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Old 05-03-2017, 18:14   #1
3MS
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Boat for family of 5

Hi guys,
We have researched (dreamed) for a while that one day we will go cruising with our family of 5. This time have come and we are giving us a year to find the right boat for our family.
Can you guys point out some monohulls that would fit us? Preferably under 55 feet, no more then 2 heads, bunk beds would be awesome. We plan to start in Caribbean, Mexico and East coast, but we may go further. Not planning any high altitude sailing.
Budget under 300, but ideally much less. Less we spend on boat more money we will have to explore.
Thank you
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Old 05-03-2017, 19:33   #2
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Re: Boat for family of 5

So 3 kids. What ages?
Sailing experience?
How handy are you?
What's your budget to buy and outfit the boat? (living and cruising costs extra.) How is the $300k split?
Where are you? Where do you want to sail out of? Which coast do you want to set off from and more specifically where on that coast?
Where to you want to go?
Are you looking to cruise extensively or take 12-24 months off to nip around the Caribbean or Baja?
Any really strong preferences to start with? (full/fin keel, spade/skeg/attached rudder, sloop/cutter/mizzen rigged)

You have indicated monohull.
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Old 05-03-2017, 21:34   #3
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Well these things always depend on preferences and experience, budget too, but my first thought was a well-maintained and outfitted Peterson 44. Very good all-around design IMO. But there are a hundred others of course. I think the KP 44 may have a bunk behind the chart table too... could be wrong on that. But it has a v-berth and aft cabin and two heads. And it sails very well, good build and "bluewater" rep. Maybe smaller than you were thinking but you may want to get a look at one anyway. Check the site bluewaterboats.org for some other good ones and the "boats to vote for" link too. Lot of good ones there too.
Peterson 44 Sailboat Review | Cruising World

Another one, maybe a better choice I'd say, is a Columbia 50 if you can find one in good shape. Roomy, built tough and pretty fast. But the keel is a bit deep for the Caribbean perhaps. Here is a good example:
http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1968...s#.WLz4DiMrInU
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Old 05-03-2017, 21:56   #4
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Re: Boat for family of 5

BTW welcome aboard!
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:18   #5
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
So 3 kids. What ages?

You have indicated monohull.
So 3 kids. What ages? 5-8, will be 6-9 by then
Sailing experience? Some, vary per parent, but what we dont know will learn
How handy are you? Handy but does not mean we want to have "fixer upper"
What's your budget to buy and outfit the boat? (living and cruising costs extra.) How is the $300k split? Would love to keep all under that, we have more to where it comes from but we don't really want to touch it
Where are you? Where do you want to sail out of? Which coast do you want to set off from and more specifically where on that coast? East coast, Either north Florida, Ga or all the way up in Charleston
Where to you want to go? As we said Caribbean, Mexico, East Coast and we may go further later, that depends on everybody in our family
Are you looking to cruise extensively or take 12-24 months off to nip around the Caribbean or Baja? We did not put limit on it
Any really strong preferences to start with? (full/fin keel, spade/skeg/attached rudder, sloop/cutter/mizzen rigged) Not preferences there, we have to find boat that will fit us comfortably. There is a lot of boats out there, but most of the layouts are not made for family of 5.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:36   #6
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Re: Boat for family of 5

I can only imagine what such a large boat would have been like as a kid! I grew up on a 26 footer with two adults, four kids, and two dogs! Seemed fine to me but must have been hell on my parents.
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Old 06-03-2017, 06:56   #7
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Re: Boat for family of 5

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Originally Posted by Tetepare View Post
I can only imagine what such a large boat would have been like as a kid! I grew up on a 26 footer with two adults, four kids, and two dogs! Seemed fine to me but must have been hell on my parents.
Yes, we have to keep our sanity also. We still want to have some fun!
Your parents are brave, we are just not as much LOL.
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:16   #8
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Take a look at some of the Bill Dixon designed Moody's. Many of them feature double bunks in a small separate cabin, large aft cabin and double V berth c/w 2 separate heads. This allows your main cabin saloon area to be kept neat and clean. These designs are available starting with the 425 model, the 44, 46 and up. Good sea keeping boats designed for the North Sea so capable of going wherever you want to. $$$$$From the $100 thousand and up depending on year/condition.
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Old 06-03-2017, 07:46   #9
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Re: Boat for family of 5

To directly answer:

Stevens 47
Sunward 48 (my favorite)
Gulfstar 50
Morgan 51 OI

For starters
I'm serious about the sunward 48

http://sparkmanstephens.blogspot.com...rd-48.html?m=1
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:05   #10
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Amel super maramu 53. Five water tight bulkheads, walk around engine compartment. Sleeps 6. Two heads. Amel mango 52 same layout. Without all electrical furlings and winches. Only three water tight bulkheads 2 forward of main mast and one port of engine. Mango 220 gallons of diesel. 400 gallons of water.
Good luck.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:06   #11
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Please consider looking for a boat coming out of charter in the BVI. Very good residual value as heavily depreciated. A charter boat which has been well maintained will be newer and will be set up for 3-4 cabins so everyone can have privacy. Don't rule out production boats which are a good value: Jeanneau or Benes will be newer.
A "blue water" "limited production" boat may be fancy but will be almost 35 years old for that price and will need extensive work. A 46-55 Tayana might work but will be heavily used.
Remember the most important test is the survey including thru hulls, stopcocks and standing rigging which have an estimated lifetime of 15 years or less.
Best of luck...and welcome aboard
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:19   #12
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Re: Boat for family of 5

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Originally Posted by bjymd View Post
Please consider looking for a boat coming out of charter in the BVI. Very good residual value as heavily depreciated. A charter boat which has been well maintained will be newer and will be set up for 3-4 cabins so everyone can have privacy. Don't rule out production boats which are a good value: Jeanneau or Benes will be newer.
A "blue water" "limited production" boat may be fancy but will be almost 35 years old for that price and will need extensive work. A 46-55 Tayana might work but will be heavily used.
Remember the most important test is the survey including thru hulls, stopcocks and standing rigging which have an estimated lifetime of 15 years or less.
Best of luck...and welcome aboard
Yes we are not taking those out of option, they might be our choice in the end. The only issue they are not perfect layout. Problem with the older models there is just very little selection and I will have to be convinced that it is suitable for our home.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:20   #13
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Definitely consider a production boat from the mid-2000 (i.e. 10-15 years old). You will get modern looks, space, light and generally less maintenance. If you want comfort and space, a cat is the way to go and you can get a good one in this price range. My suggestion would be to get the boat at least six months before your planned departure to give yourself plenty of time to get to know the boat, test the crew and the boat in various wind condidtions and outfit as you please. Things like throughulls, bottom preparation, rigging and sails are expensive. Anything to do with plumbing, systems and electronics is relatively cheap and possible to do yourself or gradually over time.

Most people in you situation end up buying production boats. The older, heavier, so called blue water boats have a different customer - just do your research to avoid being disappointed.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:22   #14
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango51 View Post
Amel super maramu 53. Five water tight bulkheads, walk around engine compartment. Sleeps 6. Two heads. Amel mango 52 same layout. Without all electrical furlings and winches. Only three water tight bulkheads 2 forward of main mast and one port of engine. Mango 220 gallons of diesel. 400 gallons of water.
Good luck.
Super Maramu 53 was always on our list. The only thing the sleeping is not as ideal as we would like. Our boys will have the Vberth - and that is perfect for them. Our girl will have to be on the bed next to ours, which is kind of in the whole way.
That said we have her on a short list and following all the listings out there.
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Old 06-03-2017, 09:23   #15
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Re: Boat for family of 5

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3MS View Post
So 3 kids. What ages? 5-8, will be 6-9 by then
Sailing experience? Some, vary per parent, but what we dont know will learn
How handy are you? Handy but does not mean we want to have "fixer upper"
What's your budget to buy and outfit the boat? (living and cruising costs extra.) How is the $300k split? Would love to keep all under that, we have more to where it comes from but we don't really want to touch it
Where are you? Where do you want to sail out of? Which coast do you want to set off from and more specifically where on that coast? East coast, Either north Florida, Ga or all the way up in Charleston
Where to you want to go? As we said Caribbean, Mexico, East Coast and we may go further later, that depends on everybody in our family
Are you looking to cruise extensively or take 12-24 months off to nip around the Caribbean or Baja? We did not put limit on it
Any really strong preferences to start with? (full/fin keel, spade/skeg/attached rudder, sloop/cutter/mizzen rigged) Not preferences there, we have to find boat that will fit us comfortably. There is a lot of boats out there, but most of the layouts are not made for family of 5.
Based on where you want to go I think you need to be slightly concerned about draft but not terribly so.

You didn't clarify your answer about budget so I'll make the assumption that the $300k is buy and outfit and you have an on-going income of some sort for living and maintenance expenses.

For offshore expect to spend 50% of purchase price to upgrade. Underway expect to spend 5-10% of purchase price in maintenance annually.

For offshore work 5 people means 4 good or excellent sea-berths, 1 for each off-watch person, plus a place for the on watch person to sit without bumping a sleeper. Better would be 1 per crew. An excellent berth would be a pilot berth, very good would be a quarter berth, good would be a settee (longitudinal benches) that has to be converted every night. Berths in an aft cabin would also be good, the motion at the end of the boat could keep it from being very good.

In evaluating quarterberths make sure there is ample overhead back under the cockpit, it may be more private for users to sleep feet forward, and it may be safer if the boat is pounding so decent overhead is a must.

If you opt for a center cockpit boat with an aft cabin keep in mind this creates additional problems in that you now have to have wheel steering which requires more maintenance and makes wind-vane self steering harder to set up. I'm not saying don't do it, but understand the tradeoffs implicit.

A convertible dinette (transverse benches, or U-shaped) would be problematic. It takes more work to convert nightly and produces a double wide berth which is harder to subdivide into singles for use in bouncy conditions, underway or at anchor. Such a berth on a newer boat may have a bench that curves around the back. If the radius's of the curve are not removable the berth will be uncomfortable for anyone not fairly short. If the boat were just used for live-aboard with coast sailing only, no problem. Offshore get something better. Key takeaway here is that underway you have to sleep fore and aft and the berth needs to be single wide.

In bouncy conditions underway or at anchor the v-berth will be unusable.

Specifically with kids you need to give each kid their own permanent berth. With kids you want a pilot berth or quarter berth for each kid. They each need the security of a place that is theirs. Giving them a dinette seat or settee seat that has to convert every night and is community seating thru the day isn't enough, it is not a place they can go to anytime they want to sulk, or rest or be 'alone', or read or ... Aft cabin would work too.

Assuming that each kid permanently gets a fixed bunk (ie no daily conversion), a curtain, reading lamp and personal fan will go a long way towards giving them each their personal space and maybe multiple cabins won't be necessary.


For the parents in port you will get the forepeak. Underway you will be bunking in the main cabin, but you will also each be spending a lot of time on watch in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep and loneliness may become more of a problem than privacy.

I am going to assume that when there are guests aboard you will only be coastal cruising and not doing offshore passages. That means that the v-berth will be usable unless you get unlucky.

Trends in sailboat design removed a lot of good offhsore berths from sailboats as time went. They were not what was desired by most of the boating public so they went away. The upshot is that if you look at a lot of early boats, you will generally find that they had more good sea berths in them. I'm talking boats designed 1955-1970 or so.

Since your normal complement of 5 includes 3 kids who initially would not be able to contribute much to normal sailing and will be a slight distraction in bad situations, one parent will have to periodically check on them, and no way are you going to let them on deck when things are bad so they can't contribute even marginally. So in essence you are double-handed or slightly less. L&L Pardey, following the Cabo San Lucas fiasco in 1982, observed in one of their books that 40' was too much for a couple to handle in a very bad anchoring situation. I can imagine that really bad weather on passage would be similarly overwhelming. Given the size of your complement you probably can't go under 40', but it would pay to keep the boat size in check as much as possible. If you are not going offshore, size becomes less of a double edged sword; you can have the larger personal space with less risk due to a boat that is too big to handle in rough conditions. With a larger boat nothing can be manhandled, everything has to be finessed, mistakes are harder to recover from.

My preference is for a tiller to steer. They make the boat cheaper up front, are easier and cheaper to maintain, there is no packing gland below the waterline, and it's easier to hookup to a windvane. A wheel may be easier for newbies to start out with but all of the regular folks on board will become used to the tiller very rapidly. That said a wheel may be necessary given the size of the vessel. If the rudder has a skeg or is unbalanced a wheel will be a necessary. If the boat has a weather helm problem the wheel may be necessary unless you can correct the problem.

Given the size of the boat an electric windlass will probably be necessary. Nobody is making manuals anymore for boats that size. An electric windlass is one of the first upgrades from bare minimum I would make on any boat as it makes it more convenient to up anchor and try again if the set doesn't feel good enough. More convenient means more it is likely to happen if you are hesitant, which means safer in general.

The first key thing to look for in an electric is the manual backup. Specifically does it have enough mechanical advantage? For a horizontal axis windlass if there is no gearing then all of the mechanical advantage is in how long the handle is. For a vertical axis machine it is hard to make use of a longer handle so gearing becomes important. E Hinz in his book on anchoring indicated 12:1 is good for fast retrieval, 40:1 is good for heavy loads and 25:1 is a decent compromise for a manual backup.

The second key thing is how big a hole do you have to cut in the foredeck to install it? If the motor protrudes thru the deck how much meat is there around the motor hole for the mounting bolts? Having the sucker rip out of the deck could ruin your whole day, in addition to not getting the anchor up you would be left with a gaping hole that can admit lots of water.

Regardless of how well the windlass mounts you should install chain pawls/stoppers the carry the anchoring loads and slack off the load on the windlass. The windlass should only be loaded when setting and retrieving the anchor.

Get lots of anchors. My suggestion would be to get a really oversized primary anchor with 150' of normal sized chain plus normal sized rope. Primary would be CQR, Bruce or Rocna/Manson Supreme. Secondary would be a really big Fortress with a boat length of chain and 400' or so of rope. Stern anchor would an undersized CQR, Bruce or Rocna/Manson Supreme. For rock and weed I would get a Luke with rode like secondary and store it in the bilge. I would also store an extra 150' of chain in the bilge. If I was feeling flush I would get a normal sized backup anchor in case of loss of primary. Backup would be of different type than primary in case there is a situation where primary doesn't want to hold, sometime different type anchor is the solution. Generally you can go a size smaller than normal for chain if you use higher strength G4 chain, this makes up for the weight of the oversized anchor and the price is about comparable.

Unless you are willing to install a lot of fuel tankage you want good light air performance or you are going to motor a lot more, read spend money on fuel that may be hard to come by in certain areas and of dubious quality. Light air performance is directly related to sail area. In order to compare boats of different sizes and weights a ratio called 'Sail Area to Displacement' is calculated for each boat. The ratio is actually more complicated than sail area divided by displacement but the formula is close to that. There is no magical number you must meet for your boat to be "good", but the number is indicative of light air performance. To me a very good SA/D is in the 17's, excellent is above that, adequate is in the 15's. Published data is almost certainly for the light-ship condition, loaded for cruising the value is going to drop, more so for smaller boats. It is fairly easy to build a spread sheet to recalculate the numbers accounting for number of crew, stores, provisions etc.

Cruising is an endurance sport, so high effort sails like spinnakers don't tend to get used a lot.

For light air upwind you want a drifter. On a reach a drifter will work or a codeZero (a codeZero is an asymmetrical spinnaker cut flat so it will reach much higher than normal and usually set on a roller furling luff). The codeZero will be significantly bigger but also more expensive because of the added area and furling gear. Downwind you can use the codeZero or spread double headsails (Genoa and lapper or genoa and drifter), one to either side. Don't count on using a symmetrical spinnaker much. They require a lot more attention to use and require more people to set and douse and may require waking help to deal with at night.

Most older boats are sloops, but consider adding a removable forestay, intermediate shrouds and running backs for a staysail. With a hanked on staysail, I would be more comfortable with a roller furling headsail. The staysail allows you to break up the jib area, a low cut staysail combined with a high cut moderate headsail give you almost the area of a really large genoa, but handling is a lot easier and visibility is improved. You don't need to change sails nearly as much, just drop/raise/roller/unroll the ones you have. In light/moderate air both are up. A bit more wind the staysail comes down. More and the staysail goes back up and the headsail is rolled/dropped. In really heavy air you would swap out the staysail for a storm staysail. Reefing of the main also occurs at various points too. In really light air both staysail and headsail are doused in favor of a drifter or chute depending on point of sail. The staysail rigging provides more support for the mast generally and redundancy in case some of the normal standing rigging fails. The forestay is also slightly inboard from the bow so marginally less bouncy in heavy air and there will be more room to work.

When you do motor consider that dropping your speed from hull speed to 5kt will almost double your range and you are still making 125nm per day. At 4kt range will be about 2-1/2 times what it would be at hull speed.

Get a windvane to steer the boat on passage. They are more expensive to buy than an autopilot, but with the added costs of extra electrical charging capacity and batteries the price difference is not as big as would seem at first blush (the batteries especially add more weight to the boat). Windvanes are also more reliable and easier to maintain. Get an autopilot as backup, for motoring and for very light airs, but not for normal use. If you get a very large boat it may not be possible to find a windvane that will work in which case oversize the autopilot and bring a backup, hand steering day and night for more than a day or so will get real old.

MORGAN 42-2
CAL 39
CAL 40
CAL 43
CAL 48
COLUMBIA 43
COLUMBIA 50
PEARSON 43
PEARSON 40

Some of the early C&C's in the 40-45' range would also work well.
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