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Old 04-03-2018, 08:30   #76
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Mike;
Interesting data from Lat 38 regarding no increase in boat length over many decades. My anecdote for the east coast is for our town marina. I am the 2nd or 3rd longest boat in our small town marina that has a max length of 36ish feet. No multi-hulls as the width of the slips wont accommodate. So the make up of the marina biases the boat sample to what now appears to be "small". Was member of the blue water cruising club that co-sponsors the Marion to Bermuda run and my 35.5 feet was 5 to 10 feet (and more) shorter than about 95% of the membership. Of course 1/2 mile up the road at the local YC and the boat size increases markedly.

Granted its limited by USA numbers and also assume that a minority of boat owners in the country do not document their boat, but checking the US Coast Guard's database on any boat length trends.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:26   #77
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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Good reply. I think I was overreacting to the thread title and providing too little to credit your actual original post. Was there data on the ages of the boats, the ages of the captains, or the duration (days) of the voyages? Thanks.
Thanks Buzz, I am trying to be careful and precise about the conclusions. Iím thinking of starting a new thread where we can all speculate (including me ) about the reasons for trends.

No data on boat or captain age. You might be able to infer some boat ages from the types of boats used (which are named), but not for most.

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I never had that conversation with anyone - eg them saying they were not completing or not starting a circumnavigation because of climate change issues. It has just never ever come up in that context, so I personally dont see it as any sort of factor in number of circumnavigations.
Ö
The above is not to say that climate change has not had any effect on the wind fields - I'v see some data which suggests it has - but really nothing which should significantly change people's circumnavigation experiences.
Good to hear. Itís something Iíve been wondering about. Itís so hard for us short-lived humans to separate weather from climate. The hurricane patterns for the Caribbean and the Pacific do appear to be departing from tradition, but that again could be weather.

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Ö Granted its limited by USA numbers and also assume that a minority of boat owners in the country do not document their boat, but checking the US Coast Guard's database on any boat length trends.
thnks
Hmmm, havenít thought of USCG data. Does it show LOA numbers over time? If so, that could be a good source. Thanks.
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Old 04-03-2018, 09:50   #78
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Interesting thread. I wonder if the number of circumnavigating couples with children, vs the number of retired or childless couples, has changed. It sure would make boats seem bigger.

I feel my boat is the perfect size for me solo sailing, but when built in 1983, it was marketed toward families of four.
I couldn't imagine the horror ;^)
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Old 04-03-2018, 10:28   #79
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

I have transitioned from small micro cruiser (13 ft) to Cape Dory Typhoon (19 ft), to Albin 27',(great sailing / cruising pocket adventurer), Offshore 33 Cat Ketch, Baba 40 (a true world class couples cruiser I hated having to give up), and back to Offshore 33 Cat Ketch (Wishbone Booms, free-standing masts, rigged for easy single-handed / couples sailing retirement sailing grand children sailing). Size equals costs, need for crew, complexity to simple pleasures.
I think size is creeping up because we don't fear debt and need for predictable cash low like we used to. My boat is paid for so I can afford to maintain it and keep it. If I had loan payments and slip fees, insurance, maintenance costs, adventure costs for food, fuel, and underway charges I would probably have to shift to trailer sailing or give it up. Not what I want for my retirement.
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:03   #80
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Boat length for blue water cruising, when I started in the late 60s and 70s, was around 36í. For local cruising, 28í.

Boats of 40í or above were rare!
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:27   #81
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

It's very clear that in the UK and Europe boats are getting longer and much wider.
We sail 42 boat and this is now by no means considered large.
Having sailed up and down the uk south coast over the last few years and most marinas (and even harbour authorities) are reconfiguring their berthing layout to accommodate this change in demand.
We also participated in a couple of ARC rallies and they confirm that average boat size on the rallies is increasing.
In some marinas width is also a problem and the likes of Jeanneau and Beneteau are building boards so that they absolutely fill the full width of a single berth. Very noticeable in some Dutch marinas.
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Old 04-03-2018, 13:13   #82
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Mike,

I was going to mentioned the surveys in Beth Leonard's book, which @estarzinger has already brought up. She found an increase in size over time, and there's some discussion (c.f. "The Voyager's Handbook: The Essential Guide to Blue Water Cruising").

The point has been touched upon above but I think it's important to emphasize that people who have completed a circumnavigation are a very, very, small and unrepresentative fraction of the cruising community as a whole. Those in the list you're using are a small and unrepresentative fraction of those who have completed a circumnavigation.

And here's the thing. The needs and means of cruisers who actually engage in long crossings (including circumnavigators and some others) are very different from the needs and means of coastal cruisers and gunkholers. For long crossings, the upper bound of boat size is constrained by the need for a cruising couple to be physically able to handle the sails without powered machinery (leaving aside the minority of cruisers who undertake passages with larger crew). That puts the limit at around 40-45' unless a second mast is added, a tradeoff that is currently not in vogue.

Coastal cruisers are more willing to rely on in-mast furling. Whether coastal cruisers are too willing to rely upon technology that can fail, or whether those on long passages are too conservative, is a very interesting question to me, but probably off topic. I suppose the use cases are different due to the more ready availability of assistance and shelter from weather for coastal cruisers.

Coastal cruisers as a group are less constrained by money since many are part-time cruisers who have day jobs, at least on a seasonal basis.
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Old 04-03-2018, 13:28   #83
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Thanks for the observations Mark/Breeze. Jammer; all good points, none of which I disagree with.

Circumnavigators are a small subset of the total cruising community. And as you say, their needs and priorities will be different than others who are coastal/regional cruising.

Itís hard to doubt that average boat size has been on the rise over the decades. I believe this is true, and there is plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence to support this, but Iíd be happier to see hard data.

The fact remains, that in this one dataset, average LOA has not changed in over forty years of data. What this means, and why this is the case, is open to plenty if interpretation.
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Old 04-03-2018, 13:47   #84
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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Fully agree Jim. This is specifically North American west coast circumnavigators. I would love to get my hands on credible datasets looking at average boat length of all boats. If anyone knows of such a dataset, please do let me know.

Still, assuming overall boat size has increased, then why has this not shown up in the circumnavigating group? Is it b/c 42 feet is the best size for small-crew circumnavigation? Perhaps... But another possibility is that average boat size has not increased anywhere. I find this latter option counter-intuitive, but thatís why these findings are so interesting (to me anyway).
Mike, I suggest looking at old Sail magazines and such. I seem to remember the sailing mags featured an annual showcase of the new boats for the market.

My personal anecdote agrees with what Jim Cate has said.
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Old 04-03-2018, 13:59   #85
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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We were not programed by Health and Safety rules.. we climbed trees.. biked everywhere.. walked to school on our own.. went hiking and camped out.. all as kids.
Today that's as rare as hens teeth.. fear has been instilled into the majority.
I agree with that but that is only a partial explanation. Last week I was watching a few YT sailing videos from different makers. I noticed that these folks don't fish, dive, swim, surf, or any of the other stuff which I and my friends would normally associate with sailing. It's the whole 'being on the water' thing.

So I thought, has there been a shift in how people approach life? Like what you say, yes there has. But when related to sailing it's like they think of it as a 'tiny house' or something to do different. That is, they have had no real experience, no exposure to being on the water until they decided to sail...and make YT videos about it.

I even thought of inquiring to one of the makers of those videos if they thought of their catamaran as a tiny house. Then I saw, but did not watch, there is a sailing video with the title of Welcome Aboard My Tiny House, or something like that. So, I think its a combination of virtual signaling and that fear you mentioned.
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Old 04-03-2018, 14:11   #86
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

I went back to the data source for posts 60 & 64, but unfortunately the quarterly sales spreadsheets they have posted are not in the same format as the fleet summary . Otherwise, one could juxtapose recent sales data over existing fleet data. For the quarterly sales data, LOA and Sails are in two different spreadsheets, so you can't directly pull them out. But I would guess that the person who compiled them has that data, and there is a link to his email on the web site, if you are interested. Heck, they've probably got raw data for sailboat LOA vs Age in the fleet too.
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Old 04-03-2018, 14:43   #87
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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Last week I was watching a few YT sailing videos from different makers. I noticed that these folks don't fish, dive, swim, surf, or any of the other stuff which I and my friends would normally associate with sailing. It's the whole 'being on the water' thing.
Not sure if I agree. I suppose it depends on the maker.

Delos are all divers and periodically post videos that are primarily diving. Their earlier videos show a fair amount of fishing although the recent ones do not. The wife of the fellow who does the Keep Turning Left videos is a serious swimmer.

I don't follow any of the other YT sailors very closely but remember seeing some wakeboarding and surfing in some of them.
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Old 04-03-2018, 23:43   #88
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

From the ARC World Cruising web page wondering if they have changed their restrictions over the years.

What is the minimum size of boat and crew?
ARC - ARC Europe - ARC Portugal : Minimum boat LOA is 27ft (8.23m)
ARC Caribbean 1500 & ARC Bahamas : Minimum boat LOA is 35ft, but smaller boats will be considered.
World ARC: Minimum boat LOA is 40ft (12.19m) but smaller boats will be considered.
All rallies: Minimum crew of two, including the skipper. We don't have any restrictions on age of crew.
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Old 05-03-2018, 05:39   #89
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

With the ARC events there is a big difference between the minimum length and the reality of the participants.
We participated in a couple of legs of the ARC Portugal in 2017 on a friends boat (which is 46 feet) . We are thinking about doing it ourselves in our 42 and it was very clear that we would be very welcome but also one of the smaller (and least expensive) yachts.
If you talk to the World Cruising Club guys they confirm this.
Many people seem to have the big bucks to buy very large expensive yachts .
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Old 05-03-2018, 08:35   #90
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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Mike, a look at what the boat manufacturers are offering may give you some thought. Not many boats in the 30 foot range on offer these days, at least according to other posters here on CF. I've not done the research myself, but apparently not many buyers for new smaller yachts. Over time, this will affect the average size of cruising boats.

Jim
Jim, I've noticed this too, especially when going to the boat shows. As several have mentioned, there are a number of factors however one that we have no control over is the influence of the central banks, and their never ending devaluation of currencies. I have noticed a similar thing here in New York City with new apartments that are for sale. The only new units being built (other than government subsidized units) are high end apartments. It seems that higher end boats are the only ones that can be profitably made.

Perhaps a smaller boat can be made but it is likely that the margins are too small to satisfy the shareholders.

I also suspect that as mentioned before, the list of minimal equipment has grown beyond what is really needed. Many of these have far more stuff than my apartment!

Finally, I am sure that government regulations also have an effect. There are many somewhat recent rules about VOCs (volatile organic compounds), hazardous materials (storage, use, transportation), workers and work conditions, records keeping, etc. that also greatly affect the cost of production.

Given these conditions, it seems likely from a production point of view, that only higher end and larger vessels will be successfully and profitably produced.

It would be interesting to see if the average size increases over the next twenty years as the older boats are eventually retired or lost, and are replaced by the anecdotally larger new boats.
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