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Old 21-06-2017, 11:25   #1
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Tall Sailor - Struggles?

I plan on sailing long term, however I'm quite tall. I'm 6'7, or just over 2meters, with broad shoulders. I know that the height of the living quarters of a boat depends on many factors (size of boat, layout, etc.) and I won't know exactly what I'm in for until I actually step on board, but I was wondering if anybody out there knows any stories or any sailors with similar problems and what they found worked, didn't work, what boats or styles or features were better, etc.
I'm used to ducking and shimmying through spaces and have no qualms with occasionally doing that on a boat if it means I'm pursuing my dream, but any ideas or advice from an experienced tall sailor would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks y'all, Grady
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Old 21-06-2017, 11:45   #2
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Being tall has it's disadvantages in the world of sailing...I am 6'3" and BCV (before current vessel) had an Island Packet 40. The designer Bob Johnson is tall (6'5" I think) so his boats have headroom. When we sold that boat, then subsequently decided to go cruising again, we didn't realize that vertical clearance would take some (many?) boats off of OUR list (we had very specific requirements for a cruising vessel).

We ended up on a Tayana 48 (currently for sale, by the way, see classified section). This boat has very good clearance through out the boat for me, but you would feel the ceiling in some areas...

We have a friend on a T48 that bought his new and had Tayana "lower the floor" in some areas so he would clear through out. Tayana is semi custom, so they could do that for him on a new build.

Best of luck to you in your should be interesting to watch this thread.

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Old 22-06-2017, 04:39   #3
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

I'm significantly shorter at 6'3", but our first live aboard cruiser had only 5'10" headroom. I found that I became very aware of the tasks that I performed while standing and these were mostly in the head and the galley. Fortunately, we had an opening hatch just over the galley sink area that helped. I also made plans that extended my side of the V-berth into a portion of the adjacent hanging locker. We only had this boat from 1971 to 1973 when I was in my twenties. I doubt if I would have adapted to this limited space as well if I had been older.

From 1973 until recently I was able to be aboard boats with a good fit for me, but they would have been a little low for your extra 4 inches. 'hope you can find what works and adapt as possible.
Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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Old 22-06-2017, 05:04   #4
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Same height as you. I built my own. Enough headroom, and long beds.
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Old 22-06-2017, 05:27   #5
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Headroom will be a problem that you will get used to...maybe. I have the divots in my skull to prove it.

Some boats can be readily modified for a longer berth. Take the venerable Catalina 30, for example. By removing the chart table one could easily expand the aft berth to over 9'.

Perhaps a more realistic problem will be the dodger. At that height you may be near the boom, meaning the dodger is limited in height. On my boat the top of the dodger is right at eye level and I can't raise it.

Even if you're thin as heck, you're going to carry above average weight. Which means a bigger motor on the dinghy.

Lifelines become more of a hazard than safety equipment.

Watch out for the boom when boarding other boats.

But look at it this way- EVERYTHING is within reach. Would you rather be 5'5"? I think not.
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Old 22-06-2017, 09:17   #6
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

I'm 6'8"......any boat will be a much of a compromise is up to you. Just always wear a ball cap so you can feel it coming..hopefully you will have time to slow down before impact.
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Old 22-06-2017, 09:59   #7
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

The ceiling needed replacement in some areas, so IN SOME AREAS I had open areas above the ceiling so I used a plastic for ceiling that uses the empty space
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Old 22-06-2017, 10:11   #8
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

My husband is 6'6" and we live aboard a 1995 Hunter Passage, it gives him headroom in several areas, and it has large tankage for a sailboat. We looked at lots of boats, specifically for that height issue and settled on this. With the age our boat came in at 99k so if you aren't able to go with an IP, these are very liveable boats at a more reasonable price, depending on your sailing destinations, we're mostly coastal.
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Old 22-06-2017, 13:15   #9
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

I am only 1,93 m or 6'4" and have plenty of headroom in our Lagoon 450 but 2 m could be an issue. I think that headroom is supposed to be 2,04, which would be marginal for you.
The bigger cats have plenty space but costs start to pile on if you get over 50 feet.
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Old 22-06-2017, 15:27   #10
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Tell the admiral her bum looks big in that, she'll take you off at the knees.
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Old 22-06-2017, 16:27   #11
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

For a 36' boat ours is unusual inside. We have 7'4" in the saloon. Either side of the saloon it's just 6'. Going fwd you can knock yourself out at a crossbeam, going aft not so bad.
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Old 22-06-2017, 19:53   #12
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Yeah - it sucks sometimes on a boat being tall. I'm 6'6 and have scars on my head. We too have a Hunter (a 38) and it has areas that you can stand up straight in - important when you're on it all the time.

Best advice I can give you is to learn to walk slow and loose, with a bit of a slump. I walk sideways through all the doors - well actually I do a slump and duck.

Our Hunter has a 6'6 rear berth, so almost enough footroom, especially when the Admiral (whose over a foot shorter) allows me to sprawl a bit.

Baseball caps are deadly !!! They all have a little metal stud on the top - and it's a killer when you just about clear something - when you don't have a lot of hair on top, they cut. Opened my head up once on the bimini frame connectors - since changed for bolts with rounded heads. They also restrict your upward vision, especially when bending down - like to go under the dodger - and contributes to many concussion strikes.

Contorting a big body is a useful skill. I still haven't figured out how to get in and out of the forepeak berth without killing the Admiral in the process. Long arms help in the engine compartment but man - the contortions to get you in a position to use them sometimes !!

But I love boating so you adapt - and carry a good first aid kit with lots of dressings for your head.
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Old 22-06-2017, 20:02   #13
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Some of Robert Perry's boats also have decent headroom. He is tall, and I've had good luck in his boats. I'm 6'4" in shoes.
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Old 25-06-2017, 13:23   #14
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Originally Posted by bongo View Post
Some of Robert Perry's boats also have decent headroom. He is tall, and I've had good luck in his boats. I'm 6'4" in shoes.
You can probably talk to Bob Perry at That place can be interesting but the anarchy part of it allows the true beasts to be beastly. I generally prefer the company of gentlemen and ladies.

I am 6'4" myself and feel cramped in my 26 footer. I suspect that more modern boats may allow more room for taller sailors. 6'4" was rare in 1978 when my boat was built.

6'7" will present challenges. Space is always an issue on boats. One manufacturer says they are made for tall sailors. I joined their group earlier today....curious about the claim. I'll see if it can be looked up...

Here you go:
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Old 25-06-2017, 15:13   #15
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Re: Tall Sailor - Struggles?

Biggest problems will be headroom and berth length, you really want to be able to stretch out for sleeping.

The old Columbia 50's had 7 ft. headroom. Don't know about berth length.

Also, access to systems may be a problem, too. For instance, under the head and galley sinks. Engine spaces under the companionway steps may also be a problem, partly depending on your flexibility. Other areas that might be problems are getting into sail lockers to work on the windlass motor (often in the anchor locker or accessed through a sail locker).

Good luck with it,

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