Cruising boat with headroom: recommendations? - SailNet Community

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Old 05-05-2011
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Question Cruising boat with headroom: recommendations?

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Last edited by Chris12345; 06-17-2012 at 02:52 PM. Reason: retiring from sailnet, need to get a life...
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Old 05-05-2011
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Not sure about headroom, but singlehanding has a lot more to do with whether halyards, reef lines etc are led aft to the cockpit than the type of boat.
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Old 05-06-2011
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Headroom and Single Handing

Last fall I acquired a 1980 36' S2 11.0 aft cockpit. She is just shy of your 6'4 headroom request at 6'3 listed in the specs. The center cockpit version seems more rare and a little more pricey, probably has similar headroom. After researching and looking at many boats, and sailing not a year yet, I find it to be a solidly build boat, reasonably fast for size and moderately heavy displacement,and am very happy with her. Its has comfortable accommodations... but its shy of your 6'4

Although it's taking some getting used too, handling a 36' boat alone is working. I agree with the aft led lines, a must for single handing, and an added autopilot I've found a huge help ... you do have to leave the helm to raise or drop the sails or tack, going aforedeck to deal with fenders, or just to go below to grab a soda or a jacket. You can lock the wheel or tie off a tiller, but that's not quite as reliable the longer your away from the helm. For long passages they say a wind-vane steering system is useful but I'm not there yet... I've found the mainsail is big and a fight to control when dropping, especially when taking it down in a breeze, and will add lazy jacks soon to help with that...but even without lazy jacks, the mainsail is barely manageable in a good 15-20knot breeze by myself (thanks to my buddy the Autopilot) Everyone Ive gotten to know says lazy jacks or a Dutchman system will make it easier, and safer, when alone on the boat. A mainsail furling system is a more expensive upgrade I am not considering now, but a roller furling jib is invaluable when sailing by yourself....somewhere I read that a cutter, ketch or yawl rig allows for more easily handled sails as they can be smaller relative to equal sail area on a larger sloop rig,...I can see their point. Downside is more complicated to sail, (everything is a trade-off) but if you're looking at boats bigger than 33-38ft, that might be an option.

I would say docking the boat on my own when the wind is up is my biggest challenge, but it is still manageable. More weight is more momentum, harder to fend off from the dockbox (my biggest enemy) especially when the wind starts to shove her over.... I can't imagine handling a much bigger boat than this alone. Lucky their are some really awesome people on my dock that are happy to help when they're around. Last thought... if you find a boat with your basic necessities, its general more cost effective than adding it on later, its starts to add up quickly, I'm learning that pre-warned lesson first hand.

Happy searching....
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Thumbs up Single handed sailing under 45 foot

2 boats to consider: the Dufour 405 Grand Large, this was European boat of the year in 2010. The other is the Jeanneau 409 which was European boat of the year in 2011.
You can have a self tacking jib on either of them. You can also add a motorised winch to help putting up your main or have in-mast furling.
Both are great boats,I have actually just bought a Dufour 405 to sail on my own when required.
The two boats also have very good headroom and are configured to sail single-handed with all controls in the cockpit at hand.

Another option but bigger and pricier would be the Hanse 445. This has a self-tacking jib as well.

There are others but the 2 I have listed have a good reputation and are well built production boats and well priced.
I have to admit I have just acquired a Dufour 405 having spent months researching the boat to suit the same purpose you have listed.
Good luck
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Old 05-06-2011
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Also consider the Hanse 443.
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Old 05-06-2011
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We have a 2008 Beneteau that fits your requirements. Plenty of headroom, winches right in front of each helm, all lines led to the cockpit, autopilot to help with tacking, bow thruster to help with tight quarter maneuvering.
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Old 05-06-2011
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IF you can find one a New Bombay Trading Company Explorer 44 has the required head room a very large shower and can be single handed fairly comfortably.

I would not want to take it down to the Southern Ocean as the cockpit is large it copes well with rough conditions and is a fast old lady. It is nice to plan passages at 6 knots and expect to do better!

AND yes I do have one. NOT FOR HIRE OR SALE!
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It would be great if the listing brokers or even some of the spec web sites would list headroom but ie seems to be a hit & miss thing, not to mention when someone says 6'4" headroom & it turns out to be more like 6'2"
a couple of boats I have looked at over 6'4" headroom . morgan 452, 462 the morgan 41 oi are ok in main cabin, whitby 42, pearson 424 (maybe 422 also) most larger new production boats have lots of headroom (just visit the boat show)

Maybe we need to start a sail net tip top club to share info on boats for enhanced people?
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Old 05-06-2011
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I have a friend whom is 5'23" and sails an older Peterson Island 41, seems to work ok for him. Spouse is just over 6' herself.

With that, as mentioned, some of the newer Jeanneau's especially the DS versions have plenty of headroom, now, if they have enough for you! that is another story.

Another couple I know, he is about 6'3to5" they have a Catalina 420, I believe he has headroom through out, I should be seeing him in a bit and over the weekend at Seattle's opening day fun, so will ask. Right now we are tied together at another YC.

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Getting 6'4" headroom in a boat under 40 ft involves some serious compromises:

1) high cabin top = weight high = tender
And/or
2) deep hull = excess wetted surface = slow
And/or
3) thin grid at keel = flexing structure = leaks


Head room should be consideration, but only one of many. Most important considerations should be centered on sailing qualities.
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