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post #1 of 5 Old 11-05-2009 Thread Starter
get away from it all?
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Family of 5 looking to cross oceans.

Me: 31, Wife: 37, Children: Boy-17, Girl-14, and Boy-13.

This is our dream--to live aboard and travel the world, with a "home base" somewhere--New Zealand, probably.

Just getting started figuring all this out. My wife and I are reworking our business goals to be able to work and earn income from anywhere in the world, assuming intermittent internet access.

Have been reading the Sailnet Forums for a couple months now. Eager to soak up as much knowledge as I can.

One question I'm stuck on at the moment: how big a boat do I need for 5? This seems much trickier than figuring out the same question for 2 or 3 (or even 4).

Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 5 Old 11-05-2009
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Leaving aside for the moment whether or not you and your family are truly prepared to make this (huge) step.. to the basic question of "how big?"...

Many boats in the mid 20 foot range claim to "sleep" 5 but clearly with 5 aboard full time they would be quite unbearable. Plenty of 40 footers will boast 5 or more berths but not all will be decent sea berths. Add to that, your kids are all teens and soon to (if not already) be taking up 'adult' space, yet they're still teenagers makes this close proximity more challenging still.

Your funding level is going to go a long way to determining which is the better boat for you as well. Though I'm loathe to recommend a cruising cat, perhaps in this situation such a boat would give you the space, a possibility of a vestige of privacy and room for everyone to "spread out". However these things are very expensive and may well be outside your budget. And they're not for everyone.

In a monohull, frankly with such a crew I think you're looking at 45-50 feet or so, and even then it would be a lucky find to get a boat that truly fills the bill. Many of the larger Benes and other mainstream boats, especially charter versions, offer a lot of accommodation (Moorings 50 sold out of the charter fleet perhaps) so maybe that's one approach to consider. Again, you're looking at quite a bit of change.

Not to say it couldn't be done smaller/cheaper, of course it depends on how well everyone gets on, ultimately how the voyages go and the challenges presented along the way.

You give no indication of your experience so far, so this whole thing could be a total pipe dream, or it may have potential for an amazing lifestyle - but it's not quite like buying the biggest motorhome you can find and setting off down the highway...


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post #3 of 5 Old 11-06-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the helpful response.

Yes--budget is the big wild card here.
I am aware that a cruising lifestyle can
be quite comfortable--even luxurious--
if only one has a million (or two) dollars
to spend.

Not 100% sure what our budget will
be, to be perfectly frank. So you are
correct in that it might all be a pipe
dream. Nevertheless, it is a dream
that we are committed to pursuing,
and are putting all our efforts toward
that end.

I think ideally, we will establish our
new "home base" on or near the
water, first, then buy the boat and
start living aboard while outfitting it
for bluewater sailing. I'm making the
assumption that anything in our
price range is going to need at least
a moderate amount of work before
it's ready to sail for distant shores.

In the meantime, we will start taking
short, then increasingly longer, coastal
cruises to get more experience...

I think this strategy will let us decide
if we can really handle this lifestyle--
the tight quarters and demands of
liveaboard sailing, and all the rest of
it--before we finally decide to take
the final "plunge".

I have some acquaintances who did
this very thing for a couple of years,
with their two (albeit younger) kids,
so I have their experience to draw
from... but I am wondering who else
out there has done this sort of thing,
and what they can tell me.

As I said, I'm eager to soak up as
much knowledge as possible. Being
very safety-conscious, I am also
concerned about how to be prepared
for as many different "worst-case
scenarios" as can be reasonably


P.S., thanks for the recommendation
on boat sizes. I think you are right,
that unless something changes
drastically in our finances, the
catamaran option is probably out of
our price range. But the 45-50 footer
was my best guess for minimum space
in a monohull, so it's good to know
I'm on the right track there.
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post #4 of 5 Old 11-06-2009
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A catamaran may be the way to go. Many catamarans, even some smaller, more affordable designs, can easily accommodate 4-5 people full time, as they have 3-4 cabins. One example is the Iroquois Mk II, which is a 30' four cabin design. Most of the ones in the USA came from the UK on their own hulls and are more than capable of doing ocean crossings. The Prout Snowgoose is another good example, and again, most of the ones here in the USA came over on their own hulls.

One major advantage of a multihull is that they are far more comfortable for full-time liveaboard use than most monohulls. Another is that they generally have a more manageable sailplan than a monohull of comparable living area.


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post #5 of 5 Old 11-10-2009 Thread Starter
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Thank you for your suggestions. I have been looking into the boats you mentioned and some of the Iroquois models are actually in our price range. And you are right--the MkII does seem to be among the most affordable.

Thanks for pointing these options out. I didn't realize bluewater cats could be gotten for those prices. In terms of living area, relative to the length of the boat, this would be a much better solution than any of the monohulls I have seen so far.
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