If you are interested, I have a site that provides my assessment of our Tobago, and descriptions of some of our modifications:
We store Cat Tales on her keels on the off-seasons. We typically use jack-stands at the bow and under a mini-bulkhead at the stern. We tighten these up to try to take some of the load off the keels. The floor sections over the keels often fit poorly while on the hard
, but normalcy returns upon launching. I would not chock the rudders, but let them hang freely.
We have soft areas under the flooring
in the salon
, but attribute them to voids where the different molded pieces meet. Specifically, there seems to be some near the top of the stairs. Even if this is not what you're experiencing, it still may not be a problem. Fibreglass is meant to flex a bit while still being able to manage the load.
We removed the foam mattresses from forward of the main bulkhead, over top of the boxed-in foam blocks. Like you, we cannot imagine 8 people aboard. We also put in some removable shelves, tilted forward, at the bows. We store a lot of tools and spares up there, attempting to counter-balance some of the weight at the stern: solar panels
gen, larger batteries. Other storage is with the use of large plastic bins for specific purposes, placed as appropriate for balance and access.
We no longer store spare propane
in the anchor locker
. I keep our main tank, a horizontal aluminum
, 11-pounder, in a vented propane
box under the seat in the cockpit
. I have purchased a little brass fitting that converts the standard propane connection to one that allows the connection of 1-pound tanks
, and keep a few in the same shallow box under the seat. Works great!
I am unaware of any problems with steering. I feel I should get some knowledge about the particular system. It appears hydraulic, and the automatic steering is Autohelm
6000 - works great, and I'll probably get my education when it all finally wears out. I hope to learn more as you and Nordic
Cat continue to discuss the issue.
I continue to consider a bowsprit
and forward sail. Phil Berman, our 2002 broker, told us he considered the Tobago to be light in sail forward. I am not so sure it is needed, and now that I intend to hang out in the Caribbean
for a while (where the wind
seldom is low), I may go without it for quite a while. I can't imagine a stay-sail, as the mast
spreader would be in the way, or the sail would have to be terribly small.
We recommend you buy new sails
from somebody as close to you as practical who has a good reputation. If the sails require modifications after you first bend them on, you do not want to send them back to China
(you are not in China
Contact Fountaine Pajot
if you need to source anything. They have been very nice to us. As for those buttons, try a teflon spray before you give up on them.