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Old 22-06-2009, 19:06   #1
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Does Size Matter?

Greetings! My name is Dean and even though I am years away from retirement, I begun my research on being a liveaboard a while back. I have learned much, but like so many others, I have so many questions. The first one, because it keeps coming up in discussion, is if I want to keep as much comfort as possible under the conditions present on a boat, why would I buy a 34 footer and not a 46 footer (or bigger)?
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Old 22-06-2009, 19:24   #2
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Hi Dean, welcome. There's several factors to consider on the size of a boat. Even if you're just looking for a straight live-aboard (vs. a cruising boat), a larger boat will cost more, cost more for moorage, may find limited moorage for a larger boat, maintenance costs, and the ever problem of mold/condensation on a liveaboard boat.

If you plan on crusing, then factor into the additonal costs for equipment (anchors, line, etc. are all larger and more expensive for a larger boat), plus the additional effort or crew to sail her.

For a straight live-aboard with limited trips away from the dock (assuming dock space for a liveaboard is available), a large powerboat may give the most room and have the most light in the living quarters.

If you plan on cruising, the whole equation changes.....

Steve
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Old 22-06-2009, 20:04   #3
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Conditions as a live-aboard tend to make you want to have a bigger boat. But, as a sailing vessel costs go up exponentially it seems & manpower or big electric winches & the generator to run them, it goes on & on. Even going from 1/4" to 5/16" standing rigging with associated turnbuckles sail sizes.

My favorite size is around 35' & I believe in the KISS principle (keep it simple, stupid)
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Old 23-06-2009, 10:42   #4
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Thanks Steve and Randy for a quick reply! A few things that keep coming up as I research: fortunately my retirement income with be very close to what I will be making near the end. We will sell our home and use that money to buy a boat (if we go that way!) so it will not be new. I am a decade away from that moment and I have so much to learn about older boats, cat v. mono, marinas (w/ everything or nothing), surveyors (a few friends have been a bit itchy about this part of the discussion), the yearly costs, toilets (electric v. pump), showers (at the marina or on the boat?), and everything else! If you don't mind, I will be emailing you instead of using this format...I am a bit lost with it! With that said...I have bought two texts: The Essential of Living Aboard a Boat by Nicholas, and Fast Track to Cruising (that is what I want to do) by Steve and Doris Colgate. At least it is a start! I begin my sailing "drills" with a friend on a 40 footer in a month!
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Old 23-06-2009, 11:45   #5
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We lived on a thirty foot sloop in our twenties and it suited us well. With two babies aboard we moved to a 33' and then a 41' with them as teenagers. We've kept the 41' as "empty nesters", but we will likely move to something smaller in the future. Comfort vs. expense/ waterline speed vs. manuverability/ provision storage vs. maintenance......'there's no end to the compromises and no easy answer. We've been exclusively aboard now for over 38 years and I don't have a clear decision. 'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 23-06-2009, 11:48   #6
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Depends on who you ask... Most guys will always think YES, but sometimes It's all about the motion in the...... ahahahahahahahaha.
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Old 23-06-2009, 11:55   #7
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Aloha Notyetonboard,
Welcome to the board of many opinions. Cruising is different than living aboard and I always recommend 32-36 feet. Maintenance cost and ease of boat handling while sailing are the major reasons I say that.
You've got lots of time to study but I'd keep posting your questions in the open so that you get many varied opinions instead of just the folks you choose to discuss with.
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 23-06-2009, 11:57   #8
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There's been a lot of size inflation over the last few decades. In the '70's and '80's, a 36 foot cruising boat was considered a big boat.

Now anything less than 50 is not really big.

But you'll just have to get out on a few boats of different sizes and figure it out for yourself. As everyone said, cost goes up exponentionally with size. Well, that's somewhat of an exaggeration. Cost is pretty well related to weight, which goes up disproportionately, if not exponentially with LOA.

But guess what? Volume goes up in exactly the same way, so a typical 40' boat today is a lot more than 12% more voluminous -- and comfortable -- than a typical 36' boat.

So you pays yer money, and takes yer choice.

If you were to compare, for example, a Beneteau 37 Oceanis with a Beneteau 40 Oceanis -- the 37 displaces 6,515 kg and needs 29 hoursepower. The 40 weighs 8,260 kg -- 27% more for a length which is 8% more. It needs 40 horsepower. It's got a lot more space, with two heads and separate shower, instead of one, a real nav table, and so forth, even though the difference in length is only 8%.

The Beneteau 46 is already 10,500 kg -- nearly double the weight of the 37, and needs 75 horsepower. So you see how steep all this goes up.

What's right for you depends on how much you want to spend -- not just to aquire, but note well -- to maintain, and how much space and comfort you think you need.
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Old 23-06-2009, 12:35   #9
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Strictly a function of cost. Some will tell you the "ideal" size is 36 feet but that's not true. They will cite handling and a host of other things but two competent persons should be able to handle anything up to a fifty footer with a bit of practice. Nowadays cruisers are getting larger and larger boats. I started cruising with a 36 footer and at that time it was about the average sized cruiser. Today I cruise with a 39 footer and most of the boats I see out there are bigger than I am. Get the biggest boat you can afford. You will not regret it. Generally the bigger the boat the more comfortable it'll be whether in a seaway or at anchor.
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Old 23-06-2009, 12:50   #10
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Thank you all very much...great information to file away. I will follow SkiprJohn's instructions and keep things out in the open...hope I don't screw up! I wont' be buying for a long time so I am focusing more on the new boats than the older ones. In time, they will move closer to my budget. I am looking at the Outbound 52, Lagoon 440, and boats of the same size by Morris and Jeannuea. I know there are other makes and manufacturers, and I will look at all of them in the future, but these have the layout I like best. I will be going out and doing the "drills" on a 40 fter in about a month....lucky for me a friend will let me figure it out as he enjoys a beer and many laughs! If you have any other boats I should look at, based on those I have presented, please let me know! A question: I would like to begin the process of heading off to marinas in San Diego...are their rules of etiquette I should follow? Are marinas locked up?
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Old 23-06-2009, 13:00   #11
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John,

Thanks for your note! I will keep things out there for others to see, but I did notice something: you are in San Diego? I noticed that information in a note you sent to another member! Are you in San Diego? I am off this week (I am an assistant principal at a high school and have the week off!) and heading down the marinas in San Diego to check out boats as that is something everyone tells me I should do! I have a good friend who works down there on yachts and races sailboats. If you have some time to share the good and the bad with a rookie, I'll take you up on that! Have a great day on the water!
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Old 23-06-2009, 13:12   #12
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a 46 footer requires a huge amount of effort just to dock .. not to mention sail and maintain. if you park it at a marina then that's different. the 35 footer can be just enough boat to make you safe and secure and have a few bucks left over. also the chances of injury due to over exertion are much less on the smaller boat.
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Old 23-06-2009, 13:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gonesail View Post
a 46 footer requires a huge amount of effort just to dock .. not to mention sail and maintain.
Not necessarily. With a center cockpit it's quite manageable, and with a bow thruster, it's a piece of cake.

Likewise sailing -- especially with powered winches. And a 46 footer feels less scary in heavy weather.


Concerning maintenance, however, you are right.
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Old 23-06-2009, 13:38   #14
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Originally Posted by Notyetonboard View Post
why would I buy a 34 footer and not a 46 footer (or bigger)?
Because you decided you want / need to. The good news is that you have 10 years to decide - and after that you can still chnage your mind

My 2 cents is that money features largest in the equation, but give each sailor a million dollars and they will still buy different sized boats for financial reasons (as well personal / practical / taste reasons).....as everyone has different attitudes to both money and their own lifestyle, both onboard and ashore. Remember also that some folk (maybe also you. or maybe not) will be happy to lead a life 90% based around the boat and financially plan for that, whilst others may not be so happy to give up a months annual skiing, nights out partying and long road trips ashore.........
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Old 23-06-2009, 14:46   #15
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"As everyone has different attitudes to both money and their own lifestyle, both onboard and ashore. Remember also that some folk will be happy to lead a life 90% based around the boat and financially plan for that, whilst others may not be so happy to give up a months annual skiing, nights out partying and long road trips ashore"

David,

If we do this it will be full time. I gave up skiing due to time, I don't party to any degree (pretty boring guy), but I do like having access to the comforts of the shore. I have them now....and don't use them very often (gym, restaurants, etc). I am not sure how much time I would use cruising...but I am sure I could not stay in the marina for a long time either. I enjoy challenges and prefer the unknown to the status quo. I like your messages and I have read many of them to others...it will be a challenge for me to clearly define what I will want. I will be out on a forty footer in the next month and fortunately my friend will allow me to figure things out without too much babysitting. I told him I wanted things to a bit tougher than someone doing it all for me...give me some direction and let me take a jab at it. I am sure the size of the boat will different than what I learned on a long time ago (hobie cats), but at least I have a clue. How much of one I am not sure. I am out to the marinas in San Diego tomorrow....hope to find some more answers to my many questions! Thanks again!
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