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Old 02-07-2011, 12:31 PM   #21
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 143

We've been cruising in our 50' ketch since 2004 and absolutely love the sail configuration. The mizzen is probably our favorite sail because we can fly it in all weather with the addition of main and/or staysail, Yankee, or genoa. It also works really well for heaving-to. We do have a dedicated riding sail for those messy anchorages so that we can keep the mizzen under cover when not in use.

We're both in our sixties, which means that smaller chunks of sail make much lighter work. And because Sea Venture has two salons (pilothouse and lower salon/galley) having crew is much less intrusive than in one of our smaller boats, though we sail mostly with the two of us (until now, when I had to come home for family reasons and Michael must bring SV home with crew. He can manage her himself, but not on long slogs.)

The other posters are correct in saying that we must anchor further out, that Sea Venture's 6.5' draft can't go over skinny water as well as shorter keels, that marina costs rise exponentially with size (we do try to avoid marinas unless leaving the boat to fly home), that rigging and sail costs are more, that anchor and windlass size must also be greater.

I don't think I'd recommend a boat with this many systems (we outfitted SV to be a comfortable home) unless the captain can maintain them himself. I've seen far too many deep-pocketed individuals, whose expertise is limited to a credit card and cell phone, get into trouble out of reach of that cell phone. And there are number of less than wealthy folk who spend months and even years tied to various marinas because someone else must fix the problem. Yes, sometimes expertise and equipment comes from others. We had to use a wonderful diesel mechanic in Mazatlan when Sea Venture's Lehman swallowed a valve. If we'd been near Michael's workshop at home (he has an excellent one on board, but it lacks certain heavy machinery), he could have rebuilt the engine. Baring that, he could at least trouble-shoot and understand the problem. And we could sail the hundreds of miles to get to the mechanic--then use our dinghy as tug boat to get near the marina.

Just thoughts, but I'm with those who suggest boat buyers try various sizes and various configurations for themselves before deciding that one size or one type will work best for them.

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Old 02-07-2011, 10:04 PM   #22
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Vessel Name: Coyote
Posts: 215

One more reason to get a small boat:

You can easily find one, buy it cheap, sail it for a while, and probably get most of your money back out of it when you want to sell. If you lose or damage it in a 'learning experience,' you haven't lost it all. I would suggest you at least think about the notion of doing something like this and after a few years you will be easily able to revisit your decision from a position of greater experience.

Opinions are like noses...

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Old 02-17-2011, 04:48 AM   #23
Join Date: Apr 2008
Home Port: Stockton, MO
Vessel Name: Ceilidh
Posts: 160

Wow... Nobody touched that one! As you may have noticed; most of us here recognize that all we really have to offer is an opinion. Therefore we often hesitate, for this can be a very "individual" endevour. You have already noticed that few of us sail the same type/brand/size of boat... And really, we can't tell you what boat you need or which one (ones) will make you happy. The choice of hulls is dependent on many variables too. I would bet that the majority of us sail FRG, or fiberglass boats. There are many reasons for this, but there are advantages to each type also. The only advantage that comes to mind for ferro-cement for me is cost... They can be produced cheaply (all relative), but are VERY hard to insure. I have no knowlwedge about maintenance on ferro-cement, or resale value. Steel has the advantage of strength and that is what the folks who purchase steel are usually looking for. There can be electolysis problems, you have to use special compass setup, and much more, but the folks I know who have then love them. There is just something romantic about the the lines of a classic wooden hull gliding through the water under sail. Some of the most beautiful lines ever produced in sailing belong to some of those Golden Era boats, but you need to know wooden boats before taking that plunge! FRG has become more the norm due to production costs, ease of manufacture, and ease of repair. Since FRG happens to be the largest percentage of boats out there, more people own them. The insurance companies are familiar with them, and any GOOD surveyor can give you an honest account of the boat before you purchase it. If you choose Metal or Wood, ensure that the surveyor you use specializes in that type of boat!

You mentioned something dear to all of us, and that is safety. IMHO more important than what the boat is made of when considering safety, is the boats design, and condition, and the skill of her skipper and crew. The gear aboard and the familiarity of the vessel. As with most survival situations, attitude can also play a major role in final success.

As you do your due dilligence in search of the right boat for you, please relax, take notes, and learn... More important; Enjoy!!! The search can be an exciting thing. Warning, you will likely not purchase your last boat first! Though some here may have, I am not familiar with their stories. As you narrow your search you will find the folks here to have wonderful advice... But, they will guide you with loving hands, not tell you what to buy. If they collectively warn you away from something they will try to explain their concerns. Even if they all agree on a decision you are about to make, they have likely not seen all the facts on the individual boat you are buying, and can only comment on the brand or model as a whole, not the "one" you are wanting to buy.

Everyone here has helped me in all aspects of boat buying decisions. I am certain that they will help your education as well. Please remember that the journey is often as amazing as the destination, and sometimes even better. Good luck & fair winds, (Oops...Same thing).
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Old 02-18-2011, 02:43 AM   #24
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Nicely put.

I have a 40ft steel boat and I love it. Not the fastest thing on the water and I often spend my weekends with a chipping hammer, wire brush and various grades of epoxy and polyurethane, but worth every minute. I don't begrudge those with GRP or wood or ferro-cement boats one bit but the steely is the one for me. Yes it's heavy (14 tonnes, although my friends will tell you I don't have a 14 tonne boat, I have a 10 tonne boat with 4 tonnes of electronics) but it holds a course nicely.
= New South Wales, Queensland,
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Old 02-18-2011, 04:28 AM   #25
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Home Port: Washington DC
Vessel Name: SV Mahdee
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Originally Posted by delatbabel View Post

Nicely put.

I have a 40ft steel boat and I love it. Not the fastest thing on the water and I often spend my weekends with a chipping hammer, wire brush and various grades of epoxy and polyurethane, but worth every minute. I don't begrudge those with GRP or wood or ferro-cement boats one bit but the steely is the one for me. Yes it's heavy (14 tonnes, although my friends will tell you I don't have a 14 tonne boat, I have a 10 tonne boat with 4 tonnes of electronics) but it holds a course nicely.
Ah, so nice to have someone with a steel boat to comment on the "care and feeding" of such! I love the strength of steel for use in high latitudes. I happened to "know too much" about the short-comings of steel structures (from my engineering work with steel pressure vessels and work in rail transportation accident investigation) so I didn't want to deal with all the nagging worry steel would entail for me (unless everything were "perfect" that is). Much better to have a vessel (carvel planked wood) that I can glibly think I'm maintaining properly. Ignorance is truly bliss

Fair winds,
"Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda

What we're doing - The sailing life aboard and the Schooner Chandlery.

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Old 02-18-2011, 09:40 AM   #26
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067

Sometime ago in Maine, New England, I had the privilege of joining in the survey of some boats that were over 100 years old - My tutor Sam Slaymaker demonstrated the reason that the carvel and clinker built had survived so well --- paint in the right places and lots of TLC.

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