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Old 12-04-2013, 08:31   #1
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Just How Big is Too Big?

With large bowthrusters and electrics winches etc, just how large a yacht do you think a couple could handle?
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:37   #2
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Re: Just how big is too big?

Aboard a well equipped yacht like an Oyster... 61 feet. Our 53 footer is no problem for the two of us to handle anything that might come up, and I'd still feel comfortable on board an Oyster 61. However, no plans to go larger at this time.

There are quite a few cruising couples we know sailing around the world on 55-61 foot yachts. Don't know of any personally on a larger vessel, but I'm sure they're out there.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:38   #3
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pirate Re: Just how big is too big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevensuf View Post
With large bowthrusters and electrics winches etc, just how large a yacht do you think a couple could handle?
Knew a couple with a Custom 23 metre Jungert... all electric/hydraulic.. including the three furling headsails and the lifting keel... helm station was like being on the 'Enterprise'...

Oppss... just been corrected... brain pharte...
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:44   #4
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Noted designer Ron Holland believes that a vessel around 73 feet is about the right length to get a big boat feel yet be able to manage short handed

He designed his own boat on the same premise and its exactly 73 feet long

Check out "Ron Holland Golden Opus" on Google if you want to read further

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Old 12-04-2013, 11:50   #5
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Re: Just how big is too big?

If toys are up to the job, there is no limit.

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Old 12-04-2013, 12:37   #6
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Re: Just how big is too big?

yea, we know a couple that sail a 112'er.

They are required by their insurance to have a third on offshore passages (which is how I know them). But you can dock and sail the boat perfectly well single handed, so long as the hydraulics don't stop working.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:38   #7
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Re: Just how big is too big?

you are only limited by the size of your wallet.
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:44   #8
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Re: Just how big is too big?

We are 64', no bowthruster, regular manual jib furler, no main furler, no mizzen furler, one prop. I can singlehand it easier than anything else I owned incl. a Laser dinghy
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Old 12-04-2013, 13:23   #9
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Re: Just how big is too big?

We have a 51 ft Ketch, no electric or hyd winchs. We do use a batt powerd angle head on our main sail winch and on our furling genny, but then we are Older! LOL we can sail or motor with out anyone else on the boat !We have never had a bow thruster, but Im sure it would help. But Ive been useing dock lines for docking and un-docking for a long time and we really don't have any problems ! It would be almost to easy to have all the stuff, but so far we have done it without any but a remote for the anchor windless. Im 74 and Connies 61 if we can do it then most any folks can ! If they think ahead. Just our 2 cents
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Old 12-04-2013, 13:48   #10
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Re: Just how big is too big?

This theme has been hashed and rehashed and I'm not sure there's much new to say about it.

Once a boat is too big to manhandle the last foot or so into position (more than say 45 feet), there are few disadvantages to size, in terms of short-handed handling, so the bigger the better, from that point of view (not from the point of view of cost, berthing availability/cost, etc., etc.). Bigger boats are certainly easier to handle at sea as they provide a more stable platform. They also tend to be blown around less during docking maneuvers.

Single-handing any boat is scary for me; but single-handing my 54 footer was not harder than single handing other boats of my experience, and in some ways it was easier. The biggest disadvantage for single-handing was the considerable distance from the helm to the rail which needed to be covered in order to get dock lines on.

Electric winches and bow thrusters on larger boats are very useful, and not just for short-handed sailing.

I absolutely never find myself thinking "wow, I wish I had a smaller boat," except maybe when I'm buying antifoul. If that's any hint. And I very often find myself thinking "Thank God I didn't buy that Oyster 485; it would have been a little tight." There's a very good reason why 99% of sailors go at least a little bigger, when changing boats, and exceedingly rarely, do they go smaller.

And my boat, although she is intelligently designed by one of the real masters in the field, does not have enough lazarette or forepeak or other technical space, and has too small an engine space (not quite walk-in). I would sacrifice some of the accommodation to have more technical space, or, wouldn't mind too much a slightly larger boat to solve those problems. 60 feet would be fine, I think.

That's my point of view; YMMV.
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Old 13-04-2013, 23:34   #11
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Re: Just how big is too big?

289 feet. I understand the the Maltese Falcon can be singlehanded.
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Old 14-04-2013, 00:40   #12
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Re: Just how big is too big?

IIRC, back in the 80's the largest sailing yacht to be built in years, a 3 or 4 masted staysail schooner, well over 200 feet in length was designed and built for... a singlehander to compete in the OSTAR race.

Pretty scary to me, a behemoth like that careering along at 15+ knots with the skipper sleeping. Yikes!

But, he finished the race.

Cheers,

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Old 14-04-2013, 01:29   #13
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Re: Just how big is too big?

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289 feet. I understand the the Maltese Falcon can be singlehanded.
The navy has ships which are much larger than this which can be operated with a joystick and a single person could dock them.

So to make sense of this.. using power.. it is no contest, and not really interesting.

How about a boat which has no engine, no electric motors.. none of this stuff.. only manual and sail power.

I met a guy on a 95ft boat in this category, and he didn't even have any winches, but the windlass was used to raise sail. But he claimed to need 4 persons to operate even still (have to go up in the rig to set some of the sails)

I'm thinking a practical limit of around 80ft if you need to be able to dock, as getting larger and you would have difficulty controlling things under sail to reach a dock without in some conditions possibly causing damage.. But then again I'm sure there are people who are amazing at this sort of thing.

Size would probably be unlimited if you only needed to anchor, although it could take hours to pedal power a windlass to raise anchor on a cargo ship powered by kites.
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Old 14-04-2013, 03:29   #14
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Re: Just how big is too big?

I think the answer is less about "can do" and more about "want to".

Comes a point when even though you might not need crew, just makes life easier - likely not so much on the sailing or even docking end of things.........but on the dull side for stuff like maintainence and cleaning! 75' is a lot of nooks and crannies! so it's less about wanting crew onboard and more about having staff! as likely that someone who can afford a 75 footer (+/-) and to cruise her extensively in a lifestyle that does not revolve around beans and rice won't want to spend their days wrapped around keeping her spic and span, or at least one half of the partnership won't.........

....no doubt exceptions will apply.
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Old 14-04-2013, 04:31   #15
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Re: Just how big is too big?

HC 50 "Hunters Child" are built for singlehanding races.
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