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Old 14-05-2010, 09:34   #1
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Size of Boat for Family with Two Kids

We’re a family with two girls, 3ys and 5yrs. The intention is to go sailing, initially for 1 year in the Caribbean, and then we'll take it from there, i.e. to continue, to go back or to put in on hold. We have experienced before sailing the Caribbean mostly on monohull boats from 36ft to 45ft, but without kids.

I'm about starting looking for a suitable boat, and the size of the boat appears to be quite a dilemma. Due to budget constraint, and in order to take off sooner rather then later, we’re looking for something rather small in size. But how small can we go?

At this point it would help to find out what other similar families decided in terms of the size of the boat?

Any input is highly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old 14-05-2010, 10:31   #2
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Bearing in mind that interior design/volume can vary considerably among boats of a given length, the basic problem with conventional monohulls (until you get really big) is that they usually only have two built-in sleeping areas - a V berth and an aft cabin or quarter berths. For extended cruising fold out settees are a PITA. And for extended cruising one of the built-in sleeping areas often winds up being dedicated to storage. The good news is that for Caribbean sailing, most of your awake on the boat time is spent topside - being outside is kind of the point of being there. So, for the most part there's not much of a premium placed on spacious salons or interior lounging space. But, you will greatly appreciate easily accessed comfortable sleeping quarters (even for little kids) - this is very different from what might be acceptable for one week vacations. Basically, you want a boat that can provide long term sleeping accomodations and still carry all your stuff without compromising them.
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Old 16-05-2010, 05:20   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick1 View Post
We’re a family with two girls, 3ys and 5yrs. The intention is to go sailing, initially for 1 year in the Caribbean, and then we'll take it from there, i.e. to continue, to go back or to put in on hold. We have experienced before sailing the Caribbean mostly on monohull boats from 36ft to 45ft, but without kids.

I'm about starting looking for a suitable boat, and the size of the boat appears to be quite a dilemma. Due to budget constraint, and in order to take off sooner rather then later, we’re looking for something rather small in size. But how small can we go?

At this point it would help to find out what other similar families decided in terms of the size of the boat?

Any input is highly appreciated. Thanks!
One of my first boats was a Centre Cockpit 33ft Nan Tucket Island, designed by Peter Cole
Ideal for young family of two girls - On passage at night the girls could snuggle up to the off watch parent in the Aft cabin. In the day they could have space in the saloon or forecastle or the cockpit.
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Old 16-05-2010, 14:00   #4
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Our son and daughter lived aboard with us from infancy to 7 & 9 years old on a 33' Morgan OI and then to adulthood on our 41' Morgan OI. Not a light air performance boat, but a roomy and heavy "truck".
'take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 16-05-2010, 19:58   #5
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We are a family of 4 living on a Newport 30... having never been on a boat before. Anything is possible. Sacrifices must be made though.

One Family, One Sailboat
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Old 16-05-2010, 20:37   #6
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You can go as small as you can stand. You are essentially going to be singlehanding when the kids are below and your partner is not on watch with you. Get something that is easy to handle. 32 to 36 if you can afford it. Smaller if you can't.
kind regards,
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Old 17-05-2010, 00:15   #7
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Nice to think there is one good answer. But it's kinda like me asking my wife if she owns enough shoes, or if she has all the jewlery she will ever need, or asking me of there's any else I need for the boat.

Please define normal.
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Old 17-05-2010, 01:25   #8
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I don't think the original poster makes it easy without putting in some sort of budget.

Someone, obviously with screaming chilluns, sagely put that giving them each their own room is a plus. I would add lockable. Think: Brig.
Anyway, I don't have children...

Theres lots of good boats about. Maybe go to a boat show and see whats available new and then look at the used prices!
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Old 17-05-2010, 07:34   #9
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Many thanks for your replies!

Yes, I understand such questions don’t have a clear answer; especially when a great degree of personal preference comes into place. Some people might feel claustrophobic in a 32 footer when other might not have a problem etc.

However, what I was trying to find out with my post was what other people out there are sailing (with a similar family of 2 kids)? Even if this scenario is not applicable to you, probably you might have come across of similar cases in your sailing trips.

If I hear the majority out there are sailing in boats above 36ft, this it will give me some indications what the trend is … and maybe there are some good reasons for this (such of provisioning, adequate space for home schooling etc).

In terms of budget, at this time I’m thinking to start with 80k (boat) + 20k (outfitting), … but that might change once I narrow down the size of the boat …
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Old 17-05-2010, 07:52   #10
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We live on a Catalina 400 (actaully about 42' LOA). We have two boys, 6&9. We lived aboard before this on a Catalina 380.

There are way too many variables to give you any really good advice. What is your budget? What is your comfort level? Etc. I think this was pointed out above also. So, all I can do is tell you what works for us and you can go from there.

We would love to have a over-under berthing arrangement for the boys. However, we split the Vberth with a board to give them their own space. We feel everyone should have their own little space that is independent of the others. This arrangement works well. In fact, it was in place long enough that we recently removed the baord and the personal space has still been maintained. I personally had no interest in having the kids sleeping in the salon. Other parents do and that is fine. Our personal comfort level (and budget) allowed us to avoid that. The problem for us was that we enjoy spending time sitting up in the salon after the kids go down. Enjoy a glass of wine, watch a movie, read a book... etc. That would be difficult for us with a child sleeping in the salon. You will find that down here, the no-seeums and rain storms may prevent you from spending as much time in the cockpit as you would prefer. As such, I would not count on it being the escape that many people profess it to be.

Equally important to us was a place that we, as parents, could escape to. SOmething independent from the kids. Our boat has a very large master cabin with seats to either side. You can read in bed (not as well as in other boats as it is an aft cockpit), but the seats and large sleeping quarters make up for that. Of course, everything is a tradeoff. All I can say is that having a place to escape to is heavenly on a boat - more so with kids I think than adults.

Another key factor is that with kids, storage is critical. I cannot emphasize this enough. We have found many boats that look good at the boat show, nice an roomy down below, but there is little storage. Luckily with a destination south, you will avoid many of the bulky items (blue jeans, jackets, LS shirts, etc), but this space will quickly be eaten up with toys and books of every shape and size. Many of the modern production boats are very devoid of good cabinetry (mostly due to cost) so if you select that route, be thoughtful of how you might modify the cabinetry to allow for the considerable toys and items you will need to put on board. This is also true for food stocks, tools, spare parts, etc that are necessary for long term living aboard and cruising. In a word - storage is a premium so look beyond the space as much as posssible.

Other things we look for is a place to stretch out and a very comfortable cockpit for at least 4. Many of the blue water boats have relatively tight cokpits by design. You will eat a lot of your meals up there and will spend a lot of time there - so be counscious of how and where you can all sit, play games, etc. I would not overly concern myself with the functionality of the cockpit for sailing. Let me clarify this as it probably sound backwards, but you will spend the majority of your time on the hook and a very small percentage going. The kids will probably have to be tpo side with you for most of that as they may be susceptible to sea sickness. Plus, when sailing down here, it gets hot down below and uncomfortable, even if they do not get sea sick. But you are not racing. Better you have to stretch to trim a sheet than being in a cockpit that would be uncomfortable with 4 people. This may not be true in other destinations... just this one (in my opinion). Still, make sure (very important) that you can single hand this boat and your wife can single. That is pretty much how it works for us. Somebody ineveitably has to keep an eye on the kids which can be a full time job!! And for saety's sake, being able to comfortably single hand is paramount. Again, my opinions here.

You will find you go through a lot more water than you might expect. A watermaker, though not mandatory, shoudl would be nice to make your adventure more comfortable. Think about that and how you could mount it (and where). I also prefer, for down south, a boat with a lot of hatches and airy. It sure makes the hot days more tolerable.

Considering these criteria (just the tip of the iceberg), we found that our comfort level for a boat was in the 36-42 range. We also preferred the productino types of boats as they met most of the criteria for us. Other people will have a different comfort level and different priorities, so you may be able to go smaller or may find you have to go larger. I would caution against getting too large as they tend to be a lot more work, harder to single, and much more expensive to maintain.

Those are our thoughts. Hope to see you out there. Fair winds,

Brian
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Old 17-05-2010, 08:27   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick1 View Post
Many thanks for your replies!

Yes, I understand such questions don’t have a clear answer; especially when a great degree of personal preference comes into place. Some people might feel claustrophobic in a 32 footer when other might not have a problem etc.

However, what I was trying to find out with my post was what other people out there are sailing (with a similar family of 2 kids)? Even if this scenario is not applicable to you, probably you might have come across of similar cases in your sailing trips.

If I hear the majority out there are sailing in boats above 36ft, this it will give me some indications what the trend is … and maybe there are some good reasons for this (such of provisioning, adequate space for home schooling etc).

In terms of budget, at this time I’m thinking to start with 80k (boat) + 20k (outfitting), … but that might change once I narrow down the size of the boat …
I was typing/replying the same time you were and did not read this. Hope my comments are still applicable.

Brian
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Old 17-05-2010, 19:24   #12
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Given the kids are young enought enjoy the smaller boat. Try that with 2 teenage girls that fight like cats/dogs in the same room.. We had to go bigger to get them to coexist... not ideal, but hey, depends on each persons conditions. So yes, 52 is nice, big roomie esp with everyone wants some space... and yes more work, everything is more.. but imho, only way we could work it.... ymmv...
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Old 18-05-2010, 07:20   #13
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Quote:
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In terms of budget, at this time I’m thinking to start with 80k (boat) + 20k (outfitting), … but that might change once I narrow down the size of the boat …
You want to crusie the Caribbean?

2 kids and Ma and Pa.

I'd be heading to the Moorings Borkerage and looking at some ex-charter yachts.
Lots of cabins.
simple systems.
Surveyors will know if they have been trashed.
Ready market gives you an indication of resale price.
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Old 18-05-2010, 09:47   #14
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I'd be heading to the Moorings Borkerage and looking at some ex-charter yachts.
Lots of cabins.
simple systems.
Yes, considering my tight budget, buying an ex-charter could be an option. I've been chartering in the Caribbean for about 5 years and I'm fairly familiar with the charter boats. I also found that for short passages, hopping through the islands in the Caribbean, the production boats are quite suitable. At this point, we don’t know if we’re gonna pursue the long distance cruising (depending how things are going in the first year).

I did some quick look-up into the yachtworld and for my budget, mostly the 36 footer came up (max 15yrs old / production boats).

However, for a bit extra I might be able to get into a 38ft, like this Catalina 380 from 2000 (considering that it requires less outfitting):


2000 Catalina 380 Sloop Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

The two cabins / 1 head layout should work fine, since my girls get along very well, so sharing the cabin shouldn’t be a problem. From storage point a view, two cabins vs. three cabin, which option is more suitable? Using the third cabin as storage or having a large locker?
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Old 18-05-2010, 10:23   #15
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As mentioned above, I owned and lived on a 380. The 380 would be perfectly fine for the carrib. I would modify it for further runs. She is a tender boat and slow - but a comfortable live abaord and comfortable in foul weather.

This particular vessel shows a pretty fair amount of water damage in the main salon. Not sure how that happened unless the hatches were left open for a considerable amount of time. The mast is deck stepped so doubt it came from there. If you have that much water damage in the salon, I suspect there is water damage elsewhere too. If you can look beyond that, you might finde a bargain. However, I would really have a long talk with the broker before flying to see it and an even longer talk with my surveyor before writing them a check.

Here is another option that I would fly down to look at if I were you. She is already in the BVI. Moody makes a super boat (if taken care of). Lots of joinery and capable of crossing the pond(s) as I think this one came from the UK. The boat will be tighter than the typical production boat, but the CC will make a bit easier live aboard and the space loss is due to lots of cabinetry. Its location would be ideal for you too.

Take a look:

1997 Moody 36CC Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com=

Brian
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