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Old 22-07-2008, 11:21   #1
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In General

I just came across a well priced 42' Fountaine Pajot Venezia and I will be looking at the boat this week. The engine hours are about 5,000. I'd like to sail around the world one day, after I become comfortable sailing the boat in the Chesapeake bay.

What are your thoughts about the FP Venezia? Is this a good boat for 2 adults with 2 children? Is there anything that I should know about the boat and why I should not consider it? My experience is primarily sailing with PDQ 36 boats in the past.

Are there any good FP forums I should be reading?

Thanks!
Jon
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Old 23-07-2008, 02:30   #2
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WELCOME aboard, Jon.

Good luck on your boat search.

If you don’t get the desired FP Venezia replies here, try posting your query under the Multi-Hulls threads.
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f48/
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Old 23-07-2008, 06:23   #3
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Welcome Jon,

As you know, Venezia had been replaced later by Belize and then Belize by Orana. I own Orana and have sailed with all of two others couple of week on each. Cats have been evolving very fast over last decade or so, hence, Venezia is not the best of all.. It is strongly built cat ( don't know how well is maintain the one you are talking about) , on the heavy side with quite conservative rigging.
She is extremely slow in light winds but I'd said "reliable" in heavy wheahers, provided that you make necessary maintenance and upgrades accordingly.
Like all FP's, bridge clearance, head room and interior space is more than enough. It's not particularly suited to short hand sailing.
Overall, as I said, unless you upgrade the rigging, you will have to motor quite frequently in light winds, heading is not very impressive but otherwise a reliable, well built boat for her time.

Cheers

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Old 23-07-2008, 07:13   #4
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Thanks for your informative explanation. When you state that the rigging should be upgraded, what changes are recommended?

I am hoping to sail for a couple of years in different areas, so light winds are probably guaranteed, so this may be an issue.
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Old 23-07-2008, 23:30   #5
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I tapped the deck on one of those, may be the same one, take a look at the fiberglass where the crossbar connects the bows, I thought the one I looked at had a stress crack.
I am not a surveyor, I am just working and hoping to buy a cat one day.
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Old 26-07-2008, 04:17   #6
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Upgrading a Venezia

We are partners in a Venezia and overall are quite happy with it. Earlier comments are pretty accurate, heavy, older design, but very solid. High bridge deck clearance are all a plus.

The biggest value the FP though, is the isolated engine compartments, you can hardly hear them at all. Just a distant rumble. It makes motoring nearly painless. This contrasts sharply with most other boats on the market that put the engines under a bunk. Diesel smells make my wife feel sick and with the isolated engines there is nary an odor to be found.

Don't be too worried about the light air concern. The sad reality is that when you cruise with a wife and kids (three daughters in my case) there is no such thing as a light boat.

You are going to motor in light air period, whether you have an Outremer or a Venezia. If nothing else because the specter of dousing a spinnaker in a rising gale with only your wife to help will keep you burning diesel.

I sail with a reef in virtually all the time, not because I wouldn't love to go fast, but because it's a family trip and the last thing I want to do is blow something out.

The rig will need to be replaced as will the engines if you are going to get serious. We replaced the rig in Oct 2007 for $24,000 at Mack Sails in Florida. That included a new mast, new sails and a MackPak kit. You may be able to keep your mast, but at a bare minimum replace the stays, they are over a decade old and a failure could be catastrophic in a family situation.

I routinely sail at 8-9 knots in 18-20 knots of wind with the mainsail reefed to the first reefing point. With a double reefed main and headsail, we hit 11 knots in 25 knots of wind. Kids, food fuel and all. It's a ride.

We can do 5 knots in 10 knots of wind, but who wants to go at monohull speeds when the engines push us at 7.8 and burn only 2 gallons an hour?

Overall the Venesia is a great value and includes many features that have been skimped out of newer production boats. For instance, the anchor rode arrives in a dedicated locker through it's own chase (pipe), going over a windlass that is concealed under it's own cover keeping the deck clean and kids feet out of the tangle. Very nice, and a missing feature on the newer FP's and most production boats.

We paid $225k for ours three years ago with a custom hardtop, 10 solar panels, dual wind generators and lots of other upgrades. In today's market you should be able to get a simplier boat for $170-$190k.
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Old 26-07-2008, 11:46   #7
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petert.

thanks for the forthright discloser of how much you paid - I'm also looking at venezias, although I'm a few years away from buying. I looked at one and thought the interior was very spacious - we (me, wife, 2 kids) are planning a 2-4 year sail, so the roomy accommodation's are a big plus (we've spent some rainy days in our RV and and I know being able to have some space to yourself is important). It's nice to know how much I should budget for maintenance/upgrades once I buy.
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Old 26-07-2008, 12:52   #8
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One thing I will say about these boats is that they sure seem to hold a good value. Why would you need to replace the mast? Was it undersize to begin with? No doubt a good rigging survey and needed stay replacements is in order.
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Old 26-07-2008, 13:54   #9
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Your observations mesh with our experience. Plenty of room, good balance of outdoor and indoor space. We have roll down canvas bimini type awnings that virtually extend indoor space to the cockpit area. Very handy for drizzly days.

We replaced the mast because the previous one was over 67 feet. We could have cut the old one down, but it had value on the used market and so the cost for a completely new one, minus used value, was $3k and it's not a chop job when completed.

FP's hold their value because the construction quality is about as good as it gets in production boats. No wood coreing, etc. Our deck is 14 years old and there's not a soft spot to be found. I have personally felt soft deck spots on brand new Catana's. I have been on new boats at boat shows where the stateroom doors don't even close/latch properly. Ours fit perfect.

It's not a perfect boat and there's plenty of things I would change, but for the money, it's an attractive value. Because most of the depreciation has been absorbed upstream, it's feasible that you'll get most of your dollars back (with the usual caveats about markets, maintenance etc.)

If you are going to cruise long-term, wait for one to come on the market that hasn't been chartered and has been modified for owner/liveaboard. Those aren't common, but there are so many Venezia's out there, and the platform is so good, that some have been upgraded into pretty nice cruising machines. For instance, ours had the fourth stateroom converted to a shop with vise and all. Very handy.

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Old 26-07-2008, 17:17   #10
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Thanks for the response, it is definitely helpful.

I noticed in the picture, you have an anchor, along with blue ropes into the water. Did you rig two anchors (with a bridle?), or why did you rig it this way? Just curious.
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Old 26-07-2008, 17:30   #11
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Most cats use a bridle system with primary rode, in our case all chain, hanging slake from the windlass to the bridle hook. This photo is deceptive in that regard because the chain appears to be tight, when it's not.

The bridal has a standard chain hook that we hook on the chain once the anchor is set. Then with one person keeping tension on the bridal/hook (so the hook won't fall off), the other let's out another 15' or so of chain to transfer the load to the bridal and leave some chain slack. The weight of the slack chain helps keep the chain hook set.

Then we attach the snubber to the chain.

We haven't had the hook drop off yet although I have heard of it happening. You'll know when the cat starts yawing side to side in the wind.

One other thing I should mention, my biggest grief with the Venezia is headroom in the salon/galley. I am 6'1" and can't stand up straight at the sink, which means, tragically, I can't do the dishes, right?
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Old 28-07-2008, 12:15   #12
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Thanks for the explanation. I presume I can get a bridle hook at west marine or something like that?

What kind of rope knot do you typically use for the bridle?

The 1994 Venezia that I looked at on Saturday fit me well. I'm 6'4 and I was able to stand comfortably, with boat shoes, in the sink area. The cooking area was a problem though so I guess I'm off the hook for cooking (hey, my wife doesn't read this forum!)
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Old 28-07-2008, 12:25   #13
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BC,

The bridle hook is called a "chain hook" and you'll need to get the right size to match your chain, e.g., 3/8" or 5/16". Stainless stays shiny, galvanized rusts.

The best way to attach it is to splice it on. Three strand nylon line is easy to splice. New England Rope has instructions on their website, so you can teach yourself how to do it, and amaze and astound your spouse and friends.
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Old 28-07-2008, 15:47   #14
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Since this is shaping into a discussion on the pros and cons of the Venezia, here's a few I see. This is not a list of everything good or bad, but just the pros and cons which set the Venezia apart from many other comparable production boats.

Pros:
  • Solid construction
  • Overall good design
  • Isolated, well insulated, watertight engine compartments
  • Crash bulkheads
  • Aluminum tankage, decent capacities
  • Dedicated windlass and rode locker, keeps everything protected from the elements and out of sight.
  • Windlass electrical breaker in windlass locker
  • Rode "chase"/pipe that keeps the rusty chain out of sight and away from your toes.
  • Wide, fiberglass runway across the tramp for easy access to headsail & anchor
  • Bow seats
  • Cockpit table that actually seats 8.
  • Reasonably protected helm
  • Tons of storage
  • Comfy beds
  • Four opening hatches in rear staterooms
  • Sizable heads
  • Thousands more pounds more cargo capacity than many comparable vessels (compare the numbers)
  • Protected, well defined cockpit area*
  • Escape hatches**



Cons
  • Headroom in galley. Not sure exactly where my head makes contact, but it's too early and too often.
  • U-shaped saloon seating. Looks cool, but less usable than right angle seating, unless you really like to take cap naps in a semi-fetal position or touch other people's legs all the time.
  • Placement of electrical panel. Very handy day-to-day, but a huge pain when you want to add something. Fishing the wire up and into the circuit panel is next to impossible. Many other boats feature better access.
  • Doesn't come with a walkable hard top standard. Yes, you really do want to walk up there when some misc reefing line snags etc.
  • Minimal galley space -- this is an artifact of the old design, many comparably sized newer boats have much better galleys
  • Fixed keels, I know this is preference, but I'd really like daggerboards because we cruise in shallow areas. The extra 24" would make a world of difference.

* This is not an obvious advantage for everyone as you have to step over the seat to gain entry. However, it works out great for keeping the kids out of the lifelines with a bright line rule ... "Don't cross this line, period."

** I never liked escape hatches until I lived with these. Doesn't seem like a big deal until you want to air out the head. Open the hatch on top, open the escape hatch down low, and you get fantastic ventilation. Also, should I say this in public -- guys don't even need to bother with the head. Just open and aim. It's very handy, and quieter than having to pump the head out at 3am. Only applicable when anchored 3 miles offshore, of course.

Another benefit is being able to clearly see the underside of the boat and the condition of the keels, and throughhulls on the opposite hull. In a seaway the water will come up over the escape hatch window at times giving you a ringside seat to the underbody and bottom conditions.

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Old 28-07-2008, 20:16   #15
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My offer for the Fountaine Pajot Venezia was accepted today after some haggling back and forth with the owner (through a broker). I'm already finding interesting things and I'm learning along the way so I'm grateful for this forum for being very helpful.

The boat has a 23' beam. No marina that I could find in Annapolis, MD can haul out the boat. I need to go up to Baltimore (an hour drive) to Pleasure Cove to haul out the boat for the survey. A marina, Petrini's, on Spa Creek said that they would be getting a 28' lift in about 8 months so this is good news. I hope this doesn't become a problem when we're crusing and need to take the boat out of the water for whatever reason.

I've hired Steven Uhthoff for the boat survey, and I'll also have an engine survey (as the engine is over 4,000 hours), as well as a rigging survey to make sure that the boat is safe and sound.

The boat bridge clearance is 63'. I was recently wondering - is this a problem with bridges? If I remember right when I was reading some articles that most bridges tend to be up to 60' high, or was that another figure?

I've begun calling around for a hardtop for the boat. Most marinas aren't apparently interested in doing this. Anyone have any recommendations for someone who can make one for the FP Venezia in the Maryland/Virginia area?

I'm already looking forward switching to sailing, instead of powerboating and I hope everything goes well during the survey next week.
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