Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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What makes a good family cruiser boat?
The specifics of what makes a good family cruiser will vary with the family. When I was a kid, my family of four (my folks, a 12 year old and my 10 year old brother) cruised on a rather compact 25 footer and it worked out well in terms of seeing neat places and spending time together. There were no bells and whistles; entertainment was what ever we could do as a family either ashore or on board with quiet moments reading, sleeping and eating thrown in for punctuation. I don''t ever remembered being bored or unhappy with that.
Today, I think that people expect a lot more out of a boat, comforts that are closer to home. There is no right or wrong answers here and I am not saying one approach is better than the other. All boats are a compromise. Family cruisers bring along thier own set of compromises. Generally, these days the focus of a Family cruiser leans toward a certain amount of room to lounge and carry the kinds of ''toys'' that keep a family amused. Cockpits and main salons tend to be expansive. Often equipped with TV and DVD equipment where we might have kept bookshelves and board games. Galleys tend to be surprisingly well equipped, approaching all of the comforts of home. Sleeping areas tend to be designed look commodious within a tight space and to be comfortable on the anchor rather than under way. Tankage becomes more important as boats get bigger in size and more people are brought along for the ride. Again by way of contrast, when I was a kid water tanks were tiny and all drinking water was hand pumped and carefully used. Today almost the smallest boats have pressure water and so the water tankage has to be quite large.
Unless you are buying a long boat probably well up in the mid-30 foot range, then sailing performance will be seriously compromised by a boat capable of being cruised by 6-8 people in privacy and comfort. When it comes to sailing ability, in the best case a family cruiser is a boat that is simple and easy to handle. The term ''simple'' is a little misleading because it sometimes takes more complicated sail handling gear to make a boat simple to handle. A boat that is long for its weight will tend to be easier to handle and offer a lot more comfort and comes with the side benefit of offering better performance which means more places that you can cruise to within the comfortable sailing range of the boat.
You are basically going to be coastal cruisers so you can tolerate a wider range of build quality.
I know this is vague. Sorry,