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Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Anybody ever go too big?

I've been thinking about moving up from the Beneteau, Bavaria, Catalina, Jeanneau sort of world and moving into the Sabre, Hallberg-Rassy, Morris, Alden sort of world. As I look around everyone advises me that, as long as I'm switching boats, I should also get a bigger boat. The added storage, dock fees, and other incrementally larger costs are not much of a problem, but I wonder about going too big. If I'm willing to trust (big IF here) the functionality of bow thruster, windless, and power winches, should I have no concern about getting into a 42' to 45' boat? Anyone care to share their regrets for having too much boat? My current boat is 36'. The 40' boats don't scare me, but 45' is starting to look pretty big.

GTJ
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

Well I am 67 and my boat is fairly lightweight 44ft. I am happy single handing her but think that she is as big as I would want to go.

I do see couples with bigger boats and they clearly are struggling if anything goes wrong. They finish up waiting for the most benign of conditions and using only the headsail often with the motor running.
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

I am 66 and my wife 60, we sail a Tayana 55 and we are about to cross the Pacific...We plan to get roller reefing on the main when I am 80!

My wife and I sail her easily in heavy weather but the day after Christmas we did 90nm in the shipping lanes into the Panama Canal under emergency steering interacting with over 30 big ships and it was a hard 36 hours.

Seriously I think that 45 is as big as you need to go.

Phil
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

IF as you say, you are willing to rely on systems, and you don't mind fixing them in exotic locations, everything else is upside. It's faster, it's more comfortable to live on, it's generally better in a sea way.

We had a 52 for 10 years, it was good living. The above IF's got to be too much work so we downsized to 38 and are quite happy with the decision. But, you said to ignore this objection...in which case, buy yourself one a big boat, live in luxury, and don't say I didn't warn you that the objection you have decided to ignore may become important to you

And also, to be honest, if it was that awful a decision, how do I explain 10 years of my sailing life

If I had to choose a single length, the answer is 42, just like "hitchhiker's guide" says.
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

Seems it really depends on your use. If you are just day sailing and local cruising then I think you could rely more on the systems. Say you cruse the coast up to Maine in the summer and even down to Florida (using the inter-coastal) in the winter, then you will never be far from someone who could help you get back out there. But if you were thinking of going to the Islands, you may want to maintain a bit more self sufficiency.
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingJackson View Post
If I'm willing to trust (big IF here) the functionality of bow thruster, windless, and power winches, should I have no concern about getting into a 42' to 45' boat? Anyone care to share their regrets for having too much boat? My current boat is 36'. The 40' boats don't scare me, but 45' is starting to look pretty big.

GTJ
45' isn't big, stop worrying about it and get the boat that has what you want!
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

No regrets. If I went smaller, what would I do with the ice maker?

My wife does complain that the fenders are too big and heavy. Sailing her is a breeze and we've dealt with plenty that has gone wrong, without undue effort. Even dropping sails on the deck. No easy, for sure, but typically not necessary.
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

We went through a similar process and settled upon a Sabre426 that we equipped with power. winches, Leisurefurl and self tending jib to allow us to sail the next decade into our 80s. We also equipped the boat with a normal genoa adjustable genoa cars. Of all the things we selected, the only really important decision was to go with the self tending jib. Everything else was unnecessary for handling this wonderful boat.
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

Charter a big boat and try it - all the loads go up quickly. Just humping a sail on deck on a 45' is a heavy job. On a 55' it has to be winched on a halyard up a hatch.

Just for example.

Things like power winches should be luxuries or conveniences, not necessities - whatcha gonna do when they break?

Try before you buy.
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Re: Anybody ever go too big?

If most of your sailing will be in a bay or local, where you'll be raising and lowering the sails every day and tacking often, a smaller boat won't work you so hard. If most of your sailing will be long distance passage making, where you'll be sailing on the same tack all day and you might have to tuck in or shake out a reef, or roll up a little jib, then a big boat will be a better choice.

Sailing a big boat locally will be easier if you raise a smaller jib, or use a furling jib, and perhaps sail with a single reef in the mainsail.

I haven't found it any more difficult to dock a 45 foot boat singlehanded than a 35 footer. If I'm singlehanding and the conditions are too boisterous to be able to safely put it in a slip singlehanded, I'll anchor outside the marina or pick up a mooring and relax until the conditions abate. Conditions haven't been that bad very often. It might be windy as you approach a marina, but many marinas are sheltered enough to let you dock safely even when it's blowing outside.
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