Morgan - I appreciate what you are saying. You do realize we're talking about getting a boat for cruising, right? We're putting our stuff in storage, renting our house, and then starting to cruise in June of 2009. We've even talked lately about selling our house and just doing this in perpetuity. When you talk about people buying larger boats just to have a larger boat, and having them sit in their slips all the time - I know that happens. But I'm fairly sure that if someone says they are going out cruising and then buys a larger boat, they'll leave the slip and actually use it.
I've talked extensively with people about smaller boats for our cruise. I absolutely love our Passport 40, but when we go for our cruise our son will be 12 (and almost 6' tall and going through puberty) and our daughter will be 8 (and living every minute of it). I can't see them continuing to sleep head to toe in the aft berth. Every night I have to climb over my wife in our V-Berth to go use the head. I usually end up kneeing her head in the process! The galley is of an excellent size, as is the eating area, but while the chart table is great, you have to sit on the edge of the settee (with no back support) to use it. I can singlehand her when I need to. Could we do our trip in our Passport 40? Sure. Is there any room for privacy or independence on the vessel? Not for a family of four. It's perfectly suited for a couple though!
So that leads us to a bigger boat. Until you get to a 48'+ boat, you don't really get any room for a real third cabin without extensively sacrificing salon space/galley/nav station. Looking at a lot of 48'-55' boats, we don't see many differences with regards to sail forces or handling. With all of the systems intact, the HR53 we're looking at would actually be easier to sail singlehanded than our Passport 40. If we lost electrics, we'd have a problem, but I believe two of us could handle it. That's one thing we'll be looking at during a test sail prior to doing a survey and spending lots of money.
Also, you mentioned boats staying in their slips. One of the reasons we're looking at a boat of this size is so that we can anchor out most of the time and be comfortable. We'll let others stay in their slips.
Morgan - I'll ask you this. To you, is there ANY valid reason to get a 50'+ boat, or do you think the manufacturers stop selling them?
CD- we'll definitely have two dinghies. Number one will be our current inflatable bottom Avon R280 with the 6HP Merc. We'll store that one deflated while on passage. Our primary will be a RIB of some sort (probably an AB, Caribe or another Avon) with a 15HP (or perhaps slightly larger so we can have fun with it AND go fast). We'll keep that one tied down to our foredeck while on passage.
s/v "Pelican" Passport 40 #076- Finished Cruising - for the moment -
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