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Bombay Explorer 44
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are in Florida on a boat hunt. I have sailed a 38 footer before. SWMBO has not done much sailing. We are both in our early 60s. We are not planning anything adventurous like a circumnavigation, just island hopping around the Caribbean in our declinig years.

I have seen something that I like but she is a 45 footer described as " built on a racing hull redesigned into a live-aboard cruising yacht " with a conventional main. [I distrust roller furling mains.] I feel sure that I can manage her just now.

I will fit an electric anchor winch and might consider an electric halyard winch for the main in the future.

I would like to here from any older sailors who are still sailing 40+ footers. Are we biting off more than we can chew as we get older?


Oh yes I can not afford a cruising catamaran of reasonable size.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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3,619 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She is a centreboarder but I would not be bothered about draft as we plan to spend our time in the Windward Leeward islands and 8 feet plus is not a problem out there. Even most of the Bahamas is possible at 8 feet. Not the Abacos though!
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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How tall is the mast? How big is the genoa? Do all of the lines run back to the cockpit, or is all of the equipment to do a single task in one area (i.e. can you both hand raise the main, winch it the last few inches and keep yourself in the wind all from the same spot?) Your biggest issues will revolve around the strength it takes to raise the main, sheet the main, furl the genoa under heavy load (i.e. big winds) and sheet the genoa. For a cruising couple, make sure you can do it all singlehanded. My wife and I are liveaboard cruisers, with our two kids, but we run the boat singlehanded on night watches. Without electric winches, I'm pretty happy with our 40 footer. Something larger, even at our younger age, would have to be pretty well laid out for us to consider it. Regarding the windlass, we have a manual windlass but we haven't celebrated as many anniversaries of our 29th birdthdays as you have. Strictly speaking, you should assume you have to do everything by hand (assume electrical failure), so if you have a big anchor for a big boat and you can't raise it by hand, you should look for a smaller anchor. Realistically, unless you are doing world cruising, you won't be stressing the equipment quite so much, and you can depend on it for the most part, and depend on other cruisers if you're in a pinch.

Keep in mind, by the way, that racing hulls do not necessarily make a comfortable cruising boat. They tend to be twitchy, rolly and more difficult to manage in heavier winds and seas.

Chris
 

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On the hard
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3,502 Posts
Especially old IOR warhorses. They've usually been rode hard and put to bed wet, Plus they're a handful for a doublehanded crew, especially offwind. The loads on those older sleds are incredible.
 

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Some 45 footers would be no problem. Others could be a serious handful.

Could you tell us the make and model? We may have someone on here with specific experience in/on the boat.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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3,619 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It is a Bombay Explorer 45. I can not find out much about the boat or the builders, the Bombay Trading Company. They were based in Florida possibly in Key Largo. Interestingly after they went bankrupt in 79 the mould for their small boat founded the Island Packet line.
 

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Splashed
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572 Posts
What's wrong with smaller boats

While there is a big difference between 45 footers, generally when the wind pipes up, it will be more work in a larger boat, meaning that shorthanded crews tend to motor more and generally sail less if they're not strong. That's why I personally think that something around 30' is optimal for two, provided you can live with the available space (or lack thereof).
If you're not planning a circumnavigation, you also do not need the cargo carrying capacity of a larger hull, and even that has more to do with hull form than "just" size.
Hope this helps.
 

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My wife and I are in our mid-60's and so are all of our sailing buddies of 50++ years. What we've all learned as we've aged over the years is that the best boat for the aged-out baby boomers is one that you can handle without any aids (anchor windless, electric winches, automated sails, etc.), because, if you sail long enough and far enough, those systems will fail. And they will fail at the worst of times, and if you can't handle the boat without them - you're screwed. And if you have to muscle a 45 foot boat into a slip with a 15 knot wind on her beam - how are you going to manage?
Knowing all that from our youth, is how, in our fifties, we bought Paloma, a tough little bluewater warrior princess.
Creature comforts abound while in the slip and hooked up to shorepower (12K BTU AC, alcohol/electric stove, refrigeration, killer stereo and more). But when at sea, she has "electric or hydraulic power assist nothing".
 

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Old Fart
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514 Posts
37 footer

My wife and I regularily handle our 37 by ourselves (we're 60 and 59) and she was designed as an offshore racer and we converted her to cruising. We added all of the amenities such as electric anchor windlass, refer, and roller furling for the genoa but not the main.

I think whether or not you can handle a 45 is entirely up to you and your health, etc. Just think about what you can handle. Also there is the option of getting one of those electric drill boosters for the winches. We have friends that are in their early 80s and take their 34 out for long trips every year.
 

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Age vs Size

I am a pretty healthy 71yo and I still sail and single hand a Seidelman 37 sloop. I do not have a windlass nor any electric winches. My feeling is that if I have these things, I will come to depend on them, and at the worst possible time something will fail. So, I don't have either. I do offshore sailing, but in the gulf, and not any trans oceanic, or super long distance work. But no problem with the Yucatan, or Bahamas, or just about anywhere in the Carib. where distances are not that great. At this time, I feel like I am right at my limits on being able to handle the boat properly at all times.
 

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My wife and I bought our 50 footer from two elderly ladies. They would be angry if I posted their ages here if they read this post, so let's just say they have been collecting SS for a while. Thanks to them, our boat was outfitted for the needs of the elderly to continue sailing. [good because we are in our late forties with 2.5 and 4.5 year old children aboard]. Sunshine is a ketch, making each sail of a more manageable size than a comparable sized sloop. Size, to a point, is not an issue except when it comes to maintenance. Being rigged to facilitate your needs and abilities is. I have owned several trimarans in the 40 foot range over the years [20 years plus living aboard cruising and racing] and have always focused on rigging them as singlehanders. Though I now own and cruise a leadmine[unimaran] and sail with crew, I still rig the same way, making it easier for all involved to stand watch alone or for all of us to deal with what comes up. Full battens, lazy jacks, synthetic sail slides, electric anchor windlasses, 2:1 ratios on halyards, oversized sheet and halyard winches,etc... all add to a more user friendly boat. There is no set formula to follow when it comes size in buying a boat . I have had 30 foot race boats that needed every bit of energy that all 7 crew could put out and a 65 footer that I sailed alone. You just have to set your boat up for your needs. By the way, the previous owners of our boat sailed her from the Med. to Florida, where we bought her, and their ages exceed those of other posters to this thread, so know that there are those who are out there doing what you want to.
 
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