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Old 24-10-2021, 09:14   #1
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Boat Size !

Hi , this is Lady Captains first mate , lol .

I have a question, and I realize that it is not an easy answer! I know there are a tons of variables in the question! I am not looking for a definitive answer per say!
More just some positive feedback, to think about !

We are looking to purchase our first blue water sail boat in the next couple of years and we are really torn between the size of boat ! We have done a good deal of research and know bigger boats means greater cost !

However we are wondering just how much the cost Is affected between say a 30 foot boat and a 36 foot boat , regarding maintenance and running cost . As we all know Lin and Larry Pardy , did the world on a very small boat , so it’s do able ! However for those that have upsized maybe 5-6 feet how have you found it cost wise .

Given a greater purchase price as a given , looking for some positive, dare I say kind thoughtful insight from those who have tackled the same issue in their own minds !

I am not looking to compare specific boats ,as that is can of worms , lol . More just some experience with going bigger , or perhaps even smaller and lessons learned.


Ps , just to be clear 36 foot would be at the top of our budget and consideration, this is a personal decision, based on personal financial and research considerations, thank you !
Thank you Paul
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Old 24-10-2021, 09:26   #2
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Re: Boat Size !

Generally the bigger the boat the safer, faster and more comfortable it will be, but also the more costly, complex and difficult to handle it will be as well. Most will tell you that the sweet spot with only manual sail handling gear is somewhere between 40 and 45ft. With power gear you can go up to 55-60ft. In the range you are talking about the 20% increase in length equates to almost twice the displacement and volume (the true measures of boat size). That is a huge difference in comfort and safety and as 36ft is still well within what can be single handed manually there really is no reason not to go bigger if you can afford to.
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Old 24-10-2021, 09:35   #3
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Re: Boat Size !

Thank you , I have added to the original post because of your thoughts! A larger boat than 36 would not be in our wheel house as they say ! We are definitely in the 30- 38 max range !

We do not want to be boat broke, and pay to great a price for the extra size . We realize there is always a compromise for those that have budget in mind thanks !
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Old 24-10-2021, 09:52   #4
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Re: Boat Size !

Yeah bigger is better in the sense that the boat remains comfortable longer in building wind and waves and is less likely to be rolled. But bigger requires more effort regardless of the assistive technologies.

The Pardey’s witnessed the aftermath of the Xmas 1982 debacle in Cabo San Lucas. The observation of people there, which they concurred with, was that a couple could handle things up to about 37’. Above that couples didn’t cope well and many lost their boats and crewed boats did OK. That was an unlucky event.

As long as you don’t get unlucky a larger boat for a couple should be fine.

Area goes as the square of the length: sails, bottom paint, time in a boat yard for haul out.
For example, if I recall 1.5gal bottom paint is about right for a 30’ boat and 2.5gal for a 40’. At about $100/gal.

Wiring probably scales directly.

Not sure about winch sizes.

The boat of my dreams is 35’, the boat of my reasonable expectations is 33’. If I wa going to cruise with the kids I would get a 40’.
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Old 24-10-2021, 09:54   #5
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Re: Boat Size !

Also, Welcome!

I would suggest updating your profile with your general location and your boat make & model or “Looking” in the "Boat" category. This info shows up under your UserName in every post in the web view. Many questions are boat and/or location dependent and having these tidbits under your UserName saves answering those questions repeatedly. If you need help setting up your profile then click on this link: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3308797

I would happily help more if the link above is not enough.
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:20   #6
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Re: Boat Size !

Paul, the larger boat will be more comfortable, faster and safer. In the size range you are considering 30-38’ the biggest cost issues will be the initial purchase price and then if you need to buy new sails. The 30’ boat might have an outboard motor while the 38’ boat will almost certainly have an inboard diesel. Yes ,slip fees will be a bit more. I doubt you will notice much difference in other costs. Bottom paint, running rigging etc will be a bit more. I think the biggest cost and maintenance differences will be in the equipment on the boat. People often put more things into and onto a 38’ boat than a 30’ one. Pressure water, hot water, refrigeration, water maker, below deck autopilot, wind steering vane, generator, larger battery bank, more large solar panels, bow thruster, life raft, bedding for all of your family and friends that might visit, fine China and stemware. You get the idea. It is not just the size of the hull. A 38’ boat can be as simply fitted out as a 30’ boat. But likely you and your captain will want more.
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:28   #7
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Re: Boat Size !

In my view the difference between between 30 and 36 ft is huge!

At 30 ft the boat is likely to have very minimal space and comforts. Systems on board are likely very basic. Dont be surprised to find the 30 footer fine for a weekend or week, but a little cramped for extended living. Many cruisers start out here and quickly start looking for the next boat, slightly larger.

The interior space in a typical 36 ft the boat is immense by comparison. With that interior volume comes standing head room, a much more capable galley, possibly even pressurized hot water system. There is also room for additional systems that add complexity and cost to maintain, but one can always intentionally choose simplicity.

Sailing in the ocean, or even a large bay such as the Chesapeake, the differences in comfort underway will be stark. One could spend a lifetime exploring the Chesapeake in a 30 foot boat, but there will be many days when the boat is best left in port or sheltered water. Where as the 36 footer can sail nicely on many of those days. In the ocean the 36 footer will likely be much more comfortable.

I am sure some may take exception to my comparison. I offer only my personal experience having sailed many boats. For me there came a point in my cruising life when I wanted a few more comforts and a much more capable boat. We jumped up to a 36 footer, but a few years later went to a 38 foot cat.
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:33   #8
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Re: Boat Size !

The other factor is new boat vs old boat. You can get a lot more boat for your money if you buy a 10-20 year old boat. Fiberglass boats will last a long time--the average age of the boats we race is now 40 years, I do not like the new boats for blue water sailing, as builders are installing overlarge windows, double berths, and skimping on strength and build quality. I would not lean on the Pardey's advice. They were not average cruisers; they were minimalists and masochists.

Every boat is a compromise of comfort, price, and performance. You need to go sailing on a variety of boats to see where you fit in the spectrum.
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:42   #9
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Boat Size !

Hi. I owned a Beneteau 393 several years ago . this time i went to buy i started looking at 38-40 and I had the budget. , as the boat is just for me and wifey , I realised there was no point in going above 36 foot.

So I ended up with a Bavaria 36 twin cabin owners version. She’s actually ” big “ 36 Easily managed by me alone but has plenty of room below. ( we had a dinner party for 6 recently )

I would suggest that a 36 footer is an ideal size for a couple especially if the wife is a weak sailor.

Secondly I fully agree not to be boat broke. I ended up spending 50 % of my available budget in the purchase. I then spent 20% on upgrades

Still have a reasonable chunk of the budget left.
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:43   #10
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Re: Boat Size !

We have a 31ft classic full keeler (the “40” in the model refers to sail area, not boat length), a size and boat type I feel is pretty ideal for a sailing couple. We just got the boat in May, so the experience with it is still fairly limited. Our previous boat was 25ft, and was definitely cheaper to maintain and lighter to handle.

Our shakedown cruise was three weeks in the southern Baltic Sea. At 31ft we fit easily in every harbour, while in many places bigger boats had to raft up or tie up in less protected places. We were also in the cheapest harbour pricing category in every marina except one (where there was a <27ft category as well). This might of course be different in some other cruising destination. I think in the Med harbours are made for bigger boats.

I just recently found a Swedish magazine review of our boat from the 70s, where it was titled as a “dream boat for an Atlantic crossing”. Nowadays it is obviously a “small boat”. But I think still plenty capable.
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:43   #11
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Re: Boat Size !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Captin View Post
Hi , this is Lady Captains first mate , lol .

I have a question, and I realize that it is not an easy answer! I know there are a tons of variables in the question! I am not looking for a definitive answer per say!
More just some positive feedback, to think about !

We are looking to purchase our first blue water sail boat in the next couple of years and we are really torn between the size of boat ! We have done a good deal of research and know bigger boats means greater cost !

However we are wondering just how much the cost Is affected between say a 30 foot boat and a 36 foot boat , regarding maintenance and running cost . As we all know Lin and Larry Pardy , did the world on a very small boat , so it’s do able ! However for those that have upsized maybe 5-6 feet how have you found it cost wise .

Given a greater purchase price as a given , looking for some positive, dare I say kind thoughtful insight from those who have tackled the same issue in their own minds !

I am not looking to compare specific boats ,as that is can of worms , lol . More just some experience with going bigger , or perhaps even smaller and lessons learned.


Ps , just to be clear 36 foot would be at the top of our budget and consideration, this is a personal decision, based on personal financial and research considerations, thank you !
Thank you Paul
Generally I think 30-36 is not a huge cost really. I would go bigger. What really matters is where your "cost basis" starts from. For instance, a well maintained boat that has been nearly rebuilt will cost little in maintenance for 5 years or so. But a boat that needs a lot will cost a lot.

I often scratch my head when I see numbers given for yearly cost thinking "I don't spend a fraction of that". But then I realize that I have a tendency to make everything "right" when I get a boat. Then I have almost zero added maintenance cost for years.
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Old 24-10-2021, 10:45   #12
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Boat Size !

Costs add up quickly as a boat gets bigger , everything costs more , standing rigging is more expensive , sheets bigger block and tackle , engine , sails , anchors , anti fouling not to mention yards charge everything by the size.
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Old 24-10-2021, 11:13   #13
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Re: Boat Size !

The reason costs increase proportionally with the cube of LOA is because volume, and thereby displacement, increase by the cube of LOA. Roughly this implies that the forces on a sail boat will increase 8 times every time you double length. Those greater forces require proportionally more substantive gear and therefore proportionally greater costs to repair and replace said gear. They also increase the load and workload on the crew.
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Old 24-10-2021, 12:28   #14
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Re: Boat Size !

The loads go with displacement. Thus a Hanse 388 will have the same workloads as a Westsail 32, but a lot higher performance. A C&C 40 will have lower loads.
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Old 24-10-2021, 13:53   #15
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Re: Boat Size !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Captin View Post
We are looking to purchase our first blue water sail boat in the next couple of years
[...]
Ps , just to be clear 36 foot would be at the top of our budget and consideration, [...]
Paul,

you should seriously consider getting rid of the blue-water requirement and replace it with something more specific. Do you mean you want to
  • Make it from Florida into the Carribean? No blue-water needed
  • Make it down the US coast? No blue-water needed
  • Sail around in the PNW? No blue-water needed
  • Sail around the Mediterranean? No blue-water needed
  • Sail along the European Atlantic coast? No blue water needed
  • Get stuck in the Baltic Sea? No blue water needed
  • Make it once across the Atlantic and back? A blue water boat would be nice, but about any 34'+ can do it with proper preparation. With a 30' it'll be tougher
  • Sail around Patagonia? A solid boat for this is probably beyond your budget.
Usually people looking for blue-water boats under this moniker have no clear understanding either where they want to go or what they need. In most cases it's just a tag for "I want a good boat".
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