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Old 11-25-2014, 01:42 PM   #1
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Pacific NW

Close to retirement and in shopping mode for comfortable, reliable boat for Pac NW and Inside passage. I have researched a lot, and understand every boat is a collection of compromises.

For those who have done the inside passage is there a sweet spot for boat size?
45'?
is 60' too big for a lot of anchorages and small fuel docks?
Can a larger dinghy compensate for a little less access?-leave the big boat at anchor and run the dinghy a little farther for shore excursions, poking around?

Would just like to discuss the pros & cons of size--obviously bigger = more comfort, more expensive, more fuel, etc.
Smaller has it's virtues also.
What size is too large?

Thanks

Ken-wannabe Inside passage guy
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Old 11-25-2014, 02:42 PM   #2
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Hi, Ken,

Welcome to the board!

Some folks are more than comfortable with a 35-45' vessel, and some want 60'+. We are on a 52' boat (about 57' LOA) and have not had trouble finding cruising moorage or anchorages. We tow a 13' Whaler, and more often than not will anchor out and dinghy to wherever we want to go. Our boat is the perfect size for us as full time liveaboards. We have an aft cabin for us, a forward suite for guests and plenty of entertainment space in the saloon, sundeck, cockpit, and flybridge.

Fuel docks are plentiful along the inside passage, and you shouldn't have any problems getting in to refuel. Bear in mind that your fuel usage will be dramatically lower per hour than your current boat....

A hugely popular model up here is the Bayliner 4788 pilothouse- you may want to start there.
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Old 11-25-2014, 05:05 PM   #3
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Welcome!

Like Peter, we have a 48ft boat similar to his. We will start the exploration of the "Inside Passage" starting the summer of 2016. In the process of updating the boat and like Peter we are liveaboards too.
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Old 11-25-2014, 06:36 PM   #4
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Ken,

Welcome to TF!

As to your questions, I'd say that the size boat you end up with will likely depend on what you and your wife feel comfortable staying on. That obviously depends on how much time you plan to spend on board. Are you likely to be weekenders? Or maybe a week at a time? Or do you plan on spending months on board.

A couple of suggestions I give to people looking to upsize are:

1. Take your time. Walk around the boat shows, sit on lots of boats. Stretch out on them, sit on the head, crawl down into the engine room. Also, talk to people on the docks who have boats like what you're considering and ask them what they would do differently if they were in the market again?

Do your due diligence, spend some time on these forums. Read everything you can get your hands on about the various boats, but ignore the writeups about them....those tend to be very biased and never seem to find problems on the boats.

2. Buy your second boat first. Too many times people move too fast in buying their new boat. They fell in love with it without spending enough time really seeing if it will fill their needs. Then they use it for a year or two, decide they want something different and buy their second boat. You know--the one they should have bought first.

The problem with doing it the way the wrong way is that it gets very expensive in a short time.

So take your time, look at lots of boats, talk to lots of people, read lots of magazines, and THEN get serious about buying a boat.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:48 PM   #5
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Thanks All.

Plan is for 2015-depending when we get "the boat"-to do whatever portion of the trip from Seattle to Glacier Bay and back that we are comfortable with.

If that means we start in August and spend 6 weeks getting to Desolation Sound, learning the boat-then that will be the 2015 trip.
If we get "the boat" in April and it takes me 4 months to get it in the shape I want and a comfort level and we still only get to Desolation Sound--that's OK too.

I'm all for pushing the envelope a little but also a fan of preparation and competence and we aren't in a hurry to be anywhere.

Ken.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:55 PM   #6
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Thanks GFC- I'm at the serious part.

Done lots of reading, internet "looking", question asking and so forth.
Trying to decide the final "compromises" we will make-size, speed, slow, single engine vs twin, pilothouse layout or other, and on & on. Many combinations will work well for us-just which do we want.

Since we will be on the boat for months (at least) a lot of room is good but not if it creates a lot of problems docking, mooring, anchoring, maneuvering in the smaller, less populated areas. So-a compromise--more room (bigger boat) unless it means significantly less access then, smaller boat.
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Old 11-25-2014, 07:59 PM   #7
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Sea-Duction--I read your blog about your trip from California.
Good read, enjoyed it.

We are considering the Inside passage in summer and then winter somewhere else-a faint calling is to just run the boat down to Mexico and "wherever" for the winter--the things I have read about the Oregon and N. California coast trips have kept that a "faint thought".

Maybe!!
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Old 11-25-2014, 08:50 PM   #8
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You can do the Inside Passage in a 22 foot Sea Dory and you can do it in a 360 foot super-yacht. Plenty of people have done it both ways and in every conceivable way in between.

So the question is not what size is best for the PNW and Inside Passage but what size will best meet your requirements for what you want your boat to be.

We selected the boat we have today based on build quality, exterior and interior configuration and features, aesthetics, means of propulsion, and value for money. We knew it was ideal for cruising these waters because there are a lot of them up here, and of that "lot of them" many have done the Passage multiple times, some in the hands of their owners and some in the hands of charter customers.

In my opinion, there is no relationship between size and the ability to do the Passage. There is a relationship between size and what you want a boat to be.
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Old 11-25-2014, 10:26 PM   #9
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Hello Ken,


I have spent my working career on boats, mostly in the engine room but always testing, running, sea trials, delivering and coaching newbies. My choice for the waters of the Pac. NW and North is a 45 CHB Pilot house, single 671 Detroit and a bow thruster. A little hard to find, but here's why I like it. She has a strong back and feels safe in really bad conditions like 6 to 7 foot seas on the beam; (Georgia straight after late morning). A wide flair on the bow makes for a drier boat when going into the wind and waves. This boat is big enough to entertain friends but small enough to get into tight slips. Fast enough to get there; (Max 12 kn. @ 2200 RPM) and fuel efficient while cruising;(2-3 GPH. @ 8 kn.) Next year we plan to spend 4 months cruising to Alaska in what we feel is close to a perfect boat. Even the dog has his patch of astro-turf in the cockpit. Happy hunting.
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:09 AM   #10
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Ken,
There are many happy cruisers doing the inside passage in 30' Willards to 60' somethings. I like GFC's advice - "buy your second boat first". We spent 7 years with our 33' boat which was a great learning experience. We now have a 42' Kadey Krogen and can easily live aboard that full time.

You absolutely need a good skiff. With our 33', we towed a 16' welded aluminum skiff. It was bullet proof and with a 50 hp Honda, was our "get home". With a dog on board, a durable skiff is essential. With the Krogen, we have a 13' inflatable RIB (aluminum), which is less durable but I can put it on the boat deck for the nasty bits.

Think a lot about how you are likely to use your boat - fishing, exploring, entertaining? - and let that guide the features you want.

We zeroed in on the Krogen 42 but looked at seven KK42s before buying. Looking at each Krogen was a learning experience in itself and we got exactly what we wanted with a little patience.

John
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:26 AM   #11
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Ken

A few questions:
  • What is your budget to buy and budget to equip?
  • New or used vessel?
  • What is your previous boating experience?
  • Are you mechanically inclined?
  • How fast do you want to cruise?
  • Have you been to the Seattle Boat show? There is a top notch one coming up in two months and you will see a very large assemblage of fit vessels.
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
Ken

A few questions:
  • What is your budget to buy and budget to equip? A couple variables here-along with the boat shopping we are deciding whether to keep current house, downsize or sell the house, buy the boat and then decide if we want to stay on boat full time, rent at different places in the winter or buy something smaller, etc. We are currently looking at boats in the $250 to $700k range---I know-a real big range.

  • New or used vessel? Used

  • What is your previous boating experience? Raised on south shore of Long Island--a variety of runabouts while growing up. Lived in Galveston over 30 years and largest boat was a 45'-ran that as a dive boat for a few years-very bad idea for this area. .
  • Had Master's License w/ 50 ton limitation--not renewed for many years. Also had a 33' Egg Harbor years ago but most recent experience is 24' CC for fishing in Galveston bay areas. Chartered a 36' Monk for 2 weeks in Desolation Sound area in 2013 to learn a bit about the large tidal swings and the different use of ground tackle--so, most experience is shallow bays and near shore Gulf Coast--2' tidal swings, sandy sloping bottoms, currents rarely a problem
  • Are you mechanically inclined? I like to think so but I am electrically retarded.
  • How fast do you want to cruise? I like the idea of an economical 8 kt cruise-we are in no hurry, also like the idea of a little faster top end if occasion calls for it. This will certainly be one of the compromises I make as the most efficient boats seem to have top speeds of 9 to 10 kts--so, maximum efficiency or a little more speed capability?
  • Have you been to the Seattle Boat show? There is a top notch one coming up in two months and you will see a very large assemblage of fit vessels. Going to the Seattle Boat Show this year to look at boats and take some of the classes. Went to Anacortes TrawlerFest a couple years ago.
Thanks-
All Good questions and are being juggled around in our minds as we visit the boats and try to focus--either we will answer all the questions and then find a boat based on the answere OR--we will find a boat we "absolutely have to have" and then that will answer the questions too.


Happy Thanksgiving to All.

Ken
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Old 11-26-2014, 10:54 AM   #13
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Thanks--The Krogen dealer in Seattle was our first stop--looked at 39, 42 and 48--beautiful boats.
I seem to have the same thought about the dinghy/skiff. Especially if we decide to go larger- skiff with a little more range can let us poke around a little farther from the "mother ship" and keep us from looking for dock space except for fuel. Your boat might do the whole summer without a fuel stop .

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenDawn View Post
Ken,
There are many happy cruisers doing the inside passage in 30' Willards to 60' somethings. I like GFC's advice - "buy your second boat first". We spent 7 years with our 33' boat which was a great learning experience. We now have a 42' Kadey Krogen and can easily live aboard that full time.

You absolutely need a good skiff. With our 33', we towed a 16' welded aluminum skiff. It was bullet proof and with a 50 hp Honda, was our "get home". With a dog on board, a durable skiff is essential. With the Krogen, we have a 13' inflatable RIB (aluminum), which is less durable but I can put it on the boat deck for the nasty bits.

Think a lot about how you are likely to use your boat - fishing, exploring, entertaining? - and let that guide the features you want.

We zeroed in on the Krogen 42 but looked at seven KK42s before buying. Looking at each Krogen was a learning experience in itself and we got exactly what we wanted with a little patience.

John
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:00 AM   #14
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Ken, GFC is right and you just need to look, look and look some more. I am guessing Yaghtworld has become your best friend and addiction. Here is the advise a frieand gave me. Sit down with the Admiral and write your "must have" list and "would be cool" list. Then as you are looking at boats this will happen: both you and the Admiral will be looking at a boat and both of you will say "WOW" to each other and that is the boat for you.

Oh and if you are going to become a Northwestern, it is PNW, not Pacific NW.....
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Old 11-26-2014, 11:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktdtx View Post
Thanks-
All Good questions and are being juggled around in our minds as we visit the boats and try to focus--either we will answer all the questions and then find a boat based on the answere OR--we will find a boat we "absolutely have to have" and then that will answer the questions too.

Happy Thanksgiving to All.

Ken

Ken

You have much more cred than most current boat owners and many of us TFites. I'll see you at the boat show maybe to learn from you.
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Old 11-26-2014, 12:29 PM   #16
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Didn't want to be presumptuous so thought I would wait until I was actually there to start using the local terms like PNW and "on the hard".

Thanks for the compliment Sunchaser but I have lots to learn & figure out-some of the systems on these boats- watermakers, stabilizers, navigation "networks", more proficiency with tide tables, ground tackle use with large tidal movement, electrical knowledge, radar skills and so much more.
Looking at it as part of the fun and hope to learn it before me and the boat are sitting on the rocks.
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