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I have had my boat for a few months now, and it has been great. My fiancee and I get out 1-2 times per week and are both absolutely loving it. Our 23' is perfect for the type of sailing we do. We are becoming very comfortable sailing it.

We are getting married in about a year, and were talking about a bareboat charter (probably BVI or Bahamas) for the honeymoon. I have been around the water all my life, and navigation and seamanship aren't really issues. The problem is that I have not sailed anything bigger than 25' or so. The smallest charter boat I have seen is 32' with most around 35'. If I am competent on the mid 20's boat, is it reasonable to charter a mid 30's boat without prior experience on boats that size, or is that too big of a jump? How much of a difference is this when it comes to handling the boat?
 

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I went from a 26' express cruiser stinkpot to a 42' CC sailboat. No lessons. This ain't brain surgery. But I did bend the bow pulpit a bit the first time I docked!!! The sailing is easy, it's getting used to maneuvering in close quarters that gets the pucker power into gear
 

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Once you sail the 35 footer you will be coming home and searching yacht world for a new boat.
Sailing is sailing. For me the biggest differnece is that things take a little longer to happen. It takes a little longer to do everything. Plan accordingly and you'll be fine.
 

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Same Concerns ...

We own a 26, ASA certified on a 36 and I find the sailing part easy. Like xort, I find maneuvering in close quarters to be an area of concern.

I have been on a mooring or in a slip and I lack confidence with anchoring. We are thinking about doing one of those flotilla charters in an attempt at staying out of trouble each night.
 

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anchoring is easy if you have the right equipment, nightmare if you don't.
what issues were you having?
 

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Riding a big bicycle is the same as riding a small bicycle.

Sailing is about the same.
 

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Bigger boats are easier to handle, up to 50 feet
I agree. I started at 33 and went to 41 feet and have docked 45 feet. The only caveat is that you might want to see how far the boat coasts in neutral, and how easily it stops and how tight a turn you can make. Inertia has surprised many a sailor.

But this is my advice with any boat, really. Even throwing a plastic jug in the water and going at it like it's a sea wall will tell you a lot about how the boat handles under power.
 

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If your 23 footer has an outboard motor, you won't be able to get a bigger, inboard powered boat with a fixed prop in and out of a slip without learning how to maneuver an inboard boat under power. You can turn an outboard motor and direct it's thrust, and that makes it easy to learn to use, but, you can't do that with a fixed prop inboard.

I've chartered many times, and, when the company was checking me out, I've never had a charter company ask me to demonstrate my sailing competence. What they want to know is whether you can maneuver the boat around the docks, because that's where any damage is most likely to happen. You should at least be able to rotate a fixed prop inboard boat in close quarters, and you should be able to get it in and out of a slip. If you can't demonstrate the ability to do so, I seriously doubt that the charter company will let you take the boat on your own, without a hired captain. Needless to say, a hired captain on board might put a damper on honeymoon activities. Considering the importance of the occasion of your honeymoon and your inexperience in handling a fixed prop inboard boat, I would suggest you learn how to maneuver such a boat under power before you charter one. Operating an inboard boat isn't something you can easily teach yourself.

Chapman's book on Seamanship has a section that explains how to do it. Read it, and if you understand it, and think you can do it successfully the first time without practice, go for it. Most people find it helpful to have someone demonstrate how to maneuver such a boat. I'm not so confident that you can do it. Most people can't do it. Some people have operated boats for years and still aren't very proficient at it.

If, however, your 23 footer is inboard powered, and if you can maneuver it reasonably proficiently under power, then the larger size of the charter boat shouldn't be a particular concern. Just take it slow and easy around the docks.
 

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I think the biggest danger is a bad case of "3-footitis", or more likely 12-footitis.

Go, have fun, and don't stress!
 

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anchoring is easy if you have the right equipment, nightmare if you don't.
what issues were you having?

Not really a matter of issues, it's a lack of experience (and the lack of confidence that brings). :confused:

I'm just getting to the point where I need to learn how to match bottom type to the anchor I may or may not have. The Admiral wants to cruise Door County (WI) this summer and that will involve a number of nights on the hook.
 

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I went from sailing open cockpit 12 footer to a 34 foot racer/cruiser, although I sailed a few times on friends' bigger boats. Found sailing a bigger boat easier (more forgiving of an imperfect captain), and the motoring part was easily picked up with one short lesson from a friend. Go have a great time!!!
 

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When my wife and I first chartered in the VI twenty five years ago the largest boat either of had ever sailed was a 17' dinghy. We had a grand time sailing from St. Thomas to the Virgin Gorda and back. This before moorings had been sunk so we anchored every day for lunch and every night. When we got back to the charter base and the staff checked the gauge, we realized that we hadn't turned the engine on all week. The boat had an ice box; no refrigeration.

I think the first time you will have to deal with a dock is when you return to the charter base. Your biggest concern with the engine will be avoiding fouling the painter on the tender.
 

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When you first get out on the bigger boat spend some time in the harbor doing a couple of figure 8's to see how tight you can turn. Then try to see if you can stop it at a particular point. If there is a buoy in deep enough water or an empty mooring ball that is perfect as a target. Then see if you can back up to it. Actually, these are good exercises any time you get on a boat that is new to you. Sailing is easy. Anchoring is still pretty easy and if you are chartering they will presumably have the right anchor for local conditions already on the boat. It is close quarters maneuvering that is different with each boat, particularly if there is wind.
 

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Sailormon6

If you need a book to handle 35 ft boat you needn't go off your berth. we are not talking about 1000 ft VLCC( Very Large Crude carrier) but a boat. Inboard engine sailboats are way easier for shiphandling than ones with outboard engine. People make such a big fuss about handling sailboats??

Petar
 

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Big boats sail just like little ones - you just need a bigger slip, more money in your checking account and more room to turn the boat.
 

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I took my lessons on 22 ft. Santanas. 3 months later bought a 30ft. Columbia, and then jumped to a 46ft. cat. I would only worry about the extra momentum the extra weight carries as mentioned above. Practice anchoring what you have, and if you are successful at that. Then you will be successful with the larger boat.

The BVI will have lots of mooring to protect the bottom. The Bahamas is mostly wonderful sand, and easy anchoring......BEST WISHES on the upcoming trip......i2f
 

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Yeah, you probably have the skills to sail a 38 footer in the BVI's and you can avoid docking and even anchoring by simply choosing. The bigger popular sites in the BVI's all have mooring balls and you are required to moor in park areas to protect the coral. It would be worth taking a three hour intro course on a cruising boat before you go to familiarize yourself with systems, water, fuel, etc. Pay attention when the charter folks go through the boat with you, even worth taking notes so you can find the hidden valve or switch when you need it 3 days later. Taking a captain with you the first day is also possible and not too expensive, if you can stand the company.

Charter companies estimate that you can easily handle a class up from what you are used to, i.e. a 32 or 36 footer for you. I have chartered 38 to 50 foot boats and never encountered problems related to size. Just be very conservative and remember that the windage of these big boats will produce forces much larger than you are used to. I had a friend (5ft2 110 pounds) who didn't want to turn loose of a boat hook because she was determined to hold on to a mooring despite the parallel rows of bruises on her ribs from the pulpit. Turn loose and try again is a good motto.
 

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We have a Beneteau 50. My previous boat was a Victory 21. Of course, some crewing on other people's boats can make you more comfortable. (I wasn't looking for that big a boat, she was a boat I came across that was right for me and my family for several reasons.)

Reading Chapman's, and thinking a lot about everything helped. As did taking it easy with the new boat. Oh, and the keels on the 21 and the 50 are very similar. I might have had more trouble moving to a full keel 35 than to the Beneteau.

Practice getting in and out of slips with no wind. SAY NO TO DOCK BOYS. Again: SAY NO TO DOCK BOYS when they direct you to a transient slip that looks untenable due to wind and current. Go elsewhere if it looks too dificult.

Invest in fenders and boat hooks and bring people who can help ease you into the slip. Tip good dock boys really well, when they show up to help you.

Read everything you can about prop walk.

IMHO, mooring and anchoring are easier that getting into a slip. Things happen directly into the wind and getting the main up is easy when you are still moored/anchored.

I have a great windlass with a remote switch at the helm. That makes it easy to drop the anchor and (after deciding you don't like the holding) raise all that chain and try again.

Practice 3-point (5-point?) turns so you know how tight an area you can turn around it.

Practice Man Overboard Drills -- it gets a more difficult with higher freeboard.

Think about Plan Bs and Plan Cs. For instance, if the wind picks up and you can't get into the dock safely, you can go grab a mooring. If there are no moorings, you can anchor. If the anchor doesn't hold, you could raft up, if you can't raft up, you could get away from other boats and idle into the wind until it blows over. (Some of these may be unworkable depending on the circumstance, but you get the idea.) Think of many "what-ifs" and know the "outs" that you have for each of them.

Probably the easiest thing to do is to find someone with a bigger boat and go sailing with them. That's what I did. You mentioned a 35 foot boat. There are a lot of them around and people are always looking for good crew. And for my biggest BFS, I was in the company of 5 other experienced sailors (sailnetters all). That made all the diference. Good company, good crew, good times.

I still count myself as having a lot to learn, so take this advice for what it's worth.
 
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