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Old 01-01-2021, 18:02   #1
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First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum as a poster but have been lurking about for a few years. I've got a few questions, some of which have been answered many times over on this forum but I'll try to structure them in a way that fits my situation specifically.

So I'll start by giving a little background, I'm in my early 20's, grew up in Ontario and the only sailing experience I have is with a family friend's Catalina 30. Sailed dozens of times shorthanded but honestly that's about it, I understand the fundamentals of sailing and have plenty of theoretical knowledge but I am not and experienced sailor by and stretch of the imagination. Additionally I am now moving to the pacific coast of Canada and have not had any experience sailing in the ocean. However, those limited experiences from 12 years old until I graduated high school embedded the idea of buying and living on my own boat as soon as practicable. Now years later the time has come.

So here's what I would like to know.

I'm looking at a 45' cutter rigged boat, I understand length isn't the determining factor in shorthanded sailing but rather how it's setup (also I would be hiring a crew to move it upon purchase if required). What would it cost (rouughhhh estimate) to re-rig an older boat specifically for shorthanded sailing? Also I keep hearing maintenance with larger boats becomes exponentially more expensive once you get over a certain length, where are those costs coming from? I understand any per foot cost (painting, cleaning, etc.) would be more, as well as larger sails factoring in but what else?

And the bigger question is what sort of time line am I looking at here with actually learning how to sail the boat I'd be living on proficiently, and having it (and myself) prepared for long passages. I've been fortunate with my employment and finances and believe all costs included I should be able to take 2-5 years off in approximately 5 years - assuming I have no other income during that time frame.

I am working ~typically~ a 9/5 or 8/4 and have all the other time to work on and learn the boat, I'm single and this is all I want to do.

This has been the dream and I feel like I'm on the cusp of achieving what I've been working for the last few years... but what are the actual logistics of owning a boat that large? Should I just kick it down to a 36 footer and save myself the trouble and money?

I know every situation is unique and every vessel is different but what would the costs between say a 36' and 45' boat be? Assuming they're the same age and condition.

I will buy and live on a boat regardless, the question now has really boiled down to what size will suite my needs. The plan is to take it around the globe, and essentially run fully off grid months at a time. But I would also not like to be limited by size and be able to go through some inland water ways as well.

Thanks for any help anyone can provide, I know these are beat to death, vague, unanswerable questions in a lot of ways but any information helps.

Max
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Old 01-01-2021, 19:58   #2
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

I made that mistake, bought a big boat in my 20s, never sailed before, never owned a boat before, clueless.
Purchased an old 44’ Yawl in the Virgin Islands.
Sure it sailed nicely, but was designed for a racing crew.
Worked myself silly maintaining the boat, had it for 3 years, lived on it and sailed quite a bit.
Next boat was smaller, a CSY 33, plenty big enough for a couple and easier to clean, maintain, anchor, etc., etc.
Unless you have a big family that will join you, go a bit smaller..
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Old 01-01-2021, 20:31   #3
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Dont worry about going big if you are young and strong. My first sailboat was 41ft and drew 6'9'!!! The boat will teach you to adapt to it.
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Old 01-01-2021, 20:48   #4
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSY Man View Post
I made that mistake, bought a big boat in my 20s, never sailed before, never owned a boat before, clueless.
Purchased an old 44’ Yawl in the Virgin Islands.
Sure it sailed nicely, but was designed for a racing crew.
Worked myself silly maintaining the boat, had it for 3 years, lived on it and sailed quite a bit.
Next boat was smaller, a CSY 33, plenty big enough for a couple and easier to clean, maintain, anchor, etc., etc.
Unless you have a big family that will join you, go a bit smaller..
Thank you, I was hoping some of you had some similar experiences. Maintenance seems to be the keyword... One of my concern's is I'm 6'3 and as it rains so much on the west coast of Canada I almost would rather trade the constant maintenance for being able to stand up straight. You're telling me it's a bad idea but all I got was it's possible and it sailed nicely.... jokes aside thank you again .

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Originally Posted by geoleo View Post
Dont worry about going big if you are young and strong. My first sailboat was 41ft and drew 6'9'!!! The boat will teach you to adapt to it.
Thank you!
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Old 01-01-2021, 20:59   #5
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Biggest ongoing cost will be slip fees, at least 30% higher. Check with your local marinas about cost. A lot of marinas limit liveaboards and the waitlist can be years long. When you need to replace sails and rigging you might pay double because there is more material but they also need to withstand heavier loads. Haulout and bottom paint every other year will cost maybe an extra $1000.

The thing is you can be on a $10k boat or a $150k boat. The view is the same. I live on a 36ft boat and am very happy with the size. It will be a long time, or maybe never before I go bigger. Being frugal upfront you can defer work longer or even work seasonally or part time to fund the cruising lifestyle. If you are spending a large percent of your net worth on the boat purchase you won't have that flexibility.

I'm close to 6'4 and my standing headroom is closer to 6'3. It isn't much of an issue for me. The only time I'm really just standing is when I'm cooking. I bumped my noggin a bit the first couple months but it's rare now.
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Old 01-01-2021, 21:01   #6
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Quote:
. I'm 6'3 and as it rains so much on the west coast of Canada I almost would rather trade the constant maintenance for being able to stand up straight.
I am 6’2”, had plenty of head room on the CSY 33.
Yes, everything is possible as far as buying a big boat, but unless it is brand new, it will need work, and in the case of older boats, lots of it. (Or lots of money to have other folks do it for you)
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Old 01-01-2021, 21:06   #7
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

The length of the boat doesn’t determine the height of the cabin. I’ve been in 36’ boats that felt like they were 26’ and 26’ boats that felt like they were 36’. It’s all about layout and design. Spend some time getting in different boats from 30-40ft and see what you like. Start shopping now even while out east.. Also stand at the helm and look at the overall length and how you’re getting it out of different slips.
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Old 02-01-2021, 09:30   #8
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

This is a very personal decision, but if it were me, and I were going to be singlehanding, I'd go smaller, like not bigger than 40-42. For one person, a 36 foot (which I have) is plenty, and ongoing costs will be significantly less.
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:02   #9
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

With your limited experience I would join a club on the west coast and beat about on their boats for a year before deciding on what boat is best for me. I joined a club here in Portland Oregon that had 12 boats from 19' to 33' and took all the classes they had to offer before finally buying my own boat, a 35' hunter, which seemed very spacious for one or two people to live aboard. From here I bought a 45' catamaran in the BVI (now in charter).
If I Had started with a 45 cat or even a 35' mono hull it would have been a totally different and overwhelming learning experience. I think it best to work your way up to larger boats and get some experience under your keel before you embark on your final dream boat. You'll be glad you did.
cheers,
jim
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:03   #10
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Buy a sailing dinghy now and sail every chance you can. Experience, accumulated in learning to sail by yourself on a dinghy is easily transferred to a larger boat and mistakes are proportionately less costly. Bigger boats cost more in terms of marina fees and boat yard costs, which can affect the amount of time you can devote to cruising.
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:22   #11
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2ofEverything View Post
...........What would it cost (rouughhhh estimate) to re-rig an older boat specifically for shorthanded sailing? Also I keep hearing maintenance with larger boats becomes exponentially more expensive once you get over a certain length, where are those costs coming from? I understand any per foot cost (painting, cleaning, etc.) would be more, as well as larger sails factoring in but what else?

And the bigger question is what sort of time line am I looking at here with actually learning how to sail the boat I'd be living on proficiently, and having it (and myself) prepared for long passages................. but what are the actual logistics of owning a boat that large? Should I just kick it down to a 36 footer and save myself the trouble and money?...............
Good on you for pursuing your dream!! I have heard it said that you should buy your LAST boat FIRST. Rough cost to re-rig a boat for shorthanded sail is probably $10,000-50,000+...........the sky is the limit with bringing all the running rigging to the cockpit, electric winches, furler main and jib sails, self tacking jib, autopilot, bow thruster all if which can make short handed sailing feasible. Best advise is purchase a sailboat with all these options already installed. That is what I did, except no self tacking jib.

The cost for maintenance not exponential but linear but based on boat length, as you indicated AND complexity, i.e., number of systems. The time line from learning how to sail and preparing it for long passages depends on how much time you put into it and how motivated you are.

What do you mean by logistics? My two cents on your last question is buy the larger boat as it will be far more comfortable than a 36 footer.
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:24   #12
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

If you are coming to the Vancouver area, liveaboard slips are pretty well non-existent. If you are willing to go considerably further north (north of Campbell River on the Island), you'll have better luck.

The size, operating and maintenance costs, and forces involved with a boat go up as the CUBE of it's length (as it gets longer it also gets wider and taller). Thus a 45' boat is just about twice as big (and expensive, and challenging to handle) as a 36' boat. My first boat was/is 42' on deck. If I were to do it again I'd go 36 - 38. It takes discipline to keep "stuff" off any boat. It just takes longer to fill up a bigger one.

Good luck and welcome to the "wet" coast. It's howling wind and sheeting cold rain outside right now - has been the past week - which is why I have time to contribute to this forum. MUCH cosier inside Scorpius!
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:37   #13
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

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Originally Posted by 2ofEverything View Post
Hello everyone,

I am new to the forum as a poster but have been lurking about for a few years. I've got a few questions, some of which have been answered many times over on this forum but I'll try to structure them in a way that fits my situation specifically.

So I'll start by giving a little background, I'm in my early 20's, grew up in Ontario and the only sailing experience I have is with a family friend's Catalina 30. Sailed dozens of times shorthanded but honestly that's about it, I understand the fundamentals of sailing and have plenty of theoretical knowledge but I am not and experienced sailor by and stretch of the imagination. Additionally I am now moving to the pacific coast of Canada and have not had any experience sailing in the ocean. However, those limited experiences from 12 years old until I graduated high school embedded the idea of buying and living on my own boat as soon as practicable. Now years later the time has come.

So here's what I would like to know.

I'm looking at a 45' cutter rigged boat, I understand length isn't the determining factor in shorthanded sailing but rather how it's setup (also I would be hiring a crew to move it upon purchase if required). What would it cost (rouughhhh estimate) to re-rig an older boat specifically for shorthanded sailing? Also I keep hearing maintenance with larger boats becomes exponentially more expensive once you get over a certain length, where are those costs coming from? I understand any per foot cost (painting, cleaning, etc.) would be more, as well as larger sails factoring in but what else?

And the bigger question is what sort of time line am I looking at here with actually learning how to sail the boat I'd be living on proficiently, and having it (and myself) prepared for long passages. I've been fortunate with my employment and finances and believe all costs included I should be able to take 2-5 years off in approximately 5 years - assuming I have no other income during that time frame.

I am working ~typically~ a 9/5 or 8/4 and have all the other time to work on and learn the boat, I'm single and this is all I want to do.

This has been the dream and I feel like I'm on the cusp of achieving what I've been working for the last few years... but what are the actual logistics of owning a boat that large? Should I just kick it down to a 36 footer and save myself the trouble and money?

I know every situation is unique and every vessel is different but what would the costs between say a 36' and 45' boat be? Assuming they're the same age and condition.

I will buy and live on a boat regardless, the question now has really boiled down to what size will suite my needs. The plan is to take it around the globe, and essentially run fully off grid months at a time. But I would also not like to be limited by size and be able to go through some inland water ways as well.

Thanks for any help anyone can provide, I know these are beat to death, vague, unanswerable questions in a lot of ways but any information helps.

Max
For an eventual circumnavigation, you'll need something that will accommodate a reasonable sized crew for a long term. Cats have a lot more capacity in this regard and though they tend to cost more than a comparably sized monohull, will offer a lot more real estate for an off grid set up (solar). I think you should hold off on any purchase until the borders are open as there are a lot of marinas in the Seattle area which means more choices. Getting the boat home should not require much crew as you won't be going that far. Maybe hire a delivery captain for a few days to teach you about the boat and get it to your final destination.
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:38   #14
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Scorpius, has it right for the West coast. I live just south of the border, and experience much the same howling rainy weather this time of the year. Generally you'll find staying under 40' will keep costs lower, there does seem to be a significant cost jump beyond that for all things, slips, bouys, painting, insurance etc.

We have a 39' boat rigged single handed, wife gets to stay below in the real crappy weather. Like many on these forums, I do lots of my own maintenance and repairs. That will help manage your costs. Thank heaven for YouTube.

The one thing I'd suggest you do, come on out here charter a boat like one you'd consider. A few thousand to test the waters so to speak could be worthy investment.
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Old 02-01-2021, 10:40   #15
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Re: First sailboat -- 40 foot + ?

Hi 2 of Everything,
My first boat was my 1980 C&C 40 that I learned to refit myself--all systems, rewired, redid refrigeration, pump systems, electronics, radios and SSB, solar system, radar, on and on, servicing all winches, steering, head, running rigging, deck hardware, etc. To singlehand race her and race to Hawaii which I did twice with her and bringing her back as well. What a great boat! My shorthanded racing friends would tease about how I would position her at the start line like she was a J24--you get to know your boat and handle her easily!
The question to ask yourself is Where do you want to sail? My experience up/down B.C. and SE Alaska, is a little shorter boat, i.e., 32 to 36 ft would be even better in so many of the cozy little places to explore.
Also, consider your physical strength in managing sails when in heavy weather. I loved flying my whimper ayso but really had to be mindful about getting it down before the wind was way up.
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