Okay, further comments on the Chamberlin 44.
First though, it always puzzles me why people think there is a 'right answer' to what type of boat. It is such an individual thing, and every boat is a massive compromise. I find it hard to understand the passion... merging into vitriol that some bring to this discussion.
We'd been sailing trimarans (28' F850 and Trailer Tri) and thought of a cruising trimaran
as our first option when considering cruising boats. I still have a passion for tri's and think that Farriers are just the bee's knee's for a coastal cruiser, fast day boat. We looked at a fantastic 40' trimaran
, but when my wife saw a friends Hitch-hiker, she said 'You're not having a trimaran, I want the space of a cat'.
We were coastal sailors at this point, having cruised the Whitsundays and the coast off NSW. We had very limited experience of long-term live-aboard. We bought the Chamberlain for its room. It was incredibly spacious, with 3 queen size berth's in separate cabins, a fourth cabin
with twin bunks, a huge galley
with 2 fridges, washing
machine, etc etc. We were seduced by the space, as are a lot of cat owners. If you want a condomaran, I can think of nothing that gives you the amount of living space that a cat does.
Some lessons are more expensive than others, as was our experience with this cat. It was homebuilt strip cedar and glassed. There was some rot
in the cedar (not the primary hull
, but internal tanks
and some deck fittings). The engines were difficult to access, the rig was large and difficult to manage, and she was just a big boat with big windage and a handful to dock
with my experience at that time.
We sold that boat just after the financial crash, and lost
a motza. But we learnt a lot of valuable lessons. One is just how much cash and continual maintenance
that a boat takes. We learned that we wanted a simple and smaller boat, with an easily handled rig. My wife and I are in our late 50's and getting older by the minute, and we have to plan for that. We also realised that Australia
is not the best place to start a cruise
, and we decided to buy our boat in the Mediterranean
We choose a very classic boat, a Bowman 40. This boat, designed by Chuck Paine, arguably represents a pinnacle in British boat building. I gain a lot of pleasure from looking after a classic boat, that sails
superbly and is built incredibly strong. There are so many intangible factors to boat ownership
that are ignored by lots of these facile arguments about whether cats are better than mono's. When you spend so much time maintaining a boat, you've just got to love it. The Bowman gives me that feeling, unlike any other production boat.
Now, after 2 years in the Med, we have a much better idea about living full-time on a boat. I still believe that small is beautiful, as we struggle with the ever increasing marina fee's. We've learned to be much more independent, with a new generator
and solar panels
, grey water tanks
etc etc. We've also learned that being able to tuck into tiny anchorages
and being secure on the hook are critical in being able to avoid excessive marina charges. We've hauled out in primitive boat yards (because of the expense in marina's) with primitive lifting gear
. Our boat has suited us well for that purpose and I don't lust after a cat (and I have experience on well built cats). I do lust after a pilot house, and perhaps more storage
room, but aren't willing to pay the downside for those things.
I vote for 'Each to his own' and 'Viva la difference'.