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Old 06-01-2010, 01:09   #106
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Like so many posts on here size is very personal. I was looking at something in the 28 to 40 foot range but now I have been looking at a 30ft Tri. I am still looking at different boats too. The big thing is go sailing. I started here on the Lakes when I was a kid and changed to power for a few years because of kids of my own and deck space. Now I am back to looking at sail and I have been staying in the 30 to 35 ft range for myself. I like you am thinking about sailing solo but while I do think about around the world sounds cool I have gotten to realize I am more going to be happy just going from the Lakes to the Gulf to the Keys and Fl. Someday I might go farther but not for now. I do like to have watermakers and heat/AC, plus showers with Hot and Cold water, I want enough room to sleep and eat in comfert have a place to relax and read/ watch a movie etc. I may not "need" a genne but I think Solar Panals would be a have to have. I have also been looking at used boats and like people have said there are alot currently out there cheep but you need to sail on a bunch of different boats to know what will work for you and your needs. If I dont get the Tri I think a Paterson in the 28 to 32 range has the best for my needs with good cabins nice cockpits decent living arangments and can be gotten for around 8 to 10000 in pretty good shape that can be upgraded to what I want. As you have seen here the biggest thing is to start. Also you might look into the Cruesing World Magizene I read it every month because it has great articles about the crusing life and what it takes to keep a boat and enjoy your self. It also lets you dream while you are doing the hard stuff like trying to pick a boat and learning to sail. Good luck and happy hunting. G

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Old 06-01-2010, 04:33   #107
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I think the smallest boat to have circumnavigated was the 18 ft super shrimp nicknamed "Shrimpy", sailed by Shane Acton.

There is a book, but I think it is out of print. There is a pdf of it at

Bit small for my tastes, but probably the cheapest way of doing it.

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Old 06-01-2010, 06:08   #108
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Two books out that cover the subject nicely are: "Twenty small boats to take you anywhere" and the "Seaworthy offshore sailboat: A guide to essential features handling and gear" Both by John Vigor. I think both would be very helpful for someone in the beginning stages.
James Baldwin at also has an article called the "good old boat list" It's a good read, and lists quite a few boats he considers potential cruisers.
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Old 06-01-2010, 21:28   #109
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I just had to look up a very good site again its called All it has are used sailboats for sale all over the country and this can give you an idea what different types of boats have in ammenities as well as what different kinds of boats are out there. I have used it to compair prices as well as look at the "Dream" boats too. There are boats anywhere form a couple of thousand to the millions. There are ones that really need "work lol" to almost perfict for a very reasonable amounts of money. This is a good place to look and maybe find that boat you were talking about. Last I looked there were thousands of listings. You can search by just browsing or by type or price and many other ways. Have fun I do. G
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:24   #110
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Size matters

Live-aboard/Cruising? I tried this with a Rawson 30 Through the Cracks - SailNet Community that by Bill Garden's account held for some time, the record for single handed circumnavigations. But even after upgrading and re-arranging the interior, she was still like a sardine can below decks. She was awesome to sail though: not fast, but she woke up at 15Kn and you'd always come home dry even when blowing 40Kn. She was one tough boat.
That said, 40' would be the minimum length I would go with today, especially if one wants to live-aboard. Double staterooms are a must, as well as two heads, even for only a 2 person crew. Life is a lot better on-board with options.
There are an endless list of boats laying in Cabo and Ensenada, for sale and/or abandoned by as many split couples who found cruising more challenging than day sailing. Some choose multi-hull, but it's hard to get live-aboard slips for wide hulls and gets very expensive here in the US and Canada. This rule also applies to boats over 50-55 feet.
At our marina, a 60' slip is almost double the price as our 45' slip and one could rent a pretty nice apartment for the difference. Many marinas (worth living at) also have a length restrictions on live-aboards, usually 35', but many are moving up to 40'.
I think size matters, especially if you plan to spend more than a summer on your boat at the dock.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:59   #111
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Choice of boat - like choice of lifestyle - is such a very personal mixture of feelings, likes, desires, personal circumstances, ambitions and limits that discussions like these are never-ending, online, onboard or in-bar. However....

I want to put in a word for plain and simple and a shout for cats and tris. Just my likes, my would be choices whose rationale appeals to my particular ways of thinking and feeling. I spent several years living aboard a 28' monohull sailboat and I'm not going that way again. But neither would I choose the vast amounts of space, equipment and facilities/systems that push the costs of purchase and maintenance into 6 figures. Especially now so much information / workspace / entertainment can be accessed and stored digitally, my demands for total displacement remain moderate.

How many Wharram cats went out / are out now doing the job? Jim Brown's Searunners and Seaclippers? There are many other good liveaboard, long range mutihull designs out there and all of them make much more sense than nearly always sailing slowly at uncomfortable and debilitating angles, lugging around an enormous metal weight and risking sinking in the event of disaster - to me, that is. And I'm not worried by marina charges. I've never actually used them very much at all, and anchor in preference to going alongside. I lifted out my engine whilst afloat and repaired the gearbox without having to put into a yard. Short of major refit or severe damage repairs I can't think of a reason I would go into a yard.

So, to follow suit with recommendations of size etc - mine would be a cat or trimaran, preferably a tri for more fun, 35 foot to 40 foot MAX for good compromise between sufficient safety / space and physical manageability.

Good luck,

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Old 07-01-2010, 12:40   #112

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The advice that Sandy gave sounds soooo logical.

The wife and I are on our second boat, and I can tell you that you will trade up several times before you reach the boat you will be completely satisfied with. With each boat, and although you will fall in love with each, you will find something missing. You will then be able to have a bit more complete of a picture if what is good for you.

We have now been out on several weekend jaunts - two of which we had to sail through some heavier weather and slept in a semi-protected harbor where we were thrashed about most of the night by the swells while at anchor. All and all we loved it enough to want to do it again and again, so I guess the sailing bug has bitten us.

Taking your time to look at a LOT of boats. Researching each of them is fundamental. If you are spending more than about $3000 you might want to have a survey done by a professional. There are books out there that will show you how to survey a boat, and you should read them at least once after each boat you look at. You will see more and more in what is written in these books with each boat you look at. Kinda like seeing a movie more than once. You see things each time that you missed the time before.

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:54   #113
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you recommend a survey for a $ 3K boat?

I have actually been looking at spending twenty or so times maybe I should consider a survey, too...
Expat life in the Devil's Triangle:
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Old 07-01-2010, 13:07   #114
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Dang Sandy just about said it all
I just wouldnt paint the windows....
I like to look out once in a while
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Old 07-01-2010, 13:13   #115

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That is because a $3000 boat can quickly turn into a $6000 boat (our first $1300 boat turned into a $2500 boat within a week or so). A survey on a smaller sailboat will cost you around $1000 here on the west coast, so it can really pay off in the long run. A good survey could also increase the resale. I know that it made a difference when we were looking for boats if the one we were looking at had a survey.
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Old 11-01-2010, 10:32   #116
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Originally Posted by steve ripples View Post
Choice of boat - like choice of lifestyle - is such a very personal mixture of feelings, likes, desires, personal circumstances, ambitions and limits that discussions like these are never-ending, online, onboard or in-bar. However....
Steve, this is so true – and I think is why it is so difficult to offer opinions (let alone substantive advice…) that is general enough to be useful, but not so specific that it becomes worthless … A potential voyager who has their heart set on a certain sized vessel will doubtless always think that a smaller one is a sardine can, and a larger one a barge…

It is easy enough to account for what can be done (at least where size is concerned), and I think that around 13-feet is still the record for a circumnavigation, so if a vessel is seaworthy then anything larger could work for a solo-artist content in their own company… but the account of the Hays (My Old Man and the Sea) is probably about the smallest that most would attempt for traversing really serious water (Cape Horn in a mid-20 footer, two up…). Beyond that it is preferences…

Many voyagers are simply not fulfilled unless they can have yacht-style shelter and comforts, and would not be happy on anything not generously proportioned enough to bear the required gear and machinery… others take an opposite, perhaps more utilitarian, tack – neither is wrong; however, either would probably be a huge imposition on a skipper of the reverse mindset.

Don Street once speculated that a cruising boat needed to be about 5000 pounds of displacement for each crew (I assume this was for the CCA style vessels of that day). Probably a great guide and from what my Admiral seems to prefer almost right on the money… I’m content with quite a bit less and have sailed a good bit where there was at least 5-tons per crew which I (for me) found to be cumbersome and unnecessarily extravagant and unwieldy… Yet, our little B24 chunk is almost always dismissed as a cute toy by many who would never be at ease with her diminutive size, although she does have standing headroom… But these are just preferences – not a matter of what could be done… indeed, although I’ve never weathered any force 10 weather (thankfully), I have been in rougher seas with my current reality-sized boat than in a couple of larger ones and she rode as comfy and as securely as the larger boats (and required less work, albeit being a tad wetter when beating…) did in more modest weather.

Nonetheless, a lot of this is just frame of mind… Over the years I’ve circled the globe once or twice by air, staying in some rather comfortable digs at my employers’ behest – all good… but what I enjoy doing on land when left to my own devices is travel by motorcycle, sleeping on the bike… I carried a tent for many years, but never used it and quit carrying about a dozen years back – nope, I’ve never yet stayed in a motel even on rides that traverse half the continent, and yes I’ve been caught in weather, but that’s what I enjoy – others, of course, may not have these primitive cravings, and likewise in boating… It is fairly simple to recount what can be done, but tricky to foresee what another skipper will actually be content with…

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Old 10-09-2010, 13:55   #117
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Hi, just reading all I can here and came across this older thread. Interesting that there is so much difference of opinions out there depending on which site your anchor drops in! 30 to 40' seems to be the size all could agree to here as a liveaboard. The circumnavigation is another matter.

I have read that the smallest boat was just over 8' and that 10' is actually a "class" established for a race for circumnavigating. I came across these tiny boats reading about Little Cruiser a 15'er designed by a guy named Matt something along with Enigma and a small sister boat. Anyway, I searched for "Micro cruising" or "Micro Cruisers".

After reading about a 15' (over built) home made Sharpie sailed by a yoiung couple from NC to the Bahamas on 5 different occassions, I have to start wondering about aspects of seaworthyness vs. comfort. While these micro sailors claimed they were comfortable, they had to open a hatch to standup. Now, I can see doing that and I can also imagine my legs cramping in foul weather.

As to seaworthyness, they were saying that the shorter lenght actually kept them in the trough in 12 and 15' seas, they simply floated over and surfed while other larger boats were pounding and slamming. They didi not advise going out in such weather, but that it caight them and they have always felt secure. Thier boat was built more like a Battle Tank too with a 1" bottom and glassed at only 15', sounds heavy to me....

For me, if I were going to actually liveaboard, I saw an older Cari-Craft catamaran at 45' that would do just fine and a 55' (I think) that would have been better and a 60' that was really nicely done. All under 100K (cheapest was 50K I think, ready to go) These boats have been offshore, the 55' looked Trawler like with a blunt nose. If it were to be an adventure, might try circumnavigating in one of those! LOL

I'm now leaning toward the micro end of the spectrum, 15 to 18' and maybe up to a 24'. The cats at 24' seem to have more room than 32' monos. Didn't see many cats mentioned in this thread and I have seen a couple Gemini 104s in the target price range claiming they were ready to sail. Provisioning for a circumnavigation I realize could easily be upward of 6 figures in itself, without the cost of the vessel, so geewhiz!

Any comments here about micros to use a costal cruisers or even to the souther islands in the good fair weather season?
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Old 11-09-2010, 14:40   #118
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Just saw your post about what size boat... We cruised aboard a Gemini for 5 years with our young daughter and had a ball. We did coastal cruising and the Bahamas. Had hoped to get to SA, but didn't have enough time as we tended to stay and enjoy places and get to know the locals. You can go to Performance Cruising | Gemini 105Mc Cruising Catamarans for Sale | Telstar 28 Trimarans for Sale to see adventures of Gemini cruisers. They're all over the world now. Our daughter is now grown and gone with a family of her own and we're ready to do it all again... but this time in a 50' Prout Quasar. We've gutter and rebuilt her to our needs/wants. Hope to be heading out this spring. You can read about us at The Cruisers Life - Home.

While cruising on Yesterday's Dream we met an Arctic Circle Forest Ranger (yes, they actually have Forest Rangers in the Arctic Circle) and his girlfriend who had sailed the ICW... in winter... in a 19' Laser. Quite a couple, to say the least!

Good luck with your adventure. If we can be of any help, leave a message on our website so we can get in touch.

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Old 11-09-2010, 15:42   #119
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If you can afford the boat, it's too small.
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Old 11-09-2010, 15:53   #120
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How big is too small?

I'm always interested in the varied reponse to a question put forth by an interested beguiner. People have to dream and dreaming big is what makes the everyday ones obtainable. The answer to the question of size suitable for circumnavigation is of corse a varied one. Anyone who has sailed any measured distance knows that bigger is better in terms of comfort and safety but smaller is more easily handled, afforded and maintained. Safety is a matter of design and execution by the end user.I would ask anyone who passes judgment from the confines of their anchorage or armchair as I am, to consider the voyage of "Plumbelly", a 26' double ended flush decked "coffin" built on the beach in Bequia by "eye" and deftly sailed singlehanded by one Claus Alverman.
I met Claus in the destroyer pens in Gibraltar on his sixth year of his circumnavigation and nearing his landfall, a mere thirty some days before him. I had the fortune of making landfall ahead of him, needless to say I was on a boat three times that of plumbelly, and bore witness to his arrival. To be in Bequia that day of the completed circumnavigation, to witness the celebration of Claus and the thousands of Bequians who saw their adopted son return in the first Bequia built boat to do so, has always thrilled me at the memory and has taught me to dream big even if the conveyance and budget are not. If I had listened to all those who would dampen my dreams, I would never have left my back yard. The dream is the preparation.

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