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Daniel123 12-26-2001 05:35 AM

Boat Choice
I''m a "boat owner/liveaboard wannabee" who has done LOTS of research and reading. Now if I could get some advice from this BB on boat choices I''d be appreciative. It''s time to put the plan into action.

I am an early fifties man who will be sailing and living aboard with my girlfriend. We have limited sailing experience but learn quickly. I''ve always been a "jump in there and do it" kind of person.

We want to sail the ICW, the Bahamas, Florida Keys, and the Caribbean. She wants
to see Hawaii and Australia, but first we need to keep it simple, spend a few years
in the aforementioned areas, and decide then if we want to go further. My guess is
we won''t, but it is a possibility.

We want something relatively comfortable to live on. We will spend more time at anchor than we do sailing. Something in the 35 to 42 foot range should be sufficient. But we do want the beamiest boat possible, for maximum interior space and comfort.

The boat does not have to be fast. We''re "on vacation", there is no schedule to
keep, so comfort is more important than speed.

Shallow draft is desired, in order to accommodate the many Bahamas anchorages
and the ICW.

I absolutely love the Hans Christian interiors, but the cockpit is just too small. That area will be our "outdoor living room" so to speak, so more room there is needed.
She wants wheel steering and won''t budge on that desire.

We do not have an unlimited pot of money. $100,000 is our absolute upper limit,
and I''d really prefer to spend a bit less than that. So, given the above scenario, what advice do you have to offer? Thank you for your thoughts on this situation.


isleofarran 12-26-2001 02:08 PM

Boat Choice
I suggest that you look at a rcent Tayana 37, Cutter. The best live aboard boat and best price.

Jeff_H 12-27-2001 02:53 AM

Boat Choice
Your post raises a complex set of somewhat contadictory goals. You talk about going to areas of the world that place a premium of seaworthiness and comfortable motion. If you only end up doing the East Coast of the US and the Bahamas, you can get by with almost anything in the size range that you are predicting but if you care more about comfort than anything else I think you will need to focus on comfort of motion, and to a lesser degree reasonable speed more than Beam.

To explain, like so many things in sailing and cruising yacht design, extremes should be avoided. Moderation is expecially critical when talking about beam. For the kind of thing that you are proposing the last thing that you want is "the beamiest boat possible". (I am not suggesting an extremely narrow boat either. Just moderation.) Wide beam brings a lot of negatives to the table. All other things being equal, a boat with a lot of beam will feel very stabile tied up at a dock or anchor in flat water, but as soon as there is any wave action, the wide beam means that you will be in motion and all other things being equal that you will also have a quicker, ''corkier'' motion than a boat with a moderate beam. There are two components that really affect comfort at sea, the amount of motion and the accelleration and deaccelleration rates of the motion. Beamy boats tend to have much quicker accelleration and deaccelleration rates than more moderate beamed boats. This quicker motion tends to wear out crews more quickly and the combination of fatigue and fast accelleration is more likely to cause seasickness.

Beamy boats tend to be less seaworthy as well. With extreme beam comes several areas of negative impact on seaworthiness. While a beamy boat offers a lot of stability when comparatively upright, as a beamy boat heels the righting energy decreases more rapidly than a more moderate beamed boat. The extreme beam creates a lot more weather helm as the boat heels making steering more difficult, tiring and requires greater battery capacity for the autopilot.

All other things being equal, a beamier boat will have a smaller angle of positive stability. This means that you more quickly reach an angle of heel where the boat prefers to be upside down rather than right side up. Beamier boats have greater stability inverted and so take longer to reright in extreme conditions. While a moderate beamed boat cannot be capsized by wind alone, extremely beamy boats can.

About this time you are saying that you would never be out sailing in those conditions but if you ever end up in the Bahamas when a ''Norther'' rolls in you easily can be. Which brings up the case for moderate speed. Distances between safe havens in the Bahamas can be fairly long. Many of these places should not be entered as night is falling since you need to be able to see and find your way through the Coral heads that often protect Bahama anchorages. In the absense of reasonable speed (and I am not talking about a race boat here) you will spend a lot more uncomfortable nights lying exposed in the big bounces of the ''Banks''.

Which brings up the affect of beam in a chop. When you study the behavior of different boat types, you find that different factors affect how a boat behaves under way. For example, light weight boats tend to go over waves and so have more motion but feel less impact. Because of their greater inertia, heavy boats don''t lift as easily with each wave and therefore tend to drive through more of the wave (and so tend to be wetter) but thier sheer inertial mass reduces the de-acceleration of that collision with the wave. A beamy boat tends to physically collide with the wave face with greater force than a more moderate beamed boat and so is slowed by each impact making a slow, wet and far more uncomfortable and exhausting trip.

Beamy boats just plain have more drag than a boat with moderate beam. Even if you are only ''vacationing'' drag is your enemy. It means that you need to carry more sail area which also means more work for the crew. It means more fuel consumption, when you are running the engine and also means that you need to run the engine more frequently. (I am inferring from your $100,000 budget that like most of us, you too have some kind of limit on your funds and so would like to keep fuel and engine maintenance costs to a reasonable limit.)

With all due respect, and this is not meant as a put down since we all had to learn sometime, you may think that you have done a lot of reasearch and reading, but from your post it is clear that you have a lot more to learn. I strongly suggest that you lower your target a little and satrt by buying a smaller coastal cruiser with good sailing abilities and spend time sailing and maintaining this simplier better sailing boat. You will build sailing skills and maintenance skills, and learn about the way boats really work and what it really means to have a comfortable boat. At that point you should know enough to buy a boat capable of doing what you propose as well as perhaps taking on the longer voyages that your girlfirend suggests as her ideal.


Daniel123 12-27-2001 03:12 AM

Boat Choice
Isleofarran and Jeff_H: Thanks for the quick reply.

Isleofarran, I''ll look at the Tanyana 37 on Yachtworld today. From other info I have, that seems like a good boat.

Jeff, thanks so much for your insight. From my reading, it appears that you are one of the most knowledgeable people participating on this BB.

Thank you for the explanation of the downside of having a boat that is too beamy.

Can you suggest any models to look at, given my desires and your explanation of beam? We plan to do this in 2002, and plan to make several trips to visit Florida boat brokers, seeing what''s out there.

If we do need to "lower our expectations" regarding beam, what are a few boats in our prospective price range that may be suitable? I''ve had people suggest everything from a Westsail to a CSY to a Catalina to a Formosa to a Beneteau. I know that a boat can''t be all things, we are just hoping for the best combination and will deal with the shortcomings.

Thanks again.....


JohnDrake 12-27-2001 04:50 AM

Boat Choice
Hello, Jeff states it well when he writes that you may have contradictory requirements. All boats are compromises, however, and the right boat will emerge.

My suggestion is to take your time looking. My own personal search has taken almost two years and, in that time, I have come to a completely different solution that I thought I would (and I have been sailing a long time). I am still not finished in my negotiations and the choice may change further still. But circumstance forced time on me and that turned out to be a terrific luxury.

Begin with a base boat of choice, say the Tayana 37. List its attributes. Make a list of the major attributes you wish to have in a vessal and go from there. Each boat you look at after that point will compare well or poorly (and thus be discarded from consideration). You will continue to refine your desired attributes. And then, you will find a boat that either "speaks to you" or is simply a very good fit for what you want and need. You will look at it and your list and see that they fit and the choice to put a contract on her is an easy one.

Hope this helps.

dpinorm 12-27-2001 10:17 AM

Boat Choice
You discuss a number of issues, but don''t mention one which in my opinion is critical - quality construction and systems.

At your budget, you will not be able to get a relatively new, top quality boat with full offshore cruising equipment. With a limited budget and an older boat, I would first look to who makes the boats with the best reputation and then look for those that look to be well maintained. Given your constraints, I doubt you''ll have the luxury of picking from a lot of alternatives.

There''s a HUGH difference in boats that will take you to Florida, to the Caribbean, and to Australia. There are a lot of factors in your decision, but my gut feeling, from someone who has been there, is to buy an inexpensive coastal cruiser with good resale value. Then head to Florida and maybe the Abacos. When you''re ready, sell her and by then you''ll know what the next step should be.

Good luck,

el 12-27-2001 02:58 PM

Boat Choice
Was the Mariner 36 built by Tayana. If so, what is your opinion.

Jeff_H 12-27-2001 04:47 PM

Boat Choice
There are actually two different companies that built two different boats all called Mariner 36. Neither were built by Tayana as far as I know but one was built in Taiwan. The Taiwanese Mariners were ''character boats'' constructed to look and feel traditional. The various models varied pretty widely in sailing ability but most were slow and not especially great sailors. Build quaility was generally considered pretty mediocre with deck core rot extremely common. Most of these boats had wooden spars which had glue line and rot problems if not carefully maintained. Hardware tended to be oriental knock offs of older style gear and so was of dubious reliablility and imposible to find parts for. During the years that my mother and stepfather was importing their lines of boats from Taiwan, my step father was pretty harsh on the build quality on the Mariners.

The other Mariner 36 was constructed in Maine and seemed to be a pretty nice boat. I have not seen too many of these around. They look like they should be well rounded sailers and should be good boats for coastal cruising and limited offshore work.


thomasstone 12-27-2001 04:59 PM

Boat Choice
Forget about sailing in the ICW! You will be motoring. Find a boat with a good diesel and a furling headsail for the days when the wind is on your beam or behind you. Check out the older Tartan 37s , nice beam, shallow draft w/cb, large cockpit,,sails well on all points and will easily take you around the world when you are ready.

jonconway 12-27-2001 05:12 PM

Boat Choice
I am very intersted in your comments re beam. I am about to order a new Jeanneau Sun Oddyssey 52.2 (LOA 50'' 6") with a beam of 15'' 11". I am unsure how you define ''extreme'' beam??? but we plan to liveaboard and the beam of this boat over comparable yachts (similar length Beneteau for example) was an attraction in terms of living space.
Would you agree ''beaminess'' is relative to the LOA of the boat and the problems you describe diminsh with increasing LOA?
Best Wishes
Hong Kong

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