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Old 10-10-2016, 13:18   #1
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Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

The wife and I attended the recent Annapolis show looking for a longer term live aboard catamarans. We really enjoyed the show as we are relatively new to sailboat cruising. Since we don't have a boat yet, many of the booth were of interest, but not applicable to our current situation. Here are thoughts on various catamarans and companies:

Antares - the main reason we attended the show was to see the Antares 44i, but they were not in attendance due to the issues the company is having. We were very disappointed by this and have decided to put this catamaran on the back burner for now.

St. Francis 50 MKII - this was the 2nd reason we attended the show and again we were very disappointed. I was not impressed with this catamaran and did not like the fit and finish of the boat they had there. This boat is off the list for now.

Outremer - I can't remember what size boat they had in Annapolis, but I would say the boat was just basic. I know it is a performance catamaran, but it was not the boat for us.

Lagoon 450S - this was our second favorite catamaran. This was an owners version with 3 cabins. Looking for a live aboard, we want lots of storage but in all the owners versions we saw, the owner's suite always has a middle section with a desk and open space above it. To us, this is absolutely wasted space as there are a lot of places on the boat to write and/or use our laptops. We want cabinet space here, but no one seems to offer that? Otherwise, this is a very nice looking boat with plenty of wonderful space. I know that Lagoons gets a lot of criticism from a lot of people, but I don't really know why. I thought the fit and finish was better than the St. Francis??

Nautitech 46 Fly - This was our favorite boat of the show. It seemed very similar to the Lagoon, but the fly bridge was nicer and you can walk underneath the boom while the boat is underway. The space is fabulous and the fit and finish were very good.

Horizon Yacht Charters - they are the broker for the Nautitech and we are chartering from them from Antigua shortly. We have talked to them over the phone but never met them until this show. They were professional and spent a lot of time talking to us about our upcoming charter, the Nautitech boat, and charter opportunities. We felt very comfortable with them and look forward to meeting them again in Antigua in a few weeks.

I know we did not sail any of these yachts and are only commenting on the space , appearance, and feel of these boats.

Other thoughts are welcome!
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Old 10-10-2016, 13:52   #2
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

We are at the same stage as you. Trying to figure out our likes and needs. We are staying open to both mono and multi at this point but leaning to multi.
I was actually impressed with the St Francis. It felt comfortable, the cockpit was the best at the show in my opinion. Ice maker, washer and freezer all in the cockpit. Great visibility from the helm, my wife is 5' so this is crucial for us. And interior was well laid out. But it is just too big for us.
Lagoon was very disappointing. Everything just felt cheaply done to us. Visibility was poor at best. And I don't find them visually appealing, too boxy.
We did like the leopards though. Seemed a step or two up from lagoon in quality, vis was better too. Front cockpit in the 45 was a great feature.they tried to have it in the 40 but it's just too small to be useful. The "front" door is nice for airflow, easy access to the bow. But questionable in heavy seas? Not an area I have experience in yet.
Outremer kinda blended away for us, I don't really recall much of them.
The nautitech 46 I didn't see as it was always full of people. Sorry I didn't now. Their 40 didn't impress me though. It felt very bare and minimalist.
There were quite a few beautiful monos. our favourite in our price range was by far the jeanneau 44 ds. The raised cockpit allowed a huge aft berth with a decent head. The cockpit itself was quite comfortable with dual helms.
The galley sink cover was a little peculiar, I think it would become annoying.and the third cabin with bunks I would rather see as a washer, and watermarked area. Possibly one bunk above.
I was excited about seeing beneteau but they were almost all exactly the same layout just scaled different.
It was a fun show, and we learned a lot. Now we need to do some charters and see how they are in real world.
Edit.. Forgot to mention the helia 44. Really liked this one as well. Decent vis, construction felt similar or slightly better than the leopards. For us it would be between those two if we were to buy right now.
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Old 10-10-2016, 14:03   #3
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

I have dealt with our local Lagoon affiliate in the SF Bay Area. Lagoon DOES offer storage instead of office space in an owners hull. I saw them both in the price sheet as options.

Not an issue if you are placing an order.


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Old 10-10-2016, 14:41   #4
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

Loved the new Leopard 45 hull 1. Nicely done IMHO.
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Old 10-10-2016, 14:58   #5
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

I was very disappointed in the Leopards, The headroom was just too low in all of the models. I am 6'4" and it was just unacceptable.

The Lagoon 450S was the one I thought I wanted and was at the top of my list. I like everything about the 450 but the Sportop Helm was very uncomfortable. The back was too upright, the actual seating area was very short and felt cramped. The comfort level at the helm between this version and the Helia was very apparent. With the seat being molded in there is little that you could do to improve it. I also thought it was a tad low and for someone (read most) who is shorter than I am it also seemed unacceptable.

I am now leaning back towards the 450 Flybridge. I did spend some time on one with a hard Bimini and it was very nice.

The helm on the 42 offered far better room and visibility when seated. The actual helm seat was horrible, but since its mounted on a pedestal it would be easy to upgrade. The storage on the 42 was not great but could be usable.

As mentioned before I liked the Helia, but for the money I was it was slightly larger. Great Helm design.

Outremer - nice but WAY to narrow in the hulls. Out for me.

Nautitech 46 Fly - looked nice but the flybridge was too large and it did not seem as well built and solid as the Lagoon.

I am anxiouse to see the new FP 47 -
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Old 10-10-2016, 19:26   #6
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FP Helia 44 Evo

FP will also remove the little office desk and put in full closets on the Stb. owners side if buyers want it on the Helia 44 Evo.
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Old 11-10-2016, 05:59   #7
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Barabus.
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Old 11-10-2016, 07:59   #8
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

First post here, been lurking for years, but now I have something to add.

The wife and I are looking to do blue water cruising on a cat and we went to Annapolis too see a variety in the flesh. I'm 6'3" and 300lbs so I wanted to see if I fit, wife wanted to see if she could live on one.

Seawind - 1160 lite and 1190: To small a load carrying capacity for our needs but beautiful boats and the room was very nice. The 1190 with the dagger boards would be my choice if I lived alone. Sadly if I pushed it, I would be.

Outremer 51 - Enough room but the finish was spartan. Wife was not impressed. Figure the 45 is similar so it is off the list. *Happy wife, happy life.

Bali (used this to show the wife what I don't want in fore deck layout) To tight inside to say the least, glad I wasn't wearing a jacket or shoes. Fit and finish was not good, one smelled like "head".

Leopard - Looked at several, don't like the new bucket seating at the front except for lounging. (did a quick cruise around the bay in an older one which was fun - L39) No bridge deck clearance which is a showstopper.

Maverick 440 - If I had the funds, this would be the boat I'd be having built. The builder was there and this was hull 17. Spent quite a while talking to the owners and learned a lot about the boats features.

St Francis 50 - Beautiful boat, to large for our needs with five cabins.

Lagoon - Looked to see what they looked like. Charter boats for the charter market.

Fontaine Pajot 40 Lucia - Wife liked the layout and the interior. Not a real layer cake design. Liked the layout overall. Value looked good.

Foutaine Pajot 44 Helia - Not a fan of the fly bridge, put the boom to high and lowers stability. But that may just be me. Nice overall.

Nautitech 40 Open - Like the design. The out board helm stations (like on the Catana) always seemed like something a mono-hull convert would want. Seeing it in person I liked it (with a couple of simple mods), that and the option for some level of protection with a small bimini.

Nautitech 46 Open - Fly bridge - Would like the version without the fly bridge but it is larger than we need.

The Annapolis Boat show was worth the trip. The VIP day was nice because it was less crowded and everyone is still fresh.

The winner for us was the Nautitech Open 40 followed by the Foutaine Pajot Lucia. The Maverick is just out of my price range at the moment.
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Old 11-10-2016, 08:14   #9
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Cruising.
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Old 11-10-2016, 08:47   #10
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by chris mac View Post
Lagoon was very disappointing. Everything just felt cheaply done to us. Visibility was poor at best. And I don't find them visually appealing, too boxy.
We did like the leopards though. Seemed a step or two up from lagoon in quality, vis was better too. Front cockpit in the 45 was a great feature.they tried to have it in the 40 but it's just too small to be useful. The "front" door is nice for airflow, easy access to the bow. But questionable in heavy seas? Not an area I have experience in yet.

There were quite a few beautiful monos. our favourite in our price range was by far the jeanneau 44 ds. The raised cockpit allowed a huge aft berth with a decent head. The cockpit itself was quite comfortable with dual helms.
The galley sink cover was a little peculiar, I think it would become annoying.and the third cabin with bunks I would rather see as a washer, and watermarked area. Possibly one bunk above.

I was excited about seeing beneteau but they were almost all exactly the same layout just scaled different.
It was a fun show, and we learned a lot. Now we need to do some charters and see how they are in real world.

Edit.. Forgot to mention the helia 44. Really liked this one as well. Decent vis, construction felt similar or slightly better than the leopards. For us it would be between those two if we were to buy right now.
Lagoon, FP etc. have many boats that have sailed around the world. Very high quality products.

Lagoon/Beneteau/Juneau are all part of the Beneteau group.

Finally, don't know the exact price of a Juneau 44, but you could probably get a Lagoon 380/39 for this price, and have more room and comfort. Different boat as far as sailing goes, but much more comfortable for cruising, relaxing, etc. Sleeps 6 or 8 in more comfort with more space. Just my 2c.
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:26   #11
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

a. As
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Old 11-10-2016, 09:57   #12
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Re: FP Helia 44 Evo

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Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
FP will also remove the little office desk and put in full closets on the Stb. owners side if buyers want it on the Helia 44 Evo.
We attended the show as well. It seemed more subdued this year to us. Perhaps because the hurricane path was unpredictable.

Anyway, my wife and I looked across the board at many cats to ensure that we are choosing correctly.. good to know about the knee desk removal option on the FP44, Mark. You definitely have the FP insight! I wonder if they would do that in the FP40?

Seeing several of the boats in person was good for my wife. She is not 100% sold on the idea yet of cruising and being gypsy dive instructors in retirement. I was hoping that climbing aboard she could see herself living minimally on the FP, our first choice. We've chartered the 44 and had a great time. The boat handles beautifully single handed or with a couple. I am a bit torn between the FP44 and FP40 given that it will just be the two of us. I think I'll go to the USVI over winter and charter an FP40 for a week and check it out in person as we did the FP44.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:03   #13
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

I also attended this year show (2nd, did last year too). This time I went with my kids. We are completely new to the marine life. Have done weekend charters and 1 day trip so far. Going for sailing lesson spring 2017.

So with my lack of experience and knowledge at this time, we are looking from a price/value perspective base on feel and look for a family of 5 to 6. In time will be able to evaluate base on performance and quality in more detail.

So my top 3 choices based on value (price and size/volume) coming out of this show are: (this most likely will change once I can review the video's and read more about each boat again)

1) Nautitech 46 fly - I came back to this boat 2 times on Sunday. I am not a fan of the 40. I prefer a more protected helm. I loved the layout and the size and feel inside. I didn't feel cramped like on the Bali hulls. My girls like the top deck. I personally am not a fan of the fly deck. but a price of 530k "sail ready" is a 100k+ less then the Helia which I loved.

2) Maverick 440 - Still my wife and I's favorite. Love the inside. Not being a sailor yet, I still felt like they mixed the best of both world of sailing layout and living aboard. It has the biggest salon/galley area then any boat in its size. Feel wise at least. Good for bad weather days. My girls like the "lounging" area out front and on top of the other catamarans which the Maverick does not have. Now for price point the 440 is 550k "sail ready" but you can get the 400 for 100k less. Still the same volume just the last step on the back is missing. By the way I just found out they were still making the 400 which I didn't know.

3) Lagoon 42 - big volume but heavy boat but good price point low 500k. Even though the mast was leaking on Saturday, I would still be interested in this boat.

Leopard had 4 boats that I saw this year 2 40's, 45 and 48. the 45 was nice but was priced in the 650k range like the Helia. Which, 100k in my book (20%) is a big difference. Loved both boats though. Liked them better then the Lagoon and Nautitech. My girls liked the 45, Helia and Nautitech the most in this size range.

now for the just under a million.
The Royal Cape Catamaran Majestic 530 was just prefect. 5 bedrooms, great layout. just a beautiful boat. wish I could afford this. the Saba was a distance 2nd option. The 5th bedroom was tight compare the Majestic 530. and for the same price point of 950k the Majestic just had a better quality and finish feel to it.

The Seawind was a beautiful boat and appears to be a great sail vessel. but with my family needs as looking for a live a board just not enough creature comfort.

Same with the Outremer. By the way absolutely loved the deck on this years showing. from what I was told it is litter and cheaper then teak. and it was so soft on the feet. This is something I plan on doing a lot of research on. I forgot the name of it so if anyone knows what it was called please post it. I will be reviewing my videos and hoping I caught it on audio. If I am not mistaken the person on the gunboat said it was the same decking/flooring they use on there boat.

There was 2 boat there this year that had Islands in the galley that my oldest loved. 1 was the Xquisite or 1.2 mil and I forget the 2nd one, will have to look back the videos to remember which ones.

This just my quick impression from the show. Also, ran into the "Happy Together" crew. very nice people. they have some good and informative video's on youtube btw.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:12   #14
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

You can get a new fully loaded FP Helia 44 Evo in the $550,000 usd price range.
We own a 2016 FP Helia 44 Evo.
This is our 2nd FP.
We sold our FP Mahe 36 last year after 7 great years of owning her.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:13   #15
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Re: Annapolis Sailboat show thoughts

Thanks all for the the informative feedback on the boat show. Much appreciated
I have just finished a 16 day charter on a lagoon 450 fly (5 year old boat) in the Med. I chartered an owners version as our plans are to live aboard for 6 months a year (initially in the Med) and wanted to get a feel of this configuration. The owners version was great and storage was most impressive.

Positives of the yacht.

1. Great space for what is a charter boat. (although this was an owners version - i am referring to the port hull, cockpit and saloon.
2. Good fridge space - two fridges and one deep freeze (all vertical - cant stand the pull out draw fridges or freezers) and an ice maker. Best I have seen from the "charter cats" This is a big issue for me and the admiral as most "charter configurations have too little of either and changing this in most "charter"cats is a mission.
3. Fly bridge was great for socializing and awesome views when sailing or having cocktails
4. All staterooms were spacious and good ventilation. (this boat did not have aircon!)
5. Good sized cockpit and layout.
6. Engine compartment had plywood covers over the engines to create additional storage space - useful for snorkeling gear etc. Not sure if this is standard or after market set up
7. Sailed reasonably well - Hired an asymetrical spinnaker with a dousing sock which is a must have but would probably take a screecher if I had to choose one.
8. Great galley set up and layout.

Negatives (not in any order)

1. Not easy to sail single handed with genoa winches on the bridge being at least 2 meters from each other - only one is at the helm. Found the Leopard and X 5 way better to single hand.
2. With the props behind the rudders I had the helm ripped from me on a couple of occasions when reversing out of a dock or mooring. I think props in front of rudders is a far better set up.
3. The height of the boom because of the fly bridge is an issue (for me) with the flat top main I had to climb the steps on the mast every time I dropped the main to secure it properly and it was a mission and to tuck away all the reefing lines.
4. The sheet for the jib furler went through so many blocks it was a mission to furl the genoa (especially as we had to stop using the winches in electric mode as one of the foot switches keep jamming (not a lagoon issue but a maintenance issue) Even if this did not happen we still would have sweated the jib furler.
5. There is basically zero visiblity of either stern hull (unless one remembers to open a huge hatch in the cockpit roof which only improves the view to the port stern (this boat actually had a rear view camera to help sort this problem)
6. Davit system was mediocre at best ..... It was easier and way faster to sweat the dinghy up into the davits than to use the dedicated winch system.
7. A big concern was three soft spots on the deck - all behind the cockpit even for a 5 year old boat this is not on IMHO. That said the rest of the build quality was good IMHO
8. The main was a mission to drop .... so much so that a down haul had been installed to help solve this problem.
9. The outside built in cooler box in the cockpit was simply useless and ice would last less than two hours once placed in there!
10. The bimini irritated me as I could not stand up under it at the helm ( I am 5:10) but what was worse (for me) it it obscured the main completely when at the helm. There was a fold away window in the roof of the canvas bimini but this helped only marginally. The main halyard winch is also to far from the helm to manage both (unless on auto pilot) besides one needs to stand at this winch to be able to see the main getting hoisted through the lazy jacks.

The boats that are currently on my short list

Knysna 500 SE ( have been on a few but not sailed any yet - next week hopefully) So many positives on this boat and have been to the factory
New Leopard 45 - will be seeing it on Friday
New FP - the new 47 looks most impressive. Walked around a helia charter version when on the Lagoon charter last week. Was expecting more on the build quality, but still a nice boat.
The X5 - have been on one - could not sail it properly as not enough wind. This pretty much ticks all the boxes (but the admiral has not seen it yet) Most innovative designs I have seen on a 45 to 50 foot cat.
Just need to get my mind around the cockpit arch.

Only looking up to 50ft as I reckon that is where I draw the line on sailing short handed.

Cats off my list for various reasons

SF 500
Antares
Maverick 440

Cheers
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