Westsail Owners Alliance - Post: "32 Versus 42"
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Post: "32 Versus 42"

12,268 posts on 2,444 threads   •   From Mar 07, 2004 - Jan 08, 2012

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- Archived Message from Inactive Forum -

Mike McCoy

Simply speaking, because there is just more of it. As a general rule of thumb, the bigger the boat, the more it costs to operate/maintain.

For example, most (if not all) marinas charge you by the length of the boat. So a 42' boat will cost '10 feet more' than a 32' boat. Same thing with boatyards. It cost more to haul/store a 42 footer than a 32. Ditto with Customs/port entry fees (a 32' boat costs $150 to enter the Bahamas, anything over that is $300). It takes more bottom paint, varnish, even cleaning supplies. Sails & fittings (blocks, cleats, winches, etc) are larger therefore more expensive if/when you have to replace them. All the rigging is longer (and possibly larger) so if/when you have to replace it you need to buy more than you would for a 32' boat. You need bigger anchors, more rode/chain, etc.

Also the larger the boat the harder it is to handle. Bigger sails, ground tackle, etc. mean 'exponentially' larger forces are at work. I'm sure there are 42' sailboats being short crewed/singlehanded but I wouldn't want to do it (It's hard enough on a 32 footer ;). Personally, I believe the ideal boat length for 1-3 people falls into the 28-32' range.

Finally, I might recommend reading (and re-reading) a couple excellent books on the subject of cruising:

The Voyagers Handbook by Beth Leonard

Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach by Don Casey.

Both offer 'real world' advice about what it takes and how to get started cruising.

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