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Old 20-12-2020, 11:55   #1
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Am I biting off too much to chew?

This thread applies mostly to solo's, cruising couples or those of you who have owned/cruised a mono-hull vessels 45' or larger.

I am 65+, and power boated most of my life. I own a powerboat now and use her offshore a lot to fish. I know how to sail, but not well.

I always wanted to sail around the world, but work, kids and wife precluded that dream. I am finally in a position to pursue the dream. I am presently in school to obtain the proper certifications to qualify for internationally required licenses. I also plan upon hiring a Captain for hands on training too.

I have noticed that well maintained premium name plate sailing vessels 25+/- years old in the 45'- 60' range are very attractively priced at 20%-25% of what they originally cost new. I located a few mid 50' cutters that are within my budget. They all appear to have roller furling and electric everything so I do not believe that my age should be a major factor in sailing the vessel, with believe being the operative word.

Query: Am I biting off more than I should? This vessel would be my first sailing yacht. I have looked at many vessels in the 42' to 48' range and for a few dollars more I can be in a 53'-57' boat with a ton of room that appear to be easier to sail with all the comforts of home.

Thoughts please. I thank everyone in advance for their constructive comments.
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Old 20-12-2020, 12:19   #2
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

I dont feel you are too old. But also feel a 42’ boat should be VERY comfortable with no reason to go bigger. i also feel you need get some sailing time in before proceeding. I always get a little “surprised” when a non sailor starts off with “I want to sail around the world”.
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Old 20-12-2020, 12:55   #3
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

There are no internationally required licenses to sail around the world. If you can afford to buy and maintain a 50'+ sailing vessel then it is doable but keep in mind that a lot of it will be about figuring out ways to repair things in exotic places. My advice is: Bring lots and lots of spare parts.
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Old 20-12-2020, 13:00   #4
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

I started sailing about 55, just turned 70. It all depends upon how you will actually sail the boat. Big boats are more work and can feel more out if control when the wind pipes up. If you are solo then I would look more to 38’ to 42’ range (10-16 tons). It f a couple I might push that to 40-46 feet. (14-20 tons) You will have more fun and not miss the crap you do not have.

If you intend to be coastal a smaller boat is still easier to get in and out of marinas and is better for gunk holeing. Same very broad recommendations.

If you want to be a dock queen the do whatever.

FWIW we live on a 44’er, 20 tons. The wife says its too big. She prefers our 33’er, feels more manageable (8 minutes tons). We have lived upon that for upwards of 6 months.

Anyway, these are just my suggestions and others ideas are just as valid for them, or perhaps for you. You are about to travel one path, never knowing where the other might have lead.
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Old 20-12-2020, 13:08   #5
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

Hello, Reel Love,

I'm seeing some things you haven't mentioned, or may not be aware of as yet. One is that that is really a huge boat for a "beginner". I do get it that you are an experienced person with motor vessels, and perhaps able to maintain them. However, thinking your average 50-55 ft. sailboat is easier than a 40-55 ft one is not taking into account when the various furlers fail, the difficulties anyone would have because of what I think of as scaling factors. In the mid 30-40 ft. range, the sails themselves are a lot lighter and easy to handle. You will want to start thinking how you will handle it in a blow if the furler fails. (hydraulics? bearings? electrical connections, but they are all subject to imperfect performance. There are a number of threads here relative to problems with roller furling mains. Use the Custom Google Search function.) Larger boats cost more to insure, berth, and because of scaling factors again --bigger blocks-- and gear.

Part of where I'm coming from here is years of living aboard and cruising boats a lot smaller than what you're thinking of, with my husband, Jim: 18 yrs. on an old race boat, 36 feet; and up on 18 in this 46 footer. Jim's preference has always been for lighter, more performance oriented boats than the much heavier full keel ones--which do have their proponents. It is really rewarding to be able to sail in light airs, while the other guys are motoring downwind.

The age part, well, that depends on a lot that we don't know. None of us knows what the future holds, but biting off more than you can chew? You don't know if you will like sailing so much, and particularly solo, especially on long passages. Even with good classes, unless you use the RYA ones, you will not get training in getting yourself out of problem situations. I'd say it would be a lot wiser to plan on local cruising for a year, before setting off, and do go out in challenging weather, and see how you cope with it on your own. If you're a good problem solver, and comfortable on taking on what I just heard called "maintaining a small city", you'll do fine. There are power generating, lighting, waste disposal, fuel, water and cooking systems to maintain, as well as the sails. And with older boats, the surveyors usually miss something, and something eventually reaches the end of its life span, so there is frequent maintenance to keeping your vessel up to par. If you circumnavigate, there will be places where if you want to eat it or drink it, you need to have it with you, and the same goes for fixing "it." You cannot count on finding high quality boat workers everywhere. A number of newbie cruisers give it up early on because of the disappointments waiting in exotic locations for parts to arrive. It is an ambitious goal, imho,could be attainable if you take to sailing, if your health stays good, if the borders of the nations become more easily accessible, and if 2021 turns out to be a more user friendly year than 2020. Is that too many "if"s? My crystal ball's broken. But you could give it an effort, in easier steps, also. Up to you.

I would not expect anyone here on CF to really try to dissuade you, and it is hard to find stories of folks for whom it did not work out. But there are boats for sale in "stopping places": Mexico, French Polynesia, Australia and New Zealand, the Phillippines, etc. Of those, all are presently closed, and a lot of people are separated from their vessels. One Canadian member's boat is in Nova Scotia, and internal travel restrictions have kept him from it this year, and possibly will, next year as well. I would not expect that you will see mass lifting of the restrictions for a minimum of two years, but it could run to four or unknown to me more.



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Old 20-12-2020, 13:47   #6
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

Great responses so far, and thank all of you who have responded.

1. I do not plan on just taking off. I agree that would be foolish. My plan is to take whatever vessel I acquire and get her to my home in Miami. From there, it's an easy hop to the Bahamas (I have done that many times).

2. I then plan is to island hop in the Bahamas, eventually moving south to the Turks and Caicos, then into the Leeward Islands, then to the Windward Islands, then west ack into the "southern" Leeward's, eventually returning to Miami. The biggest issue here is trying to avoid hurricane season with such an ambitious schedule.

3. Assuming everything works out, then plan to either: [a] traverse the Gulf of Mexico to eventually end up in Panama to transit the canal and make our way up the coast into Alaska.

Alternative plan: [B] is to return to Annapolis and find another cruiser to hopefully join me to cross over to Europe (and if I am lucky, via Iceland which I hear is amazing).

Once on the other side of the pond, we have planed on spending at least a year and most likely longer exploring the Baltic region, UK, Europe and the Med before possibly getting more venturous. Personally, if I am able to make Plan "B" a reality, I will have deemed this entire venture to be a smashing success.

As to repairs: that is the least of my worries. I maintained a sport fish for over 25 years. If it breaks, I can fix it.

Now handling "big sails", that's something that I need to consider.

Again, thank you to everyone so far.
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Old 20-12-2020, 13:58   #7
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pirate Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reel Love View Post
This thread applies mostly to solo's, cruising couples or those of you who have owned/cruised a mono-hull vessels 45' or larger.

I am 65+, and power boated most of my life. I own a powerboat now and use her offshore a lot to fish. I know how to sail, but not well.

I always wanted to sail around the world, but work, kids and wife precluded that dream. I am finally in a position to pursue the dream. I am presently in school to obtain the proper certifications to qualify for internationally required licenses. I also plan upon hiring a Captain for hands on training too.

I have noticed that well maintained premium name plate sailing vessels 25+/- years old in the 45'- 60' range are very attractively priced at 20%-25% of what they originally cost new. I located a few mid 50' cutters that are within my budget. They all appear to have roller furling and electric everything so I do not believe that my age should be a major factor in sailing the vessel, with believe being the operative word.

Query: Am I biting off more than I should? This vessel would be my first sailing yacht. I have looked at many vessels in the 42' to 48' range and for a few dollars more I can be in a 53'-57' boat with a ton of room that appear to be easier to sail with all the comforts of home.

Thoughts please. I thank everyone in advance for their constructive comments.
We'll though I have never owned a boat 45 to 55ft I have sailed across oceans In boats that size and up to 65ft.. mono's and cats short handed, myself plus one crew weighing in at 45kilos.
It can be done with reasonable ease as most all have had hydraulics/electric aid such as winches, anchor gear etc..
However I have been at it since 1985 and spent much of the first decade solo sailing.
I would recommend you take all the courses despite not needing any special tickets as the experience and education along the way will serve you well both in boat handling and navigation skills you will need in the future.. also I would limit the size to 45ft, that is plenty large for two to live on, only go larger if you anticipate long term guests/crew.
Just learn to plan and prepare ahead for any and everything, don't leave things to the last minute as that's when things go wrong.. And Reef Early..
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Old 20-12-2020, 14:08   #8
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

I too think you are considering too large of a boat.

50-60' is a lot of boat, and sailing things can get out of control very fast. There's a huge difference handling a 50' sail vs a 50' power.

WHY do you think you need such a large boat? 36-42' is certainly more than enough for 2 persons (with occasional visitors) to be comfortable, and much easier to handle.

Moorage costs lower (and availability better) and maintenance costs lower for the 36-42' sail vs a 50-60' sail.
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Old 20-12-2020, 14:22   #9
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reel Love View Post
Great responses so far, and thank all of you who have responded.

1. I do not plan on just taking off. I agree that would be foolish. My plan is to take whatever vessel I acquire and get her to my home in Miami. From there, it's an easy hop to the Bahamas (I have done that many times).

2. I then plan is to island hop in the Bahamas, eventually moving south to the Turks and Caicos, then into the Leeward Islands, then to the Windward Islands, then west ack into the "southern" Leeward's, eventually returning to Miami. The biggest issue here is trying to avoid hurricane season with such an ambitious schedule.

3. Assuming everything works out, then plan to either: [a] traverse the Gulf of Mexico to eventually end up in Panama to transit the canal and make our way up the coast into Alaska.

Alternative plan: [B] is to return to Annapolis and find another cruiser to hopefully join me to cross over to Europe (and if I am lucky, via Iceland which I hear is amazing).

Once on the other side of the pond, we have planed on spending at least a year and most likely longer exploring the Baltic region, UK, Europe and the Med before possibly getting more venturous. Personally, if I am able to make Plan "B" a reality, I will have deemed this entire venture to be a smashing success.

As to repairs: that is the least of my worries. I maintained a sport fish for over 25 years. If it breaks, I can fix it.

Now handling "big sails", that's something that I need to consider.

Again, thank you to everyone so far.
Always bowing to the wisdom of the more-experienced cruisers who spake before me, consider this:

Places that teach ASA courses could get you up and running on a small, easy-to-singlehand boat like a Soling fairly quickly. In Boston, this summer, they had classes that were open even with Covid restrictions. Though you say you can sail, having real instructors walk you through things like points of sail, sail trim, handling gusts, efficient tacking, rules of the road (which you know, but they feel different when put in practice under sail), how to make a sailboat stop where and when you want it to(!), and then trying it all yourself seems like a good step.

This approach allows you to focus on the sailing part of sailing before you get to systems like unraveling snagged furlers at sea. You try out hoisting sails and hauling on rigging on a boat that is smaller and easier to handle than a 40-foot cruiser.

There are also ASA courses where you learn to do short passages, and longer passages, that include a short cruise with an instructor. Gives you a hands-on look at what it's like without having the responsibility for your own boat.

I'm a lot more conservative in this line of thinking than some carpe diem people, and as Ann says, it always seems to work out for people who just go for it, so if you are not, all power to you.
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Old 20-12-2020, 14:24   #10
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

20-25% devaluation over 25 years - the vendors are dreaming.
I think 60% would be closer to reality.
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Old 20-12-2020, 14:58   #11
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

Sixty feet in length. We are both well past 60 in age. Would not change a thing.
Four people is a nice setup for an ocean passage. Custom Brewer design, aluminum hull, twin keels, pilothouse. Iíve built a lot of boats and we loved building this boat and living aboard it.
You must have the skills to maintain the systems or a large income.
As a professional merchant Mariner, Iím very pleased with a larger vessel.
There is no perfect design, material nor builder. But...
We could have had any design and choice in construction but we both feel this is as close as possible to what is perfect for us.
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Old 21-12-2020, 06:30   #12
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reel Love View Post
This thread applies mostly to solo's, cruising couples or those of you who have owned/cruised a mono-hull vessels 45' or larger.

I am 65+, and power boated most of my life. I own a powerboat now and use her offshore a lot to fish. I know how to sail, but not well.

I always wanted to sail around the world, but work, kids and wife precluded that dream. I am finally in a position to pursue the dream. I am presently in school to obtain the proper certifications to qualify for internationally required licenses. I also plan upon hiring a Captain for hands on training too.

I have noticed that well maintained premium name plate sailing vessels 25+/- years old in the 45'- 60' range are very attractively priced at 20%-25% of what they originally cost new. I located a few mid 50' cutters that are within my budget. They all appear to have roller furling and electric everything so I do not believe that my age should be a major factor in sailing the vessel, with believe being the operative word.

Query: Am I biting off more than I should? This vessel would be my first sailing yacht. I have looked at many vessels in the 42' to 48' range and for a few dollars more I can be in a 53'-57' boat with a ton of room that appear to be easier to sail with all the comforts of home.

Thoughts please. I thank everyone in advance for their constructive comments.
The goal of this post is to be candid, AND constructive. I am 65 and have been sailing since I was 13- have delivered power and sail vessels and have significant blue water experience on sailboats.

First while running powerboats offshore gives some experience, many of those skills do NOT transfer to sailboats. It is easier to dock a 50' powerboat with twin screws than an older 40' sailboat. BUT it is very possible to make the transition, it will take some instruction and practice.

Regarding length- when I did charters, I single-handed a Jeanneau 53 with guests aboard. Docking and undocking was not easy. I have delivered sailboats to 60' and while underway, the watch-keeper singles hands the vessel. On big vessels I do not let crew reef or unreel single-handed. If I am on watch I will perform those duties, but one has to be extremely careful. The forces exerted by sails on that size vessel can be lethal.

As someone who appears to be looking to single-hand a vessel, or use marginally skilled crew, going to the 50+ size would be imprudent. If anything breaks while 'out there', you will likely NOT have the skill set to manage crew to safely assist you while addressing the problem.

My suggestion is to look at boats in the 40-44' size. They are roomy, without being palatial. A well built 44' is capable of taking you anywhere. Features such as power winches can be added. However, one must have plans in place on how to handle the failure of those devices. Finally, a well laid out 44 can carry a washing machine, AC, etc.

As you and others have have said- get training. ASA classes are ok. But they are geared for someone with almost zero boating experience. To learn how to sail well, requires understanding the forces exerted by the wind on the sails and how to shape the sails efficiently. It also requires understanding how the boat interacts with the water. The ASA classes scratch the surface of this. But there are some great books, or you can read some of Arvel Gentry's work for FREE at Gentry Sailing | Theory and Practice --Gentry worked as an aeronautical engineer.

Feel free to PM.
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Old 21-12-2020, 08:03   #13
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

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We'll though I have never owned a boat 45 to 55ft I have sailed across oceans In boats that size and up to 65ft.. mono's and cats short handed, myself plus one crew weighing in at 45kilos.

It can be done with reasonable ease as most all have had hydraulics/electric aid such as winches, anchor gear etc..

However I have been at it since 1985 and spent much of the first decade solo sailing.

I would recommend you take all the courses despite not needing any special tickets as the experience and education along the way will serve you well both in boat handling and navigation skills you will need in the future.. also I would limit the size to 45ft, that is plenty large for two to live on, only go larger if you anticipate long term guests/crew.

Just learn to plan and prepare ahead for any and everything, don't leave things to the last minute as that's when things go wrong.. And Reef Early..


How big is your power boat? They tend to have much more room inside than monohulls. Maybe consider a 40 ft used cat? Your wife may appreciate all the extras and relatively stable ride. A 38 ft older cat can do the trick and tick off many of your wants - plus if Bahama bound then no worries on running aground or at least able to access areas that may protect you in a blow.
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Old 21-12-2020, 08:30   #14
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

I would say there is a lot of difference between a 40 or 50 foot powerboat and sailboat. Even docking a power boat is much easier with the raw power of a big engine. Handling the sails and ground tackle by a 65 year old will definitely be a challenge. Some folks are stronger than others but bottom line is you need to be physically willing and able. As the OP said: things can get out of control very quickly.
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Old 21-12-2020, 08:39   #15
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Re: Am I biting off too much to chew?

My thoughts are based on my own experience. I have sailed as a kid, lived aboard for 35 years, on both a 33 foot monohull and a 45 foot cat, more or less evenly divided. Been a paid skipper for over 30 years, and an instructor for almost as long. I routinely singlehand my 45 foot cat, although most of the time has been with either another person or a crew. I have singlehanded boats between 50 and 60 feet as well.



I am 72, which may be the most relevant part, but I am healthy, nimble and in good shape. That said, I am beginning to have little issues, and am not QUITE as nimble or healthy, but it is obviously a progression. I credit my good health to the sailing life, in no small part. All is well as long as things don't break, but for persons of any age, when they do is when things get hard. And that is when strength, agility and skill become crucial. I have always enjoyed Jim and Ann Cate's posts and have noticed how, over the past few years, things have gotten a bit more tricky for them. I think they are a bit older than myself, and probably a bit wiser, as well!


So, I will say that the sailing part will be easy. In bad conditions, it will be a good bit harder, but manageable if you think and plan appropriately. When things go wrong is where it gets very tough, and you are planning to be able to do everything singlehanded, absent the right partner/crew/whatever. YOU DO NOT NEED THE LARGER BOAT!!! My 45 foot cat is roughly equivalent to a 55 foot monohull. My sails are probably bigger...mainsail is 923 sq. ft. and the clew ring on the jib could not only be deadly, but might amputate something. Sure, the boat is very comfortable, and its stability is a great asset.


But, I am currently planning on downsizing to a 36 foot cat, which is still equivalent to a monohull in the 43 to 46 foot range. Still stable, still comfortable, but way more manageable. Mast height will be 47 feet, instead of 71. I am sure I will miss the big boat, even though I sometimes go days without entering one of the hulls. But it will do all I need, single handed or double handed, and will be easier to manage, in every way, on the good days. On the bad days, well it will be light years better.


So, I join those who think your plan is reasonable, but urge you to look at smaller boats. And, I, for one, would suggest you look at a cat, maybe around 40 feet. Best of luck.
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