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Old 04-25-2020, 08:56 AM   #1
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Is bigger better

I have a 32 Hatteras FB that I am considering selling and/or trading to a larger boat. I am retired, have a couple more years boating years in me (I hope). The 32 is a great fishing boat and not to uncomfortable to stay on for short outings.
However everything is very tight and hard to service (for an old guy).
I look at some of the 42-50 foot vessels and it appears that service/everyday maintenance would be tons easier.
We plan on living aboard about half the time.


Any advice from older guys with the larger vessel's.


Thanks Guys
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Old 04-25-2020, 09:02 AM   #2
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In general, bigger boats will have more space (although it's somewhat dependent on the specific boat). However, bigger boats will also typically have more complex systems, so there's more stuff to service / maintain.
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Old 04-25-2020, 09:53 AM   #3
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I have a 32 Hatteras FB that I am considering selling and/or trading to a larger boat...... Any advice from older guys with the larger vessel's?
My 42 is quite nice for a couple and infrequent guests. (2) but at 79 years old my crawl through ER is just too hard! I now hire all ER work out. Although I love my boat's interior layout, flybridge controls, cockpt, etc,. A standup ER which I had in my 54' sport fisher was God sent!
So, If I was in the market for a new boat, my short list would include 1) Stand up ER, 2) 15+ knots cruising speed & 3) Hard top on the flybridge. I presently have 2 of the three.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:08 AM   #4
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Yes, but.

Single handing is more difficult and there’s the usual “greater annual expenses”. The jump to 42 might not be that much more but north of 50 could be. Depending where you are, finding moorage in a larger range can be difficult and also more expensive per foot.

All that said, do I want to go smaller? Not yet.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:26 AM   #5
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Some were between 40-45’ is the best compromise in a boat. I always felt like our Uniflite 42 was a little big for cruising and a little small for living on. Our 54’ OA is great for living on but it is painfully to big for cruising.

At 42’ systems are simpler, cheaper and it’s still doable to single hand. Over 50’ systems become expensive and you no longer can single hand.

Am I disappointed in my 54’ boat? No, I live on it everyday and I only cruise for 3 months out of the year. It does cost me a lot more money per year in all aspects, moorage, maintenance, insurance and taxes.
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Old 04-25-2020, 10:26 AM   #6
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Bigger is better to a degree, but it's easy to move out of your operating and budget parameters. Don't know if your Hatteras is a displacement vessel or planing hull. Going from 32 to 45' in a planing hull can have huge cost implications. Having owned a 35 and a 45' boat, everything grows exponentially. There is an incredible amount more exterior surface. It takes 2 days to clean the exterior of my 45' boat versus hours for the 35' boat.

If money and maintenance time aren't an issue, the added space is wonderful. The trick is to find a boat with larger rooms instead of more rooms. I would rather have 2 reasonable staterooms with ample storage as opposed to 3 cramped spaces with little storage.

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Old 04-25-2020, 10:36 AM   #7
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I have a different opinion: smaller is better. How small? As small as you are comfortable with. My reasons are that the smaller boat is less costly to own, more likely to find space in an anchorage or marina, moves your experience closer to the water, is easier to handle in common high stress situations. Even discounting cost I will opt for the smaller boat. For me in the 36 - 40' range gives me enough room to enjoy it, enough storage capacity and range for long trips.

Regarding cost, both capital and maintenance are approximately proportional to the displacement, which is proportional to LOA^3. So a 50' will be about 3.8x as expensive to own as a 32'. A 40' only 2x as much.
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:26 AM   #8
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This is definitely a bigger is better forum.

Anchors, propellers and now boats.

But it has much to do w money.
We are old here on TF (mostly) and we bring our lifelong mindsets with us from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Almost everybody wanted a Cadillac in the day and you couldn’t find a small well made small car made in the US. My wife’s 07 Honda Fit is cheaply made in many ways.

But a small boat that is easy to handle and manageable in other ways is golden. I’m a poor man on this forum and have a small and old trawler mostly due to monetary reasons. However If I had five times as much money I’d probably have a 32 - 34 foot boat. But much newer if I could find one I liked.

But for most people boat size is probably limited mostly by available time. Most people w money need to work hard to keep the money they have but again most want badly to make the money grow w no end in sight.
So it should be a non-linear curve that would limit boat size. Is it? I don’t know. So In my opinion bigger boats may limit the time spent w them and hence limit their return in enjoyment.

Right now my boat is too big for my lifestyle and would be better off w my last boat .. a 25’ Albin. But selling is such a pita I’ll probably keep the Willard for a coupla years.
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Old 04-25-2020, 11:48 AM   #9
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I agree that 40' to 45' is the ideal length for a couple in the PNW.

Moorage, transit or permanent gets tougher to find when you get much over 45'. Especially at YC reciprocals. And moorage will be more expensive.

Cost to operate is slightly higher between 32' and 45'. In that size jump, the systems do not become that much more complex.

A longer, heavier, hull does handle seas better and provide a more stable, comfortable ride. The increased waterline length increases hull speed/efficiency.

A bigger heavier boat is easier to dock than a 32'. It it not blown around by wind.

The engine room can be more roomy especially with a single. Over 50, definently more engine room space.

The bigger boat will give you more interior space, most likely a second head and additional berths. You'll have more storage space and an ability to carry a bigger tender.

Downside to a bigger boat. You'll have more friends and family wanting to join you on the boat. To some, that's a good thing, for others not.

Takes longer to wash, haul outs and bottom painting is more expensive.
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Old 04-25-2020, 12:38 PM   #10
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Lots of views on this one. In my own instance I am on my third trawler in the last 15 years. None of which have had a bow thruster, but all had Stabilzers. My C&L 65 I could handle my self I was somewhat fitter in my late 50's. It was a big boatweather permitted I could dock it myself and pick my mooring up etc. But needed WX in my favour to do these things. The next the Cheoy Lee 50 Easy to use comfortable on my own Just the right amount of space, Walk in engine room / workbench etc. 3 on suite double cabins. In my mind the perfect size for me and fully stabilized so cruised the eastern caribbean for 7 years (6 months a year). The current boat Cheoy Lee 67 Very comfortable another large walk in engine room. Fully stabilized 4 Double cabins etc. A great boat, but now in the 70's a little bit stiffer and slower. Without a doubt bigger than I need. But all that was available at the time. Downside its size, definetly need help to dock and indock etc. Out of the three I though the 50ft the perfect size. As a thought all 3 galleys were similar in size, with full size fridges etc. The other requirement is the stabilizers. And my other preference is Natural aspiration engines / NO turbo's.
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Old 04-25-2020, 01:22 PM   #11
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We cruise the Pacific Northwest. Our first boat was a 28' sedan and by the end of a 4-day trip we felt cramped, and we hated the "wet bathroom" shower. A few (eight years - the time flies) years ago we bought a Bayliner 4788. For us, it has been the perfect boat. Maintenance costs are reasonable. We run 95% of the time at 8 knots, so fuel economy is excellent. VIP berth has a queen size bed and own shower/bathroom. Great salon for guests, and while the pilothouse is perfect for running the boat I prefer to be up on the flybridge in anything but terrible weather. The boat is not a great fishing platform, but we don't fish. It turns out buying fish at the grocery store is a lot less expensive!
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Old 04-25-2020, 01:40 PM   #12
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The boat is not a great fishing platform, but we don't fish. It turns out buying fish at the grocery store is a lot less expensive!
I quit fishing and prawning a few years ago. Fish and prawns were costing several hundreds dollars per pound to catch.

My wife does all our fishing now. She trolls down the freezer aisle using a Costco Visa card for bait.
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:11 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rslifkin View Post
In general, bigger boats will have more space (although it's somewhat dependent on the specific boat). However, bigger boats will also typically have more complex systems, so there's more stuff to service / maintain.
Yes and no.
Depends on the owner.

We still only have one engine, one genset, one set of steering gear, one anchor windlass, one water pump etc etc.

If we had a 35 fter it'd be the same, just smaller, tighter and less inclined to be worked on due to lack of space so I'd have to pay people to do simple tasks so the smaller boat would end up costing more.

Increased comfort levels and space has us never wanting or needing to get off, so no marina needed.

Extra size has us sitting out on anchor in what a small boat would consider heavy weather and running back to a marina.

Not spending that money on a marina or fuel running back to it pays for the bigger boat
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:49 PM   #14
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Maybe it is a regional thing, but in my (west-coast of North America , from Acapulco to the Gulf Islands) experience with my current 64' boat (which is about #13), there is no cruising disadvantage (besides cost) to the extra length from 40 to 70 feet. A well laid out boat (mine, for example, has 6 helm stations, including wing stations on the Portuguese bridge) with twin engines and a bow thruster is easy to maneuver (perhaps easier than a smaller/lighter boat that is more easily blown around) in close quarters. In typical conditions, I can dock and un-dock without assistance. The mass (and stabilizers) make for an exceptional ride in most conditions and the length makes possible things like a well equipped galley, stand up engine room (accessed from the cockpit), large staterooms, multiple heads, chest freezer, dual watermakers and gensets (redundancy being important for long range cruising, especially on the west coast where the distance between qualified repair techs can be significant).

As far as I can tell, besides cost, there are only two downsides to increased length, but they are significant. The larger the boat, the slower its max cruising speed tends to be (but the faster its max displacement speed is -- although we generally travel at about 8.5 knots (for safety at night and for better trolling during the day), 10 knots is still efficient and 18 knots is available when needed -- although the fuel burn goes through the roof). With my prior, smaller boats, our typical cruising speed was north of 25 knots. The real disadvantage though is that the larger the boat, the less "connected" to the water one tends to feel. I first noticed that when I went above 30 feet, and every length step thereafter.
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Old 04-25-2020, 02:54 PM   #15
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I'm a former owner of a 52-footer and found that boat's size/length to be very user friendly.
It had a single engine but it had a bow thruster which made maneuvering child's play.
I often single-handed and found that the added mass can work for you because the
things that affect the boat during docking will happen more slowly most of the time.
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Old 04-25-2020, 03:04 PM   #16
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You say "We". So I agree 32 feet is not enough room. However going all the way to 50 feet will allow you more room but also require probably double the maintenance time, effort and cost.

You probably have a single engine, will you go to twins? A lot more maintenance.
You probably have a single air conditioner, a 50 footer will probably have three,
You may have one genny, a 50 footer may very well have two,
Toilets? Way more sophisticated on a 50 footer,
Bottom paint, one gallon vs three,
Windows, now about 10, later about 20 or 25,
Anchor? now one about 25 pounds, later two or three at least 70 pounds each,
Docking lines? Now 1/2 inch, probably 50 feet total, later One full inch about 200 feet of it,
Fenders? Now you have about three or four, less than a foot in diameter, better plan on about 10, closer to two feet in diameter for a 50 foot boat.
Power cord, a fifty foot 30 amp will run you about a hundred, You will need at least one 50 amp and probably two around 100 feet at about Two or three hundred bucks each
One night transient rate on a 32 footer will be out $50.00, Look for around a hundred on the bigger boat.

Ok, lets rule out a 50 footer. Buy a boat around 38 up to 40 feet. All the advantages you are looking for and hardly any more effort than you are used to.

Go For It.

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Old 04-25-2020, 04:02 PM   #17
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You say "We". So I agree 32 feet is not enough room. However going all the way to 50 feet will allow you more room but also require probably double the maintenance time, effort and cost.
A lot of assumptions.

We just had our 60fter on the hard to get some caulking done, antifouling and topside fill and repaint.
Took 2 guys 9 days ( I mostly drank beer and pointed this time, very little effort on my part)
42 fter a few boats up from us with 3 working on it doing similar work will probably still be there next month at the snails pace they were going.
I reckon their bill will be considerably larger than ours.

Wrong choice of workers can blow out the bill easier than having a bigger boat

Quote:
You probably have a single engine, will you go to twins? A lot more maintenance.
You probably have a single air conditioner, a 50 footer will probably have three,
You may have one genny, a 50 footer may very well have two,

We have single engine
Zero air-conditioning in the same latitudes as Florida
Single genset

Quote:
Toilets? Way more sophisticated on a 50 footer,
How so?
Toilets we have on our 60 are the exact same ones we had on our 30.

Quote:
Bottom paint, one gallon vs three
Yep, but hardly a deal breaker expense wise
We put 40 litres (10.5 G) on ours, took the guys less than a day to apply and about $1600 in paint.

Admittedly, being a timber boat there was a bit of prep time, but again,get the right guys and it doesn't have to cost that much.

Quote:
Windows, now about 10, later about 20 or 25,
Anchor? now one about 25 pounds, later two or three at least 70 pounds each,
They are usually already on the boat, its not like they are replaced every season.

I could go on with the list but do I need to?

Add:

Quote:
Power cord, a fifty foot 30 amp will run you about a hundred, You will need at least one 50 amp and probably two around 100 feet at about Two or three hundred bucks each
.
When on the hard we run our whole boat off of a 50ft 15amp lead.
Probably $30 at the local hardware store.



Quote:

One night transient rate on a 32 footer will be out $50.00, Look for around a hundred on the bigger boat
Bigger boat can comfortably anchor out.
We don't need no steenkin marina berth (-;
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Old 04-25-2020, 06:06 PM   #18
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I think one of the best maxims in boating came from the late Skipper Bob: "Don't buy the biggest boat you can afford, buy the smallest boat you can be comfortable in. Ergo, that's a very personal decision, and also very dependent on what the boat will be used for, and the physical skills of those using it. For us and everything we wanted to do, a Hatteras 56MY was the perfect choice, and that was only affirmed as the years went on. Would I blindly recommend that boat to anyone with the OP's question? Heck no, I don't know "ftmorgan".

We had the advantage of years of chartering many different sizes and formats of boats, so when it came time for our big adventure (full time living and cruising aboard with no landside residence) we had a pretty definitie list of "must haves", which were primarily ergonomics, and "nice to haves" which were more creature comfort driven.

My best advice is to get on a lot of boats, charter a few, etc. To us at least, getting out on the water and cruising and docking and anchoring and mooring and living on board were essential in coming up with what was right for us and made boat shopping a much more straight forward task. Our 56 was great for us. We know couples for whom a 36 foot Manatee or American Tug, for instance, were perfect for them.
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Old 04-25-2020, 06:10 PM   #19
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I quit fishing and prawning a few years ago. Fish and prawns were costing several hundreds dollars per pound to catch.

My wife does all our fishing now. She trolls down the freezer aisle using a Costco Visa card for bait.
I'm with her. Do my fishing at the super/fish market. Better yet, at a restaurant specializing in cooking fish.
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Old 04-25-2020, 06:12 PM   #20
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Anticipate only two more years boating?? Hard to see one buying a bigger boat if the current one is good enough.
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