Is a 42-Foot Sailboat Big Enough to Liveaboard?

Is a 42 foot sailboat large enough for a family to live aboard? Tale of Two 42s - The Foster Journey Blog

In our last episode, we explored two 42-foot sailboats – the Jeanneau Voyage 12.5 and the Hunter 420 (see below). Both boats are large enough to sail the Gulf of Mexico (our current home waters), Coastal Atlantic, and one of the boats already has an Atlantic crossing under her belt.

But is a 42-foot sailboat big enough to liveaboard?

Yes, plenty of folks are already doing it, but here are our thoughts after giving the sailboats serious consideration.

Jeanneau Voyage 12.5 and Hunter 420

Jeanneau Voyage 12.5

First designed in 1987, this 17,000lb displacement sailboat was created in France and intended for safe ocean passages. Its layout is very safe with deep cockpit combings and secure handholds throughout the living space below deck. This boat seemed well-built much like the Catalina 42 mkII.

Interior photos of the Jeanneau Voyage 12.5 Tale of Two 42s - The Foster Journey Blog
Jeanneau Voyage 12.5 (Pin Me!)

Here’s what we enjoyed and disliked about the Jeanneau Voyage from aft to bow:

– Clean transom steps for sitting, boarding, and fishing.
– Simple cockpit layout with storage and safe seating.
– Rigid and wide dodger (rain protection/windshield).
– 100+ gallons of water.
– Wide side decks for safe walking on the deck.
– Tight space in the saloon provides safety underway.
– Easy to afford.
– One composting head.
– Addition storage in port aft cabin.
– Teak deck needs updating.
– Tight space in cabins and saloon for our family living aboard.
– Solar mounts are under the shade of the mainsail.
– “Dirty” feeling.
Is a 42 foot sailboat large enough for a family to live aboard? Hunter 420 - Tale of Two 42s - The Foster Journey Blog
Topside and Transom of Jeanneau Voyage 12.5

Hunter 420 Center Cockpit

The center cockpit seems to be designed for living on the boat. It offers ample deck space to stretch your legs or for alone time, and below deck, it’s about comfort.

Some will argue these are all the reasons the Hunter 420 is not a serious sailboat, but the question for us is not about winning races in the weekend regatta (though that sounds really fun!) – for us, it’s about comfortably and safely traveling the oceans to a variety of places.

Is a 42 foot sailboat large enough for a family to live aboard? Hunter 420 Passage Tale of Two 42s - The Foster Journey Blog
Hunter 420 Center Cockpit

This Hunter 420 needed some cleanup. That said, here are our thoughts:

– Large deck space and seats aft of the cockpit (back of boat).
– Center cockpit creates full walkaround deck.
– Large main cabin with queen bed and plenty of storage.
– 100+ gallons of water.
– Perfect forward cabin for Olivia (11 years old).
– Large galley with storage.
– The cockpit is small.
– Cockpit combings (backrests) are low – less safe and less support.
– This particular sailboat seemed “old.”
– Floors had a few soft spots.

The Hunter 420 has the large aft cabin like the Catalina 400 mkII, but the Hunter is a full cabin with over 6ft of headroom and storage cabinets lining the hull sides.

Hunter 420 Interior Comfort

The sales brochure from Marlow Hunter (download the full PDF here) says the Hunter 420 is designed for, “Extended cruising or even living aboard, the Hunter 420 is designed to provide the comfort and livability you desire in a manageable and affordable package… While many center cockpit yachts trade performance with comfort, Hunter has found the equilibrium and delivers both in a world-class boat.”

I don’t know.

What do you think?

Your Turn

Leave us your thoughts. What do you think about each of these boats? Is what benefits did we overlook? What concerns did we not mention?





2 responses to “Is a 42-Foot Sailboat Big Enough to Liveaboard?”

  1. Both look good… it would be interesting to see a cost comparison of updates, cleaning, and repairs necessary to set voyage on the two safely and comfortably.

  2. […] hectic in the last 2 months. Layered underneath all the sailboat shopping (see here, and there, and everywhere!) has been the need to sell all of our […]

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