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Old 06-10-2013, 04:03 AM   #1
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Bigger is better, wrong mindset

This post owes its existence to my old hot water heater rusting out. The replacement unit I wanted was a little too big, so I had to downsize, which I really didn't want to do, more hot water is better right.

Well after a couple of months it has dawned on me that I was probably mistaken in my more is better mindset.In the case of the hot water heater the new smaller unit heats up very quickly, it does everything in the time frame that we require of it.

This got me thinking about all those questions that new/prospective boat owners post here about what to look for in boats.Assuming an annual running time of the boat underway of 150 hours a year I submit the following for consideration.

Big things that can be smaller

*Fuel tanks, you don't need 500 gallons fuel capacity, fuel needs to be used not stored
*Big generators running at 50% capacity are not good, small generators running at 80 % capacity are good
*Hot water, efficiency is more important than capacity
*Don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, it may turn out you can't.
*One engine will usually suffice(I have two)
*One bathroom is usually enough(again, I have two)
* You don't need a house size fridge on a week end boat.
*Ice makers, truly how much ice do you need.
*Anchors, one main and one standby is enough(Eric excluded)
*Batteries are an exception, usually the more the better.
* Less wood = less maintenance(I have lots of wood)
* If you plan to travel at 7-8 knots big engines are a no no.

Like all generalisations this list will probably be shot down in flames, I blame it on my old hot water system.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:00 AM   #2
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*Anchors, one main and one standby is enough.

I would be forced to disagree with this for a cruising boat , thio for a weekend warrior its probably fine.

Different bottoms require different anchor styles ( no matter what the $10,00 a pound mfg sez) and different water depths or expected conditions require different anchors and line.

Anchoring near a mooring field in the crowded NE require 2 anchors for a Bahamian set.
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Old 06-10-2013, 06:42 AM   #3
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I'm with you on that one Andy. Keep it all small and simple.
My 30 footer is more than adequate for a family of 4, the 36hp single pushes me along nicely and I probably only need to fuel up the 220 litre (70 gallon) tank 2-3 times a year.

A small simple boat has less headaches, lower berthing fees, less maintenance, less cash outlay, and just as much fun. Maybe it doesn't impress the girls as much, but mine seems to like it.

The only thing I drool over on a larger boat - is a walk-in engine room, rather than working with my head down a cockpit hatch and my butt in the the air, trying to reach the bolt I dropped down into the bilge.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:19 AM   #4
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*Fuel tanks, you don't need 500 gallons fuel capacity, fuel needs to be used not stored

True, but where l go fuel stops are few and far between, and the reasonably-priced fuel stops are even farther between. I would like even more capacity, so I could take advantage of the 500-gallon minimum for truck delivery.

*Big generators running at 50% capacity are not good, small generators running at 80 % capacity are good

100% with you there. I could never fully load my genset without blowing every circuit breaking in the boat. What's the point in that?

*Hot water, efficiency is more important than capacity

Maybe. But it's nice to have the engine heat the water during the day, do the supper dishes at anchor, and still have enough left for a hot shower in the morning.

*Don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, it may turn out you can't.

You got that right!

*One engine will usually suffice(I have two)

Agree, even though I have two also.

*One bathroom is usually enough(again, I have two)

I like having two. One is out of service right now while I take my time and re-plumb the whole thing the way I want it.

* You don't need a house size fridge on a week end boat.

True, but to live aboard or go for weeks at a time, in places where grocery stores are more scarce than fuel docks, it's nice. To that I'd add a good freezer.

*Ice makers, truly how much ice do you need.

I always agreed with that, until another boater handed me an ice-filled adult beverage after a long, hot day. I don't have one, but I do "get it" now.

*Anchors, one main and one standby is enough(Eric excluded)

Let's not start another "anchor" argument

*Batteries are an exception, usually the more the better.

Yup.

* Less wood = less maintenance(I have lots of wood)

Yup

* If you plan to travel at 7-8 knots big engines are a no no.

Another rule I've broken by buying this boat. But true anyway.
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:43 AM   #5
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Like all generalisations this list will probably be shot down in flames, I blame it on my old hot water system.
I agree with all but the ice maker & the big engine. I have both and love them!
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Old 06-10-2013, 10:54 AM   #6
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I think this is an excellent post!! I am the poster child of going from a fairly basic boat(Mainship 30 Pilot..Single...Bowthruster...no gen....and in conformity with about everything you posted) to a twin engine boat with all the bells and whistles. I will say that I am going into this with a bit of trepidation. As now I have 3 engines to maintain instead of one. My Mainship was about as brainless as it could be when it comes to boat handling....I will have to think a bit more on this one. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing since I enjoy the challenge. You forgot 2 air conditioners!!!

As far as hot water heaters go....water heaters on boats get the water do damn scalding hot that you end up not needing a lot of it since most of it is diluted with the cold water. 5 gallon water heater should be PLENTY for 2 people with a lot left over.

Here is something I will throw out to you. My Mainship was so basic(and small) that it really wasn't a boat that you would desire to "hang out" on inside. It was just too small. You went down below because there was a reason(ie use the head). Otherwise, you were topside. I have had more of a "cabin class" boat in the past. The reason I say this is that you have a tendency to hang around and fix small things if you are comfortable while you are doing it. If you aren't comfortable, then you have a tendency to go somewhere that is...ie home. Anyway, I always liked working on my boat when I could pop my head out of the engine room and grab a cold beer at of the fridge(or refresh my icy beverage) in air conditioned comfort. Anyway...just a thought. I did not dilly dally with my Mainship as much as I did with my Prairie which had much better accommodations. You were inclined to "hang out". And if you "hang out"....you were inclined to fix something!!!!
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:41 AM   #7
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Excellent post.
There is other issue that has been strongly discussed within weekend boaters down below the Equator. How much better "marine grade" appliances are than the domestic ones?
Marine 12000 BTU AC cost us $2.5K after installation. With that money, I can by 5 split units with 90% of components in plastic. If these units last 18 to 24 months before the marine environment destroys them, I will be able to buy 90 months worth of domestic AC units. Does the marine unit lasts that much?
This is also my question when it comes to refrigerators and freezers, cook tops, stoves, etc, etc.
What you all think?
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Old 06-10-2013, 11:48 AM   #8
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Excellent post.
If these units last 18 to 24 months before the marine environment destroys them, I will be able to buy 90 months worth of domestic AC units. Does the marine unit lasts that much?
They generally do last longer than that. The boat I just bought has 2 and I am willing to bet they are OEM issue...it is a 12 year old boat. Now the fridge question is up for grabs. Many times, people buy the marine units because of the shape(or compactness) or for the fact that they are dual voltage 12VDC/110VAC
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Old 06-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #9
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Bigger is better is the wrong mindset IMO too for many of the reasons you stated Andy. Go small and go now should be the newbies mantra.

I've seen a couple newer members post recently that they can not afford a larger boat and it makes me wonder what price point they feel is needed to get into the game. You certainly need enough cushion in your budget to absorb berthage, routine maintenance, insurance, and fuel. A reserve for larger repairs and gotchas is nice but can be set up as a sinking fund in within your monthly budget.

I'm willing to bet mine is the lowest acquisition cost of any active member on this forum and we have a very well found and attractive boat that is an absolute joy to own and use. By purchasing a boat for such a low price it took all of the pressure out of learning to use it. I can lose 50% at resale time and be out less than one years berthage rate for many members here. No real money being risked by me at all.

The point is don't feel you need tens or hundreds of thousands of disposable money to get into this lifestyle. If you believe that you truly are missing the point IMO.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:13 PM   #10
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The big decision maker is whether you are a liveaboard or not. Both are different animals and both have their "musts" or "who cares" to keep it known as "pleasure boating".

Till you have lived aboard or cruised for more than ....say 3 weeks or so....what is a necessity aboard or not becomes much more slanted based on personal tastes.

Sure...there are minimalists in every walk of society...most of us aren't.

If you are considering being a liveaboard cruiser (not a dock queen liveaboard)...spending most of your research time with multiple liveaboard cruisers will result in the best bang for the buck.

Weekenders...heck...I still love camping in a hammock while cooking my hot dogs on a stick as I swing too and fro....
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:25 PM   #11
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I agree in principle with almost all of that but I must say when your out here as I am right now, size matters
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:17 PM   #12
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Bigger is better is the wrong mindset IMO too for many of the reasons you stated Andy. Go small and go now should be the newbies mantra.

I've seen a couple newer members post recently that they can not afford a larger boat and it makes me wonder what price point they feel is needed to get into the game. You certainly need enough cushion in your budget to absorb berthage, routine maintenance, insurance, and fuel. A reserve for larger repairs and gotchas is nice but can be set up as a sinking fund in within your monthly budget.

I'm willing to bet mine is the lowest acquisition cost of any active member on this forum and we have a very well found and attractive boat that is an absolute joy to own and use. By purchasing a boat for such a low price it took all of the pressure out of learning to use it. I can lose 50% at resale time and be out less than one years berthage rate for many members here. No real money being risked by me at all.

The point is don't feel you need tens or hundreds of thousands of disposable money to get into this lifestyle. If you believe that you truly are missing the point IMO.
Well said. KISS is my mantra. (As long as its safe to do so)

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Old 06-10-2013, 03:39 PM   #13
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A small simple boat has less headaches,


It should read " a simple boat has less headaches".

No reason at all to install a truck load of complex gear , unless playing with the toys is your boating pleasure.

A $100 hand held GPS will get you there in the fog.

A $1500 GPS with maceriator temperature readout will do the same.

KISS is a way of life , for simplicity , small is not..
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Old 06-10-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
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As always you nailled the issue. I am also sure that it is not a question of size, it is a question of simplicity. Maybe, sorry for insisting, my theory about "marine grade" appliances make more sense when you're liveaboard because then, everything gets simpler. In the end, it is not the size of the boat, or the hull, It is all about what's inside of it.

Sorry my saying!
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:58 AM   #15
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The biggest problem is simple may cost as much or more than complex.

A Sunfrost fridge vs a home cheapo and a Honda gas noisemaker vs a propane reefer may be similar to purchase , but which would you prefer for months of quiet effortless cruising?
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Old 06-11-2013, 09:51 AM   #16
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It is simple, if you cruise full time or live aboard bigger is better. Simple systems are great but on a bigger boat you may have multiples of the same systems ( heads, Ac units, heaters, pumps, gensets, ). The only thing smaller has going really is loss cost and associated level of comfort.

I used to think Volunteer was very comfortable for multi week trips until I started moving around the N57 I just returned from moving down to Panama. The comfort level of the bigger boat at sea is much greater, of course the boat is only 10' longer but the cube of the boat is much greater.

It is also true that the boat takes much more maintenance time, but there are a ton of redundant systems as it is a go anywhere yacht.

This thread is like the current commercial running on the networks...
smaller and less is better... If you believe that I have a new kind of bottom paint that lasts 10 years and never needs cleaning I would like to sell you!

HOLLYWOOD
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:33 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by hollywood8118 View Post
It is simple, if you cruise full time or live aboard bigger is better. Simple systems are great but on a bigger boat you may have multiples of the same systems ( heads, Ac units, heaters, pumps, gensets, ). The only thing smaller has going really is loss cost and associated level of comfort.

I used to think Volunteer was very comfortable for multi week trips until I started moving around the N57 I just returned from moving down to Panama. The comfort level of the bigger boat at sea is much greater, of course the boat is only 10' longer but the cube of the boat is much greater.

It is also true that the boat takes much more maintenance time, but there are a ton of redundant systems as it is a go anywhere yacht.

This thread is like the current commercial running on the networks...
smaller and less is better... If you believe that I have a new kind of bottom paint that lasts 10 years and never needs cleaning I would like to sell you!

HOLLYWOOD
Even if I could afford a N57....it would be the wrong boat for me right now. One of the reasons is it is too big.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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I agree in principle with almost all of that but I must say when your out here as I am right now, size matters
Quote:
Originally Posted by hollywood8118 View Post
It is simple, if you cruise full time or live aboard bigger is better. Simple systems are great but on a bigger boat you may have multiples of the same systems ( heads, Ac units, heaters, pumps, gensets, ). The only thing smaller has going really is loss cost and associated level of comfort.

I used to think Volunteer was very comfortable for multi week trips until I started moving around the N57 I just returned from moving down to Panama. The comfort level of the bigger boat at sea is much greater, of course the boat is only 10' longer but the cube of the boat is much greater.

It is also true that the boat takes much more maintenance time, but there are a ton of redundant systems as it is a go anywhere yacht.

This thread is like the current commercial running on the networks...
smaller and less is better... If you believe that I have a new kind of bottom paint that lasts 10 years and never needs cleaning I would like to sell you!

HOLLYWOOD
Best statements on this thread. As a full time liveaboard, having a larger vessel means greater day to day comfort. We moved from a Bayliner 4087 to our PT52 last year- what a world of difference! The boat gets used just as much, and out costs haven't really gone up all that much.

Rather that go dockside, we anchor out more, because we can. We have more room to entertain; more room for storage; more room for books

Of course, it all comes down to personal tastes, just like cars or anything else. IMO, I wouldn't want to be in a smaller vessel.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:48 PM   #19
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I was on a Nordhavn 86 last week. No contest with my meager DeFever, bigger is better. Now to win the lotto where bigger is better too.

Ahh, I'm boat washing some PNW salt off today. Maybe bigger isn't better.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:53 PM   #20
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it's not rocket science...you need what you want.

if you fish, dive and do a lot of repairs yourself...just a chance you will need more storage than a person that just likes to anchor out within wifi range and read their electronic book.

some people need a big galley and some only need an outdoor grill and a small folding table.

some live up north in the winter and some never venture into less than 50 degrees F.

boats like houses...there's a minimum size for your needs/wants...then the rest is just luxury.

even then...some boats lend themselves better to different functions even if smaller. a trawler has wayyyy more room than the average sailboat for a given length. so all those converted sailboats into trawlers are usually on the longer side just to make up for interior room/storage.
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