Originally Posted by 3MS
So 3 kids. What ages? 5-8, will be 6-9 by then
Sailing experience? Some, vary per parent, but what we dont know will learn
How handy are you? Handy but does not mean we want to have "fixer upper"
What's your budget to buy and outfit the boat? (living and cruising costs extra.) How is the $300k split? Would love to keep all under that, we have more to where it comes from but we don't really want to touch it
Where are you? Where do you want to sail out of? Which coast do you want to set off from and more specifically where on that coast? East coast, Either north Florida, Ga or all the way up in Charleston
Where to you want to go? As we said Caribbean, Mexico, East Coast and we may go further later, that depends on everybody in our family
Are you looking to cruise extensively or take 12-24 months off to nip around the Caribbean or Baja? We did not put limit on it
Any really strong preferences to start with? (full/fin keel, spade/skeg/attached rudder, sloop/cutter/mizzen rigged) Not preferences there, we have to find boat that will fit us comfortably. There is a lot of boats out there, but most of the layouts are not made for family of 5.
Based on where you want to go I think you need to be slightly concerned about draft
but not terribly so.
You didn't clarify your answer about budget so I'll make the assumption that the $300k is buy and outfit and you have an on-going income
of some sort for living and maintenance
expect to spend 50% of purchase
price to upgrade. Underway expect to spend 5-10% of purchase
price in maintenance annually.
work 5 people means 4 good or excellent sea-berths, 1 for each off-watch person, plus a place for the on watch person to sit without bumping a sleeper. Better would be 1 per crew. An excellent berth would be a pilot berth, very good would be a quarter berth, good would be a settee (longitudinal benches) that has to be converted every night. Berths in an aft cabin would also be good, the motion at the end of the boat could keep it from being very good.
In evaluating quarterberths make sure there is ample overhead back under the cockpit
, it may be more private for users to sleep feet forward, and it may be safer if the boat is pounding so decent overhead is a must.
If you opt for a center cockpit
boat with an aft cabin keep in mind this creates additional problems in that you now have to have wheel steering
which requires more maintenance and makes wind-vane self steering
harder to set up. I'm not saying don't do it, but understand the tradeoffs implicit.
A convertible dinette (transverse benches, or U-shaped) would be problematic. It takes more work to convert nightly and produces a double wide berth which is harder to subdivide into singles for use in bouncy conditions, underway or at anchor
. Such a berth on a newer boat may have a bench that curves around the back. If the radius's of the curve are not removable the berth will be uncomfortable for anyone not fairly short. If the boat were just used for live-aboard
with coast sailing only, no problem. Offshore get something better. Key takeaway here is that underway you have to sleep fore and aft and the berth needs to be single
In bouncy conditions underway or at anchor
the v-berth will be unusable.
Specifically with kids you need to give each kid their own permanent berth. With kids you want a pilot berth or quarter berth for each kid. They each need the security
of a place that is theirs. Giving them a dinette seat or settee seat that has to convert every night and is community seating thru the day isn't enough, it is not a place they can go to anytime they want to sulk, or rest or be 'alone', or read or ... Aft cabin would work too.
Assuming that each kid permanently gets a fixed bunk (ie no daily conversion), a curtain, reading lamp and personal fan will go a long way towards giving them each their personal space and maybe multiple cabins won't be necessary.
For the parents in port you will get the forepeak. Underway you will be bunking in the main cabin, but you will also each be spending a lot of time on watch in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep and loneliness may become more of a problem than privacy.
I am going to assume that when there are guests aboard you will only be coastal cruising and not doing offshore passages. That means that the v-berth will be usable unless you get unlucky.
Trends in sailboat design removed a lot of good offhsore berths from sailboats as time went. They were not what was desired by most of the boating
public so they went away. The upshot is that if you look at a lot of early boats, you will generally find that they had more good sea berths in them. I'm talking boats designed 1955-1970 or so.
Since your normal complement of 5 includes 3 kids who initially would not be able to contribute much to normal sailing and will be a slight distraction in bad situations, one parent will have to periodically check on them, and no way are you going to let them on deck
when things are bad so they can't contribute even marginally. So in essence you are double-handed or slightly less. L&L Pardey
, following the Cabo San Lucas fiasco in 1982, observed in one of their books
that 40' was too much for a couple to handle in a very bad anchoring
situation. I can imagine that really bad weather
would be similarly overwhelming. Given the size of your complement you probably can't go under 40', but it would pay to keep the boat size in check as much as possible. If you are not going offshore, size becomes less of a double edged sword; you can have the larger personal space with less risk due to a boat that is too big to handle in rough conditions. With a larger boat nothing can be manhandled, everything has to be finessed, mistakes
are harder to recover from.
My preference is for a tiller to steer. They make the boat cheaper up front, are easier and cheaper to maintain, there is no packing gland
below the waterline, and it's easier to hookup to a windvane
. A wheel
may be easier for newbies to start out with but all of the regular folks on board will become used to the tiller very rapidly. That said a wheel may be necessary given the size of the vessel. If the rudder has a skeg or is unbalanced a wheel will be a necessary. If the boat has a weather helm
problem the wheel may be necessary unless you can correct the problem.
Given the size of the boat an electric windlass
will probably be necessary. Nobody is making manuals
anymore for boats that size. An electric windlass
is one of the first upgrades from bare minimum I would make on any boat as it makes it more convenient to up anchor and try again if the set doesn't feel good enough. More convenient means more it is likely to happen if you are hesitant, which means safer in general.
The first key thing to look for in an electric is the manual backup. Specifically does it have enough mechanical advantage? For a horizontal axis windlass if there is no gearing then all of the mechanical advantage is in how long the handle is. For a vertical axis machine it is hard to make use of a longer handle so gearing becomes important. E Hinz in his book on anchoring
indicated 12:1 is good for fast retrieval, 40:1 is good for heavy loads and 25:1 is a decent compromise for a manual backup.
The second key thing is how big a hole do you have to cut in the foredeck to install it? If the motor
protrudes thru the deck
how much meat is there around the motor
hole for the mounting bolts? Having the sucker rip out of the deck could ruin your whole day, in addition to not getting the anchor up you would be left with a gaping hole that can admit lots of water.
Regardless of how well the windlass mounts you should install chain pawls/stoppers the carry the anchoring loads and slack off the load on the windlass. The windlass should only be loaded when setting and retrieving the anchor.
Get lots of anchors. My suggestion would be to get a really oversized primary anchor with 150' of normal sized chain plus normal sized rope
. Primary would be CQR
, Bruce or Rocna/Manson Supreme. Secondary would be a really big Fortress
with a boat length of chain and 400' or so of rope
. Stern anchor would an undersized CQR
, Bruce or Rocna/Manson Supreme. For rock and weed I would get a Luke with rode
like secondary and store it in the bilge
. I would also store an extra 150' of chain in the bilge
. If I was feeling flush I would get a normal sized backup anchor in case of loss of primary. Backup would be of different type than primary in case there is a situation where primary doesn't want to hold, sometime different type anchor is the solution. Generally you can go a size smaller than normal for chain if you use higher strength G4 chain, this makes up for the weight of the oversized anchor and the price is about comparable.
Unless you are willing to install a lot of fuel
tankage you want good light air performance or you are going to motor a lot more, read spend money
that may be hard to come by in certain areas and of dubious quality. Light air performance is directly related to sail area. In order to compare boats of different sizes and weights a ratio called 'Sail Area to Displacement' is calculated for each boat. The ratio is actually more complicated than sail area divided by displacement
but the formula is close to that. There is no magical number you must meet for your boat to be "good", but the number is indicative of light air performance. To me a very good SA/D is in the 17's, excellent is above that, adequate is in the 15's. Published data is almost certainly for the light-ship condition, loaded for cruising the value is going to drop, more so for smaller boats. It is fairly easy to build a spread sheet to recalculate the numbers accounting for number of crew, stores, provisions etc.
Cruising is an endurance sport, so high effort sails like spinnakers don't tend to get used a lot.
For light air upwind you want a drifter. On a reach a drifter will work or a codeZero (a codeZero is an asymmetrical spinnaker
cut flat so it will reach much higher than normal and usually set on a roller furling
luff). The codeZero will be significantly bigger but also more expensive because of the added area and furling gear
. Downwind you can use the codeZero or spread double headsails (Genoa and lapper or genoa
and drifter), one to either side. Don't count on using a symmetrical spinnaker
much. They require a lot more attention to use and require more people to set and douse and may require waking help to deal with at night.
Most older boats are sloops, but consider adding a removable forestay, intermediate shrouds and running backs for a staysail. With a hanked on staysail, I would be more comfortable with a roller furling
headsail. The staysail allows you to break up the jib
area, a low cut staysail combined with a high cut moderate headsail give you almost the area of a really large genoa
, but handling is a lot easier and visibility is improved. You don't need to change sails nearly as much, just drop/raise/roller/unroll the ones you have. In light/moderate air both are up. A bit more wind
the staysail comes down. More and the staysail goes back up and the headsail is rolled/dropped. In really heavy air you would swap out the staysail for a storm staysail. Reefing of the main also occurs at various points too. In really light air both staysail and headsail are doused in favor of a drifter or chute depending on point of sail. The staysail rigging provides more support for the mast generally and redundancy in case some of the normal standing rigging fails. The forestay is also slightly inboard from the bow so marginally less bouncy in heavy air and there will be more room to work.
When you do motor consider that dropping your speed from hull speed
to 5kt will almost double your range and you are still making 125nm per day. At 4kt range will be about 2-1/2 times what it would be at hull speed
Get a windvane
to steer the boat on passage
. They are more expensive to buy than an autopilot
, but with the added costs of extra electrical charging
capacity and batteries
the price difference is not as big as would seem at first blush (the batteries
especially add more weight to the boat). Windvanes are also more reliable and easier to maintain. Get an autopilot
as backup, for motoring and for very light airs, but not for normal use. If you get a very large boat it may not be possible to find a windvane that will work in which case oversize the autopilot and bring a backup, hand steering
day and night for more than a day or so will get real old.
Some of the early C&C's in the 40-45' range would also work well.