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Old 22-01-2015, 09:55   #1
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How big can I go

I am new to sailing however my partner and I are looking to retire and live aboard next year . We are thinking of a 45ft Bavaria cruiser . My question being is this boat to large for two people to handle . Sailing mainly in the Med

Thanks

Derek
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:25   #2
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Re: How big can I go

No, it's not too large for two people.

I singlehand my Beneteau 473, with my wife aboard, all the time.


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Old 22-01-2015, 10:38   #3
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Re: How big can I go

Exert from Beth Leonard ''The Voyager's Handbook''

''An overly large boat can ruin a voyage. For each 10-foot increase in boat lenght, the hours spent on maintenance double boat-related costs triple.''

''Instead of the biggest boat you can afford, I would say that you should buy the smallest boat on which you can live comfortably''

If you are looking into voyaging and passagemaking, that book is great help, full of good advices.
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:42   #4
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Re: How big can I go

Howdy and Welcome to this Forum!

My Point of View?

The size of the boat you can handle is dependent upon your:

1. Skill and Experience with Boats and Sailing

2. The conditions where and when you sail (bad weather, etc.) For example, handing sails in light winds is much easier than in places where the wind is 20+ knots regularly. The bigger the sails, the bigger the force you will deal with when the wind picks up.

3. The use of auxiliary motors (engine).

4. The level of risk you feel when docking a boat amongst other boats in crowded marinas or maneuvering among boats in crowded harbors. Practice makes perfect.

5. The level of risk you are willing to take.

Some people who have lots of experience sailing, motoring, and docking boats may have the skills and confidence needed to manage a larger boat. Some very skilled couples (or individuals) can manage big boats and may make it appear easy (or say so on a forum).

While some others who have lots of confidence, but little skill, may try and get away with it much of the time, and depend on insurance at other times.

Aside from one's budget, I think the most common determining factor is one's sense of confidence (best derived from experience).

Someone who is lacking confidence (due to lack of experience) will likely have anxiety docking, sailing, or motoring any size boat. So, those boats may be bought, but probably spend most of their time in the slip and rarely sailed, unless with a larger crew to help with the docking and such.

The good thing about this?
When you do get a boat (of any size) and spend time practicing those things it requires (sail handling, docking, anchoring, etc.) you WILL develop experience (and hopefully skill too) and that will increase your confidence and lessen your anxiety (we hope).

I have sailed a bit, so I would feel comfortable as a couple on a boat of 40 feet or so in most conditions. In some conditions, that size boat will seem VERY BIG if one is struggling with some big hanked on sails on the foredeck or trying to lift a big anchor manually (no windlass) or if one is trying to dock it in a cross wind. But, it can be done.

Since you are speaking of a couple, I also suggest you consider what level of comfort you would feel handling the boat (of any size) IF your partner is not available. In those cases, where you are "single handing" the boat, would you feel you could handle a sail change, reefing, docking, etc. Those occasions may not happen often, but could. The good thing is several things can be done to make a boat easier for one to handle it. Some require simple changes to methods, some require a bit of gear and some require a different way of approaching problems.

Good luck on your choice of boat and happy sailing!
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:43   #5
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Re: How big can I go

Quote:
Originally Posted by MARC D View Post
Exert from Beth Leonard ''The Voyager's Handbook''



''An overly large boat can ruin a voyage. For each 10-foot increase in boat lenght, the hours spent on maintenance double boat-related costs triple.''



''Instead of the biggest boat you can afford, I would say that you should buy the smallest boat on which you can live comfortably''



If you are looking into voyaging and passagemaking, that book is great help, full of good advices.

I have always questioned this " wisdom ". The reason it tends to be true. Is that owners of larger boats tend to be wealthier and as a result the boat gets more complex. Has more things to fail. I accept certain things scale up and cost more ( sail rig etc)

I once sailed on a very simple 55 footer , she was a revelation of the advantages of size, with the simplicity of a boat half her size

Dave


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Old 22-01-2015, 10:52   #6
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Re: How big can I go

"Too big" can fall into several categories. The two most obvious are actual handling of the boat and the other being budget. A bigger boat means bigger expenses. If money is not an issue then you are left with boat handling. That depends on how the boat is set up, but in general, with a properly set up boat, you can double hand that boat without much of a problem...in normal conditions. I singlehand an older Hunter 45 Legend and have not had any issues. I do sail quite conservatively, always choosing to reduce sail much earlier than if I had others aboard to help. My boat has a furling genoa as well as a furling main. There are plenty on here who may have adverse opinions about in mast furling mains but my first hand experience with it is that I will NEVER own a boat without it.
As far as the Bavaria 45...seems like a great boat! I have spent a few days on a friends 2012 Bavaria 45 and the boat is amazing. It sails and handles awesome. The cockpit and salon areas are HUGE and beautiful. However, because of the openness of the downstairs I don't think I would be comfortable taking the boat on longer passages, but for coastal cruising...two thumbs up!
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Old 22-01-2015, 10:52   #7
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Re: How big can I go

I will second what Marc D posted. Don't go with how big but go with how small you can live with.

For us that's a Catalina 310. We've been full-time liveaboards for almost a year. The two of us and our dog.

The larger the boat, the more systems, the higher the maintenance cost and the more time you will spend dealing with things instead of enjoying yourself.
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Old 22-01-2015, 11:01   #8
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Re: How big can I go

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I have always questioned this " wisdom ". The reason it tends to be true. Is that owners of larger boats tend to be wealthier and as a result the boat gets more complex. Has more things to fail. I accept certain things scale up and cost more ( sail rig etc)

I once sailed on a very simple 55 footer , she was a revelation of the advantages of size, with the simplicity of a boat half her size

Dave
I've had the same experience. Most of my boating has been on 34-40' boats but owned a old 63' steel ketch for a couple of years. Very simple systems and the only increase in maintenance was due to larger decks to wash, etc so only an incremental increase in work time.

You will pay more for sails, lines, hardware, marinas, hauling, bottom jobs, etc. The only other negatives I recall:

- the sails were big and heavy. Once they were on the mast or furler no problem but removing and stowing or bending the sails was more than most couples could handle. Also maneuvering in tight spots can be a handful. The PO of my boat was know as Captain Crunch around the marina since he seemed to bang into a neighbor or two every time he took the boat out. Bow thruster could help a lot on that problem.

For liveaboard or at sea it was great. 4-6' swells the boat barely rocked. Plenty of storage and elbow room. In boats bigger is better in many ways.
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Old 22-01-2015, 11:04   #9
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Re: How big can I go

My opinion is that it has a lot more to do with you than the boat. If you adapt quickly and learn quickly and your hand eye coordination is good then no problem. I can tell you it doesn't have much to do with academic smarts because Einstein loved sailing but wasn't a very good at it. 45 feet is no big deal for someone who knows what he is doing but might be more than a handful for some people. Personally I would go out and sail, be it lessons from friends or established companies and it won't be long and you will be able to answer your own question. And yes the costs of maintaining a boat goes up exponentially with each foot you add. Enjoy the process as its really can make for some good times. PS When purchasing a boat new make sure to add a very healthy allowance for options you will need for cruising.
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Old 22-01-2015, 11:15   #10
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Re: How big can I go

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My opinion is that it has a lot more to do with you than the boat.
Agree completely. Just about any boat can be rigged with winches, blocks, etc to make it easy to sail short handed if the captain and crew are able.

Alain Colas in the 1976 OSTAR raced single handed on Club Mediterranée, a 236' four masted schooner. Based on this I think it obvious that just overall size of the boat is not the main limiting factor on short handed sailing.
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Old 22-01-2015, 11:31   #11
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Re: How big can I go

Go big. No problems sailing our 53ft alone, but it does take some patience and practice, with the two of us it's easy. 45ft is half the size and displacement, you'll be fine.
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Old 22-01-2015, 12:13   #12
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Re: How big can I go

Many thanks to you all some very positive feedback I can assure you all will be considered

Thanks again

Derek



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Old 22-01-2015, 13:21   #13
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Re: How big can I go

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Originally Posted by jibstay View Post
No, it's not too large for two people.

I singlehand my Beneteau 473, with my wife aboard, all the time

Same here, on our B473. We actually take turns single handing ours. More likely (and maybe more fun) to work together sailing. Docking and anchoring, for sure. Take lessons. Why teach yourself what people have already known for years?


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Old 22-01-2015, 13:32   #14
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Re: How big can I go

One can single hand a 289 ft sailboat no problem.
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Old 22-01-2015, 13:45   #15
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Re: How big can I go

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Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
I have always questioned this " wisdom ". The reason it tends to be true. Is that owners of larger boats tend to be wealthier and as a result the boat gets more complex. Has more things to fail. I accept certain things scale up and cost more ( sail rig etc)

I once sailed on a very simple 55 footer , she was a revelation of the advantages of size, with the simplicity of a boat half her size

Dave


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In theory, you are correct. In practice, big boats without complexe and expensive to maintain systems are hard to come by.

No matter what, they will be more expensive for the systems that are there (bigger ropes, more bottom paint, more diesel, pricer slips, etc....). And any savings from simplification can be applied to the smaller vessel.

Then you have the "need' for power accessories. By the time you get around 45' an anchor winch starts to transition from a nice thing to have to you can't get by without it (at least not from a practical point of view). Likewise, for really big boats, electric winches for the sheets start becoming neccessary if you aren't young and strong.

Another question that plays into the same theme is how do you forsee cruising. If you plan to anchor out 95% of the time, you can get away with a bigger boat short handed as precise manuvering isn't as critical and once the sails are set, you don't need a lot of manual labor for cruising. If you plan to go in and out of marinas on a regular basis, being able to handle the boat is much more critical and for a big boat, it's easier to have someone station in the right place when you have more people available.

All this said, I've seen guys do amazing things placing a boat precisely where they want and extra crew would make no difference. Since you ask the question (to the OP), I'm assuming you don't have that level of skill and someone to shove the bow over with a boat hook or pull on a line can be handy. The bigger the boat, the harder it is to do with only one person away from the wheel.
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