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Old 27-12-2019, 11:46   #1
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Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

Hi All,

I'll start by stating that I'm not new to boating, been on boats (powered) my entire life, but very new to the idea of sail boats. Since my wife and got married, I have also pushed to jump on a boat and sail south to see what happens. Well, two well established careers, a growing business, house, kids etc. etc.,.... we never made the jump.

I'm 33 my wife is 31, with a 5 and a 3 year old. My search for boats was seemingly easy, as a family of 4 wasn't that hard to find room for in most modest, for now, sized boats to get our feet wet. I learned a week ago that we will be added another member to our crew, which I'm still in shock over LOL. Wrapping my head around that is one thing, but I now find myself looking at boats that really don't accommodate a family of 5.

SO, I started to read through this forum, registered this morning and I'm now asking for any advice anyone can throw my way.

We live in the Buffalo, NY area right between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. My short term plan is to find a boat that is obviously well built and safe, we can be comfortable on, learn to sail as a family, cruise around the great lakes (most Erie/Ontario to thousand Islands) and then perhaps upgrade if we decide to venture farther. I would like something that all of the kids aren't sleeping on top of each other and has a decent amount of space for the longer trips. I'd rather not get something enormous to start out with as it will be for weekends, summer vacations, and again learning.

Is there a specific boat/model/?? I should focus my search at? Also, I know that this is a sail forum but I'm not ruling out the idea of a Trawler either, but leaning towards sailing.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

- The Browns
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Old 27-12-2019, 12:46   #2
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

First you need to narrow the options a lot more. Start with size and budget but then the really big question you have to decide on is whether or not each child will need separate cabins or even completely separate births.



Unless you buy a catamaran you will be very limited in the number of sailboats that have four separate sleeping cabins. I have chartered a monohull with double aft cabins and a large owner's cabin forward but don't know of any with four separate cabins.


I have seen a few monohulls with bunk beds and lots with pilot berths and you might be able to modify the berths in a boat.
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Old 27-12-2019, 14:07   #3
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

I honestly haven't set a budget, it wont be exorbitant on our initial boat, $50-$60K or less. We have a power boat that we would likely part with and put those funds into the new boat.

Length, I was thinking in the mid 30's (ish), we're not on the ocean yet but the great lakes can get pretty nasty. I'd like something that is capable of handling itself well under big lake conditions if needed.

Lastly, the kids do not need their own cabins. I too haven't been able to find anything with bunks, which is what lead me here. It seems as if there isn't much out there in regards to somewhat small boat with room for 5. My main concern is avoiding having three kids in 1 cabin.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 27-12-2019, 14:29   #4
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

I can relate to the concern about three kids in one cabin. Looking at the sibling rivalry in some of my nieces, nephews and grandkids, that action might result in bloodshed.



Something in the mid thirties will be difficult to find even separate bunks. Unless someone comes up with an oddball design that I'm not aware of, you will end up with at least two kids on one cabin and someone bunking in the main cabin on whatever foldout or drop down arrangement comes with that particular boat.


If sleeping onboard just an anchor one option is to get a center cockpit, aft cabin layout. Then you could set up with:



- largest kid in the forepeak
- one each of the smaller ones in the main cabin sleeping on the settees port and starboard.
- mom and dad in the aft cabin.


There are a few mid thirties boats that are set up this way. One of the roomiest 36' boats I've ever seen was the Morgan OI36. Not nearly as common as the OI41 but not rare. If you want to go bigger look at the OI41. The Morgans are built reasonably well and if you shop around you can find a deal.


O'Day I think also made a CC in the 30s. I used to own a Lohi 34 (10 meter) from Finland that was CC. Great boat but have only seen a few of them in the US.
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Old 27-12-2019, 14:50   #5
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

Spencer 53 has a 3 cabin layout that would work, if you can find one.
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Old 27-12-2019, 15:11   #6
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

There is a lot more useable people space in a catamaran than in a mono hull. A cat in the low thirtys has a ten by ten cockpit, and can have a center table for family meals. I doubt that you are planning more than single overnights at first, particularly with a very small swabie. Take a look at some of them, and consider how each might work for you. Maybe you need to sacrifice the nav table for diaper changing.....
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Old 27-12-2019, 15:40   #7
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

A little above your budget, but there are so many out there, Id recommend you look for a Gemini 105 catamaran ( preferably outboard equipped/ personal opinion). We took off with 2 children not far from you, we are in Port Colborne, Ontario. Also Id personally recommend keeping it on Lake Ontario over Lake Erie (we spent a lot of time in the 1000 Islands). When you talk about heading south one day, chances are it will be Florida or the Bahamas, ideally suited to the Gemini. Take criticisms of the Gemini with a grain of salt; they are great for what they are, a relatively cheap ( for cats) boat that is simple to operate and well suited as a coastal cruiser. We are looking for our next cat ( without kids!!) but have no regrets about the years we owned our Gemini. Hasnt been updated in years, might start again when we get our next cat, but... www.steelestreetoceaneers.com. Fancy name for limited cruising, I just happened to work for a company called Oceaneering at the time ;-). Good luck with your boat search.
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Old 27-12-2019, 16:23   #8
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

Our family went cruising on an H-28. I have five brothers. You don’t need a separate cabin for each kid. Each needs his own berth, perhaps, and there need to be off-boat activities, but if you close everyone off in their own cabin you might as well just let them stay home, where the cellphone reception is less likely to elicit complaints.

Sailing magazine just had a great article about a Pearson 36 now setting out on its third family after a big refit. That sort of boat - with v-berths, pilot berths, and quarter-berths might be a workable and affordable option that could be easier to handle with less windage than a catamaran. We also had a great time when our kids were little inviting friends to come with them and using the quaterberths and pipe berths on our J/36 (sleeps 11!) Make sure you have enough lifejackets.
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Old 28-12-2019, 06:17   #9
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

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Originally Posted by delmitch2 View Post
A little above your budget, but there are so many out there, Id recommend you look for a Gemini 105 catamaran ( preferably outboard equipped/ personal opinion). We took off with 2 children not far from you, we are in Port Colborne, Ontario. Also Id personally recommend keeping it on Lake Ontario over Lake Erie (we spent a lot of time in the 1000 Islands). When you talk about heading south one day, chances are it will be Florida or the Bahamas, ideally suited to the Gemini. Take criticisms of the Gemini with a grain of salt; they are great for what they are, a relatively cheap ( for cats) boat that is simple to operate and well suited as a coastal cruiser. We are looking for our next cat ( without kids!!) but have no regrets about the years we owned our Gemini. Hasnt been updated in years, might start again when we get our next cat, but... www.steelestreetoceaneers.com. Fancy name for limited cruising, I just happened to work for a company called Oceaneering at the time ;-). Good luck with your boat search.


I honestly never really looked at a CAT before, as theyre so pricey. That Gemini series does really pack a lot into a relatively small package. What are the cons to getting into a cat versus a monohaul? I would assume the slip costs would be much higher.

Weve thought about putting whatever we get on Lake Ontario but Lake Erie is much closer to us, about half the distance drive to get to the marina. This would make running to the boat after work much easier. We could always take the canal to Ontario for the vacation trips we wanted to make to thousand islands.

Great thought, thanks!
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Old 28-12-2019, 06:53   #10
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

You dont need separate cabins for a weekend boat. Nor do you want to pay more money for length you dont need. There are plenty of boats from Catalina 30 to Beneteau 373 available. Go talk to RCR Buffalo.
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Old 28-12-2019, 07:17   #11
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

Gemini is 14 wide. All the marinas we have been in ( we lived aboard in Ontario) are typically 32 between fingers, so you normally have 16 for your boat. Never had an issue with being hit with additional dockage fee, although some yards go by square footage, not just length for winter storage.
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Old 28-12-2019, 09:27   #12
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
I can relate to the concern about three kids in one cabin. Looking at the sibling rivalry in some of my nieces, nephews and grandkids, that action might result in bloodshed.



Something in the mid thirties will be difficult to find even separate bunks. Unless someone comes up with an oddball design that I'm not aware of, you will end up with at least two kids on one cabin and someone bunking in the main cabin on whatever foldout or drop down arrangement comes with that particular boat.


If sleeping onboard just an anchor one option is to get a center cockpit, aft cabin layout. Then you could set up with:



- largest kid in the forepeak
- one each of the smaller ones in the main cabin sleeping on the settees port and starboard.
- mom and dad in the aft cabin.


There are a few mid thirties boats that are set up this way. One of the roomiest 36' boats I've ever seen was the Morgan OI36. Not nearly as common as the OI41 but not rare. If you want to go bigger look at the OI41. The Morgans are built reasonably well and if you shop around you can find a deal.


O'Day I think also made a CC in the 30s. I used to own a Lohi 34 (10 meter) from Finland that was CC. Great boat but have only seen a few of them in the US.
In the same vein as above checkout Beneteau 36's with center coskpit(see link below for an example). The aft cabin bunk is big enough that the youngest could sleep with Mom and Dad in the aft cabin and the other two in the v berth forward or one or both in the salon to sleep and use the v berth for storage. When the youngest gets bigger he / she can graduate to the salon or sharing the v berth forward.

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/199...36-cc-3572812/

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/199...36-cc-3572812/
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Old 28-12-2019, 09:31   #13
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

I sail the Great Lakes from Erie PA and I'm very happy with my Catalina 34. I've found one great benefit is the active owners group. Give them a look.

https://c34.org/

Jim
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Old 28-12-2019, 10:36   #14
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

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Originally Posted by browny0386 View Post
Hi All,

I'll start by stating that I'm not new to boating, been on boats (powered) my entire life, but very new to the idea of sail boats. Since my wife and got married, I have also pushed to jump on a boat and sail south to see what happens. Well, two well established careers, a growing business, house, kids etc. etc.,.... we never made the jump.

I'm 33 my wife is 31, with a 5 and a 3 year old. My search for boats was seemingly easy, as a family of 4 wasn't that hard to find room for in most modest, for now, sized boats to get our feet wet. I learned a week ago that we will be added another member to our crew, which I'm still in shock over LOL. Wrapping my head around that is one thing, but I now find myself looking at boats that really don't accommodate a family of 5.

SO, I started to read through this forum, registered this morning and I'm now asking for any advice anyone can throw my way.

We live in the Buffalo, NY area right between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. My short term plan is to find a boat that is obviously well built and safe, we can be comfortable on, learn to sail as a family, cruise around the great lakes (most Erie/Ontario to thousand Islands) and then perhaps upgrade if we decide to venture farther. I would like something that all of the kids aren't sleeping on top of each other and has a decent amount of space for the longer trips. I'd rather not get something enormous to start out with as it will be for weekends, summer vacations, and again learning.

Is there a specific boat/model/?? I should focus my search at? Also, I know that this is a sail forum but I'm not ruling out the idea of a Trawler either, but leaning towards sailing.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

- The Browns
First off, forget the five cabin idea. What you're describing is more of a camping expedition rather than a full time live aboard situation. Does everybody get their own tent when you go camping?

Secondly, I'd concentrate on something with a spacious owners cabin since you'll be having a toddler with you. A boat with the center cockpit would be safer with several small kids on board and these usually have a nice aft cabin in addition to the forward cabin in the bow which will sleep two. Plus you'll always have the salon if somebody can't get along sleeping together

When you do graduate to that bigger boat, you may be shocked at what constitutes a separate cabin (often a long closet with a berth and door on it).

You should be able to find something like this in the 32' to 37' range in your budget. Especially now when most of the pleasure cruisers are on the hard sitting out the winter.
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Old 28-12-2019, 11:16   #15
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Re: Newbie - Looking for boat advice for short family cruising (for now)

I don't have any dog in the fight, so to speak, but having a young family of 4 - I'd probably go for a catamaran like the Gemini 105. Having that sense of extra space and distance, from the 2 hulls, would minimize domestic squabbles among the crew, IMO. More flat space all around on the forward deck too. No heeling to make a crew member nervous - more perceived privacy when needed, etc.
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