What do you all feel the pros and cons of cruising on a mid size to small boat are. Say something like 27-36 footers.
I've noticed that some people on this site seem to discount the idea that a smaller boat can be the ideal boat for a person. I guess it has a lot to do with what you got the boat for.
If you want a floating condo, with all the pleasures and conveniences of modern life, including the microwave oven, the big screen TV, and the washer and dryer, you can't do that on a smaller boat.
If you want to live aboard a boat and run a business from it, a larger boat may make sense. You need to have living space as well as office space. I know a man who runs a very successful company from an office on a 34' catamaran... where he lives and has his office.
However, if you want to sail to far away places, and live a life that is based around sailing, a smaller boat may make a lot more sense.
Look at what boats some very well respected sailboat designers chose. Many chose smaller boats for their personal sailing craft.
Capt. Nat Herreshoff designed for himself the 26' "Alerion III". When Capt. Nat was in his seventies and living in Florida, he sailed a 30' K/CB "Pleasure"
Joel White sailed a Bridges Point 24 named "Ellisha" after his grandaughter
Phil Rhodes sailed a wooden 25 footer named "Nixie"
Carl Alberg sailed a 26' Pearson Commander named after his wife "Alma"
Bob Perry sails a 26' Cirrus called "Perrywinkle"
Part of the problem with a lot of the mass media is that they are driven by advertising dollars...and the larger boats are where all the money is. Look at the pages of Blue Water Sailing, Cruising World, and those magazines, it would seem that you can't sail across an ocean in a boat smaller than 40' in length.
Part of the problem is that many people confuse cruising with chartering. Most long-term cruising sailors I know have tried to simplify their lives and have gotten out of the rat race, and the rat race's need to compete with the Joneses.
However, I believe you can go and do a lot of sailing, and even sail long distances in relatively small boats. In fact, this was in fact the norm until not too long ago.
Look at Tania Aebi, who sailed a Contessa 26, Donna Lange, who is in a Southern Cross 28, Pat Henry, who was in a Southern Cross 31, have all circumnavigated the globe... okay, Donna's not quite done yet, but she's in the home stretch... The Pardeys sailed aboard two different boats, Talesin was less than 30' LOD, and Serrafyn was less than 25' LOD. Webb Chiles circumnavigated four times, once in a Drascombe Lugger, but that's an extreme example IMHO.
John Vigor's book, 20 Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere, lists boats all smaller than 35' LOA. Bigger isn't necessarily better... if your goal is to sail and cruise for as long as possible... then a smaller boat may make far more sense.
A smaller boat costs less to buy....leaving you more money for the cruising kitty.
A smaller boat costs less to maintain....making the money in the cruising kitty last longer.
A smaller boat often can go more places than a larger boat. Bigger boats don't gunkhole well.
The small boat is often easier to repair. The hardware needed on a smaller boat is often simpler and more reliable than that on a larger boat. A manual windlass is going to have fewer maintenance problems than an electric or hydraulic windlass; an electric winch is going to need more maintenance than a manual winch; the electrical system is often far simpler, and require less work to repair; stepping the mast often can be done without a crane, and so on.
I'd spend about $10K on the boat, spend a few months getting her ready while my partner (Wife) works to add $20K to $30K to the kitty. We spend one or two nights in a hotel on arrival after a long passage, live on the hook mostly, treat ourselves with a restaurant meal occasionally and cruise indefinitely.Style of cruising. A smaller boat with much smaller costs could leave money to stay on shore in a hotel!!!! So the boat is used as transportation . No boat is as comfortable as a nice hotel. Obviously if there is plenty of money you can have both. But for many of us buying a 40' boat in good condition for sailing would break the bank leaving little money for cruising. So with a $100,000 or whatever amount. would you spend $30,000 on a boat and save $70,000 for the cruise??? Or spend $70,000 on a boat and spend $30,000 on the cruise??? A case can be made for either decision. Having money to enjoy the cruise is at least as important as the boat. Sailing to Cozumel and having money to eat well and enjoy scuba diving etc is different than sailing to Cozumel and living on the hook without money to dive or enjoy carlos and charley's. Also having a kitty in the bank to pay for unexpected expenses is a good thing. Being rich is a good thing unfortunately I am not rich so more of my money is in the bank and less is tied up in the boat.
Absolutely!I guess its the old adage of whatever works for you.....
We have been living aboard and cruising quite comfortably for a long time. Tomorrow marks nineteen years since I moved aboard Lealea, a Vega 27. Our longest passage to-date was 55 days. We have no problem storing six months or more of food aboard and we don't feel like we are camping. I'm with you on the air-con, genset and microwave but I disagree about the watermaker.So this is our story and our perspective only....
We are a couple both about to turn 30, who currently cruise in local waters on a 27ft boat. We spend weekends aboard regularly and can do coastal hops no problem....To our non sailing friends life aboard is very cramped, a few days on board means provisions and stores in every nook and cranny and our style ends up being very much camping on board.
We are looking at making a break for a couple of years and doing some 'real' cruising' for this we reckon 33-38 is about our size range.
Any smaller and tankage and storage becomes a major issue for the 'off the beaten track' type sailing we hope to be doing. Any bigger and well we would run out of money, run into draught issues, and the boat becomes too big for either of us to handle without the other.....
Now we won't have air-con, genset, watermaker, or a microwave. We will hope more often than not that the party is on someone else's boat.....but I think this size for us will work well.