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Old 26-06-2012, 21:37   #16
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

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Originally Posted by sitalita View Post
Thanks for all the replies so far! They've been really helpful. So we're going to go on a charter and see how that is! Hopefully we can arrange to experience various conditions.

If you are very flexible, you might try to find a crew position on someone else's catamaran. When people are making crossings, deliveries, or just getting lonely they sometimes look for another person or couple to come along with them, especially if they have a larger vessel and want to sail around the clock.

Needless to say, you will need to have something to offer - experience, good company, perhaps some expense sharing it depends on the specific situation - does that roughly translate to "ass, grass, or cash"?
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Old 26-06-2012, 21:54   #17
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

47-FT MAYOTTE/VOYAGE, 1994
Panama City, Panama $249,000
I spent a couple of thousand hours readying Archies Way for the family, but circumstances have changed. Here is a true blue water catamaran in excelent ready to cruise the world shape clear down to provisions. very comfortable with 6.6 headroom and lots of ventilation. Many new parts including new rebuilt mast, new standing and running rigging, 900 amphour Rolls batteries, 600 watts solar panels, watermaker and hypalon 11.5 dinghy. For a complete list and photos contact gary.
You will get a quicker reply by email.
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Old 27-06-2012, 04:35   #18
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

Call me biassed??

I would recomend an Outermer 45 or 55 light... they sail like deamons and have adequate space for two...

The sails and rig are not so big as to need more than two people to handle them..
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Old 27-06-2012, 06:36   #19
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

I never saw the phrases turn key and charter together. I guess that means that they have the dishes and linens.
About half of all new cats made go directly to charter. These are usually totally stripped down to the bare bones basic boats. Usually there is none of the options which one would consider a neccesity for blue water cruising. These may be radar, watermaker, solar, genny, communications devices and so on. Everyone has their own opinion of what is required. Usually a charter boat is close to base and hardly out of sight of land so you don't need all that stuff. However converting a typical charter boat to an offshore boat means you might want that all that stuff so be prepared to spend big boatbucks. Privileges are expensive to start with and don't end up in charter fleets that much when new. Charter boats can be well used so look over them carefully but that goes for any cat.

PS The ongoing joke is that if it has a washing machine then it is a blue water boat.
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Old 02-07-2012, 10:50   #20
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

Don't do another thing until you buy the book: "Catamarans" The Complete Guide for the Cruising sailor. By Grogor Tarjan. ISBN 978-0-07-149885-2.

If you read the entire biik you will know more about Catamarans than Most Cat owners out there. It also has a buyers guide which should help you tremendously.

Good Luck
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Old 02-07-2012, 17:33   #21
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

+1 on Tarjans book. If ya can't afford the $40 for the book then ya can't afford the boat.
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Old 03-07-2012, 15:27   #22
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

+2 on tarjans book - tremendously helpful in my recent search (though he is a tad outremer biased it has to be said!)

get the book and get on as many boat types in it as you can in as rough weather as you can manage. - off season charters are a good way to go but only after you have narrowed the search down to your favourite couple.

on the length issue we ended up going with a stretched 40 footer desigh- as a couple its plenty big enough but the extra 2 feet in the stems has made a huge difference to motion and stability on the lighter design (outremer principal but witth better livability - thx Tarjan!)
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Old 11-07-2012, 17:25   #23
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

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Hi. My boyfriend and I are looking at catamarans right now and we're trying to figure out which would be the best fit. We're a little stumped on the most basic decisions so I was hoping to get some info from the more experienced!

He likes to sail quite often but has never sailed a cat. We're planning on taking a charter just to see what that's like. We like the interiors of Privileges as well as Lagoons, though I undertand these are less performance-based depending on what you get. He's looking at big boats -- around 50 to 60 feet. I'm a little unsure of whether we need this much space if we're not going to go into the chartering business ourselves. What would be the minimum number of crew members for, say, at 58 ft Privilege? the other thing is that he is more into performance and I am more into comfort. It would be nice to get both...

Basically, I was hoping to see:

What would be the maximum length recommended if it were only 2 people sailing? Is it better to go bigger in the event that we'd want to charter? Is the extra money worth it for a Privilege?

Which brand has the least amount of depreciation & holds value the best?

What handles well for long trips and has a good reputation for a sturdy build?

Thanks so much for any help!
There does get to a point where it is "too big". If you want to sail on the ICW, for example, you need a mast below a certain height. If the sails are very large, they will be harder for a smaller person, or most women, to handle on their own. If the boom is very high, it might be hard to reef. If the saloon roof is too high, you might not be able to see well from the helm (depending on helm design). If the helm is up top, the pilot will be isolated.

Smaller cats are large enough to be comfortable, but small enough to be easily handled. Most are designed with socializing in mind. For example, all recent lagoons have the galley positioned so that the cook is in full view of everything around the boat, within speaking distance of the helm, and a few steps away from everything and everybody who is on the boat.

Some larger boats separate the helm from the saloon. Some intentionally isolate the helm and other crew stations away from the "guests", with chartering in mind. While there is an effort on many to design for the cruising couple, it still remains that a larger boat has heavier sails, fewer lines that can be handled without a winch, and a larger heavier anchor that will be harder to haul by hand, should you ever need to do that.

Smaller boats may (but not necessarily) have shallower draft and can reach closer to a shore. They may (but not necessarily) have easier to reach control lines, pulleys, winches, etc. They often, but not always, keep people within view of each other, allowing for conversation on long sails while one person is on the helm for hours at a time. They will have access to channels and marinas that a larger boat may not be able to safely navigate. A smaller boat will be easier to push off a beach or sandbar, should the need arise.

Too small, though, and you start running into the opposite problems! Too much togetherness, lines and controls crowded together, narrow walkways between the fore and aft decks, etc.

Also, many people consider boats below 40' to be uncomfortable for heavy weather. Boats above 40 are better able to manage the waves.
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Old 11-07-2012, 17:50   #24
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

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The other thing is that he is more into performance and I am more into comfort. It would be nice to get both...
According to my research, the performance/comfort tradeoffs are basically these:

1) Daggerboards or swing keels
Increase maximum performance upwind, take up space inside the keels. For two people, you may not mind losing that space

2) Lower profile topdeck
Tall saloons reduce sail size and increase wind resistance when sailing upwind. However, tall saloons are pleasantly bright, airy, and offer awesome views in all directions allowing for navigation from inside the boat (when desired) and for a beautiful wraparound view while at anchor.

3) Sailplan
More sail = more performance, but also makes the ride rougher, and increases the risk of capsize (which is essentially zero for most charter-style catamarans). Taller masts are not a problem in open water, but reduce access to many backwaters where you have pass under a bridge.

4) Cost
High performance sails and other add-ons cost money, which could go toward other things like air conditioning units (which add weight), a wine cooler, nicer upholstery, or just some nice dinners out and some good bottles of wine.

The Gunboat is an upside example of a maker providing both comfort and performance, but they are very expensive. Outremer, I think, also offers comfortable models with daggerboards
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:55   #25
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

We went through the "never been on a cat, to boat ownership" process in 2010. Although I'm very happy with our decision, I realize now, I really didn't have enough experience to know what boat would best suit us at the time. Even after chartering in the Whitsundays, and countless hours at the Sydney, Paris and Miami boat shows and reading everything I could get my hands on. After 2 years of research and looking we were all set to buy a new Leopard 46, but we happened to find a used Catana 471 that was fully fitted out for bluewater cruising and we much preferred the build quality, safety factors and fitout of the Catana, so that's what we bought. We had considered the new Catana 47 and didn't like it as much as the Leopard. This is a case where an older model is better designed and built than the new version (in our opinion at least).

Since you're looking to do coastal cruising, I think you have a wider range of boats and sizes to choose from. Many have done it, but I wouldn't go offshore in a boat less than 40 feet. Our boat needs a 15m (50') marina berth and I've had to hunt sometimes to find a suitable space during our travels because of that, so I wouldn't go any bigger. Robin and I can sail our boat just fine with just the two of us.

The one piece of advice I would give you is this. Catamarans really show well at the dock and at the boat shows, and the pictures in the magazines look awesome, but none of that has anything to do with the experience of 35 knots of wind and 12 foot seas. It's scary and there's a lot of motion and you will get seasick and you will have to hold on to everything in reach just to move around your boat. Yes, you get used to it, and it's all part of the adventure, but it can be a rude shock to the inexperienced. Try and imagine this when you're looking at boats, and some of the features that seem so cool at the dock might not make as much sense.

Doug & Robin
Catana 471, Zangezi
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:04   #26
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

Well said Doug, I often say to people, "its got to be a sailboat first and last" with all that entails. as in must sail well, must be safe to move around on in ordinary conditions must be well built and must "look after" its crew.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:52   #27
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

"Go small, go now, and you will be happier. My wife and I recently purchased a PDQ 36 and she sot appreciates the fact that two people can sail the boat." Chrispeck


Great advice! I've owned two catamarans now (both PDQ36's) and although it would be nice to have a little more salon area the simplicity, maintenance, and slip fees of these smaller cats is a definite plus. Mine has the very dependable Yamaha 9.9 outboards that are inexpensive and easy to work on. I can single-hand the sail systems readily on my 36 and have on many occasions. I guess ultimately it boils down to money, if its not an object for you go large. If it is then I would think that a 35-40ft cat is plenty big for a couple and easily handled.

Hey Chris, how's those upgrades coming along on Miss Kate?
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Old 13-07-2012, 07:02   #28
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

Just my two cents. I am going through a somewhat similar process. While I am looking at somewhat smaller boats my experience may help you out.

After much reading I started looking at Fboats, mainly a C31 with an aft cockpit. I also looked at a Telstar T2. The C31 is somewhat longer and on paper the interior is larger, but the larger and clearer windows made the Telstar seem larger inside when I actually stood in the cabin.

Next I looked at a Seawind 1000xl, which is at a whole different level. While not all that much longer than the C31 and having much the same deck space the interior of the Seawind seemed like the Taj Mahal. The Seawind was in pristine shape and had recent bottom job in the Bahamas with tin paint you can not get in the US.

Then I sailed on a C31 with a center cockpit, which changed my mind about the advantages of the aft cockpit. Helping pull the C31CC out of the water and break it down on the trailer was also a learning experience.

Next the broker took me to the yard where I inspected another C31CC on a trailer. It was one of the cleanest boats I have ever seen. It was a strictly fresh water boat and both the boat and the trailer showed it.

While the Seawind seemed huge to me I also understand to some folks it would seem a little small for their needs. Which raises the first thing I would tell you. Hopefully you and your boyfriend will have the same idea about what is a huge boat. So you both need to be on the same page about things like this.

This is why answering questions about which boat is best are so hard to answer. What seems like a huge boat to one person may seem too small for another, and the same goes for many other features.

While all the advice about looking at boats every chance you get and sailing on them as much as possible keep in mind that perhaps the most important thing is that you and your boyfriend are on the same page about what the ideal boat is.
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Old 13-07-2012, 09:54   #29
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

Trimarans might be a good choice for you, depending on how important performance will be. They are in a different market, and not as widely available as catamarans, but seem to be an up-and-coming class of cruising boats.

Generally, they lack the size and comfort of catamarans, but there are more and more advances in the Tri's in that area all the time.
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Old 13-07-2012, 14:49   #30
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

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Another question I have is what's a good bridge deck clearance so it's really stable but not bumpy in the sleeping quarters?
Depends on size and configuration of the boat. In general at around 40ft you should be able to get under the boat with a dinghy.


What you should keep in mind: You may need an easy way out of this sailing thing so my advice is to go for one of the usual suspects: Fontaine Pajot, Lagoon, Leopard
These may not be the perfect match for your perceived current and future needs but I have the impression that you don't really know yet what you want and need so they should be OK.
These boats are easy to sell if you find out that sailing is a stupid, boring, slow, wet way of travelling and that you always meet the same anchor neighbours wearing only sunglasses all day long.

If you really like sailing but don't like particular details about your boat then you can sell and buy what you really want and need as soon as you that. This is "first hand experience" that you can't get from the couch, no matter how many people you talk to. You may get it from chartering but only to a limited degree as chartering is different from living aboard.

From my experience most liveaboard cruisers don't care much about performance while most couch sailors do. Charter sailors don't care about water & energy budgets while this is of highest importance for liveaboards.
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