Why don't you initially spend a fraction of the million on a small yacht? Whatever is popular and available in your location. Maybe a small one design keel boat such as a Soling or similar. Then you'll learn to sail with a little help from your friends. You might even stick with that and keep your existing power boat.

There are many yachting people who change over to power boats as they and their spouses get older. Someone might do a part exchange once you decide on a large yacht.
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Old 21-08-2015, 15:13   #11
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

I should have added that with sailing boats there is
1: Performance
2: Reasonable cost
3: Comfort
You can have any 2 of those but you can't have them all.
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