Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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I'd have to disagree...you don't need a 40' boat. People have been cruising the seas in smaller boats for decades. Larry & Lin Pardey have cruised and lived aboard boats under 30' LOA for years. Smaller boats are often more forgiving in many cases, since the forces involved are much smaller. This is something that Beth Leonard points out in her book, The Voyager's Handbook, 2nd edition.
The recent trend towards larger boats is just that...a recent trend. I'd also point out that the level of seamanship has gone down as the boat size has gone up in many ways.
I'm also a strong advocate of people being on a boat that any of the full-time adult crew can singlehand in all conditions. That isn't always possible on the larger boats. Once you get above 40' LOA, the sail, the lines, the anchors, all start to get large enough that handling them without powered assistance is difficult. And, as Beth Leonard points out in her book, the powered gear doesn't help you when you have to haul the sails out of the locker or bring the anchor out from inside the cabin.
Also, the cost, both initial and on-going, are much higher as the boat gets larger. A good compromise between too small and too big would be a boat in the 33-37' range or so. Many boats in this range have the tankage and stowage required for longer passages and enough room to be comfortable to live aboard for extended periods of time when not cruising.
Just remember that as a rule of thumb, the costs associated with owning a boat double for each 10' of boat length. Typically, a 40' boat costs twice as much to own and maintain as a 30' boat. Also, boats don't grow in size linearly, but geometrically. A 40' boat isn't 33% larger than a 30' boat, but more like 137% larger or over twice the size, as it has gotten taller, wider and longer.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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