Many years ago I and a couple of friends bought a Bobcat. We sailed it for a year and a half, covered a lot of sea miles.
A very basic, small boat, so not much to go wrong, and not expensive to fix.
, very useful for thin water
, and greatly expands anchoring
for it's size.
Basic but good size heads.
Very usable galley
Slow, can't point very well, makes lots of leeway.
, so not really usable for passage
, so no separate cabins for anyone.
One good bunk in each bow, a double athwartship forward of the main bulkhead, and the other two use the seats either side of the table. (Good size, almost 2 metres long by 0.6 metres wide.)
If you are not in a hurry, the slow sailing is not really an issue. And on a good day even a Bobcat has it's moments. We generally accepted 3.5 knots, but did average 6 knots at times, and saw 12 -13 on great days.
I would not worry about capsize
or pitchpoling, and a benefit of the small size and shallow draft
in heavy weather
is that the boat tends to absorb wave impact by moving instead of resisting. It is built out of light plywood
, though, so extreme seas could do a lot of damage.
Bear in mind that these were built in the 60's and 70's. Condition might not be so good. However, it is very easy to inspect every centimetre/inch of the structure.
Also, because it is a small boat, all the repairs/replacements will be much less expensive than for a larger vessel.
Overall, it's a possibility, though really quite a bit too small for long distance cruising with 6 people. If the kids
are small, maybe.
If the size seems ok, and you can stretch financially a bit, the 8 metre Catalac
( in effect, the evolution of the Bobcat ) would be better. The 9 metre Catalac
can be found for about the same price
as the 8, so better again. 10 metre is generally a lot more. The Catalacs have possibly a better interior
layout to try and fit a family
of 6. They were also built of solid fibreglass, so last very well. Some even were fitted with inboard diesels.
From the same era check out Heavenly Twins. Similar size, similar performance, similar drawbacks and benefits, fibreglass, usually with inboard diesels, with the advantage of a centre cockpit
, a forward cabin
and a stern cabin
. The stern cabin was often split into two, so very useful layout for a family of six.
I would be happy to go into more detail if you like.