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Old 19-04-2007, 18:49   #1
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Where to begin....

My wife and I are planning to cruise / live aboard with our 2 children - Chloe 7 and Jacob 5 (right now) in about 3-5 years. As we are beginning our search, we really are not sure where to begin.

Obviously, we need to buy a boat - we will be looking for used and fixing her up, but what size do we get - safety / stability for serious blue water cruising. Looking to get something around 40' - we would like to have a seperate berth for each of the kids to call there own, without obviously having to use the settee area. What type of keel, sail configuration would seem to be simplest to sail short handed and with kids and displacement to handle the heavy load of the 4 of us.

We are not interested is speed as much of comfort - we will be traveling slow and going where the "wind" takes us

Any book recommendations would be helpful as well.

Thanks Joe

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Old 20-04-2007, 10:16   #2
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Posts: 913 might want to think about not waiting too long on your kids move into their teens it is harder to move them out of their peer/school groups and somewhat unfair to them too I think. They're actually at an ideal age now and schooling at home is a lot easier than with high school subjects.

As to boats... I lot depends on how far you want to go and what your budget is. For coastal cruising and the Bahamas almost anything will do so you can buy something lightly built and with a lot of room. If you have blue water dreams then you need a boat that will cost you 2-3 times as much for every cubic foot of interior space due to the quality of the building process. Don't be fooled by boat length...a Catalina 42 will give you a lot more room than a Valiant 42 at 1/2 the price...but I would feel a lot safer on the Valiant.
As to reading... There are lots of books out there that reflect one point of view or another.
Here's a list of great non-fiction and fiction that a bunch of sailors have put together:
Recommended Reading
I would suggest you do searches on this and other boards on your interests and be prepared for a diversity of opinion!

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Old 20-04-2007, 17:42   #3
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Welcome to Cruisers forum! There is a lot here already waiting for you.

You might try a charter or two. Use it as a vacation to get the crew ready. The boat part is far easier than the crew part. You really need to start a sailing program where you can get the whole group out on some short trips. I wouldn't wait until you buy a boat to do this. You'll need to build a little excitement to hold your crew together on this idea for a period of years. Nothing would be worse than even one crew member absolutely convinced that this is the worst time of their life and it's all your fault. You really can't force anyone to like this adventure. If you can take a few trial trips for say a week or two weeks you can get some good times under your belt. The idea of doing it is not the same as actually having done it. You need to find out what type of trip will work with your family.

As far as boats go. It has to hold all your stuff and it has to fit the budget. If you try to force any more than that right now you'll be in over your head. A lot of people come here wanting to know what boat to buy as if it is the most important thing.

If you can develop some sailing experience for yourself and your crew you'll also gain the knowledge to pick the boat that is right for you because you'll know a lot more. Making you smarter is goal number 1. Spend your money later because you can earn some interest. A boat you buy now is costing you a lot of money just sitting there. Building a crew is harder than buying a boat. In the end it's the part you really want after it's over anyway.

We have 75,000 posts here to tempt your interests. I just know a few thousand of them will apply to you and your family and what you want to do. If you run out there is always posting your own questions too. Don't overlook the search tool. You can find a lot of really good stuff with it.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 27-04-2007, 20:07   #4
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My wife and I spent 3 years living on an old 31' Ted Brewer design, full-keel sloop. We spent one of the years travelling from Lake Ontario to the Keys and back. We sold that boat shortly after our daughter was born, were boatless for nearly 2 years until our second child was born (they are now 4-1/2 and 6-1/2). We then bought something completely different, a 2004 Mac26M. Great boat for it's intended purpose (trailering and sailing on protected waters). We got to sail in a number of places that otherwise would have taken weeks to sail to.
We have just sold the Mac and bought a boat for our next extended trip (The Bahamas), a 1996 Gemini 105M. I had been looking at numerous boats the past 4 years, but was able to narrow the field because I had a good idea where our next cruising ground would be. We also wanted space for the kids, as well as shallow draft (something we really enjoyed about the Mac). And of course price is an issue (we could have bought a bigger, more expensive boat, but then how could we afford to cruise??).
There's no easy answer regarding the right boat. There are alot of choices out there, as well as alot of opinions regarding what is or isn't a good boat. It all comes down to how you intend to use it (the Mac is a perfect example, dismissed by many people because they don't look at it in the context of it's intended purpose).

I won't say the Gemini is the boat you should buy, but it suits our purpose.
Lots of room, shallow draft, relatively inexpensive.
Good luck.
Maybe we'll see you out there in a few years.
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Old 29-04-2007, 13:25   #5
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After much consideration and research i decided that a 40 to 44 ft monohull with a cutter rig and no more than a maximum draft of 6ft would be ideal this provides a simple rig keeps most although not all cruising ground open (draft restrictions) allows for an aft cabin for the grown ups a set of bunks and a V berth. Boats built mid 80's to mid 90's have done most of there depreciation and fiberglass construction had improved. Fiberglass keeps maintenence down. Obviously all boats are a compremise and others would prefer a heaver build for greater safty or lighter deeper hulled boats for performance.


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Old 29-04-2007, 13:44   #6
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Good on ya . . .

Originally Posted by douglas family
Douglas family
Congratulations! Welcome to the enlightened side of sailing! Tell us more about the vessel you finally purchased, and how you arrived at the decision to go with that particular boat.

"Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakens."
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
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Old 29-04-2007, 14:03   #7
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We had being viewing every blue water capable boat near home (Scotland) for a couple of years. A Cat came up in terrible condition but thought we'd have a look when we saw our 2 year old able to easily move arround we realised a cat would make a huge difference to her happieness and thus our happieness. So reserched pro's and cons decided capsize risk was less than sinking risk if the cat was 37Ft plus. spoke to someone with experience on 50 Ft cat and felt we would be able to handle it ok (dont know yet only bought it last week!) Its a Kelsell 45 only one built before derek kelsell changed production techniques. It was homebuilt by a merchant navey surveyor (his third build) foam sandwich construction.

We hope to set off on our travells from spain where she is located in september this year.

douglas family

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