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Old 20-11-2020, 23:56   #46
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

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Originally Posted by Fore and Aft View Post
But you are in total dream land if you think you are going to be servicing the engine while the Mrs cooks dinner, minds two toddlers and the dog? LOL, you won't need air conditioning that's for sure, your Mrs will be giving you plenty of cold shoulder if that happens.
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Old 21-11-2020, 09:35   #47
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

Accessibility is not necessarily only a question of size but certainly a question of design. While it is true, that on a small boat you have to move stuff around a lot if you want to work on something, big boats tend to have bigger and more stuff installed, which can even out the advantages of bigger size when it comes to accessibility. With GRP inner floor mouldings and GRP bathroom cells, there can be a need to cut GRP if you need to access equipment installed before these mouldings were installed and before the lid came on the boat.

My favorite rough annual budget figure for sustainable upkeep (maintenance and repair) on a really good and safe condition level is around 10 % of the cost of a similiar sized new boat when outsourcing in western industrial countries. Your own hour may be worth - it depends on how handy you are, but say 25 USD / hr. Ok, if you buy a boat which had its initial problems ironed out and has no age related issues yet, you may be in the sweet sport where the effort is lower for some time, but not for 10 years. When you buy a boat with age issues and maintenance backlog, it's like a vacuum cleaner on your bank account the first years ... But let's stick at 10 % of the current new price of a similar sized boat. 30 footers tend to start around 100 k, so, sustainable annual upkeep would be around 10 k. Let's assume 1/3 material, which would leave roughly 6.5 kUSD for labour. Call it 250 hours. Doable, when you are on the boat the whole time. I haven't got a clue about the current new price of a 50 footer, but please do the figures for a 50 footer or something even bigger. As stuff on a bigger boat is heavier, there may be a need to outsource a higher percentage of the maintenance work if it involves lifting stuff out of the boat.

You mentioned a Swan? A Scandinavian build Swan? Have a look at it. The Scandinavians have a reputation for better than average build quality.

With regards to the perfect boat - don't spend your whole life looking for the perfect boat. All boats are compromises and in one way or another, you will have to adapt to the boat. Liking a boat makes it easier to adapt. If you want the "perfect for you boat", you might need to have it designed and built for you.

Another point: Do consider buying something for the next 3 - 5 years for the Carribean and selling again and buying the next one before going for the big trip. First advantage is, that you can buy smaller now, get a lot of experience and know much better what suits you when the decision for the big boat for the big trip comes up. For the next 3 - 5 years, something between 33 and 37 foot may do very well. There are a lot of advantages in a smaller boat when it comes to handling, docking, maintenance, budget, ...
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Old 21-11-2020, 11:12   #48
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

I have to agree, small is always better for starters.... then again I have a 31 footer so I am biased haha.

Boats are cramped space, that is the secound nature of boating.

50 foot is LARGE, 40 foot is large too and that marked is plentyfull. Have a good look and do some testsails. Try it on for size. I bet you will find a 40 foot boat like regular aircraft carrier.

1. It will cost less to buy (some more, some less *cough*), less to upkeep, less to use
2. The less you sink into it intially, the less you will loose in the other end. Fact of the matter is a boat is a hole in the water to pour money into.
3. Smaller is easier to handle in every way, sail, engine, docking

So size matters!! Go smaller
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Old 21-11-2020, 12:07   #49
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

I had a 40' monohull that weighed roughly 25000 lbs., fully rigged for cruising. It was extremely easy to singlehand with all lines led aft to the cockpit, roller furling in the main, etc.

I recently upgraded to a 50' monohull with a similar displacement to my previous boat, right at 30000 lbs, with a traditional mainsail. The boat is still easy to singlehand and maneuver, and provides me with an additional 10' of waterline. It is a much faster vessel.

I'd say at the end of the day, the boat has become too big if you cannot handle it yourself.
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Old 21-11-2020, 13:53   #50
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

It’s too big when you start deferring maintenance or repairs due to cost
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Old 21-11-2020, 17:48   #51
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

We’ve had a good run on a 44 sloop. Enough cabins, enough space, systems that aren’t too complicated, but we’re no longer camping, as we have on previous cruises when we were young and crazy (26 foot sailboat from San Francisco to Charleston SC). We’re over here, fwiw. Good luck with the search! https://m.sailboatlistings.com/view/88625
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Old 23-11-2020, 08:05   #52
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

We're talking about two requirements (1) the boat and seagoing safety and (2) the boat as a family home. If you're going to live on board during a Minnesota winter, you need an ark. If you're in the tropics, always on deck, on the beach and over the side, all you need is enough living space for sleeping, eating, and the occasional rainy day. Have a wonderful life!
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Old 23-11-2020, 08:30   #53
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

My partner and I have a 63’ sloop and it really comes down to what you can afford. The advantages of size (generally speaking) are the potential for fast passages (which is also a safety issue in my opinion), more comfortable passages, and more comfortable accommodations....plus more space to put things like dive gear, toys, etc..which I would think would be important to keep kids engaged and entertained. As far as the systems go, you can certainly strip it down, but again it becomes a comfort issue. A water maker is essential in my opinion - especially with 4-5 people onboard. A/C I rarely use because I don’t often stay in marinas in the tropics, so I would not consider that a “must have” for me. A generator is a must, as are hot water heaters, freezer, refrigeration. I try to keep everything 12 or (preferably) 24 volts. I also have 520 Watts of solar panels on my Bimini as well as a wind generator. I rarely run my generator (483 hours in almost 6 years) other than for the “luxury” of regular hot water showers. All my systems are 24 volt except my navtronics which are 12 volt. My two A/C units (which came with the boat) are 110 and 220 volts. That said, size also means more costs overall for bottom paint, hauling, dockage, etc. oh...BTW I don’t have a bow thruster and don’t miss it.
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Old 23-11-2020, 08:36   #54
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

One issue is the size of the main ,if you have a sloop rig. I have found that with myself or two people a 40’ is a max size. If you go to a split rig, larger is ok as long as you keep mast height and mainsail size awareness.
Reefing can be an issue with large mains in weather.
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Old 23-11-2020, 08:37   #55
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

Money aside, one important consideration on size of boat is where you plan to take it. Marina options get very slim for monohulls above 50'. Also, maneuvering in a marina is even tougher. If your plans are to be on the hook or mooring ball or underway most of the time, then boat size gets down to operations and safety.

When we went from a 41' Beneteau Oceanis to a 50 Beneteau Sense (monohulls), the 50' boat seemed enormous and initially intimidating. However, over time, as we operated the boat, it began to feel smaller and smaller (mentally). So eventually, any size boat you get, you will eventually get more comfortable handling her.

She must make you happy and smile each time you see her and take her out. I'm still talking about the boat!

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Old 23-11-2020, 08:39   #56
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

It’s less the size of the boat than the systems aboard. Water maker? Refrigerator, hydraulics, autopilot, generator, standing rig, furling system, onboard heating system, overboard discharge plumbing, holding tanks, 2 inboard heads and related plumbing, water and fuel plumbing, clean fuel tanks, clean water tanks? These need frequent attention, some more than others.
We lived aboard for 2 years, with a year in the Caribbean with our 2 kid’s on Searcher our Bowman 57. I owned that boat for 14 years, made 4 trips to the Caribbean from Maine, replaced the generator, replace the teak decks with TreadMaster and cork, re-headed the rod rigging, re-wired half the boat, rebuilt 3 heads, replace most of the electronics. I could write a book.
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Old 23-11-2020, 09:07   #57
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

Amel for me, especially talking kids and dogs.
Please watch this video from YTube and see the choice made clear for this family

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Old 23-11-2020, 09:09   #58
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

Size doesn't change the effort to keep up a boat by that much (you've already identified it impact maintainence costs). Design and systems are really what impact it.

If its a sloop with a modest size engine, no water maker, simple refrigerator, etc, it doesn't matter if it is 20 feet or 90 feet, maintenance will be the same. But its hard to make 90 foot sailing vessel that meets that. A 90 foot vessel in a sloop or cutter rig can only exist if it is engineered to an extreme degree. It also will need a much larger, more complicated engine. Probably it will have additional systems as well, water maker, generators, air conditioning, swing keel or movable ballast, etc etc, because builders make boats that fit the typical use.

As boats get bigger, the cost goes up. As the cost goes up, fewer owners care about maintenance effort, because they can afford to pay for that maintenance. So boats tend to be more complex and maintenance intensive as they go up.


If maintenance effort is truly the only concern you have, and you don't care that larger boats are far more physical effort to do a sail change, etc, buy as big of a boat as you want. But find one without all those extras.

I assume you've never cruised/owned a keel boat before, or this should all be pretty obvious: the best way to avoid extra maintenance time is to ditch all the "unnecessary" systems, those can really suck up your time. Ditch the water maker, air con, genset, electric winches, etc. Now add back in only those important enough to you that you are willing to accept the time spent maintaining and repairing them.

Literally everything on a boat needs maintenance, so don't forget about things that might not seem obvious, like cushions that need to be kept from growing mildew.

Larger boats also tend to have larger dinghies, if you have a dinghy so big it has cable or hydraulic steering, that is another thing to maintain. Tubes eventually leak and need to be patched.

Larger boats also have heavier chain and anchors, too large to be carried off the boat by hand, but they still need to be maintained, so now you need to find a small crane or get hauled out. Larger sails are too big to be placed into a dinghy and dropped off at the Chandler shop, but still need to be repaired occasionally, but now you're forced to head to a dock to offload them.


So my point it, you focusing on vessel size specifically doesn't really make sense. A 55 footer with all the bells and whistles might take 10x the maintainence time as a 55 footer that is bare bones. Only you know what level of comfort versus headache you want to bite off. That bare bones 55 footer should be far less maintenance than a really fancy 30 footer that somebody jammed on a watermaker, ac, freezer, genset, multiple stereos, etc.
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Old 23-11-2020, 09:09   #59
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

Amel 50, money no object you can assume.....but one Powerball and I'm banging down their door
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Old 23-11-2020, 09:27   #60
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Re: At what point does a boat start to get too big? (family, kids, maintenance concer

6 kids, a feline, mom and dad. 46’ catamaran. All systems installed / maintained personally. 2 years aboard. Autonomous mostly: no diesels genset.. PM for more information if you like...
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