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Old 18-08-2015, 20:10   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: NYC
Boat: 36ft Vicem Hard Top
Posts: 6
Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Hi all.

I've been reading the detailed and insightful posts here (on a variety of topics) for over a year, so a retroactive thank you is in order.

I have a 36' powerboat (Vicem Windsor Craft), and am getting ready to switch over to sails (probably), probably within 3-6 months. I love my current boat (she's my first boat), and it is well suited to where I live (New York City), but going fast just isn't as enjoyable as it was in the beginning. At high speeds, in the Hudson river near Manhattan, the level of focus is such that I can't really "hang out" or relax as much as I would like. I'm also ready for a bigger boat after having gotten more confident out on the water in general. Lastly, I'm in a hardtop downeast style cruiser, and I want more air when I cruise. Those are reasons I'm ready to move on from my current boat, but the reason for switching to sails is all the usual reasons - quiet, nature, enjoyment of developing a skill, unlimited range (which I'm unlikely to use, but the concept brings some joy), and just the drama and beauty of the sails up and full of wind.

My typical usage breakdown is primarily warm weather use in and around NYC:
About two evenings per week I boat about 10 miles north, drop anchor, bbq with friends, hang out, and come back.
I take 4-5 long weekend trips over the course of the season, mostly out to the Long Island Sound and out to Montauk. Usually just with my girlfriend.
1-2 trips of 7-10 days per season - also to the Sound, and potentially further north either up the coast or up the Hudson. Also typically just with my girlfriend.
I'm planning on taking the boat to Florida for the winter, and to do some cruising from there - Bahamas, Cuba, the keys, etc. Mostly 3-5 day trips. There is an outside chance of keeping it in the water in NYC throughout the winter and living aboard there, though that is unlikely considering that the Hudson surface froze completely across last year

I chose a powerboat because there isn't typically great wind near NYC, and even when there is there aren't that many places to sail to in close proximity (and time for me is typically limited). Those reasons are still valid, but I'm trying to carve away more time from work, and like I said above, speed hasn't been particularly relaxing.

I'm currently living aboard my boat, which is tight because it wasn't designed for that. I'm not sure if I plan to live aboard the next boat, but I might, at least for some time (12-18 months).
I have some familiarity with sailing, though of course there will be a lot for me to learn. I anticipate hiring a captain to teach me sailing for something like a week at a clip with me practicing between sessions (this is what I did when learning to run my boat).

I have a variety of questions on which I would appreciate input from all you far more seasoned boaters. Before I launch into them, I should mention that I am leaning heavily towards a catamaran, for all the usual reasons (speed, stability, etc.), but considering that I still have many questions, I am obviously not 100% on that (and not looking to ignite a mono vs multi discussion - I've read so many threads on that!)

In terms of gaining experience sailing, what type of progression would you recommend? Would you recommend starting with something very basic and working my way up (spending time and losing money on each trade), or starting with something closer to my goal (and spending a lot of time getting comfortable and undersailing the boat in the interim)?

My (and my girlfriends) parameters are:
I need to be able to handle the boat myself, in any weather condition
I would greatly prefer a king sized bed (this is one of the primary reasons a monohull sailboat is still under consideration), and a full separate shower stall - strongly prefer a full beam owner's cabin
I will want a watermaker, a dishwasher, and a washer drier, though all of those can be added later. A decent galley is also a requirement of SWMBO
I would like the boat to be able to motor at 10 knots, for when that is necessary
I would like the boat to be able to sail decently fast (10knts)
I would like a boat where the reefing and unfurling of the main sail are not so arduous as to discourage me from doing it when the wind is borderline sufficient
I want the area from which I sail to also be in/near the socializing area

None of these are must haves necessarily, as I know compromises will be part of the process.

In terms of single handed sailing, I understand that I'd likely be looking at installing electric winches, etc., and that they will of course break whenever I need them most

I understand the relationships between hull width, speed, displacement, and load carrying capacity. I'm not a pack rat, and I have no need for a ton of storage, though my girlfriend will probably fight me on that a little. I would eventually like to sail from NYC to the Mediterranean, though that is of course years away and should be heavily if not completely discounted as a present consideration.

I love the Chris White designs, especially the Atlantic 47 Mastfoil, with what seems to be an amazingly simple configuration. The interior space leaves a bit to be desired, but as a sailing machine it looks to be very appealing. That is also the size I would be aiming for, if not immediately, then eventually. I've read the very detailed post on the A57 Anna capsizing, and am conscious of the care needed when sailing a cruising catamaran, though I don't see myself being that aggressive anyway. The A47 Mastfoil seems to go a long way towards mitigating that issue. Again, mostly theoretical considering what my usage will be (especially in the beginning), but intriguing nonetheless. In general the forward cockpit seems much more appealing to me.

The lagoons, sunreefs, etc. have interiors (and flybridges) that my girlfriend would love, but the sailing performance predictably suffers (I will of course be chartering any boat prior to a purchase, but based on what I can find online this is the case).
Once speed is being sacrificed on those types of cats, monohulls come back into play to an extent - for the large owners cabins, and the ability to pack whatever I (SWMBO) want to keep onboard. My girlfriend doesn't mind the heeling per se, but she does not like the idea of having to stow everything when we really get underway (we do that in my current boat when we pick up enough speed or the waves picks up enough height). I personally prefer a slow cat to an equal speed monohull, but the price difference is very substantial, and if I will go through a progression of boats as I gain skill, starting with a monohull might make sense (though I could in theory buy a cheaper older multihull for learning). I like the center cockpit designs personally - of course, SWMBO saw a picture of an Oyster interior and decided that if we go monohull, that's the aim!

What recommendations can you offer? Any particular brands I should consider? Considering my usage profile and parameter set, am I looking at something the wrong way (or differently than a more experienced person might)?

I will ultimately consider a semi-custom design also, as I know some of the builders will accommodate design desires to varying degrees.

The only other option I'm currently considering is a power catamaran that I've been eyeing. Beautiful layout, an owner's cabin that my girlfriend adores, storage galore, and cruises at 16knts regardless of wind strength or direction. It doesn't have the same primal appeal as moving the boat with the wind, but is likely the most practical option - but boating isn't exactly a pursuit of pragmatists!

I understand the threshold question of whether I will be living on the boat or not, but for sake of discussion I will likely live on it for 12-18 months - enough time that the modern conveniences will be required.

In terms of budgets, I would like to keep the price under $1MM if I am getting the boat that I will ultimately want, and much less if the boat acquired is something more akin to training wheels.

Thank you in advance for your thoughts!
Joe Safdie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-08-2015, 21:44   #2
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Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Sounds like a realistic plan (except for the king size bed). But I think you may be getting ahead of yourself a bit. Before dropping a few hundred grand on anything, go take some sailing classes. In fact take a lot of sailing classes. Charter a large cat in the Carribean for a week or two, and really get a feel for what sailing is like, and what sailing a large cat is like.

Make sure this is something you really want to do before getting in so deep it's costly to get out of it.

As for a first boat, I would suggest a larger beach cat. It will give you actual experience feeling what a catamaran sails like in a way that a dinghy really won't.

- If animals weren't meant to be eaten then they wouldn't be made of food.
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Old 18-08-2015, 22:14   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: NYC
Boat: 36ft Vicem Hard Top
Posts: 6
Re: Power Boater Making the Switch (Probably)

Thanks Greg.
I've taken 3-4 of the 3 day sailing lessons over the past few years, so I definitely will need a lot more.
I do plan to get down to the BVI for the charter as well.
Any suggestions on what type of large beach cats to consider? Something like a Tiki?
Joe Safdie is offline   Reply With Quote

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