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Old 08-08-2006, 22:02   #1
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Broadblue

I'm heading to the Southampton Boat show this September to check things out. We visited 2 years ago and had a great time!

I'm particularly interested in the new Broadblue 385 and was curious to know if anyone's had first hand sailing experience (I've sailed the previous model, the BB 38). Or if there are any out there considering a purchase.

Also, has anyone got a preference for other boats which may fit the same brief (Owners version cat cruiser of about 38')?

Cheers.

PS - Doing a daysail on one of the Americas Cup boats so everything else will be spoilt by the time I get to test sails.
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Old 09-08-2006, 04:08   #2
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I have day sailed on a BB385 a couple of times. I know someone who has bought one and just came back from a week trip: I'll see if I can get him to answer direct.

From my perspective, the BB385 has the best looking interior of the production cats - very bright, clean and modern, but not plasticky/office furniture effect of the french cats - but that is all personal taste.

Great view through glass windows - no scratching or UVhazing of plastic.

Performance - I have been out in 10knots and 20knots true. Seems to point well - we were tracking an AWB 35 foot monohull which was hard on the wind. Seems easily driven in light winds, but can hold onto sail until about 24knots true. Optional screacher well worthwhile for extra power for >50deg.
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Old 09-08-2006, 11:24   #3
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I was passed the following message following the piurchase and sail of one of the first BB385s:

Got to LIBS on last afternoon, fairly busy really, more so than preview day. Helped clear the MHW stand, then ate on boat.

Mike made a meal, then watched a movie on the Freeview box. Aerial not yet up mast, so just balanced on bimini. Worked for digital, not for terrestrial (strange, usually other way around?)

Left Excel at 5:30am Monday, under bridge and into the lock, along with several other boats. The lock is huge. We were held up by Ben53. It was brand new but had a broken engine (or Ancasta couldn't afford to add fuel). The delivery skippers towed in to the lock behind the Beneteau Trawler mobo. They came into lock, the mobo stops, the Ben doesn't, oops! Oh well, at least it is the same insurance company for both boats.

Grey & cold down Thames, uneventful. AIS is a real boon. We could see who & what was coming round bend, how fast, how big, going where. The overlay was onto the Seapro charts. Excellent.

Followed a new Jen 49 DS. Once sails were up we were hard on the wind. I was helming manually and we seemed to be able to stay reasonably tight to his track, certainly paced him. If we were slipping downwind of him at all it wasn't too obvious. Main thing was I was comfortable, behind the screens. Their helmsman was at an angle, sat in the open and must have been wet & cold.

Mark had planned a passage on Seapro & uploaded it to one of the RL70C's. Once in estuary we let the plotter steer. It was very easy. Motor sailed for a while with one engine, then switched it off. It was windy enough that we only lost 1knt, going at a steady 7-8 knots. With the wind gusting up to 30knts, we went inside.

There is a problem with this. Being inside, warm & cosy, you don't realise how rough it is getting outside. It is like you are a passenger. Once gusts went over 30knts, with a steady blow of 25knts, the boat was overpressed at 60 degrees off the wind. I reminded Mark that if you think to reef, then you should reef. We put a few rolls in the genny OK, but reefing the main is not so easy. You have to drop the main halyard (simple) then hook the eye in the sail over the hook at base of mast. The hook is too high to reach from the cockpit so you need to go out. We will need to change that. Mike thinks same.

Once reefed the boat felt better, there was no speed loss, we touched 10knts, and ran at 8 & 9knts for some time. The wind over tide kicked it up rough & Mark wasn't well. In estuary there was a short high chop. We would rear up on one wave, the bows then dropped down. When gap between waves wide enough, no problem, there is enough bouyancy that it lands softly. When waves are close together the bow slams, the boat shudders, slows, throws spray, then shrugs it off & you carry on. Speed drop is to about 5knts, then back up again. No issue over the boat (though a halogen light was dislodged), but rough on the crew! We hid inside again.

I was tired so went to bed in the owners cabin. Not too bad, the bows would be noisy, but the stern is ok. Mark slept on the starboard settee. He reckoned he felt much better as it is low, close to centre of the boat. We both slept 2hrs.

When I woke up I knew the boat was going well, it just sounded & felt right. I used the Navtex display in cabin to check it out. 8.5 knts steady, 20knts wind, perfect. Looked out window & nearly died. We were right under bows of a huge ferry. I ran up to saloon, Mark was still asleep. When I went out Mike was at the helm smiling. Several big boats had anchored close together in the lee of North Foreland & Mike was slaloming through them. I only relaxed when I saw the anchor cables. The sea had dropped a bit, the ride was smooth, occassional wave over the deck, some bangs from rogue waves, otherwise was the nicest sailing we got.

I checked COG vs CTS, the leeway seemed about 5 degrees to 10 degrees. Not sure how good a test it is, 'cos the tide, waves, wind gusts etc will swing the boat around. I heard Mark say to punter that it is less than 5 degrees.

Bimini screens turned out to be a must have. Inside the 'tent' it was fine (we had heater going & blowing to cockpit) but if stood I outside screen, say to use binos, I froze in 5 mins. No way would i be happy to do that journey in a mono, sat behind wheel away from a sprayhood. We would have needed to do 30min watches.

Round Foreland & it was getting dark, rougher again. So we dropped the sails, and motored straight into the wind. In worst conditions, tide against us, wind against us, a rough sea, we struggled to keep above 3knts at 2500rpm. I went up to 3000rpm (well, they are my engines) then we got 3.5knts SOG, but maybe bigger engines & props would do better.

Decided to stop at Ramsgate. I found the marked channel, it was very well lit. Once into harbour (glad no ferries moving!) it was windy, but flat. Most of the mobos were there from LIBS, two Sunseekers etc. Mark is ace on close quarters driving, had to sqeeze past 100ft mobo, then spin & go in stern to, all in strong beam wind. No problem for him, quite relaxed. We ate ashore. Mill pond when we got back! The forum guy called "Gludy" had brought in his Trader 59 (see his post on mobo forum for his comments on F6-7 on way to Ramsgate). He had blocked us in, so we just went to bed.

During the night the wind was howling again, fenders squeezed 50% of normal size, lots of noise, mobo people out checking lines, Mike checked ours and added to our fenders & our lines in heavy rain. I slept thru the lot!

Next morning up at 6:30, harbour man had Gludy move the Trader to let us out to refuel, but disaster, we had run the fuel so low in the starboard tank that the heating pump had sucked air and stopped. No heating!

It took 250 litres to fill up (Mike paid). Mark reckons it does 1.7 litres per hour per engine, so say 4 litres per hour total. I've seen huge numbers for mobo's - like 200 liters per hour, so not sure that sounds quite right, but maybe true. Heating uses a gallon a day, but was on constant.

Low water on way out, we got shallow warnings but got through. All the other boats had to wait for depth.

The airlock can be cleared. Just drop the boat from 6 feet. If it doesn't work, do it again. As the sea was rough we did that for a few hours, so the heating came back on. We motored for 10 hours into a lumpy sea. Both Mark & Mike not feeling well. I took one Stugeron and Nurofen every two or three hours. I felt unwell, but not sick enough to stop drinking tea and eating snacks.

You can cook on the boat. I did cooked breakfasts twice on the go. It was better than expected. The oven works and made nice bread. The cat may not heal, but it is still thrown around, so a bit tricky to make tea etc. We may still fit a strap at the cooker. On other hand I got Mark to slow down to come in for eating, which we did at 2knts or so, and it was pleasant. In a mono you would have wallowed all over.

We got into Brighton in the pitch dark but ate and had a good night's sleep.

Mike then got up early on Wednesday and took us out at 5am! It was still rough, but I got up and switched on radar, which worked very well as we dodged amongst the fishing boats, who motor around at random. The split screen view on the RL70 is very good, radar and plotter, north up, same scale. You do need a helm display though.

While Mike was driving we had a sudden loss power on one engine, which he thought was a net. He stopped and reversed the engine, it then cleared, and would rev again, so back to motoring. It may also have been due to having run tanks low and been churned up, some sediment or something.

I then fell asleep again, missed Selsey Bill and woke in Chichester Harbour.

New things needed -
We need to do something with the windows, they steam up in cold weather (especially when boil kettle).
We need some shelves, probably fitting high cupboards either side of the desk. Mark says they are having bookcases in the same place, the the new boats can have a shelf across.
Microwave - pain not being able to reheat cold tea.
Electric kettle - pain waiting for gas version.
My own kitchen instruments - I hate other people's knives etc. <g>
Cockpit cushions - will buy the type with a valve that self-inflate.

PROS (no order)
The Icom is very good, loud, clear, obvious and the constant all stations scan is very good. It picks up the weather announcement, then retunes itself to the announced station. It also works as a good intercom, nav station to helm. Crystal clear.
Feeling of safety, didn't once worry about the boat.
Speed when wind ok, we were moving at same speed as a displacement mobo.
The Steiner binos were superb in low light.
The radar worked well and the autopilot steered fine, from the routes planned on Seapro & uploaded to plotter.
The Navtex repeat in the cabin I used a few times.
Seapro can keep a good log (position, speed, etc)
I'd bought Dubarry boots at LIBS - very good, warm and comfortable, as were Craghopper lined trousers and the Gill neopreme gloves.
The heating is a major plus, quiet too, except for the fuel pump which makes an clicking noise in the cabin, needs a rubber mount.
Cockpit sreens - you can see out fine other than for docking.
Engine noise not too bad, well, compared with mobo.
Fuel consumption seems low, about 20mls to gallon each engine?
NMEA multiplexer also useful, every instrument seems to know everything.

CONS
Small engines, 30hp and bigger props may be better
Reefing - should need to leave cockpit
Early starts - Mike doesn't mind!
There is a lack of clothes hanging space.
Windows steaming up.
Heater pump ticking.
Table just too high.
Handholds, I think it needs more for rough weather, both inside and outside.
Water pump - seemed underpowered, water pulsed rather than shot out.



Headroom is good in the saloon and in the hull passages, I'm only 6ft though. In the cabins there are parts with low headroom due to shape of cockpit above. Apparently they are lowering the bunks on future boats(this mod has been done).

___END_____


I dont like the position of the heads in one of the cabins, but the boat has a lot going for it.
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Old 09-08-2006, 19:06   #4
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I looked very seriously at Broadblue and felt that both the 435 and 385 were superb boats. My wife and I visited the factory in Yarmouth and spent some time with the folks in Ipswich. A quality group of folks building great boats. Not sure that there's anything you can buy new in the 38' range I would trust other than the BB385.
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Old 10-08-2006, 01:10   #5
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Thanks for the feedback!
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:06   #6
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Are they going to be at the Annapolis show in October?
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:19   #7
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I believe that they will be at the Southampton Boat Show in September (UK)
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Old 10-08-2006, 09:19   #8
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Yes, according to their websites they will be at Annapolis

www.broadblue.co.uk

www.broadblueusa.com
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:07   #9
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Hi all. We have the first BB385 (now called "Intraventure"). We're just back from two week cruise of Channel Islands.

Boat performed well, 7.5knt average across Channel with screecher. We were crossing with a couple of 30ft'ish mono's and left them well behind. That was pretty much the only day we saw steady reasonable winds - the rest of the holiday was either no wind or light winds. Not so good for sailing, but equally the weather was excellent for a holiday.

We did Gosport-Yarmouth-Cherbourg-StPPort-Herm-StHelier-Beaucette-Alderney-Gosport.

Downsides, in no order:
Guests in cabin with en-suite quite happy, but forecabin guest feels obliged to cross boat to use owners heads, 'cos feels like the other heads "belongs" to the guest cabin.
Roof panel sagged in the heat, the velcro was glued on but not stapled and in 30C+ it lost the will to stick. Now stapled and OK.
Got seaweed around prop - still ran, but low power - wife dived over to clear in Alderney harbour, you can reach the prop reaonably easily in still water.
For cruise you need the extra fridge, but the subcontractor did a very poor job on insulation - I'd use Broadblue next time.
I'm not happy with smaller engines - they do the job, but I'd swap fuel economy for extra power

Upsides
Lots of room for 5 of us, we used saloon all of the time, underway and in harbour, unlike our habits on monos.
Sidescreens very effective in wind or rain
Pointing - having gone too far downwind on the crossing we sailed tight to wind (not with screecher!) for 25 miles to get it back and we seemed to be pointing reasonably well
Boat is now 18mths old and has done two Brittany/Channel Islands family cruises and two or three boat shows (incl LIBS and SIBS) and still looks pretty good, apart from loose roof panel nothing has fallen off.

We had one or two "wish we had a cat" comments from mono owners - we spun round on the spot to point out in St Helier marina and got comments "Darn, wish we could do that".

Oh, also got hit hard in the bow by the bower anchor on a French Contest38. I wasn't on board, but son says he nearly fell over from impact. Marina staff saw it and came over. Worst we can find is a 1 in scrape on the gelcoat, but expected worse. Suggests may be soundly made.
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Old 10-08-2006, 10:23   #10
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Oh, forgot, Multihull World's new BB385 (Water Margin - great name for a dealer's boat!) will be at SIBS, and we plan to go as well. The new one has opening front windows, lowered berths & additional shelves.

A downside I've remembered is that there isn't anywhere dedicated to a liferaft, so we put it under the helm seat when underway and in the bow storeroom when moored.

Also dawns on me, for experienced sailors it probably makes little difference, but a subtle upside of BB385 (and I suspect most larger cats) is that it feels very safe.
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Old 11-08-2006, 07:58   #11
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"From my perspective, the BB385 has the best looking interior of the production cats - very bright, clean and modern, but not plasticky/office furniture effect of the french cats - but that is all personal taste."

Moby Dick... You need to set foot aboard a Privilege or Catana if you think all French cats are plasticky. The only plastic visible on a Privilege is in the heads.
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Old 11-08-2006, 08:13   #12
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Hi Jeannius
No you are right the Privilege is not plasticky. The disadvantage of the one in the 38-40ft range is that you cant see out when sitting down (the front berth obscures the view). Of course, less wood = (sometimes) lighter weight so there is a balance to be hit.

Where there IS wood in some of the French cats its 'style' is often not to my taste, but again a personal thing, and does not affect the way they perform!
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Old 14-08-2006, 09:35   #13
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One other point on the BB boats - they are very 'customise-able'. For instance you can opt for a seperate walk-in shower or huge wet locker; or make the third cabin a work room with bench etc etc

This could be useful for cruisers or live-aboards.
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Old 14-08-2006, 11:15   #14
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Although we ended up making a different choice for several reasons, the BBs (both the 38 and 42) were under serious consideration. One of them is, like Moby pointed out, the factory's willingness to do a semi-custom job on the boat. The factory rep we spoke with even had pictures and drawings of other modifications they had made for others that were quite good ideas.

The other thing that was apparent to us was these boats are designed as blue water cruisers from the first thoughts to final execution. They are not designed as charter boats "or" cruisers, which brings with it certain compromises due to the need for a greater production volume and cost controls. So, although you end up paying more, if you're cruising there's a good argument made for spending it.

In our opinion, though, BB also did some funny things that we didn't like, but I'm sure than all of us could say the same about any boat.

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Old 14-08-2006, 11:42   #15
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".....did some funny things that we didn't like"

BB say a hinged electrical panel is also possible if you REALLY wanted it, ID.....
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