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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 09-03-2012
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Moving Up (Apprehensively)

I have owned a 23-foot sloop rigged day sailer for about 15 years and have sailed seven or eight times a year on average, mainly in the bay area near my home in North Vancouver, Canada. I have taken a certified cruising course several years ago and have taken a Power Squadron first-level course. I am looking at 28-foot sailboats because I would like to spend some time exploring the southwest coast of BC and Washington state. Having boarded a few 28-footers while shopping, it seems like a lot more boat, particularly when it comes to docking. Should I be postponing buying a boat in favour of joining a local sailing co-op to obtain experience on larger boats or is should I grin and bear to jump up given that it is probably natural to feel somewhat intimidated when moving up to a larger vessel? BTW, I am 63. Appreciate feedback on this. . .

Michael
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Moving Up (Apprehensively)

I have a 27 foot sailboat that was my first experience with handling around docks and slips (though I had sailed a fair amount on other people's boats.) I have to back it down the fairway and make a 90-degree turn into the slip, stern-in. I also single-handed this boat for the first time last week, including raising the sails with my tiller lashed in position. Comparing your experience to mine, I would say that you should go for it. There is a bit of a learning curve but since you've done enough sailing to be interested in moving up, I'm guessing you'd be able to handle it no problem.
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Moving Up (Apprehensively)

Go for it! You know how to sail, as you summized one of your challenges will be motoring into dock. You should be able to pick this up in no time. Just make sure you have have some crew on board the first couple of times. The other and even bigger difference between a small and big boat is the maintenance and keeping up various systems you did not have to deal with on a day sailor. But here again, I was pretty clueless when it came to a lot of these issues and I was able to pick it up.

I had gone from sailing J-22s to buying my Pearson P-35. I can remember when I was looking for my first (and only) "big" boat that I would stand at the helm and look out over the boat and think "wow" this is big. Now, I still have that same first "big" boat and have loved having it for all these years. One of the best decisions I ever made. It didn't take long after I bought my boat that, it'd be nice to have a bigger boat!
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Moving Up (Apprehensively)

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined. Go for it. You're not going to get the bit of experience you lack at this point by watching others. Moving a boat into dock is not practiced watching. Just plan on going slow and picking tides and winds that will be more forgiving. With the bigger boat the reaction times of the hull to steering, propulsion, wind and current will come natural in a short while. Best of luck!
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Moving Up (Apprehensively)

The only time a boat seems too big is near a dock and after you've docked a few times that feeling goes away. I would think a 30 to 34 footer would not be too much a step up for you.

Keep in mind the first boat I owned was 32' Oday which I think is about as big as anyone should go for a first boat.
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Old 09-03-2012
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Re: Moving Up (Apprehensively)

At the age of 12 I was docking a viking 28 at the ripe age of 20 docking a c&c 31 , its like riding a bike ya do it a few times and it comes naturaly..go for it, go bigger or go racing.. Happy sailin
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Old 09-03-2012
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Moving Up (Apprehensively)

My first was a 23' sloop in early 80s, second is a 40' purchased last fall. Despite a long lay off from sailing in between boats, a couple of Asa courses and lots of practice made handling and even single handling the new boat feel routine. I'm 57' - my favorite item is the autopilot. Don't see why you should limit yourself to 28'.
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Old 09-03-2012
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After owning boats 22 foot and smaller for many years we recently moved to a heavy duty 34 foot boat.

The 34 boat is easier to handle around docks and slips because there is, as an old friend put it "more boat in the water". In short, the smaller lighter boats got were affected more by the wind and currents around docks and slips than my big boat. The big boat is more likely to go where I tell it to go.

The big boat is easier to sail because it has better systems but it requires more finesse. I can't manhandle my way out of bad seamanship as I could on my smaller boats. Raising sails, tacks and jibes need to be more carefully timed. Some kind of autopilot becomes indispensable for the single hander.

Repairs are much, much more expensive and there is much, much more to break. We learned about the systems on bigger boats by taking classes on bigger boats, sailing with friends and chartering.

We are very happy with bigger boat because it exactly fits our needs. We sail more because it is more comfortable to spend weekends on. It's just about the smallest boat that meets the needs of our family of five. I can see the attraction of a bigger boat but would not want the added expense of the bigger hardware and systems.

I say go for it if you are ready to spend about three times as much on upkeep but get some expert advice on the boat systems before you buy!
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Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Moving Up (Apprehensively)

Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwbernard View Post
I have owned a 23-foot sloop rigged day sailer for about 15 years and have sailed seven or eight times a year on average, mainly in the bay area near my home in North Vancouver, Canada. I have taken a certified cruising course several years ago and have taken a Power Squadron first-level course. I am looking at 28-foot sailboats because I would like to spend some time exploring the southwest coast of BC and Washington state. Having boarded a few 28-footers while shopping, it seems like a lot more boat, particularly when it comes to docking. Should I be postponing buying a boat in favour of joining a local sailing co-op to obtain experience on larger boats or is should I grin and bear to jump up given that it is probably natural to feel somewhat intimidated when moving up to a larger vessel? BTW, I am 63. Appreciate feedback on this. . .

Michael

I single hand my 26 footer quite often. It's not a big deal. You'll adapt quickly.

You can try this trick while docking-
Tie a long line off on a forward deck cleat (or amid ship cleat). Run the line along the outside of the boat and hang on to the bitter end. Come in nice and slow, into your slip, and loop that line around a dock cleat and tie off the bitter end on the boat. Put the engine in forward. When she hits the end of the line, she'll stop and snug up to the dock on that side (have your fenders out). Leave her in forward and you can fuss with the dock lines all day. Remove after you're all tied up.
Of course, make sure the length of line is such that it'll stop the boat before she hits the front of your slip.

I've also got a line rigged across the slip to catch the boat should I miss the dock cleat or have to come in a bit hot (prevailing winds make my slip a cross wind landing) and keep her from running into the dock.

I've also seen single handers back their boats in. I'm not sure of the advantage. Mine isn't all that maneuverable while backing so I haven't tried it.

I really wish I had an auto pilot so when the wind is a little stronger, it would keep the boat pointed into the wind while I'm hoisting or lowering sails. But I've managed without it so far.
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Old 09-04-2012
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Re: Moving Up (Apprehensively)

Michel I started with a laser and then a Sanjuan 21 then next a Captiva 240, and then a Beneteau 285. It all took some time getting use to the boat just go slow and feal your way threw. I now own a Benteau 34 it will take some time and experence to dock her still learning. Just take it slow and buy thew boat we will see you out their!!!!
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