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Old 06-06-2015, 01:10 PM   #21
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Boat layout is important as are systems. For example I routinely see lobster boats in the 40 foot size range brought into the dock single handed. Those boats are all single engine, but are set up so that the boat can be secured midships by the helms man without taking a single step from the helm. Of course it helps that a typical lobster fisher runs his/her boat 50-60 hours a week making hundreds of close approaches every week.

On the other end of the spectrum, There are lots of Hinckley jet boats at my marina. They are easy to single hand into a dock. The newer ones have station holding capability that keeps the boat in position while the helmsman leaves the boat and ties it up. They are all equipped with a bow thruster that is integrated to the main engine and joy stick controlled. That makes the boats very easy to handle.

So on the one hand, layout plus tons of experience trumps systems and on the other the right systems trump layout.

As far as anchoring is concerned, I have a windlass control at the helm. With my self launching anchor I flick the windlass breaker on and push the control into the down position to drop anchor. Raising anchor is also done from the helm (after I go forward and remove the snubber line).
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Old 06-06-2015, 01:43 PM   #22
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As your experience grows, so will your ability to operate larger, varied vessels. There is no magic number size wise. I have seen some spectacular crashes by 'experienced' boaters and seen some neophytes do just fine with a small outboard. It all depends upon your particular experience and skill set.
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Old 06-06-2015, 02:57 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by eyschulman View Post
With modern technology a single hander can control a boat from any position on the boat and even a short walk down the dock. I have single handed many sail and power boats for over 50 years with and without the technology. My present boat at 52 feet LOA has the full package. Bow and stern thrusters-twin engines and wireless remote. This package makes docking and tight quarter maneuvers much easier since I can walk on my wide decks to the critical places and see close up and personal what's going on. I can step off the stern platform with a line tie it down while I have compete control. I can then walk forward on the dock and maneuver the bow in so I can leisurely take the bow line from the rail and tie it down. This type of control is not essential but it sure makes it a lot less stressful. On my sail boats all I have is a motor and tiller and a good amidships spring line and that also works.
This is the ultimate in maneuvering convenience and safety. Something I'll only dream of having on my boat!
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Old 06-06-2015, 03:34 PM   #24
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The OP's goals are the "Great Loop" & "Bermuda." Both require "sleeping aboard." Comfort on board is a big one to me....If I'm not comfortable, I can't enjoy the cruise.
Once you get to know your boat and have it set up properly, most boats can be single handed.
He said Bahamas...not Bermuda. Quite a bit different.
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Old 06-06-2015, 03:56 PM   #25
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I still think size can be an issue. I think something in the 35-40 foot range seems to nail it as far as balance of size and singlehanding. My boat is 35ft LOD and 24k pounds and I feel that is about as big as I would want to get to SH. I understand that one can go bigger. But for me, it has always been a consideration when buying boats because I SH a lot... In fact, When I take guests out I consider that singlehanding. Many times it is just easier to do it yourself instead of telling someone what you what to do. Anyways, just my take on it. Size IS an issue as far as peace of mind goes.
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Old 06-06-2015, 04:07 PM   #26
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Ok, as to single handing and "feeling safe." Feeling safe is a lot different from "wanting to do it regularly." Also, I see most of the responses addressing docking and just helm issues.

First, I do agree with the consensus that when it comes to docking and actually being a helmsman, length is largely irrelevant. In enough wind, a 12' inflatable can be difficult to put perfectly in a spot. On the other hand, the largest boat I've handled is 130'. Give me a 130' boat, twin engines, excellent bow and stern thrusters, a joy stick for docking and decks and controls on both sides and the stern and I can put that boat sideways into a spot that you wouldn't think of putting a single engine 44' boat with no thrusters.

I do believe though boat selection and equipment become very important in single handing or in the second person being older or less able to exert strength or reach or move quickly. Can you dock the single engine with no thrusters? Yes. But do you want to be docking that day after day after day after day? I don't. That's where I'd absolutely want thrusters. If I'm alone do I want to have to dock from the bridge? No. Our friends at Hatteras on current models seem to have a strong dislike for lower helms. Now some do have controls along the side or stern, so if all you have is an upper helm some other controls can save you.

To me then size enters into it in other ways. Convenience of anchoring or docking. Cost of docking. And maintenance. If I'm single handing, I want my entire job to be as easy as possible, not just safe. The more boat there is, the more I have to wash down. The more to wax or paint. Then we get to the engine room. The reason I wouldn't ever single hand a 130' is I couldn't take care of engine issues and other things of that nature. So single handing you do need to think of your ability to handle problems. Can you look quickly below? Can you quickly anchor and then address issues? You can check the engine room quicker on a 32' where it's accessed through a hatch in the cockpit than you can a 100' with a stern passage or steps down from the aft deck.

Very important to this is how much you'll be single handing. I think if it's occasional the answer is far different from all the time. Then how many and how frequent guests. Size brings you three things, assuming design and other factors are equal. 1-Seaworthiness, 2-More staterooms, 3-More salon and deck area for people to spread out. If you're boating alone the staterooms and area to spread out are non issues.

Do you need seaworthiness for the OP's goals? I think a certain amount for the Great Lakes and for options in some of the other areas. You need either some seaworthiness to go to the Bahamas or some speed to make sure your weather window is long enough. Most any boat can go to Bimini though and then island hop. Even at 7 knots you can make it to Bimini in a day.

If single handing I'd think you would be more cautious is selecting weather as well. Rough conditions can cause things to happen that are unlikely in calm.

So ultimately there are very few trawlers or trawler type boats, such as Bayliner and Mainship, that can't meet your needs. Single handing I would absolutely look for bow thrusters and access to side decks. Really any of the boats from 32' to 60' would work. However, the larger boats just aren't needed for your intended use. That's why I'd probably aim in the 30-40' range. As to single handing a 48' Kadey Krogen, easy. But unless you have some needs you haven't expressed, then you just don't have the need for 48'.
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Old 06-06-2015, 05:18 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyschulman View Post
. My present boat at 52 feet LOA has the full package. Bow and stern thrusters-twin engines and wireless remote. This package makes docking and tight quarter maneuvers much easier since I can walk on my wide decks to the critical places and see close up and personal what's going on. I can step off the stern platform with a line tie it down while I have compete control. I can then walk forward on the dock and maneuver the bow in so I can leisurely take the bow line from the rail and tie it down. This type of control is not essential but it sure makes it a lot less stressful. On my sail boats all I have is a motor and tiller and a good amidships spring line and that also works.
I watched a boat like this dock once. Pulled in along a T-Pier in Chicago. He declined our help. Stood there talking to us while he stood on his deck then walked off the boat and casually tied the first line. Envy yes, stronger emotion perhaps. If I win the lottery I will put in hydraulic bow and stern thrusters with a wireless remote. And I only dock about three times a year.
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Old 06-06-2015, 05:47 PM   #28
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I watched a boat like this dock once. Pulled in along a T-Pier in Chicago. He declined our help. Stood there talking to us while he stood on his deck then walked off the boat and casually tied the first line. Envy yes, stronger emotion perhaps. If I win the lottery I will put in hydraulic bow and stern thrusters with a wireless remote. And I only dock about three times a year.
In some crowded areas, it becomes a necessity. They have long side tie transient docks and are crowding every possible boat in. Then sometimes they want you to dock in a space shorter than your boat.
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Old 06-06-2015, 07:09 PM   #29
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I don't think single handing safety is a function of boat size. I think its more a function as others have indicated of how the boat is set up, and its not just docking.

....snip....

Having a boat that you can very quickly get to a mid boat line and cleat will allow one person to get a boat snugged up against a dock in fairly challenging conditions.

I agree. Lots of other great comments here. Based on my limited experience but direct to the OP's question. Here's my list.

35 - 38' length. Big enough to be comfortable for desired use, yet small enough to learn on.
Lower helm station with side access door(s).
Walk-around decks, or at least direct access to midship and bow from lower helm.
midship cleats
twins or single w/bow thruster.
Interior layout to meet your space needs.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:12 AM   #30
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Pod drives with joystick control.
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Old 06-07-2015, 07:12 AM   #31
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Single Hander Boat Size

Quote:
Originally Posted by cappy208 View Post
As your experience grows, so will your ability to operate larger, varied vessels. There is no magic number size wise. I have seen some spectacular crashes by 'experienced' boaters and seen some neophytes do just fine with a small outboard. It all depends upon your particular experience and skill set.

And your wallet.

Some people assume because they can afford the largest boat in the anchorage that equates they are capable of efficiently and safely operating it.

Don't confuse wallet size with ability. They aren't connected!
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Old 06-07-2015, 11:13 AM   #32
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Pod drives with joystick control.
Nice, but you don't have to have pods to have that same joystick control.

An interesting development with Sea Ray recently. They/Brunswick pushes Zeus pods. Now, Sea Ray has introduced a new line, their L Class, the L590 and L650, 59' and 65' as one might guess. The 59 comes with triple zeus. The 65 comes with twin straight drives but also has joysticks available with both bow and stern thrusters incorporated. Plus optional docking stations. The 59, with pods, has a bow thruster as an option. Essentially every docking convenience of the 590 is also incorporated into the 650. So when we think joystick, it's not just pods. We have joysticks on a non-pod boat.

Note that because they use Zeus and obviously don't use any IPS they don't have as much horsepower available so it would take 4 pods for the 650.

Some of the long time captains see joysticks and think of them as an unneeded toy. But after using them a while they do quickly see the benefit.

That said, pods are an excellent choice for a boat under 50'. The negative is purchase price. Service on them was a drawback as they were just penetrating the market but there are enough out there now that in the US service shouldn't be an issue. I'd say the same in Europe. South America it could be.
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Old 06-08-2015, 09:49 AM   #33
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We recently acquired our boat and I plan on SH most of the time whether wife, friends or family is on board. Am I good at it yet? Not by a long shot but I'm learning.
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Old 06-08-2015, 12:22 PM   #34
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Sorry for posting and then running off, the weekend was quite busy!


Such great information and many thanks to you all. The wisdom of this board always amazes me.


I've become really interested in the Krogens. I look at the 39 and see that it would make what I think would be a great loop boat for a single hander. Given the issues with all the locks and potential for causing damage to someone else's boat (let alone MY boat), a solid 39 with thrusters seemed manageable for the Loop. After researching Loop boats, it seems and most of them fall into that 32-38 category and it made me think twice about a KK44 which I think would be an excellent boat for this islands. I'm pretty sure I only have one shot at the boat of my dreams and I really want to make sure to get it right.


If I had my druthers, I think I would choose the KK44 for the creature comforts and space, so the question now becomes: Is the KK44 to big for the Loop?


*EDIT*
I thought I should add that, among other things, I'm drawn to the full displacement hull of the Krogens and the GPH that it brings to the table. Fuel economy will always be an issue and I just don't need to go fast.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:27 PM   #35
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If I had my druthers, I think I would choose the KK44 for the creature comforts and space, so the question now becomes: Is the KK44 to big for the Loop?

5 foot itus. At least you contracted it before you contracted the boat, it's cheaper that way.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:37 PM   #36
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I know of some folks who did the loop in a 70' Hatteras MY. Plenty of 50+ footers as well. And of course huge 300 foot by 50+ foot barge tows. Bridge clearance is the main spec.

It's a very personal choice, to be sure, but 39 ft seems like plenty of room for one. Have you been on any of the boats you are considering yet? I see you using the term "seems" a lot. Why not charter a few and get direct experience?

I don't understand the obsession with size as a factor for cruising the islands. I see large size as a limiting factor, not necessarily a positive factor.
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Old 06-08-2015, 01:52 PM   #37
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Both the Krogen 39 and the 44 work well in the Islands. Actually along with the 42 these are the most often see trawlers in the eastern Caribbean. A close second are the Nordhavn 46s. As for the Great Loop they will work but as you suggested thrusters would be an excellent idea. If you are SH on the loop suggest you have a back up camera as the view to the rear may be less than desirable if operating from the pilot house.This is important when docking and also when cruising the narrow rivers and canals both inland and ICW.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:35 PM   #38
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To run the loop or jump out to the Bahamas a 50-60 ft would be fine , if you want to have 4-10 guests.

For one person a 25 ft anything , like a Bayliner I-O would be just fine.

Under $10K to purchase , a snap to single hand and maintain and perhaps a zero $ round trip, the purchase price vs the sales price.

A small 20K+ boat does fine at trawler crawl speeds , as the gas engine doesn't suffer at idle as a diesel will.

With 95% less to scrub , it should be a vacation , instead of a chore.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:36 PM   #39
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Have you been on any of the boats you are considering yet? I see you using the term "seems" a lot. Why not charter a few and get direct experience?
No, not at all. I'm very early into the learning process and have a few things working against me. First, I'm in Southern Illinois and have very little access to getting to see many different boats. Second, I know precious little about cruising and cruising boats. My experience with boats is limited to small ski boats, a 285 Crownline and 22' pontoons on local lakes. I tried to get over to Graffton by St. Louis when the loopers were coming through but just wasn't able to make it happen.

Right now I guess you could just say I am in the "Asking Questions" stage. I have soooo much to learn. As I progress and learn more, I'll spend some time chartering and viewing different boats. The whole thing is fascinating and overwhelming at the same time.
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Old 06-08-2015, 02:40 PM   #40
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.....and perhaps a zero $ round trip, the purchase price vs the sales price.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean here.
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