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10-01-2003 05:09 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat

I think Duane makes a very good point worth repeating and commenting on. I have sailed quite a few boats since I was a kid. Lightnings, 420''s on up to racing a J/30 and now a moderately heavy performance oriented 38. Small boats are great for feeling the wind and being able to react almost instantly. When things go south, you can simply let the main go or round up and everything''s "Jake." A big boat is an entirely different matter.

I think Jeff H wrote somewhere here that one difference between a big boat and a small boat is that a big boat will move no matter how she is trimmed whereas sail trim is more important in a small boat. That single comment underscores a great many issues in sailing a larger boat. One being Duane''s point.

It is much easier to let a situation get ahead of you in a big boat. Much easier to continue with the canvas and trim you have up as weather deteriorates. And just when you realize that the situation is dire, you are already in extremis. The forces that build up on the rig and boat are amazing. Thousands of pounds of force. I must say that sometimes when I have people aboard my boat who sail smaller boats, they think they will be able to haul in the sheets by hand or swing the boom over on a jibe by hand. NO WAY. When they realize the amount of load on these lines....the look on their faces is instructive. That fact of physics is not to be taken lightly.

So, yes, a big boat can be sailed just as easily as a smaller boat. IF you know what you are doing and you have knowledge and respect for the physical forces you will encounter. Thus the maxim: reef early, reef often.

My best to all

10-01-2003 02:54 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat

mdougan worte: "...the larger the boat, the longer it seems to take to manouver, so, you have a little more time work things out..."

We have a saying in the aviation world that you always need to "stay ahead of the airplane," which means anticipating everything you will need to do so it can be done in a controlled and timely manner. I say it is no different with boats.
09-30-2003 11:59 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat


Duane pretty much explains it for me. After some reflection though, I really learned to sail extensively on 15'' sloops, and then spent some time crewing aboard 30'' boats on weekend trips. So, you could say that I learned to sail on smaller boats as everyone here has been recommending.

However, the point I was trying to make is that the 40''s I''ve sailed were actually easier to sail than the 30''s for a number of reasons. First, because of furling technology, I didn''t have to actually raise the sails, just furl and unfurl them. The 30''s I sailed didn''t have either sailed rigged for furling.

Secondly, the larger the boat, the longer it seems to take to manouver, so, you have a little more time work things out. (OK, if you''re trying to get out of a bad situation, this is not an advantage)

Thirdly, the 40''s were probably more heavily ballasted and heeled less, and so when coming about, I wouldn''t be thrown from one high angle of heel to the same high angle on the other tack which tends to distract a novice during a critical manouver

09-30-2003 09:33 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat

For what it''s worth the issue of center cockpit as compared to aft cockpit the former will keep you high and dry (well pretty much anyhow)and visibility is great when sailing I have owned both types and my preference is the aft cockpit I found I have a better sense of where the boat is in docking and slipping berth.Also you are already at the stern so you can handle lines aft without leaving the wheel and motor controls unattended.With a cc you are halfway between both areas and niether is easy to get to. We use walkie talkies for communication between the bow and stern it''s better than screaming commands to whoever is handling the bow lines. although it most likely looks strange seeing someone talking to themselves.Jeff is right on the money get a smaller boat to start with that way when one or the other of you decide that living aboard is not what was expected it won''t hurt the wallet so much. good luck
09-28-2003 05:27 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat

I first learned to sail on a 15 foot boat MANY years ago. My first purchased boat was a 32 foot winged keel. Before I purchased this boat I spent about two weeks learning to handle a 38 foot full keel boat. After three years of practice, I bought a 40 foot Caliber. There is a world of difference in these boats. The 32 handles like a sports car - the 38 had a mind of her own - the 40 "listens" to me and while not as responsive as the 32 does what I tell her to :-)

My advice is to start in 30 foot range and then move up after you''ve "been there - done that" for a couple of years.
09-26-2003 04:02 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat


I completely agree that one should learn on small sailboats and that most 40 footers are twice the boat that a 30 footer is. As to handling diffrences, however...

After learning on dinghies and smallish keelboats boats (under 20''), my first "big boat" training was on a modern moderate displacement 38 footer. After understanding (not yet mastering) how to handle a larger boat (prop walk, windage, current, spring lines, backing and filling, etc.), I found that handling a 45 footer of considerably more weight was no different. All the skills and principles were the same.

Of course, making a mistake with a 24,000 lb boat is often more costly than on a 16,000 lb one!

In the above, I''m talking about the most challenging handling (IMHO), which is close quarter maneuvering near other boats and docking. Handling in open water under sail seems to be just a matter of higher forces on the control lines and sheets.

Just MHO.

09-26-2003 01:06 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat

Mdougan surprizes me with his opinion that the 40 footers he''s sailed "...were not significantly harder to handle than 30 Ft..."
A 40'' boat is more than twice a 30 footer - in most every way.
As Jeff says, 40'' is too big to learn (quickly) on.
09-25-2003 09:38 AM
advice on buying a cruising boat

I would echo JeffH and say that for what you want to do, a sloop rig would probably be easiest to manage, especially with a roller furling jib.

Not sure I agree about the size issue. I did my first bareboat charters on a 40 foot Beneteau center cockpit and didn''t find it significantly harder to handle than 30 foot Erickson''s I''d sailed before. In fact it was much easier in ways because it had both roller furling jib and main sails, electric windlass, autopilot. But then, I''d spent a lot of time learning sailing basics in a Coronado 15 sloop.

Be aware that in many places along the ICW the channel depth can go below 3 feet! I have a 4 foot draft and have gotten stuck in the middle of the channel at high tide in Florida. I also have heard that in Georgia, the ICW is even more poorly maintained. So, the center-board idea has a definite appeal.

A good book for you to read is called Choosing a Cruising Sailboat (I forget the author), which discusses the "ideal" design characteristics of three different types of sailboats and explains them in detail.

Good Luck!
09-24-2003 07:19 PM
advice on buying a cruising boat

My recommendation is that you check out the Bristol 41.1 or even the 38.8 as boats as they would provide better build quality and more performance then these two with the advantage of a centerboard for shallow draft. If you don''t go for a good performing sailboat, skip all the compromises and get a trawler instead.

Good luck.

(PS - I am surprised by the rating of the Endevour 42 - to look at the underbody it doesn''t look like the boat would sail to windward... I wouldn''t bet on it delivering that rating...)
09-24-2003 05:16 PM
advice on buying a cruising boat

These are such extremely different types of boast that I would respectfully suggest that you spend more time learning about boats before trying to buy a 38 to 42 foot live aboard and cruiser. A 38 to 42 foot boat is a lot to handle and the forces involved are sufficient to badly injure someone if somthing goes wrong. Boats of this type and size are too large to really learn to sail on. You would really be better off sailing a variety of smaller boats so that you can develop your own preferences.

As to your questions, your assumption is mistaken about the full keels. Full keels generally do not point as high as a fin keel and generally make more leeway. Island Packets have post hung spade rudders which probably would not track as well as the Endeavour 42''s skeg hung rudder.

The Endeavour is wildly faster of the two (PHRF 129 vs 162) which is not to say that either is particularly fast. A Catalina 400 or 42 would be noticably faster than either. The sloop rig would be easier to handle than a cutter in the venues that you are proposing. In terms of build quality, the Island Packet would edge out the Endeavour which would edge out the Catalina. The Endeavour 42 has the better layout as a live aboard but none of the three have especially good layouts for sleeping underway.

Over a certain size, having a center or aft cockpit is strictly a personal preference thing, but center cockpits really do not work very well on boats under 40 or so feet.

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