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Old 16-05-2010, 17:00   #1
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38-42 Foot Catamaran Liveaboard Annual Budget

My wife and I are evaluating options for which size sailing catamaran to buy in the high 100s to low/mid 200s, 1995-2000 year and 38-42 feet (open to suggestions) ranges.

We both have a multi-year backgrounds with monohulls and want to liveaboard a multimull, based in the Houston/Galveston area with plans to cruise the Caribbean after becoming proficient on the Cat (figuring one year to feel competent for bluewater).

We are both self-employed, needing fast Internet connection and occasional (1-2 trips/month) need to be near an airport to fly to a client or trade show location.

All this said to ask this question: For a physically-fit, middle-aged couple, wishing to liveaboard a sailing Cat with plans to cruise the Caribbean, is there a significant difference in annual budget for a 38-foot, 40-foot or 42-foot sailing CAT?

Specific example: Boat conditions being equal+++ for a 10-15 year-old sailing CAT, is there a big difference between annual costs of running a 38-foot Lagoon over a Fontaine Pajot 42-foot Venezia? Insurance, dockage, routine maintenance...are what we are researching before focusing on one size and one or two brands of CAT.

Thoughts? ....tried to be brief, and complete... Thanks,

Mike
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Old 16-05-2010, 17:35   #2
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Welcome to cruisers forum! Yes, there is a difference between your high and low ranges. In a nutshell, bigger boats have bigger things: masts, rigging, sails, winches, engines, tanks, and toys. Unfortunately it seems that the price of maintaining a bigger boat increases geometrically. A couple on a boat that can accomodate 2 couples will be fine with one head even wih the occasional guests. A boat that accomodates eight people mioght have 4 heads. Think about cleaning, repairing, and pumping out four heads. A 36 foot boat will have a mainsail that can be (laboriously) hoisted by one person with a manual winch. The sail on a forty two foot boat will require an electric windlass, which in turn will require a lot bigger battery bank, which will campaign for a generator.

Owners of bigger boats spend a lot more time maintaining them than the owner of a smaller boat with simpler systems. There's just more to go wrong.

Then here is the real kicker: Bigger boats have more space for storage. Empty storage space demands more stuff. This is psychologically irresistable. No one can keep from putting more stuff on a catamaran, and more stuff is the VERY last thing you want to put on one. Monohulls can haul a lot more weight without suffering, but an overloaded cat is crippled. Just ask a cat owner. He will justify every extra ounce he bought and at the same time assure you weight kills the joy of a light catamaran. We jmust can't help ourselves, except by just not having a place to put anything else!

My advice: buy a right sized boat, and take a pound and an ounce off of it every time you bring a pound aboard. If you don't use something that the Coast Guard doesn't require in a sailing season, sell it!

If you travel for a living, you've learned how to live out of a smaller suitcase; just apply the same rules to the boat!

Lower your limit; look at newer PDQ 36's (a lovely boat for the islands) and try to find a small Lagoon. FP's 36 is a really big boat inside, too.
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Old 16-05-2010, 17:58   #3
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39'9" can be a lot cheaper in a marina than 40ft. Galley up. Single Head. Have a potential buy surveyed by a Surveyor with Cat experience. As Sandy says avoid Parkinson's law. Seem to recollect that PDQ 36's do better when extended.
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Old 16-05-2010, 21:54   #4
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My advice, and I don't have a cat at all, but I do live on our boat and its activly cruised.

My advice is to get the largest boat your budget will afford. Every foot counts and doubly so on cats.

I've been on some 42, 44 footers and they are a great size for a long time cruising.

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Old 17-05-2010, 03:57   #5
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Twofootitus, a malady most all boaters suffer from. Sandy is right, there is a big cost difference between a 38' Cat and a 42' Cat. Not just in the original cost. No doubt extra space is great but taking into account your stated budget, and the 10 to 15 year old boat age you're considering, I'd be more inclined to a 38' Cat. I'm not sure it is stated here enough, boats can eat a pretty big hole in your savings. Cutting your expense risk right off the bat by staying with a smaller Cat makes more sense to me. A 38' Cat will take you to all the same places a 42' Cat will. Buying a boat is like buying a house or a car, there are those that would be really nice and neat to have and impress the Jones with. Then there are those that make sense. Just look at our current foreclosure crisis.
I own a 38' Cat. I have worked and sailed on many larger Cats. I get envious of the bigger Cats all the time. But when I have to fix, repair or replace things on my 38 I'm quickly reminded of "Less is more"
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Old 17-05-2010, 07:01   #6
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Less is More ($ and Enjoyment)

Thanks to you four so far who have put in your $0.02 + worth.

The house analogy hits a cord with me because, without going into detail, I'm a "regular kind of guy" who has lived in "nice" and "very nice" houses in different neighborhoods. The best adjusted neighbors always seemed to be in the "nice" neighborhoods where people had "normal" lives and said "hi" to each other.

Vote right now on this end is for a 37' to 39.9' cat. If my wife and I enjoy the cat experience and want to go bigger for the next boat, our eyes will be fully open.

Mike
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Old 17-05-2010, 08:30   #7
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I've followed several real time cruiser blogs and chatted with many. As long as there's only 1 couple a 36-38 seems fine but when you load up another couple or a kid or two, the length requirement seems to jump to a 42-44 model. I was thinking of a 36-38 for part-year cruising but after talking with others I feel the 42-44 is almost mandatory for us to actually LIVE on.
So... it's a 42-44 for us.
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Old 17-05-2010, 09:21   #8
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Sandy is spot on with regard to your original question. A couple of digressive points.

Bigger will sail better and be more comfy during passages and at anchor. Mark J (even tho he is a mono guy), has it right there.

"Weighing down a cat hampers performance" is a bit of a myth. It is easier to overload a smaller cat, especially if you decide you must have big heavy things like generators, oversized water/fuel tanks, but truly overloading a cat is difficult, especially once you get to 40+. BTW, an overloaded mono will have "hampered performance" too, so perhaps we should just say "any" overloaded boat may have hampered performance.

Bigger does not automatically equate to more systems or even more complex systems. I have seen 38 footers packed with an incredible array of stuff and 42 footers that are truly simple. I think your own requirements will define the systems.

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 17-05-2010, 09:29   #9
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Just for grins, I saw a nice Solaris Sunstar 36 for 105K down in Galveston.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ran-39495.html
Solaris Sunstar 36 sailboat for sale
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Old 07-04-2013, 12:47   #10
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Re: 38-42 Foot Catamaran Liveaboard Annual Budget

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Topics View Post
My wife and I are evaluating options for which size sailing catamaran to buy in the high 100s to low/mid 200s, 1995-2000 year and 38-42 feet (open to suggestions) ranges.

We both have a multi-year backgrounds with monohulls and want to liveaboard a multimull, based in the Houston/Galveston area with plans to cruise the Caribbean after becoming proficient on the Cat (figuring one year to feel competent for bluewater).

We are both self-employed, needing fast Internet connection and occasional (1-2 trips/month) need to be near an airport to fly to a client or trade show location.

All this said to ask this question: For a physically-fit, middle-aged couple, wishing to liveaboard a sailing Cat with plans to cruise the Caribbean, is there a significant difference in annual budget for a 38-foot, 40-foot or 42-foot sailing CAT?

Specific example: Boat conditions being equal+++ for a 10-15 year-old sailing CAT, is there a big difference between annual costs of running a 38-foot Lagoon over a Fontaine Pajot 42-foot Venezia? Insurance, dockage, routine maintenance...are what we are researching before focusing on one size and one or two brands of CAT.

Thoughts? ....tried to be brief, and complete... Thanks,

Mike
Looks like no one answered your questions. I am very interested in actual information on insurance costs.

No need for busy bodies to quote generalities everyone already knows.
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Old 08-04-2013, 13:39   #11
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Re: 38-42 Foot Catamaran Liveaboard Annual Budget

"Owners of bigger boats spend a lot more time maintaining them than the owner of a smaller boat with simpler systems. There's just more to go wrong."

I disagree with this. It depends on how well the boat was previously maintained and did the previous owner have an inventory of spare parts with the sale. Also, some brands are just flat better made than others.
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Old 08-04-2013, 14:35   #12
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Re: 38-42 Foot Catamaran Liveaboard Annual Budget

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Originally Posted by Night_Sailor View Post
Looks like no one answered your questions. I am very interested in actual information on insurance costs.

No need for busy bodies to quote generalities everyone already knows.
Some generalities: insurance costs are based on the value insured, not the length of boat.

Specific - our annual insurance premium is 0.73% of our insured value.
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Old 08-04-2013, 14:40   #13
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Re: 38-42 Foot Catamaran Liveaboard Annual Budget

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Originally Posted by sandy daugherty View Post
A 36 foot boat will have a mainsail that can be (laboriously) hoisted by one person with a manual winch. The sail on a forty two foot boat will require an electric windlass, which in turn will require a lot bigger battery bank, which will campaign for a generator.

.
I have a 44foot cat, I've never used the windlass to raise the main. With a 1:1 halyard I can usually get to second reef by hand, then winch the rest of the way. I probably should change to a 2:1 halyard, just haven't got around to it. We've only done 20,000 miles, cam't rush these things ....
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