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Old 04-01-2013, 10:01 AM   #1
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Size. Does it matter?

Been reading the forum for a while and think it's great. Looking to buy my first live aboard/cruising trawler and will be doing it myself (until/unless I can find a suitable first mate). What's the opinion on length and handling restrictions when shopping for a boat to ultimately do the loop in for the single sailor?
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:59 AM   #2
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Search around here, there is a recent thread on this exact subject. Many others in the archives.

Here you go:

Boat Size Considerations
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:18 PM   #3
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I've read most of those posts and while informative, I was asking mainly from a handling standpoint since I've never been in anything larger than about 20'. Can one man handle docking, anchoring, locking, etc. on a 40 to 45 foot boat?
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:29 PM   #4
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I've read most of those posts and while informative, I was asking mainly from a handling standpoint since I've never been in anything larger than about 20'. Can one man handle docking, anchoring, locking, etc. on a 40 to 45 foot boat?
You can't do it if you have to ask......

Smaller is better, the smaller boat goes out more often, costs less in every way, and is much easier to handle given reasonable design. Top-heavy, overpowered, underruddered, boats with no keel are really hard to handle no matter what the size.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:44 PM   #5
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Can one man handle docking, anchoring, locking, etc. on a 40 to 45 foot boat?
Yes Sir

All you need is bow and stern thrusters, remote control and 10 hours of practice.After that you can run 65 on the same way like 30 feet vessel.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:02 PM   #6
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I've read most of those posts and while informative, I was asking mainly from a handling standpoint since I've never been in anything larger than about 20'. Can one man handle docking, anchoring, locking, etc. on a 40 to 45 foot boat?
So there you go, there is no absolute answer. Both replies are right of course.

Myself I'm in Tad's camp and the old advice still rules IMO. In your price range buy the smallest boat that will serve your purpose as the smaller boat will almost always be in better shape. It will also "normally" be cheaper to own, maintain and handle.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:19 PM   #7
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I took my 60' boat out solo this weekend. The only issue at all was after I backed into the slip was getting lines fastened in the breeze.

By the way I have 40 years of boating experience.
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:47 PM   #8
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Yes Sir

All you need is bow and stern thrusters, remote control and 10 hours of practice.After that you can run 65 on the same way like 30 feet vessel.
The thrusters will probably be much cheaper and will require less maintenance than a fist mate.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:41 PM   #9
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Great Advice

Thanks to all who chimed in on my question. I'm not looking to impress anybody but I want to be comfortable. I hear you, Mahal. Besides, my first first mate only left me enough to buy a thruster anyhow.
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:46 PM   #10
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By the way I have 40 years of boating experience.
Just a youngster, huh?
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:03 PM   #11
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Yeah, I wish. I'm getting started late on a lot of things. But I'm runnin' hard! How do you like your Halvorsen? I'm thinking of looking at one in Kentucky.
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Old 04-01-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmain4 View Post
Been reading the forum for a while and think it's great. Looking to buy my first live aboard/cruising trawler and will be doing it myself (until/unless I can find a suitable first mate). What's the opinion on length and handling restrictions when shopping for a boat to ultimately do the loop in for the single sailor?
Having gone from a 25' boat to a 32' boat to a 42' boat (all single screws) I have found that in general the larger the boat, the easier it is to dock. Primarily, I think, because the larger boats tend to go and stay where you want rather than be pushed around by the wind or current. But heaven help you if the larger boat gets away from you!

Single handing any of them while docking is helped immensely by the ease of access between the helm and dock. Thrusters are nice but never had one until our 42 footer, and so far I hardly use it.

Can't speak for the loop, but around here (BC coast) once you're above 40' finding transient docking space along the way can be a challenge during the cruising season.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:41 PM   #13
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How do you like your Halvorsen? I'm thinking of looking at one in Kentucky.
We love it! We cruise it at 8.4 knots (It will go faster but just a increase in speed of 1 knot almost doubles the fuel flow.) She shows 10.3 knots at WOT.

The big draw to these boats is the state room, separate head & shower, large cockpit for a 32 and fit & finish. Also, heavy hardware was used throughout. (Cleats, chocks, hand rails, samson post, etc.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:47 PM   #14
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I have found that in general the larger the boat, the easier it is to dock. Primarily, I think, because the larger boats tend to go and stay where you want .
I bought a 54' boat years ago and at first I was a little scared of it. I soon learned that it behaved exactly as Conrad has pointed out.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:49 PM   #15
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Sounds great. The one I'm going to see is older (1989) and a little bigger (49). It's one of the reasons I asked my question in the first place. 49 seems big but it's got twins so maybe with some practice it would be alright. We'll see.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:02 PM   #16
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Sounds great. The one I'm going to see is older (1989) and a little bigger (49).
You'll be fine! My first "bigger boat" was a 48' Offshore and with one 2 hour lesson, I was on my way.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:27 PM   #17
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The thing I am often surprised more boat handlers don't seem to realize is how slowly (relatively speaking) things happen in a boat, and the heavier the boat the slower they happen. We, and I'm sure most people on this forum, see boaters frantically hauling back and forth on their throttles and shifters as they over-react to everything they see the boat doing.

Perhaps we were lucky in that we learned a lot of what we know about larger boat maneuvering from the 25 ton, 60' steel narrowboats we've run in the UK starting in 1990, but we quickly found that applying a little power, a little rudder, a little opposite thrust, and then waiting to see what happens results in a far more controlled and calm maneuver than trying to counter every little boat motion.

While I am not always able to do this, my self-imposed goal when docking our boat is to shift each transmission no more than twice from when we approach our slip or a dock in gear to when we are stopped in or alongside it. The key, we have found, is learning our boat's reaction to inertia, both when applying power and taking it off, and how the boat reacts to the direction the props, or a prop, is turning and the angle of the rudders.

While wind or current can sometimes conspire to defeat meeting my two-shifts-only objective, usually even they do not speed things up so much as to warrant the seesawing of throttles and shifters we so often observe on other boats.

It takes a lot to get a 30,000 pound boat moving and it takes a lot to get a 30,000 boat stopped. Knowing how much it takes in each case as well as being able to judge where inertia is going to make the boat end up is the key to an easy, smooth maneuver in my opinion.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:40 PM   #18
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... Also, heavy hardware was used throughout. (Cleats, chocks, hand rails, samson post, etc.
Yes, strong cleats and so on.

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Old 04-01-2013, 09:51 PM   #19
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...While wind or current can sometimes conspire to defeat meeting my two-shifts-only objective, usually even they do not speed things up so much as to warrant the seesawing of throttles and shifters we so often observe on other boats. ...
Agree. When approaching the berth/dock, I'm normally in neutral except when turning (increases turning rate), to maintain minimal forward progress, or in reverse to check forward progress after fully entering the berth, all at idle speed. Wind has minimal effect on the Coot because of its 14-ton mass, keel, and low profile.
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:57 PM   #20
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I single hand a 44' quite often...wish it had a bow thruster when it's windy, however.
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