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Old 27-09-2010, 10:51   #1
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Fortuna Island Spirit

Does anyone know anything good or bad about the Fortuna Island Spirit 40? I only know that the company closed, Admirial bought one of the molds and that her bridge deck clearance, like most South African Cats is low.

Thanks in advance,

Maje
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Old 27-09-2010, 12:20   #2
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Maje,

I have owned both a IS 37 as well as an IS 400. I have been a charter skipper in the Caribbean for about 20 years. We sold our 400 Aristo-cat II, in Feb 2008, but I still spend a lot of time about several 400s as well as other cats. The 400 is a major refinement of the 37, we did about 146 changes from our 37 to the 400.

The company was sold pretty much at the end of the 400 series run, the new owners changed the mould/model to 401, bought a new factory and then there were exchange rate issues causing financial issues with all the expansion then the company folded. One of the original South African owners is cruising fulltime on his 400. I believe there were about 18 built.

They have a great layout for the boat of their size as they were built for liveaboard and not for charter work, but several of us used them for crewed charter work.

Alot of the advantages of the boat are the wide sugar scoops with easy access to the cockpit. The dinghy goes a stern of the cockpit so you don't have a huge inset for the dinghy cutting into the living space.

Feel free to ask me any specific questions.
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Old 21-08-2012, 08:27   #3
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

Hi,

I too am interested to hear from anyone with experiance of sailing these vessels longer term and bluewater as the bridgedeck clearance looks really low compared to other cats of the same size.

What are the pros/cons of they design?
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Old 21-08-2012, 11:08   #4
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

I have done a lot of sailing since 1999 on several different Island Spirits. I have been all over the Eastern Caribbean. The only time we notice any slamming is when motor/sailing into the wind while passage making. It can happen when operating in calmer waters, but not too often. The only spot you really hear it is under the main salon table. It isn't really an issue below.

I have a photo of 3 Island Spirit's transiting the Panama Canal in February, they are full time cruisers heading to into the Pacific after crossing from Africa.

Something to think about if you are looking at cruising. If the berths go sideways to the hulls in a cat, often they are lower than the bridgedeck and will slam right under your head. AKA Lagoon 410's aft cabins.

Any boat is a compromise and nothing is perfect. Spend time aboard any boat you are thinking of buying to see what issues you can and cannot compromise on. Feel free to ask me any questions. I know the boats pretty well.
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Old 06-05-2015, 22:11   #5
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

Hi Mike and Maje,
I am also considering buying a Fortuna Island Spirit 400. Are you still about for discussion of these boats?
Thanks
Dusty
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Old 13-05-2015, 23:15   #6
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

Dusty,

I just bought an IS 400.. I recommend you join the owners group on Facebook. Just search "Island Spirit Catamaran Owners Worldwide" on Facebook and it will come up.

I could answer some questions, but being a new owner I'm not terribly knowledgeable. Mike definable has more knowledge than me and was a super help when I had questions. He was recently offshore delivering a boat so he may be slow in responding.

I will try to answer what I can.
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Old 16-05-2015, 22:03   #7
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

Thanks.
My initial questions relate to the bridge deck clearance and cruising performance.

The bridge deck is so low I am concerned about it slamming, as discussed in this thread earlier. I am wondering if any other owners can add to this.

I want a boat that sails well, not a flyer and not a bathtub. How does the Island Spirit handle in typical trade wind conditions? In heavy conditions? What is a normal day's run?
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Old 17-05-2015, 01:02   #8
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

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Originally Posted by Sagan View Post
Thanks.
My initial questions relate to the bridge deck clearance and cruising performance.

The bridge deck is so low I am concerned about it slamming, as discussed in this thread earlier. I am wondering if any other owners can add to this.

I want a boat that sails well, not a flyer and not a bathtub. How does the Island Spirit handle in typical trade wind conditions? In heavy conditions? What is a normal day's run?
We are sailing in the company of an Island Spirit 40 and have done around 4000 miles together. Besides issues when the company closed down, the owners are quite happy with their boat. However, it slams a lot due to the very low bridge deck. Neither is the Island Spirit 40 a fast boat - when we do 8 knot in 12 knots of wind, the Island spirit does just over 4 knots. But in fairness, our boat is bigger and have a longer waterline. The Island Spirit have ample interior space - especially the saloon. However, you need to be careful not to overload the boat.
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Old 17-05-2015, 13:42   #9
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

Ours does slam under the salon sometimes, but the seas need to be pretty big for that to happen. For me, the advantages (good sailer, low windage, safer) of the low bridge deck outweigh the occasional slam.

As to sailing, ours is a pretty solid sailer. I have done 11 knots in 20 when I was playing around (fully loaded). Its not the fastest boat, but no slouch. The 37 is supposed to be a little more sensitive to overloading due to the shorter waterline.

The livability is what makes this boat shine. I haven't been in a cat this size that has as much usable space. Its also built as a cruiser and not for charter. Once you are on one you start to appreciate the little touches.

Personally.. I think its the perfect boat for my family and it wasn't even on my list of boats. I came across it by chance, but very glad I did.

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Old 17-05-2015, 13:47   #10
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

Wow 4knots in 12 is pretty poor. Ours is faster than that. We can do 200 mile days in 15 knots of wind, maybe more.

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Old 17-05-2015, 15:48   #11
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

We have spent considerable time sailing an Island Spirit 37, as well as have friends with an IS37 that we often cruise with. Our experiences both sailing the boat and sailing with our friends is that 4kts in 12kts of wind is either into the current, a very fouled bottom, blown out sails or inexperienced sailors. While the boat is not a speed demon (like many other brands of charter/production catamarans), it is definitely not that slow. A cruise-loaded IS37 with mid-life sails will do 50-60% of windspeed with no issues.

travellerw: >8.3kts consistently over 24hrs in 15kt of wind would be unusual for that boat in average sea/current/weather conditions in the Caribbean. Easy when with current or in moderate sea conditions, but rare otherwise. It is unusual for all similar brands of boats of your size, so nothing personal. We are delighted when we get 200 mile days, but we aren't delighted often…

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Old 17-05-2015, 16:35   #12
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
We have spent considerable time sailing an Island Spirit 37, as well as have friends with an IS37 that we often cruise with. Our experiences both sailing the boat and sailing with our friends is that 4kts in 12kts of wind is either into the current, a very fouled bottom, blown out sails or inexperienced sailors. While the boat is not a speed demon (like many other brands of charter/production catamarans), it is definitely not that slow. A cruise-loaded IS37 with mid-life sails will do 50-60% of windspeed with no issues.

travellerw: >8.3kts consistently over 24hrs in 15kt of wind would be unusual for that boat in average sea/current/weather conditions in the Caribbean. Easy when with current or in moderate sea conditions, but rare otherwise. It is unusual for all similar brands of boats of your size, so nothing personal. We are delighted when we get 200 mile days, but we aren't delighted often…

Mark
Mark I would absolutely agree. Now that I reread my post, it suggests that would be "average", and thats not what I meant. I should have said "We HAVE done a 200 mile day". Also, to be clear about the 11 knots in 20. That was not sustained, it was just playing around in a bay for fun. Frankly I would never have pushed the boat that hard for any extended length of time.

In 15-18 knots I was shooting for an average of 6-6.5 knots. 140 miles is a fair day in my books (I'm not a great sailor and I like to go slow). Of course currents and sea state play a large role.

Personally I think most of the modern cats are pretty equal in sailing abilities (with similar water lines). Some might be slightly faster, but they are all pretty close. The only cat I have ever heard someone call a "dog" is a Dean. I've never sailed one, so I take that with a grain of salt.
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Old 17-05-2015, 16:41   #13
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

So it appears the owners and friends of IS 400s love them and think they sail easily and quickly enough. Slamming occurs but not enough to be a problem. I am impressed by the clever design features make specifically for cruisers. Strength appears to be more than adequate.

The sheeting configuration on the one I am looking at seems awkward. To tack short handed it seems you have to set the boat on autopilot, press tack, release the sheet, climb down from the helm, run across the cockpit and climb onto the opposite cockpit seat to sheet in. The winches are on the coach house sides so not easily operated from the cockpit sole. I haven't taken her for a trial sail yet so this is a question. Any comments?
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Old 17-05-2015, 17:05   #14
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

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So it appears the owners and friends of IS 400s love them and think they sail easily and quickly enough. Slamming occurs but not enough to be a problem. I am impressed by the clever design features make specifically for cruisers. Strength appears to be more than adequate.

The sheeting configuration on the one I am looking at seems awkward. To tack short handed it seems you have to set the boat on autopilot, press tack, release the sheet, climb down from the helm, run across the cockpit and climb onto the opposite cockpit seat to sheet in. The winches are on the coach house sides so not easily operated from the cockpit sole. I haven't taken her for a trial sail yet so this is a question. Any comments?
I think all your comments are fair.. All boats are a compromise, but for us, the IS fits like a glove.

Yes, single handed tacking can be awkward as you described the exact process. For us it hasn't been an issue as we always have 2 people.

A couple of things I will add. First, although the company is out of business, the previous company owner still lives on one and actively answers questions through Facebook. He recently ran into a rock and did serious damage (2 foot hole) to the port side keel. He backed off the rock and continued his voyage for 3 WEEKS before being hauled to repair the damage (I have requested permission to post the photo). That will attest to how tough the boats are.

Second, there is a very active owners group on Facebook that readily answers questions and provides suggestions. They have helped me find numerous items for fantastic prices (new tramps, sails, ect).

I look forward to you reporting back after you sail her. I was sold the first time we put the sails up.
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Old 17-05-2015, 17:21   #15
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Re: Fortuna Island Spirit

Many thanks for that feedback. My next step will be to request a sea trial. However, if anyone else has something to add I will keep checking here.

I am willing and tempted to do many things, but engage with Facebook is not one of them. My loss perhaps? Maybe there are other ways we can communicate.

Best wishes.
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