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post #1 of 6 Old 11-10-2003 Thread Starter
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What size can we handle

Hi All:
My wife and I are planning to buy our first big cruising boat and after searching for the right manufacturer we decided on a Jeanneau but we still donít make our mind on witch length will be the right one, I mean up to how many feet can we go (40í or 42í46í48íor even 50í) with no problem on handling it just the two of us. We are thinking on long time on board and long trips in blue waters. We have being sailing on a Hunter 35.5 on weekends, and we find that to live on board is to small. Opinions on this subject are more than welcome.
Dreamer ~~~__/) ~~
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post #2 of 6 Old 11-10-2003
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What size can we handle

In actuality, you are the only ones qualified to answer your own question. The best anyone else can do is lead you through the process of arriving at it.

Perhaps you should consider what size will be managable by only one of you in the event the other is unable to lend a hand. This consideration may not be as limiting as you as might think. More boats are being outfitted with electronic and electrical systems that make aspects of sailing less strenuous. Thus, a large boat could be single-handed by someone who''s not in tip-top physical condition.

Naturally, all these work saving devices come at a monetary and electrical supply expense. However, large boats usually have enough storage capacity for more batteries, and/or other electrical supply equipment. The question then comes down to, "How much can you afford?"

~ Happy sails to you ~ _/) ~
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post #3 of 6 Old 11-10-2003
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What size can we handle

Exactly. How much can you afford? You could easily sail a 130 foot boat all by yourself. Look at all the French guys who do! All you need is the wherewithal to have a helicopter come pick you off the boat when the daiquiri machine decides to quit. Or the generator. Or the electic halyard winch, or the gps, or the radio, or the sheet winches, or the engine, or the roller-furler, or any of the other stuff that you''d need to have in order to make it possible to handle a boat that is in all actuality bigger than you can handle by yourself. I would not want to put the safety of my vessel, my wife, or myself at the mercy of an electrical circuit 500 miles south of Newfoundland, thank you. The more there is, the more there is to break, and the sea will find any and every weakness. If you are contemplating "blue water" sailing, less is more. IMHO that 40'' would be plenty enough to handle generally, and especially in a storm. (I wouldn''t trust an autopilot on a stock boat in 20'' waves, would you? ) The Vendee Globe guys do, but they find themselves upside down from time to time. Of course they then have the wherewithal to retrieve their boats, re-right them, re-rig them, buy new sails and set off again.

If you look around at different layouts you will likely find one that makes better use of space for what you want than the Hunter you''re used to, even if it isn''t a lot (or any) bigger. Have fun, but think first.
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post #4 of 6 Old 12-03-2003
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What size can we handle

My wife & I are 48 and 44, and not in the best of shape. We can sail a 40-footer with reasonable ease, in seas up to 6-8ft. More than that, well, I''ll be at the bar! IMHO for a boat that size and only two people you need rollerfurl main and jib, windlass, and autopilot. I would not want to go above 45-feet, and certainly would not want to rely on an electric winch offshore to trim my sails.
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post #5 of 6 Old 12-03-2003
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What size can we handle

If you are not in good shape, what do you do when the roller furling mainsail jambs? It is one thing to clear a jambed HIHO mainsail with a crew of young gorillas and an entirely another thing when it is just two of you and you are ''48 and 44, and not in the best of shape''. You are precisely the people who should have a mainsail with slugs and a slab reefing system.

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post #6 of 6 Old 12-04-2003
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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.

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