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Old 22-04-2011, 15:34   #1
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FP Problems: How to be Safe

I am in the final stages of deciding what cat to buy, and FP Salina or Orana has been on the top of the list. I like the design, lots of space and the feedbacks from other owners has been (mostly) good. I have read some negative info, but you can find that for any boat.

BUT, today I found this (The post is translated via google translate, it is originally in Norwegian.) recent post from a Norwegian family that bought a Orana only a year ago and now has to abandon the boat and send it back as freight since the insurance company no longer considers it sea worthy! That is (as far as I know) without any specific events that could have damaged the boat.

I did some more googeling and found this post as well. It is some years old and there is always two sides of a story, but it raises some questions about FP that makes me really worried. I do not want to get into a situation like this, then I better choose another boat or buy a used one.

The stories brings back some of the negative things that has been said about cats in the past that I thought was solved by now.

How can one protect onself against from ending up in a situation like this?
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Old 22-04-2011, 16:24   #2
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Re: FP problems, how to be safe?

I hesitate to jump in here, but I did a 4-day passage on a FP several years ago (can't remember which model) and was surprised on the first day out when the crappy little ports that were designated escape hatches in each hull leaked like a seive in a four-foot chop. Yes, they were securely dogged down. And I am not talking a little water, I am talking enough water to require the bilge pump every few hours.

I don't know about the other things mentioned here, but that left a bad impression on me.
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Old 22-04-2011, 17:06   #3
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Re: FP problems, how to be safe?

The Levezzi osmosis problems have been discussed in various threads on CF. The Levezzi was FPs jump in new processes from the vacuum bag methods of old.

I have no knowledge of the Orana problems in the blog, except to state I have seen and heard from several satisfied Orana owners.

My Belize is served me well for 7+ years without any warranty issues. There was one factory recall I remember on the lifelines.

Good Luck with whatever you chose!
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Old 24-04-2011, 01:54   #4
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

The story of the norvegian family is very strange. The boat is delivered from La Rochelle, made is way to Portugal, Canaries, Atlantic to Grenades. Then, they decide to make a survey and the surveyor decides that the boat in unsafe and should be turned back by ship..

I own two Orana's, (hull 27 and 71) one Lipari and 10 others FP cats (2 Belize, 1 Fidji, 2 Salinas, 3 Athena's) that we have been using in charter for several years. Being a service point for FP, I have seen many other FP cats. Never and ever have I seen or heard something like this...
As explained by DotDun, we had 6-7 Lavezzi, one Eulethra, couple of Cumberland (FP trawler) for osmosis treatment. We check every year every boat and never had a an osmosis problem on any other FP cat.

Talking about Orana's; we had more than 10 different Orana's who came for servicing. They were all about small issues fixed under warranty or upgrades that the owner required. (A/C, genset, new sails, etc)
The only exception is the Orana hull number 1.. The boat was really not looking good, she had some structural problems, the owner had sued FP, the surveyors sent by the court came to check the boat. We did some job and the boat sailed to Thailand 2 years ago. So, by no means was she deemed "unsafe".

FP's are not the best in terms of finishing, but I see that from number one hull to the 71, they did nice improvements in every respect on Orana's. Belize's are rock solid, no issues at all. Salina's, few problem with sail drives and that's it. Fidji is made in 1991 and still in charter

If anyone has some more info on what really happened to this Orana, I'd be curious to know..

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 24-04-2011, 04:43   #5
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

This dont look good at al.
Hope that they will come out with more detailed info later.
and they are sayeing its not just them but 4 oranas(with problems) made in the same time period.
spring 2010.
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Old 24-04-2011, 08:37   #6
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

The webpages of F-P Orana 44 “Ocasione”
FP ORANA 44 –

Google Translate
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Old 24-04-2011, 14:25   #7
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

In may last year I had the opportunity to be part of the delivery crew ( 2 of us) of an Orana from Sydney to Noumea. This is a crossing that I had done 5 times over the years with my Benetaeu Oceanis 440 . During the second afternoon we got caught by a cold front from the SW with gusts of up to 54 kts with 6 to 7 metres seas , at no point in time did we feel "unsafe" , and with aprox 25% of the head sail unfurled found the Orana extremely manageable and sea worthy and we did sail through without problems.
No doubt that all brands will have some " horror" stories attached to some of their boat , but in the end , the boat for you will be the boat that makes you feel comfortable within yourself that your sailing capabilities will allow you to manage .
A " good sueveyor" will help you with the technical issues if any , these can alaways be fixed ( the perfect boat does not exists) .
Happy cruising
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Old 25-04-2011, 17:45   #8
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

Many FPs have osmosis/gelcoat blisters including Oranas and Salinas but this the first report I have heard of a structural nature.
It would be intersting to see some photos.
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Old 25-04-2011, 19:33   #9
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

The only two posts tnf has here deal with worries about Fountaine Pajot and were this week. Maybe they are valid, maybe there's a different motivation.

In any case, I've chartered a few, helped deliver one 1100 miles, and ended up buying one. I really would be the first to say that they are not perfect. It's a cost vs build quality relationship. But, I think they are all seaworthy.

Fountaine Pajot had a lot of financial worries when the market collapsed in 2008 but it's my understanding that they have gotten past that and are doing ok. Maybe this happened at that point, I don't know. It doesn't seem to be their standard to not warranty their boats.
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Old 26-04-2011, 01:45   #10
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

Like every company, FP also has problems to overcome. I don't think these problems are in the area of the seaworthyness of their boat. Actually this is probably one of their strength. As Palarran said, they are of course not perfect, but I see lot of improvement over years.
Their basic problem is to move from typically french paradigm to global one. They seem to know everything what's good for customer and deciding on their behalf, rather than listening to customers and try to understand what they really want.
Lagoon has been more succesful in this respect and is getting the reward. Just one example; FP has never been convinced that flying bridge was a good idea as it penalise the sailing ability and seaworthyness of the cat. (which I fully agree) However, there is a plenty of people that desires this feature, most of them coming from motor yacht. I don't know the global result, but in Turkey last year Lagoon sold 29 cats of various size Vs only 2 FP..
Osmosis issue was a big hit but I beleive thet were covered with some sort of insurance. Otherwise they would have been bankrupted long ago.

Cheers

Yeloya

NBragon Lady, as I said before, we had quite a bit number of FP for servicing with various issues, but not (yet) any single Orana, Athena, Salina or Belize with Osmosis..
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Old 26-04-2011, 04:45   #11
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
The only two posts tnf has here deal with worries about Fountaine Pajot and were this week. Maybe they are valid, maybe there's a different motivation.
No, I have no hidden agenda here. I have evaluated what boat to buy for over a year now and after deciding a cat was the right choice for us, the Salina has been on the top of the list, although somewhat over my initial budget. I have also considered Lagoons (too heavy, ugly) and other cats from smaller manufacturers, but they never appealed to me like the Salina. I like the design, the layout inside the boat and the fact that it seems to be good value for money. According to reviews it also sails OK, good enough for me, I want a fast boat but I am not buying it to race.

Another reasons Salina are at the top of the list is that it seems to be made by a reputated builder and incorporate modern manufacturing methods, as a techie I like that.

For me it is a big investment to buy the boat and it will be my family's home for 1-3+ years. The last thing I want to happen is what happened to Occasione. A situation like that would for us mean that the family's dream would be put on hold until the legal battle was resolved. So, that was the reason why the heading of my post is 'How to be safe'. I am normally not dwelling too much with my decisions, but since the contract is not signed and all options are open, a lot of uncertainty has suddenly popped up:
  • Should I consider a monohull with proven technology instead?
  • Is it better to buy a boat from a smaller builder that would be easier to communicate with?
  • Are the (new) FP infusion manufacturing not mature enough yet?
  • They offer the Salina that was shown on the Paris boat show in December last year at a discount, but is has still not been sold. Why?
  • Is it better to buy a used boat where problems already have been dealt with?
At the same time do I realize that charter companies buy FP products and that should be reassuring. What I do not understand is that if there was an isolated issue with some Orana's, why does not FP come clear with it, explain what have happened and how it has been solved and replace or repair the involved boats? They should also consider an extender warranty for issues like this, it will give potential buyers another reason for choosing FP over smaller builders.

I have been holidaying in France all my life, and yeloya post about the 'French way' of doing things sounds very plausible. The problem is that in today's internet world, it does not work like that anymore. Information flows freely on forums like this and you can either use it to your advantage or let it bite you. I really hope that FP realize this and takes action so I can buy my Salina and still sleep well at night.
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Old 26-04-2011, 05:24   #12
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

  • Should I consider a monohull with proven technology instead?
  • Is it better to buy a boat from a smaller builder that would be easier to communicate with?
  • Are the (new) FP infusion manufacturing not mature enough yet?
  • They offer the Salina that was shown on the Paris boat show in December last year at a discount, but is has still not been sold. Why?
  • Is it better to buy a used boat where problems already have been dealt with?
All the questions you made are legitimate; but if you really think Salina is for you, you should go for it. Boat buying process involves always some risks and this is valid whatever boat you buy.
Personally, I see no point to change yr mind because something has happened to one Orana. And we don't know yet what exactly and why...

If you want to sleep even better, you can try to obtain an insurance policy which can cover this kind of problems (court cases, total replacement of the boat, etc) by paying a bit more of premium..

Cheers

Yeloya
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Old 26-04-2011, 05:34   #13
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

I just can't understand why FP hasn't been more proactive with these basic quality issues.
I would still buy another FP but you need to make sure the barrier layer is done right, I'm very skeptical about there being structural issues with any of their boats.
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Old 26-04-2011, 08:13   #14
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

Good enough tnf, sorry I questioned your motives.

Here are a few more thoughts and opinions.
I don't want a cat with a fly bridge. I'm docked in a marina where Sunsail and the Moorings are. So theres a lot of R & C cats around. When you raise the boom that high, it really is difficult to do anything with the sail or the clew area. There is also a huge slot which would takeaway from the sail efficiency. I like the design of the raised helm on the Orana and Salina. That to me is the best solution.

One feature that is really important to me is the deployment of the dingy. It MUST be robust and also quick and easy. I want to be able to lower and raise the dingy by myself with minimal effort and in less then 15 minutes. I also don't want the dingy being able to swing on the davits or drag in the water because it is too low. The Salina has to be the worst design ever for this feature. The best is the Voyage cats.

When you look at cats, there's basically two designs used for the berths. They are either in the width of the hulls, or they are inset into the bridge deck. In the hulls takes up a lot of space and will typically reduce the overall usable area of the hulls. Inset into the bridgedeck almost always causes some type of protursion and a lowering of the clearance. I prefer in the hulls, except on the St. Francis 50.

I would recommend a person purchase a used catamaran before a custom build unless you have a huge amount of money to burn. I just can't see the value in the new compared to used. If you are going to use it as your home for two years, I would suggest either a mildly used charter boat or a private owner boat. I ended up purchasing an 8 year old boat that was in like new condition for less then an 8 year old well maintained crewed charter cat. Deals are out there but you have to be ready to act.

I like the Bahia best of all the FP line. Getting one in good condition should be possible. The only Lagoon I could compare it to would be a 470 which sells for 60% more. It's nicer but not that much, imo. R & C 47's have to low of a bridge deck. The 46 is a very nice boat but again, very expensive. Voyage 50's are really nice and would have been my second choice for a cat but I got my 56 for substantually less then the 50 sells for.

I don't know what your time frame for purchasing your boat is but my suggestion is to read through the multihull section of this forum. It by far has the best threads for evaluating cats. Then, when you know your direction or have a few boats to kick around, post them. The best is to even copy the yachtworld ad link into your thread. Many of us spent years studying cats and prices and imo will be able to give you definitive and objective advise on them.

Good luck.
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Old 27-04-2011, 15:52   #15
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Re: FP Problems: How to be Safe

Dear TNF,
Having read through the complete thread there are many valid points and would like to add mine ....I recently sold a Lavezzi to a client . After the yacht had been on the hard for the Hurricane season a few gel coat cracks appeared on the deck....FP were hype pro active and arranged an isnpection with myself and the owner present and then arranged for repairs to be made....the yacht was outside it's warranty agreement as in general it is not transferable but there was no arguement just work and a lot of help from the factory....
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