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Old 06-26-2008, 08:33 PM   #1
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 15

Hi guys.

I'm hoping to do the usual Canaries to Caribbean this Nov/Dec and I was wondering about crew size.

I have a 30ft steel Van de Stadt. My wife and I would like to invite another couple along for the journey (by advertising in this forum actually).

Is a 30 ft yacht big enough for 4 to do a crossing like that?

We would 'hot bunk' the v berth, the saloon is spacious enough for decent rest and relaxing, there is decent storage for all the extra kit I'm sure and there is a decent private head facility.

Please can I have some feedback from you experienced yachties out there (sorry, newbies are also welcome to comment)

Many thanks,



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Old 06-26-2008, 10:20 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 396


I would want to know someone really well before I would do what you propose. Then again everyone has to get through life differently. You never know it could be one of the best times of your lives?????

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Old 06-26-2008, 10:21 PM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 3,067

Hi DB,

Interesting scenario "one crew member at the helm - 3 in the V berth ?"

Depending on the sea state, the V berth may not be enjoyable on passage.

However, not very sure regarding your Van de Stadt's layout ?

You may find that the V berth will provide storage as opposed to a sleeping berth.

Does the following spec for a Van de Stadt 9.1m resemble yours ?? :-

Designer: Van De Stadt

Length: 9.1m - 30'

Beam: 3.14m

Draft: 1.78m

Keel / Ballast: Lead Fin with balanced spade rudder

Hull Material: Steel

Engine: Nanni Fresh Water Cooled 3 cylinder 23Hp diesel shaft drive

Fuel: 130 ltr

Water: 400 ltr in bladders

Accommodation: V berth double, large aft double and two settee berths in main saloon.

Galley: 2 burner gas stove, stainless steel sink with pressure water.

Refrigeration: 12V chest fridge.

Shower: Yes

Toilet: Marine

Covers: Dodger

Ground Tackle: Plough anchor on electric windlass with chain, spare anchor.

Safety Gear: Inshore, PFDs, fire extinguisher, manual and electric bilge pumps.

Electrics: 12V system, 2 x batteries, engine alternator.


Navigation: Autopilot, log, depth sounder, entertainment system, compass, GPS.

Sail Inventory: Mainsail with boom bag and lazy jacks, furling jib; both in good condition.

Mast / Rigging: Aluminium mast and boom with stainless steel rigging.

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Old 06-27-2008, 04:24 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 28

Don't take any weapons, someone may be tempted to use them. I wouldn't go anywhere with more than my wife as crew, especially on a passage that will be more two weeks at sea. Day sailing on a 30' boat with 4 people is a crowd, living with them for extended periods is cruel and unusual punishment.

We offered to have a few people come down and cruise with us. Didn't think anyone would take us up on it. One friend did in spades, staying for two months. He was a great guy, very self sufficient, easy to get along with, a willing worker when needed, and we were ready to kill him long before the end ansd haven't talked with him since. That was in a larger boat than yours and mostly island hopping so easy to get off the boat. Crew longevity on the other boats made Hollywood marriages look stable. For almost all the ports, musical crew was the order of the day with crew jumping ship or being marooned. What was worse, the most unhappy cruisers seemed to be those that weren't able to sail without crew. The dynamics of getting crew, breaking them in, accomodating them and living with them were too mentally stressful. A paid crew was another story. but you were talking boats larger than 50' in those instances.


Peter O.
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Old 06-27-2008, 11:24 AM   #5
Join Date: Apr 2008
Home Port: Stockton, MO
Vessel Name: Ceilidh
Posts: 160

The wife and I are only out for four to five days at a time, and when "others" are aboard for more than a day we get grumpy to have our space back again. We sail a 32.5 footer! And these are folks that we adore!!! All crew decisions should be based on chemistry, and that is something that takes time to ascertain. The case may be that having crew aboard would ease tension about the crossing in you, your spouse, or both. In that case I would suggest that you two crew as a couple for an experienced couple on a larger boat. Other options would be to travel in the company of another boat for your crossing. Put up a notice with dates at your local yacht club. What you are proposing can be done and enjoyed, but too mant variables exist to predict an outcome. Depending on sea conditions the vee berth will not be an enjoyable place to retire. You may very well need sea berths with lee cloths for two or three, and these should be mid-ship if possible. Remember the possability that one or more of you could get sea sick or injured and it stretch your watch schedule. I am assuming that you propose one couple on and one off, but individual 4 hour shifts often work out better! Sounds to me as though you are wanting extra crew to help you play it safe; Good for you! Safetey First! With Sanity a close second. Rethink things with your newly found input, and then post the resulting questions here for others to help you with again. We'll try to help!!!


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Old 07-03-2008, 05:49 PM   #6
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 37

I have been on three passages of two to three weeks with four or five people on my 40' boat. Four people on a 30' boat is aggressive but certainly possible. Don't count on the v-berth being useful except for storage. The floor on the other hand makes a lovely place to sleep as long as others can get to time-critical systems (head and galley) without stepping on the person on the floor.

The statements above skirt the issues of personality. Just because you get along well with people ashore and on daysails doesn't mean that someone will want to kill someone else after three days in a boat. Be careful.

Crossing the Atlantic on my 40, I thought a crew of 5 would be optimal to allow for sufficient rest. In retrospective we would have been happier with more carefully selected crew of 3.

We eventually used inexpensive inflatable beach floats to make the floor more tenable. If I was to do it again I'd get a couple of the Thermarest or similar camping pads for the floor.

sail fast, dave

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