Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal, West Coast
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What makes a good family cruiser boat?
I have some experience, since in summer my family and I live and cruise for 1 month and a half in our boat.
Let me summ up what has been said and it seems more important to me:
"The specifics of what makes a good family cruiser will vary with the family."
"Today, I think that people expect a lot more out of a boat, comforts that are closer to home."
"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."
"Galleys tend to be surprisingly well equipped, approaching all of the comforts of home."
"Today almost the smallest boats have pressure water and so the water tankage has to be quite large."
" Two very young children as ''crew'' will mean someone quite often will be required to have the ''Kid Watch''....so for starters, you''ll want a boat that is easily handled - by either of you - and sails without fuss. This may be in conflict with your husband''s desire to have a ''racer/cruiser'' "
"This may also argue for a boat that is smaller rather than larger. (It doesn''t speak to any specific boat choice, but I''d put an autopilot at the top of your ''extras'' list".
".....you should look at the cockpit carefully. E.g. a mainsheet traveller bisecting & spanning the cockpit, often found on boats set up to race, is just an impediment and tripping hazard to young kids wanting to spread out their toys."
"Talk with your husband about the local area and and how that should influence your boat choice. E.g. secluded anchorages or easy access to shore, for the benefit of family cruising, might dictate a shallower draft"...
"But if sailing turns out to be, for your family, a great experience, then there''s one especially valuable thing your two kids can potentially get from the experience that''s worth keeping in mind: a love of sailing. And that is likely to happen more easily if your boat is fun to sail. "
"My suggestion would be to go to a boat show and check out the different boats. I think that everyone is going to have different ideas of what the best options would be. You need to find something that is going to suit you."
"Charter a couple different kinds of boats. Use the charter as both a vacation and an evaluation."
Those are, in my opinion, good advises.
I would say that to maximize the single handling of the boat (even by someone that is not experienced) the boat should have the sheet winches at easy reach from the helm and if possible a self tacking head sail.
I think that for very small children center cockpit designs have a security advantage, being easier to maintain the children in the boundaries of the cockpit. This type of boat offers also a traveller situated behind the cockpit, offering a clear and safe cockpit area and good control of the boom, being at reach to the helmsman.
All this put together (including the above quotations ) if it falls inside the budget, I would say that the new Najad 38 or the new Halberg-Rassy 37 are obvious choices as (small) family boats. They are both good and fast boats.
There are two others center cockpit, not so well known and not so expensive that will fit this parameters, the C-yacht 10.4 (and 11.0) and the Sunbeam 37.
I like particularly the C-Yachts. The 10.4 costs around 160 K euros and the 11.0 around 200K.