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Old 23-06-2024, 10:41   #1
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Couple Differences 51 vs 47

Hi Cruisers,

Husband and wife crew who are about 40 and 35

If picking a FP, the decision seems to be between Tanna 47 and Aura 51. My big questions are:
1. Hull cleaning, hauling out, docking. I'm sure there are many hidden non-monetary costs associated with the size jump. What would be a deciding factor for some experienced boat owners on this forum between the two?
2. Does having a 51' increase the demand for the two crew members exponentially?
3. Does sail weight go from manageable to massive pain at that size increase?
4. Obvi the boat gets more roomy, do any FT cruisers think the extra space would be a silly waste? In what way?
5. Low-wind performance (i.e., motoring all the time). I don't want a motorboat, and I don't want a performance cat. Does anyone have any practical experience sailing both boats in low winds? Would the 47 perform much better in low winds?

- Full-time liveaboard, bluewater cruiser.
- Transit from the Atlantic side of N. America to Pacific after our first season or two in the Carribean (or possibly Med).
- Galapagos or Easter Island and then onto the Marquesas and beyond after some years on the water.
- I love the idea of heading to remote areas (e.g., the Chile coast). However, we are definitely not considering using this boat at lower latitudes. A non-insulated fiberglass hull sounds miserable when it's cold.
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Old 23-06-2024, 11:13   #2
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Re: Couple Differences 51 vs 47

For a couple I think the 47 is just fine. Either one is a 4 stateroom or 3 vehicle. What do you really get? Even a 42 for us was way more space than needed. I dont see an advantage to 4 more feet for a couple. Costs go up, but I would say between a 47 and 51 it's kind of a moot point really. Of course everything costs more getting bigger, always.
In a blow even a 42 Cat could be a challenge for a small bodied 55 year old couple, but do able. We were caught a couple times in 35 mph wind temporarily with full main and the boat hardly even lifted a hull. We had a Harken ball car main, and the main on a cat is quite heavy. The ball car system added to the weight, but did offer some slide lower resistance. The full battens pushed hard into the cars though and it was not simple.

I've often wondered if having a more conventional non full batten main would have been easier, but of course at a small sacrifice in performance.
Going to weather, especially in light air, we motorsailed a lot with the lee engine on high idle in gear. It pointed up 15 degrees better, was much faster and you couldn't hear the engine at all. We always need to charge batteries, make water etc anyway.

My lower tolerance for speed is about 3.5 knots. Then the engine comes on. It's just a vehicle to get from point A to point B to me, regardless if it's called a powerboat or a sailboat, or a bus.
"I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted" - Elmore Leonard

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Old 23-06-2024, 11:21   #3
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Re: Couple Differences 51 vs 47

Long term maintenance costs of any two similar boats, and these would certainly be, your best predictor is the simple displacement of the boat. In other words, a boat which weighs twice as much will cost twice as much to maintain.

And all boats cost more then you think they will.
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Old 23-06-2024, 16:05   #4
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Re: Couple Differences 51 vs 47

Plus, the 51 footer takes up that much more space in anchorages. Will that win you friends? Compare its swinging circle to a 30 ft. monohull (an average size sailboat in many places).

Smaller is more ecologically friendly, also.

The desire for increased crew is probably due to the fact that as size goes up, so do the forces involved, and therefore the need to either be stronger or to use larger (heavier) winches.

Who scorns the calm has forgotten the storm.
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Old 24-06-2024, 14:42   #5
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Re: Couple Differences 51 vs 47

I have a Pearson 30 and a 44' custom boat. The Pearson is a toy compared to the 44. Docking is a problem in most places finding space long enough. A 51 foot boat would be hell in the marinas around here. Most slips are for smaller boats and draft is a big issue too. Why do you need something that big for two people. I would go smaller just because of all the hassles a bigger boat presents. We have plenty of space for toys on the 44 footer. I am just getting used to the restrictions that having a bigger imposes. In Hawaii it was hard to get a slip for a mono, and some of the cats could not get a space that could work.
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Old 24-06-2024, 14:53   #6
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Re: Couple Differences 51 vs 47

I'm curious about the sailing experience of the couple. Most of these answers should be self-evident.
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Old 24-06-2024, 17:28   #7
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Re: Couple Differences 51 vs 47

Thank you for the responses.

As for experience, my wife has zero. I have a lot of on-the-water experience as an engineer on big ships but very limited sailing experience. I was essentially ballast for a season on an offshore racing team during college. I'm pretty confident with marine electrical, motors, winches, etc...

We're spending a week on a 42ft Astrea in the fall and will then plan to charter vessels as we get closer to a decision. The answers you provide may help us eliminate or expand our search. Also, maybe my wife leaves hating boat life. For now, you're helping me dream and plan on what my next steps will be.

The self-evident stuff - man, I wish I knew! I've docked big boats (85ft) and small boats working on the waterfront. I understand the different boat sizes matter in that regard but not between a 47ft and 51ft. That difference seems negligible in my mind. Living on one - NOPE! No clue. Both boats would likely feel like "a really nice boat" in my mind. Handling sails? Nope, they're all heavy and cumbersome to move around but that's just a part of sailing. Not sure if there is a noticeable difference.

As for space, I have enough weekends on a monohull to know that it's not where I want to live. I spent time on a catamaran and it was a game changer. I loved it. No idea what size I'd want to liveaboard on.
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