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Old 05-09-2018, 11:33 PM   #1
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How big is too big???

Easy ladies. We’re moving up from our 31’ Mainship. We really want 3 cabins and that means upper 40 foot range. Something like a Marina Trader 48’ from the 80’s. We live in Charlotte, NC and want to move the boat around FL, Bahamas, and up and down the east coast. Are there any limitations with a boat of that size? We can get into pretty much anywhere with our 31’ but it seems the larger boats slips are limited.

Other than the expense of larger boat, what are the other negatives of...a larger boat?
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:47 PM   #2
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We have a MT 46 3 cabin and have really enjoyed it. A few things I would like but then again they would require a larger boat to fit them into
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:49 PM   #3
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We have a MT 46 3 cabin and have really enjoyed it. A few things I would like but then again they would require a larger boat to fit them into
How do you like the 3 cabin over the more common 2?
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:00 AM   #4
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How do you like the 3 cabin over the more common 2?
The 2 cabins at least most of them I have seen are a bit shorter and considerably less beam. At the same time I like them also the 2 at our marina have lehmans and much smaller sundeck.

On longer hauls we use the bunk room for storage and pantry

the lower helm is never used on ours

Our sundeck is great for entertaining
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:32 AM   #5
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I find Something in the mid 40 foot range to be the sweet spot. As you get shorter there is always something missing. As you go bigger it starts to be a handfull for two people to dock.

The bigger you get the harder dock space becomes and bigger the maintenance bills. But then there are some advantages to big as well.
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:31 AM   #6
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Heh, to my surprise the LOA on my 47 Eastbay turns out to be 56' with the dinghy on the TNT platform. Which means the 55' fairway at our marina of the past 12 years won't suffice. I knew it might have been tight had we still had the factory platform but, ugh, shopping for another slip this close to the season starting gets spendy...

So I second the recommendation to go only as large as your normal plans/accommodations will handle.
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Old 05-10-2018, 12:48 PM   #7
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When we got to just shy of 40 ft. LOA 14" 2" beam, we noticed that we started to exceed some, mostly smaller marinas, size limits. We also noticed the number of slips to accommodate larger boats starts to decrease. (It seems the sweet spot is 28 - 40 ft).

Most marina's can handle mid 40's without an issue. The question is, how many slips do they have that can accommodate and what is their availability. When we had a 30ft LOA, we could go anywhere and everyone had a free slip.

Honestly, I don't think this becomes a real challenge until 50+.

Also, I'm coming from the perspective of seasonal rental contracts, not a transient slip. We prefer to anchor, and we take a mooring if we have too. We only grab a transient slip for a night or two every few years if we can't get a mooring and REALLY want to visit the location.
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:05 PM   #8
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The bigger the boat the more expensive everything seems to be. At 45' LOA there are times when it is hard to find a transient slip and slips are more expensive to rent and there are fewer available. I happen to own a 50' slip so that isn't an issue for my home dock. So for that reason alone, I'd suggest only going as large as needed to do the job.

As for handling, I've never found it to be much more difficult as I've gone up in size in sailboats, 24', 29', 36', and 40'. My current boat isn't really more difficult than any of those boats and it is a LOT bigger.
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:21 PM   #9
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2 of us on 60.
Couldn't imagine living on anything smaller but could certainly see us in bigger if the right boat appeared.
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:21 PM   #10
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Bigger boats cost more to dock and to haul and paint, but do they really cost more to run? Once you get a couple of big diesels, a pair of gensets and a slew of heads and air conditioners does it really cost more if they are in a 55' or a 65" hull?
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:50 PM   #11
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Other than the expense of larger boat, what are the other negatives of...a larger boat?
Focusing just on your question, not on preferred size or other.

The only real limitation in your cruising area is draft and 5' or less is preferable while 6' works with planning. I've heard the marina issue hundreds of times and it's just not a problem finding slips for boats under 60' and only slightly more difficult above.

Other negatives:
-Crew work. Whether you or others. There's more boat to wash down after a run at sea. At a certain point you may find (typically between 60 and 80') that you really need a crew person to take care of everything. Docking requires some more effort perhaps but really the key to docking is the helmsman. In some ways larger boats dock easier, but more effort perhaps for line handling.
-Slightly more things to break. However, for the most part you have the same type components as on a smaller boat. Only becomes more as you add a head or add a generator or watermaker. Thrusters. Stabilizers.
-Anchorages and mooring fields can be more challenging.

I think both spouses need to go out on a larger boat to get the feel and determine if it's too big for them. Sometimes it's psychologically too big and that is just as relevant as if there were solid reasons.

At some point, a boat may start to loose the feel of the sea for you. We wondered where that point was. For us it's a combination of size and speed.
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Old 05-10-2018, 02:57 PM   #12
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We recently bought a 72ft Nordhavn and live on board full time (me, my wife and 6 year old son). We had a 56ft sailboat before this so it is a lot bigger and a lot to get used to. So far we’ve found that the only real difficulty (other than cost!) is the cleaning of both the interior and exterior. Maintenance, boat handling etc. are no problem but keeping the boat clean and polished is a major undertaking. We are having to accept that we will pay someone to clean/wax from time to time and just keep the boat washed down after passages. We haven’t had any trouble finding transient slips, although we anchor out 90% of the time.
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Old 05-10-2018, 03:14 PM   #13
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Once you get a couple of big diesels, a pair of gensets and a slew of heads and air conditioners does it really cost more if they are in a 55' or a 65" hull?
Some of us have single diesel, single genset (+ Solar) and no air conditioners
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Old 05-10-2018, 03:31 PM   #14
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Boats seem to shrink over time
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Old 05-10-2018, 04:51 PM   #15
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Boats seem to shrink over time
And here I thought it was just my wife and I expanding over time.
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Old 05-10-2018, 05:49 PM   #16
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We, a middle aged and not particularly adept couple lived on and cruised full time a 60' LOA, 18'2" beam Hatteras for a few years up and down the entire eastern seaboard. Finding marinas in any particular destination was never an issue, though we much preferred to anchor or take a mooring if practical. The only time I can recall our size preventing us from something was the 50' limit on moorings in Garrison Bight off Key West. So we anchored off Fleming Key.

How big is too big is strictly a personal decision, dependent on the ergonomics of the boat. I like the old saying from Skipper Bob: "Don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest boat YOU can be comfortable on." In our case it was the big fat Hatt (but not a 70 foot version of same), other folks we know were very happy on a 36' Krogen Manatees or Mainship 390's for the same purpose we had (though they did have land based homes to fall back on, we didn't).
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Old 05-10-2018, 06:46 PM   #17
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Not only is length a factor for a berth, but its width. Have experienced too-narrow berths for my relatively fat (13-foot-wide, 35-foot long) monohull boat, because some marinas were thinking sailboats. Berths long enough but not wide enough: I prefer an outside berth over a "squeezed" berth.

When reserving a berth, believe it best that a minimal width be specified. Don't focus solely on length.

Boatwise? Since we don't liveaboard, I prefer a "two-can-sleep" boat with room for several not-overnight-guests. Able to readily single-handedly dock and disembark are also in my requirements.

My Coot's "big brother," the Coot 38, has larger volume and liveaboard accommodations such as washer/dryer, larger refrigerator, and so on.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:09 PM   #18
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My biggest pet peeve about larger boats is human nature of filling spaces.

3 more rooms of stuff that will end up all over the place in any sea and in general the boat not being cruise ready.

Other than that it's what you make it.
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Old 05-10-2018, 09:32 PM   #19
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My biggest pet peeve about larger boats is human nature of filling spaces.

3 more rooms of stuff that will end up all over the place in any sea and in general the boat not being cruise ready.

Other than that it's what you make it.
There is no reason for stuff to end up all over the place in a small or large boat. It's called properly securing things.
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Old 05-11-2018, 05:26 AM   #20
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what are the other negatives of...a larger boat?

Most of the time the cabins are EMPTY , just more to clean and pay dockage for.

Mere volume does not create comfort , good design does.

Ventilation , hand holds ,storage , ease of performing tasks is not created by mere volume.
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