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Old 09-26-2006
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Pearson 424, singlehanded?

Is this boat too burdensome to sail shorthanded?

I've logged several years 'daysailing' boats up to 34' and occasionally crewing on larger. Last summer we started shopping for '38 footers' as the logical move up -- 38' Morgan, 38' Sabre, 38' Bristol -- for cruising Eastern L.I. Sound to Maine.

After seeing positive posts, I crawled around a local Pearson 424 and really liked the unconventional layout. It appears ideal for my wife and two daughters. I like the boat's lines and also the comfortable cockpit.

I've sailed for fun, most of my life, but on boats under 12,000lbs disp. As a sailor, I'd classify myself as comfortable and competent; but not expert.

My experience in larger fishing vessels is pretty extensive, something I mention only to note that I'm not intimidated by the general size of the Pearson. Although I'll probably sail off a mooring, docking and undocking doesn't trouble me especially.

But I do wonder if I'd begin to find a boat this size too much of a burden to sail. My 'crew' is capable, but not everpresent. I also like sailing solo and taking out novices, which I'm not sure is realistic with a boat this size.

So, is this boat too big or will it 'shrink' with familiarity?

Was I 'on a better track' thinking incrementally to 38'ish? Or, is 38' too big? Your comments, suggestions or any thoughts on the Pearson 424 would be much appreciated.
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Old 09-26-2006
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FWIW after five years of ownership my 36' is no more difficlut to singlehand than my old 26', it's as if it has simply shrunk for all practical purposes except mooring fees and fending off the dock.
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Old 09-26-2006
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On the bright side, they've held their value very well so you're not going to be badly burned if you sell it after a year.

I know people who solo them, the question is, do you want and need all that boat? Or would you be happier with less of it, and less work to do? For that matter, it was built in sloop and yawl rigs, so you've got a choice on that too.
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Old 09-27-2006
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sailingfool, hellosailor, thanks very much for your input!

"Do I want and need all that boat" is precisely the question. Originally, I figured that a boat 34' to 38' (displacement 12,000 to 16,000) would cover my interest in shorthanded sailing and suit my experience level.

Then my grade school daughters started growing like weeds -- an inevitability that I was not entirely prepared for ;-)

I saw the 424 from my truck as I passed by and had to stop. I was smitten by the layout and the spaciousness for a family of four. Now, when I look at smaller boats I think, "That's a sweet, handy, little ship; but we'll all be on top of each other".

Where the smaller boats feel especially cramped is in the cockpit. Though not ideal offshore, I would really like a cockpit large enough to sleep in. The 424 certainly has a voluminous cockpit and that appeals to me.

Sailingfool, I appreciated hearing that your 36 footer appropriately, 'shrunk to fit' -- I just wonder if the next jump up to the 40' range would shrink quite so much.

Maybe the magic I really need is a 38' that 'expands' to 42' where needed. That's the same magic I keep looking for in the waistbands of my trousers ;-)

I'd certainly appreciate suggestions for boats in these sizes with 'sleep-able' cockpits.
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