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Old 04-16-2007
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Size Matters

Maybe I could have titled this post "What size boat do I want?" or "Size considerations" but I couldn't resist the pun.

If you haven't read my first post then it will make more sense if I repeat myself here. I'm building a boat because that's what I want to do. Sailing has a little appeal, but not as much as building. I'm looking at a long long project here and am still very much in the planning stage. Right now I'm thinking in the 35-45 foot range, and I do know how large that is. I've got my eyes open and promise to listen to those who know more than I do.

Realistically, I'm never sailing around the world. Ever. My whole boating experience will probably be from the coast of North Carolina to the coast of Texas, with a remote possibility of going to Brazil or Bermuda if I really enjoy sailing. As shocking as it may sound, I would be happy with a well built boat that I sailed to the keys once. It's the journey of building the boat that will really fuel my interest. (ok, I have used the never, ever word before and proven myself wrong in the past, so take that part for what it's worth--very little)

What I hope to do here is get some ideas about how large a boat makes sense for me. Of course my ego wants to build a 75 foot schooner, but my wallet would be happier with a dinghy. My wife gets seasick, so bigger is better if it means more comfort, but I want to be able to sail it with two people, or one if necessary. I'm fairly athletic, so if it takes a little muscle or coordination I'm fine with that. In other words, it doesn't have to be easy, just possible to routinely sail by myself.

I want decent speed but a comfortable ride. I'm not interested in racing, but want to feel like I'm getting good performance out of my ride. Granted, coming from a guy who obviously knows little or nothing about performance that may sound funny, but I will understand it at some point and I don't want to be disappointed when I do. I don't need a souped-up camaro here, but I really don't want to feel like it's slow or unresponsive.

Although I may do some river sailing, that's not really appealing to me. I want to be on the ocean! I also want room on-board to take a couple bicycles for when I get somewhere (I LOVE riding), and I want room for tools. I will want some creature comforts of course, such as an on-board refrigerator and a small shower. Good electronics would be a matter of course, so would I need room for a generator or is that assumed? What about removable solar panels, are they something people use? It may sound silly, but I also want to be able to stand up inside.

I like a sailboat to look traditional too, nothing fancy and catamarans do nothing for me. I want a mainsail and a jib, maybe a spinnaker or staysail (they look cool), but nothing more than three big pieces of material pulling the boat. One mast, any more will make it too difficult to sail, IMHO. As far as keel design, I couldn't care less because you never see it. I don't know what sort of draft I need. Stability is nice, so is being able to get where you want to go.

Although I'm realistic and know this won't be cheap, cost is ALWAYS a consideration. I've noticed that where rigging, electronics, etc... are concerned there seem to be several "jumps" in cost. I would like to be closer to the top of such a step than the bottom, because if I'm building it then the cost of materials to just increase the size is probably comparatively marginal. (basically, if you have a big jump at 15 feet because of rigging considerations, I want to be at the 14 foot mark)

I know that's a lot to talk about packed into one post, and I'm not looking for everything to be answered yet. What I'm particularly interested in is knowing if I've missed any vital questions I need to ask myself before I make my final selection.

Thanks in advance, I really look forward to reading your responses!
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Old 04-16-2007
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Dang jag, you don't want much do ya!
Make a decision and get on with it, time's a wastin'!
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Old 04-16-2007
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I would stick to the lower end of that range, say 37' or so. Anything bigger can be a real handful and the costs go up very quickly as the size does. By costs, I mean costs to buy as well as long-term ownership costs.

You speak about building a boat... are you actually going to do the building, or hire someone to custom build a boat for you. There's a really big difference. Anything over five feet in draft starts to cause issues in places like the Bahamas and the ICW.

You say your wife will be along... will she be sailing the boat? Does she know how to sail? If so, the boat should be designed so that she can singlehand the vessel.

Unless you plan on staying in marinas all the time, a diesel genset, solar panels and wind generators are probably a good idea.

I'd advise against the spinnaker, and tell you to opt for an asymetric spinnaker instead, since it can be much more easily handled by short-handed crews. You're looking for a sloop rig with an inner stay, or a cutter rig... but I wouldn't discount the ketches, even though they have two masts.

I would seriously look at the Van De Stadt designs, like the one that was built for Evans Starzinger and Beth Leonard. They're usually metal boats, but I believe they can be made in fiberglass as well. Steel is a pretty good material for a boat the size your looking at. Aluminum would be nice, but it has some serious issues like galvanic corrosion, which are not as problematic on a steel boat. They're fairly decent performance wise, but are designed to hold a fair amount of stuff as well.
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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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Old 04-16-2007
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You don't care about sailing, but want to build a big ole sailboat?

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Old 04-16-2007
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As far as keel design, I couldn't care less because you never see it.

Hell jag, if ya ain't gonna see it, well just leave it off!!!
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Old 04-16-2007
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before submitting an answer, may i suggest creating a common frame of reference.
Try reading The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat and
Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h16Sailor
before submitting an answer, may i suggest creating a common frame of reference.
Try reading The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat and
Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere
These books are a bit off the mark IMHO.. He's stated that he isn't planning on going bluewater—which makes the first book somewhat moot—and wants a fairly large boat—which makes the second book irrelevant.

A better choice of book to read would be Dave Gerr's The Nature of Boats.
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Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.

Last edited by sailingdog; 04-16-2007 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 04-16-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by h16Sailor
before submitting an answer, may i suggest creating a common frame of reference.
Try reading The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat and
Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere
Thanks, I've added The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat to my Amazon wish list and will definitely read it before I buy my plans.
Sailingdog, I intend to build it myself. I understand my wife will have to learn to sail it, she's smart and was an athlete in college and has stayed in shape over the years so I'm pretty sure she's capable.

Thanks for the pointer to Van De Stadt's boats. They've got a ton of choices there and I feel I'm in for some nice window shopping at that website. I've done work with fiberglass but never with metal, and right now I think the wood core method is the most appealing just because I feel most confident there. I haven't nailed that down yet though, and there's plenty of time to make that decision later.

As I've said (clumsily) before, my dream is to build it. I'm sure that once I'm done I'll want to spend a ton of time on it and will eventually be very into sailing. For now though, my happy little daydreams are of me in the shop sanding down or driving screws or painting my creation.
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Old 04-16-2007
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I might suggest that you go with foam-cored construction rather than wood, as it is often easier to get the boat's hull's complex shapes more easily with foam than it is with wood. Many very seaworthy boats are built this way, mostly trimarans... but several have built monohulls this way as well.

Whatever construction method you go with...don't forget to leave the keel and several feet on both sides of it solid glass if possible, rather than cored construction, so that your through-hulls and such will not cause problems. By leaving the central keel area solid laminate, rather than cored laminate, you will avoid a lot of problems.

Since you are going to be building it yourself. I would highly recommend you form a company to build it...this will allow you to buy many of your materials at a much lower wholesale price, rather than retail. I would also highly recommend that you go smaller, rather than bigger... since a smaller boat will take less materials and labor, and the odds of you finishing the boat are inversely proportional to its size. I know many people who started out building a boat...but were so discouraged because they choose a boat to large to complete in a reasonable period of time—and ended up selling the partially constructed boat a huge loss.
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Telstar 28
New England

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)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.

Last edited by sailingdog; 04-16-2007 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 04-16-2007
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I think it is really early for any of us to be giving you much advice as you have an ocean of choices ahead of you. The only thing I would tell you right now is that based on your cruising plans you will want a boat that is both large enough for your needs and of shoal draft (4-5ft) so that you can comfortably cruise the NC sounds, the ICW and the keys on the inside. So look at designs that will let you do this...either shoal keel or center-board.
Here's a pretty well documented story of someone else's boat building project that might be of interest to you and give you some ideas...
THE BIG SAILBOAT PROJECT

and here's more designs to look at:
BOAT PLANS BRUCE ROBERTS, FOUNDED 1966, OFFICIAL SITE, 200 boat plans & boat kits SAILBOATS, POWER BOATS powerboats steel, aluminum, fiberglass, wood epoxy boats
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