Originally Posted by scarlet
What criteria do you use when evaluating a catamaran? We've already vetted a list of models we like, but when we actually start seeing these models coming on the used market.. how do we decide which one to buy?
Obviously we will have a proper inspection
once we get to a boat we think might be "the one".. but how do we get to that point? what are the top things we need to look for?
We looked at a ton of used.. and if you want good quality used, start looking now, because it's near impossible to find.. and folks wanted ridiculous amounts of $$ for boats that needed a ton of work, and we just wanted to turn key and go. There was only one boat I saw that nearly fit the bill for us in the used market but we didn't like the saloon
layout with the mega huge chest fridge/freezer and one of the engines had a bit of a knock in it.
I swore when I started looking for boats I would never buy a charter
boat or go in with a charter company but after 2 years of looking I took my "used boat $ budget" and bought new with a charter company.
Now, after almost 5 years with the company, I'm still glad I did.. but also, there is something that I was too quick to rule
out when I was looking for used.. and that was to rule out ex-charter boats. If you have an opportunity to get a boat just coming out of charter or going through phase out, and the chance to be involved with the phase out, I think some very good boats can be had.
I believe we will have a good opportunity to be involved with our boat when it is done with it's contract
, that's when I'll be the squeaky wheel
to get things taken care of.. for now, we have to be understanding of some of the things that go along with chartering and lots of different folks using our boat. For my wife and I, this has been a very good way to get into boating
, and all the things that go with traveling from country to country, living on the boat, and to experience what it's all about. In fact, she wants me to sign up for another go around, and get another boat (she has become hooked on using boats at all the available bases without having to sail ours across the oceans).. I'm ready to take over the boat and make it our winter home.
I can certainly evaluate how well it was taken care of.. how clean it is... is it showing wear and tear.. But, I don't have a lot of experience with things like engines, and sail drives, etc. So, I could use some advice for those items, such as.. "how many hours are too many on an engine"... etc
The only way to know how many or how much hours/time on those types of things is to be a mechanic
or to have grown up around that type of stuff (fortunately for us, we grew up around diesel
motors and heavy equipment
so can pretty quickly tell what shape things are in). In this respect it's just like cars.. you'll see some with shot engines and trannys with 50,000 miles and others with not a lick of trouble with 250,000 miles.
Our lack of expertise has more to do with if the sails
are blown out or not, but we're getting that experience in the mean time.
For those that have bought used.. what were the main things you looked for? what was the deciding factor for choosing one over the other?
O.K.. we didn't buy used.. but in a sense, we did.
First off, to get my wife on board, I needed it to be clean and turnkey.. there was no way I was going to turn this into a retirement
home on the water
if it was trashed and needed a lot of elbow
polishing is one thing.. but sanding
, painting, and wrenching right off the bat would have been a big no-no.
so, 1st thing was (after 2 years of homework on what boat) we bought a new charter boat so wife was covered in the "needs to be nice" department. And, I found one that had what was important to me... good access to the helm
from both sides, good visibility, fair performance, easily single
handed, or at least could easily be made to be single
handed. I wanted a small wrap around galley
and the galley
up, at the most, two heads. Then, because it was to be a home.. it needed a few other things on the list, generator
, aircon, electric davits
and heads, nice big shower
.. (I guess first on the "which boat to buy" list was really that it HAD TO BE an "owners version). Our head/shower on our little catamaran is huge compared to many much larger boats and we love the space in our hull
. Being a new model, it had many niceties, LED lighting
heads, etc. etc.
I don't want this to become an emotional decision.. I want to focus on buying a boat with good "bones" and systems.. at a price range where the depreciation is minimal. I want it to be an attractive boat for resale... And I don't want any surprises. So, I want to be able to spot the MAJOR red flags myself, before we get an inspector involved...
What's your best advice?
As my nick name suggests.. I had 3 model of boats at the top of the list.. privilege
, and lagoon
. Now, after being around cruisers over the last years, there are some other brands that could be on the list.. some very beautiful boats.. the older PDQ's, the older leopards like the 42 and 47. They maybe don't have the newest lighting
, etc., or the best layouts, but there are some beautiful older boats out there.. I think I was possibly too wrapped up in setting my budget
and then ruling out anything that was over 10 years old at the time. There are some good used boats out there, but like I said, start looking, because it's like finding a needle in the haystack from what I'm seeing.
Just one other thing.. I am really glad that we bought a smaller cat, but before I knew what I do now, I was thinking that it would be good to have a smaller cat because of the savings on docking
.. and I don't think that is an issue at all. We spend way more time at anchor
than at dock
when we travel. My wife does not like being in a marina. Granted, the haul outs and paints etc. will be more reasonable on a smaller cat, so small is a good thing. (but with a huge owners hull)