Originally Posted by Jack Tar
Nice story, thanks for posting it.
Thanks, Brian. I wish more people would post little trip reports and photos of simple daysails, races and small cruises. I like the break from the gear talk and boat debates.
As for a sleep-aboard boat, it's amazing what's been done with kids. I've heard of sailing familes with five kids that would spend weeks on a 29 footer in the San Juans (usually with kids sleeping in the cocpit under a cover). One should note that the Martin Family
did a seven year circumnavigation on a Cal 25, having two kids along the way and a third at the end.
Alas, I don't think I'm up to their level. We found in our area that we could buy a nice 27 footer for around $9-12k, but a nice 29 footer would be around $18k to $20k. Seemed like a big jump for two more feet. Of the 27s we saw, the Nor'Sea was a tank but too expensive. The C&C was our choice, followed by Cal 27s, Ericson 27s, Cascade 27s and Catalina 27s after that.
With three small kids, our C&C 27 would do it, but it would be cramped. The V berth is a touch small for two adults, and the dinette berth is wide but not quite wide enough for two adults. Thus, we have two kids in the V berth, one of us on the starboard settee, and one on the dinette set down. In the future, we'll add a board and some cushions to make one queen-sized bed in the main cabin for us.
From sailing club boats, we knew the kids loved the dinette arrangement for playing while we sailed, and it's nice for eating together. The boat doesn't have any quarter berths extending below the cabin.
If I had three kids, and I wanted to keep the boat for five years, I'd think about the size of the kids later on. With three, I'd be sorely tempted to try to find a 29 or 30 footer, just for the breathing room, and one with at least one quarter berth beneath the cockpit. Another major objective would be a V berth big enough for the parents.
You might want to rent a few boats in the 27-32 foot range and go out with your kids in them. Even if you can't do an overnight, you might get some good ideas from what works and doesn't from even a four-hour daysail. Watch Craigslist in your area for deals, and don't forget to scrutinize the engine as closely as the hull-- engine problems can be disasterously expensive to resolve.
Even if I had to borrow a few thousand, something like this
would tempt me...