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Old 06-20-2013, 10:23 PM   #1
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Default Sailing 70ft steel yacht RTW

Hi Everyone,
I'm a newbie to the forum but not to sailing.
Just in the throws of buying a boat to do our RTW trip in.
I have 20 yrs sailing experience including some time as a professional skipper.

My wife has some sailing experience, though when it comes to parking the boat, that is generally something that I do - for now.

We also have 2 wee kids.

So, what are peoples thoughts on doing this trip in a 70ft 50 tonne motorsailer?

I have found one which is complete except for the electronics and rigging (masts are there, but not installed) - no nav gear/ chart plotters/gps/compass/comms gear.
We can afford the vessel and the costs to complete, but just looking for opinions on how manageable this boat will be for 2.
Most of the time we will be anchoring rather than coming alongside. (pretty much will only come alongside for provisioning).

I'd like to hear from some who have done similar trip, with similar sized boat.

I do of course realise that a 40 ft vessel will be easier to handle, but for about 50% of the time we will have between 2 and 6 other passengers with us, and I just feel that a 40 - 45 ft vessel will be too cramped.

Am I bonkers even considering it.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:50 AM   #2
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That's a massive vessel, yes. Others have managed large boats with small crew but it may be a bit much for just two. Motor-sailors tend to be skimpy on the masts so your sail size may be more manageable than I'd imagine for a boat of that size. Whether a boat is manageable by a small crew is really dependent upon the boat and how it is laid out--was it designed for short handed/solo sailing or was it designed for a bigger crew?

We rebuilt a 30T vessel (54' on deck, 69' sparred length) which is big for most folks but small compared to what you're thinking of. Ours was a classic pre-WWII schooner and reasons for choosing sailing it were not purely the practical but rather we wanted a pre-WWII vessel. Our boat was built in the 1930's and intended to be sailed for a few months each year (summer vacations) by a solo sailor with his non-sailing family of wife and 4 children aboard and was set up to accommodate that. As it turns out, it is easy for a short-handed crew of hubby and I to manage. Even so, there are times when the large size of things is a bit much for us. For example, when our windlass motor decided it was "done" and we had to bring in the heavy chain and anchor by hand--we were really wishing for a smaller vessel with lighter ground tackle. Some things which are totally no-brainer on a smaller boat take a lot of planning to execute on a larger boat.

Anchorages that formerly looked "big" to us, now look "tiny" when we're setting anchor with a sparred length of 69 ft. Funny about that.

Thoughts about your boat--

How old is it and can the inside of the hull be FULLY inspected? Steel boats have a fixed life (think in terms of 20 years to 30 years of reliable use. 40 or more years if, from the beginning it was built properly, properly coated inside and out, inspected, and maintained with lots of care) and if not properly done, they rust from the inside out and you won't have a reliable vessel.

If you have to put together a rig--did it come with proper sails or will you be purchasing those too? Also, winches, running rigging? It all adds up and while one may have the money for it, sometimes that money may be more wisely spent on a complete boat with everything already working. In today's market, it is almost impossible to fix up a boat for what you can buy one in good shape that's been languishing on the market for. A 70' boat isn't going to be easy to sell--you should find several competing vessels for your consideration which are already in good shape.

About crew--you are really talking about single handing a 70' boat if you've got two small children aboard for someone to keep track of. We'd think long and hard about that.

Competing vessels? There are many large boats out there (as mentioned) and most in that size range are custom. A very cost-effective and much smaller (but yet huge) production vessel that can be sailed by a couple and can easily provide comfortable berthing for 6 adults would be the Robert Perry designed CT54 ketch. It's something like 25T, 54' on deck, 62-ish overall. These are solid fiberglass built-like-a-tank boats made in the 1970's. They're amazingly inexpensive for what you get. The weak point is the teak over plywood deck (can rot if not properly maintained) which can be a big project to replace if it's bad.

Haul-out facilities. Your choices will be limited with that tonnage. Depending on where you cruise, it may be fine, but worth considering in the overall picture. Also--you don't mention the draft--if it is much over 7 ft, depending on where in the world you cruise, you may not be happy about where you'll be anchoring.

We'll look forward to hearing more about your plans, this boat, other boats, and your sailing experiences. Please feel free to contribute here on the forums where you can!

Best of luck to you,
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Old 06-21-2013, 01:25 AM   #3
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Default More info

Thanks for that feedback. I haven't bought the boat yet.

The vessel was registered in 2012. She was built in an eastern European shipyard in late 90's early 00's and finished to her current level over a period of 10 years. The hull internally is spotless, with no signs of corrosion, or even moisture internally.

She was designed as a ketch and the rig is more in line with a proper sailing boat rather than a motorsailer in terms of rig size. HOWEVER the rig is not yet installed. The layout of the rigging is flexible at the moment as none of the winches etc are installed. My intention would be to rig her with all lines running back to electric winches in the main cockpit - with large self tailing winches as a back up.

The vessel has a draft of just over 8ft. We intend to cruise through the med, the Bahamas/Caribbean, pacific and SE Asia. I had heard that anything over 7ft would cause problems in some anchorages but had sort of assumed that meant 10 ft, not 8!

She has no ground tackle yet. I concede that manually hauling ground tackle for a vessel of this size would be virtually impossible.

In reality I think that the times that we will be passage making double handed (single handed as you point out, with one person looking after the kids) will be pretty limited - though they will happen, particularly once we leave the MED and the Caribbean.

There's no doubt that this is a project boat, but if my estimates on completion costs are remotely accurate, we could have a complete 70 ft new boat for the price of an ex charter 50ft beneteau. We would be doing a fair bit of the work ourselves. The nearest similar boats I've found have been about 3 times the price of what I think this boat could be completed for.

My mind is by no means made up on this, and agree that something around 50 - 54ft is going to be much easier to sail, anchor, manoeuvre etc.

cheers
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:00 AM   #4
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Hi, I'm wondering if it is 70' LOD or 70' LOA. My last boat was 53' LOD and with a draft of close to 9'. I sailed it single handed until I hit 60..then I downsized to 37'6".

I found draft to not be so much of a limiting factor. I usually had to anchor a few metres further out, but the inertia of a bigger boat provides a greater degree of stability. A good anchor windlass is imperative, electric winches not so much. Big manual winches even on a big boat are not hard to operate. I had Barlow ocean 60's on the last boat and was never in any strife.

The difference between sailing a huge boat shorthanded and a mid sized boat in the same manner is the difference between driving a small truck and a semi trailer. As long as you make concessions to the size, it's not all that difficult. \

BUT... a 70'er doesn't just cost twice the $ to maintain as a 35'er. The expenditure on maintenance rises exponentially and can become a real bugger.

Hope it all goes well.
Keep us posted.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:12 AM   #5
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The vessel was registered in 2012. She was built in an eastern European shipyard in late 90's early 00's and finished to her current level over a period of 10 years. The hull internally is spotless, with no signs of corrosion, or even moisture internally.

OK, that sounds good.

She was designed as a ketch and the rig is more in line with a proper sailing boat rather than a motorsailer in terms of rig size. HOWEVER the rig is not yet installed. The layout of the rigging is flexible at the moment as none of the winches etc are installed. My intention would be to rig her with all lines running back to electric winches in the main cockpit - with large self tailing winches as a back up.

What is the expected square footage of the rig--total and most importantly, the main sail? You may be surprised by the ability to simply use regular (non electric) winches on everything. Just big ones

The vessel has a draft of just over 8ft. We intend to cruise through the med, the Bahamas/Caribbean, pacific and SE Asia. I had heard that anything over 7ft would cause problems in some anchorages but had sort of assumed that meant 10 ft, not 8!

When we're beating to windward, I wish we were deeper draft (we're 6'4" shallow draft really for our size of boat). When we're in an anchorage, we're always happy to be as shallow drafted as possible. 8 is a bit much to manage, IMHO, but goes with the territory of a big boat.

She has no ground tackle yet. I concede that manually hauling ground tackle for a vessel of this size would be virtually impossible.

Not impossible--just difficult. Our ground tackle is oversized (the chain is 1/2" BBB at 3 lb/ft it is typical of what a boat of your size would use as well) and can be hauled up by ratcheting the windlass by hand (if it has that setting) or using a chain grabber and the jib sheet winches. Both are slow and we've recently hauled up 250' a couple different times that way. Not impossible, just slow.

In reality I think that the times that we will be passage making double handed (single handed as you point out, with one person looking after the kids) will be pretty limited - though they will happen, particularly once we leave the MED and the Caribbean.

If you will carry full hull insurance while bluewater, your insurer may require you to have 4 (or 5) people aboard for this size boat. You may wish to talk to your present insurer to figure that out.

There's no doubt that this is a project boat, but if my estimates on completion costs are remotely accurate, we could have a complete 70 ft new boat for the price of an ex charter 50ft beneteau. We would be doing a fair bit of the work ourselves. The nearest similar boats I've found have been about 3 times the price of what I think this boat could be completed for.

Suggest you very seriously look at completed vessels. Again, today, it is almost impossible to purchase a boat and "finish it" for less than just buying a similar boat that is already done. Price your sails, winches, rigging--even if you have the spars, the remainder isn't cheap. There are so very many boats out there on the market right now.

My mind is by no means made up on this, and agree that something around 50 - 54ft is going to be much easier to sail, anchor, manoeuvre etc.

Have fun looking at all the lovely boats. What sort of boats is your previous experience in? You may consider a large multi-hull as a viable alternative if you're really into living space.

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Old 06-21-2013, 04:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Auzzee View Post
Hi, I'm wondering if it is 70' LOD or 70' LOA. My last boat was 53' LOD and with a draft of close to 9'. I sailed it single handed until I hit 60..then I downsized to 37'6".
.....
BUT... a 70'er doesn't just cost twice the $ to maintain as a 35'er. The expenditure on maintenance rises exponentially and can become a real bugger.
.
Auzzee--I was thinking the same until he mentioned the 50T number. It would be difficult to get that displacement under 60ft on deck.

And, indeed, I think it is exponential that the larger the boat the more costly the maintenance. For example, our electric motor for the windlass came in at $1200 and then hubby had to install it. Oh, and the windlass itself lists street price (not list) sells for over $9,000 these days. That is more than our last boat (a Rawson 30) was worth entirely. It really makes you think. At one point, we had to leave our anchor chain (500') and anchor in a harbor where it had wrapped on something--we came back and picked it up, of course, but I was on pins and needles thinking about that $7,500 of ground tackle sitting there with a buoy marking it.

When boats get big, all that "stuff" on them is big--sure we didn't buy those items above, they came with the boat, yes. But big stuff is costly stuff and sometimes you might have to replace them at actual retail.
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:34 AM   #7
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I was thinking the same thing. My last boat when fully laden, including 800 litres of water and 900 litres of fuel, weighed in at 35 tons. That's .66 of a ton per foot of deck, equalling 46 tons for a 70'er....plus a couple of tons extra for the motor sail type coach house and an extra ton of chain....

Just had a peek at the price of Lewmar 60's for race boats (3 speed)..almost $8000 each...Anderson S/S 52 $2000...and very nice too!
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Old 06-21-2013, 04:39 AM   #8
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Default more info again

Thanks for your responses.

The vessel is 70ft LOD about 78 LOA I think.
I don't know exactly how big the rig/and sail plan is. I'm still waiting for that info from the broker.

My sailing in the past has been on either big heavy steel boats (54ft - 50 tonne) when I was just getting into sailing in the late 80s, or on modern cruiser racer/ and out an out carbon racing boats (open 60's). (one of the hair brained ideas I had was to buy an old Volvo 60 and convert it for cruising) I've sailed a lot on 50ish ft beneteaus, jenneaus, gib'sea etc

I have seriously considered an ex charter 50 ish foot boat (beneteau, jeanneau, etc) and I'm well aware of their limitations in terms of sea worthiness, etc which has caused me to look at heavier steel boats. I may come back to this, as there is no doubt that for about 98% of the time I think these boats are preferable (in terms of bang for buck), except for the 2% of the time when they're frightening/dangerous/etc. But that said I've read some fairly inspiring stories on this forum and others of people who've gone before me on these boats.

I've also looked at the myriad of other 50ish foot older boats - like Tayana's, oysters, etc - and for the dollars I need to buy an old tired one, or go 10ft shorter.

Will keep you posted if I go any further with the 70ft project!

cheers
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:49 PM   #9
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One thing I would consider with a big boat like that is the added cost of haul outs and cruising permits.
When I circumnavigated a 65' er in the 70's, there were few fees associated with cruising, but today the reality is expensive.
The canals (Panama and Suez) aren't cheap at the best of times and here in the West Indies some islands nearly double the cruising fees at 60'.
With passengers aboard, sailing short handed could be a real problem if vessel operations interfere with making timely meals and giving your customers good service, never mind taking care of the kids.
If you're anything like me, you've probably already fallen for this boat and you will just have to adjust to the realities of making it work.
I'm sailing a 53' ketch with my girl friend right now, 10' to 15' longer than most cruisers we meet. But I've been a professional mariner all my life and I knew what I wanted and what I was getting into.
Have a great adventure and perhaps we'll meet up somewhere out here.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:17 AM   #10
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yes I have fallen for the vessel, though I don't think we'll go ahead with the purchase as the vendor is on the other side of the world and its proving to be very difficult to get any information out of them. (maybe a good thing, as if it would just down the road I probably would have bought it by now)

I have found a few others which are complete, but are all a lot more expensive - and then have found a couple of very well priced virtually new 50ish ft production boats. ( one each of beneteau, jeanneau, hanse)

Thanks for the feedback
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Old 07-25-2013, 10:27 PM   #11
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Thumbs up You are an idiot

The fact that you are asking the question is your answer. It is too damn big! There how does that sound. It will be a pain in your ***, wallet, and everything you have to do with it. Do the math?

"I fell in love with it". Second idiotic thing you said. Don't fall in love with a boat on the other side of the world. That sounds like creepy internet infatuation. Save the affection for the lady who chose to procreate with you.

If you need any other advice, please write. I am here for you.

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Old 07-25-2013, 11:33 PM   #12
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No need to be rude now.

We won't be buying this vessel due to the amount of work required and the time it will take to do it - and I concede that its probably a bit big - though I do know of a number of idiot couples that have cruised extensively in their 65ft + boats who don't share your opinion.

The vessel we buy will be on the other side of the world, as that's where we intend to start our trip - so technically we probably wont do a full circumnavigation but a 1 way trip from through the Baltic/Med/Atlantic/East coast north America/Caribbean/and then pacific.

I'll definitely seek your advice duckwheat when we when we think we've found the boat for us.

What are your thoughts on a Macgregor 26.
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Old 07-25-2013, 11:49 PM   #13
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A bit small.
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Old 07-26-2013, 08:19 AM   #14
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Re:'You are an idiot' by duckwheat. One would expect a 'Motivational Group Leader and Life Coach' to be a little more positive, a little more courteous, a little more considerate and a little less judgemental.

But what do I know....my life hasn't been coached.
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