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Old 27-05-2009, 13:33   #1
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Catana 411 for Family Cruising?

Hello everyone,
My wife and I are looking at purchasing a catamaran to cruise through the carribean and then possibly further to europe. We have seen some Catana 411's that seem well equipped and priced in the low 200ks. I was wondering what the thoughts are from the group about these catamarans.
We want one that is a good safe sailing catamaran.
We want one that is not going to take a pounding in depreciation.

We have looked at a number of catamarans recently and the Catana was at the top of my list, while the FP Lavezzi was at the top of my wife's list.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 30-05-2009, 06:34   #2
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The Catanas are sweet boats and would suit your needs well. We looked hard at the 411 and believe there are great ones out there, but watch out for models built during the Catana factory transition. Catana moved it's factory and some of the boats that were built at this time could have issues. We took one 411 through survey and rejected the boat due to delamination at forward bulkheads and other indications that there were bonding problems between the outer skin and core at decks, hull and bulkheads.

There are good ones out there.... get a surveyor with experience with Catana and one who uses a moisture meter. We bought a moisture meter and saved ourselves lots of time by quickly passing on boats that had water in the core... low price boats tend to have problems. Best of luck in your search and upcomming adventures.

Dave
www.PDQ36.blogspot.com
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Old 30-05-2009, 12:57   #3
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When would be the catana factory transition?

One of the boats we are interested in is a 95' catana 411. Would this fall into the factory transition that you are speaking of?
This boat was also recently painted above and below waterline. Would it be harder to tell if there were moisture problems in the hulls or would the moisture meter be able to detect it still?


Thanks,
Jeff
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Old 30-05-2009, 15:05   #4
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Hi Jeff,


To answer you question: I don't know for a fact. I think it was around 1998 that the factory moved.

The Catana 411 I took to survey was a 1998 and it had serious issues. I later found out that the original owner found many major issues when he picked up the boat NEW in France and was seriously pissed and even tried to reject the boat. There was evidence of major repairs before he even got it NEW! All to do with a lack of bond between the core material and skin. The boat was so gorgeous inside with all the wood work and had new engines that I looked past some obvious problems hoping they were only superficial. They ended up being very serious IMHO and we rejected the boat half way through the survey when it became painfully obvious we had just wasted tons of money and time.


I can't speak for other boats or years, but the 1998 sure seemed to be a lemon. We also looked at a 44' Catana that was out of the water for major replacement of hull core below water this boat was a 1995. The problem was in part due to a aftermarket (not by Catana) rub rail that had been screwed to the hull and not properly bedded thus allowing water into the foam core. Once inside it flowed between the foam sheets where there were gaps and spread out a lot. The owner was spending tons of money to fix the boat properly. Guessing maybe $30,000 in repairs to do the job right.

New paint can be good or bad. Depends on why it was applied. Since these boat were originally gel coat finished and gel coat is usually 18mils it lasts a really long time. I'd wonder why the boat was painted? To cover up damage?. A good moisture meter (about $300) in experienced hands can find problems before you get to the earnest money / survey thus saving time and money pre-qualifying boats. The topsides paint should not affect the moisture meter. If the boat is out of the water the below waterline anti-foul is a different story, if it contains copper, which most do it can be harder to get good readings... the paint needs time to dry out if the boat was just hauled. To get around this problem you can also use the meter on the inside of the hull even if the boat is in the water. You have to get direct access to the hull which is a problem on the inside due to furniture and liners. Thus, you can only do spot checks... make them near penitrations in the hull and deep in the bilge. This is based on lots of research and hands on experience as I own a moisture meter and have worked side by side with very experienced surveyors, both of us with moisture meters in hand. It does take experience and experimentation to understand what the meter reading indicate.


After looking at lots of boats in the same price point as you and finding most of the boats in this price point had water in the core material I was pretty discouraged. Most people had their heads in the sand on the topic and many brokers and manufactures reps/sales people were doing a good job managing peoples expectations by playing the water in the core issue down or denying it outright. It seemed like we'd never find a boat that would give us the confidence to go cruising and not have to worry about what "might" happen because water was in the core material (i.e would it de-laminate in a storm, would the boat get water logged and heavy and sail poorly, would it kill resale as the infiltration progressed and manifested problems?) Not a lot of case history out there to show what happens over time to foam core boats (pretty much all production cats use foam cores below the waterline). But, there is not suposed to be water in the core. PERIOD.

Anyway, I was getting really discouraged... Then we found the PDQ. The PDQ has solid glass laminate with vinyl ester resin and an epoxy barrier coat BELOW waterline. At a comfortable distance ABOVE the waterline the boat becomes foam core to save weight and improve stiffness which equal performance. The solid glass is easy to fix should it get damaged by collision and since it's laid up using vinyl ester resin osmosis should not be a problem. If it ever were there is good case history on how to fix soild FRP. I don't know of any other performance catamaran manufactures that use solid glass below waterline besides Outremer and PDQ. When your foam core boat gets wet below waterline it's not so easy to fix and there is little if any case history on how and the long term results. Basically, if the core is wet.... you got to remove one skin either inside or out and all the core and then replace the core and re-glass a new skin. A process that would be difficult and expensive to replicate the original integrity and weight of the hull especially, if the boat was laminated using vacuum bagging at the factory. Repairs like these would give me an ulcer with worry for cost, integrity of the boat afterward and then at some point there would be resale disclosure.


Yes, I do have a PDQ 39 for sale and I hope you don't think this is some crafty sales pitch. My boat is for sale because I fell into a deal on Chris White Atlantic 42 that I couldn't pass up. And now I own two boats and need to sell one. The PDQ 39 is dialed in with a major refit in 2008/2009 and priced to sell. See more at: www.PDQ36.blogspot.com It's no Catana, but it has a great reputation, loyal following, is a awsome coastal crusier and best of all doesn't cost nearly as much either. Learn more about PDQ's at www.PDQ36.com
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Old 30-05-2009, 17:17   #5
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Thanks for the great info on the catana's that you looked at. Hopfully some other catana owners may have some isight on this material as well.

I wouldn't want a boat that could be close to worthless from major moisture in the hulls.

As for the PDQ that you have, unfortunately I must pass. I was hoping for more of a passage maker catamaran, not so much of just a coastal cruiser.

Jeff
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Old 30-05-2009, 18:15   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mason_jj View Post
I was hoping for more of a passage maker catamaran, not so much of just a coastal cruiser.
We just sailed from Guatemala to Florida last week (in less than 5 days underway) That's 800+nm and in my book qualifies as a passage AND the PDQ 39 as a passage maker.

I'd have no qualms about sailing the PDQ 39 on a trade wind passage in the Pacific as only two legs are in excess of 800nm if you leave from Mexico sailing to Australia perhaps only one.

I base this on having already sailed over 15,000 nm crossing the South Pacific between 2005-2008 as skipper of my own ULD 40' mono.

The PDQ 39 would kick butt on the mono on the same passage in terms of speed, but mostly comfort underway. Safety wise the reality is trade wind sailing in the non-hurricane season is not exactly dangerous. We had two gales. One off the coast of Oregon and one a day out of New Zealand both of which could have been avoided if I thought they would be more than 45 knots. I'll also point out that Oregon is at 45 north latitude and New Zealand is at 33 south neither of which is in the trade wind belt nor any where close to where one would need to go to cross the Pacific by any stretch of the imagination. And guess what we sailed to weather all but 4 days on the trip.

The reality is most cruisers will not cross the Atlantic nor venture into the Pacific. As such all else is coastal cruising.

I'm not saying the PDQ 39 is the end all Blue water boat (I just bought a CW A-42 which is a bit closer), but it is a capable passage maker.
If this were the desire the PDQ 39 could take you there safely. If you think the PDQ 39 is not fast watch my video where we are sailing up 13.8 knots. My personal top speed is 16 knots and that's thru the water not over ground!


Having lived with a galley down, the galley up of the 411 would be challenging while underway let alone on a real ocean passage. While at anchor there is little counter space for prep work and I hate to be at the table when someone was cooking bacon. The dual helms at the corners are not where I want to be if I have to take the wheel while at sea... I'd rather hide behind the bulk head and steer when the #&%$ is hitting the fan to the degree that I need to actually steer as the auto pilot can't cope. Since I have a Autopilot that is over sized by a factor of three I've never had this experience on my PDQ 39 only my mono.

Good luck in the search,

David
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Old 31-05-2009, 08:00   #7
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He Dave,
I did not mean insult you about your boat. If fact I didn't even realize that yours different than a standard 36. After your post, I did go through your blog. Very impressive looking boat. You have certainly upgraded and maintained the boat very well. The transoms have added a lot to your boat. Without actually seeing a PDQ, I had grouped them with the Gemini and Wildcat 35, neither of which we liked based on size (top and below). We are looking at cruising with two younger children and found we liked the FP and the catana's were the ones we liked best so far, from what we have seen.

Jeff
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Old 01-06-2009, 11:08   #8
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Hey Jeff,

No worries. Maybe you should take a look at a PDQ first hand. The PDQ was designed from the beginning as a family cruising boat, but don't take my word for it.

A quote from Guide to multihulls, catamaran, trimaran and proa models; the designers and boat yards; easy-to-browse and objective information on multihull craft

"The boat (PDQ) has earned a considerable reputation as a comfortable and reliable, yet adventurous, family cruiser. The PDQ 36 MkII is especially noted for excellence in construction and in concept execution."

There are plenty of reviews of the PDQ out on the web. I have links to several of them on my website www.PDQ36.blogspot.com
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Old 01-06-2009, 18:24   #9
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PDQ Catana and other options

We recently completed a very thorough examination of a number of Cats for family ocean cruising including:
Catana 431/411
Dean 44
Leopard 43/46 (we also chartered a 43 for a week)
FP 46
Lagoon 42/44
PDQ/Antares 44

To us there was no doubt that the PDQ Antares 44i was the best combination of quality build, livability and ease of maintenance so we bought one of the last boats made in Canada a couple of months ago.

The new ones are being built in Argentina and progress reports thus far have been good. I believe that the first one launches at the end of the year.

I have to say that the folks at Antares have been fantastically helpful to me in answering questions - their follow-up service is first rate.

You can get more info at Liveantares.com

Paul and Maureen "Indigo"
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Old 01-06-2009, 21:42   #10
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Hi Paul and Maureen,
Just a quick note about the Antares. I can see why you would like that boat. Unfortunately I believe it is far beyond our price range. I did not even see any listed on yachtworld. Our current budget is 175-250k max.

Also, did you say that you are traveling with family? We have 2 boys, 5 and 3 yrs old. Always love to hear what other family's are planning when traveling with children.

Jeff
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Old 02-06-2009, 16:52   #11
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Did you look at the TPI Lagoon 42 ?

A boat you might want to consider in your price range is the TPI Lagoon 42. We considered one of these and found them to be very well built. (Tillotson Pearson) of Rhode Island moulded the boats under contract to Lagoon and are solid fiberglass below the waterline.
They have inboard diesels with shaft drive and sail vey well.
The only drawback for us was the interior layout which was a little small for our family with three boys (18/16 and 11).
Paul and Maureen
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Old 02-06-2009, 18:58   #12
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In your price range you should consider a Manta 38/40, also solid fiberglass below the waterline.
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