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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
I haven't sailed seriously for about 25yrs. I crewed on several boats in the 40ft. range around the coral sea and the great barrier reef. I have recently moved to a place that has 300 square km. of lake with a seaward passage out. I'm wanting to buy a boat but am unsure whether to buy a small lake boat, say 24' to 32' and sail that for a year here within the lake or buy a serious 2nd. hand ocean going boat now from 37' to 44' and get to know that boat and fix it up for sea trips which is my ultimate goal in about a years time. Would it be such a steep learning curve to buy a bigger boat straight out?
 

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Telstar 28
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Why not buy a 24-35' boat that can handle serious bluewater passages??? There is really no reason that you need a boat as big as 37-44' LOA, and no reason that a boat 24-35' couldn't handle it. Beats buying two boats. Start with James Baldwin's List of Pocket Bluewater Boats.

Knowing what part of the world you're in would help narrow boat selection a bit, as would knowing what your budget it. BTW, I generally recommend reserving at least 15-20% of the actual total purchase budget for refitting, upgrading and repairing whatever boat is actually purchased. On an older boat, this might even go as high as 25-30%.

Welcome to Sailnet. I'd highly recommend you read this POST to help you get the most out of sailnet.

I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether other boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey for boats that aren't worth looking at further.
 

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Not you again SD....... I agree, a production grp yacht. I've seen (and I am sure you see it as well) that newbies can get poor advice and spend lots on the wrong thing for what they intended/ needed. Saying that they plod along, and learn on the way. Everyone starts somewhere.

Cruising is a great equaliser - no-one asks what career path or type of car you drive, its always topics like on sailnet - locations/ equipment and stuff.
 

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I think you're following me around the internet... :) BTW, you should try Anything-sailing.com too... they're a good bunch of eggs over there, and many of them use both here and there...but the other site is a bit more open about complaints and problems with manufacturers, not having a commercial component to worry about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies folks.

I'm sorry but I forgot to say where I am posting from.
I live near Lakes Entrance on the Gippsland Lakes in Sth. Eastern Victoria, Australia. A great place for sailing.

As far as boat length goes, reasonable comfort is an issue and sea kindliness starts to quickly disappear in most boats of less than 36 ft. That might be OK with younger sailors but I'm in my 50's now. I've heard of a saying that says allow one foot of length for each year of age! I'ts beyond my price range to do that now though.

I might have no trouble getting to know this sort of boat as there is a lot of very experienced sailors around here to get me on track. Still, I'm not sure that maybe a smaller lake boat might be the best way to go initially.

If I buy a decent seaworthy boat first off, boat Over 12mths. I'd have time to sort out any problems [I'd set aside say, $20k for that] and really get to know my boat. Initial sea trips would have an experienced deep water sailer on board. I don't believe in just jumping into the deep end.
 

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As far as boat length goes, reasonable comfort is an issue and sea kindliness starts to quickly disappear in most boats of less than 36 ft. That might be OK with younger sailors but I'm in my 50's now. I've heard of a saying that says allow one foot of length for each year of age! I'ts beyond my price range to do that now though.
Hmmm.. .you might want to tell Larry and Lin Pardey that... since none of their boats are over 30' LOA, and Larry is 70 this year, and Lin is 65. BTW, yes, I know that Thelma, the most recent boat they acquired is 37' LOA, but she isn't really theirs if you know what's going on. I'm talking about Serrafyn and Taliesin. :) A lot of other, older sailors, have chosen boats that are under 30' LOA.

I might have no trouble getting to know this sort of boat as there is a lot of very experienced sailors around here to get me on track. Still, I'm not sure that maybe a smaller lake boat might be the best way to go initially.

If I buy a decent seaworthy boat first off, boat Over 12mths. I'd have time to sort out any problems [I'd set aside say, $20k for that] and really get to know my boat. Initial sea trips would have an experienced deep water sailer on board. I don't believe in just jumping into the deep end.
Probably a good idea to have that budget, since most boats will require some re-fitting, repairing or upgrading.
 

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Stuuts,
great to see another ozzie. Have a look at a clansman. 30' LOA, 21' LWL; simple low aspect and would go around the world, solo. Long keel and would be faster than most other 30' boats. We did a few miles in ours.
SD's on caffeine again I presume??
 

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On another forum, which caters to the smaller, pocket cruising sailboat, I wrote this:

Unfortunately, the media hasn't helped the situation much... the media, for the most part, seems to think that it is both unsafe and difficult to sail long distances in anything less than 40' LOA. What they seem to forget is that people have been sailing small boats for a long time, and that it is only in the past 20 years that the size of boats has slowly crept upwards.

One thing I've noticed is that as the size of the boats has gone up, the average seamanship has gone down. This may be partially due to a lot of the larger boats being basically floating condos that were bought as status symbols by people with more income than sailing experience and were bought for the lifestyle, rather than to be actually sailed.

If you look at a lot of the newer boats, especially the higher production volume boats, you'll see an emphasis on open interior layouts with huge double berths, high head room, and a fair bit of automation that is IMHO fairly unnecessary, were the boat designed properly. These boats, while very pretty, don't have the stowage, the handholds or decent sea berths to make a serious passage in comfort and safety.

I remember one story Norm and Elizabeth were relating a couple years ago about a passage on a fairly big production sailboat that ended with some injuries due to the open layouts and lack of handholds.
I understand that to a point a larger boat is more seaworthy in many ways, and more seakindly. However, a larger boat is only more seaworthy and seakindly if you are capable of handling her in even the worst conditions. If you're caught out in a storm, you'd probably be better off on a 30' seaworthy pocket cruiser than a 45' coastal cruiser, especially if the electric winches that allow you to handle the 45' one are not working...

Size isn't as important IMHO as the experience and skill of the crew and how well they are prepared. Look at Webb Chiles... he's gone most of the way around the world in a Drascombe Lugger... an 18' open boat, most people wouldn't overnight in.

Then there are the folks like Ken Barnes, Ronnie Simpson, and Heather Neill. IMHO, they failed the boat more than the boat failing them.

Ken Barnes had 14 large batteries and enough electronics to stock a marine version of Frye's.... but the batteries were obviously not secured properly, as they had bounce around the cabin in a knockdown, spilling acid, fumes and damaging at least one hatch.

Ronnie Simpson had timed his departure to make the local evening news and had HD video equipment with which to document his voyage, but couldn't afford to have a 47 year old vessel surveyed properly.

Heather Neill spent months preparing her Flicka, s/v Flight of Years, but didn't shake her down properly. After hyping her circumnavigation attempt on the internet, and in various other media... she left Florida, only to turn back after being out a couple of days out. She was accidentally locked out of the cabin during some heavy seas and was forced to hack her way back in to the boat, damaging the boat's water-tight integrity in the process. Chances are very likely that if she had made at least one or two decent shakedown cruises on the boat, that the flaw in the companionway latching system would have been discovered and been corrected before hacking into the cabin was required.

All three of these had boats that with proper preparation should have been capable of going around the world. They ranged from Heather's Flicka, to Ronnie's 41' Rhodes Bounty II and Ken's much larger 44' steel boat.

I'd point out that one of the boats that responded to Ken's MAYDAY call was Donna Lange's Inspired Insanity, a Southern Cross 28. Donna, a grandmother, was on her solo circumnavigation at the time....and finished her voyage a short time later. IIRC, Donna was the oldest of the four sailors I mention here... and didn't have either the largest or smallest of the boats... but did one thing the others did not. Donna prepared both herself and her boat for her voyage.

The more experience you have on the boat you're going to be using overall, the better off you'll be. Going too big is probably more common a mistake, especially given the media's recent trend towards emphasizing larger boats, than going too small. Get a boat that is reasonably capable of handling the future voyages you plan...get as much experience in her as possible, under as many conditions as you can, and then go.

Unfortunately, many of the websites are a bit US-centric... and don't have a great selection of boats for people down under to choose from. While there are many boats in your area that would be suitable, most of them have been overlooked by the people making up the lists, as they're not readily available here...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the post. Grew up on the Gold Coast and did a lot of boating in the broadwater etc. Boy has that place changed!

I should have said I have a wife also keen on sailing, plus any trip out to sea would have another [perhaps a couple] on-board too. 36ft. would be my min. length. Anything smaller would be a bit too intimate.

SD, I don't think the Pardey's are the average sailing Joe.
 

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Ahh... that changes things a bit... :)
Thanks for the post. Grew up on the Gold Coast and did a lot of boating in the broadwater etc. Boy has that place changed!

I should have said I have a wife also keen on sailing, plus any trip out to sea would have another [perhaps a couple] on-board too. 36ft. would be my min. length. Anything smaller would be a bit too intimate.

SD, I don't think the Pardey's are the average sailing Joe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The big problem with where I live is the moment you sail out to sea your in the Tasman ocean. Can be a very nasty place with ports north [were the nice weather is] few and far between for a long way. 3 days ago just offshore and south of us in the Tasman, 4 people were winched off a 50' Cat after losing their mast in 12m seas! One was suffering hypothermia.

Anybody here looking to do seaward passages or coastal passages should be in a very seaworthy boat, not a 'coastal sailer' production boat.

By the by. Anything wrong with steel cats? There is one down at the docks around 40' that looks a nice boat out of Melbourne. They have done some serious bass straight cruising and think the boat is the bees knees.
 

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Hmmm.. .you might want to tell Larry and Lin Pardey that... since none of their boats are over 30' LOA, and Larry is 70 this year, and Lin is 65. . . . . . . . A lot of other, older sailors, have chosen boats that are under 30' LOA.
You know, I wonder where these people are. I have been into many cruising anchorages over time and I rarely see sub-30 foot boats cruising. I guess it depends on how one defines cruising. Or maybe my resistance to little boats at sea create the illusion that they're not there.:)

Lin and Larry are legends indeed and are world famous for doing what they did in little boats. Other legends didn't do it that way (Hiscock, Knox Johnson, Chichester, Moitessier, et al). Do you want to be a legend on a little boat?

It's not for me.

And BTW SD, it's a little lop-sided to argue that woefully unprepared sailors found themsleves in trouble because they were on larger boats. It's equally lop-sided to praise a sailor going to a rescue just because she had a little boat. The failed sailors would probably have foundered earlier if their unpreparedness had been on smaller boats and she would have been just as successful in a bigger boat.

Just another perspective . . .
 

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Stutts, You live in a beautiful part of the world. You are right though if I lived down there a sea kindly boat capable of withstanding a blow would definitely be the go. Not least because if I lived there then crossing Bass Strait and exploring Tassie would be very high up my list!

If you don't mind me asking what is your budget for a capable 36 + boat??
I have been on the hunt for something 32-36ft and have found some properly built Adams designs on the market make very inexpensive and capable cruisers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)


83' Grahame Shannon, 24 ft. Tom Thumb Avia Yacht Design

A great little Ozzie pocket cruise capable of going anywhere. I built one of these to fitting out stage back in the 80's on the north NSW coast, but unfortunate had to sell it and head to Melbourne for family reasons. 25yr's on it would not be my choice of cruiser now as I'd like a bit more comfort, in port and at sea. Boat choice as mentioned here has gone up a lot in size but technology also has bounded along making larger boats easier to sail. Ribless design and there is only 1 ton of steel involved and back then that cost about $1000.

chall03,

Well I have about 150k but need to reserve 20k of that to make sure everything is up to scratch and to my liking. and the rest for initial future sailing and expense. Here is a nice Joe Adams design 40' [a bit big future costs wise for me]. 40 Adams Centre Cockpit Sloopfor Sale @ Cairns International Boat Sales
Apart from the Tomb Thumb, Grahame Shannon designed some great boats back in the 80's from 28' to 45'.

The 80's was a good time for genuine cruising boat design. Nowadays there are just too many cruiser/racers not really designed for cruising unless yo want to spend some serious money. Also I'm sick to death of the floating Caravan approach to interior design with boats even below 40' incorporating up to 3 double cabins!
 
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