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Old 28-06-2007, 09:58   #1
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boat for small crew/big water

Hello, I am new to this forum and have a question. It is a 2 part question actually..first, what would you say is the largest boat a competent captain could sail with small crew..probably 1-2 others. Second, what is the smallest boat you'd feel comfortable taking into open ocean, such as sailing through Carribean, South America, etc. Or trips from mainland US to Hawaii, etc.
Is there a boat that would be optimal for sailing with limited crew, but still safe enough in size to weather small storms, big waves, etc. experienced in long open ocean rtips.?
If I sound like I don't know anything about sailing, you are correct. It is something that I have interest in persuing in the future..just wanted to get some bearing..

C.
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Old 28-06-2007, 10:07   #2
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SC Gilligan - Welcome to the forum. First off, beware of any boat called the "Minnow".

Second and all the others: The question(s) that you are asking have too many variables to be answered, starting with Captain & crew credentials, moving up to the 100's of different boats that could and have been sailed across blue waters. I believe that a 14 foot boat was successfully sailed across the Atlantic - single handed. I know of a 120 foot ketch that could be sailed by one person (as examples).

My suggestion is that you get involved with sailing - crew with sailors on their boats - become a bit more familiar with sailing and yourself in relation to sailing, and then narrow down your question based upon some experience.

Good Luck!
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Old 28-06-2007, 11:15   #3
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Yes, I see that I definitely need to get some experience..I did not realize that a boat as large as 120' could be sailed by a single person..This helps me to at least know what is possible..That is what I wanted to know before even persuing anything..If you were to say that is was impossible for a normal person to sail anything larger than 16', and no one in their right mind would sail that more than 100 yards off shore, I'd have known that there was no reason to think about it..
I guess I have a "romantic" idea that it'd be great to retire to a life of sailing around the world to exotic ports..I know it is not all like that, but it is possible..and as long as it is possible to do with just a couple of people with good sailing skills then it is still in the realm of reality.
Next step is locating some sailing lessons from a competent teacher..
Thanks for the response.
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Old 28-06-2007, 11:49   #4
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Gilligan,

What you dream of is very possible! Lots of people do it, and there are many books out there that cover almost everything you could want to know.

Read many books to get many perspectives, talk to people who have done it, and get as much experience as you can.

Bill
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Old 28-06-2007, 12:38   #5
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Hi Gilligan,

Just a suggestion.....

For a small yet ocean worthy boat check out the older Pacific Seacraft 20some footers....maybe 22' or 24'? Teeny, but strong and I've seen a handfull out there in the middle of nowhere. Some families with kids! Intimate living though.

A friend bought one up around Seattle. Paid around 20k for it and it came with a trailer, 7 sails, 3 anchors, safety stuff, solar, new looking little diesel, heaps of misc stuff, super clean interior, etc. The boat itself looked flawless. The rig looked great for such a small boat and I think it had mostly bronze (??) turnbuckles and chainplates. Pretty amazing for such a sturdy little thing.

Anyway, maybe a cheap way to get into it and yet something that you go offshore with until you learn what you want. Something small is a great way to learn so you don' t have to stress....just go out, raise the sails and see what makes you move.

...another friend met a 60 or 70 year old lady (single-handling!) on and off through Mexico, the south Pacific and ultimately NZ on one of those little Pacific Seacrafts.

Good luck and hope you go for it one way or the other...

- J
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Old 28-06-2007, 13:11   #6
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Welcome!

A fair enough starting question......whilst I am sure that a 120 footer could be managed by 1 (or 2) people (if set up to do so), in practice if you could afford a boat this size and the time and money to sail the 7 seas then you would probably be able to afford plenty of crew!

Big enuf to be comfortable at sea and yet small enough? In practice I would say you are looking at a boat anywhere between 27 and 45 foot. I would want a boat either I or a crewmember could easily handle alone.

Personally I would be happy on 30 to 40 foot. My ideal being somewhere in the middle (I am a presently on 30 foot, albeit not out sailing the 7 seas!! - but another 5 foot would IMO be ideal especially for accomadation reasons - without treading too far into too big for me to be comfortable handling, especially close quarters..........but others I know will be comfortable handling bigger).

But in addition to boat size the type / model is as important if not more so......plenty of boats that may well be perfect for day / weekend sailing, but which may not be ideal for offshore. Conversly many boats that are designed to be offshore are not always the most usable or fun to use as weekenders.....it is about buying the right boat for the task. Sometimes a Honda Civic is the better choice than a 4 X 4.

But their are a million answers to a question like this......

If I was getting started I would buy something cheap and cheerful and 18 to 25 foot for day and weekend sailing, and use it as a stepping stone for you to learn what YOU need and want from a sailing boat.......as well as learning the ropes (pun intended) and of course for "just" having fun!
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Old 28-06-2007, 15:02   #7
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The questions are unanswerable and they're not the right ones anyway. What you really want to know is what is the best, or perfect, or cheapest, or smallest or whatever-est boat that you can safely go cruising on. That question is also unanswerable - although you can always find people who will tell you that the boat they have, used to have, or want to have is the best.

The important thing is that the dream is achievable by ordinary people and many of them are doing it right now. Boat length is more directly related to your personal live-aboard comfort level then it is to safety or sailablity. Also there is a big difference between "long open ocean trips" and "sailing through Carribean."

For some insight from two people who sailed a 36 footer throughout the Bahamas/Caribbean for years go here:

BoatUS.com Cruising Log

I recommend the rest of their logs as well - always thoughtful and well written.

For just plain fun, read the logs of two people who sailed the Bahamas/Caribbean for two years on a 27 footer:

Destiny's big trip, page 1 - if these guys don't hook you, nothing will.
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Old 28-06-2007, 15:12   #8
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You should not confuse what is possible with what is reasonable or desirable.

TEN FEET ACROSS THE PACIFIC* Gerry Spiess heads Yankee Girl toward Hawaii

This link will tell you what is possible, but won't tell you what you can actually do yourself nor what you really feel you want to do.

I think that is maybe the better way to look at it is what would be fun! Sailing is more about fun than anything else. Exotic destinations seem romantic but the trip in between is all business.
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Old 28-06-2007, 15:48   #9
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How many crew are needed to sail any given boat is dependent on 2 things:
(a) How experienced those crew are
(b) How the boat is set up

If you are experienced and have plenty of money to burn on making your boat more user friendly for short-handed sailing, then there is really no limit to how big the boat can be. Of course, as has been pointed out above, if you have enough money to convert your 100' boat for short handed sailing, you probably have enough to pay for crew.

Assuming, for the sake of argumnent, that you do not have money to burn, so that your boat will not be fitted with powered winches, battcars, bow thrusters and all the other expensive toys that facillitate short handed sailing, then you are, for a crew of 3, probably looking at something 50' or less. If you and your crew are not very experienced, then 40' is probably more realistic.

Presuming a crew of 3, most people would want a boat at least 30' long.

So, as a rough guide, I would be looking for a boat between 30' & 40' long. As a general rule, the bigger the boat, the more comfortable it will be in off-shore conditions, but also the more expensive it will be to run and maintain.

There are no simple answers
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Old 28-06-2007, 18:24   #10
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The Velux 5 Oceans race runs 50-60 foot boats single handed. Interestingly the website says that only 163 people have documented around the world solo passage. This is not an easy thing to do I guess.

I have watched some highlights coverage on TV and if you have never sailed in big seas (I haven't) it is amazing how insignificant even a 60 foot boat is.

Anyway I agree 100% with Weyalan.

How is the boat set up?
How experienced is the crew?

I also agree with big enough to haul enough for passage and have room to breathe and small enough not to be a handful at the docks.

36-45 feet is my number.
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Old 30-06-2007, 03:02   #11
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This list of solo circumnavigations ends with Minoru Saito, aboard “Shuten-Dohji II” as number 258, in 2005.
Goto:
SinglehandedCircumnavigators
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Old 01-07-2007, 08:07   #12
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Thanks Gord. 258 is still a tiny number. The same site I was looking at said approximately 10,000 have scaled everest although not all summited.

Solo circumnavigators is a very select group.
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Old 23-11-2007, 16:36   #13
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I was surprised that the number of solo circumnavagators was so low. For comparison I looked up the number of astronauts in wikipedia. The number of astronauts is 473.
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Old 24-11-2007, 16:49   #14
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NUMBER IS WAY LOW

I don't claim to know the exact number but I see at least four people who have circumnavigated alone and are not on the list. That includes myself. Also Karen Thorndike who a wonderful circumnavigation via the 5 capes is listed twice.
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Old 28-11-2007, 05:59   #15
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Alien (Ardell Lien):
I’m certain that all of us would enjoy and benefit from any stories and/or information you’d care to share about your (2005/2006) "GIFT OF LIFE" solo circumnavigation aboard “Catalyst”; and about the importance of organ donation.

Ardell sailed his Nor'sea 27 (s/v"Catalyst") into the history books, as the first heart and kidney transplant recipient to sail solo around the world, completing a 17 ˝-month voyage that covered 31,310 nautical miles.
He did it to bring attention to the importance of organ donation.

See also:

71-year old Captain Completes Solo Round-the-World Voyage
Scientific Frontline / 71-year old Captain Completes Solo Round-the-World Voyage

“... During his trip Lien visited 19 ports, skirted hurricanes, survived gales, tropical storms, blistering heat, and ate more pancakes than he ever thought possible (pancake mix was easily stored in his tight quarters). He also rounded the Cape of Good Hope, traversed the Panama Canal and crossed the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Interestingly enough this past week on his return from Hawaii has been among the roughest of his entire trip ...”

RTW Voyages that Should be Getting More Coverage:
RTW Voyages that Should be Getting More Coverage
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