Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 181 Times in 147 Posts
Rep Power: 10
I am not sure if your question literally means what it seems to be asking so I will answer it two ways. If memory serves me well, The largest boat a person has singlehanded across the Atlantic was Club Med at 234 feet long back in the 1970''s. Today, Open Class 60''s and 60 foot trimarans are routinely raced across the Atlantic.
If you are asking what is the largest cruising boat that a person can conveniently cruise solo across the Atlantic the answer gets more complex. I think that somewhere in the mid to upper forty foot range is a reasonably practical limit for most of us mortals with significanly smaller length being much easier to handle.
Dispite that I started out answering your question using length as a primary measurement, I also think that using length as a limit is a poor way to answer this question. A better way to look at this question is to look at the biggest displacement boat that makes sense for solo cruising. If you look at traditional cruising books, a range between 3 and 5 or 6 (long)tons of displacement per person is typically cited as ideal. With modern sail handling equipment and lighter stronger modern sail cloth, and generally easier to sail rigs, this perhaps can be pushed up to a displacement of 7 or maybe 8 long tons of displacement per person.
The traditional standard typically translated into single-handers that were between 25 and 35 feet in length. This of course gets pushed upward with more modern designs. I do a lot of single-handing. In the years leading up to my purchase of my current boat, I sailed on a lot of boats where owners permitted me to single-hand for part of the time out on the water. I found that as a comparably small single-hander (5''9 and 165lbs), there was a really noticeable limit for me after which single-handing became a lot of work and a lot less easy. That limit seemed to occur at around 13000 to 14000 lbs of displacement and around 35 to 38 feet in length, with displacement being a better determinent than length (i.e. a 16000 lb 32 footer was much harder to single hand than the 10,600 lb 38 footer I ended up buying.) I found that I really wanted to stay below about 12,000 lbs if I was going to daysail or weekend single-handed conveniently.
I hope this answers the question that you were actually asking.