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  #1  
Old 08-18-2003
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What size boat?

I am starting out sailing and I am wondering what size boat will be as big as I need and as small I can be. I live on the west coast in Oregon and I would like to go to the caribean, san juans, maybe even Hawii or from the east coast to spain. I do not worry about extras too much. I am a prety hearty person. I am wondering how long of a boat I can get away with to safely sail these distances.
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Old 08-18-2003
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What size boat?

Aaron
You need a voyager and because they are built for open water the price is proportionally higher. You could sail these distinations in something as small as the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 it depends on how well you sail and what level of risk is exceptable. But the boats built by Pacific Seacraft (any of them) would be enough boat to do what you are thinking of.
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Old 08-18-2003
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What size boat?

Aaron
You need a voyager and because they are built for open water the price is proportionally higher. You could sail these distinations in something as small as the Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 it depends on how well you sail and what level of risk is exceptable. But the boats built by Pacific Seacraft (any of them) would be enough boat to do what you are thinking of.
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Old 08-19-2003
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What size boat?

For some reason this question has come up a lot lately. My best advice is that you are really looking for two different boats here; one to learn to sail on and one to go voyaging. Of course, to some extent that depends on whether you really want to sail well or just learn enough to get out of the slip and get back which is actually acceptable to many sailors.

If you really want to learn to sail, I would suggest that you buy a comparatively light and responsive, 23 to 28 foot sloop with a fin keel and spade rudder with a tiller and just plain sail the living daylights out of her until you can make sail adjustments and steer by second nature without having to think about it. I also suggest that you read a lot not just cruising books but books about sail trim and boat design so that you really understand the dynamics of sailing.

Once you have done that for a few years you will know what is the right boat for YOU to take voyaging.

With regards to the smallest boat to "safely sail these distances", when it comes time to go voyaging, my best recommendation is that you size the boat by displacement (weight) and not by length. In a general sense, displacement really tells much more about the size of the boat than length. The traditional rule of thumb is that you need 2 1/2 to 5 long tons of displacement per person to carry all of the supplies, and gear required for distance cruising. (With better gear and the perceived needs for more stuff pushing the upper limit towards 6 or 7 long tons of displacement per person.) So, if you are going to cruising single-hand, you can figure that the smallest boat that you would want to use for distance voyaging in would be roughly 5500 lbs. with perhaps 7-8,000 being a little easier and more comfortable.

Lengthwise, this would be a roughly 27 to 32 footer. Within reason, the longer boat (especially if the length is measured at the waterline) would tend to be more seaworthy, easier to handle, faster, offer a more comfortable motion and have more room down below. While you might be able to crowd this kind of displacement onto a shorter boat, it would come at the price of poorer sailing abilities.

The kind of boat that you might take on a distance voyage such as you are proposing would make a lousey first boat to learn to sail on even if it was virtually the same length as the boat that you chose to go voyaging on. The good news is that the kinds of boats that work well to learn to sail on, can be bought cheaply and can often be sold for what you paid for them a year or two later.

Good luck,
Jeff
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Old 08-19-2003
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What size boat?

Single handed? Aboat a 5-8 ton boat should be the right size for a single person doing that voyage. Look at an open 50 or an open 60. I hear someone even circumnavigated single handed in one of these!

BTW, you are already a proficient sailor with offshore experience before your considering making these trecks right?

-- James

(you know, there are times I know that someone with my level of (in)experience REALY shouldnt mock, and I dont blame the guy, but this is the third one today)
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Old 08-19-2003
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What size boat?

in all seriousness, look at some of the other posts on the exact same topic. the answer is:

get a small boat and learn to sail.

get time crewing for people who know what they''re doing on bigger boats.

then you''ll already know 90% of what you''re looking for, and then you can check the pro''s and cons of a specific type of boat.

-- James
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Old 08-19-2003
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What size boat?

On the west coast of Oregon unless you are in a protected bay or harbor or in the Columbia, you pretty much are sailing in the Pacific ocean. With that in mind I would consider learning the basics in a class or on an experienced persons boat. If you were going to just get a boat and teach yourself, then I would start with something like a West Wight Potter 15 or 19 or a similar boat that is small enough to sail in a small harbor or trailer to a lake.
Once you cross the bar out of a harbor on the west coast you are in the big time on a lee shore and once the weather gets unpleasant you can''t always get back across the bar. For example the experienced charter captain that lost his boat his life and the lives of 11 passengers in Oregon this past fathers day.

You didnt say how much money you had to put into learning or buying, but if you are loaded, I suggest going to a sailing school and then chartering different boats to see what you like. There are a lot of schools and charter companies in or near the San Juans as well as the Carribean and most likely nearly everywhere else too.

Ken
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