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Tanny 11-09-2009 09:59 AM

Too Much Boat?
Hello everyone,

I'm in the process of researching before buying a boat to live aboard and single hand - probably in the Caribbean. I'm planning on doing this alone, at least to start, I'm 57 and have no family - and I don't have a lot of sailing experience. I'm going to the USVI in April to take an extensive Ocean Sailing and Navigation course. My experience to date is many years ago in university - took a good, basic sailing course and went on a few cruises, piloted by others.

I've posted questions here about rigging for single-handed sailing a 34-40 foot boat and got some excellent advice.

I've also read a few other threads on this site about cruising.

Up to now, I've identified the following 'needs'.

1. I want to spend as little time in a slip as possible - preferring to try being 'on the hook', so storage of water, fuel, waste and basic living needs is important. I'm quite comfortable being on my own and don't want to blow the budget on slip fees.

2. From what I've learned here and from my own research is that a cutter rig with furled 100% yankee headsail (to clear the mid-stay when tacking), self-tending furled staysail, gale sail that can be raised over the furled yankee, no furling on the main (unreliable), below deck autopilot (and wheel mounted autopilot back-up) are what is recommended for single-handed sailing - although some people recommended a fractional sloop.

My budget is $80k - $100k for a used boat that would suit my needs - but I wouldn't mind spending less. So far I've been looking at the 20-30 year old Tayana and Hans Christian because of their large tankage, sturdiness and good below deck storage. Don't know if insurance would be an issue with older boats like these.

Here's my question.

Am I crazy?

I don't want to spend tens of thousands every year on maintenance and repairs (I'm not currently all that knowledgeable about doing my own repairs), and I certainly don't want to get a boat that would prove too big for me to handle either at sea or when docking. I've read that 'smaller is better' for cruising, meaning lower costs and fewer worries - and I really don't intend on sailing across oceans any time soon.

Do I need to re-evaluate my criteria - and look for a smaller boat?

Your advice and responses would be greatly appreciated...


Zanshin 11-09-2009 10:14 AM

If you intend on remaining in the Caribbean islands then your boat options go up, since you don't need a rock-solid bulletproof "bluewater" cruiser. While I don't have many of the financial constraints that others do, I think that bigger is better; there is a lot more space, storage and living, in a bigger boat, it tends to be faster and much more comfortable. I have furling main and foresail and have never had issues with either and wouldn't want to handle the 49' without either system - so far I have never had to go forward in bad conditions and I singlehand most of the time.
Ex-charter boats can be had for good prices in the USVI/BVI that will be more than enough for your intended use.

Tanny 11-09-2009 11:03 AM


Gorgeous boat! Unfortunately, my financial restraints require me to think a bit 'smaller'.

I don't know about a used charter boat. Most of them are Beneteaus and their tankage capacities are tiny. Plus I just worry about the shape they're likely to be in after being used as bareboat charters.

My reasons for a 'rock-solid bulletproof bluewater' boat are mainly tankage capacity and sturdiness - not bluewater capabilities. Maybe my criteria is unwise, but that's the reason for my original question regarding the state of my mental health.

Do you live on your Jeanneau, or do you have a land base? What are your yearly maintenance costs?


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