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Old 10-01-2017, 12:16   #1
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Question Reasonable sailboat size for five people

Hi everyone,
I'm looking to find a good sailboat size for a family of four, but usually with one guest at least, so I think thinking about five people is ok.
We would mostly be costal sailing with one or another ocean passages.

What's a good size range for this situation?

Also, feel free to recommend a model. I was thinking about LM, but seems too small. But the idea of indoor cockpit is great. Do you know any other brand with this feature?

Thanks in advance for you all!
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:22   #2
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacob3 View Post
Hi everyone,
I'm looking to find a good sailboat size for a family of four, but usually with one guest at least, so I think thinking about five people is ok.
We would mostly be costal sailing with one or another ocean passages.

What's a good size range for this situation?

Also, feel free to recommend a model. I was thinking about LM, but seems too small. But the idea of indoor cockpit is great. Do you know any other brand with this feature?

Thanks in advance for you all!
This link is to one of several previous discussions about boats suitable for five people.

Family of Five Getting Ready to Liveaboard
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Old 10-01-2017, 12:48   #3
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

It helps/is wise for everyone to have their own bunk/private space. Usually with a privacy curtain, lee cloth, & storage. That way everyone can take a self imposed time out when they need it, & not be disturbed but for emergencies.

Also, for 4+ folks it'd be preferable to have 3+ sea berths, not counting settees, nor the forepeak/v-berth. So that folks can get some rest when not on watch, or not feeling well, without being disturbed, nor accidentally sat or fallen upon.

The one caveat being that really little kids often do okay sharing a big bunk, especially if they share a room at home. Depends on the kids.

You can sometimes find boats which fit these critera as small as about 30' if they have 2 quarter berths, plus a pilot berth or two. Particularly in older designs, such as in the 60's & 70's. But in more modern designs the trend is to spread out the saloon seating to the full beam of the boat. So no pilot berths. Though it's common to then have twin cabins aft, so...

Try going "camping at home". Where you put everyone in one room in sleeping bags for a few days, in order to see how well folks do in cramped quarters. And I mean spend a whole weekend in that one room, & the bathroom. Sans doors, just hang curtains instead. As such an experiment provides about as much space & privacy as a boat affords.

PS: Here's another very helpful screening test BowmansUnion SailHead Magazine Extreme Sailing™ It simulates life/conditions onboard.


The bowmansunion.com introductory self examination for beginning bowmen.
So you want to be a Bowman? Or Bow woman ?
Maybe you're tired of being an under appreciated grinder. Or you have finally shed that extra 20 pounds and feel it's time to redeem yourself on the pointy end. Well here is a short test to get you going in the right direction and help you to see if you have what it takes to become a bowman.

First of all, to be a good bowman, you must have a high tolerance for pain under many adverse conditions. Dealing with pain and continuing to perform the duties of the bow is paramount to being successful in this position. Seeing if you have what it takes is simple, just follow these few steps.
1. To make things realistic, start a cold shower and get in. I recommend wearing your weather gear">foul weather gear, but that's up to you.
2. Spin around about ten times or so, just enough to make it seem like the shower is "heeled over".
3. Now, with a medium sized frying pan, give yourself a good whack on the top of the head while yelling "MADE!"
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 every five minutes or until you black out. SEE FIG. 1




If you made it through this exercise at least five times without loosing conscienceness or ending up in the emergency room, then congratulations, you are ready for the next level. If you didn't, then you'd better stay behind the mast you wimp!
OK, as soon as the swelling goes down it is time to see if you have the brains to be on the bow. The bow is a very mentally challenging position. This exercise will give you a good idea if you have what it takes.
To test your problem solving skills, go to your local toy store and buy a Rubicks Cube, you might already have one lurking around your basement from the mid '80s. Once you have found one, follow these short steps to see if you are sharp enough for the front of the boat, or if you are destined to turn a winch for the rest of your days.
1. Take your "Cube" into a completely dark room or closet, or if you are at work, a blind fold will do just fine.
2 . Have a buddy time you at solving the puzzle, and since you will experience lots of distractions on the foredeck, have your buddy smack you on the face repeatedly while you complete this task (quit whining, do you want to be a bowman or not ? ) .
See FIG . 2




If you were able to solve the puzzle in less than 3 minutes then you probably already have Dennis Connor on speed dial . Under 5 and you probably wear your harness to work under your business suit. Anything under 10 and you have what it takes but you need a little more practice . If it took you 10 minutes or more, well, lets just say there is always a future as a tactician .
Our next exercise is one of mental toughness, to see if you have the "clock weights", if you will, to persevere through the torment and ridicule that will surely come from the other crewmembers aboard .
This is our final test, so good luck .

1. For five days you are not allowed to speak to anyone, not your roommate, spouse, siblings, parents, kids, friends, boss, coworkers, NO ONE .
2 . You are only allowed to verbally communicate in the form of yelling and screaming. This includes phone conversations .
3 . Be sure to include as much profanity in each sentence as possible .

So for an example, if your boss asks for an over due report. Instead of saying "I will have it for you right away sir." You could say "I WILL HAVE THE #&*$@% REPORT FOR YOU AS SOON AS IT IS @*&%#@ DONE, %&#$ FACE!" Of course you can insert your own profanity where you see fit .
Once you have completed this exercise you should have a good idea of what it is like to be on the bow of a high performance racing sailboat. The faces people have given you and the obscene hand gestures you have received during this last five days are very similar to the ones you will receive in your new position on the bow. However, if you made it through this exercise and you are still married, your friends still call you or talk to you, and you still have a job, then you didn't try hard enough. You will undoubtedly fold under the pressure of this demanding position, in other words you are a wuss. Don't feel too bad though, not everyone is cut out for this life. It is lonely world up there, some sailors just can't handle the stress and separation. Just be thankful that you took this exam, think of all the pain and ridicule you have saved yourself .

If you passed all three tests, then congratulations. Once the bandages come off and you have begged your boss for your job back, the next step is to get your name on your local crew list as an "Aspiring Bowman". Be sure to mention that you have passed the "bowmansunion.com introductory self-examination for beginning bowmen". Bring along the Rubicks Cube and a blindfold to any interviews with skippers and you are sure to have a fast ride on the bow of your choice .

Good Luck
Bowmanship 101
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Old 10-01-2017, 13:03   #4
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pirate Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

https://www.apolloduck.com/feature.phtml?id=361886

Its in Greece I know but.. its an example of what might suit your requirements.
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Old 10-01-2017, 13:09   #5
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

Can you give us some idea of what you intend to do on this boat, and for how long? Answering these may help you define what you really want. "... coastal sailing with one or another ocean passages" can be a range of time.
- What is your sailing experience as skipper? I see that you crew for other people, but what do you know about navigation, maintenance, safety, etc.
- What are your expectations for performance? Do you race, or is this just a casual sailor?
- How long is a "passage" for you? Is this day sailing only, or do you intend to spend multiple days at sea? Will you anchor / dock every night? Will you need a boat that can survive heavy weather / storms when caught out at sea?
- How comfortable do you and your partner want to be? Is this rugged camping, or do you demand a hot meal, hot showers, and air conditioning every night?
- What are the depths where you intend to cruise? Is a deep draft boat going to cause problems in your harbor / anchorage?
- How much maintenance can you do? Do you like (are you able) to fix things around the boat?
- How much can you afford? Remember, that after buying the boat, you should budget 10% of the purchase price annually to keep the boat up? You will need to maintain this thing, replace sails and lines, etc. Obviously, 10% is a rough guide, but it will start you thinking about the cost of a boat.
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Old 10-01-2017, 13:18   #6
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

We are used to camp in the same tent, so I think we don't need a boat bigger than 45 for sure. And this test sounds funny and serious at the same time! It seems the bowmansunion website is off by the way.
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Old 10-01-2017, 13:19   #7
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

It's exactly what I was looking for. Hard to see other indoor cockpits sailboats isn't it?
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Old 10-01-2017, 13:42   #8
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

For as many people as you're talking about, & the budget that you're hinting at (up to 50' +/-) then you'd likely best be served by a mid-sized catamaran. Lots of space, huge cockpit, "privacy", big galley, no heeling (ideal for most female spouses), easy water access (key for kids), (relatively) quick passages, good resale...
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Old 10-01-2017, 13:46   #9
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

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Originally Posted by John_Trusty View Post
Can you give us some idea of what you intend to do on this boat, and for how long? Answering these may help you define what you really want. "... coastal sailing with one or another ocean passages" can be a range of time.
- What is your sailing experience as skipper? I see that you crew for other people, but what do you know about navigation, maintenance, safety, etc.
- What are your expectations for performance? Do you race, or is this just a casual sailor?
- How long is a "passage" for you? Is this day sailing only, or do you intend to spend multiple days at sea? Will you anchor / dock every night? Will you need a boat that can survive heavy weather / storms when caught out at sea?
- How comfortable do you and your partner want to be? Is this rugged camping, or do you demand a hot meal, hot showers, and air conditioning every night?
- What are the depths where you intend to cruise? Is a deep draft boat going to cause problems in your harbor / anchorage?
- How much maintenance can you do? Do you like (are you able) to fix things around the boat?
- How much can you afford? Remember, that after buying the boat, you should budget 10% of the purchase price annually to keep the boat up? You will need to maintain this thing, replace sails and lines, etc. Obviously, 10% is a rough guide, but it will start you thinking about the cost of a boat.

Thanks John, I'll try to answer most of your questions.
- I have basically no experience at all. I've just turned 18 and am looking to get into this world. And I'm planning to buy this boat in 6 years. So I'll get all the experience needed by then. Even with so much time, I want to plan all the budget I'll need, so I need to find a boat to use as a model.

- I rather have a comfortable boat than a speedy one. Performance is not a priority at all.

- I used the term passage wrongly. I meant ocean crossings. The idea is to spend visit all places in a continent before crossing to another. As I have only the first year planned, we would spend the whole year on the brazilian coastline. Not ocean crossings planned for now, but they shall happen from time to time. I'd call it a slow circumnavigation.

- Yes. For the first year we would be anchoring almost all nights. No need for such a strong blue water boat. Also one that can handle ocean crossings sporadically (something like each 12-18 months).

- Hot meal would be good. No hot showers needed (but would be good to have as optional). No air conditioning at all.

- A full keel would fit better I guess. But not mandatory as well.

- I really have little experience with sailboats, as well as its maintenance. I hope to get experience in these years ahead. I don't/woudn't feel bothered to fix things around the boat. I'm very patient.

- I'll can afford a used U$35k max boat. I'll also have a good amount of money saved to keep us and the boat.
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Old 10-01-2017, 13:55   #10
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pirate Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

And... he's an SA member..
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Old 10-01-2017, 14:06   #11
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

Based on the above, perhaps you should consider multiple steps, rather than buying an ocean-crossing boat as a first step. The cheapest start is crewing on other people's boats. Many racers and some passage makers are looking for willing crew, so this is an easy beginning. The attributes of good crew, aside from experience and recommendations (which you do not have), are pleasant personality and willingness to learn.

The second stop may be a day sailor (7 meter), then a smaller used coastal boat (10 meter), then trade up to a larger cruiser. There is much to learn, and this site is a good start. Keep reading and sailing. Do not place yourself, or your family, in a dangerous situation by trying to skip steps and go longer distances on larger boats until you are ready. Trust me, you will know you are ready when you are bored with the current step.
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:55   #12
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

My Pearson 36-1 is a coastal cruiser, but I crossed the Atlantic with her. The main consideration for an ocean crossing is the ability to carry enough fuel and water.

Although she has 7 berths, the pilot berth is taken by the Dometic 110 liter refrigerator and when 4-5 people are sleeping aboard, one of the berths is taken by the crew's bags. Sometimes we even have to put the bags under a tarp on deck or in the cockpit when we are in a harbor.

So besides the strength of the boat and well maintained systems, storage is a big issue.
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Old 11-01-2017, 10:08   #13
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

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Originally Posted by Jacob3 View Post
We are used to camp in the same tent, so I think we don't need a boat bigger than 45 for sure. And this test sounds funny and serious at the same time! It seems the bowmansunion website is off by the way.
The required size of the boat depends very much on the personal requirements of the family members. Since you are used to camping in one tent, you can probably live in a small boat too. Maybe berths for all + one head is sufficient. Is it ok if someone sleeps on the couch?

At sea there is no other place to go than the boat, so it is maybe a good idea to have isolated cabins at both ends, so that people can go there when they need privacy. Your guest might also need his/her own cabin. Maybe not a private head however.

If you can afford two heads and more space, get more (but leave 30%-50% of the budget as a reserve). It however seems you might be happy enough with less space too. You will learn your minimum requirements by spending few nights in a boat.
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Old 11-01-2017, 10:22   #14
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

Two heads? Twice the maintenance.

...and I have yet to see a boat with a "couch".

The banquettes in the main salon are usually the best sea berths when fitted with a lee cloth or other retaining device.
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:39   #15
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Re: Reasonable sailboat size for five people

Hi,

It would help if you posted the age and gender of your kids.

I spent 5 great summers with my family on a C&C25 here on Lake Ontario, often aboard for a week at a time. Yes, thats a small boat, but the kids were little and could share the vee. When they got bigger, we needed a bigger boat.

IMHO, if you have two daughters, they could share the vee while you and the Mrs share a large quarter berth or aft cabin. You would be very comfortable on a Hunter Legend 35.5. However, if everyone needs their own bunk, you might consider a C&C41...it has a big quarter berth, a vee cabin, plus a pair of upper pilot berths in the main cabin...a really great layout that would satisfy your whole family and a couple guests too!
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