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Old 12-10-2014, 21:57   #1
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Talking Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

Greetings,

Maybe some of you have already seen my RIB sizing post, but this is a similar (if somewhat more academic) question.

We (myself, wife, 2 kids 8 and 5, and one dog) are headed toward full time cruising in 12 months or less. At least we are going to give it an honest 2 years and see if it agrees with us. I'm self employed and my income is very volatile. That being said we are buying a boat in the next 12 months and it will range (depending on my income over the next 6 months) from a basic Pearson 365 in the $35k range to a much larger monohull (or small Prout/PDQ/Gemini cat) in the sub $100k deal-is-done-range. Yes, my industry is volatile enough that the price range mentioned is the difference between a few weeks working vs sitting at home.

Both price ranges are budgeting approximately $20k additional to bring the boat up to "ready-to-go" standards for the Caribbean. I am a professional electrician, HVAC technician, and better-than-hack plumber/carpenter/mechanic. In short, ALL necessary repairs will be handled at-cost/in-house and performed to a professional level.

That being said, here's the BIG question - how much space do you deem necessary for a family of 4? We require much less personal space than the "average" American family, having lived in quite small houses for years. For example, our most recent 3BR/2Ba "big" house was 1050 sq ft, and that was bigger than we really needed. Our cozy comfortable house was 650 sq ft and our current spacious house is 850 sq ft. However, I don't have a good feeling for how much space is "enough" on the hook, at least for then next few years. I've spent some time on a Pearson 323, and while it could be modified to work, it's the worst case "camping on liquid" scenario. That being said, I can honestly say we don't need a 44' cat to find enough space for everyone - looking for the minimalist middle ground.

Is a Pearson 365, Allied Princess, Bristol 36, etc reasonable? Anyone out there doing it? Is a Pearson P-40, Allied Mistress, or even stepping up to a Cal 2-46 or Columbia C-43 a better option (I know they are a better option regarding volume, but are they worth the price premium?) I realize that perceived living space makes a big difference (especially on the non-travel days) but what is the breakover point for some folks who are actually out doing it?

Regarding performance, I'm much more concerned about living space on the hook while at point A or B than the performance when travelling from A to B. I don't want a total slug, but I'll gladly give up a knot or two for significant creature comforts when anchored (likly 90%+ of our time on the water).

And just in advance, if you are not moderate/lowish-budgeted-family (ie: a retired couple on a 40'+ boat for the two of you) I don't need to hear from you. I'm sure you have a ton of experience on the topic, but it doesn't apply to my situation of go early, go cheap, and don't sell the kids to get it done . That may seem rude, but it's honest, and truth trumps PC every time

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Old 12-10-2014, 22:57   #2
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

In the Pearson 365 your kids sleep at the pilot berth, i feel the Cal 2 46, Columbia are really old boats, found one in good condition can be tough,
are you consider a Beneteau or jeaneau in your Price range with 2 cabins or even 3? kings of living space ... just saying..
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Old 12-10-2014, 23:14   #3
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

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In the Pearson 365 your kids sleep at the pilot berth, i feel the Cal 2 46, Columbia are really old boats, found one in good condition can be tough,
are you consider a Beneteau or jeaneau in your Price range with 2 cabins or even 3? kings of living space ... just saying..

Not against them at all, but sub $100kUS having a hard time finding them in good shape. The 365 would be modified, ditch the settee for stacked bunks with storage behind. The Benetaus and Jenneau's (and even Hunter and Catalina) in the sub $100k price range don't seem to add significantly to beam or length for price. You get newer construction age for length but I don't necessarily find that to be a benefit as many 80s-90s boats had osmosis/core issues that weren't present on 70s boats with only slightly less interior volume. Not saying all by any means, but the very basic prodution boats didn't get "real big" until the later 90s at which point they are mostly out of my price range.

Example a Hunter Cherubini 36 isn't drastically bigger than a 365, yet most would agree that the Pearson is a much heavier boat. Not a deal breaker, but all things considered the Pearson is hard to argue against for same/less money.

Thanks for reply
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Old 12-10-2014, 23:25   #4
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

I know of a family that started circumnavigating with 2 adults, husband and wife and 3 sons, ages about 6, 11 and 16 on a 38 foot boat. According to them they actually did not plan on circumnavigating considering their 3 kids on board and their schooling needs but kind of fell into it when they realized that they did not have the money to return to their previous life as the country they were from went into a financial tailspin and there was no turning back. So they sailed all over the world for about 2 or 3 years when the older son hopped on some tall mast schooner as a sailmaker and they continued just the four of them for another 5 years when the middle one got off and started his own life. When the younger one went to college they sold the 38 footer and bought a 45ft boat as their pet peeve up to that point became "not enough room". But they tell me since the 38 footer was the biggest boat they could've owned when they started out they were glad they took that chance for if they waited for the right moment to afford a bigger boat that moment would've never came. And the reason they've gotten that 45footer on the cheap were the connections they have made and the knowledge they have attained in their previous 15 years of cruising.

So I guess the answer to your question - go in the size you can afford today and worry about the roominess later. From my personal experience the opportunities come your once you get going to wherever you need to go. So if it is a 36 footer today and you need a bigger boat tomorrow your 36footer will bring you to that bigger boat.
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Old 12-10-2014, 23:42   #5
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
I know of a family that started circumnavigating with 2 adults, husband and wife and 3 sons, ages about 6, 11 and 16 on a 38 foot boat. According to them they actually did not plan on circumnavigating considering their 3 kids on board and their schooling needs but kind of fell into it when they realized that they did not have the money to return to their previous life as the country they were from went into a financial tailspin and there was no turning back. So they sailed all over the world for about 2 or 3 years when the older son hopped on some tall mast schooner as a sailmaker and they continued just the four of them for another 5 years when the middle one got off and started his own life. When the younger one went to college they sold the 38 footer and bought a 45ft boat as their pet peeve up to that point became "not enough room". But they tell me since the 38 footer was the biggest boat they could've owned when they started out they were glad they took that chance for if they waited for the right moment to afford a bigger boat that moment would've never came. And the reason they've gotten that 45footer on the cheap were the connections they have made and the knowledge they have attained in their previous 15 years of cruising.

So I guess the answer to your question - go in the size you can afford today and worry about the roominess later. From my personal experience the opportunities come your once you get going to wherever you need to go. So if it is a 36 footer today and you need a bigger boat tomorrow your 36footer will bring you to that bigger boat.
Excellent thanks for the perspective. The oldest is very independent (and both are homeschooled) so I don't see a space issue later in life as he'll likely be out on his own at a fairly early age. Good advice, thanks.
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Old 13-10-2014, 00:16   #6
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

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Originally Posted by Whitebread117 View Post
We (myself, wife, 2 kids 8 and 5, and one dog) are headed toward full time cruising in 12 months or less. At least we are going to give it an honest 2 years and see if it agrees with us. .... it will range from a basic Pearson 365 in the $35k range to a much larger monohull (or small Prout/PDQ/Gemini cat) in the sub $100k deal-is-done-range.

Both price ranges are budgeting approximately $20k additional to bring the boat up to "ready-to-go" standards for the Caribbean.

Is a Pearson 365, Allied Princess, Bristol 36, etc reasonable? Anyone out there doing it? Is a Pearson P-40, Allied Mistress, or even stepping up to a Cal 2-46 or Columbia C-43 a better option (I know they are a better option regarding volume, but are they worth the price premium?) I realize that perceived living space makes a big difference (especially on the non-travel days) but what is the breakover point for some folks who are actually out doing it?

Regarding performance, I'm much more concerned about living space on the hook while at point A or B than the performance when travelling from A to B. I don't want a total slug, but I'll gladly give up a knot or two for significant creature comforts when anchored (likly 90%+ of our time on the water).

And just in advance, if you are not moderate/lowish-budgeted-family (ie: a retired couple on a 40'+ boat for the two of you) I don't need to hear from you. I'm sure you have a ton of experience on the topic, but it doesn't apply to my situation of go early, go cheap, and don't sell the kids to get it done . That may seem rude, but it's honest, and truth trumps PC every time
The kids each need a space of their own, a pilot berth or a quarter berth. 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 ...

Settees will be what you and the wife sleep on underway or in a bouncy anchorage, but otherwise you two will have the V-berth.

If you were going to be doing a lot of passage making, pilot berths would be preferable for the better motion when underway. Given that you will be doing the Caribbean, quarter-berths are probably better, more privacy.

Although you will not be doing serious passage making you still want to consider arrangements for adult sleeping underway. You will want at least 1 settee (fore and aft bench at the galley table) and a place to sit while heeling for the person on watch. Dinettes (transverse benches or U-shaped) take a lot more effort to convert for sleeping.

pearson 365 doesn't have a second berth for a kid.
Princess Ditto
I can't find info on the Bristol 36, just the 35 & 35.5. Is somebody advertising a bristol 36.
Mistress The layout I've seen is for the center cockpit with aft cabin for the kids but I don't see a good settee for the off watch parent. Maybe the aft cockpit version would work.
PEARSON 40 Pilot berths for each kid and settees for both parents. Quarter berth head is nav station seat so that probably doesn't work well but maybe. $50-55k current prices. 4'3" draft board up would be wonderful in certain parts of the Caribbean.
Cal 46 is starting to get kinda big for a budget cruise.
Columbia 43 layout is mediocre but doable. Draft is kind of deep. Size is still a bit big.
COLUMBIA 36 $15-25k
CAL 34
CAL 36
CAL 40
RANGER 37

Cal or Pearson 40 would probably be the best of the lot.

With the Cal40 there is a quarterberth for each kid with personal stowage immediately adjacent in outboard bins. Pilot berths for both parents, or for use as stowage. Decent draft for the Caribbean. $40-50k. proven cruisers, good performance.

The Cal34 and the Columbia 36 are the fall back boats with lower prices. Both have U-shaped dinettes which I have previously warned against. The way they could be made reasonably usable is by creating a track for the table top to allow you to pull a pin, slide the table top to starboard 3"-6" and drop the pin back in to hold it in place. Doing this accomplishes 2 things. It leaves the table top in place for the on-watch parent to sit at. Second it creates a wide enough space for someone to sleep in the outboard part of the U. A lee cloth will still need to be set up but it would anyway. This would be a lot less work than fully converting the dinnette to a double berth, and then subdividing it with the lee cloth to make a usable single. No a double is not very usable unless the seas are very flat.

The wife and I are planning to go to New Zealand with our kids, (currently 5 & 7) so we have given this a lot of thought.

You last paragraph didn't seem rude, it was rude. You wouldn't address a group of folks in person asking for help then look at a subset of that group and say "You stay out this, I don't think you have anything worthwhile to contribute."

There are plenty of folks here that are not in your situation that will have things of value to say. Also there are folks in your situation that will be turned off by your attitude and keep there advice to themselves. And there are some that are trolls or wannabe trolls, even if they don't realize it, for whom that paragraph will be a giant red cape and pretty soon you will have a flame war going and the moderators will be deleting posts shutting the thread down.

So you can have a thread where you choose to ignore half the stuff folks have to say, or you can keep going like you are, drive off some of the folks that might say something worthwhile and attract a controversy. On the whole you are likely to get more usable info with the first approach. I have seen your approach before on this forum and I will continue watching this thread just for the sport of it.
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Old 13-10-2014, 01:31   #7
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

The advise about each child having a space they call their own is good advise.
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Old 13-10-2014, 01:48   #8
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

Hang on guys, I don't think we should try to tell these people what they need as if it were gospel.

Example #1: A Top Hat (a 24 footer) left Australia with a couple aboard, returned 5 or 6 yrs later with two children aboard. They worked it out.

Example #2: An American 26 footer, circumnavigated with two children aboard (getting bigger all the time), other folks we know.

So, I think it depends entirely on the OP and he and his good lady's goals, and personal requirements. I don't think we can tell them what's right for them. But, I think it's great to say it can be done. they're grown-ups, they already home school, and they can figure stuff out.

Aside from that rant, yes, I agree it is ideal if each child has his/her own space, even if tiny. Ideal, but not a requirement. Something that the parents may figure out a way to provide.

Kids are really adaptable. Having Mum and Dad together, working together and including them, why that's close to paradise!!

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Old 13-10-2014, 05:32   #9
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

I never heard what his plan was to do with the boat? I assume live aboard on the hook, with little travelling?
Is it just me, or is that a different boat than one to circumnavigate with?

You and I are similar in mechanical expertise, except I'm not much of a cabinet maker.
I'd search for a boat with a good hull, dry decks with good sails, with a lot of interior room, a beamy boat.

I'd stay at or under 40' though, seems money is a concern and bigger than that get real expensive to buy parts and upkeep for.

We lived in a 36' fifth wheel for a couple of years (family of four) and I never felt crowded, I liked it actually. Weather to me plays a huge role in this, if it's nice and warm and you can spend days in the cockpit and swim, travel into town in the dink etc. then even a small boat is plenty big enough, mostly your just sleeping in it.
Cold, rainy winter where your inside all of the time, even a nice sized boat will seem small.
So where will you be located?
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Old 13-10-2014, 06:00   #10
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

Are the kids both boys or girls? At about 10/11 that will start to be an issue especially if only 1 is a girl. Two sleeping cabins are a must now. Three for past the 10/11 year range. Each child will need there space. If you can get to a 42' or bigger you would be happy.


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Old 13-10-2014, 06:32   #11
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

Hi we completed a circumnavigation with 2 adults and two children in a 38ft Alan Payne design yacht . The boys were 10 & 12 when we left Australia. We sailed for 5 years and in that time the boys completed what is called Distance Education from the Australian school of Isolated and Distance Education. We found that the boat was quite adequate and what we could afford at the time. We had a budget of under $100k for the boat and some left over for the last minute unexpected but necessary equipment . Any queries you have please contact me .


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Old 13-10-2014, 06:40   #12
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

If the only reason you've avoided beneteau is due to cost, take a look at the used charter boats available. Tons of choices there with a lot under $100k.
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Old 13-10-2014, 09:33   #13
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

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Excellent thanks for the perspective. The oldest is very independent (and both are homeschooled) so I don't see a space issue later in life as he'll likely be out on his own at a fairly early age. Good advice, thanks.
Check out Mariner 36 or 39, the "built in New Hampshire, Peter Canning versions", not to be confused with older Taiwan built Mariners which are not at all related to the NH ones. There are may be 3-4 boats for sale currently. The brand is very undervalued as they made about 100 boats in that size range and were in business for only 5 years in the late 70s-early 80s.

Basically they are similar to Sabres but every marine pro who checked one out tell me they are somewhat better quality, some even said way better quality. Even on 36 the nav station has it's own swivel seat and some owners converted the quarter berth into a cosy aft cabin. The head is between the v-berth and the main cabin, has its own door plus two doors one to v-berth the other to main cabin with wash basin across and can be closed at either end making it a spacious grooming station and great for not disturbing anyone. My admiral loves the set up especially after she had seen heads on other boats.

Since the last one were produced in 1983 or thereabouts of course they will need some major upgrades if those were not done recently. But on the plus side a very well maintained boat can be had for under $40K, sometimes well under $30K. Even a so-so maintained sample, which can be had for under $20K is easily rectified as all the major components were built and installed as the proverbial brick outhouse. One other issue which is more of a personal taste is the amount of teak on all Mariners. I personally love it a it makes the boat cozy and feel like a well appointed English tudor house library or some such. Others need the more modern, IKEA-like feel of cheap laminated particle board which is deriguer these days. But with 11 opening ports plus 2 dorado vents (and 2 more aft over the stern) I have yet to run 4 12v fans I have installed few years back. May be when I get to FL I will turn them on.

The original builder, Jack Cogswell, is still alive and well and runs Carousel Marina in Boothbay, ME and I am told (never met him personally) he is a nice guy and will talk to you about his boats and the related questions.

Basically Mariners are very Sabre-like boats for about 1/2 of the Sabre prices and at least as good if not better quality. They do have some quirks and what I think are design preferences issues (nothing structural though) but those are easily recitifiable. Such as chain plates in the middle of the deck passages instead of either in on the coach roof or out by the hull for easier deck walk navigation. Or single backstay which hampers access to the swimming ladder. On the plus side is a huge, and I mean huge fridge, about 11 ir 12 cubic feet at least which is great for cruising and with enough solar wattage can be left on indefinitely.

My friend the circumnavigator, whom I mentioned earlier, when he first saw my M36 said that had he come across such a boat before he started out he would have gotten it instead of his old 38footer, as that one was not as well laid out and he had to modifiy her considerably over the years. Not to mention an arm and a leg he paid for her depleting all of his finances at the time.

For comparative values this info may be helpful. In the early 80s 36ft Catalinas or Hunters were going just around $40K, give or take. Mariners 36 were starting at low $80s and up, reflecting the quality of materials, parts and workmanship. Not to mention old time New England boat building practices, expensive before the destruction of the unions and the influx of cheap foreign and illegal labor. And this is what killed the company.
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Old 13-10-2014, 11:19   #14
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

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=..................The wife and I are planning to go to New Zealand with our kids, (currently 5 & 7) so we have given this a lot of thought............

:
Thanks for the detailed info.

Sorry for the mistake, I meant the Bristol 35.5, not 36. Haven't looked at one recently but did a few months ago and just remembered "that one 36' Bristol".

Regarding space for kids, each will have at minimum their own curtained bunk. Most everything under 40' and I'm looking at ditching the settee entirely and using that space for stacked bunks each with curtains, lee cloths, fan/light, etc. That's a fairly simple 2-3 day project for me. I'd greatly prefer to not have to do that and lose the living space, but if we end up with that small of a boat it'll be a must-do item. Everyone needs there own retreat, even if it is minimalist.

More space and separate staterooms would of course be ideal. But the choices in my likely price range with that layout are very scarce and usually in very rough shape.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Hang on guys, I don't think we should try to tell these people what they need as if it were gospel.

Example #1: A Top Hat (a 24 footer) left Australia with a couple aboard, returned 5 or 6 yrs later with two children aboard. They worked it out.

Example #2: An American 26 footer, circumnavigated with two children aboard (getting bigger all the time), other folks we know.

So, I think it depends entirely on the OP and he and his good lady's goals, and personal requirements. I don't think we can tell them what's right for them. But, I think it's great to say it can be done. they're grown-ups, they already home school, and they can figure stuff out.

Aside from that rant, yes, I agree it is ideal if each child has his/her own space, even if tiny. Ideal, but not a requirement. Something that the parents may figure out a way to provide.

Kids are really adaptable. Having Mum and Dad together, working together and including them, why that's close to paradise!!

Ann
Thank you.

The "rant" was an attempt to head off the near inevitable sage advice of "buy a dinghy, take every ASA course offered, buy a daysailer for a couple years, log a few thousand hours bareboat chartering, save for 15 years or so, buy a well found bluewater boat, and then by the time you're 50 you might be ready to venture outside the harbor."

I'd just spent the past couple hours going through old threads on this forum (and a few others) looking for information before posting. Almost all the similar threads I found were invariably derailed by folks with good intentions but no relevant perspective repeating the same lines to each other. Rereading my initial post I agree it's harsh but I'm a direct person, it was my mindset at the time, and I stand by it. Thanks for reading between the lines a bit and not taking offence.





I spent most of my children's younger years traveling (for work) or being on-call 24/7 and missed a lot of milestones in their early lives. We experienced a life changing medical event a couple years back and while everyone is a-ok now we're no longer willing to grind along till retirement hoping we'll be healthy/able to go "someday." So we are saving every penny, and heading out by next Christmas at latest, sooner if possible. I'll be 35, my wife 34, son 9 daugther 6. Budget (total, boat/prep/living-expenses) could vary by as much as $90k depending on my workload between now and then. That's the reason for the significant variance in potential boats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvergreenAnnie View Post
Hi we completed a circumnavigation with 2 adults and two children in a 38ft Alan Payne design yacht ........ Any queries you have please contact me .


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Thank you I will certainly do so. Our homeschooling approach adapts easily to travel and our state is very non-intrusive regarding homeschooling so we expect it will be an easy transition to mobile education.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
Check out Mariner 36 or 39, the "built in New Hampshire, Peter Canning versions", not to be confused with older Taiwan built Mariners which are not at all related to the NH ones.
Thanks I've checked out a couple of those and they are very appealing (even though I generally gravitate towards the lower maintenance less wood boats). I didn't include them on my posted list solely because they are somewhat unknown, somewhat scarce, and as you said often confused with the Asian boat of the same name. If one comes along when we are ready to pull the trigger it will certainly be looked at.


A few others asked about plans/location - We're planning to spend a couple months on the Southeastern US coast (Charleston SC or farther south) shaking down the boat and finalizing our land based affairs. Then start island hopping, Bahamas first, with open ended final destination. Anchor out for the most part. We already live a simple and frugal lifestyle so it won't be a drastic change in standard of living.
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Old 13-10-2014, 12:33   #15
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Re: Monohull Space Issues for Family of 4

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Not against them at all, but sub $100kUS having a hard time finding them in good shape. The 365 would be modified, ditch the settee for stacked bunks with storage behind. The Benetaus and Jenneau's (and even Hunter and Catalina) in the sub $100k price range don't seem to add significantly to beam or length for price. You get newer construction age for length but I don't necessarily find that to be a benefit as many 80s-90s boats had osmosis/core issues that weren't present on 70s boats with only slightly less interior volume. Not saying all by any means, but the very basic prodution boats didn't get "real big" until the later 90s at which point they are mostly out of my price range.

Example a Hunter Cherubini 36 isn't drastically bigger than a 365, yet most would agree that the Pearson is a much heavier boat. Not a deal breaker, but all things considered the Pearson is hard to argue against for same/less money.

Thanks for reply
Look at the Hunter 37 cutter. The 36 Cherubini has huge cockpit lockers but no berths aft.
The 37 give you much more living room.
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