While looking for a catamaran
in the 35' range, I considered both the Tobago
35 and Wildcat 35 MKIII even though both had more beam than practical for my coastal cruising plans and "backyard" cruising ground (not permitted to drop a mooring
, so must find private home or marina docking). In addition, the widest beam that could be hauled by a marina within a few minutes drive from my house was 17'--so I really limited my choices. Crew preference for galley-up configuration further limited choices.
While the Lagoon
35ccc was my first choice all along, there were only 11 built before the Jeanneau-Lagoon split (and Lagoon went on to hit a commercial
home run in sales with the 380). So I did consider several other catamarans in the 35' range.
Having chartered the Tobago
35 twice (both 2-cabin and 3-cabin configurations) this was also considered, though still a little wider than I could dock
locally. I even went so far as to pay for a survey
on a 1994 T35 in Annapolis
, but the owner would not negotiate on the price and it needed more work than I was willing to budget
for (it took him another year to sell it).
Due to interior
finish/linings IMHO, I would not purchase
a Tobago 35 earlier than 1995. Earlier models had the material headliner
in the salon
. 1996 and newer had molded fiberglass
liner in the salon
area (wipe down, no mildew, dried out glue and liner falling etc. The engine
compartment of the T35 also is large with easy access although you have to go through the head
. Cabin storage
is limited though for long term cruising
, though you can put a hanging bar in the engine
compartment. I actually have more room in my Lagoon cabin
The main halyard
is on the mast
on the T35, as it is on many boats. On my Lagoon, all lines lead back to the helm
I had a broker email
me pictures of the Wildcat. While not as serious about this boat as the T35 I was looking at all cat options on the market, even considering up to 38 feet. The Mark III looked nice, but all the wood in the interior
looked daunting! I am not a traditionalist when it comes to interior finish. Give me bright, smooth fiberglass
lining that I can wipe clean and go sailing--not worry about maintaining wood! The interior pictures of the Wildcat showed many water
stains on the interior woodwork. I could only imagine this could be due to some of the quality control problems that have been reported about the Wildcats and it quickly dropped from my considered list.
A 35' cat does have some sailing disadvantages compared to some of the larger cats suggested above. Budget
is an obvious consideration, as is size and cruising considerations, accommodations, number of crew--basically everything well-stated above.
The bottom line is--do your homework, and that is the easy part. The scary part is actually taking the plunge and buy the boat. Many times that paralyzes you--you are afraid to buy the "wrong" boat. If your cruising intentions are just coastal cruising, either boat should suffice if you can get it at a price well within your budget. If you later decide to "trade up" though, I'm pretty sure you will be able to sell the FP a lot easier.