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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Posting this here on Sailnet as an alternate (and I hope very rational) outlet for folks out there actually cruising as a family with multiple children, minus the recent requirement of a very large cat. Think moderate monohull or very small cat - you know, what would have been completely normal 30 years ago ;)

Greetings,

Maybe some of you have already seen my RIB sizing post, but this is a similar (if somewhat more academic) question.

We (myself, wife, 2 kids 8 and 5, and one dog) are headed toward full time cruising in 12 months or less. At least we are going to give it an honest 2 years and see if it agrees with us. I'm self employed and my income is very volatile. That being said we are buying a boat in the next 12 months and it will range (depending on my income over the next 6 months) from a basic Pearson 365 in the $35k range to a much larger monohull (or small Prout/PDQ/Gemini cat) in the sub $100k deal-is-done-range. Yes, my industry is volatile enough that the price range mentioned is the difference between a few weeks working vs sitting at home.

Both price ranges are budgeting approximately $20k additional to bring the boat up to "ready-to-go" standards for the Caribbean. I am a professional electrician, HVAC technician, and better-than-hack plumber/carpenter/mechanic. In short, ALL necessary repairs will be handled at-cost/in-house and performed to a professional level.

That being said, here's the BIG question - how much space do you deem necessary for a family of 4? We require much less personal space than the "average" American family, having lived in quite small houses for years. For example, our most recent 3BR/2Ba "big" house was 1050 sq ft, and that was bigger than we really needed. Our cozy comfortable house was 650 sq ft and our current spacious house is 850 sq ft. However, I don't have a good feeling for how much space is "enough" on the hook, at least for then next few years. I've spent some time on a Pearson 323, and while it could be modified to work, it's the worst case "camping on liquid" scenario. That being said, I can honestly say we don't need a 44' cat to find enough space for everyone - looking for the minimalist middle ground.

Is a Pearson 365, Allied Princess, Bristol 36, etc reasonable? Anyone out there doing it? Is a Pearson P-40, Allied Mistress, or even stepping up to a Cal 2-46 or Columbia C-43 a better option (I know they are a better option regarding volume, but are they worth the price premium?) I realize that perceived living space makes a big difference (especially on the non-travel days) but what is the breakover point for some folks who are actually out doing it?

Regarding performance, I'm much more concerned about living space on the hook while at point A or B than the performance when travelling from A to B. I don't want a total slug, but I'll gladly give up a knot or two for significant creature comforts when anchored (likly 90%+ of our time on the water).

Edited- read the last paragraph again and it came across a bit harsher than I'd intended:

Thanks in advance for any advice. That being said I've got a very different viewpoint than the "average" cruiser nowadays, i.e - the retired couple on a big mono (or big multi). I'm looking to keep the budget relatively low on the boat to extend the living budget and the amount of time I can take off before I need to pick up some work again. $120k all in isn't low by my standards but I realize it is to a lot of people. I'd really like to hear from people who are out there doing the same with a family. I'd have a much different viewpoint on boat/budget if I didn't have two kids along for the ride.
 

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I've done offshore races several times on a Pearson 365. For what you want to do, I would absolutely recommend springing for the multi. We had 5 on the P365 and it was seriously tight.

We've never lived aboard full-time so take my input with a bag of salt, but I would definitely do a cat if I were to do it all over again and had the extra cash to go that route. To me it's just a much better family living/cruising platform.

We have a pretty big house, big yard, pool. So my view on this is skewed toward that. But at a minimum, I think the boat should have a couple of places that family members can go into and have a little privacy. And for me, the head don't count - and neither does a quarter berth.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've done offshore races several times on a Pearson 365. For what you want to do, I would absolutely recommend springing for the multi. We had 5 on the P365 and it was seriously tight.

We've never lived aboard full-time so take my input with a bag of salt, but I would definitely do a cat if I were to do it all over again and had the extra cash to go that route. To me it's just a much better family living/cruising platform.

We have a pretty big house, big yard, pool. So my view on this is skewed toward that. But at a minimum, I think the boat should have a couple of places that family members can go into and have a little privacy. And for me, the head don't count - and neither does a quarter berth.
Good call and good advice. Luckily at the moment the 365 is a worst case scenario - great boat but not as much space as I'd like. Even converting the settee/pilot berth to stacked bunks with storage behind isn't ideal.

That being said, larger monos or wider cats have advantages and disadvantages too. A Gemini on paper is perfect for usable on-the-hook-space and separate sleeping quarters, but gives up a fair bit in "the limits" discussion. That being said it's not out of the discussion. Sometimes the missus needs a bit of physical space and some fans and/or soundproofing to fully relax so space goes a long way in some instances :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks travellerw, I do actually work in Canada on occasion (Ontario mostly). However my annual gross is considerably higher than the figures you posted (if I stay busy).

Working for another 5 years I'd be in a much different price range. However I'm not willing to do that (spend too much time away from home missing the best years of my kids growing up) so it's "go soon with what you've got" mode for us.
 

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" how much space do you deem necessary for a family of 4?"
That depends on whether you can keep the kids locked in one closet, or two separate ones.
Oh, wait, wrong forum.(G)

Seriously, you might renting an RV, or going to a "campground" that rents them out as motel space by the day. See what feels claustrophic, and how the kids do if they are penned up in the same closet. Ergh, room.

And then again, there's the question of how the dog will vote.
 

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OP.. The numbers I posted would be for a position in one of the major cities (Edmonton or Calgary). If you were willing to go up north and work out of a camp, it would be much higher, 350K is not at all unheard of..

I do understand your point though.. Go small, go now.. and not be away from the kids..

However.. We are a family of 5 in roughly the same position, except we plan to leave in 10 - 11 months. We are actively looking for a boat now and our budget is substantially higher. I think we have different ideas than you. We have no plans, but don't want to rule anything out. As such any boat we purchase should be capable of crossing an ocean. My wifes other stipulation was Catamaran only (no heeling). So our budget is substantially higher than yours. Our current budget is 170K US (all in with improvements). Frankly, its proving to be a little tight.

I look forward to the replies here as they may give me some more ideas..
 

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not sure what limits you are referring to on the Gemini...they have crossed ocerans, all be it with an eye on the weather window and some realistic respect for mother nature.

We found our Beneteau 36cc perfect for our family, and the dog could have the salon floor or in the aft cabin with me and the mrs. Kids can share the forepeak or bundling board and curtain it off, if the kids can get along.

Ideally the gemini would be my choice as it has the large "master" and enough room for the kids to have their own space in the hulls. It still has decent space in the common areas. Used, they are well within your budget. They have their oddities, but folks absolutely love them. We were very close on buying a new one some years back, but could come to an agreement on warranty...One year and you had to bring it back to Annapolis for service. Used would solve that issue completely. Again not sure what limits it misses, other than a world blue water cruiser. But then neither was the beneteau, or the sabre 38 or the Hunter 42 we have owned, but been all over on.

Best of luck and enjoy,
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The limits comment on the Gemini was directed to Smack referencing his Production Boats and the Limits thread. I think they will, like most any boat, go most anywhere you care to take it providing you are careful and play to its strengths while being mindful of its weaknesses.

My concern with the Gemini is carrying capacity and getting the already low bridge deck even lower when 4 peoples full time liveaboard stuff (including food water etc) is added. They also as you mentioned have some "quirks" but are extremely high on the living space for your dollar scale.

Regarding the dog's vote, that fickle traitor wags his tail and agrees with whoever throws him scraps. A lot in common with most politicians.
 

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I only know of 1 Gemini doing a circumnavigation. It was a couple from Calgary actually. Their boat was called Slapdash and they blogged the whole trip. If you read their blog, you will see that YES a Gemini can go around, but it was anything from comfortable. They needed to be very careful with their planning.
 

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We've seen several cruising Gemini's in the Caribbean islands.. most of them looked woefully overloaded even for island hopping.. I think it would take a lot of discipline and thought to keep a liveaboard/cruising version on her lines.

I think most families' tolerance for proximity is going to be pretty variable - and probably not a static situation either as the kids grow older and into their teens. Good news here, I suppose, is that in the southern latitudes there's so much 'outdoors' time that perhaps the space below becomes a mostly secondary consideration.

All that said, seems that an ex-charter with a three cabin arrangement could be had for your budget, everyone gets their own 'room'. Moorings/Beneteaus and the ubiquitous Jeanneaus down there would be a place to start.

One more comment. We have friends Who've wintered there in their Beneteau for the last 10 years.. they were lifelong multihullers prior to choosing their 'down south' boat. They chose a mono.
 
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but I only know of 1 Gemini doing a circumnavigation. It was a couple from Calgary actually. Their boat was called Slapdash and they blogged the whole trip. If you read their blog, you will see that YES a Gemini can go around, but it was anything from comfortable. They needed to be very careful with their planning.
the previous owner of Gemini and his son, IIRC did several atlantic crossings and several around England, Scotland. There were/are several owners who used to post of their travels on the Gemini Gems list.

Careful planning and respect for Mother Nature is the key to successful cruising with any boat.
 

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Search PDQ 32 and 36. The load carrying and ruggedness issues are handled well. There are quite a few down south.

Personally, I would stretch the budget to the PDQ 36 for 4 people (I have a 32) and figure that I would recoup nearly all the money when I sold it. They hold value very well.
 

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There are catamarans and then there are catamarans. Today's popular cruising cats are not as performance oriented as, say, the Farrier/Corsair types of multihulls. Multis are also very susceptible to weight.

Anecdotally, on a passage from Guadeloupe to Antigua in 20knots close reaching we left together with one of those 40 French cats. We were on a Bene 36.7 - not your typical caribbean 'cruiser', fair enough.. The cat did pass us but they were still putting their sails away when we entered English Harbour, so they may have gained 20 mins over 45 NM.. against a Catalina 36 it might have been 40 I suppose.. hard to say.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
That's been discussed ad nauseum if you'd care to search for it.

None of the boats mentioned in this thread, cat or mono, would be considered particularly fast. Not necessarily slugs, but not speedy especially when loaded down with gear for 4 full time liveaboards.
 
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