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Old 13-03-2014, 13:40   #1
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Boat: Fountaine Pajot Belize 43 Maestro
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Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

Making the leap from mono to multi for long time cruising in the very near future. We are very interested in FP 43 and find it hard to locate owners versions in US.

Does anyone have experience with or know of available design/construction methods for removing forward berth (port or stbd) and refitting with shelves/cabinets for improved storage. Want to make sure we don't impact hull structure integrity. Not really interested in refitting the couch/sofa - just seems unnecessary weight. We are also considering an older FP Venezia 42 that had the forward stbd cabin modified for storage as I mentioned in my first post.

I also like the idea of a hard bimini. Any prior experience with cost for construction and installation?

Greatly appreciated!

Pete
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Old 13-03-2014, 14:21   #2
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

Quote:
Originally Posted by peteatbeach View Post
Making the leap from mono to multi for long time cruising in the very near future. We are very interested in FP 43 and find it hard to locate owners versions in US.

Does anyone have experience with or know of available design/construction methods for removing forward berth (port or stbd) and refitting with shelves/cabinets for improved storage. Want to make sure we don't impact hull structure integrity. Not really interested in refitting the couch/sofa - just seems unnecessary weight. We are also considering an older FP Venezia 42 that had the forward stbd cabin modified for storage as I mentioned in my first post.

I also like the idea of a hard bimini. Any prior experience with cost for construction and installation?

Greatly appreciated!

Pete
The foreword stateroom berths can be removed, but if you are just wanting shelving/storage, I would work with what's there. Remove the mattress and build on top of the berth framework, it has pretty nice storage underneath already. You probably don't want to be removing anything the looks like a bulkhead.

You quest for light weight and hard top bimini are conflicting. Others on CF have fabricated 'solid' top bimini using lightweight sheet material (can't remember the name). I had a middle section fabricated from fiberglass/nidacore (80lbs total) to walk the boom and then use soft top for the outside 'wings'. It keeps both weight and cost down, plus I can easily remove for hurricane prep.

Good luck in your search for a Belize, it's a great sailing boat, at least IMO!
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Old 13-03-2014, 14:28   #3
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

Google "Just Catamarans" in Florida. I've heard very good reviews of their work and I know they do the type of conversions you're considering. They have a great website with lots of information.
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Old 04-04-2014, 14:19   #4
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

We started out with the owners version but still did a lot of conversions. We tore out the forward berth on the port side to make a pantry and work bench. We did completely removed the bunk so we could walk all the way in. We store a massage table, chiropractic table and a 45qt dometic freezer without any problem in the space and still have space to walk in. We also made the master bed into a king. O so very nice on those hot nights. Got rid of the big table in the salon and built a coffee table with with storage shelf. We also got rid of the back cushions and went with large free pillows instead. Also made slip covers for the sofa so it can be easily cleaned. I don't know how to attache photos but contact me if you'd like to see what we've done. Good Luck!
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Old 04-04-2014, 15:02   #5
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

I just posted some pictures of the pantry and galley in the member galleries. I also forgot to mention that we also have a hard bimini and love it! The previous owner had it make in Venezuela. I'll try to get pics of that posted as well.
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Old 05-04-2014, 14:29   #6
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

Everything is possible but will cost, if you want to do it properly. The 4 cabins in the market are cheaper than owner version. If the price difference justifies it, you can buy 4 cabin and convert it. Otherwise, it's wiser to go for 3 cabin version.
All I can say is that, Belize is a very nice boat, one of the fastest in FP range, free of osmosis issue which hit many recent models of FP.
Cheers
Yeloya
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Old 06-04-2014, 17:04   #7
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

I'm kind of curious about this one as well.

Sunreef have an "owners hull" version in their 70' that I really like but wondering if an older/cheaper 62' could be retrofit for something similar with a master bathroom taking up the front 1/3rd of the starboard "owners hull".

Its a pretty major change and wondering if its even feasible "from an engineering point of view".
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Old 07-04-2014, 08:32   #8
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

MeckDC, great pix - this right along the lines of what I was thinking. Might also want to put some hanging lockers as I there isn't much room in the aft cabin. Did you make the shelves? If so, what materials were used?
Thanks
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:19   #9
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

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Originally Posted by DeanCollins View Post
I'm kind of curious about this one as well.

Sunreef have an "owners hull" version in their 70' that I really like but wondering if an older/cheaper 62' could be retrofit for something similar with a master bathroom taking up the front 1/3rd of the starboard "owners hull".

Its a pretty major change and wondering if its even feasible "from an engineering point of view".
It's done quite a bit. See photos and descriptions on this blog of a Sunreef 62 retrofit: "Lucky Jack" Sunreef 62
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Old 07-04-2014, 09:30   #10
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

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Originally Posted by jostalli View Post
It's done quite a bit. See photos and descriptions on this blog of a Sunreef 62 retrofit: "Lucky Jack" Sunreef 62
AWESOME, thanks so much for posting this.

Interesting that they are changing the orientation of the galley kitchen as well, am flicking through pages now and added to my bookmarks list.

Really wish there was a sunreef owners forum but I guess too few owners out there to justify it.
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Old 07-04-2014, 10:33   #11
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

photos seem to stop in 2012........no mention of it going any further
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Old 08-04-2014, 12:27   #12
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

...I have a couple of questions in relation to this topic...

The 4 cabin versions of most Cats have the heads in the middle of the hull (sometimes 2 in each hull). No one has really made mention of moving, or enlarging the bathroom. Is that possible? (part of the allure of an 'owner's version' is the fact that the owner's suite has a very large bathroom.. and a nice open area between the berth to the head)

Also, does anyone have a guestimate of how much this type of conversion usually runs? and how much work/time is involved to do this if a contractor does it? I know it's a difficult question to answer with lots of variables.. but it would help to have a ball park... $30,000-50,000? $80,000-100,000? what's your best guestimate?
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Old 09-04-2014, 07:08   #13
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

Scarlet, it depends upon the extent of the modifications that you want to undertake. Some people have taken boats with 2 heads per hull, remove the head from one and converted the entire compartment into a shower. This leaves the other head relatively moisture free and provides a large shower compartment. The cost is negligible and is easily a DIY project, If you want to conver the forward cabin into a pantry/storage area and are prepared to leave the existing moldings for the berth etc. in place (and build on top) - again, a relatively easy DIY for anyone who is relatively handy.

On the other hand, if you want to tear out both heads in order to build a new, larger one to your own specifications; if you want to tear out the structural components of the existing forward cabin...... well, I would forget it and go to an owner's version.

Brad
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Old 13-04-2014, 10:23   #14
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

Brad,

how do you get "plastic" to fit a customized installation or do you use something other than "off the shelf" parts to form a custom shower?
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Old 07-05-2014, 06:36   #15
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Re: Converting Belize 43 from Charter to Owner-Like version

Tom and I have decided to get an FP. I'm open to a 4-cabin design that we can make changes to. He's much more focused on a 3-cabin version. I ended up talking with a guy who works for a charter company that has FPs and he told me that not only are none of the interior cabins/heads structural, but FP uses the same basic hull for both 3 and 4 cabin layouts. He said on the 3-cabin version you can see the rough floor for the 4-cabin version under the sofa.

Maje
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