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Old 07-01-2007
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beneteau idylle suitability for oceans

Interested in buying a 50ft beneteau idylle to do a circumnavigation in. Has anyone had experience with one of these in big seas/survival type conditions. I have read various views. Friend who did a circumnav in a 54ft steel boat, thinks that a beneteau would be fine, as long as you weigh it down with 2 years worth of provisions and stuff. Any views.
Options are fairly simple for budget, bigger mass produced beneteau/jenneau etc or something like a steel bruce roberts.
I know that all boats are compromises but would have thought that large volume mass produced would be best 99% of the time, but obviously not much good if they cant cope with heavy weather once in a while.
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Old 07-01-2007
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Would you be single-handing or sailing with crew? If sailing with crew, how many crew would you have? Also, what is your sailing experience? I'm asking since doing a circumnavigation short-handed requires that you be able to single-hand the boat, and a 50' boat is a lot of boat to single hand. Would you be able to raise, lower or reef the mainsail if the electric winches went out? etc... Unless you're going with a crew, I would highly recommend you go with something a bit smaller. The difference between a 40' boat and a 50' is enourmous. Boats gain size in three dimensions, and a boat that is 25% longer is usually is almost twice the size.
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Old 07-01-2007
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I have done a reasonable amount of sailing.
Like many we would be predominantly couple and baby, but will have groups of family and friends joining us for various legs. Other boats I've looked at are Bruce roberts 44 ft steel hull - slow and quite crammed for 3 couples - island packet 45 - really well built - but a bit pricey.
I have done a bit of single handing on GibSea 52, and Jenneau 49's and managed ok, but my wife would probably struggle to get the main up/reefed etc by herself. The idylle that I was looking at had a roller reefed main, which is probably easier to handle than the bruce roberts 44 which had a hanked on main and no lazyjacks.
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A roller furling main is often great until it jams... and when it jams is usually when you can least afford it. On a bluewater boat, you're generally better off going with simpler solutions...

One of the best pieces of advice about boats I've ever heard is that "the primary use is primary." If you are going to be sailing primarily with just your wife and child, you should probably get a boat that is more suitable for that. Given that you said baby, not child, it is very likely that you will be singlehanding the boat a majority of the time... and I would highly recommend you drop down to 37-42' in length. If your wife is not capable of sailing the boat singlehanded, what is she going to do in the case you are injured or fall overboard??? Having a boat that she can singlehand is probably a much better idea.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 07-01-2007 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 07-01-2007
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Beneteau 50's are quite capable of taking you anywhere you want to go. Not as strongly built as some...but certainly strong enough. Nevertheless, I would prefer a boat with an easier rig to handle and an easier motion at sea...which also probably means slower! My Tayana52 is probably in the same range as many of the much newer B50's on the market but I would not trade!
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Old 07-02-2007
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Yes the what is she going to do if I get injured or fall overboard question is a very troubling question. Whilst I feel quite comfortable about single handing, My wife is quite concerned about the prospect of crossing oceans, and having to single hand in the event of something happening. Our plan is to spend between 6 months and a year sailing the atlantic coast of france, and then the med, prior to doing any long ocean voyages (shes already said she's having a holiday while we do biscay). We're working on the basis at the moment that if she still doesnt feel comfortable at the end of that, she will fly home for a month or so while I get the boat to caribe. I have a good number of crew interested in doing the transatlantic.
All the long term cruisers that I've met have confessed to similar concerns (about one of the couple having to single hand in the event of disaster) and seem to agree that the easing into it via 6 - 12 months int he med first is a good way forward, if we're ever going to leave. It seems that none of them felt truely ready for every eventuality prior to setting off. Perhaps I've just spoken to reckless ones!
I have always been a big fan of heavy steel boats for this trip, and only conversations with other long term cruisers have led me to look more seriously at big volume relatively cheap mass produced boats as an alternative. Its an interesting question about primary use of the boat, because at this point one view would be the certainly for the first 2 years the primary use is port/anchorage hopping. And then a couple of longer trips (say 5% of the trips duration) where we will be doing some ocean crossings - with crew. There is no question however that a 36 ft yacht is easier to stern too moore under sail, than a 50 ft one.
The converse view could be that the primary use of the boat is to get us safely from one side of the world to the other, and see some cool stuff inbetween.
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Old 07-02-2007
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A well-found 37-42' boat will get you from one side of the world to the other, but be far easier to handle short-handed or in the case of equipment failure. IMHO, one of the biggest source of cruising couples failing is that they get more boat than they can comfortably handle short-handed. Most cruising couples are effectively two people who are sailing single-handed a majority of the time, with only occasional help from the "crew"—since the not-actively sailing "crew" will often be busy sleeping, doing navigation work, cooking, watching and caring for the baby.... and so on.

Beth Leonard, author of "The Voyager's Handbook" and Evans Starzinger sailed on a 37' boat, and have circumnavigated in it and then some.

Some other points to consider:

A smaller boat will be easier to dock and handle in the harbors and marinas.
A smaller boat will be less expensive to maintain, haul, dock, store, insure and own in general.
A smaller boat will be a less tempting target to pirates and thieves.
A smaller boat often has a shallower draft and can often go more places than a larger boat.
A smaller boat often has less freeboard than a larger boat, making MOB recoveries simpler.
A smaller boat has gear that is easier to handle—ever check out the anchor on a 50' boat???
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Last edited by sailingdog; 07-02-2007 at 06:59 PM.
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Ummm...Beth and Evans were not happy staying with that small boat...they have been sailing a 47 footer for half a dozen years now. Hawk is a custom aluminum sloop as I recall. So...I guess they feel like I do...bigger is better AND safer at sea (provided you are a good captain and can handle her).

Last edited by camaraderie; 07-02-2007 at 08:31 AM.
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Old 07-02-2007
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i agree with both of you. 37-40 would be great for 2 people. You indicated you have a third person though. If it is a newer boat, with everything in great shape,(electric winch etc.) your wife should be okay at the wheel. Sailing 24/7 is really only a small portion of cruising. If it is a fixer-upper or has no electric winches etc., then she will get tired of trying to sail it herself. It could even be dangerous.
I think, if you can afford it, go big! More comfort, faster sailing!
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