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  #31  
Old 05-06-2014
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

Another part of HOW you'll use the boat, is WHERE you'll use it. Two of the best things about my boat are the 46' clearance and 4 1/2' Scheel keel. Which are definite pluses for East Coast/Gulf cruising. Having shoal draft, without a wing or bulb makes ungrounding easier, and with my clearance, I've been able to even get under 45' fixed bridges. One of the things that attracted me to the Ontario is that it was designed for just what I'm doing with her.

Another thing to keep in mind though, it's a lot easier to deal with a little too much boat, than a little too little.
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  #32  
Old 05-06-2014
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

My non negotiables:

Encapsulated keel
Skeg hung rudder
Centre cockpit
En-suite cabin with a double bunk for a 6'4" and a 5 ft f/all
En-suite double visitors accommodation.
Safe, strong, storm resistant
Fastish passage-maker.

This because my usage will soon be long term cruising in the South Pacific.

Fridges, watermaker, genset, etc. are all negotiable but as it happens, I will have them all by the time we leave.

So, short story, I already have the smallest boat I would be happy with - she's 44ft.
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  #33  
Old 05-06-2014
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeOReilly View Post
So I'm curious -- how did you choose your current boat?
The implication of your question is size, so most of my factors aren't relevant: island berth to avoid crawling over a partner on the way to the head, separate shower in the head, good point, speed in a seaway, galley a foodie can operate in, ....

With respect to size I determined that in the middle Chesapeake Bay the cost of slips over about 40' goes up faster than boat length AND the availability of such slips declines quickly. Even mooring balls for larger boats are hard to come by unless you sink your own. Since I knew I would be based in Annapolis for some time a 40' boat made sense for my needs.
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  #34  
Old 05-06-2014
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Smallest boat you can live with

Not much emphasis in these posts on loads. While there are exceptions, in general loads go up with boat size, which may not be problematic day-to-day but matter greatly when we all inevitably run into weather. Wrestling a jib to the deck because the furler jammed while sailing double-handed in a surprise 30 knts is going to be far easier in a 34' boat than a 44' boat.
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  #35  
Old 05-06-2014
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

I think focusing on one aspect of boat design such as "smallest" or "largest" might not be the best way to look at things. For me it's about finding the right balance.

We're very happy with our 30 footer on the bay, but we're moving to the Keys in three years. With the move will hopefully come more free time than we have now.

That has us asking questions like "how will our new cruising grounds change our sailing?", "will we be spending more time aboard, sail further distances, start doing trips to the islands?".

So we're trying to quantify what is really important to us. Then we'll figure out a budget. From there we'll come up with a list of boats tick most of the boxes.

The most surprising thing for me is I can see cats creeping onto the list.
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  #36  
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

We are strong believers in the concept: cruise in the smallest boat you can stand to live on.

We owned 5 boats over 30+ years starting with a 22 ft boat, maxing out at 52 ft, and ending up at 38 ft. The 52 had 3 air conditioners, a generator, power winches, power furling, 15 electric pumps, water maker, 2 heads with separate showers, etc. I believe there were never 7 consecutive days when everything worked. To replace a sail, I needed assistance just to move a sail bag. When everything worked, I single handed it. When things broke, not so much.

The 38 has simple systems, we had it built so that everything is accessible. There's nothing I cannot fix, but its so simple hardly anything breaks.

Our mission is coastal cruising and day sailing with an occasional passage for a couple. Admittedly if we were full time cruisers, I'd go bigger, but I'd try to live in the low 40's, trading up some complexity for more comfort.

On a small boat, you'll see the same sunset, you'll feel the wind more (less like driving a truck), you'll fit in smaller anchorages and marina's, you'll spend more time sailing/less time fixing stuff, you'll sail to moorings more often, and you'll spend less money. Operating costs are exponential increasing with length.

The ratio of fun / dollars is highest on the smallest boat you can stand - IMHO. I don't think we ever had more fun on any boat than we did on the first one, a little Pearson 22 with worn out sails, a compass and depth sounder for navigation, and a little outboard to push it when the wind died.
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  #37  
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

We chose ours with two things in mind.

First, it is our weekend home for 6 months of the year. We are aboard from Fri to Mon nearly every weekend from May through October. We are not interested in a six month camping trip. We've had our share of the minimalist thing. We have and will do so in short bursts, as necessary.

Second, we entertain a lot. Nearly every weekend we'll host friends, family, kids, etc. Often with 6 aboard. The deck salon allows everyone to be above without climbing all over each other. We tank 220 gallons of water and hold 77 gallons of waste. While we teach proper conservation, non-sailing guests are just more comfortable without the fear of running out of water and using home-style pump driven faucets, electric flush toilets, air conditioning and a genset that will run their hair dryers.

We literally could not do what we want to do with a much smaller boat. If it were cramped and less desirable to our guests, they wouldn't want to come and that would ruin it for us. Today, they complain if we don't invite them often enough.

Will it be our forever boat? Can't say for sure. One day, it may feel like too much for us to physically handle, but she's fairly easy to sail. At least for now.
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  #38  
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

Whatever size, whatever type, whatever brand, whatever whatever, you choose a boat that suits your situation. Not because it suits somebody else's mantra of what the "right" boat is.
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  #39  
Old 05-06-2014
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

I love how some of you are able to cruise in under 30' boats. I do wonder if we've gone too big with the 37-footer. It's not just our size, but also the displacement that is big with our Rafiki (28,000#). Everything is hefty on this boat.

Most would find our living space pretty small. Compared to a modern 37-footer we are pretty small down below. Unlike modern boats which maximize living area, our boat emphases side deck and sailing space. Still, she's very comfortable for the two of us (and our cat).
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Re: Smallest boat you can live with

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
I think focusing on one aspect of boat design such as "smallest" or "largest" might not be the best way to look at things. For me it's about finding the right balance.
Just to be clear, I'm not suggesting that any size is the best size for everyone, or that small is better than large. To turn this question around (if this is a question), once you've identified the boat you can live with (layout, draft, tank capacity, etc.), how are you then guided?
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