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Old 30-05-2016, 18:59   #1
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Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comments

Hello Friends,
Helia 44 AVALON here, this is not a brag, but probably the most well equipped Helia 44 in the world. I mean there is even more than on the Topic "Improvements to the Helia 44".. It is my nature to improve things, and I will be upgrading further if I keep her, to things like: Weight and efficiency upgrade to 2-300 AH Lithium setups with BMS and two banks and DC to DC chargers for both engines, and so on (but that is a separate topic to come, please)...

The point is that I am getting old. Is this as far as we go? I welcome your comments... Here are my choices on the parameters to thinking about an upgrade:

1) I want to have a Production boat, every Custom has 17 things they would have done differently if they could do it over.... I want a Factory Production boat with most of the bugs worked out.

2) The Helia 44 is nearly perfect in size for me to single handle, and I have done so extensively racing and cruising. However, I miss the Marina Life and would like to go back to my youth living aboard parts of the year, and the Helia is enough but: It is not over the top luxury that I could afford in spaciousness.. Not bragging, just considering my options OK?

3) Lagoon is out for me, it just hurts my eyes to have the blunt front windows. No offence, I just don't like the look, I understand it, but hurts my sense of aesthetics.. No comment or arguments please, I accept that it is just me..

4) Catana is out, I am too old to battle the weather with outboard helms, and want more luxurious accommodations in the up-galley bridgedeck design and more luxury in the cabins. I accept that Catana is the Leader for Blue Water Cruising and strength, again it is just not for me. I am an Island Hopper now in my older age.. I am lucky to live where for 2000 miles north, I can virtually skip island to island with an occasional harbour, and cruise the entire north eastern tropical seaboard of Australia with fantastic diving and fishing and beach combing ..

5) Other brands are out, as I want a Production Factory boat that is available in Australia, with a upper galley in the bridge-deck and luxurious appointments. Seawind is out, LightWave is out, That leaves three choices:
a) Give up, my Helia 44 is enough, adequate... Feel free to tell me that..
b) SABA 50
c) Leopard 48
Now the point of wanting your comments to help me, is I am on the fence a bit. Here is where I stand:

a) Helia 44... I have my own dock, the Lord has Blessed me, and when it gets confining I always have the large waterfront home. I miss the Marina Life a bit and wonder if I might be happier with a larger boat, more spaciousness. And this would be it, my last change, I am of that age mid 60's. Since money is not the issue, I wonder if I might just upgrade one last time in my life to more spaciousness... Also, with my level of luxury, about two tons of luxury, larger hulls would carry it more gracefully where the Helia 44 is loaded up and if I keep Her I am unloading a little, like reducing chain length a little, and leaving one 470 litre tank empty except for big trips.. That will work but..

b) SABA 50... Lovely.. Been aboard a six cabin version several times. Never seen the Maestro Owners Cabin version, but from videos it is just a BIIIG Helia 44. There are none in the Southern Hemisphere to see, but I can travel to see one. My concern is that it is tooo big. In my older years it might be too big to handle, too much stress, just too much... I would have to go Charter one for two weeks to decide before I ordered one, but my feeling is that it is just possibly too big.. Would carry it all gracefully, and spacious for company, but maybe just a little toooo big.. Size is holding me back.

c) Leopard 48 Now I must admit I was taken by this. It is the same layout as the Helia 44 Maestro Owners cabin Starboard hull as I have, only ballroom spacious.. From my Engineering study over two years I think it is a Blue Water boat, hull core samples and all.. so no worries there. It has two major attractions besides size:
1) The boats electrical is very well organized in one place behind a smoked glass door with another door to access the back side. It is all very well done. In the French boats, it is a little like French society and higgely piggely all over the place. Like resetting fuse modules in main deck plus both hulls, 240 CBs in SB Engine Room, 12v switching in port cabin steps below nav station, and so on.. I takes a learning curve to get to know it all, let alone learn to trouble shoot it. I am there now, and it is workable, but the central organization of all 12v and 240 volt CB and switching in one place in attractive to me in trouble shooting... Not necessary, just an attractive feature OK, and not even the main feature which is below.
2) The biggest thing, did not appeal to me a year ago, and now does. It is really the Helia 44 Maestro layout on steroids, but there is a huge variation in that it has an armoured double glass submarine style door going forward to a small front cockpit to seat 6-8. This is lovely in certain conditions, and the huge grated scuppers would drain any boarding seas in seconds. The big advantage is with the door open you funnel in a breeze as the bridge deck sides shelter the cockpit on each side, and roof overhead, means catching and funneling in a breeze to cool the main bridge deck and aft cockpit in the tropical weather I travel in. It would be a HUGE advantage in any breeze where the boat sits at anchor facing the breeze. Natural air conditioning so to speak... It is also an large expanded socializing area with weather advantages, sun, and so on you get the idea. There are 10 in Australia, and one is coming to the Sydney for the International Boat Show end of July..

So, I welcome your comments... My feeling is 50/50 whether I upgrade or not. The Leopard is still daunting in size, but I feel it is manageable...
I welcome your experienced opinions that my Helia 44 should probably be enough in size, particularly as I get older. I also welcome your opinion on the others, the Leopard is just the leading possibility right now.. I am in my mid 60's and my only reservation is handling the size in adverse conditions, and will have trouble in my 70's.. The main boom on the Leopard 48 is higher than the Helia, and more reliant on Lazy Jacks and sail bag to drop the main into.. However, I love those features said avove, and can afford it, so.......

I welcome your comments. Too big? Stop and appreciate the Helia 44 luxury? I am lucky and Blessed to be this far along? It is just that I can go further, but wisdom is making me analyse it as possible childish. I know what the little kid inside of me would do.. Heh he Leopard 48.. You are welcome to tell me to shut up and be grateful for the Helia, that is true...

And here is a Wisdom Tip for you: Life's regrets are NOT about the things you do that don't work out. That is just Life's learning curve of experience and memories.. Life's real regrets are the things you THOUGHT you should have tried and didn't...

Helia 44 AVALON
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Old 30-05-2016, 19:56   #2
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

HELIA 44... say 2 Our Fathers and 2 Hail Marys
keep the 44 and be at peace brother

Bob
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Old 30-05-2016, 20:54   #3
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Steve

I have looked at many performance boats for 2 years now looking to replace the Helia with the same comfort. The only boat I have found is the Outremer 51 and that is half the price again and 2 years wait.

I do not believe the L48 would be an improvement.
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Old 30-05-2016, 21:03   #4
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

It sounds to me like you are happy with the helia 44, but a little bored too. This isn't like a marriage, keep the helia, but go have a fling with a leopard for a few weeks. Then decide which makes you happier.
What's the point of having money if you don't use it to enjoy yourself.
Whoever dies with the most money...... Is still dead!
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Old 30-05-2016, 21:52   #5
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Thank you all for your comments so far, here is my response to your points:

REsCat,
Thank you, and while not Catholic I do feel Blessed and am grateful for where I am... I was poor as a kid, didn't like it nearly as much as now. I am grateful for where I am...

cwjohm,
I do definitely not need more performance than the Helia 44. The Outremer would scare me, heh he, and probably a step down in comfort... The Outremer is shown flying a hull, that is not me, and I am not going to Phuket type places competing and outrunning pirates.. heh he.. It is all about spaciousness and luxury for me. If the wind is not in my favour or a nice sail I stay at anchor or in port. If in light air, I am happy to use the iron jibs. I only have 750 hours on each Volvo in three years, on engines with my care will go 8000-10,000 hours. I hope to live so long as to wear them out.. heh he .. On sail and motoring, from dawn to a couple hours after dark, I can do the 90-95 NM quite comfortably... I have also pushed it 12 knots to windward under sail alone, and won the joint Mooloolaba two Clubs race last year. There is nothing wrong with the performance of the Helia 44 for my Lifestyle.

Agree the Leopard will not be an improvement in performance, only in spaciousness and three tons or better of displacement capacity larger. Like it's own floating country.. I do have one concern in that the Yamaha 56 hp motors are not big enough IMO, might be a 6 knot boat on one engine. But the layout, with the big submarine style door with three dog downs, opens it right up facing a breeze as to negate some of the need for air conditioning in the tropics. You have to see it to understand the advantage: Also a huge expanse to the living area...

chris mac, Your remark is very true... My Business is doing well and now with 6 Office Staff and two of my Children running it, is secure after 20 years in Business... I can have a hand as Management and Consultant from remote locations, manage the Business Forum and Email... That is exactly what is motivating me, is I was poor as a child, and have been too conservative for too long. Your point is a prime motivator, not that there is ANYTHING wrong with the Helia 44 I just wonder if I am short changing myself and could do more... For instance on the latest improvement to the Helia 44 Topic, I am thinking of upgrading my Lofrans Caiman anchor windlass to 50% more powerful with the Lofrans Tigress. On the Leopard, I would just put the Caiman in the bilge somewhere shrink wrapped in case I needed it... With the Helia it goes in the garage at home..

Chris, I am not a pig, I do my fair share of "Good Works"... But there is also the element of being conscious of running out of time, and that Wisdom Tip I gave above in the OP.. I am looking for help deciding with your other viewpoints...

It is still the functional bit that it would just have the larger capability to carry my level of self sufficiency and luxury better, and have that superior layout size and ventilation. Don't get me wrong, I am not arguing and want to hear others viewpoints, I am in serious doubt myself. However, if in the next eight weeks we decide in favour it means we would for sure go to the Sydney Show to see the Leopard 48 in person... Again, and again and again... And if we decide, then Order and put the Helia 44 up for sale.
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Old 31-05-2016, 00:52   #6
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

I like the new Leopards with the front doors.....esp the Leopard 48. However, I'm a bit concerned about the sea worthiness of the new design.

Good news is, I haven't read or heard about any incidents so far, so maybe the front door is no big deal. Sure would be great having a breeze blow thru the boat while at anchor.
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Old 31-05-2016, 07:27   #7
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

worth a look Hemisphere: The World’s Largest Sailing Catamaran :: Home
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Old 31-05-2016, 07:57   #8
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Helia44,

why don't you get that Leopard 48 that you like so much and put an in mast furling main?
Yes, you might loose a little performance, but I gather that is not one of your driving concerns.
That way you'll easily handle her single handed and you have all that space and luxury you want and obviously deserve.
If you wanted a better performing cat, then go for a Salina, but no forward opening door...
You could still put a in-mast furling main, electric winches. Extra forward facing opening hatches etc etc...
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Old 31-05-2016, 08:01   #9
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Some other points to note....... The Leopard 44 (actually a 42 ft boat) is no longer in production and is being replaced by a Leopard 45 (a true 45 foot boat) this year ..... I believe it will debut in Annapolis in Sept this year. But this is where it gets interesting (for me !!)
This new boat will have some really neat tech ..... like the new wiring loom on the Leopard 43 power cat, which save nearly 600kg in weight!! but more importantly should improve the reliability of the whole wiring system (which you alluded to that you like on the Leopard 48 as opposed to some of the French boats.)
This is clearly speculation at this stage (no kidding ) but it should sail much better than the 44 (which is now over 5 years old in design and the oldest Leopard sailing Cat) I also believe the L 48 sails better than the Helia 44 (IMHO)
I also REALLY like the forward cockpit on the Leopards and the one on the 48 is great. You can charter a Leopard 48 in the Seychelles if you want to escape the Aussie winter!
Only you can answer the question of whether to buy another boat .... I definitely would! ....... nothing like new toys!
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Old 31-05-2016, 08:12   #10
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Helia44,

I am 59, and understand what you mean by running out of time. Not just, Oh I may kick the bucket any time now, but there is only so much time before our bodies are just too dang old for the rigors of the sea.

My parents are in their upper 80's, so I believe I have a good 30+ years left. But for sailing? 10-12 years or so? Power boat, add another 5 years.

If money is no object, go with what will fulfill your desire and comfort.

One caveat, you will have to change your user name!
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Old 31-05-2016, 08:16   #11
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

If by 'practical' you mean will it increase the resale value, a quick answer is almost never. If you mean will you be happy with the results, it all depends on the upgrade specifics. The bigger the change the greater the possibility of unintended consequences. It seems to me that you are really more interested in trading up and there is nothing wrong with that. If that is what you want and you can afford it, go for it!
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Old 31-05-2016, 14:05   #12
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

You already have a nice boat, enough money to burn but as you say you are running short on time. So just do as you please.

if buying & outfitting a new boat is what makes you tick, so do it.

Otherwise just keep the Helia. Why spend another year or so buying and outfitting new boat? Lifestyle doesn't really change just because your boat is 4 ft longer (unless you have so many grandchildern that you run out of the space).
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Old 31-05-2016, 17:33   #13
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Wow, I am impressed at the response on a wide range, I really want to thank all of You. It is nice to have people you can talk to about such a wild idea. I would like to comment back on the ideas so far....

Saleen, you obviously do not have the door open beating to windward or with big seas, this is a dockside or at anchor app.. And there is no concern as the scuppers through the bridgedeck hull are huge with a grate over the top.. The door strength is huge, the least of my worries..

dlymn It is not about having the biggest, the SABA may be to big to single handle at my age... But Boom Furling main with battons could fix it..?

spiv Boom Furling is superior IMO to main furling, can have battens, and easier to retrofit a boom than a mast and the sail is a better shape, the preferred version is still a track on the mast.. I have studied this a bit if thinking of the upgrade.. I saw a Salina 46 in Sanctuary Cove Boat Works just last week, the model before the L-48. It would do, but the Leopard 48 is far superior not only for the front door bit, but also the generator location is very poor for the Salina. You need the larger front lockers to get it away from the main cockpit area. On the L-48, you also have huge engine rooms that scream for shelves to put in water makers and such..

Lambretta The L-44 is too small and chopped up, the front door does not work with it. I think the L-45 is going to be the same, definitely not more spacious than the Helia 44, which is about the tops.. And thank you for your opinion, but studying the rig I would NOT expect the L-48 to out-sail my Helia, unless you added a prodder and substantial sail area over the Factory. My Helia carries a huge reacher-drifter (screacher) that I can use as an old school 150 Genoa upwind to 20 knots apparent and have done 12 knots to windward.. Besides the comparable working jib inboard like the L-48.. I am most concerned, and the biggest hold back, is I am afraid the L-48 is under-powered. My Helia 44 has Volvo 55's and the much bigger boat has only Yamaha 56's .... THAT is my second biggest hold back as well as the high main boom..

Sheldon957 Right on, my sentiment, but have reservations on two functional concerns above.. However, I am a "Tinkerer" and this would be a huge adventure.

Dave22q Resale is not in the picture, of either vessel.. But thank you. By 'Practical' I was meaning handling the larger vessel in tight surrounds and seas and high winds, at my age... Hmmmm

Rabbi Longer is exponential in a Cat.. 4 feet longer, is massively bigger hulls, wider, bigger bridgedeck and luxurious cabins... Besides the main two advantages I stated.. Thank you for the comments, but sometimes you consider things "Just Because You Can".. I mean the larger vessel could accommodate friends and family more luxuriously beside the two huge advantages I pointed out.. But you are right on, it is exciting to me to outfit and customize improving a new yacht, but I wonder if I should just slow down. The little kid in me, same for my Wife, wants the L-48... But a voice of caution with wisdom of age is winning right now..

Friends: I would like to Thank You again for your thoughtful comments. It has helped me to speak out the ideas and analyze them, as well as your perspectives. Right now, I am 60/40 in favour of keeping the Helia. I am re-working the bow roller in 25mm thick teflon side chaffing for the chain to run over, renewing my chain and downsizing length, the Armagal was a disastrous experiment, the only failure so far. Other upgrades to come is a Lofrans Tigress, 50% better windlass, and 600 AH Lithium in 2-300 AH banks, about a 50% increase in efficiency and weight savings..

What concerns are currently holding me back from the L-48 is the following:
1) Having trouble coming to terms with the possibly undersized engines.. I mean my Helia 44 has the 55's and a SABA 50 has 75's and the L-48 is only 56's... That is a major stumbling block.. A 6 knot boat with one engine under power, would greatly restrict my motoring range and two engines running would be double the fuel and maintenance.. So far I cannot come to terms with this..
2) Also, the Helia 44 IS the best, and easiest to handle, and I can single handle it in all weather. It is a concern getting older with a larger boat. The main boom is daunting on the L-48.. I mean an internal furling main boom would almost be a necessity for me. It is all fine until things go wrong, but I will not digress into tales right now... It was just to expand into more luxury that was the driver, less need for air conditioning sitting at anchor in the tropics possibly. But I am concerned about the size, but thought the possibilities to branch out to other areas, was attractive. However, you cannot even see the port bow from the steering station, they talk about a camera and screen, I talk about only docking to starboard.. Hmmm...

The only other huge advantage with the bigger hulls, is with my travels it would be really greatly enhanced to have a center console hard bottom inflatable for a larger range and all weather.. Exploring by dinghy is big to me.. Maybe 20-30 hp, and spray screen.. Could be done with reinforcing the L-48 davits, no hope with the Helia. I am thinking I can really do without it. I would be nice, but...... You have to draw the line somewhere...

Right now I have swung back to thinking the Helia 44 is the tops for me. I am a bit back to 60/40 against. but further comments are well welcomed.. Kind regards, Helia 44 AVALON
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Old 31-05-2016, 23:44   #14
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helia 44 View Post
Rabbi Longer is exponential in a Cat.. 4 feet longer, is massively bigger hulls, wider, bigger bridgedeck and luxurious cabins... Besides the main two advantages I stated.. Thank you for the comments, but sometimes you consider things "Just Because You Can".. I mean the larger vessel could accommodate friends and family more luxuriously beside the two huge advantages I pointed out.. But you are right on, it is exciting to me to outfit and customize improving a new yacht, but I wonder if I should just slow down. The little kid in me, same for my Wife, wants the L-48... But a voice of caution with wisdom of age is winning right now..
The point I wanted to make was: If buying and outfitting is your source of fun, do it.
But if the lifestyle is what you desire, your Helia should be good enough.

A year spent outfitting is a year lost cruising. At age 60+ the odds are you are running out of time. Not necessarily lifetime but time in good health, good enough to handle a big boat. The bigger the boat, the less time you have.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:53   #15
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Re: Is an upgrade to my Helia 44 even practical?? Parameters for myself here for comm

Hello Helia 44,

I'll repeat something you already know; you're going to have to give some things up as you age. At some point even the Helia will be too big. So What. Do what you want within your current abilities. You'll know when the time comes to back off. So....

You've got some resources. You like the Leopard? Go charter one or go to the factory and check it out in person. That should satisfy your itch. If it fits you, you've got a winner. If not at least you've answered the question.

Your taste in boats is quite different than mine, and I have no stake in the outcome, but from my perspective, 60 is a bit young to start pulling back.

Cheers,
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