Re: Sailing "big boats"
I think it is very dependent on the boat. I'm very happy with our 53'er and I really don't think we 'd be happier with a smaller boat, nor do we really need a bigger one.
The two main points we find great about the 50'er is space and comfort. This is our home; everything we own is aboard and we have plenty of room to store it all away. We have a guest cabin with head, and a smaller cabin used for storage, which enables us to take advantage of picking up large quantities of items like milk, tp, paper towels, canned goods, etc. when they are cheapest and going for months without having to pay the outrageous prices that some islands charge. For instance, my mate loves milk, but it can be upwards of US$2.00 a quart for UHT milk in a lot of places; in Martinique it's less than a buck a liter. We can buy ten cases at a time, saving hugely.
Every time we cross a channel, we are reminded that the size and weight of our boat provides us with a drier, faster and much more comfortable trip than the smaller boats we see around us. Of course, a hundred footer would do that even better, but we probably wouldn't be sailing a hundred footer with just two of us, and our time alone together is very important to us. With all roller furling, she is the easiest boat I've ever sailed; we sail off and onto our anchor almost every trip. At anchor, we are definitely more comfortable than a smaller boat; it is nice to be able to drop the board and have a 10' draft in a rolly anchorage.
When I was single handing her, she was quite obedient powering into any dock. Again, with the roller furling; sailing was a breeze.
Of course, there is maintenance to do, but does the refer unit on a 42'er require less maintenance than one on a 53'er? Sure, haul outs cost more, as does the paint required, etc. but it's a small trade off for the comfort and space a 50' boat can provide.
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.