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soon2sail 01-14-2009 06:51 AM

largest boat I can sail alone
Hi all, I'm new to sailing, so new in fact, I don't have a sailboat and actually have never been on a sailboat. I will not be deterred however and within the next year, I will be living aboard. My plan is to purchase the largest boat that I will be able to sail alone once I've spent a year or so learning to sail. I will want as much space as I can afford and will be seeking a boat in the 35 to 41' range. In research on this site, I came across a thread that mentioned a 41' Hardin Seawolf, researched it a bit, and fell in love. It looks like it would require a crew to sail though. Is that the case? Thanks in advance for your patient ear and advice.

tommays 01-14-2009 07:32 AM

In the past the big issue would be handling sails buy your self with modern furling systems that is no longer a problem

If your single handing then you really want a boat built around a self tacking JIB becasue again it makes it easy for a solo sail

xort 01-14-2009 07:34 AM

You can sail a very large boat by yourself, 50' 60', not out of the question.

It's the docking, anchoring and picking up mooring balls that get real tricky alone.

Lots & lots of people sail very large boats double handed so no need for a 'crew'. The second person aboard makes a huge difference.

If you have no boat handling experience, you will have a VERY difficult time with a 41', especially alone.

soon2sail 01-14-2009 07:51 AM

Thanks all.

sailortjk1 01-14-2009 08:05 AM

I agree with xort, Sailing is not the issue, its all the other stuff.

bubb2 01-14-2009 08:09 AM

Sailsoon, if we are talking about a Hardin ketch Thats a lot of boat to single hand. They weigh 30,000 pounds. Thats a good thing for a comfortable motion when at sea, However docking alone is a whole other issue. Tacking that monster ought to be a treat also.

The ketch rig just adds more things to tend to (I know Cam will disagree). This would not be my first pick for a boat if I was going it alone.

In fact, I would be looking for something 32 to 35 foot range and fractional rigged sloop.

soon2sail 01-14-2009 10:26 AM

you all rock! I think I may have found my tribe in the sailing community.

camaraderie 01-14-2009 10:28 AM

No...actually I don't disagree. For single handing I would be looking in the 35-38' range myself and looking at a simple sloop or cutter rig with everything rigged to the cockpit for furling and reefing. (And a reliable auto-pilot!).
Soon2...the choice of a boat will depend on your resources and your future intentions. So far we know you want a lot of room and that you will be singlehanding and like a salty looking vessel. Need to know more.

Jeff_H 01-14-2009 11:03 AM

As I read your post it really sounds like you are looking for two boats; one to learn to sail on and one to live on and long term cruise. Boats that are big enough to live on, especially if described as 'the biggest boat that I can single-hand', are usually too big to learn on if you intend to learn to sail well.

Ideally, if you really intend to learn to sail well, (and not everybody cares whether they actually learn to be good sailors but that's another topic) then I suggest that you would be well served buying a small (23 to 30 foot max with 26-28 feet being more ideal), tiller steered, used but in good shape, responsive, fin keel-spade rudder, largish production run, ideally fractionally rigged, sloop.

You can own a boat like that for a couple years, sail the living daylights out of her and sell her for pretty much what you have in her. You will be years and many dollars ahead of the game in terms of learning boat handling skills and what it takes to own and maintain a boat. The deductible for the repair costs for single accident with a boat big enough to live on could well exceed the entire cost of owning and learning on a smaller boat.

When it comes to the biggest single-handers that you can can handle, the traditional rule of thumbs were based on displacement and not length. Before the advent of modern deck hardware, and lower drag hull forms and rigs (easier to handle) the rule of thumb used to be a range 2 1/2 to 5-6 tons (long tons) per person. That would suggest that anything over about 11,000 lbs would start to press the convenient limit (roughly a 38 footer max). With modern gear and efficient rigs that number can be extended so that it is possible to handle a much bigger boat, but as boats get bigger they become dependant on higher levels of skill, lots of luck, and much better equipment than a new sailor is likely to have.

Lastly, the Hardin's were a miserable boat to sail. To me they are a characture rather than good sailing boat. So while they may shiver your timbers, I suggest that spend as much time as you can, sailing as many boats as you can, of as many types as you can, and I suspect when you are done doing that you won't have to ask us what kind of boat you should buy and will know why the Hardin is probably not a great choice for whatever you want to do with a boat.

I do not mean this as a put down in any way. We all had to start somewhere. I think that I completely understand where you are coming from. When I bought my first 'live aboard' in 1973 it was a totally inappropriate choice that simply captured my imagination.


MarthaT 01-14-2009 11:05 AM


Originally Posted by soon2sail (Post 431808)
you all rock! I think I may have found my tribe in the sailing community.

tis a great place

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