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Old 25-06-2012, 14:16   #1
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Smile Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

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!
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Old 25-06-2012, 14:25   #2
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

Hi, Sitalta,

My wife and I attended a blue water seminar with Bobby Schenk, a German sailor. His recommendation was max. 45 to 47 feet for a couple. My wife and I bought at the upper end of that scale, since I'm 6'2" and simply won't fit into a lot of the shorter boats. After our first 6 months I would tend to agree with him: When things get a bit rough (we haven't really had any serious challenges) handling the sails, anchor or any other part of the boat is a chore.

...but then when things are nice we absolutely love the space...

Happy hunting! Trying out the boats you are considering is the smartest thing you can do. And it's loads of fun...

Oliver
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Old 25-06-2012, 15:34   #3
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

Big is nice for space, but for me, I prefer smaller boats for couples. Less trouble finding places to put it, less money for fixes. It depends on what you want to do with it. Blue water? Coastal?
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Old 25-06-2012, 15:55   #4
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

I'm with your husband. It's all about waterline length and the resulting faster passagemaking. I'd go right up to the limit where you need a crew which is about where you are looking. I'd say you need 3 people to safely run safely a 58' Privilege.

Privileges are better built than Lagoons. I helped move the 61 Privilege for the Miami Show. She had great accommodations. I like the Leopards and Catanas too for quality.
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Old 25-06-2012, 18:56   #5
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

If you are going to spend that much money, I would test out a catamaran.

Make sure you sail it in some waves and less than great weather.
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Old 25-06-2012, 19:20   #6
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

So many choices and they are all good (almost). But really it's like asking what kind of car should I buy. Shop YW and you'll see alot.
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Old 25-06-2012, 19:55   #7
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So much money,'so many choices. Could you pass the Grey Poupon?
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Old 25-06-2012, 20:05   #8
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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.
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Old 25-06-2012, 20:22   #9
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

There are many things to consider when buying a catamaran.
Your boat handling skills will improve with experience no matter what level you are presently at, although getting there may be a daunting experience.
Budget is where many come unstuck as they buy the best biggest than can afford then unexpected expenses come up and make the exercise very difficult.
Saying you will just charter boat to make money is easy to say, but make sure you know what that entails.
Taking strangers on your boat and letting them loose even if you are onboard controlling them is not for the faint hearted as they rarely respect your pride and joy the way you do. Especially if they consider they are paying top dollar for the experience.
As far as size goes, the overall length of a cat does not always compare to the space inside, my 40 footer has as much room inside as some larger cats and people are amazed when they come onboard. Also some cats just give you more cabins and heads as you go up in size.
Waterline is important and can give a better ride and speed, but so is weight.
Some of the “quality” cats also have larger weight than the cheapies and so their performance may be compromised.
Take your time and look at as many cats as you can and get as many rides as you can.
Unless you have money to burn I wouldn’t charter a boat until you have decided on a particular boat. Many owners are very happy to show off their boats and take you for a ride so you can see why their boat is the best.
You also need to decide what you are going to do with your cat. Are you going around the world or are you just going around the harbour?
There is a lot to think about and a reasonable investment in time and money.
At the end of your search the boat will feel right for you.
There is no perfect cat, just the one that suits you best.
Good luck with your search and enjoy the journey.
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Old 25-06-2012, 21:09   #10
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

Narrow Down the field - Boat shows are great for "window" shopping some locations have more Cats than other - Annapolis in the fall and Miami early in the year. Lot more info easily available given the trend toward Cats in the last 10 yrs - if you read thru old threads in the Cat section on this site it will give you lots of info, opinions and owner experiences. There are now Brokerages that specialize in CATs and might have a selection you can also view
Multihull Sailboats - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

Books - there are a few classics that many new Cat owners have used to help them get up to speed & make their decision - might see in those threads

Money - it's a multi-level matter - Acquisition Costs, Fitting Out (to some degree), running expenses and annual maintenance.......often too much focus on acquisition

Sailing a Big Boat with small crew - a few variables, how the boat is set up,
conditions, type of trip (day sail vs 8k nm delivery) and most important, the skill, experience and knowledge of that boat by the Skipper and/or crew.

Watch a charter company staff member move/dock a 62' Cat in a crowded dock area singlehanded w/o any drama because they do it all the time vs a new owner /Skipper who does not have the experience or confidence and would need lots of assistance.

Fun Shopping though.......Enjoy
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Old 25-06-2012, 21:34   #11
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Re: Catamarans -- best choice for us?

Hmm... For the size vessel you're considering, I think you'll better off gain your own insights. 58 is a VERY large cat. and Very expensive.
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Old 25-06-2012, 23:57   #12
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There is no doubt in my mind that chartering a few cats will pay you back big time. So small (30 foot +), medium (40 foot +) and large (50 foot+). Do a deal with a charter to try each in one holiday. Spend 3-4 days on each...make it the off season with windy, wet weather. Do this and you will sort out the size and the things you like, dislike. Go on your own or with a novice other person. Make sure it is you two that have to do the work. I promise you it will be worth it.
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Old 26-06-2012, 06:11   #13
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

I thought we neded at least 40' but really wanted a cat 45' plus. We came across a Seawind 1160 (38.5) and we knew it was the boat for us. After four years of living aboardand cruising more than 8,000 nm, I am glad we picked the size we did. It is especially good when you have to fork out money for a berth or haul out that charges by the foot. Also, when you wax the hull or paint the bottom you wonder why you need a boat so big.

Seawinds have sailed across oceans and they really sail well compared to many cruising cats. We regularly sail on by other makes 3-4 feet longer and keep up with monohulls 45' or more.

You can check out our boat at www.doublewidecat.com

Cam
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Old 26-06-2012, 17:46   #14
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

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.

The boat would probably (eventually) be for blue water voyages but at first we'd just sail it along the west coast and maybe makes some trips to Catalina. He wants to start big i guess, haha.. which is good for off coast sailing right? Another question I have is what's a good bridge deck clearance so it's really stable but not bumpy in the sleeping quarters?

We'd probably buy used so it's fitting with everything already, so I know this might be an odd question but what's really a good age of a boat to purchase it and get the most value? So that enough time has lapsed causing it to natually devaluate after having been fitted with necessary extras but it still being in good condition. Also what is a "turn-key" charter?

Thanks again!
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Old 26-06-2012, 18:03   #15
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Re: Catamarans -- Best Choice for Us?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sitalita View Post
We'd probably buy used so it's fitting with everything already, so I know this might be an odd question but what's really a good age of a boat to purchase it and get the most value? So that enough time has lapsed causing it to natually devaluate after having been fitted with necessary extras but it still being in good condition. Also what is a "turn-key" charter?

Thanks again!
It mostly depends on how it is maintained.

"turn key" is a term meaning all you need to do is put your belongings and food aboard, fill the tanks and take off. Everything on the boat will work as expected and be safe.

It is a lie used by sellers (owners and brokers alike).
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