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Smallest boat for big water?

Question:
I'm looking to buy a (probably used) boat for as little money as I can get by with to cruise & fish in the Chesapeake Bay.

For price purposes, I'm looking at an aluminum V-hull skiff with a small outboard.

In my research, I've come across several folks who suggested (no criticism of these folks intended) that a 16-foot V-hull tin skiff was inadequate for venturing out into open water.

This has raised the question in my mind: just how small is "too small" for open water?

Obviously, there are many variables here. The open water in the Chesapeake Bay is very different from open ocean; also, any stretch of water can vary wildly from day to day (or hour to hour).

In my case, I obviously wouldn't take the aforementioned tin skiff out on the Bay on a stormy day or in very high winds. And I probably wouldn't take it out in the open ocean except on a very calm day.

Still, there seems to be a notion that tin skiffs are suitable only for rivers and completely enclosed inlets, etc.

But I've heard or seen people cruising through pretty large chop and waves in an aluminum boat like a Sea Nymph.

No bravado intended...but I've been paddling whitewater for years (including the Grand Canyon). I'm intimately familiar with the power of huge waves and water. I _think_ I can safely venture all the way across the Chesapeake in a 16-foot (maybe even a 14-foot) tin skiff on a *relatively calm day*, meaning in up to 2-3 foot waves.

But I freely admit, maybe I _am_ crazy! What do you think?


Answer:
Don't equate cheap with small. That's probably a false assumption. The used boat market is the pits, so you well may be able to pick up a not-so small boat for a reasonable price (make sure it's on a trailer, if you're concerned about cost. A free berthed boat is no bargain).

Having said that, there are lots of people who like to small, open boat cruising because that's what they like to do. One of my favorite recent books is "Open Boat Cruising" by John Glasppool (A.C. Black pub.). He's one of these Brits that goes to France, Netherlands, along the coast, etc. in small boats. And he writes about others who do it.Frank Dye, another Brit, is a cult hero, of sorts.He's taken his 16foot Wayfarer Dighy to Norway, Iceland, along the Florida Coast (shipped to Florida in a container). His wife wrote a book on dingy cruising, too. She likes a 14footer.

In old issues of Small Boat Journal, which you can dig up if you root around enough, Dave Getchell used to write articles about aluminum skiffs with 15-25HP outboards and all the great cruising you can do in those. He tended do Maine.

So you can probably find a lot of info on cruising on small boats. But you may find it quicker to find a bigger, cheap boat. Unless you want to do small because you think it's beautiful.


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