45 CC cutters are the most popular cruising boats...huh?
While the tone of the last post was moderately negative about the 45CC boat, the facts are for the most part right. Count me in the 40-45CC early retiree class. Early 50''s couple wanting to retire and "cruise the islands". I''ve 35 years of sailing experience, including a wide mix of: racing, Other-Peoples-Boats (OPB''s), chartering, deliveries, offshore. Also a stint with powerboats when kids were small.
When we were younger, the 30+'' capable boat was fine--sailed to Bermuda and more with no refrig, few electronics, no showers, sextant for nav, etc. Today, we want many of the comforts of home. The good autopilot, inverter, coffee maker, stereo & DVD player, email, Iridium phone, electronic charting, pressure hot & cold water, refrig/freezer. And the nice aft cabin, with lots of teak and some room to stretch out. We prefer to sleep aft, where the slap of the waves isn''t loud, and where were not "playing footsey" in the V-berth with little footroom. The CC gives us a real engine room, separate salon and aft cabin areas, a v-berth primarily for storage--the layout really works for us.
Is this bad, good or indifferent? None of those. Just different strokes for different folks. We still want decent sailing performance, but comfort at anchor is also important.
Did we upgrade the rig--sure. Big new 58 ST winches at $3K a pop. Furling on genoa and main. Removable inner forestay. Lines led to the cockpit. Big anchor windlass. Dual fuel filters. May heavy weather give us some challenges--sure--but hopefully 35 years of sailing experience and better judgment will offset the larger boat, greater forces, and less athletic ability. One can argue the merits of this rig vs that one all day. Very smart experienced people will come to different conclusions. We can all learn from their experience and ideas. And many posts on this neat BB do just that--share these great ideas. But in the final analysis, it is up to the individual cruiser what works for them.
So count us among those for whom the "42.5 CC" is ideal. Will we go around the world, or just island hop in the Bahamas and Caribbean? Who knows? Others have taken this model boat around the world, and it has survived major storms, so it is possible. But I suspect that if and when we stop cruising, it will be more for lack of creature comforts found on shore than for any other reason. So balance between sailing and comfort is important.
If we were 30, instead of 50+, we would get the 30-35'' aft cockpit well-built boat and just go. But at this stage of life, that is too much like camping, and too likely to shorten our cruising.
Cruising too is all about acceptance. I admire the folks in their 20''s and 30''s (or older) who take off in a 30'' boat--in many respects I wish we had done the same. So, don''t be critical of folks who make a different decision. Don''t automatically assume they know nothing about sailing or the sea or are making stupid decisions, or would reverse themselves "if they had only known". They might have thought it out very very carefully and made the judgment that was right for them.
The only advice that is appropriate, IMHO, to others thinking of the cruising life is: Don''t blindly follow ANY stereotype. Get experience, get advice, then make the decision that works for you.