Join Date: Jul 2002
Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts
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What size can we handle
JZ, here are a couple of ways to try arriving at an optimum length for your (blue water, indefinite cruising) plans.
But first, stop thinking in terms of length and begin looking at displacement. This more than length will govern space and strength of equipment (windlass, winches, thruster)you''ll need on the one hand...and indicate capacity, structural strength and to some degree comfort at sea, on the other.
One step to take is to pick up Voyagers Handbook by Beth Leonard and run through her chapter on budgeting for and selecting a boat. You may feel like you have a lot of bucks to lay out; she does a nice job of showing all the expense categories (some of them having nothing to do with sailing) that you''ll want to be sure are part of your financial plan.
Another step is to look at your current lifestyle. Do you routinely ignore the option of calling in the repairman and instead fix the washer, patch the roof, and care for the lawn and gardens by yourself? You''ll notice that the minute you seriously begin discussing bigger boats, the subject of equipment raises to and stays at the top of the list. This is because serious cruising will always make you dependent on reliable, strong gear. The catch is that we put LOTS more gear, much of it sophisticated and in need of parts and service on a regular basis, on our boats than used to be the case. The bigger the boat, the more gear and the more dependent you''ll be on it...and if you really do want to cruise, you''ll need a big tool box and spares locker, along with the firm commitment to maintain the boat and fix things at the most inconvenient of times. Is that you?
A third step would be to bareboat for a week, somewhere nice, on a boat approximating the size you think you''re interested in. Pick a spot reflective of your own initial cruising goals. The tropics? Pick the Caribbean or South Pacific and see what it''s like to cruise *where you want, in roughly the size boat you want* (this would be your ideal, right?) with the heat, bugs, squalls and whatever other things keep everyone from being out there with you. Cruising is a great experience...but it''s not for everyone. Take a dare, see what you think about being away from the U.S.infrastructure, 24/7 and perhaps this will firm up some thoughts about the boat you''ll want along with you.
Good luck; it''s a great experience.