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Old 11-12-2005, 13:53   #1
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Cats between 50' and 60'

My wife and I are planning to go cruising in 2008. Currently we have a 28' power boat but we have little sailing experience. We are planning on buying one a year before we take off. We would like to buy a cat between 50' and 60' for safety and comfort, our budget would be betwen $500K and $750K.
Some people beleive that a cat over 45' would be difficult to handle in high seas. Is that true?
Are bigger cats more difficult to handle in small marinas and coves? Are they easy to handle in high seas with just 2 people? What about maintenance and cleaning? The more I read and talk to brokers the more confused I get.
Thank you.

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Old 11-12-2005, 14:27   #2
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Any SAILBOAT over 45' or even smaller can be a little much for two people. So going 50' or more you would most likely need some experienced crew.

The general rule (I've heard) for monohulls is 14,000 lbs. per crew member, not sure about Cats. But the bigger the sails the harder to handle.

As for Cats, with twin engines, they're not too bad for moving around in tight spaces. But trying to find the space to put one can be difficult.

I think the brokers have $$$$ in their eyes, so be careful. The more you spend, the more they get!

If you want comfort in a monohull, go for an establish make of off shore vessel.
I would imagine a big Cat (over 40') would be a little hard to handle with just two people, if the going gets rough.
And Cats, you really have to know how to handle them in the big swells. They don't manuver around like a monohull, sail or power. It's best to get training from an expert on your own Cat.


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Old 11-12-2005, 16:46   #3
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Big Cats

Do you plan to cruise with lots of other people, or do you plan to entertain a lot? If not, a 50' to 60' cat is really too much for two people, especially inexperienced ones. Since your time frame goes out a few years, I would strongly recommend that you charter some cats in the 40'-45' range. That would be ample for two people plus company.

I am admittedly biased toward Manta catamarans (we live aboard a 2004 42') because it is so easy for a couple to sail (self tending jib, all lines led to cockpit with electric winch, etc). But I would also check out some others in that size range for comparison. Should you charter, pay more attention to the boat than the surroundings - it will be a working vacation for you in the sense that you will be testing each boat you charter.

As for maintenance and cleaning, two hulls are twice as much as one. At least as far as engines are concerned, there is twice the work and expense. But I'll take a cat over a mono in a heartbeat when it comes to maneuverability in close quarters. We can turn our cat in its own length, making tight spots much less worrisome.

Delmarrey is right about handling a cat (and about the $$ in the broker's eyes). It is very different than a monohull, and you would do well to take some sailing lessons on a large cat to see if the motion is agreeable to you. If you don't like the sensation of heeling, you will enjoy the cat much more than the monohull.

Hope this helps somewhat.
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Old 11-12-2005, 17:11   #4
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You probably can get the safety and comfort you want in a cat as small as 45' and the cost may be significantly less.

Also, at your budget level it may be worthwhile to even consider having a semi-custom cat built.

I believe the boat the 2 of you can handle will be based more on the sails and rig than the length.

There are couples handling 85' boats. Some of them say the larger the boat the safer and easier it is to handle.
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Old 11-12-2005, 18:02   #5
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I agree with gosstyla!

I am currently a mono sailor but am in regular contact with a fleet of multi's. The popular compromise for cruisers around my sand box is mid forties. Sail handling, marina space, comfort and maintenace all figured in. I know of many young families cruising in 40 foot cats.

Twin engines or single with a bow thruster in one hull makes a cat easy to manuver.

You might check Australian sources for a boat as OZ is very experienced with cruising multi's and is cheap buying relitively speaking.

gosstyle... a 47 Crowther?! Wonderfull!! Do you know
Katani II ?? Friends of mine on another big Crowther. Another big Crowther "Fantasia" is a few yards from me now. Great boats!

Web sites that may be of interest...


or you can download free, a copy of my publication. They are PDF files available from my web site:

issue # 15 has the results from the Whitsunday Multihull Rendezvous which I sponsor.

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Old 11-12-2005, 21:05   #6
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When I first started looking at catamarans, about 6 years ago, I looked at the 45-48 foot range. I ventured on one and tried to imagine myself single handing it. NO WAY!!!! TOO BIG. I said single hand because you never know when one of you may be temporarily incapacitated, unavailable, etc... For me, conceptually, it was just too much boat. Have you had the oppurtunity to board a cat that large? What was your impression. Imagine handling it when one of you is down with a bout of sea malaise.

After a having a cat for a while now, some refinements of my impression. The issue is probably not one of handling, per se, the biggest issues are maintaining it. With the larger boats, there is SO much more to maintain, and the systems are more critical. If my electric wench dosen't work, no big deal. Use the handle. Not so with a 50+ footer. You have fewer options, and pretty much need all those mechanical conviences to manage the boat.

The length is not the factor that is going to cause you the most challenges, width will be a major issue. I imagine you are going to have a beam of at least 26 feet. This will make many marinas unpalatable for you. You will only be able to be hauled on the big boy lifts (200 ton!) so finding a yard to haul out will be a challenge.

At sea, I think you'd love it. As long as all systems are functioning correctly. I think the tracking and handling of seas would be great.

The maintanance would be SIGNIFICANT. Count on things like a set of sail costing $30k or MORE. Anchors and rode are going to be expensive. Bottom painting is going to be $$$. When they said 10% a year for maintanance they were speaking of boats that size. So, if you could find a cat that large, for under 1 million, you'd still want to budget like 50k-100k maintenance per year.

I'd look at something in the 45 - 48 foot range as the tops. These boats will be VERY large and will take a while before you are completely comfortable running and maintaining them. And, boy are the large!!

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Old 12-12-2005, 02:31   #7
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Lots of good advice above. As to handling, big cats tend to have LOTS of freeboard making them tricky to handle around the docks anytime there is much wind.

One other thing to consider. I don't know where you call home but if you plan to operate near the inshore waters of the U.S. a boat of the size you're considering will have a mast that can't go under the usual 65' fixed bridge.

We transit south and back north from NC each year. The option of using the ICW when the Atlantic is lumpy is nice. Friends on a 55' FP are forced to stay out for all passages.

We looked seriously at 45' cats and found all the comfort we needed in 38'. It is very easy for two to sail.

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Old 12-12-2005, 03:52   #8
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38-44 feet

We currently own a 38 foot Voyage Yacht and are looking to move up to the 44 or 50 for just a bit more room. We have been out 2 years and love the 38 and overall satisfied with everything, but just want a bit more space.

We have met many cruisers who have been around the Caribe and several around the world with 50 plus foot cats. None have said the boat was to large to handle but the setup had to be for two. Most cats are setup to sail from the cockpit and that improves the abilty for one or two to sail.

There are many good choices out there, but we will first look to Voyage and to others to determine our new boat. Though I am not excited about created a new cruising home from a new boat twice, but have llearned a few thing that I would like to change.
Captain Bil formerly of sv Makai -- KI4TMM
The hunt for the next boat begins.
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Old 12-12-2005, 06:23   #9
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50 ft cat

I sailed a Freebird 50 for 10 days early this year. Getting the mainsail up was a bit of a job but otherwise I did not find the boat that different to handle compared to smaller models.

It was nice to have the space but I think a well designed mid 40 s cat is probably all you need.
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Old 12-12-2005, 07:46   #10
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Sorry Bob, don't know Katani II or Fantasia.

There are a few good size Crowthers around here.

Since Bret Crowther decided to get out of designing sailing cats, except for special big boat projects I expect over time you will see frewer and frewer Crowthers.
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Old 12-12-2005, 14:21   #11
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Hi Gosstyla

Big Crowthers stand out though so I thought I would ask. Katani was the last that Lock was involved with I think. I've got Spindrifts and windspeeds and the big ones all around me. I think the legacy is safe for some time.

You australian? kiwi?

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Old 12-12-2005, 15:05   #12
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Thank you all for your great input. After reading and talking to brokers for the past couple of months, I was under the impression that a 50 to 60 cat was the way to go. However, after reading your comments I realize I may be over my head trying to buy a 50+ cat.
In 24 hours you all have answered my questions and concerns. Now I have a better idea of what to look for.
Thanks again.
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Old 13-12-2005, 09:18   #13
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I've owned a Privilege 435 (44ft) for just over three years. When I bought it I thought I'd want to go larger for liveaboard.

I'd now be more likely to go smaller for just the two of us. Favourite now would be a Privilege 395 (39ft). All the space we need, marginally easier to handle and, of course, cheaper!
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Old 13-12-2005, 09:39   #14
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When deciding on my live aboard cruising cat I finally decided, for me, the critical metric was payload capacity.

Any boat that met that requirement easily met my minimum space , length, performance, etc. requirements.

By the way Bob, I'm American (USA). However, I would certainly never be insulted by considered a Ausie or Kiwi.
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Old 13-12-2005, 16:44   #15
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Hey Gosstyla

absolutely no insult intended either. I am ex yank. I had impression that Australia had propriortory interest in the Crowther name.. thanks for educating me.

yes... payload is a big deal... Aussie designer Bob Oram draws a great boat but is known for performance.... loves long skinny legs so if you think a 40 will do for other designs, for his you get a 44 or better. Lesson is that load carrying is only indicated by lenght, not dictated by it.


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