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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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Old 10-02-2013
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How small is too small?

Hi,

I am brand new to the forums and have many questions regarding every aspect of cruising and living aboard a boat. The number one question is, how small is too small? Let me add some background to this so you will consider the required need not a blanket statement.

I have no blue water sailing at this point in time. That said my idea of an RV is a 19í Class-B Van. The boat would be crewed by myself. The plan is to buy a boat in California. From there cross the Pacific to Hawaii.

I have been looking on Yachtworld at boats and the prices on boats in the 25-29í range. I plan on using every aid to sail that I can. I donít want to offend any traditional sailors but, I'm looking at this with an eye to automation. Using every method available to sail safely and comfortably with just myself while passage making is the goal.

These small boats offer a world of options the larger boats donít or canít and one of the most profound is costs. I will probably stir up a hornets nest with this post and that is not my intent, I truly want objective advise on operating a smaller boat.

Jay
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Old 10-02-2013
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How small is too small?

Having grown up on a Catalina 22 and now on a p-35, I'd say for that crossing, I personally wouldn't go smaller than something like a cape dory 27.
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Old 10-02-2013
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Re: How small is too small?

Nonsuch 26 or 30. Enjoy.
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How small is too small?

Good call. Nonesuch is easy to singlehand. Look at the list of pocket cruisers and small blue water boats that have been published and are all over this site, and fair winds.
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Re: How small is too small?

It's hard to tell what you can put up with by looking at pictures. I would suggest that you find a local club and sail on other people's boats to get an idea of what you can tolerate if your plan is to go as small as possible.

In the meantime, here's one site devoted to small boat cruising: Atom Voyages - Home

Best of luck.
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Re: How small is too small?

And another:

The Adventures of Tiny Bubbles
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Re: How small is too small?

When I was a teen, a Japanese guy sailed from Japan to SF on a 19 foot sailboat. How small is too small?
But as it seems you have already surmised, comfort is very important and that, unlike size, should determine the boat you choose.
As for California to Hawaii, an old lady in a bathtub could make that trip. You don't even need to know how to navigate; just follow the jet contrails that pass overhead every 20 minutes.
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Re: How small is too small?

Go to atomvoyages.com there is a list of 71 sailboats they classify as bluewater ranging in size from 20 to 31 feet with a brief review on each, really an interesting read, also bluewaterboats.org which is even more detailed.
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Re: How small is too small?

Couple of thoughts. Sailing from California to Hawaii is a lot easier than sailing back, so consider what you want to do when you get there.

As a former Nonsuch owner and experienced blue water sailor I would not recommend one for offshore. There are not many things to break with the rig, but almost any malfunction becomes a big issue. Also, your options for reducing sail behind two reefs are limited. I tried three reef points but the wishbone was not well-supported then. Final thought, they are quite expensive because they are such terrific coastal cruisers.

In our travels the small boat we have seen most often are Vega 27s. Think we have seen four of them between the Caribbean, Australia, and South Africa. All were having pleasant circumnavigations with no more issues than bigger boats. Only about six or other boats up to about 33' and no duplicates, although I seem to remember 2 Moody 34s.

Can you do it? Of course, but there is a considerable learning. Try too many shortcuts and you could get yourself into trouble.
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Re: How small is too small?

Contessa 26?

Sailboat Listings sailboats for sale by owner.

just a thought.

Rik
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