Buying a boat: What size do I need?

When visiting boat shows or walking along the pier at a marina in the Mediterranean, it is easy to get the impression, that the minimal length of a decent boat for offshore cruising has to be at least 45 feet.

Over the last decades, average sizes for ocean-going yachts have been increased significantly. When Ahora was build in the mid-60s, a 32-foot boat was considered a large yacht. Today, she is among the smaller boats in most harbours in the Baltic Sea, and certainly will be when sailing the Atlantic.

Where does this increase in size come from? One point is certainly the increased desire for comfort and space on board. Many modern yachts look more like floating vacation homes than sailboats. And of course, it is nice to have amenities on board like hot showers, microwave ovens, big flat screen TVs and large double beds. But shouldn’t sailing be about living a simple, adventurous life away from the comforts on shore? Sort of a back-to-the-roots approach?

I can not answer this question yet, and who knows, I might be longing for some microwaved popcorn in the middle of the ocean. But I know as well, that people have done amazing trips with small boats without any such frills.

In any way, the choice for me was easy: I simply can not afford a large boat. And I tried to go with the philosophy of Lin and Larry Pardey:

Go Small, Go Simple, Go Now

They have been sailing for 11 years full time on a 24(!)-foot cutter and later for many years on a 30-foot boat. They point to the obvious: Not only is the initial price for a small boat cheaper, but also the cost for maintenance and mooring. And when sailing short- or single-handed, it is much easier to control the flapping sails of a 30-footer in a gale than the ones of a 45-footer.

So when choosing to buy a Laurin 32, that was actually more or less the largest boat that I had on my list. I was mostly looking at boats under 30 feet. But the good reputation for the L32 for its seaworthiness and the idea to be able to take friends along for extended cruises let me choose this boat.

 

 

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  1. […] next question was, what size of a boat do I want. Here I explain, why I chose a boat in the 30-foot […]

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