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Do magazines (and forums) focus too much on larger boats...

Mar 26, 2011
2,910
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
... at the expense of smaller boats and beginning sailors?

I can see why Sail would do this; the advertisers need you to buy up. But what about the rest? Part of the dynamic is that writers have often moved up to bigger boats. We're old guys now. People that have sailed far tend to have larger boats. Older sailors tend to have more time to write. People with bigger boats have more to write about (more systems and more to fix!).

But to you folks with smaller, fun boats, what would you like to see written up? I sold my big cat and moved down to a smaller, more fun to sail boat this fall. I'm working on some smaller boat topics, but I'm always looking for good questions.
  • Anchoring. The big boat all-chain religion is wrong for smaller boats.
  • Solar. Every discussion seems to be about mounting, big panels, and MPPT controllers. It can be MUCH simpler than that.
  • Safety. This depends on the boat, but we're not crossing oceans. It's more about boat handling.
  • Engines. More about outboards less about diesels.
  • ...and what else?
I've decided that less is more.
 
Oct 22, 2014
15,722
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
Thinwater... how about
Keel vs Center or dagger board.
Boat stability
Rigging always up or set-up on a trailer without help.
Perhaps you might find insight from magazines like "Small Craft Advisor" or "Practical Sailor" or "Wooden Boats" which all provide info for small boat owners.
 
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Mar 1, 2012
2,177
1961 Rhodes Meridian 25 Texas coast
Ad ''Good Old Boat'' to that list

I started cruising (and living aboard) a 35 foot trimaran. Now, at 76, I've happily gone down to a 25 foot classic vessel. It's all I care to maintain. Coming up on 12,000 cruising miles including twice across GOM,once single hand

Yes, even the magazines "Pocket Cruisers" are 35-40 footers Too bad
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,910
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Ad ''Good Old Boat'' to that list

I started cruising (and living aboard) a 35 foot trimaran. Now, at 76, I've happily gone down to a 25 foot classic vessel. It's all I care to maintain. Coming up on 12,000 cruising miles including twice across GOM,once single hand

Yes, even the magazines "Pocket Cruisers" are 35-40 footers Too bad

Exactly. I went from 9000 pounds with AC, refrigeration, and a hot shower, to 1600 pounds with, well, much less. But everything is lighter, she handles like a dream, and as you say, it is all I care to maintain. The kids are gone and I don't feel like cruising far anymore. Been there, done that. Yes, she is fast, but I can reef or wait for lighter winds when I want slow. She does both well. And she still feels safe.

And yes, I write for several of the magazine mentioned. I like their slant and temperament. They run advertisements, but arn't slaves to them. THAT is refreshing. The reason for the post was to gauge interest and stimulate some ideas.
 
Last edited:
Jan 11, 2014
7,657
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
There are probably 2 main factors here, one is personal preference and the other economics.

We all choose the boats that we meet our needs and our budgets. Those needs and budgets change over time. I started with a Tanzer 22 because that fit my budget, skills, and needs. Eventually went to a Sabre 30 because I wanted more comfort, a little more speed, and to spend more time cruising and weekending. Now I own a Sabre 362 because we plan a longer retirement cruise in the next year or two. Who knows what size boat after that, certainly not larger.

Smaller boats are just not as profitable as larger boats. A lot of the fixed costs are the same regardless of the boat size or price tag. That ad in a glossy costs just as much for a $750K boat as it does for a $7.5K boat. The back office staff is going to get paid the same whether the boats is a high profit margin boat or a small profit margin boat.

The one area that seems to be bucking the trend is the smaller racing boats. The J70 and other sport boats that have 3 person crews continue to gain popularity, while the big boats with large crews are less popular.
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,857
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I sold my big cat and moved down to a smaller, more fun to sail boat this fall. I'm working on some smaller boat topics, but I'm always looking for good questions.
One topic that you can certainly get a good start on is why move down. You did it, why?
I had always planned to live aboard a 50 footer but life makes it's own plans and I live in the mountains. I just bought, on impulse, a 19' trailerable that sleeps 4. I am so taken with the idea of fixing her up and making her blue water capable and living aboard that I hardly think about 50'ers. It's a challenge to consider accommodations, power, ballast, flotation, refrigeration, storage, safety, navigation, sailing performance in various scenarios,... It gives me an incredible sense of accomplishment and independence in a way a larger boat hasn't done.
I know that's not what many small boat owners want from their boats. As a trailerable, I am looking forward to exploiting the freedom of the road too. I can easily put my boat in places larger boats can't go without hiring a semi. Living in the mountains, that makes a great deal of difference.
I have ideas about mast raising systems, electric auxiliary power and human power, cockpit tents/shower, etc., that stimulate my creativity. All this for $1000 + $?(repairs). Screwing around with a $100,000+ boat is far more risky.
I am really looking forward to reading what you come up with.
- Will (Dragonfly)
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,910
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Topics of possible interest?
  • Daggerboard/centerboard/keel. I've had all three and liked all three.
  • Raising the rig singlehanded. Definitely an area that could use improvement. I guess the key is getting the mast to the hinge. After that, it's just a matter of getting the rigging right. Personally, if it's much larger than a dinghy, I like to leave it rigged.
  • Anchoring. Pretty much everything written for big boats is wrong. The physics are the same, but the scale is different, and that changes every equation.
  • Storage and weight. Everything needs a place. But you have to avoid filling the places.
  • Safety lies more in boat handling than gear. Given the range of boats, from folding multihulls to full keel boats that can take care of themselves, this is always a broad topic. In general, though, I feel there is as much to learn from dinghy racing as from big boat cruising.
  • Simpler systems. Everything can be made complicated, but on a small boat, less can be more. Whether electrical or plumbing, simple and compact are the watchwords.
  • Dinghies. This is one area where big boats have a solid edge. Unless you like marinas every night, and I don't, getting to shore can be a hassle. Even if you can beach, it is most often unsafe. I like a kayak, but that's only for one. Blowing something up is a drag.
  • Heat. There should be something that is vented and yet self-contained. Many small boats have neither propane nor diesel, and I refuse to have a heater that vents into the cabin; I'm not interested in cooking brain cells with CO or CO2, or in getting wet.
Ideas? Questions that need research and answers?
 
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Mar 26, 2011
2,910
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
... cockpit tents/shower....
- Will (Dragonfly)
Cockpit tent is easy. I use the same basic set up on the Stiletto and F-24. Throw a nylon fabric tarp over the boom and attach to the mast and end of boom with adjustable straps (not bungees). Then take straps to the shrouds and two poles mounted aft (extend off stanchions or similar). Two minutes to rig, rolls in a small bundle. Obviously, the tarp needs to be trimmed to fit accurately. Painting the top white makes it cooler.

On my Stiletto 27 I got a small low pressure water pump that I could dead-head and attached a long hose with a dish washing sprayer head. For the sink, I had a hole that would hold the handle depressed for hands-free washing. For showers I extended it into the cockpit. No heat, but in the summer who needs heat, and in cool weather, heat water on the stove and use a cloth.

I had a Sun Shower, but it was a PITA and I pitched it.
 
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Rick D

.
Jun 14, 2008
6,996
Hunter Legend 40.5 Shoreline Marina Long Beach CA
The first three cabin sailboats I owned (totaling 26 years) were respectively 26, 27 & 28 feet. We did everything we did on the 40 without the extra clothes & shoes, hot water, 80 pounds of tools and spares, and the refrig & freezer. No radar either. But, for the core things we need, they did great and we spent a week and more at anchor. And, to this day, I miss my 26' Thunderbird and how responsive she was and how high she'd point and how she would ghost in light air. So, I love the idea of more articles directed to the newer sailor, the lake sailor, the trailerable sailor or the sailor like yourself and others who just wants to go back to something simpler.
There is a 26' gaff rigged sloop in my harbor that sails many days a week. She is no reproduction; she's old. He sails her in and out of the slip and ghosts along patiently in the light morning air. That guy has nailed it.
 
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Aug 3, 2012
2,542
Performance Cruising Telstar 28 302 Watkins Glen
As the owner of a Telstar 28, I would love more articles on stepping, trailering, interior, etc for small boats. We are enjoying a lot about this boat, and we have just begun!
D9306EE6-83A9-4157-B3CE-0CC6D688ECAA.jpeg
 

Sumner

.
Jan 31, 2009
5,254
Macgregor & Endeavour 26S and 37 Utah's Canyon Country
.....
  • Dinghies. This is one area where big boats have a solid edge. Unless you like marinas every night, and I don't, getting to shore can be a hassle. Even if you can beach, it is most often unsafe. I like a kayak, but that's only for one. Blowing something up is a drag.
I tow the inflatable everywhere and have never had a problem yet except for a small boo-boo one day in the Bahamas...

http://1fatgmc.com/boat/mac-1/2015 Bahamas/2-Bahamas-4/Bahamas-Page-31.html

I might loose a 1/2 knot towing it, but I'm a cruiser, so no big deal. I've worked on how to tow it so that it tows easily and is there whenever you need it..

http://purplesagetradingpost.com/sumner/macgregor/outside-17.html

I do realize there might come a day/situation where I might have to cut it loose, but wouldn't leave home without it. It is an optional life raft, irreplaceable for ferrying supplies and us to and from shore.

.....
  • Heat. There should be something that is vented and yet self-contained. Many small boats have neither propane nor diesel, and I refuse to have a heater that vents into the cabin; I'm not interested in cooking brain cells with CO or CO2, or in getting wet.
Ideas? Questions that need research and answers?
An advantage a small boat has is the small cabin area and reduced area that needs heating. Slept in the boat in the low 30's and go with long underwear and a stocking cap.

In the morning making coffee usually warms the cabin. If not...

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


... we run the heater above for a few minutes, but more than that and it drives you out. If the pop-top is down to conserve heat then we prop it up a few inches and open the companionway hatch a bit for ventilation when running either the stove or the heater and would never use either sleeping.

.....
Ideas? Questions that need research and answers?
I feel that more people might benefit from knowing that smaller boats can make excellent long distance cruisers for the right person or couple. Our 26 foot Mac can easily go 4 weeks on the water without having to resupply food, fuel or water and also carry waste that long. The secret is installing adequate storage for the above and that doesn't take someone with master carpenter skills to accomplish. That can equate to a very inexpensive vacation to an exotic place,

Sumner
======================================================================
1300 miles to The Bahamas and Back in the Mac...
Endeavour 37 Mods...
MacGregor 26-S Mods...
Mac Trips to Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Canada, Florida, Bahamas
 
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Oct 22, 2014
15,722
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
You boys with your great big 26 footers.... Lets talk overnights in a 12-17 foot boat. Where the cabin is like crawling into a REI pup tent. Where "Personal Space" takes on a new meaning. Cooking is on a single burner alcohol back packing stove. You have a hand held compass and a sleeping bag rated for -10 degrees. Sure you can run the bow on to the beach as long as there is enough water. The blow up Lucy Light provides lighting and SOS if you need help. Where the Coast Guard says a flashlight is adequate navigational lighting.
 
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Mar 1, 2012
2,177
1961 Rhodes Meridian 25 Texas coast
I've always towed a dinghy behind my 25- there jut is not enough deck space to bring it aboard. I've had a small inflatable a,d a small hard dink. I'd personally prefer the inflatable, but my ex took it so I built a hard dinghy. Like Sumner I've only had one problem and that was due to the dinghy being under inflated due to an air leak I didn't know about.

Picture shot somewhere around 75-100 miles off shore, GOM

Pi
offshore.jpg
 
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Mar 1, 2012
2,177
1961 Rhodes Meridian 25 Texas coast
Oh- and I've told this before. I was moored in a (rare) marina on the Fla east coast somewhere when a couple walked by along the dock. I heard her say- "what a cute litte daysailor" without going on deck, I replied from below- "yep and she's daysailed from South Texas to here" Silence

I went on deck and it turned out to be a very nice young couple who had not a clue that long cruises could be made in smaller boats- totally brainwashed by the "slicks" We had about an hour long talk, and they were shown below decks. They left with a different attitude :)
 
Oct 19, 2017
6,857
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I think there appears to be enough interest in small boats by people who sound rather passionate about them. Thinwater won't have any trouble finding material.
I was reading about the windmill last night and there is a lot of enthusiasm on sailing anarchy about that little boat. Apparently it kicks laser ass:kick:. Pretty good for a boat designed in 1953. I think there are more small boats sold per year than big boats. I'd be interested to hear how that translates to annual profits? Exactly how much money is betting spent on small boats versus big boats.
- Will (Dragonfly)
 
Mar 26, 2011
2,910
Corsair F-24 MK I Deale, MD
Before I bought the PDQ, I adventure cruised my Stiletto 27 with my daughter, then 11-13, for weeks at a time. Some of the best father-daughter time I have ever experienced, and we've shared many adventures. Irreplaceable. Yes, it was a bit like camping at times, but at least we didn't have to carry the stuff, and we stopped at a motel every 3-4 days to get ice, a really good shower, and explore the surroundings. Motels are another trick for extending your cruising range!

The story is available here, through Amazon on Kindle.
https://www.amazon.com/Circumnaviga...r=8-1&keywords=drew+frye+circumnavigating+the
https://www.amazon.com/Circumnaviga...r=8-1&keywords=drew+frye+circumnavigating+the
A lot of the tricks I learned were scoffed at by the big boat group, but as I go back to a smaller boat after 10 years on the big cat, I'm pretty sure that most my smaller boat ideas were just right for that boat. There is very, very little I would do any differently.


I think she like the new boat OK.
 
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