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Old 21-07-2013, 02:17   #1
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3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

Hi, all,

We have plans to depart in a few years on a 2-year Caribbean island-hopping adventure. Right now, I am planning toward a Catalina 42 outfit as such:
3-cabin, pullman berth, wing keel, and hopefully slab reefing (not furling mast)

We plan to add a small diesel genset, watermaker, and probably a single large solar panel to help maintain the batteries and extend time between charging.

We'll get a good survey, to include standing rigging and diesel when we purchase. I think other mods will include expanding diesel tankage and adding more grabrails below. Some robust ground tackle is also a must.

I am not afraid of some work on refitting, but don't want to spend a year prepping the boat. Budget is about 175,000, with another 40k available for refit.

My girls will be ages 12 and 8 when we set out. I think privacy and their own berth is important to their buy-in on our plans. However, I am curious about other boat manufacturers who may have designs that would suit our situation.

So any particular recommendations? Jeaneau, Beneteau, other manufacturers? A unique 2-cabin that provides separate bunks would be worth considering. I just don't know of any.

Thanks for any help.

Tankersteve
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Old 21-07-2013, 04:29   #2
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Re: 3-cabin options for family of 4

For Caribbean cruising I'd really recommend looking into the used charter boats for sale in places such as the BVI. Your money will go a long way and much of wear-and-tear on charter boats is cosmetic. They are usually fitted out with sufficient gear for Caribbean cruising - with some typical additions such as heavier ground tackle with more chain and perhaps a radar. Most of the ex-charter boats have a configuration with 3 or even 4 cabins and heads and that is what you are looking at. I sold my old Jeanneau 43DS to a family of 4 with a 12 year old girl and 8 year old boy and they cruised the Caribbean for over a year on it and were quite happy.
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Old 21-07-2013, 04:56   #3
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Re: 3-cabin options for family of 4

With your goal being the Caribbean, I would suggest you look at larger vessels than you otherwise would normally consider.., as a) the sea conditions favour larger vessels and b) you will largely be at anchor, not the dock..

a quick browse through yachtworld will give you something to hone in upon
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Old 22-07-2013, 00:12   #4
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

Zanshi, thanks, I will keep an eye on those boats. My concern is the tendency toward packing cabins in. A 4-cabin boat in 44 feet means you have really smal cabins. I really like what Catalina did with the pullman berth as the master, with the forward head and separate shower.

I do need to clarify - I am looking for a 3-cabin (3 sleeping cabin) model, which does not include the saloon.

Mystic, perhaps you could clarify for me - how big a boat do you think a family should have in the Caribbean? I understand the nature of the Horny Path and yes, a bigger boat will probably be more comfortable (and faster, and have more storage), but it also costs more to buy and maintain, and could feel overwhelming to my crew. Do you have any specific models or size ranges in mind? The only other boats besides the Benes and Juneaus that I have seen with a decent 3-cabin setup in my price range and around 42-44 feet are some nice Moodys.

Anybody else with some thoughts on models that make sense?

Tankersteve
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Old 22-07-2013, 12:41   #5
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

size:
a) Sailing conditions in the Caribbean are 5-6ft seas and 15-20kts are predominant and 6-8ft seas with 20-25kts are more than common enough.. so my thoughts were to scale the boat to conditions such as those.
b) Liveaboard requires a lot of room for stuff, so bigger is better.

cost:
a) day to day expenses are marginally cheaper on a smaller boat..0.75gph vs 1gph in diesel, and one less gallon of bottom paint..other than that its a wash.
b) sails, rigging & canvas would be sizeably more expensive..IF you need to purchase these.
c) equipment like fridge, electronics etc is same price regardless of LOA.

I would agree with Zansin to purchase "already there".. this eliminates any passagemaking or thorny path at the start of the cruise when the boats is still largely unknown, and puts you in decent spots to both live and fix-aboard.

Personally, I think in your price range I would be looking at something like a Beneteau 473, or a Bavaria 46 or similar....and there are plenty off charter in the $150k range, already located in the Caribbean.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tankersteve View Post
Mystic, perhaps you could clarify for me - how big a boat do you think a family should have in the Caribbean? I understand the nature of the Horny Path and yes, a bigger boat will probably be more comfortable (and faster, and have more storage), but it also costs more to buy and maintain, and could feel overwhelming to my crew. Do you have any specific models or size ranges in mind? The only other boats besides the Benes and Juneaus that I have seen with a decent 3-cabin setup in my price range and around 42-44 feet are some nice Moodys.

Anybody else with some thoughts on models that make sense?

Tankersteve
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Old 22-07-2013, 13:07   #6
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

I think you are right on track with the 42-44 Cat or similar Bene or Jeanneau. They are super comfortable down below and in the cockpit. The Carribean is mostly daysailing in the lee of islands with a few overnighters. Sure you can hit some steady 25 knot winds and might get 40 in the gaps between islands, but the duration is usually minimal there. The seas are not bad at all. a 50 footer is a lot more to handle than a 42, so unless you think you need 50 ft to be comfortable in 6 ft seas, smaller is easier.
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Old 23-07-2013, 00:46   #7
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

Well, I was cruising Yachtworld and saw several interesting boats. Since I was looking for layouts, I didn't restrict the location. Saw a few Beneteau First 47s with a nice layout, although a tad spartan below. However, the cockpit would likely not be conducive to cruising, and that 7 1/2 foot keel sounds like a real limiting factor in the Bahamas.

I saw some Jeanneaus that looked nice - I do tend to favor these over the Benes (except the First series - those are hot) - I guess just personal preference, but they seem better built in a very general sense.

Noted a gorgeous Grand Soleil - probably hard to find. Even bumped into 2 Catalina 47s in Europe for sail. That was kind of surprising. I hardly ever find those, and almost never with 3 sleeping cabins.

So who else makes a forward pullman berth, with the head in the forepeak? Catalina, Beneteau First, anybody else?

Tankersteve
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Old 23-07-2013, 01:03   #8
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

By the way, I do appreciate the replys.

Cheechako - you echoed what I believe. However, I am keeping an open mind. I probably need to charter a Bene in the Caribbean and see how it feels. Or at least walk through one as well as some of the 44-45s.

Mystic - As I said above, I am checking your recommendations out.

Any thoughts on Moodys? Out of my price range? Known issues?

One of the strengths of the Catalinas is factory support and the access to parts, as many know. I hope to get one in solid shape, without the requirement for a massive refit. However, typical things like bedding of hardware and ports and the condition of the rudder and bearings will be high on my list.

With (I think) Benes being built in SC, is there good support through dealer networks or through the big charter company users?

Tankersteve
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Old 23-07-2013, 10:07   #9
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

I disliked the pullman on my Hans Christian and my Passport 47. I liked the forward head alot though. The pullman is stuffy and hard to get in and out of... especially if you are the outboard person. You have the feeling out there that you are going to raise up and bang your head on the side deck structure.
If you get a boat with a pullman, make sure it has a huge hatch overhead.... unfortunately, that's often right where you want to walk near the mast though....
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Old 23-07-2013, 11:21   #10
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

Beneteau Cyclades 50 out of The Moorings... You can pick them up pretty cheap, and they already have a genset. A LOT of boat for the money. The two forward cabins converts into 1 large cabin.

They are extremely easy to maintain... I cant remember ever having any major problems with them in my charter fleet. Shoot me a PM if you'd like some advice/info on the boats.
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Old 23-07-2013, 12:25   #11
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

Stevens 47! We did exactly that with 3 kids. Two years Caribbean. Same budget.

Don't forget your exit strategy - we sold her immediately for 90% of what we put into her.

Sparkman Stephens design, tri-cabin, center cockpit, skeg, etc etc

Good luck in your search.
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Old 23-07-2013, 13:23   #12
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

Cat 42 is a good choice. Friend of mine with 2 boys in his family took the boat on a long coastal cruise from West Coast through the canal and Caribbean then up the coast to New York. Cat 42 did a wonderful job for them and if you buy it well and look after it they seem to have a decent following when it comes time to sell. Good choice, there are others of course but I think your start position is a good one. Good luck!
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Old 24-07-2013, 05:00   #13
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

While it hurts me to the core to suggest it - have you thought about a catamaran?
The Caribbbean market is flooded with cats in your price range and the standard layout with two hulls gives you the cabins you want and they are well-separated from each other. With Caribbean weather you'll spend most of your time out back or up front on the trampoline for the kids. Quite of a few of my favorite anchorages can get rather rolly in the high season with stronger winds and waves and a catamaran can be a lot more comfortable. Most of the sails are going to be day sails so the speed and seakindliness advantages of a monohull (yes, you read me correctly, heavily loaded cruising/liveaboard catamarans are not fast) won't be that great.
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Old 24-07-2013, 20:12   #14
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There is a leopard 40 listed for sale for 179k in ft lauderdale. She has a lot of potential at that price!
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Old 26-07-2013, 23:05   #15
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Re: 3-Cabin Options for Family of 4

Thank you everyone for the replies. I feel like I am on the right track - no one highlighted an 'oh crap, hadn't thought of that' situation.

Catamarans - I like them, but the wife, who is new to sailing, is thinking she likes traditional boats more! I bet if she walks around in one, her mind might change.

I'll get back here after some more research. I do have to admit, I am surprised no one is talking about Moody, but maybe they are not as common as I thought.

Tankersteve
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