Originally Posted by beiland
I look forward to your critiques, and those items that now seem more important to you on a new vessel. Will you post them here?...or start a new subject thread?
I'll post them here. There have been several threads where people ask for help or share their views and since I started this thread when looking for my last boat, it seems natural to do it here again.
Originally Posted by Factor
Andreas - I would be interested in what your priorities were, and are now.
My priorities will be somewhat similar, but different from last time. Since I'm planning to sail in warm climates, I'll be going for a cat again. Like last time I'm looking for a boat to circumnavigate with, so it needs to be of a certain size to accomplish that. It's natural to look at the boat I had (a FastCat 435) and evaluate her and measure my needs now and compare her with other boats I have experience with. It also needs to be said that I havenít been onboard every cat around, which is where other forum members come in handy with their experience.
Here is my list of things Iím focusing on this time around (not in order of preference):
1. Sizewise I want a boat not smaller than 44 feet, because Iíd like 4 double cabins, 2 heads and plenty of storage
space. With long offshore
passages in mind (and from a safety
perspective) having a boat of that size is good. The minus with having a cat and in particular a big one is that slipping her can both be difficult and expensive. Iíve found that very few slips can accommodate you once you get off the beaten path. Maintenance
is also a pain, because the bigger the boat, the larger the area you need to do maintenance
on. If you need to dodge a storm and go into a marina youíll pay more than an arm and a leg for a big cat.
2. 4 cabins Ė I want 4 double cabins, because then itís easier to have guests onboard, easier to do charters, and easier to have crew (in my case paying crew) onboard. Any cabin
not used is great for storage
. I only had two cabins on the FastCat and found it to be a pain in the ass. Iím not a fan of owner hulls, because I think too much space is devoted to the heads, something I personally find to be a waste of space.
3. 2 heads Ė I only want 2 heads, because any more than that, is a loss of space, represents extra maintenance and I donít want more through-hulls than absolutely necessary.
up Ė On several passages if I had galley
down, we would not have made any food
. On the hook itís social and nice to have the galley close to the cockpit
. This is a personal choice and I know a lot of people think differently. The galley I had on the FastCat rocked, it was probably my favorite thing about the boat.
5. A known brand from a reputable builder
with a solid number of cats behind them. This was a recommendation I got from Phil Berman (Multihull Company). I ignored that piece of wisdom and lost
heaps of money
when I sold the FastCat. Now I will only consider brands that are well known, because it is the only way to guarantee that youíll be able to get remotely close to what you paid for the boat when the journey is over. Small brands are almost like selling a home-built boat, you could be lucky and get what you hoped, but you probably wonít. (The brands that fit my description: Fountaine Pajot
, Voyage, Leopard
, Admiral, St. Francis, Prout, Seawind
, Dean, Catalac
plus a few others, that I canít think of, off the top of my head).
6. A large and comfortable cockpit. On the FastCat I could fit 5 people comfortably around the cockpit table Ö I would like to fit 10. The cockpit area was used for virtually every meal and every social gathering, so to have a large and comfortable one is imperative. The trampolines were also used during social gatherings and I have pictures of when I had 35 people in the tramps during a birthday celebration in Tahiti
, so you can definitely say that a cat lends itself to a party
7. Yanmar diesel
engines. Call me old fashioned, but I would not dare to set sail on a circumnavigation with any sort of hybrid or electrical engine
, no matter what the builder
claims about zero maintenance etc. Things always break and when they do, youíll be hard pressed to find an electrician or mechanic
that knows how to fix the new engines in the Marquesas
or on some outlaying atoll. I had Volvo
engines on the first boat I had and Iím not a fan. I had Lombardini engines on the FastCat and my verdict is: stay well away from them. It is tough to get spare parts
for them anywhere, but in Italy
. The only brand I would feel 100% comfortable with is Yanmar
engines Ö mostly because Iíve always envied people whoíve had them. Speaking of engines Ö A nice and easily accessible engine
area would also be a bonus.
8. On the FastCat, the salon
was large and very nice looking, and could comfortably seat 8 - 10 people, but we never used it. In the tropics we used the cockpit unless the weather
was absolutely horrendous (out of 100 days, we might have eaten 5 meals
inside). So I will have a much smaller focus on the salon
, unless it can be incorporated to the cockpit, like on the Seawind
. A nice salon is very handy if youíre in cold climates, but then having too big a salon becomes a problem, because itís a bitch to warm up and keep warm (I tried in Norway Ö brrrrrr).
9. I put focus on a forward facing nav-station when I bought the FastCat, but again, I hardly used it. And think the space could have been better utilized. Itís nice to have an area where you keep all the instruments, but unless the boat is really big I personally donít find a need for it. Any chart work was done on the salon or cockpit table and all we really used the nav station for was to check the different instruments if we were inside, so they could have been mounted ďanywhereĒ.
10. When I bought the FastCat, speed and the ability to sail well in light airs were high on my list. This will not be a huge focus this time around. Iím not buying
a boat to race
from A to B: Iíll get there when I get there: Ö So the passage
took 21 days instead of 18 Ö So what? ... Weíve had an awesome time on every passage
Iíve been on and whenever a passage was over it always seemed like it came too fast.
My point about speed is that so many other factors also come into play. I was guilty of laughing at Lagoons before I bought the FastCat. I called them condomarans and worse. The thing is that I was thoroughly beaten by both a Lagoon 440
, and a Fountain Pajot 38 when I sailed across the Atlantic with my FastCat. When I sailed from Panama
, we used the least amount of fuel
out of the other cruisers to get there, because we hardly needed to motor
. Everyone else were pretty amazed, because we had stocked up on beer
and booze before we left Panama
and had 52 cases of beer
, 3 cases of rum
a bunch of wine with us and still had a good sail. But then on the next passage from Galapagos
to the Marquesas
even 35 foot monohulls beat us. Why you ask? Timing: They were more fortunate with the wind
then, I the passage before, and so forth. Timing and luck are such important factors on long passages, because the blasted GRIB files are highly unreliable once you get away from the main passages. So while I wouldnít buy a big, heavy and slow cat and then proceed to overload it, Iím not going to be blinded by promises or claims made by builders that their boat is the best thing since the wheel
was invented. Iíll try to buy as light as possible and try not to overload it, and with a few different sails
at hand, Iíll be good to go.
Thereís naturally a bunch of other things Iíll keep in mind as well: Like how the electrics are done onboard. Iíd contemplate generator
vs. solar panels
vs. wind generator
(I HATED my wind generator
, but LOVED my solar panels
.) I also hated the watermaker
I had Ö It was supposedly the best in the business, but it never worked and was a huge disappointment. I'd also steer well clear of air condition and what I call unnecessary luxuries, because they drain the batteries (or force you to run the engines or generator) and normally break when you need them the most.
I can already see that this post is getting ridiculously long, so Iíll stop now Ö My other points are not so important when it comes to the actual boat, but with how to equip it and what to bring with me: A big anchor
, a big dinghy
and minimum a 15 hp outboard
, chief on that list ;-) Ö But I digress! If you have any questions, fire away, but please remember, this is what I discovered after roughly 2.5 years of cruising. Itís not right for everyone, thank God, because then weíd all be squabbling over the same boat, but for me this is what Iíve discovered.