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  #11  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

We sail 44 ft.

For us the biggest issue is really haul-outs - and it's not about cost which is only marginally more expensive.

When in the South Pacific or any other wide cruising area (perhaps the Caribbean is the same) if you have a problem that requires the boat to come out, there will be nowhere in the islands that a 50 ft boat can be hauled out. Even at 44 ft we're marginal and many places are not equipped for this.

As for sailing 44ft, I have over the years upgraded from 26 to 33 to 36 and now to 44 and I can't say I have any issues managing the bigger size. Whilst I have no intention of going any further up in size (this boat is my last), the prospect doesn't frighten me.

Certainly I would not sacrifice the comfort of our boat for the alleged ease of handling something smaller.
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  #12  
Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

Issue for us was could we sail the boat if everything breaks i.e. power winches, autopilot, pressure water, chartplotters etc. As a couple on the way over the hill 46' was just right. Two private staterooms/heads so no long term visitors unless we want. Can sail the thing regardless of failures, dedicated mechanical/work room. But still enough LWL for excellent hull speed. Think for a couple mid 40s is perfect. Still can sleep 7 without hot bunking but small enough to easily handle. Getting in adout of slips is still a horror show but we're learning.
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Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

Based on my unbiased experience (since I don't own a boat) I found the optimal combination of comfort, space, complexity and cost for a couple or a small group being 46'-52'. Assuming that O&M costs are affordable (and I agree that the money-pit becomes exponentially wider and deeper with the LOA) it will be difficult to downsize once one gets used to the comfort. And if one feels lonely on a big boat there is never lack of people willing to join.
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
There are many 55 ft boats that can be easily sailed by a couple even solo.

Paulo
I know Dashew and others have been making large boats that can be run by a couple or solo, but those solutions have the problems I mentioned. The complexity of the systems, with thrusters, power winches, generators, zoned air conditioning, and much more, all add up to the fact that the boat is far less "personal". It's not just that the large boats are expensive. They either take a lot of crew (management problems) or they have labor saving systems to allow short crew. The labor saving systems leave the skipper highly subject to electromechanical failures (cannot raise the sail w/o power winch) and are too complex for a single skipper to self-maintain.

GTJ
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Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

SailingJackson - while everyone is welcome to an opinion, when it comes to singlehanding bigger boats, with offshore passages and equipment failures and complex systems, there are those who say it cannot be done and then there are others who just go out and do it.

My point is that there enough people doing successful big-boat shorthanded sailing to show that it can be done. While it might be imprudent, or perhaps dangerous, or inadvisable to do this, it can be done.
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Last edited by Zanshin; 01-31-2014 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Added paragraph
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Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaramaz View Post
May I, humbly, point out that Europe is large, has a corresponding variation what regards "difficulty in finding space".

Best

J
You are right. I was referring to popular cruising places, particularly the Med.

Regards

Paulo
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Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingJackson View Post
I know Dashew and others have been making large boats that can be run by a couple or solo, but those solutions have the problems I mentioned. The complexity of the systems, with thrusters, power winches, generators, zoned air conditioning, and much more, all add up to the fact that the boat is far less "personal". It's not just that the large boats are expensive. They either take a lot of crew (management problems) or they have labor saving systems to allow short crew. The labor saving systems leave the skipper highly subject to electromechanical failures (cannot raise the sail w/o power winch) and are too complex for a single skipper to self-maintain.

GTJ
I don't understand your point. You said that you have plenty of money so what is the problem with maintenance? When you do maintenance of systems you don't sail. Pay someone else to do the job and if the boat starts to give too much maintenance get a new one, assuming as you said you don't have money limitations. New models are always better than older ones, nicer and with better performance.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 01-31-2014 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post

My point is that there enough people doing successful big-boat shorthanded sailing to show that it can be done. While it might be imprudent, or perhaps dangerous, or inadvisable to do this, it can be done.
Well, I'd amend that slightly - to sometimes... by some people... :-)

Stanley Paris originally planned to go without any electric winches on KIWI SPIRIT... Then, after she was launched, they figured out he was unable to raise the mainsail without one, so it was added...

One of the major contributors to the failure of his voyage, was the destruction of one of his headstay furlers after wrapping one of his spinnaker halyards at the upper swivel... The evidence would appear to indicate that he probably left his finger on that winch button just a bit too long... :-)


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Old 01-31-2014
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

First I must say that I really enjoy working on my boat its kind of my zen... I love to sail, but to be fair I enjoy fiddling with my boat almost as much. We do 90% of all our maintenance, even with the more complex systems, none of it is rocket science, though some of the electrical can feel like it at times. The only thing I won't do is the exterior paint work, not because I am incapable, I choose not to. As to the safety of sailing the larger boat- the Ketch rig helps somewhat, the all in boom furling is additional help, and we have significant redundancy in the sail handling systems. There are five electric winches and back up, upon back up. I suppose it all could fail, but I'm thinking that is unlikely. The setup to single hand this boat is not entirely complex, but is not by any stretch of the imagination an inexpensive endeavor to set up. The boat can be sailed from the cockpit only with no need to go forward. The boom furlers allow the sails to be dropped easily in an emergency if there is a jam. I have yet to have a problem with the furlers. Yes we have a thruster, which makes docking relatively easy, but we can and have done it without the thruster.

Now to the issue of space, I get that a lot of you are sailing couples, we are as well, but my guess is not all of you sail with five additional small sailors aboard. We have five kids on board full time, and two of them teenage boys. I think on a forty foot boat we might have to drag the kids behind in the dingy some days. LOL... Anyway that makes seven people on board full time. Five of us scuba dive, we have an air compressor on board and all our gear. Space is not an insignificant factor for us, and the alternatives have positives and some big negatives for our not so small crew.
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Re: Sailing "big boats"

TC - most impressive . Yes you truly need the space. People forget sometimes we all need some quite time ideally behind a closed door or up on the fore peak by yourself. With teens I expect that's even more apparent.
Other issue is at about mid forties wind vane self steering becomes less effective. Boat is moving faster and displacement greater. Then there is even more dependency on having electricity. At mid forties when the lights go off you can still sail the boat.raise,reef and strike.
People forget cruising isn't day sailing. Usually the main goes up and stays up a good part of the time. Even motoring if there is any wind you power sail when you can. Been debating about hydrovane v. second A.P. Design of stern makes any servo pendulum less appealing. And ease of having emergency rudder sounds nice with simplicity of hydro vane. ? Do you have backup if rudder fails.
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Last edited by outbound; 01-31-2014 at 11:13 PM.
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