Ok, for the original poster, go here- good discussion, fair list of boats to think about.
Now, I'll *ditto* everything bluerhapcity said. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt on a 54 foot , 55,000 lb sloop. I'm a little over 6'3 and around 230 and tho I could do it, it wasn't the most fun, and if you ever got even slightly injured, you'd have a helluva time making do. It's way more boat than any single
hander would need, but of course there are ways of singlehanding
bigger boats.. I will tell you tho, its not as much fun. You *sweat* a lot more worrying about making the right decisions at the right time and you got out day sailing
less and less all the time.
Accordingly I've come down to a 44ft steel
schooner which while more than I really need, makes for a very roomy, VERY strong, yet still manageable and fun platform. There are an awful lot of experienced blue water
peeps out there that have settled into that 40 to 45 foot range as the optimum for a couple on a reasonable budget
. The wealthy can always go talk to the Dashew's for instance but that's not your case as i understand it. If you're shopping
for fibreglass, i'd stay far far away from cored hulls. As they get older they'll get a leak, the air gets in and the working hull
becomes a *pump*, the airspace gets bigger then starts pulling in moisture..pretty soon the boat is sitting lower in the water etc...Every builder
says they have the problem fixed..yeah right...they cut out the areas they can find water and either recore, or go back to solid- either way, its expensive as hell. In an older boat, solid hulls are the way to go if you're headed thousands of miles off the dock
Since you've already had or sailed a 39? you should have a good idea of how much *stuff* you want to take, it really adds up and I can't count how many cruisers have started small and then progressively work
their way in two or three feet LOD increments until they feel comfortable. The end number for most has been rising for some years now, but I think the 36 to 45 ish range sited is where you want to be.
As for cats? well, there are cat guys and mono guys and they don't seem to cross the aisles very often. You might go sail on someone's cat if you havn't to make sure you don't like them before settling back in mono mode
When looking at used boats, your surveyor
is your god. Pay for a good one who knows the kind of boats you're looking at. Used boats that have been maintained/refitted/well equipped etc. are all over the place right now. You are in a buyer's market so good hunting, but be sure of what you are buying
. Check the amount, quality, and condition of the cruising equipment
on board. People forget what recommissioning an average condition used boat
costs, its a LOT!!!. Buying
one that has been kept and sailed well will return dividends long after you've done your cruising and swallowed the anchor
good luck, oh, and consider steel
if you are in a place where fibreglass is king. The prices are fractional for equal or more boat.
A solid steel hull
makes for a very strong ship, and with the newer coatings can be very low maintenance
. One that hasn't been maintained can be a nightmare. you'll want a competent ultrasound and survey
Originally Posted by BlueRhapCity
I basically single
handed a 58 foot Tayana but the admiral was there in case of something unusual. My limiting factors were:
1. Too heavy of a dink to put on the foredeck without help. (Get an inflatable
and you'll be OK.
2. I couldn't deploy the gangplank single handed.
2. The anchor
was 85lbs. Borderline too heavy if you have to put it in a dink or work with it off the windlass
. Although they were powered furlers if I had to remove a sail it was a bit too heavy to take off the mast
and fold for one person. If you have any problems with big sails
at sea I think you'd get into trouble fast.
. Due to the full keel
of the Tayana the boat required a bow thruster. If I had to back up the boat without the thruster I had to go 2-3 knots to keep steerage. This required skill, good weather conditions and a little luck.
The moral here is that if any critical gear
that helps your single hand breaks then you need to be able handle the manual system. That was the limiting factor on my boat. I definitely wouldn't recommend a 58 footer for a true single handers. It just wouldn't be fun.