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Discussion Starter #1
I noticed something in the thread about what factors you consider in buying a boat. Many people made statements to the effect that they want a boat a certain size because they feel they can't handle one bigger (either single handing or whatever).

I have to say, I think there is a misconception there. Larger boats most definitely are more expensive. And the sails are larger, which indeed does mean the forces are greater, so I concede that is a consideration to some degree. But it's a consideration that is greatly ameliorated by better sail handling gear (roller furling, larger and electric winches).

After that, however, I believe people are overly fixated on the notion that handling a larger boat is more difficult. I for one do not believe a 45' boat is any more difficult to handle or sail than is a comparable 35' boat. Once you get used to the boat, you get quite comfortable sailing her no matter what her size. People say things like docking the larger boat is more difficult, but in my experience that's just not true. You need a larger dock space for sure, but marinas squeeze smaller boats into smaller spaces, so the room you have to "spare" generally is not appreciably different.

I used to be concernd about handling a larger boat, but having gone from a 22 to a 34 to a 36 to a 45 and now to a 49, my personal experience is that the 49 is no more difficult to handle than was the 34 (and I say that with no hubris at all; I do not consider myself more gifted a sailor than the average bear). And in some ways, the 49 is easier. The 22 was a bit different because that was like being in a dinghy, but I'll tell you, there are some aspects of handling the 49 that are easier than the 22.

And something else, our 49 fin keeler is MUCH easier to handle around the docks than was our 36' full keeler. No comparison frankly.

Again, cost, maintence, etc., I agree wholeheartedly. But that's not the point of many of the posts. People seem concerned about actually handling underway a 45 footer v. a 40 footer or what have you. I just don't see it that way.

So, to all of you who think handling a larger boat is more difficult, how come?
 

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Barkeep - Sailor's Pub
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I noticed something in the thread about what factors you consider in buying a boat. Many people made statements to the effect that they want a boat a certain size because they feel they can't handle one bigger (either single handing or whatever).

I have to say, I think there is a misconception there. Larger boats most definitely are more expensive. And the sails are larger, which indeed does mean the forces are greater, so I concede that is a consideration to some degree. But it's a consideration that is greatly ameliorated by better sail handling gear (roller furling, larger and electric winches).

After that, however, I believe people are overly fixated on the notion that handling a larger boat is more difficult. I for one do not believe a 45' boat is any more difficult to handle or sail than is a comparable 35' boat. Once you get used to the boat, you get quite comfortable sailing her no matter what her size. People say things like docking the larger boat is more difficult, but in my experience that's just not true. You need a larger dock space for sure, but marinas squeeze smaller boats into smaller spaces, so the room you have to "spare" generally is not appreciably different.

I used to be concernd about handling a larger boat, but having gone from a 22 to a 34 to a 36 to a 45 and now to a 49, my personal experience is that the 49 is no more difficult to handle than was the 34 (and I say that with no hubris at all; I do not consider myself more gifted a sailor than the average bear). And in some ways, the 49 is easier. The 22 was a bit different because that was like being in a dinghy, but I'll tell you, there are some aspects of handling the 49 that are easier than the 22.

And something else, our 49 fin keeler is MUCH easier to handle around the docks than was our 36' full keeler. No comparison frankly.

Again, cost, maintence, etc., I agree wholeheartedly. But that's not the point of many of the posts. People seem concerned about actually handling underway a 45 footer v. a 40 footer or what have you. I just don't see it that way.

So, to all of you who think handling a larger boat is more difficult, how come?
Good question.

I was going from my dad's 24 to a 30 - 37... I limited it to that length because of the intimidation factor. When I stood on a Tartan 37 I thought. Woah... This is the absolute *limit* in being able to take this puppy out on my own. Sure.. it's a question of set-up (see my post in that thread), but I believe there's more to it...

I would ask...."why didn't you go straight to the 49 from the 22 if it were so easy..." (monetary reasons aside) ... would you have done it? I think it's a growing thing. Still today.. I was out this past weekend in 15-20. The forces on the lines still amaze me. The fact that I need a winch that is *so* geared down just to trim the jib is like...*HOLY COW*.... I like my 6:1 main sheet... "6:1"!!!!! I'm still growing into my 34 from the 24.... I think my boat is as big as you think your 49 is! Trust me.... in 5 years... I'll be lookin' at the Sabre 42's goin' Hmmmm I think I can take that puppy out...
 

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Barkeep - Sailor's Pub
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Just to add...

I remember docking my 34 in the beginning. I practiced like an SOB....Now!?? I still do circles to practice but... well.. I'll toss her in the slip in any old wind... I've got all the plans worked out!

Put me on a 49....? Hmmm Can I try with your boat? :) :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I would ask...."why didn't you go straight to the 49 from the 22 if it were so easy..." (monetary reasons aside) ... would you have done it?
Knowing what I know today, yes. I'm not criticizing people who are concerned about handling a larger boat. Believe me, I understand the sentiment, and that's exactly the reason we went the way we did (well, that and cost). All I'm saying is that, with what I know now, it was a misguided concern.
 

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I drove a launch for many years. One was a beat up old 16 footer that held 6 passengers. The other was a brand new 30 foot Hinckley that held 22 passengers. It was much easier to maneuver the smaller launch.

Here are a few reasons the smaller boat was easier to handle. The same applies to docking a sailboat.

1. I didn't have to worry about windage in the small launch. If there was any wind in the larger boat I had to consciously counter it with the engine and steering.

2. I could manhandle the small boat in to position with force, but the larger boat could only be moved with the engine.

3. The small boat could be stopped in a much shorter distance that the heavier boat.

4. I didn't have to worry about gear on either boat, but you can be sure that every piece of equipment was heavier on the larger boat. (Everything from lines to having twice the amount of batteries)

5. Moving forward and aft to deal with things in the bow and stern were an arms length away on a small boat, but it was not as easy on the larger boat.

Obviously it is more difficult to handle a larger boat than a smaller boat otherwise oil tankers would operate with only person aboard. With patience and practice I agree that you can improvise and figure out a way to over come the challenges of a larger boat, but that doesn't change the fact that it is more challenging to handle a larger boat.
 

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I kinda agree with ya Dan, our 45 is as easy, if not more so, to sail as our 26 was and way more so than my 37 is, but I don't think I would change the steps we took to get here.

And as easy as the 45 is, I still perfer the 37, as difficult as it is the manuver in tight places. When the day comes for our last boat ( 52-55), it will have the characteristics of both boats and I know my wife & I will have no problems
 

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I agree that with today's more common aids like powered winches, roller furling etc that most any well set-up boat would be managable by a couple with average skills, but many larger boats on the used market will not have those types of advantages.

In many cases they will have the cumbersome large headsail/skinny main rigs that are the legacy of IOR influenced 'cruising' designs from the 70s and 80s. In many cases, too, run-of-the-mill productions boats were underwinched to begin with - adding to the loads and handling issues.

So with the caution and understanding that you are primarily referring to newer, more modern fully equipped (read more expensive) boats, you have a point. In our case we moved from a 40 footer similar to what I've described (though well equipped with deck gear) to a fractional 35 footer, and 4 years on continue to find this boat "small" and definitely easier to shorthand than the last one.
 

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One thing that Dan has neglected to mention. Yes, handling the sails with the winches is manageable... however, flaking the larger sails, carrying them down into the cabin, hauling them back out and bending them back on is all much more difficult with a larger boat. So is hauling out the anchor from where it is stowed down below and dragging it up to the bow and putting it on the bow roller. So is retrieving the anchor when the windlass goes TU in the middle of trying to leave an anchorage.

Yes, modern equipment has made a lot of owning a bigger boat simpler and more manageable, but there is still a lot about a bigger boat that is going to be less manageable—sometimes due to the sheer size of the gear involved, and sometimes due to the forces involved.

As Beth Leonard, author of the Voyager's Handbook, points out... she was glad that she started out on a smaller boat because a larger boat requires better seamanship. A mistake made on a smaller boat can often be corrected by brute force. However, that same mistake on a larger boat is often much more dangerous and difficult to remedy. The boom hitting you when you gybe a Sunfish hurts, and is embarrassing, but the boom hitting you when you gybe a 45' boat will throw you off the boat, and likely do some major damage to you in the process. :)
 

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My wife and I debate the "too big to handle" boat discussion often as we are searching for a boat. We have different opinions on what that means. I don't believe there is much difference in handling a 35' boat or a 40' boat. She doesn't see it that way for whatever reason.

I know that I do not want a boat so large that it cannot be handled solo, or with only a husband & wife crew. I also would prefer to not have a boat that requires powered winches to handle the sails. If we can't hoist and trim them without powered winches then I am not interested. From what I have seen and experienced I believe that boats <40' for the most part would be OK. But then if you went to a non-sloop rig I might consider boats a bit larger.

I think the mistake thing plays a large factor. If we make a mistake docking our day sailer, we can fend off by hand, or worst case the damage is likely to be minor. Mistakes on larger boats can be more costly.

Like most things related to sailboat choice, I think a compromise must be found.
 

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Knowing what I know today, yes. I'm not criticizing people who are concerned about handling a larger boat. Believe me, I understand the sentiment, and that's exactly the reason we went the way we did (well, that and cost). All I'm saying is that, with what I know now, it was a misguided concern.
So...what you mean is... "Duh.. Craig... you just made my point for me!" :D :D
 

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One thing that Dan has neglected to mention. Yes, handling the sails with the winches is manageable... however, flaking the larger sails, carrying them down into the cabin, hauling them back out and bending them back on is all much more difficult with a larger boat. So is hauling out the anchor from where it is stowed down below and dragging it up to the bow and putting it on the bow roller. So is retrieving the anchor when the windlass goes TU in the middle of trying to leave an anchorage.
Add to that list dock lines and sheets, etc.
Just coiling a dockline form a bigger boat can be more than some crew can handle.
The list goes on and on.
Yes maybe handling a bigger boat in open water under sail is as simple as sailing a sunfish, but than you have to maneuver that same boat down the narrow fairway in your marina and make that tight approach to the fuel dock where you have to back out and spin her on a dime to leave.
Open waters, no problem, mauneuvering and handling all the gear, thats a different set of circumstances.
Also, I have sailed and do sail on smaller boats, things happen a lot quicker on the small boat. A MOB recover on the small boat would be much simpler and faster. Dousing sails, coming about, jibing over, all happen faster and simplier.
For me to roll up my genny on our 36' boat takes some time and effort.
On the 21' boat I sail on it takes probably less than 2 seconds to get the fore sail on deck.
And than we can talk about when things go bad.
When your caught out with too much sail up, sails are flogging, boat healded over, and you got something wrong that needs attending, and your alone.
I understand what you are saying, once the sails are up and your close reaching the bigger boat is no big deal and I would like to go bigger than what we current have, but there is also another side to the story.
 

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Finally a post I can comment on!
2 years ago when I decided to take up sailing I had my mind set on a 22'. I had NEVER sailed before other than a few times as a passenger on a friends boat. I spent hours at the marina looking at the different models.
Then an incredible deal came up on a 28' model. I bought it 8 months ago.
For the first few weeks I sat in the slip. Yes I was afraid of the size. And of course the slip was right next to the marina office so whatever I did, I would be on display to all the other seasoned sailors. Several people offered to go out and show me the ropes but I never took them up.
One afternoon in a light breeze I set out on my own. I spent several hours with my sailing books figuring it all out but I did it. I banged it up a few times trying to get it back in the slip but I got it back.
Now I'm ready to move up to a bigger boat. I don't regret buying something over my head at the time. I have enjoyed every minute - especially when the adrenaline gets pumping.
It was bigger than wheat I had orginally wanted but I have never regretted that decision.
If you dive into a passion, you'll soon learn the ropes with patience, practice and a lot of prayer.
 

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Add to that list dock lines and sheets, etc.
Just coiling a dockline form a bigger boat can be more than some crew can handle.
The list goes on and on.
Yup... :)
Yes maybe handling a bigger boat in open water under sail is as simple as sailing a sunfish, but than you have to maneuver that same boat down the narrow fairway in your marina and make that tight approach to the fuel dock where you have to back out and spin her on a dime to leave.
Open waters, no problem, mauneuvering and handling all the gear, thats a different set of circumstances.
Make that open waters in good weather... trying to deal with a 800 sq. ft genny in a blow can be a lot harder than dealing with a 300 sq. ft. one in the same conditions.
Also, I have sailed and do sail on smaller boats, things happen a lot quicker on the small boat. A MOB recover on the small boat would be much simpler and faster. Dousing sails, coming about, jibing over, all happen faster and simplier.
For me to roll up my genny on our 36' boat takes some time and effort.
On the 21' boat I sail on it takes probably less than 2 seconds to get the fore sail on deck.
Very true... :)
And than we can talk about when things go bad.
When your caught out with too much sail up, sails are flogging, boat healded over, and you got something wrong that needs attending, and your alone.
I understand what you are saying, once the sails are up and your close reaching the bigger boat is no big deal and I would like to go bigger than what we current have, but there is also another side to the story.
It really isn't as cut and dried as some people seem to suggest. One thing to remember is that when you are cruising long-term as a couple, you are often, effectively, two different people sailing the same boat singlehanded at different times. Make sure what ever boat you get can be singlehanded by either you or your spouse without trouble in all weather conditions.

Trust me, the ocean and weather gods aren't going to wait until it is convenient for you to throw bad weather your way.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I should clarify something

One thing that Dan has neglected to mention. Yes, handling the sails with the winches is manageable... however, flaking the larger sails, carrying them down into the cabin, hauling them back out and bending them back on is all much more difficult with a larger boat. So is hauling out the anchor from where it is stowed down below and dragging it up to the bow and putting it on the bow roller. So is retrieving the anchor when the windlass goes TU in the middle of trying to leave an anchorage.

Yes, modern equipment has made a lot of owning a bigger boat simpler and more manageable, but there is still a lot about a bigger boat that is going to be less manageable—sometimes due to the sheer size of the gear involved, and sometimes due to the forces involved.

As Beth Leonard, author of the Voyager's Handbook, points out... she was glad that she started out on a smaller boat because a larger boat requires better seamanship. A mistake made on a smaller boat can often be corrected by brute force. However, that same mistake on a larger boat is often much more dangerous and difficult to remedy. The boom hitting you when you gybe a Sunfish hurts, and is embarrassing, but the boom hitting you when you gybe a 45' boat will throw you off the boat, and likely do some major damage to you in the process. :)
First, there is a big difference between a 16 footer and a 30+ footer. That I agree with whole heartedly. So to the poster who made the comparison between the 16' launch and the 30' launch, I hear you, but that's not really my point.

I'm talking about people who are saying stuff like they don't want to go over 35' or 40' or whatever because beyond that they can't handle the boat by themselves, singlehand, etc.

The difference between handling a 35' to 40' boat and one between 45' and 50' is just not as substantial as people believe, IMHO. I'm not saying there is NO difference, but the differences are just not that great.

SD, I do understand what you're saying, but look at the practical realities. In terms of bringing the anchor on deck, etc., people don't do that, or at least don't do it very often at all. The more proper comparison, in my view, is looking at what anchor you're using in the way you actually use it. On our Bayfield 36, our primary anchor was a 45lb CQR with 200' of 5/16" BBB chain. The anchor lived on the bow roller, and we relied on a windlass to be sure. Today, two boats later, we have a 60lb CQR with 120' of 3/8" HT chain on the 49 footer, and we still rely on the windlass. In the day-to-day operation, the difference in ground tackle has absolutely NO difference to us (and in fact the weight of our chain rode now remains comparable having gone to HT to match our gypsy). And in the event the windlass breaks and I need to haul up the anchor by hand, do you really think it will be a material difference having to haul up 100' of chain with a 45lb anchor v. 100' of chain with a 60lb anchor? I don't think that's a material difference. It's going to suck both ways, big time.

In terms of getting hit in the head with the boom, I'm equally as dead getting hit in the head during an accidental gybe on the 36 as I am on the 49. Frankly, I'm less likely to get hit on the 49 because the boom is higher. Comparing a gybe on a 22 to one on a 49, you got me. 35 to the 49, however, not so much.

Manhandling the boat. Once you get to a certain size, you're just not manhandling the boat. I agree, you can manhandle a Sunfish or a Catalina 22. But you're not really manhandling a 40' boat in anything but the most benign conditions during which you would also be able to manhandle the 50 footer. Sure, there is a window somewhere in that spectrum where maybe you could manhandle the 40 but not the 50, but that window is awfully small.

Same is true with bending on sails. Most people use roller furling jibs, so that really is just not an issue (if you're still hanking on headsails, then you are in a different situation completely and my analysis very well may not apply). In terms of the main, it is a fair point that a larger boat having a larger main may require more work. But even that I think is overblown. Obviously if you have a roller furling main (whether in mast or in boom), then it's not really an issue. If you have a Dutchman or a good (key word: good) lazy jack setup, it also becomes less of an issue. If you have an electric winch for the halyard, it again is even less of an issue. Obviously not all boats have these niceties, and that could matter. But seriously, handling the main on an average recent vintage 40' production or semi-custom boat is just NOT going to be materially easier than handling it on a comparable 45' or 50' boat. To a degree it will be easier, but not by orders of magnitude. Surely not enough to override the benefits you get from the larger boat (if those benefits are in line with your intended use).

Again, and just because I don't want anyone to think I'm being critical of their choices, I take no issue with anyone who wants a smaller v. a larger boat. If that's what makes you happy or more comfortable, more power to you and get out there sailing. My only point is that if you have a 30' boat and you are looking to move up because for whatever reason you want a bigger boat, restricting yourself to 40' because you're worried about handling a larger boat is probably a misguided concern (again, IMHO). You will have a period of time getting used to handling the 40' over the 30' anyway, and that process would be no different at all if instead you were adjusting to the 45 footer. If you can handle the 35/40 footer, you can handle a 50 footer, so don't make that your decision point.

There are many valid reasons for wanting a smaller boat, and in the end it probably makes sense getting the smallest boat that accomplishes what you want it to accomplish (no need to have a 50 foot, 4 cabin boat if all you do is daysail with one other person). But IMHO, all else being equal, I wouldn't compromise on size for fear of not being able to handle the boat. Soon you will wear whatever boat you have like a glove.

I remember vividly when we were moving up from our 22 and I was standing at the helm of a 34 we were looking at, it felt like I was on an aircraft carrier and I remember thinking, "can I actually handle this size boat?" Believe me folks, you can. And like in so many situations in life, if I knew then what I know now, I would have saved a lot of money had I avoided moving up several times in the small increments we did.

Now I need to go back to work and pay for all of this excess! :)
 

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Dan-

I'm not disagreeing with what you said, but just playing the Devil’s Advocate, and trying to make a point that when stuff goes wrong on a bigger boat, it can go wrong in much more a dramatic fashion than a smaller boat.

A recent example... there was a poster who showed photos of his boat that had gone aground... IIRC, due to a failed mooring. He was able to get his boat off and safely back afloat. There was a news story about a 50' boat that went ashore, and required the owner to trade ownership of the vessel for someone to haul the remnants away. Granted, the two situation weren't completely identical, but it serves to illustrate my point. On a smaller boat, there are often more options available in a bad situation, since it is more manageable in size.

Also, cruising long-term is something that probably requires you to be as self-sufficient as possible—stepping the mast on a 35-40' boat is probably much easier to do than that on a 45-50' boat. Finding a place to haul a 35-40' boat is probably a lot easier, especially in remote areas of the world, than hauling a 45-50' boat.

If you're just day sailing or coastal cruising... and can afford/want a behemoth... go for it... :) If you're planning on voyaging a bit further away, going with a more modest vessel may may far more sense.

Just my $.02, adjusted for inflation... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It really isn't as cut and dried as some people seem to suggest.
My official and well-reasoned response: Poppycock. ;)

Look, I understand. If you're too scared and feeble, or not man enough to get a respectably sized boat, that's cool. You shouldn't feel any less of a sailor for it. And don't let all of those people on the dock laughing at you in your puny boat threaten your manhood. I'm sure your wife and kids will love and respect you no matter what your fears and shortcomings might be. All that wind and stuff, it can be scary and hard to handle. Sometimes it IS better just to duck and hide. Don't be embarrassed by your own limitations. :D :D
 

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Dan-

I'd like to see how you explain that to your wife when she's struggling to get the monster mainsail down by her self after the furling gear goes TU...in 30 knots of wind with a squall line moving down on you... :) Yup...that'd be downright entertaining...

Besides, aren't you supposed to be working?? Damn slacker, lazy, good fer nuthing... :) :D

My official and well-reasoned response: Poppycock. ;)

Look, I understand. If you're too scared and feeble, or not man enough to get a respectably sized boat, that's cool. You shouldn't feel any less of a sailor for it. And don't let all of those people on the dock laughing at you in your puny boat threaten your manhood. I'm sure your wife and kids will love and respect you no matter what your fears and shortcomings might be. All that wind and stuff, it can be scary and hard to handle. Sometimes it IS better just to duck and hide. Don't be embarrassed by your own limitations. :D :D
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dan-

I'm not disagreeing with what you said, but just playing the Devil’s Advocate, and trying to make a point that when stuff goes wrong on a bigger boat, it can go wrong in much more a dramatic fashion than a smaller boat.

A recent example... there was a poster who showed photos of his boat that had gone aground... IIRC, due to a failed mooring. He was able to get his boat off and safely back afloat. There was a news story about a 50' boat that went ashore, and required the owner to trade ownership of the vessel for someone to haul the remnants away. Granted, the two situation weren't completely identical, but it serves to illustrate my point. On a smaller boat, there are often more options available in a bad situation, since it is more manageable in size.

Also, cruising long-term is something that probably requires you to be as self-sufficient as possible—stepping the mast on a 35-40' boat is probably much easier to do than that on a 45-50' boat. Finding a place to haul a 35-40' boat is probably a lot easier, especially in remote areas of the world, than hauling a 45-50' boat.

If you're just day sailing or coastal cruising... and can afford/want a behemoth... go for it... :) If you're planning on voyaging a bit further away, going with a more modest vessel may may far more sense.

Just my $.02, adjusted for inflation... :)
I hear all those points, and they are fair ones to be sure. Just keep in mind that, for instance, stepping the rig on a 40' ain't no one-armed job either. Look, there is a reason boats are made in all sizes -- people want them. Obviously there are many situations where a smaller boat makes more sense. All I'm saying is don't overblow the difference in handling a larger boat. Once you get to a certain size, the law of diminishing returns (really the inverse I guess) starts to kick in. The problems you have handling a 50 footer are not materially different than the ones you encounter handling the 40 footer.

To look at this another way, I think a more important consideration is the design and type of boat, rather than her size. Seriously, I have a MUCH easier time handling our Beneteau 49 around the dock than I did our Bayfield 36. Likewise, sailing the sloop-rigged roller furling Bene is MUCH easier than handling the cutter-rigged traditional main Bayfield. (Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED our Bayfield, and ease of handling had nothing to do with our moving on; we just had kids!) If I were overly focused on size, I might mistakenly conclude that the Bayfield would be easier to handle than the Bene. I would have been greatly mistaken.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
All I can say is, my wife long ago came to terms with the fact that she married a loser and that at some point I surely would put her in some ridiculous situation like entering a death match with a flailing main in front of 30 onlookers while we drift towards a massive insurance claim, if not certain death. And I do agree with you, there would be much entertainment value in watching her deal with that. Hmmm, that gives me an idea for a way to have some fun next season. :rolleyes:

I'm a lawyer, so I think the "good fer nuthin" point has long been established.


Dan-

I'd like to see how you explain that to your wife when she's struggling to get the monster mainsail down by her self after the furling gear goes TU...in 30 knots of wind with a squall line moving down on you... :) Yup...that'd be downright entertaining...

Besides, aren't you supposed to be working?? Damn slacker, lazy, good fer nuthing... :) :D
 

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Yes, but it should be something kept in mind, especially if you plan on cruising in more remote parts... once you go above a certain size, a lot of things, like haulouts, stepping/unstepping the mast, etc, all become much more difficult logistically. It really depends on what kind of sailing you're planning on doing... and all that needs to be taken into consideration when deciding what the upper size limit you pick is going to be.

If you're sticking with coastal cruising and island hopping, where facilities and such are fairly easily accessible, then that's one thing. If you're planning on voyaging around the world and stopping in the remote Southern Pacific, you might just want to change the boat selection.

I hear all those points, and they are fair ones to be sure. Just keep in mind that, for instance, stepping the rig on a 40' ain't no one-armed job either. Look, there is a reason boats are made in all sizes -- people want them. Obviously there are many situations where a smaller boat makes more sense. All I'm saying is don't overblow the difference in handling a larger boat. Once you get to a certain size, the law of diminishing returns (really the inverse I guess) starts to kick in. The problems you have handling a 50 footer are not materially different than the ones you encounter handling the 40 footer.
Of course, comparing an Bayfield cutter to a sloop rigged Bendytoy is really a fair comparison. :) A cutter is going to be more complicated to sail, if you're using the two headsails than a sloop, even if it requires less muscle power to sail her.

Also, I'm guessing that the Bayfield was a significantly older boat, with less of the modern amenities than your Bendytoy. :) That also makes the disparity between the two a bit wider than it should be. :)

To look at this another way, I think a more important consideration is the design and type of boat, rather than her size. Seriously, I have a MUCH easier time handling our Beneteau 49 around the dock than I did our Bayfield 36. Likewise, sailing the sloop-rigged roller furling Bene is MUCH easier than handling the cutter-rigged traditional main Bayfield. (Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVED our Bayfield, and ease of handling had nothing to do with our moving on; we just had kids!) If I were overly focused on size, I might mistakenly conclude that the Bayfield would be easier to handle than the Bene. I would have been greatly mistaken.
 
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