Re: Boat Size
Tom's comments echo my own experiences growing up. My family bought a 25 footer when I was 11 (almost 12) and my brother was 8. Like most boats of that era, the interior of the boat was tiny compared to a modern boat. We went out pretty much every weekend and typically would take a 10-11 day cruise each summer. In hindsight I cannot imagine how my folks pulled that off. I cannot imagine a modern family going through the daily routine my folks went though in terms of packing and unpacking the galley and disassembling the galley table and bunks to stow everything.
By the time I was 14 it became too much for my folks and they bought a 32 foot Pearson Vanguard. We ended up living on that boat during the summers and cruising up to two weeks at a time. But even the Vanguard took a lot of ingenuity to work for a family of four. Making and striking bedding each day to allow adequate storage to be able to sail or use the main cabin and erect the galley table.
Newer designs often have a more convenient lay out but the problem on a small boat is always going to be access to storage which means more labor and less convenience. This inconvenience mostly comes in the form of using every crevice efficiently. And that means removing bunches of stuff from lockers to get to the one thing you need.
My sense is that you probably could get by with a 25-30 foot boat while your children are young. It won't be easy but it can be done. I think that will get old pretty quickly. My sense is that pretty quickly you will end up with a 38-42 footer.
That does not mean you should start that big.the lessons from living small will help you pick the right big boat and use her efficiently.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay and part-time purveyor of marine supplies