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  #1  
Old 05-13-2005
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How much is too much?

We are planning to buy a yacht for 2 basic reasons; to sail the Hawaiian Islands and to eventually (couple years) begin ocean passages between Hawaii and the US West Coast and possibly from Hawaii to Japan. At this point, we have two nagging questions.

First, are there any serious concerns with buying a boat that has been in a charter service? We are considering buying a previously chartered 50'' sloop that is no more than 5 years old. After the purchase, we plan to upgrade the yacht with equipment that will help keep us safe on the open ocean.

Second, we are looking at the 50'' boats because we want the room, the displacement, and (possibly misunderstanding from an inexperienced standpoint), the idea that "bigger is better" on the ocean.

When I raced the ''95 Kagoshima Cup, I met a woman and a man, both who sailed around the world in boats smaller than the 36-footer I was on. I have read many stories of couples and singles sailing almost everywhere in smaller boats than what we are considering.

Are we overemphasizing the size thing here?
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Old 05-13-2005
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camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough camaraderie is a jewel in the rough
How much is too much?

Mike and Rose... The reason that many avoid buying boats out of charter is that so many are abused and not well taken care of during their charter life. Cleaned up and with new cushions etc. they look like great deals while problems may lurk. If you love the charter boat you are looking at then the solution is to get a good surveyor and go over the entire boat with him/her. You may need to get a different surveyor or an independent diesel mechanic to go over the mechanical systems. This will be money well invested as every time I''ve engaged a surveyor, they''ve saved me more than they cost me by far.
Most charter companies use boats that are fairly lightly built and suited for coastal cruising and with great accomodations so I think more than size...you want to think about construction unless the boat you are looking at is an exception to the norm. I don''t know how you can make a lightly built boat safe in rough ocean conditions.
I would agree that a larger/heavier boat smoothes out the passage...but a lightly built 50 footer will not be as comfortable as a well designed 40 footer. Nothing wrong with 50+ feet though in the right boat!
Best...BigGB
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Old 05-16-2005
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How much is too much?

camaraderie,

thanks for the response. having chartered a bareboat, I don''t think I''d like to buy one unless it was crewed during the charter. Even that is no guarentee because not all charter crews treat boats the same. We were sort of looking at the Beneteau 50. I heard over the weekend that Beneteau builds the charter boats to a lesser standard. Doesn''t sound like that would be true. Any comments?
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Old 05-16-2005
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How much is too much?

When you first posted and said a 50 foot charter boat...I immediately thought of the Moorings50 by Beneteau. I do not have direct experience on the differences in the boat due to the "moorings" brand but in general I would not expect any lesser build quality. The general things that charter companies change are internal...water tankage, cabin layout,refrigeration, storarage etc. as they optimize the boat for week long charters of up to 8 people. This generally leaves a boat that is not optimized for long distance cruising by a couple. I would consider the B50 suitable for coastal and carib cruising but would much rather be in a different boat in rough conditions though I''m sure lots have crossed an ocean in them. I would assume that a decent B50'' is going to be in the 200-$250K range and for that kind of money, there are a lot of boats designed for blue water cruising that would be more suitable for your plans. You might have to get a bit older boat but if you can find one with "low mileage" it will hold value better and serve you well at sea.
Have you analyzed what is important to you in your cruising boat? Price range,Length preference, Keel depth, mast height, type of rudder, type of keel, aft cockpit, center cockpit, how much water, how much fuel, cabin requirements, galley preferences, battery system, anchoring system, motoring/sailing qualities, engine access,etc. etc. etc.. Obviously you know how to sail and would like some room and want a "sea-going" and sea-kindly vessel. If you can specify your preferences on these, I''m sure you''d get plenty of help about suitable blue water boats from other folks on line here.
Best...BigGB
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Old 05-16-2005
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How much is too much?

Mike & Rose:

To answer your question directly, you are IMO clearly heading in the wrong direction.

First, charter boats are purchased by their operators for use in restricted, usually temperate cruising grounds, to offer max berthing, and are purchased with a firm eye on purchase price to make the financial side of the equation work. None of these criteria relate to your N Pacific cruising plans.

Second, a Beneteau design would not need to be ''underbuilt'' or built to a lesser standard to be found inadequate for the big seas and the heavy W''ly winds of the N Pacific or even Hawaiian waters. I would encourage you to look more closely at the general design and specs of some typical charter boats (ballast, keel form, windage, adequacy of the shaft support) even before you try to research the truly critical attributes like rudder assembly or bulkhead attachment, or functional liveaboard issues such as layouts, storage, and sea berths. Then compare these basic attributes with representative, well-found cruising boats. I think you''ll see some glaring differences that will raise questions of suitability in your mind.

Third, you seem to believe - like many others, and consistent with the heavy empahsis in magazine advertising - that the basic hull-deck monocoque structure (and it''s key structural add-ons, the rig and rudder) can be ''improved'' for offshore cruising by adding or updating systems. ''Systems'' might add to your comfort or convenience (or not...), but they don''t make a less capable cruising boat into a more capable one. One might as well put oversized knobby tires on a Toyata Corolla and calling it an offroad vehicle.

Fourth, big sloop rigs are hardly compatible with short-handed crews. These days, this is often compensated for by adding electric winches and furling systems. Note the comments above about systems vs. basic suitability, but also keep in mind that in heavier winds & seas, a furling system on a big sail that goes awry can present a truly threatening circumstance to a man/woman crew. This is very different than e.g. the watermaker failing to work with the tanks half full. Beyond this, your intended cruising grounds mandate a modest SA/D ratio.

Lastly - and I''m making a leap here, because the info you offer doesn''t justify this comment - it sounds to me that you lack experience in owning larger boats and therefore may seriously underestimate the impact of outfitting and then operating a larger yacht on your annual cruising budget. (I speak from some experience, as we''ve been cruising our current 13M boat for 5 years now and reckon it''s costing us perhaps twice the cost of our previous 11M boat). I think a resource you would find especially helpful in this regard is to read the section in Beth Leonard''s _Voyager''s Handbook_ on boat selection as it relates to one''s overall financial plan and specifically the impact on one''s ongoing operating expenses. (One of the things I respect most about Beth''s writing is that it seems to resonate equally with men and women).

For one annotated list of suitable offshore sailboats, prepared by a very seasoned bluewater sailor, you might want to look at www.mahina.com/cruise.html - John Neal has over 300,000 miles in the Pacific now and offers some thoughtful observations I think you''d find quite helpful.

In summary, don''t overestimate the value of a boat that is bigger vs. smaller; the equation is far more complex than that and size can work against you in more ways than for you.

Good luck with your plans. I hope you accept these comments in the spirit they are intended - to improve your eventual cruising experience - rather than to toss cold water on the plans themselves.

Jack
jack_patricia @ yahoo.com

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Old 05-17-2005
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How much is too much?

Size matters. It means different things to different people.
I think Jack is correct about the cost estimates escalating with size.
After refitting two boats (both under 26 feet) it is very obvious that fittings, cordage, pumps ... well, just everything needed demands higher strength ($$$) "stuff".

My desire is to find a nice bluewater capable, shoal draft adaptable, one person manageable (I have no desire to singlehand at sea, but what if one of us is ill?) as simple as practical cruising boat as close to either side of 30 feet as possible. It would need to be comfortable for my wife and me at anchor or dock. Guests? Put them in a hotel and use the boat for daysails and short excursions. In an exotic place - charter a bigger boat for a few days.

A fractional rig sloop, cutter or a ketch rig (usually means more than 30''LOA) would be ideal.

My wife and I have discussed "crossings". She has no interest in the "deep blue". So it would mean hiring someone to help move the boat to different cruising grounds since singlehanding doesn''t interest me. There is too much traffic and too many variables out there.

Someone on this website once used the Tartan 37 as a benchmark boat. That seems very reasonable - given its reputation.
There are a lot of nice well designed boats out there. But the bigger the boat the costs will escalate.
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Old 05-17-2005
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How much is too much?

Wow, thanks for all of the input. I will try to address the issues from all of you since I last looked here. Whoosh, I guess I''ll start with your comments, but let me first acknowledge something here. While I do have some sailing experience (owned a J24 for a few years and sailed almost every day and sailed on a friend''s 36'' when I wasn''t on mine), I probably fit in the category of knowing "just enough to be dangerous"

After reading these comments, I feel like I am trying to make a similar mistake like I did when I bought an enduro motorcycle in my early 20''s. It didn''t work well in either the off-road or road environments. Ended up buying a motocross and street bike a year later. Don''t want to make the same mistake.

Whoosh, you are correct in your assessment that I lack expreience in owning larger boats and may be better served by getting something smaller. Because we haven''t sailed in 5 years now, I''m sure we will only be sailing the Hawaiian waters for at least a couple years. Don''t imagine we will cross any oceans before then. At the same time, we''re trying to avoid buying a yacht now and then trying to sell it to buy another later. I may be parading my ignorance here, but is that something we should consider? Based on your input (and the input from the others) and the questions you all raised, I have ordered a bunch of books that we will be digesting. Fortunately, we''re trying to get some research done over the next year so that we don''t buy a boat on impulse. Please be patient; we appreciate the help and the learning. It should help keep us from making a mistake right off the bat.

We want a boat that we can be comfortable in, because we will both be retired and will be spending the bulk of our time on it; whether at the dock on Oahu or sailing to the other islands. But, most importantly, we want a boat that offers more "forgiveness" (if that''s a real attribute for a boat) and that offers us a better opportunity for safe passage. While we''re not sure when we will be ready to cross the ocean, we are sure we will spend the majority of our time sailing between the islands vs. cruising the Waikiki shorline.

One last question. Does anyone have any experience sailing the Hawaiian waters? Seems like I get a different assessment of the weather and water conditions every time I ask boat owners here.

Thanks again for all of your input.

Mike
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Old 05-17-2005
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How much is too much?

Mike...I think your approach and plans are most appropriate and lots of folks will be willing to offer advice as your questions get more specific. As you are looking at boats...are you familiar with the advanced search function on yachtworld.com? Lets you be very specific with what you are looking for and a great way to learn about different boats.
Don''t have any Hawaii experience myself except for a 16 foot Hobie in Hanuama bay!
Best...BigGB
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Old 05-17-2005
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How much is too much?

Aloha,
We might be able to help you- we live aboard a 48ft celestial cutter ketch on oahu at KoOlina Marina- check out there web site it gives a good idea of the amenities- Have you lived in Hawaii before? Are you planning on buying a boat here or in California? There are some nice boats for sale here. My husband has sailed throughout the islands (he single handed a 27 ft pearson)and he says continually that the waters here are some of the most difficult anywhere- The sailing is comfortable close to shore but can get wicked in a minute-We see the charters using beneteaus but I don''t think they keep them long- I would hate to be out in the chanel with a lightly built coastal cruiser-
There is a pearson 42 whose owners have sailed extensively between the islands
that is for sail- there is also a 46 ft Halberg Rassey- of course the price difference is phenomenal between the two but they both will get the job done- I was clueless when I was first living aboard- I insisted on a "bigger boat!!!" but the length has Nada to do with it- 40 - 48 ft and you can get room to spare- the 41 ft irwin next to us has a bigger salon than we do...however we do have an engine room which is worth its weight in gold...The irwin boat has been all over the pacific...When I hear the crews of the charter beneteaus talk about the "pounding" they are NOT talking about poi...In the same waters our cruiser is smooth...
Too bad you cant be out this weekend..there is the hawaii boat show for what it''s worth.
The liveaboard slip issue is a big deal...hard to get...that is why many times people buy the boat here...to get a slip...and much easier to get a 45 ft slip than a 50 ...IMO...
Feel free to ask any specific questions about liveaboards here in Hawaii...
Aloha
Pat on ORION
PS 5 years as a charter is a LONG time...

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Old 05-17-2005
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How much is too much?

Aloha again,
by the way I leave to help crew a 39ft Valient from Koolina to San Fransisco in a couple weeks- I''ll let you know how it goes!
It should take about 3 weeks...then I fly back home to Honolulu.(eta last week in june) In july we will be sailing Orion to Kauai... aloha
pat on orion
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