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  #1  
Old 06-14-2013
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Insane?

So, I am actually considering buying a nice cruising boat, 43-45 ft.
However, my wife and I don't have much experience, we sail a small Hunter 19 now and have trained on a 33. We both don't want to go through the slow size growth over the next 10 years to work our way up. We know what we want in terms of size and comfort for us and the family. Do people ever just jump in and buy a good sized boat and hire skippers to work with them until they are comfortable? We realize we need additional skills, training, experience etc.., but I'd love to get moving faster since we are coming to the game at age 50.
Where would one find a qualified skipper to work with? Am I nuts?
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: Insane?

You are not nuts! Look, you have an idea, dream.....and you want to be successful. Put the odds on your side! You have done that in the past and it still applies. Follow your dream and include the wife's goal! A worthy endeavor......do what works for ya bro and you will be smiling! Personally if you have the means buy the boat, hire the trainer, teacher etc. and have fun! Or, the inverse is to settle for something less and suffer.
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: Insane?

Where will you be cruising? How do you intend to use your boat?
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Re: Insane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocdoc22 View Post
So, I am actually considering buying a nice cruising boat, 43-45 ft.
However, my wife and I don't have much experience, we sail a small Hunter 19 now and have trained on a 33. We both don't want to go through the slow size growth over the next 10 years to work our way up. We know what we want in terms of size and comfort for us and the family. Do people ever just jump in and buy a good sized boat and hire skippers to work with them until they are comfortable? We realize we need additional skills, training, experience etc.., but I'd love to get moving faster since we are coming to the game at age 50.
Where would one find a qualified skipper to work with? Am I nuts?
When I lived in the Mid-West I sailed Lightnings, Snipes, Flying Dutchman and eventually raced a Thistle. Gave up sailing for skiing in Colorado for 15 years and then moved to Woods Hole MA. After a few years on the east coast we decided to get back into sailing - At age 52 we purchased a new B411 despite never having sailed anything longer than the FD. We had absolutely no problems coastal sailing and that first year started taking straight-line passages to Maine from the entrance of the Cape Cod Canal. We found that sailing a large boat was in so many ways easier than a small boat - the big difference is there is more to go wrong equipment-wise in a larger boat. Electronics can fail, forces on gear are greater and stuff happens. But in most cases these failures pose few problems as long as you maintain critical backups like a second radio, EPIRB, hand held GPS and of course charts. The only mistake we made was relying upon the sales person to advise us on the configuration of the boat. For example, we did not appreciate the performance sacrifice of in mast furriers and the standard 40 hp engine when needing to buck 4-5 knot currents. After about 14 years of experience with the 411, we replaced it with a newly constructed 42 foot vessel with high-end rigging etc. I should have done that from the very start. We are in our late 60's and sailing has never been more fun. Good luck in your decisions.
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: Insane?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rocdoc22 View Post
So, I am actually considering buying a nice cruising boat, 43-45 ft....Do people ever just jump in and buy a good sized boat and hire skippers to work with them until they are comfortable? We realize we need additional skills, training, experience etc.., but I'd love to get moving faster since we are coming to the game at age 50. ... Am I nuts?
You're not nuts, but you may be focusing on the wrong questions. Sailing is not the hard part of large-boat ownership, it's all the other things that make it challenging. Costs, logistics, maintenance, storage... You've got to learn to be a diesel mechanic, marine electrician, plumber, fibreglasser, rigger, marine sewer, propane technician, etc... IMO these are the major challenges.

And if you are going to cruise long distances/times, then there are a whole whack of additional skills needed: anchoring, power management, long-distance communications, dingy choices, food/water/waste management, long-term stocking & storage, cooking, maintenance in remote areas...

Not trying to dissuade you at all. My first boat was a 34-footer. But in my experience sailing is the easiest part of sailboat ownership. Hire a skipper if that makes you more comfortable, but spend time with actual cruisers. That will help more than sailing with a skipper.
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: Insane?

My wife and I watched a couple do this last year.
They had little experience around boats but they had recently purchased a Catalina 48 with all the goodies.
We first saw them as they spent the "entire" day coming and going in and out of their slip. Probably came in and out of the marina 50 times or more.
So as too have more room docking they had rented two slips side by side.
They came in frontwards, backwards, sideways, but eventually they were hitting it on the money no matter which way they came in.
We talked to them later and found out that they were from Edmonton and had but a few days off to learn the boat and it's systems. They had hired a skipper to help them do this.
There plan was to head back home, but to return at a later date to learn more and then they were going to go cruising.
Haven't seen them since.
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: Insane?

Not necessarily insane. Really it depends completely on the two of you and nothing more. Do you have the time and money to hire a teacher and spend the time learning? Are you both self-starters or will you let the boat sit in the slip if you are unsure of the situation or not feeling in complete control?

Is 43-45 feet really what you need in terms of size? Far to many variables to get sound advice from the forum.

I think most folks that unsuccessfully take a big step up in terms of their boat are not successful because they over estimate not their own abilities, but their own willingness to to accept risk. What I mean is, there is a HUGE difference between bringing a Hunter 19 in and out of a dock and a 43-45 foot cruiser. The risks, particularly while new to the boat, are greatly increased. If you accept those risks initially, and push yourselves into new situations slightly beyond your comfort zone, you will gain experience and competence. If the risks and the STEEEEEEP learning curve are overwhelming then you may end up with a large dock ornament. If you find yourselves unwilling to leave your slip except in the company of a hired captain, you should either plan to have a lot of $$$$ set aside to cover the cost, or prepare to climb the learning curve so slowly as to make it untenable.

Alternatively, if you are both bright, quick learners, and willing to spend the time working through it, a couple can readily manage 43-45 on their own. You may also find that 31-35 feet is significantly more manageable by a couple and may offer all you need in a cruising boat. Really depends on how and where you honestly will be cruising. I found that a smaller boat, 31 feet in our case, means that we get out more often and I can maneuver in and out of tight marinas on my own. We have ample room to be comfortable for a week or two at a time, and when we have guests we just plan to spend most nights in a marina where we can run the air conditioning and use shore side facilities.

As for hiring a skipper, get out and meet some folks that sail. Word of mouth will likely be the best reference. Plan to spend around $200-300 a day for instruction aboard your own boat.

Good luck!
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What will you wait for and how long? By getting something you and your family are truly excited about (and can remain excited) you have higher odds of continuing to push to get better. The only way to learn is to spend a lot of time at it.

I would start by chartering a similar sized boat where you plan to cruise and do your initial learning on someone else's boat. It will be simpler than you think and not scare you off. The trick then is to know your limitations and play it conservatively at first.

Weekend cruising when everything goes fine is easy. The experience will matter when things go wrong, even a little. Maybe a sail gets snagged on something or the buoy or anchoring spot you like is not available. Maybe the weather forecast turns out to be wrong and it blows way more than you would be comfortable or you snag a crab pot line. Maybe you have some primary equipment failure or run aground. Play it slowly and do not let any external pressure affect your common sense, and you will learn to handle each one of these at a time.

And be serious about learning, spend the time and the resources to learn as much as you can (which looks like you are). Good luck and enjoy it!
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: Insane?

I worked my way up from a Sunfish to a Hobie Cat to a San Juan 23 (which is very similar to your Hunter 19). Then, on an invitation from a friend, I spent three weeks on-board a Morgan 41' ketch. Guess what? The transition from sailing my San Juan to sailing the ketch was EASY!

The sailing part of it is really not that much different. The big difference is all the other stuff--the diesel, the head, etc.

If you are competent and seaman-like on your Hunter then I think transitioning to a larger cruising boat will not be difficult. It will be a lot more expensive, of course, and you will spend a lot more time fussing about with all the extraneous systems, but the sailing itself will be pretty much the same.
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Old 06-14-2013
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Re: Insane?

From owning a 29' boat and regularly racing on many others every time I step on say a J44 it is just FREAKING BIG and every aspect of big makes everything a much more physical task

A simple thing like taking off the sails before winter storage NOW requires a small army of friends as the 44' boats mainsail is both big and heavy

Your certainly looking at a size were things like electric winches and all the complexity that go with it become almost mandatory

The 29' was very much chosen on the workload I feel comfortable with in both repairs and sailing
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