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Old 21-01-2016, 21:20   #1
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General Questions for a Catamaran

I am coming from a 27 Hunter with terrible sails, a terrific 1 cylinder yanmar, and leaky hatches that are difficult to replace because the trapezoidal shape is no longer made in that size. It also had an odor problem.

I am looking into a Catamaran because of qualities of speed, no heeling, and decent living space. My dream would be a used Lagoon, Nautitech, Catana or Leopard, but with the crash in the markets, it looks like a Gemini is the best option.

Here are some questions. Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.

1) If I need to replace the sails, I am thinking of a 135 Genoa, Screecher, and Mainsail made out of premium woven dacron from Mack Sails. (price $2k, $3k, and $2k + $800 for Mack Stack). I think Doyle and North Sails may be a bit pricey. Any other sail choices or manufacturers? I am interested in durability over performance.

2) If I want Air Conditioning on the boat, do I need a generator like a Honda 2000i? How are marine ACs generally powered when not at the marina?

3) If I want to run nav station gear, laptop, lights, fan, and fridge all day, how much wattage in solar panel capacity is recommended? Is 600watts good enough? Are 2 house batteries (deep cycle) + a starting battery good or is 3+1 definitely better?

4) Should boat + fixes/upgrades only constitute 50% of the budget? The other 50% would be provisions, dockage, diesel, repairs, entertainment, etc.? Or can I spend up to 80% on boat?

5) If I buy a used boat and want it to shine, can the gelcoat be buffed to remove dock rubbing marks and other marks?

6) Can the steering wheel be replaced with a larger one if there is room?

7) Pros and cons of an inflatable dingy vs. plastic shell (like a row boat)?

8) Can the propane storage locker hold "normal" size propane tanks. I exchange tanks for my Weber grill, it seems easier than re-filling.

9) Are most surveyors good with Cats or do I need a specialist for the survey?

10) How much should I expect to pay for a water maker and what is a recommended model?

These are the top 10 questions I am currently researching. Any experience, recommendations, or advice is appreciated on any of these questions.
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Old 21-01-2016, 21:23   #2
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

Lithium batteries are worth looking into. Save on weight take charge much quicker. More cycles. Bad part is cost.


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Old 22-01-2016, 00:00   #3
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

Budget? Approx size? (based on your sail budget, I'd guess something small)
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Old 22-01-2016, 06:52   #4
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
I am coming from a 27 Hunter with terrible sails, a terrific 1 cylinder yanmar, and leaky hatches that are difficult to replace because the trapezoidal shape is no longer made in that size. It also had an odor problem.

Hatches can all be repaired, not a real good reason to give up on the boat, most hatches will develop leaks at some point in their life.



I am looking into a Catamaran because of qualities of speed, no heeling, and decent living space. My dream would be a used Lagoon, Nautitech, Catana or Leopard, but with the crash in the markets, it looks like a Gemini is the best option.



Here are some questions. Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.



1) If I need to replace the sails, I am thinking of a 135 Genoa, Screecher, and Mainsail made out of premium woven dacron from Mack Sails. (price $2k, $3k, and $2k + $800 for Mack Stack). I think Doyle and North Sails may be a bit pricey. Any other sail choices or manufacturers? I am interested in durability over performance.



There are a lot of other manufacturers out there too, think mail order, rolly tasker, FX, etc.....these can really help stretch your dollar



2) If I want Air Conditioning on the boat, do I need a generator like a Honda 2000i? How are marine ACs generally powered when not at the marina?

AC for the most part needs shorepower or a reasonable substitute like a generator. Depending on the size of the AC unit, you may need a larger generator than a honda 2000. Small AC units will be well serviced by the small generator, but if you desire to keep the boat like a meat locker in the florida summer then you'll need a built in diesel gen.

3) If I want to run nav station gear, laptop, lights, fan, and fridge all day, how much wattage in solar panel capacity is recommended? Is 600watts good enough? Are 2 house batteries (deep cycle) + a starting battery good or is 3+1 definitely better?

Use the site google custom search engine and look up energy or power budget.....there are too many answers for a simple answer



4) Should boat + fixes/upgrades only constitute 50% of the budget? The other 50% would be provisions, dockage, diesel, repairs, entertainment, etc.? Or can I spend up to 80% on boat?

yes, no, maybe.....always, but not sometimes



5) If I buy a used boat and want it to shine, can the gelcoat be buffed to remove dock rubbing marks and other marks?

Mythbusters proved you can polish a turd, just depends on how much work you put into it.


6) Can the steering wheel be replaced with a larger one if there is room?



7) Pros and cons of an inflatable dingy vs. plastic shell (like a row boat)?


yes


8) Can the propane storage locker hold "normal" size propane tanks. I exchange tanks for my Weber grill, it seems easier than re-filling.

The gemini in particular? maybe



9) Are most surveyors good with Cats or do I need a specialist for the survey?

it's a boat, but a surveyor that's seen a few will be better equiped to spot specific problems



10) How much should I expect to pay for a water maker and what is a recommended model?

again, there is no answer that can be given


These are the top 10 questions I am currently researching. Any experience, recommendations, or advice is appreciated on any of these questions.




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Old 22-01-2016, 07:10   #5
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

lindabarzini, if you use the search function you will find specific threads on numerous of the questions you have asked. If you are sold on the Gemini, keep in mind that they are very weight sensitive. In the result, I would not recommend air conditioning except, if necessary, a portable unit when dockside.

IMO you definitely want to go with an inflatable (preferably an RIB) as they are typically lighter for the size and MUCH more stable than a solid dinghy.

600 Amps of solar should be fine on a small cat and yes, a larger house battery bank is better bearing in mind weight.

Some scuffs/fading can be polished out of gelcoat, but there is no generic answer. Geminis also have a tendancy towards stress cracks on the deck/bimin areas and there is certainly no way to buff them out!

No need for a bigger wheel and, in any event, I suspect it would interfere with the companionway.

Mack makes great cruising sails, IMO.

And yes, IMO you are better off with a surveyor who not only knows cats, but preferably one who knows Geminis.

Brad
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Old 22-01-2016, 08:29   #6
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

lindabarzini, There is an exceptional users group for Geminis on Yahoo. You can ask and get both general and very specific information about all the various incarnations of Gemini models.
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Old 22-01-2016, 14:33   #7
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

As a professional yacht broker and this is al,l I have done for 33 years, I just casually look over the "I wanna buy a boat" inquiries and try not to put my two cents in because I don't want to appear to be soliciting for business.

However in all these inquiries I notice the same thing again and again. No one states a boat size or a budget? Not to mention how many people are using it, what have seen before that you like or don't like (or better yet have you even been on a sailboat before) and how do you intend to use it.

You can't do any real looking or shopping without at least a price parameter. And that budget, is it ALL IN or a starting point. If you're looking for a 40' for 50K all in, you're going to have to buy something for 35K max and it's going to be a project. You can easily spend 5-10-20% of the value of the boat in the first year just fixing survey issues and doing some minor upgrades.

And remember Price usually reflects condition. There is a big difference between a 50K 30 year old 40 footer and a 150K 10 year old 40 footer.

Also for whatever boat you buy, get the best surveyor you can find, and PAY THEM WELL and ask around WHO is the best.
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Old 22-01-2016, 15:55   #8
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

Hi there
My comment on para 3.
I was once told by an old sailer that the biggest problem on a cruising boat is lack of electricity. On that very good advice, I have "overdone" my power requirements & have never looked back.
Your solar panel size must take into account latitude, average daily sunshine, etc. Your panels must all be the same size & connected to a good quality MPPT controller. My panels are wired in series to give a nominal 24VDC to controller. The controller adjusts output to battery voltage.
Remember that AGMs are probably useable down to 40% of their capacity. Therefore if you think you need 600AH, you need to buy 1000AH batteries. I am conservative so I would add another 25% or more to cover you through long winter nights & heavily overcast days.
LED lighting will significantly reduce your energy needs.
I highly recommend a good battery monitor that will give you % of battery left, etc, etc. This is like a car fuel gauge, absolutely necessary.
Don't buy a boat that looks good but has badly designed/installed electrics.
Good luck & good sailing.
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Old 22-01-2016, 16:28   #9
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

I've never seen a boat with too much solar capacity. I suggest you fit as many solar panels as you have space to put them. Get a good MPPT controller or two. Catamarans generally and Geminis specifically are weight constrained. Your best opportunity to save weight and improve the performance of your electrical system is LiFePO4 batteries. LiFePO4 batteries have a high up-front cost, but treat them well and they may outlast your boat. Most important, balance them properly prior to installation and then never exceed a charging voltage of 3.45 per cell (13.8V for a nominal 12V system). Fractional C (slow) charging sources like solar should be kept to 3.40V per cell (or 13.6V for a nominal 12V system). In my opinion, a BMS that monitors cell voltages is a waste of money, but some here recommend them (and sell them). In my opinion, a BMS that actively tries to balance cell voltages is a Battery Murder System.
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Old 22-01-2016, 21:45   #10
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

The best catamaran for you is the one that you can afford to buy and maintain.

When I look at a yacht, I don't look at the price tag. I take a legal pad on to the yacht with me and write down everything that needs to be changed, replaced or upgraded. Then I price out those items and add it to the purchase price to see what it really costs. It's not unusual to spend 30-40% of the asking price on refitting the yacht so that you can actually do something with it. If it just a floating condo, then it's the yacht price plus slip fees and insurance.
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Old 23-01-2016, 02:06   #11
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

At this point, I don't have a set price point for budget. I am in an exploring phase so my budget will slide with my interest. I'm gathering as many facts and ideas as possible to see what options are available.

My budget would be different if I decided to circumnavigate then just go to the Bahamas. I have only been sailing in the Chesapeake Bay, so I am trying to decide if I want to do coastal cruising and/or Caribbean exploring.

I don't apologize for not knowing exactly what I want to do and for how long. I love spending hours researching boats on Yachtworld, Boattrader, and craigslist.

I am pretty sure my definite next step will be to get on several boats and test either as a charter or crew, but in the meantime, I watch the Delos, Vagabonde, Wicked Salty, Thelonious, and other videos and let myself get inspired.
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Old 23-01-2016, 02:49   #12
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

We have a Gemini 3400 and have lived on if since 2007. They aren't perfect boats but no boat is. They are a great option with lots of choices in terms of budgets. The older ones will be less expensive. The newer ones more expensive. If you go older, you can get one down in the $40k range that is usable. New ones I think are in the $250k range.

Oh, and ours is for sale (just picked up a different cat in europe) 1995 asking $65,900 in Michigan but open to offers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
I am coming from a 27 Hunter with terrible sails, a terrific 1 cylinder yanmar, and leaky hatches that are difficult to replace because the trapezoidal shape is no longer made in that size. It also had an odor problem. While we haven't had any signifcant leak issues, any boat can have hatches leak.

I am looking into a Catamaran because of qualities of speed, no heeling, and decent living space. My dream would be a used Lagoon, Nautitech, Catana or Leopard, but with the crash in the markets, it looks like a Gemini is the best option.No healing and better living space are good reasons. I wouldn't count on drastically faster speeds unless you go to really high end designs...but those usually sacrafice living space to get performance.

Here are some questions. Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.

1) If I need to replace the sails, I am thinking of a 135 Genoa, Screecher, and Mainsail made out of premium woven dacron from Mack Sails. (price $2k, $3k, and $2k + $800 for Mack Stack). I think Doyle and North Sails may be a bit pricey. Any other sail choices or manufacturers? I am interested in durability over performance.

2) If I want Air Conditioning on the boat, do I need a generator like a Honda 2000i? How are marine ACs generally powered when not at the marina? 2000w generators are borderline. Some get them to work. Others don't. We went with a 2400w inverter (yamaha) and it starts the air/con without resorting to modifications to the air/con. It's not as nice as a built in generator but it's hard to find a good place to put one on a small boat. Plus it's a lot cheaper. Give good thought to where you will put it. We place it on the aft corner with the exhaust facing overboard. We tie it off and we keep a CO detector in the cabin.

3) If I want to run nav station gear, laptop, lights, fan, and fridge all day, how much wattage in solar panel capacity is recommended? Is 600watts good enough? Are 2 house batteries (deep cycle) + a starting battery good or is 3+1 definitely better? One nice thing with the gemini is they use a dual fuel fridge. Take the fridge out fo the mix and 600watts is probably overkill. We have 110watts and a single deep cycle battery. Sounds like you might push it a little more but 200w and a couple deep cycle batteries will probably handle your needs.

4) Should boat + fixes/upgrades only constitute 50% of the budget? The other 50% would be provisions, dockage, diesel, repairs, entertainment, etc.? Or can I spend up to 80% on boat? Depends how long you plan to cruise. If you only plan to cruise for a year, 50% is probably fine. The longer you cruise, the lower the percentage should be spent on the original purchase.

5) If I buy a used boat and want it to shine, can the gelcoat be buffed to remove dock rubbing marks and other marks? All depends how much effort you want to make. Yes, gelcoat can be brought back to like new condition. One thing you will see on Gemini's is cosmetic spiderweb cracking. Structurally the boat is fine but to keep the weight down, the panels will flex. Unless they are unusually large or get into the deck coring they are purely cosmetic. They can be fixed but again a lot of effort.

6) Can the steering wheel be replaced with a larger one if there is room?Why would you want to? I can spin the wheel lock to lock with a finger tip.

7) Pros and cons of an inflatable dingy vs. plastic shell (like a row boat)? Search for dingy threads. There are pros and cons. Also you need to split inflatables into roll up vs RIB as they also have different pros and cons.

8) Can the propane storage locker hold "normal" size propane tanks. I exchange tanks for my Weber grill, it seems easier than re-filling. Ours came with horizontal tanks. When they reach the end of thier life, my plan is to mount BBQ tanks on the davits. Doesn't look as pretty but easier to get refills. We are usually in a marina so a tank typically lasts a couple months and we have two. If you are at anchor (fridge on propane), you need to plan on replacements every 2-3 weeks.

9) Are most surveyors good with Cats or do I need a specialist for the survey? Gemini's use traditional construction for the most part. Check the yahoo site for threads that cover surveys. Check the boards and the steering but not much else stands out.

10) How much should I expect to pay for a water maker and what is a recommended model? No idea on cost but unless you are going somewhere where they don't have water, I wouldn't bother. We easily get a week out of the tanks. If we were careful, we could bump that up to 2 weeks.

These are the top 10 questions I am currently researching. Any experience, recommendations, or advice is appreciated on any of these questions.
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Old 23-01-2016, 14:18   #13
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

"I don't apologize for not knowing exactly what I want to do and for how long. I love spending hours researching boats on Yachtworld, Boattrader, and craigslist."

Nor should you. Part of the fun that gets overlooked, and I believe is regretted later, is the "purchase". I'll write a longer bit on this topic on our blog but for now I'll say enjoy it.

That being said watch for "paralysis of analysis". I'm thinking of one fellow in particular I met at a boat show where I was hanging on the Catanas with a broker buddy (there are many characters like this). That guy knew everything about everything about every catamaran in existence. He schooled me on all kinds of stats. When I asked what he owned and where he'd been his answer was nothing and no-where. This is not uncommon. I think I know the cure.........

Buy a boat. Get the Gemini...........you'll have a blast, sweat, spend irresponsibly, laugh, cry, smile and at the end of the day you'll be sitting at anchor one lovely Chesapeake evening and it will just all feel "worth it".

There ya go, Ohana's two cents :-)

I do have an response to one of your questions. A/C. We have found from cruising the East Coast, Caribbean (eastern and western), Pacific et al that dockside A/C is all you need and preferably a self contained unit that can be tossed and replaced in an afternoon should the occasion arise. At anchor we were always cool enough.

All the best.

A friend sent me this a few days ago, just love it.

To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea... "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
"I've always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can't afford it." What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.
Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
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Old 23-01-2016, 19:58   #14
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
I am coming from a 27 Hunter with terrible sails, a terrific 1 cylinder yanmar, and leaky hatches that are difficult to replace because the trapezoidal shape is no longer made in that size. It also had an odor problem.

I am looking into a Catamaran because of qualities of speed, no heeling, and decent living space. My dream would be a used Lagoon, Nautitech, Catana or Leopard, but with the crash in the markets, it looks like a Gemini is the best option.

Here are some questions. Any advice or recommendations are appreciated.

1) If I need to replace the sails, I am thinking of a 135 Genoa, Screecher, and Mainsail made out of premium woven dacron from Mack Sails. (price $2k, $3k, and $2k + $800 for Mack Stack). I think Doyle and North Sails may be a bit pricey. Any other sail choices or manufacturers? I am interested in durability over performance.

2) If I want Air Conditioning on the boat, do I need a generator like a Honda 2000i? How are marine ACs generally powered when not at the marina?

3) If I want to run nav station gear, laptop, lights, fan, and fridge all day, how much wattage in solar panel capacity is recommended? Is 600watts good enough? Are 2 house batteries (deep cycle) + a starting battery good or is 3+1 definitely better?

4) Should boat + fixes/upgrades only constitute 50% of the budget? The other 50% would be provisions, dockage, diesel, repairs, entertainment, etc.? Or can I spend up to 80% on boat?

5) If I buy a used boat and want it to shine, can the gelcoat be buffed to remove dock rubbing marks and other marks?

6) Can the steering wheel be replaced with a larger one if there is room?

7) Pros and cons of an inflatable dingy vs. plastic shell (like a row boat)?

8) Can the propane storage locker hold "normal" size propane tanks. I exchange tanks for my Weber grill, it seems easier than re-filling.

9) Are most surveyors good with Cats or do I need a specialist for the survey?

10) How much should I expect to pay for a water maker and what is a recommended model?

These are the top 10 questions I am currently researching. Any experience, recommendations, or advice is appreciated on any of these questions.

The answer to a lot of your questions is "it depends".

1) Nothing wrong with Mack Sails, I have two of them; but some folks would say you could buy used sails and get more bang for your buck especially if you are looking for a cruising sail and not really worried about speed.

2) Honda 2000 is fine. But keep in mind the sound of the AC and the Honda may well upset those around you. There are lots of threads about running gensets and not complete agreement how considerate it is. The point being that folks on one side of the question of gensets will give you different answers than folks on the other side of the question.

3) No agreement on how to set up house battery systems. Standard advice is to measure your daily usage and set up the system accordingly, but some folks like single bank and others like multiple banks.

4) Depends on the shape the boat is in when you buy it.

5)Probably unless the scuff marks are really deep.

6) If there is room for a bigger wheel you can put in a bigger wheel, question is will the bigger wheel be worth the effort.

7) Depends on how you will use it, both have advantages and disadvantages. It is harder to row an inflatable, but easier to store one as a rule, also easier to power one as a rule.

8) Don't know about Gemini but if you cruise it may be harder to find places that exchange than refill.

9) Lots of folks think very few surveyors know anything about cats, in fact there is a school of thought that very few surveyors know anything about boats.

10) Lots of arguments about water makers, including the need for one. Low end ones are probably at least $US3,000.

To a great extent your questions are a matter of personal preference. Not only that but over time your preference may change. Not only do preferences change but the way you think you will use a boat may change.

I see little need for a watermaker unless you will be doing long passages to remote places. A Honda 2000 can reduce the need for a bigger battery bank and solar unless you will be away from gas stations for quite some time. Rowing a couple of hundred yards from a mooring ball/anchorage to shore means a much different type of dinghy than if you are loading diving gear for a two mile (or more) trip to a reef you want to dive on. As a rule an inflatable will carry a bigger load, stuff like water jugs or jerry cans for gas. I have a solar oven on my cat which reduces propane use and allows me to even bake bread, the extra real estate on a cat is a big OK here.

The longer you spend at CF the better you will be able to answer these questions by yourself.
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Old 23-01-2016, 20:57   #15
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Re: General Questions for a Catamaran

Excellent responses. Thanks.

This is a good example of why it is so difficult to set a firm budget. Without much experience, it is difficult to know exactly what I want.

I think I need to spend more time reading threads here instead of the hours I spend looking at yachtworld, then volunteer as crew for a variety of boats for experience.
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