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Older sailors - upsize or downsize?

Discussion in 'Ask All Sailors' started by MightyMike, Aug 10, 2017. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. Jackdaw


    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    8,657 posts, 2,030 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Well, all serve the same basic market, entry-level trailerables, with a much 'big boat' feel as can be crammed into it for the length. As far as difference, one with an honest-to-god keel on it will make a big difference. IIRC your 250 as a fixed keel, so yes you're going to have more initial stability.

    Regardless of length, here is my requirement for a 'old timer boat'

    Genuine seaworthiness. A solid coastal boat. No lake boats.
    Good sailing performance, light air and heavy air capable.
    Easy to single hand. Non-overlapping jib / big main / spin
    Inboard diesel and D.C. Generation
    Workable galley
    Dedicated head space and MSD gear
    Standing (let's say 5-10 min) headroom

    While I probably would not want to cross an ocean on BlueJ (length) I have no issues crossing the Great Lakes. And I know of dozens of 260s who skip all over the Med, as well as the North Sea. But an extra knot of all-around pace would be awesome. So yea, let's look for 28-30 footer.

    Chief RA likes this.
  2. Chief RA

    Chief RA

    Joined Nov 26, 2012
    2,264 posts, 84 likes
    Catalina 250
    US Bodega Bay CA
    jackdaw: Ideally I would like a 28-30 as well but living 200 miles from the sea makes me choose a 25' trailerable. My boat does meet all of your criteria except no inboard and generator but of course I have solar and DC output from my outboard. Its's basically my compromise so I can enjoy sailing without dealing with a larger boat out on the coast with long distance worries and maintaining problems. Thanks for response. My best, Chief

  3. dLj


    Joined Mar 23, 2017
    179 posts, 48 likes
    Hunter 30
    US Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
    Trailerables are a great option. Depends upon how you want to sail. My father sailed trailerables for most of his retired life. He sailed up to his late 80's spending usually 1 to 2 months every year sailing in the San Juan Islands. I went on a number of sailing trips with him: Georgian bay, Gulf of Mexico, Lakes in the Rockies, Yellowstone, Wisconsin, Lake Powell, San Juans, just to mention a few. No way we could have done all those without using a trailerable boat. He was retired so he could meet me and my family at many places and we could go sailing for a week or so, we head home, he head back out to either Colorado or New Mexico depending upon the season, or on up to the San Juans and spent the rest of the summer sailing there... Trailerables worked really well for him, he could single hand all he wanted and it worked really well for us, as we could meet him in many different places. Over time his trailerables got smaller as he didn't have the physical strength to manage the bigger sails.

    However, for myself, my preferred boat size is really about 30 to 36 feet. I prefer as close to 30 as possible, but still want blue water capable. I've always felt the smallest boat possible to be the best option. But I have specific wants. I plan to retire and sail off, likely first to Europe and 30 to 36 footers are really a great size in the old fishing ports there. Sure, you can go larger, but that size range makes life a lot easier over there. My idea is to fly my family to where I sail to so they can spent a week or so on my boat with me, whereever that may be. So I need enough room to be comfortable for about 4 people for a week or so at a time, with the majority of the time spent with two people on board except for ocean crossings where I'll likely single hand.

    So Jackdaw, while your list is great- when you get to the size needed, it really depends upon what the "old timer" wants to do sailing...


  4. Captain Larry-DH

    Captain Larry-DH

    Joined Jun 14, 2010
    325 posts, 115 likes
    Quorning Dragonfly 1200
    US home
    I agree that larger boats are easier to sail, if properly equipped. Everything happens slower, and the motion is easier. However larger boats are more difficult to maintain.

    Hopefully when you're older you have more time and money for maintenance, and can afford to pay someone a low wage to do routine things like cleaning, under your watchful eye.

    PS - I agree that staying in shape (diet and exercise) can make a dramatic difference in ones abilities, and are worth the effort. Diet in particular can also greatly reduce the odds of suffering a debilitating illness. I also acknowledge that injury and health problems can be an issue for anyone.

  5. MightyMike


    Joined May 16, 2017
    40 posts, 16 likes
    Pearson 10 Meter
    US Westport Ma
    Hello, all.
    Following up on this old thread. After looking at a number of smaller boats through the fall and winter to replace my Hunter 33, I found myself more and more looking at larger craft.
    I have just agreed to purchase a Pearson 10 Meter. So while I may decide to downsize some day, today is not that day.

  6. Kermit


    Joined Jul 31, 2010
    4,490 posts, 1,632 likes
    Hunter 260
    US Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
    It’s good to see you’ve made a decision you’re comfortable with. I doubt anything I said here was much help to you (as most of my posts) but I followed the thread with great interest. I’m still struggling with similar thoughts. Good luck and thanks for reporting back!

  7. jon hansen

    jon hansen

    Joined May 25, 2012
    810 posts, 345 likes
    john alden caravelle 42
    us sturgeon bay, wis
    love pearsons, good choice.

  8. thinwater


    Joined Mar 26, 2011
    1,843 posts, 300 likes
    Corsair F-24 MK I
    US Deale, MD
    My takeaway is to get what makes you happy. In my case, I'm done with cruising, a matter of boredom rather than physical challenges. Others are just getting started at the same age, and more power to them. My cruiser was comfortable, stable, and you could live on it. My tri is fun and simple. Which one I like better depends on what I'm doing.

  9. LeslieTroyer


    Joined May 20, 2016
    1,518 posts, 473 likes
    Catalina 36 MK1
    US Everett, WA
    Get what the Wife is comfortable with!!! Trish feels we have 4-6 more years in our C36 then wants to transition to power.


    Will Gilmore likes this.
  10. capta


    Joined Jun 4, 2009
    2,353 posts, 543 likes
    Pearson 530
    XX where ever we are anchored
    I've been on the water almost continuously since I was a teenager.
    When it came time for my retirement boat, I wanted all the modcons, including a big, centerline queen bed, and that meant a bigger boat than most might consider, at 65. So, I insisted on things like roller furling on all sails, with the main electric. No more sail covers, just get out on the water and roll out as much sail as conditions dictate. Infinite reefing. Big, powerful Lewmar 65st's for sheet handling and even docking. A walk-in engine room that makes mechanical maintenance, if not a pleasure, at least easy. No more contortionistic squeezing into tight places.
    But she's also my home, so it's important that she be a comfortable one. We got an oversize windlass and ½" chain, so we can sleep worry free at night.
    Were I to become a dirt dweller however, with a boat for just messin' about, it would have to be so easy and convenient to sail, that I would have no excuse not to go sailing. That probably would mean downsizing quite a bit.

  11. Dave Gibson

    Dave Gibson

    Joined Aug 3, 2005
    47 posts, 73 likes
    Currently boatless -
    US Eastern Seaboard
    Do you want to overnight or just sail? If sailing is what you're after, I recommended a Cape Dory Typhoon to a guy in his 90s. The full keel makes it stable and the sails are small and manageable. The boat is small and easy to dock, although for its size its heavy. It is considered a weekender and nothing you'd want to go on an extended cruise on. But it has berths, a porta potty, and room for a stove and ice chest. It has full stooping headroom.

    It might be smaller and less comfortable than what you're looking for, but if sailing is what you want and not being a dock queen, you can't beat a Cape Dory.

    thinwater likes this.
  12. Terry Cox

    Terry Cox

    Joined Dec 25, 2000
    3,182 posts, 300 likes
    Hunter Passage 42
    US Shelter Bay, WA
    Although she can be a handful at times, our P42 is really comfortable with all the amenities of a home away from home. Some day (probably sooner than I prefer) I'll have to make a change. Until that time comes she will be my mistress at sea.

  13. MitchM


    Joined Jan 20, 2005
    594 posts, 74 likes
    Nauticat 321 pilothouse 32
    US Erie PA
    age 22: honda 350 bike plus hobie with trapeze plus 6 windsurfing boards trailered by vw camper.
    age 26: nearly killed myself on bike. sold bike. got whitewater kayak and guitar.
    age 30: wrecked shoulder kayaking. sold for cal 20 sloop ; windsurfer used as dinghy.
    age 40: got spouse. spouse hated cal 20. got Seafarer 30 sloop rig , with air conditioning and stove.
    age 45: got a chesapeake light craft row/ sail skerry, too big to use as dinghy but very good exercise and fun to sail. spouse now hated seafarer 30, 'too small' and 'not comfortable.' dog agreed with spouse.
    age 57: bought nauticat 321 pilothouse sloop. bow thruster, all lines led to cockpit, electric windlass, wide decks with netting, and solid handrails. built chesapeake eastport pram as dinghy. spouse and dog happy...
    age 70: still can single hand the 321, dog and spouse still happy. (but don't like going up the mast.) lots of young friends to help. being retired means more time to sail !

    jon hansen likes this.
  14. Calif. Ted

    Calif. Ted

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    2,091 posts, 125 likes
    Catalina 320
    US Dana Point
    Isn't 10 meters about 33 feet ?

  15. Will Gilmore

    Will Gilmore

    Joined Oct 19, 2017
    2,397 posts, 977 likes
    O'Day 19
    US Littleton, NH
    That has been one of my requirements for my ultimate cruiser all my life. Capta's list is not bad. I chose 50' as the length of choice because I understand slip prices go up after that. I'm interested in a world cruiser/live-aboard with a large clean deck to entertain friends on. Both stable from hull form and ballast. A large deck house from where a simple, efficient rig can be worked. I'd go electric for auxiliary power because you can refuel in the middle of the ocean.

    I grew up on large boats and found myself falling in love with the idea of my newly acquired trailer sailer. I'm young enough that 19' is easy to live on, but I don't want to retire to it.

    - Will (Dragonfly)

  16. MightyMike


    Joined May 16, 2017
    40 posts, 16 likes
    Pearson 10 Meter
    US Westport Ma
    Yes, exactly. So I sold a 33 foot boat thinking I was going to buy a trailerable. So now I am about to own a Pearson 10M that is the same length and about 3 thousand pounds heavier than my Hunter. I really don't have a grip on this downsizing thing

  17. kmart


    Joined Jan 1, 2012
    63 posts, 6 likes
    Pearson 10M
    US Fall River, MA
    Pearson 10m Great boat. Your going to love it

  18. Calif. Ted

    Calif. Ted

    Joined Jun 8, 2004
    2,091 posts, 125 likes
    Catalina 320
    US Dana Point
    You just went sideways, heavier should be a more stable ride in chop.

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