Sailing either a small daysailor or a larger cruiser each requires their own set of skills. Daysailers can be manhandled and tend to provide more response to sail trim and weight distribution. They require better boathandling skills under sail since they don''t have an engine for docking.
Bigger boats require more forethought and judgement. They often require greater physical strength. If something goes seriously wrong someone is more likely to get hurt and the damage is bound to be greater.
If sailing a small boat on an average day with winds in the 10-15 mph range you are: going to get wet: going to feel like you are really going fast and sailing right on the edge: Be able to manuver easily in tight quarters: Be able to get underway at the drop of a hat, and be able to beach the boat on your return to shore......In a larger boat in the same conditions you are: going to be dry: Going to be sailing in ideal conditions and enjoying a comfortable ride(based on the design of the boat): Be able to take more clothing and equipment along in case of a change in weather or if you decide to go on an overnite cruise.: Will need to moor the boat, or expect to take a great deal longer to get underway if launching from a trailer....
Sailing on smaller boats (14ft) is very different from sailing a larger (25 ft) boat. I learned in a 14 foot boat, and it was alot of fun. It is a much more active experience. Depending on how windy it is, you may have to hike out to keep the boat level. There is always the possibility of capsizing, although if you are taught properly this should not happen. You really feel the action or movement of the smaller boat. It can be alot of fun. Also, typically you can''t take many people out with you and still be comfortable.
A larger boat, I think, is more relaxing and less physically demanding. You are not having to hike out to keep the boat level. You will probably have winches to help with the lines. Depending on the boat you will typically feel less of the action or movement. You can take more people out with you, which is a big plus! You will typically have a motor which will make docking easier.
I had a 33 foot boat with a full keel last year and moved to a 26 foot which should be more fun to sail. There are so many choices out there. Figure out what you want to do with a sailboat, try some out, take some lessons, and make the plunge. Its alot of fun no matter what you get.
I learned how to sail on a 16+'' daysailor (centerboard) and now am learning how to sail our (new to us) 30'' Bristol. To me the biggest difference is in ballast. In smaller lighter boats the crew/captain is the ballast and positioning this ballast is the key to performance. In other words, if the crew is on the wrong side of the boat it capsizes. Heavier boats and keel boats do not depend on this weight distribution that much. (For cruising anyway...racing is entirely different) Sailing principals do remain the same. As said earlier, you rely on the motor much more with larger boats. My engine wasn''t working last week and i couldn''t sail until it was fixed. I could always sail with both my daysailer and typhoon. Are you looking to buy a boat or are you new to sailing all together. ROB
I have sailed sunfish, lasers, blue jays ( all 14''), Hobie Cats (16''), Rhodes 19''s, O''Day''s (22-24)'', Catalina''s (22-28''),Beneteau''s(36-40''),Privilege Cat (40''), etc. Small boats are the most FUN! Response is immediate, if unforgiving. You''ll get wet, but you''ll feel exhilerated. Larger boats are sailed with the same principles, and are more satisfying in that you can go farther and more comfortably. It is very thrilling to control a large boat and move it through the sea by your wits and the wind. Small boats can be sailed with a minimum of preparation (but DO prepare). Large boats need much prep time before slipping the mooring. Sailing BOTH are more satisfying than anything I think you can do. Have Fun!
Actually, I have to disagree with the above statement about prep time. Having owned and sailed boats of a wide range of sizes, I find that boats that are large enough to keep their sails rigged are by far easier to get underway quickly. My current 28 footer takes around 5 to 7 minutes from the time I step aboard to the time I shove off with all sails rigged and covers off(I know because I have to time this to catch the bridges on the half hour.) My dinghies and small trailerables always took much longer to get underway, even when I stored the boats with their masts in place.
jer, the really big difference is to be found in the seat of your pants. They( your pants) should be a lot more comfortable if you buy the big boat since your wallet will be much smaller. Otherwise, sailing is sailing.