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Old 07-02-2009, 12:13   #61
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Hi Buddy,

Cats are mostly made from materials with positive buoyancy (plywood, sandwich). What can bring the cat down is the amount of heavy materials such as monolithic bottom, RTM roof, thick gel coat, heavy equipment and payload etc.

A performance light cat such as a Freydis, Spirited or Fusion will stay afloat whatever the amount of damage, as the total displacement is smaller than the volume of build materials. When adding the watertight compartments they generally have far more buoyancy than required by ISO standard (200% for the Spirited), and will float high if filled with water or capsized.
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:13   #62
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Hi Buddy,

Your comments about me are too kind! But, you are absolutely right that there is also always a local back channel of news in this industry and these places. When I was Marina manager in Cabo San Lucas, about one tourist per year was chewed up in the Bay by a panga's outboard, but it never made the News. I used to say that Cabo was very good at burying its mistakes, figuratively and literally. And, oh yeah, some of those corpses and the injured were brought ashore in our marina.

So it does not surprise me to hear that a quasi-official group like MOG would be spared any details of such an incident (and perhaps regarding those "at least 30 days of maintenance", that their boats get, as well). Besides, both the Leopard and the Beneteau were raised, as are most of the damaged/sunk boats from charter fleets, so it would, I suppose, be technically accurate to say that NIETHER sunk! How long does a boat have to be on the bottom to be "sunk", before it becomes "un-sunk"?

I remember when I first got to the BVI, I got into a conversation with an ex-pat who was looking to get a boat that year. When I asked him what type he was looking for, he said he was just waiting to see "what washed up". I thought he was just using another way of saying "what turned up" that year. Only later did I realize that the Caribbean is full of boats that are salvaged from the ravages of hurricanes, bareboaters and others, and that lots of quite nice boats are on their second lives! That may include the Leopard and the Beneteau.

On a happier note, let me tell you about the Leopard that did NOT sink. It was a fairly new 47 that got run down by the ferry of a very swank resort that shall go nameless, and which is notorious for not changing course for ANYTHING! It took out the whole starboard engine compartment and even destroyed part of the arch. But those "water tight compartments" that I guessed the manufacturers and the EC were referring to worked perfectly. The boat never sank, although it was quite a sight in the boatyard at Nanny Cay, where it lay for many months. Eventually, R&C made a replacement for that whole part of the boat, and it was grafted onto to where the wrecked part had been. I believe the owner was able to sell the boat for a nice price, too, another advantage of "unsinkability"! Now that is something for your monohuller friends....even if a monohull had survived that crash, it would not have had the second engine to get home on. Hah!

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 07-02-2009, 12:18   #63
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With no technical knowledge I imagine a fully loaded (generator, dive compressor, tanks, etc) boat will sink but in the last couple of years if I remember correctly there were two reports of cats whilst being delivered capsized and floated. I believe one was in the Atlantic a lagoon 38 were 2 of the crew were lifted off the upturned hull, one crew member was lost. The other in the Pacific, a Voyage 44, all crew lost boat washed up on a beach upside down. This would indicate that lightly loaded capsized cats with no major structural damage will float.
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Old 08-02-2009, 02:42   #64
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Hi Cameron,

Whatever their weight, all recent catamarans designed to CE, if kept within their recommended maximum displacement, will stay afloat if undamaged, as at least 120% buoyancy will be provided with the help of watertight compartments. The difference between various designs will be the amount of compartments needed : a 17 tons Lagoon 420 will need much more compartments than a 10 tons Lagoon 410 or a 8 tons FP Lavezzi 40...

What would be interesting to compare, is the amount of buoyancy really provided above the mandatory 120%, to know how high above water the cat would stay afloat if filled or inverted, and what amount of dry space would be kept in the inverted hulls, to be able to look for survival equipment.

In the case of the Lagoon you mention, capsized near Bermuda in February 2007, the 3 crew members have been washed to sea several times from the inverted hull by the waves during the nine hours wait for rescue. Eventually the experienced skipper -who was the only one not to have his survival suit as he had to stay at the helm full time during the storm- did not manage to climb back due to hypothermia and disappeared minutes before rescue helicopter arrived. This also emphasizes the importance of straps below the bridgedeck and survival suits, items frequently missing on cruising cats.
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:11   #65
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After all has been said I still think that the Lagoon 380 is a far superior boat in nearly every way to the Leopard 3800.

Better use of available room, better built, engines outside the cabins, safe cockpit, vastly superior bridge deck clearance, the only drawback of the basic 380 is that it may be a tad slower, but you put on a decent flat top main, nice gennaker and there won't be any difference she will probably be faster.
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Old 08-02-2009, 16:01   #66
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Tim . . . Hoo Wee! Man, we hauled out and did our annuals at Nanny Cay and saw some AMAZINGLY damaged charter boats . . . but I bet that 47 was a sight to behold indeed.

Those guys at Nanny are experts at fixing major damage.

Anyway, thanks for all the posts from everybody on the unsinkable issue. . . it has been very interesting and illuminating.

All the best and may all our futures be buoyant . . .

Buddy
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Old 08-02-2009, 16:08   #67
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Tim . . . Hoo Wee! Man, we hauled out and did our annuals at Nanny Cay and saw some AMAZINGLY damaged charter boats . . . but I bet that 47 was a sight to behold indeed.

Those guys at Nanny are experts at fixing major damage.

Anyway, thanks for all the posts from everybody on the unsinkable issue. . . it has been very interesting and illuminating.

All the best and may all our futures be buoyant . . .

Buddy
Is there a lot of damage to a lot of charter boats?
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Old 08-02-2009, 19:56   #68
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Do all of those Leopard 38 charter boats have engine driven fridge units?
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Old 08-02-2009, 20:18   #69
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Is there a lot of damage to a lot of charter boats?
You're are kidding, right?! . . . .
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Old 08-02-2009, 20:45   #70
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You're are kidding, right?! . . . .
I guess I was surprised by; AMAZINGLY damaged charter boats .

Another negative for looking at ex-charter boats for less.

I guess I take better care of other peoples stuff.

Any idea how many holes etc. this one has had?

LAGOON 38' SABASTIAN Used Catamaran For Sale
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Old 09-02-2009, 19:29   #71
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Hey, don't know anything about that 380 other than it has the Sunsail red jib cover and no sailbag and no canvas on the bimini (from what I can see).

Who knows what has or has not happened to a charter boat.

In Nanny Cay, I saw the fiberglass guys work their magic on a BIG Virgin Traders trawler/power boat. It's bottom was ripped so bad, over such a huge area, that it still defies all logic that it did not sink before it could be hauled.

Charter boats take a beating and you hear the stories about those "maintenance programs" not exactly living up to the intial promises.

It's a tough business!
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Old 10-02-2009, 18:03   #72
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Hey, don't know anything about that 380 other than it has the Sunsail red jib cover and no sailbag and no canvas on the bimini (from what I can see).

Who knows what has or has not happened to a charter boat.

In Nanny Cay, I saw the fiberglass guys work their magic on a BIG Virgin Traders trawler/power boat. It's bottom was ripped so bad, over such a huge area, that it still defies all logic that it did not sink before it could be hauled.

Charter boats take a beating and you hear the stories about those "maintenance programs" not exactly living up to the intial promises.

It's a tough business!
Oh man oh man!

See you on Wed evening or Thurs/Fri I hope.
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Old 12-02-2009, 19:28   #73
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Okay . . . . . .

Back to the twilight zone on this one!

"Therapy" (Jeff) and I visited the Leopard booth at the Miami Boat Show today and we spoke to a gentleman who already knew about this thread and he assured us in no uncertain, aggressive, rapid-fire terms that, allegedly:

'The Leopard 3800 did not sink; it was t-boned by a 4700 doing 8 knots; one hull of the 3800 sank one hull floated; the 3800 was salvaged and sent to Trinidad to be rebuilt; any other production catamaran would have been a total loss but only a Leopard could have been rebuildable after such severe damage; Leopards have more offshore miles than any other cats; Leopards make up the biggest charter fleet in the world and get hammered and take it; and there is never a better time to buy one than RIGHT NOW!

When asked if the word "unsinkable" appeared anywhere in writing in Leopard's literature, the answer was: "any catamaran can sink; but, our boats are CE certified or else we could not sell them in Europe."

The word "unsinkable" apparently does not appear in Leopard's literature.

So, it left us scratching our heads a little.

Did a sinkable Leopard 3800 get lucky and not sink? Did an unsinkable Leopard not sink? Did an unsinkable Leopard sink? Or did a sinkable Leopard in fact sink?

Hey, TIM! What's the story from your end? Can you fill us in on more facts about your knowledge of an actual sinking of the 3800? Where, how deep was the water? Anybody got pics? Any sources of first-hand info?

I still feel we have not gotten to the BOTTOM (pun intended) on this issue.

I think we would all like to know for sure.

In the meantime, as far as general information is concerned , the Lagoon 380 is approaching hull number 600 and is still a solid performer in the Lagoon line while at the same time the Leopard 3800 is being discontinued according to the gentleman we talked to today.

In the end, ANY of the leading production cats will serve you well and it comes down to a matter of taste in terms of design features and layouts that suit your fancy.

Therapy . . . did I miss anything or misinterpret anything at the show? Chime in if you think I missed something. . . . Also, it was a pleasure meeting you guys today!

All the best,

Buddy
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Old 12-02-2009, 22:11   #74
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Hi Buddy, here is my end. A good friend who is a surveyor working at Nanny Cay, in the course of a conversation with me, mentioned the sinking of the 3800, of which he had personal knowledge. This particular fellow is extremely capable, and extremely well placed to know the facts, and may well have been involved in some of the assessments. I did not ask. He is NOT a gossip, by any means. I was quite surprised at his comment and asked for details and he said that the boat was T-boned and that the one hull filled, which caused it to go down sideways and flood. He did not seem surprised at the sequence of events, but that is only my take. He did say that the boat sank. I thought no more of it until this thread, at which time I went to a friend in Moorings maintenance. A number of these guys are good friends and are very well aware of what has happened to various boats and what hasn't and what was the outcome, due to their positions. That is how I was familiar with the Beneteau that got knocked down in a squall with its cabin ports open and sank...the one mentioned elsewhere in the thread. I told this person that there was some controversy and asked if he knew, for a fact, that a 3800 had sunk. He said yes, absolutely. I asked if it was really sunk, as on the bottom, and he said yes. When I asked him if it had been raised, he said yes, just like the Beneteau and a few others of which I have direct or indirect knowledge. Neither of these guys is a joker, by any means so while I did not see the boat, nor photos of the boat, I take it as fact. As we have both said, there are many back channels in this or any other industry. If I have the chance to run this down a bit more, I will try to do so. But I absolutely believe that we have a Leopard that sank, and was "unsunk".

Having said all of this, I should add that I am, as you know, as avid a Leopard fan as you are a Lagoon fan. I think the boats are built extremely well, and are enormously strong as well as good sailors. Or, at least I believe this to be true of the Simonis boats, with which I am very familiar. I am a bit less enthused about the Morelli ones, but time will tell. And, as a 45 owner, I admit to being biased! Whether Leopards have more offshore miles than any other brand, I do not know, but they have certainly done a lot. There have been a lot of Privileges, Lagoons, Prouts and F/Ps out there doing lots of cruising, as well, but I don't think any are stronger than the Leopards, and I am not sure that any are even as strong. As you know, I have some personal experience with this!

I also think that most of these boats depend, do a great extent, on many things for their buoyancy....the more so the heavier they are loaded....and I doubt that any will sink easily. Again, as you know, I have some experience with this. But I am always suspicious of claims that something can NEVER happen, particularly when they are made by someone who cannot be unbiased. I remember an edition of Nightline, where the retired chief designer of Douglas Aircraft stated that the hydraulic systems of the DC-10 were completely separate and redundant and that a complete failure was impossible. This was in an interview the night after that DC10 seemingly lost its hydraulics but was more or less successfully crash landed in Iowa by its pilots, using assymetric thrust to control it. During the interview he pointed at the systems drawings which did, indeed, show the hydraulic lines to be widely separated EXCEPT at the base of the vertical stabilizer where all three had to pass through the same small space. And ultimately, it was determined that a thrown turbine blade had, indeed, passed right through this space and severed the hydraulic line. NEVER is a strong statement, in aircraft and boats, advertising and probably people, for that matter. So, I think that Leopards are very safe, as safe as any boats. And their CE certification makes me think that they are every bit as unsinkable as the Lagoons (whose keels are integral to their hulls and can be and have been breached). Why the marketing departments differ in their claims of unsinkability, I do not know, but I think if you re-read that Lagoon statement, with that powerful legal mind of yours, you will see that it actually says that the unsinkability depends upon the several separate watertight compartments and is augmented by the light weight of the laminate, rather than the reverse. R&C may think that claim is just not worth making, or they may be afraid of it leaving them open to some sort of litigation or whatever. Imagine a Leopard that has been poorly maintained and whose core has become totally saturated, by no fault of R&C. I would imagine its "unsinkability" might have been compromised and if it went down, the legal beagles would be all over it! But I doubt the Leopards are any more prone to sinking than the other brands I have listed.

I do carry a liferaft, as you do, to increase the odds in our favor and because I believe that the greatest danger is not sinking but fire. Oh, by the way, a couple of Moorings powercats have burned to the waterline out here and gone to the bottom (does that count as a sinking?), if that stirs the embers of any more controversy.....and I DID see one of those burn, more or less between the Dogs and Mosquito Island. The smoke was so black and prolific that, in fact, anyone could have seen it for ten miles, I am sure. I will end on that pleasant note.

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 13-02-2009, 07:32   #75
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Tim,

Thanks for the great response (as usual).

I can't imagine that all the insiders standing on the ground in the BVI are "all wet" on this one.

Who do I believe knows the truth? . . . hmmm.... let's see, gee . . . a Leopard boat salesman, or all the locals on the Moorings scene in the BVI?

Well, my pitiful . . . ahem . . . (I mean my poweful legal mind as you put it ) seems to hands-down believe the 3800 sank to the bottom and was un-sunk.

And I absolutely picked up on the bright neon sign that is Lagoon's statement of watertight being augmented by other materials.

And, what first year law student would not be all over the liablity of the term "unsinkable" being written down no matter how attenuated by context or additional so-called defining language. It's a cross-examination wet dream.

That fact alone tended to support the "still floating in pieces" mantra that cat owners have always been proud to offer up to monohullers.

But, after being around so many cats for years now, it just seems like BS. Knowing all I know, the "break up and float" claim would be a magic trick for a loaded down cruising cat. I just don't buy it.

One of the first things appearing in the Lagoon manual is: CLOSE all hatches before getting underway.

Anyway, as usual, Tim, we are on EXACTLY the same page.

Yesterday Jeff (Therapy) and I were standing by a big new Leopard and I explained to Jeff that it is my steadfast opinion that within the established "big dog" production cat manufacturers he should not let the "sales pitch" of brokers or owners sway him at all. For example, take the "more ocean miles than any other catamaran" that is obviously a darling in the Moorings sales pitch. The guy we talked to at the Leopard booth kept saying that to the point I suspected I was being subliminally impacted.

I have a question on that claim: are the Moorings salesmen counting all the miles covered by charters motoring around 365 days a year in the "BIG OCEAN" called Sir Frances Drake Channel in the BVI?

More ocean miles. Well, so what anyway? Hundreds of cats of all brands have been delivered without incident across the pond on their own bottom (as was my 380 and hundreds just like her).

Don't get me wrong, the accomplishments of Leopard cats are certainly impressive and worthy of all due respect and praise.

But, at the same time it seems that the flood of sales information/propaganda from all the manufacturers has new buyers stunned and overwhelmed and feeling like they can't get a handle on what is even true, much less actually relevant.

Ask me and I say let your heart pick the boat from amongst reputable, well-established manufacturers and forget all the puffery.

You know what I mean, I am sure, Tim. You walk on scores of boats and then you finally sit down in the salon of one and you know it is the boat for you.

Just look at Manta Cats and their owners. They LOVE those boats and are loyal to the core.

Ask me and I say it is FAR superior to wind up on the boat YOU DO love instead of winding up with a boat that somebody has convinced you that you SHOULD love.

Anyway, I have not been able to differentiate the production cats into vastly different categories in terms of being "good" or "bad". What they are is very different in design, styling cues, and layouts.

And that is more about personal taste.

All that said, on the burning and sinking of Leopards, a Moorings 40 got hit by lightning in the Abacos and burned and sunk. Here are the pics:



They do make a lot of black smoke! And obviously the pieces that did not burn, sunk.

Hey, ANY of these things can happen to any cat any time. That is why insurance, life raft, EPIRB(s), ditch bag, and a full compliment of safety equipment and emergency drills are a good idea!

On another note, lest we forget: the GREATEST threat at sea is not the seaworthiness or unsinkability of "ocean rated" sailing vessels like Leopards and Lagoons . . . rather, it is the threat of falling overboard and getting separated from the boat.

Finally, it is paramount to point out that what "did" or "did not" happen to that 3800 Leopard had NOTHING to do with its seaworthiness. I don't care what brand of cat you have, if you plant a 4700 Leopard (battleship!) into the beam of it at 8 knots, it will not be pretty!

Anyway, thanks so much, Tim, for steeping up to the plate and helping us out on this thread.

Hope things are going your way,

Buddy
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