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post #1 of 6 Old 01-16-2002 Thread Starter
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Crusising alone

What is the largest boat a single person could handle on a voyage across an ocean?
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-16-2002
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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.

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post #3 of 6 Old 01-16-2002
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Crusising alone

I regularly single hand my boat which is a 47''cutter rigged sloop. She grosses out at some 37,000lbs. She has all furling sails and everything runs back to the cockpit. The times where extra bodies come in handy are when docking and anchoring. However it is amazing what you can do with a properly
prepared spring line and I never hesitate to ask for help on the dock if I feel uncomfortable with conditions. When anchoring, I prepare well in advance and will have a proper amount of chain on deck prior to reaching my chosen anchoring spot. Using a trip line,which I run back to the cockpit, I can release the anchor right from the cockpit or I can use the windlass since I have a switch for it in the cockpit also. Retrieving the anchor is also done from the cockpit by using the windlass once again. The greater issue however, is the ability to maintain a proper watch--in spite of all the furling gear, autopilots, self steering gear and electronics this is the greatest challenge to any singlehander and it really has very little to do with the size of the boat. I guess one could make the argument that the larger the boat, the more potential for fatigue and therefore it becomes more difficult to maintain a proper watch. However, in my opinion, a relatively large vessel can be equipped for single handing ie. the various around the world alone races,
but one really has to wonder as to what kind of watch is being maintained.
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post #4 of 6 Old 03-02-2002
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I just bought a project boat. It''s a 24'' 1970 Aquarius. It was built in Costa Mesa, CA and I understand the company no longer exists.

I''m trying to find out what I can before I tear into the renovation.

Would appreciate any info I can get.

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post #5 of 6 Old 03-03-2002
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My first boat (1981) was an Aquarius 23, sloop rigged, with a rudder that went through the cockpit floor. The outboard was mounted on a cutout in the transom, rather than on a separate mount. It had a 1/4 inch steel plate centerboard (as I recall about 350#) and 900# of lead ballast in a very shallow skeg on the hull. Boat drew about 18" of water with the centerboard up.

I think over 2500 of these were built, and back in the mid 80''s you could still get a rudder assembly from a company that had molds.

There used to be NASA (the National Aquarius Sailing (Sailboat?) Association). I don''t know if it is active.

Sorry I can''t be more help.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-12-2002
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Only a few of us Ol'' Graybeards will remember them. The Aquarius has little reputation of value to go on and nearly zilch for resale value. Be very careful how much effort and especially $$ you spend on a "restoration." I have been a professional broker for over 25 yrs. I seriously doubt you will be able to get rid of it after it is completed --- beyond a charitable donation. Sorry to be a bringer of bad tidings.
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