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post #37 of Old 02-05-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

IMHO, the size of the sails is a factor as much as the size of the boat. Our 50 footer does not have the tall mast, which I believe makes her easier to sail solo. I believe the poster with the ketch is seeing a similar effect with managable sails even though the boat is big.

We don't have any electric winches or in mast furling. Rather, we have a stackpack with lazy jacks. With nice size manual winches, sail handling is easy enough. I don't think I'd want to sail solo without the lazy jacks. And the stack pack means a simple zip-up protects the sail from UV.

We have an electric autopilot. If we were to do long distance cruising we'd want to have spare parts for it.

We have 4 kids, the oldest is now 6'3". The room on our 50 is good to have. I don't have to worry about storage or weight. We've had empty storage spots. (I finally put beer in one of them.) Our tankage lets us go for weeks without refilling our water tanks. We can hold a bigger battery bank and have more solar panels too. So there's no rationing of electricity.

As an electrical engineer, the electrical systems come easily to me. So it was a natural progression to add an inverter for the microwave, stanchion lights, long range wifi and other things. I read-up on refrigeration systems and with some advice from Cleave at SeaFrost, I put in our electrical refrigeration/freezer. Yes, I do much of the work. I thoroughly enjoy it. Maybe because I have a desk job, but it gets me outside and gets me some exercise.

Haven't done any passages yet, but the bigger boat makes for a different experience in the weather I've seen. What was described as a rough day by someone on a Catalina 37, was a beautiful day sail on our boat. On one trip from Block Island to Montauk, we actually played Parcheesi in the cockpit while motor sailing along with a lowered traveller. None of the little game peices fell over. And with some competitive kids, it was a raucously good time.

All of the above is to say that I like the size of our boat, can (and often do) sail solo, and don't feel any desire to go smaller.

Not sure about a bigger boat, since it would likely mean fewer day sails. Perhaps we all are comfortable with what we have and see bigger as meaning less sailing. It would be nice to have a raised saloon, that raised area midships that bigger boats have. You know, where you can eat breakfast inside and look out over the anchorage, or stand at the helm inside. If we ever got a bigger boat, that would probably be what led me to get it.

When soloing, I think the time it takes to get to the bow is a factor, for when anchoring, docking, or grabbing a mooring. If you are quick on your feet, you'll get "up there" quicker and you'll be more comfortable with a bigger-sized boat.

Good thread.


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Last edited by Bene505; 02-05-2014 at 06:44 AM.
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