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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


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Old 09-06-2006
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Family sailboat for single-handing - max size?

I'm an experienced motorboater but relatively new to sailing. I want to buy a boat large enough for a family of 4 for a week, but small enough for me to sail single-handed as well on inland lakes with up to force 3/4 winds. Would a 30-footer (around 3.5 tonnes) be reasonable?
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Old 09-06-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IrishSkipper
I'm an experienced motorboater but relatively new to sailing. I want to buy a boat large enough for a family of 4 for a week, but small enough for me to sail single-handed as well on inland lakes with up to force 3/4 winds. Would a 30-footer (around 3.5 tonnes) be reasonable?
Large enough for a family of four - four people and their gear can fit into most 30's, whether that is large enough really depends on your comfort expectations. My opinion is 30' gets sort of tight even if two are children, you should spend a night ot two on similar size boats to decide what your comfort expectations are.

As to single-handing, I think that is more a factor of gear setup than of boat size. If all lines are lead to the cockpit, you have at least jib furling and you have adequately sized self-tailing primaries, a single person can handle most any size boat. If the primaries and mainsheet are located so the helmsperson can reach them from the steering location, that takes the sweat out of it. I single-hand my 36' all the time.
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Old 09-06-2006
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Anything above 35' will be a bit much for you to single-hand, especially given your limited sailing experience. While I agree that the gear setup is much more of a factor than boat size, as sailingfool says, this is true only to a point. When it comes to docking, anchoring, and such, the larger boats are more difficult and may be more than you would be comfortable with.

You might be better off looking at 32' rather than 30' boats, as the two feet makes a substantial difference in interior volume in many cases.

You should also be concerned about the boat's draft. Many inland lakes may have depth problems. A shallower draft boat will also be able to access more of the lake as sailing grounds.
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Old 09-06-2006
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Well...30' in a nice beamy boat like a Catalina 30 will be crowded but doable for a week for parents and 2 kids. You can single-hand one easily and frankly, there is not much diference between single handing a 36 vs. a 30 if the boat is set up right. Despite my own center cockpit preference and the privacy it affords one with a rear stateroom...for single handing an aft cockpit works a bit better as you come into the dock. The main thing you'll need to adjust to is the different weight and momentum between power boats and 30-36' sailboats as you come into the dock. Buy some big fenders!
Out on the lake, my own experience is that bigger boats are easier to handle as they heel less and are generally well set up with whees, autopilots and big winches that make it pretty easy to manage things.
Good luck!
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Thanks very much for those replies. I have my eye on a Dufour Classic 30 with a 4-foot draught and am trialling it on Saturday. It has self-tailing winches and enough fenders to float the Titanic.
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Old 09-12-2006
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I would add that a 34 - 36 foot boat is a better size for what you intend. If rigged properly with lines led aft and with the right keel configuration it would be easy enough to handle in and out of slip.
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