Just returned from a week long trip to the BVI, on a Leopard
44 (Sunsail 444).
First impressions (our previous time sailing here was in March):
It was freaking HOT down there! Damn!
And there wasn't a ton of wind
either... which made for EXTREMELY gentle nights on the hook, but "patient" sailing. I think we'd have been pretty miserable without the genset and A/C. We tried one night, and it was "sweaty" sleeping... there just wasn't enough wind
to move air through the vessel
And of course, there were a lot of places "closed for the summer". but if "night life" isn't really your thing (isn't ours), then it makes very nice open anchorages
, where you have the pick of your places
Best sailing was to/from Anegada
(Wife and Daughter were entertained by dolphins
swimming along side the boat for a while). Winds about 12 knots, with gusts to 16 or so. this was our first time sailing a Cat... I obviously have a lot more to learn about tuning sails
, as I was never able to consistenly stay above 8 knots.
Best "event" was the Full Moon Party at Trellis Bay. Moorings was having a Regatta
for Airline Employees, and this was one of the "after race" events
ball had multiple boats rafted up (we didn't even know anyone, and ended up with another 444 rafter up with us... it was good fun!)
The party was just a great time: Good food
, entertainment, and music
The boat itself...
We are owners down there, so this "upgrade" cost us $600. That was to move from a 40' mono to a 44' cat with genset and A/C. Was probably the best $600 I've ever spent.
My wife described the size of this boat perfectly: There were times when we had to SEARCH for our 15 year old daughter on that boat. Just a crazy amount of room (there were only 4 of us). And tons of little "nooks" that a person can comfortable squeeze into. Add in Earbuds and an iphone
, and you'll understand why there were times we had to "search" for the daughter :-)
The front cockpit
was definitly used during sailing... was just great for that.
We brought a hammock with us to stretch between the davit supports for the dingy.. THAT worked out perfectly.
I'm just short of 50 yrs old, and have to say, an air mattress is now a "must" for our future. Not sure why the boat manufactures insist on cabin
mattresses that feel like a slab of granite, but "uncomfortable" was an understatement.
We actually ate on the boat almost every meal. TONs of room for multiple of us prepping and cooking
. Once again - genset - blender... THAT worked out for both smoothies in the AM, and cocktails in the PM
Just my $.02 worth. Overall, was a great trip (albeit very hot), and what we consider a pretty fantastic boat. I can't personally AFFORD one, but my wife and daughter are being pretty insistent that we'll have to go from a Mono to a Cat... probably something like the 384 (same boat, sans a pair of heads, and the front cockpit).
This is our first year owning through Sunsal. So far, it has been a perfect solution for us - learning
what we do/do not like in a boat, and doing it in a manner where it isn't costing us much.