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Epiphany 07-30-2003 04:55 PM

OK, here it is. I''m 56 years old, nearing retirement, a neophyte to sailing, with a dream of spending my final years sailing single-handed to anywhere in the world that looks interesting. The plan: complete every U.S. Sailing-sanctioned course available, crew on charters to hone skills and build experience with different boats, buy a 43-foot sloop, do enough coastal sailing to be confident of my abilities, make my first ocean crossing, and keep at it until I die. This is not a plea for some experienced sailor to talk me out of it. I''m going to do it. What I need is an honest critique of my plan and any sage advice.

paulk 07-31-2003 05:30 AM

When the electric winches break 380 miles out of Funchal, 43 feet turns into a lot of boat for one guy to handle. Unlike the Around Alone people, you won''t have a team standing by to fix/maintain/troubleshoot all your systems each time you touch port. KISS- and one of those ''esses'' could also stand for "smaller".

Stede 07-31-2003 05:58 AM


Crazy?? Ha!Ha!Ha!... Welcome aboard! Sailors are a different lot. Always have been,and always will be.I think basically, you have a good plan.If I may, I''ll make a few suggestions. As far as schools, take a basic sailing course and then a bareboat charter certification.Those two will give you a good back ground in the skills you''ll need to do what you want to do. Next if possible,purchase a small boat(something cheap that you can sell later)to practice using those skills on as a single-handed sailor.Crewing on others boats is very helpful, but to sail single handed requires some "hands on" experience that you need to hone up on as fast as possible.In my mind, your preference of a 43 footer to single-hand is questionable. I sail my 26 footer most of the time single-handed.I''ve also sailed 38 footers single handed. There are some major differences in the physical requirements of handling larger sails,docking,etc.I know there are sailors out there that sail larger boats,and my hat''s off to them. IMO,I wouldn''t go with anything larger than 38ft with something smaller being preferrable.But hey, that''s just me.Lastly,try to define your cruising area as finite as you can.That definition will determine the type of boat you really need. I''ve sailed a good portion of the eastern United States coastline, the Bahamas,and the Caribbean,and I''ve still only seen a small portion of those areas.A sailor could spend a life time just cruising those areas.When I go cruising full time, I''ll purchase a boat capable of crossing oceans,but will probably use it for the areas mentioned above. Good luck in your quest!

sadie14 07-31-2003 07:02 AM

I agree with Stede on the sailing courses, you don''t need every course. But do make sure you learn navigation, dead reckoning, and the rules of the road.

I also question why you think you need a 43 foot boat, especially as a single-hander. Everything is bigger, more expensive, harder to fix, etc. There are plenty of smaller world travelers - e.g., Bristol Channel Cutter at 28 feet, Norsea at 27, and a whole host of others, of which I''m sure you''ll be told.

You might back out if the boat ends up too big to handle.

(By the way, my husband & I live and sail on a heavy 37, and when the **** hits the fan, the boat can seem monstrous, just on the edge of too much for two of us. Even though she is a great boat, handles beautifully and will take much more than we can.)

JohnDrake 07-31-2003 07:56 AM

Congratulations on making plans to live your dreams. AND for gaining some insight from others.

I am in complete agreement with the other posters above. 43ft can be a lot of boat. There is a very interesting web site the has the logs of a gentleman who is single handing a 70''s vintage 44ft Gulfstar. It is very very interesting reading. The boat lacks most of the comfort and quality he was originally looking for. He got a lot of advice to stay small, but in the end went for the largest boat he could afford. For the price he could have paid for a high quality, newer, better shape 38, he bought a questionable, older 44. His logs chronical a long, awful journey through fixing and replacing everything onboard, very tough sailing (mostly motoring) and aches and pains from handling a boat that big...especially the daily nightmares he has anchoring.

In my personal search for the perfect boat for basic goal was getting a well found, bluewater boat that would be a good boat single handed. I looked up to 43 ft and also settled on a top notch 38. Glad I did. I have the wonderful company of a female friend aboard frequently and find that many people who lack the strength and experience I have, can have a tough time with this boat (at 22,000 lbs, it is a big 38). Imagine how they would do on a larger, heavier boat.

That said. LOA has really nothing to do with how comfortable a boat is or how tough it is to sail. It really has more to do with displacement. (cabin layout is better gauged by displ and LWL).

The lure of a large yacht is great. There is no doubt. I STILL lust after some nice larger boats. I have no doubt I could handle them (but certain I cannot afford them :). But....smaller or at least the right size, IS better. Better to have a high quality boat, that is NOT a money pit, where everything is more easily done and the gear does NOT cost an arm and a leg, than any other larger boat afloat. If I had a sailing partner who was fairly strong and very skilled, AND would share the extra cost, I might have gone to 42. But....if you anticipate single handing or having inexperienced to have a high quality boat that can be more easily handled.

Hope this helps

s/v Invictus
Wauquiez Hood 38

Stede 07-31-2003 08:58 AM


One of the 38''s I''ve sailed single-handed was an Wauquiez Hood 38 that had just been delivered brand new from Guadaloupe,to St.Martin. The only thing I have to say to you is " I wish you had a feather up your nose, and I had your boat,then we would both be tickled." ;^) Enjoy!!

JohnDrake 07-31-2003 10:20 AM


She is sweet. I must say. You must be an experienced yachtsman of good taste!


knothead 08-01-2003 05:22 AM

One of the best decisions my wife and I ever made was to sell our CT 41'' and buy our NorSea 27''. For all the reasons stated above.

camaraderie 08-01-2003 06:19 AM

I think you ave a good plan but agree with others that a real blue water boat rigged for single handing and in the 35-37 ft. range would be a better choice if you don''t have crew. Get BIG manual winches and OVERSIZED Windlass and Anchors (with lots of chain), and you will be able to go anywhere with confidence.
Go for it!!

Irwin32 08-01-2003 08:53 PM

There is no reason for single hander to need a 43 footer. You can only sleep in one bunk at a time and use only one head at a time. As a single hander I would not want a boat much bigger than what I have. In port, I have all the accomadations I could want. At sea, I can handle everything without fancy gear.

There is a new tendency among sailors to go big. Gone are the days when a sailor would learn on a day sailor, buy a 25 footer, and finally move into the 30''s. Today, it is common for people to make a 35 or 38 footer their first boat. I think this is crazy. Bigger is not necessarily better.

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