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Old 18-04-2006, 10:23   #31
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Will,
First what do you mean by "offshore". If you mean you will usually be at a marina and occassionally go cruising "offshore" for a week or two or even a month or so that is one thing.

However, if you mean you will be living aboard, infrequently at marinas, and usually cruising "offshore" between very out of the way anchorages. That is another.

The problem is payload.

I suggest you make a very detailed list of everything you plan to have on the boat and the weight of each of these items. This includes, but is not limited to:
fuel, water, safety gear, ground tackle, dinghy with motor and its other gear, spares, tools, personal gear of all crew, weight of crew, provisions, etc. .... everything.

Next comes the hard part, determine the payload capacity of the boats you are interested in. This info is not usually part of the specs brokers will give you and when they do it is usually wrong or at least not precisely defined. So you will have to work at this to get good information.

If your cruising fits in the first catagory above you might find a boat a little under 40ft that may be able to handle your payload requirements. If you fall in the second catagory I doubt you will find anything under 45ft.

You mentioned you are thinking of chartering to test a few boats - that is a very good idea. Even if your cruising fits the first category, if you want to spoil yourself I suggest you charter 2 boats back to back. Say a 38ft Voyage for a week and then a 44ft Voyage for the following week. If you do this please be sure you charter the 38ft for the first week otherwise I promise you you will be absolutely miseable the second week.
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Old 18-04-2006, 12:56   #32
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European boats have max safe load nailed to the bulkhead, by law, so easy to find out.

Of course, the bigger the boat, th emore load, but bye-bye 'the simple life'.

What IS a reasonable estimate for a cruising load anyway?
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Old 18-04-2006, 16:38   #33
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Hi Will:

I see a lot of good information being passed on by the others, many who have helped me in this process as well. My one major consideration was headroom. You mentioned that you were 6'3" which is exactly the same height as me. Before you get too excited about a particular boat I suggest you get on board as many as you can to see if you fit. After 3 boat shows and visits to brokerage docks, I have found that there are very few Catamarans that can give a 6'3" person full headroom throughout, especially less than 40 ft in length. Moby mentioned one of them, the Broadblue 385.

I had a thread going on this topic a couple of months ago that you might want to visit:

Catamaran's for tall people

You really do need to go on board. The information I was able to get from the manufacturers and brokers was incomlete or misleading at best.

gosstyla mentioned chartering a Voyage. At 6'3" I cannot stand anywhere in the working galley of the Voyage 38 due to the slope of the salon ceiling. I could get halfway in the galley of the Voyage 440. In most cases, except for the Broadblue, Cats that have a Galley in the forward section of the Salon presents a problem. I cant even stand up fully in the Galley of the Lagoon 410 which surprised me. Of course you can bend over a little and still be fine. The other problem areas are usually the heads. Thanks goodness there are some strategically placed hatches above in the heads and showers of some boats. I chartered a Lagoon 410 for a week and it was fine. I just don't want to have those issues when I move aboard permanently.

Good luck with your search and thanks for keeping this dicussion going. I learn several new things every time I come to this site.
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Old 18-04-2006, 18:28   #34
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Laser
Your original thread posting from your observations at the Miami show were interesting. To what model, size are you now inclined.
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Old 18-04-2006, 18:35   #35
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Hello Cameron:

Everyone has their own personal priorities when chossing a boat so my preferences may be much different than someone else's. I currently have a short list of Manta 42, Broadblue 385 and Lagoon 420 (if I can get it with diesels instead of electrics). I am looking for a full time liveaboard that I feel would be seaworthy enough for a circumnavigation. There are plenty of folks doing successful circumnavigations in many different boats that are not on my list. It comes down to personal preferences and what compromises you are willing to make.

Bruce
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Old 19-04-2006, 09:34   #36
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The early BB 385 was short on headroom in the aft cabins above the bunks. The design has been changed to lower these bunks and provide better headroom.
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Old 19-04-2006, 16:14   #37
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Another leaner leaning toward catamarans

Hi Will,

My wife and I are in a similar process:

Situation
We started looking at a boat for a circumnavigation in October of last year with the goal of being on the water by the end of this year. We have sailed a fair amount but almost all of our experience was with mono hulls. I initially didn't even consider multis due to myth and taboo rather than any real substantive data. After the Miami boat show we were very intrigued by the catamaran market and chartered a comparable mono and cat back to back.

Boats
Our short list and imminent decision has subsequently gone from:
Malo 45
Najad 440 aft cockpit
Hallberg Rassy 48

To those three monohulls and:

Lagoon 470, Lagoon 420 (diesel)
Broadblue 435
Privilege 435
Voyage 440 (need to look into construction and bridge deck issues more)
Leopard 43 (need to look into construction and bridge deck issues more)

I have a balanced opinion (mono versus multi) at this point but I think my wife is all but a multihull convert now.

Resources
In trying to get up to speed quickly I have found the owners forums (and this one!) to be invaluable. I have also found Chris White's book, "The Cruising Multihull", to be packed with great baseline data and good perspective (although it was written several years back). The "Sailor's Multihull Guide" is a necessary book if just for the reference data. I also recommend the Multihull Maven web site (great consolidated brokerage listings, much like MLS):
http://www.multihull-maven.com/

(Gord: Thanks for the posts above, I just ordered a few reviews from MultiHull World. The Brits don't seem to pull punches like the American trades do.)

My Cruising Criteria
After sailing on a few cruising cats I have established some invariants that are important to my wife and I. These are our criteria and not necessarily applicable to anyone else.

- 40' LOA or greater
Everyone has their own risk tolerance and skill set. I recall a post regarding a couple that sailed from the UK to New England in a 28' mono who were happy to have only rolled 3 times in the transit and ready for the next passage. I am not made of the same stuff. Naval architects seem to agree that larger boats are safer in the open ocean, mono or multi. Ocean passages present the one situation where you may be out long enough to make predicting the weather and seas for the entire trip impossible. There seems to be no substitute for LWL when it comes to safety and comfort in the tough stuff. Chris White and several others recommend catamarans over 40 feet as a good open ocean stability and safety minimum. Storage is another motivation especially if considering 2-3 week runs.

- Helm in the cockpit on the bulk head
I do not want to be on a fly bridge or the quarter managing the boat in nasty weather. I want to be protected from the weather, near the coffee (see next point of criteria), near the nav station and near the rest of the crew (presumably enjoying the comfort of the saloon). It's entertaining when sales reps tell you that your autopilot will handle things in a gale. It may, but it likely will not, and I probably wont rest while trusting it even if it will. The helm should be comfortable in all conditions and functional.

- Galley up
I cook a lot on board and I want to be with the rest of the crew while doing it. No other motivation here. I have heard people say that you don't have to look at the dishes if the galley is down. I guess they don't mind the smell of crusty plates near the sleeping quarters? Come on, just put 'em all in a net and chuck 'em overboard for the night, they'll be clean in the morning.

- No additional moving parts under water
I know many folks love boards and all manner of other trick underbody devices, and for good reason. For us the added complexity of boards and the additional exposure represented by the potential damage in a board down grounding outweigh the benefits. We have chosen to seek full skeg rudders and integral keels. (Looked at a wonderful CNZ4500 that could have been "the one" but had to pass because of the boards.)

- Strong hull and great build quality
I will intentionally beach and unintentionally ground any catamaran I cruise over long distances. I require a strong hull and will trade speed for it. I look for boats with a substantial layup schedule and preferably Vinylester resin. I am interested in minimal maintenance and no large projects (such as blisters or delam). The builder must have a solid track record and stand behind their product.

- Effective Anchoring system
I need to be able to deploy two anchors off of the bow and one off of the stern. Anchoring should be easy. I need two self stowing chain lockers and two bow rollers, a good windlass with rock solid mounting, a good bridle and a jam free chain path. I have cruised with a rotten anchor setup only once but I would never wish such a condition on anyone.


Hope some of this is useful or at least thought provoking. I'd be very interested to hear if anyone thinks my short list doesn't match my criteria or if I've missed a boat I should consider.

Best regards,
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Old 19-04-2006, 16:49   #38
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Randy:

Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts. I always learn something from these postings.It is very helpful to hear the details of your requirements. I too would be interested in a Lagoon 420 (diesel). I have been in continuous contact with the Lagoon rep here and although there is talk, there are no current plans to offer a diesel version of the 420. He mentioned that maybe the 2008 versions might have diesel as an option. Please let me know if you have heard otherwise.

I have ruled out the Leopard 43 after spending quite a bit of time on it at the Miami boat show. The interior layout is very well done but the positioning of the winch and lines at the helm make it difficult to sail the boat. My reasons are in a previous thread that had my show observations Catamaran's for tall people

I do like the Leopard 40 as an option but its not on my list because I dont feel it is as well made and structurally sounds as the rest of the Cats on your list.

I would recommend having a look at the Manta 42 that was not on your list. You were probably on it at the Miami show. Compared to the rest of the Cats on your list it probaly has the smallest feel inside and smallest sail plan, but it may be an option.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

Bruce
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Old 19-04-2006, 17:31   #39
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Leopard 43

Hi Laser,

Did you check out the Leopard options list? I noticed on the Leopard 43 spec sheet that you can get the halyards and reefing lines brought back to the cockpit. They also offer a washing machine, water maker and most of the other things you mentioned on the option list. No guarantees you'll have storage afterwards of course.

I'm only 5'9" so I'm not sure how the boat management issues would affect me. I did visit the Leopard for a brief interval at the show but we were really there looking at mono hulls. I wasn't prepared enough to get the benefit it seems you captured.

I am troubled by any setup that doesn't have a winch for the main and a winch for each jib sheet, however (didn't see an option to add a halyard/mainsheet winch on the Leopard 43). Your anchoring comments also have me concerned, good anchor access on the bow is very important to me.

You mentioned structural issues as well. What are your thoughts there on the Leopards? I was considering chartering one to see how bad the slamming was with the low bridge deck.

I also noticed you had the Lagoon 380s2 on your list. We loved that little boat but size and storage issues have us fairly concerned. I'm not sure I'm comfortable taking a 380 on an extended off shore run (I know lots of folks go there though). Rather small galley too. Where are you on the 380?

I am really interested in the 420. Have to wait another few months to see how it sails though. I would go for the electric in a snap if I knew that it was going to be highly reliable and that I could repair it in Nuku Hiva. Not sure that confidence will be possible there for a while. A diesel version would be great for us pessimists.

Are you only considering new boats?

I'll take a harder look at the Mantas, thanks for the advice.

Best regards,
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Old 19-04-2006, 19:10   #40
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Laser and Moby: Also curious how you guys would compare and contrast the BB 395 to the 435?
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Old 19-04-2006, 19:16   #41
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Cat names

Elvis Pussley, Snort and Toke, Maui and Waui, or are you talking boats.
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Old 19-04-2006, 19:19   #42
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har. Come on BC you can do better than that...
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Old 19-04-2006, 20:15   #43
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Randy:

I can't help you much on the 435 other than the layout is basically the same as the 385 but bigger in all dimensions and I am sure load carrying capability. The 435's price point is quite a bit higher than the 385 putting it well over $500K USD and beyond my planned budget.

You asked about the 380S2. I ruled that out very early due to overall size but more importantly headroom.

I didnt dig too deep in the structural integrity of the Leopard. If I were more serious about it I would look into their lighter weight design where they replaced the main crossmember in the back of the boat that is in most Cats with a sandwich honeycomb. Its the little things that caught my eye and one of them was the fiberglass dinghy davits. When I mentioned this on another board, someone replied that they chartered one that was only a few months old and the davits were already cracked. The other thing that I remeber from the Leopards was that although they had a large list of options, they were short on fridge and freezer space with no options to add more. If you are looking into the Leopards you might want to verify this. I had a lot of interesting comments made to me by the different salespeople but one that visually made sense was when the Lagoon salesman looked across at the Leopard and pointed out that when the Leopard added the hard top bimini you could see how much that small load affected the boat. It sat in the water with the stern at the waterline when the bows were above the waterline. I am not sure how much validity that comment has but it was interesting. Of course, the ZLeopard saleman proceeded to tell me about the boats that had the electric drives having the battery banks catch fire :-)

Your question about new or used is a good one. My timeline is to take delivery in 18 - 24 months. I am looking at new boats right now with the idea that I could either buy a new boat, or at that time buy a new one that I am looking at today that is 1 - 2 yrs old on the used market later on. I would like to have either a new boat or one that is less than 2 yrs old (there is no scientific reason to limit it to 2 yrs). I think there are a lot of good reason's to look at buying a used boat that has already been outfitted for cruising and liveaboard. Even the honest manufacturers have told me to plan on a year to work out the kinks in a new boat. Although a used one might have its idiosynchracies, the major issues hopefully would have been ironed out. I would be interested in the experience of others on the pros and cons of this subject.

Over the last 12 months it seems that a lot of used Cats have hit the market and they are not holding their value as well. If this is a trend, in another 12 months there might be some very good values in the used market due to oversupply. Time will tell
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Old 20-04-2006, 02:49   #44
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The BB435 may not be quite as pretty as some of the other contenders (I prefer the 385 for looks), but is a very good bad weather boat. A friend was watchleading on one a couple of years ago and came on watch thinking that they were perhaps moving a little bit more than when he had gone to sleep, - to discover that the boat was doing 20 kts in a 40kt beam wind!
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Old 20-04-2006, 03:19   #45
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Randy

A couple of comments on your list of desirables: as far as I know, only the BB range has the skeg-hung rudder? The agents for the some of the other cats were a bit elusive about taking the ground - "yes you can store it ashore on its hulls " (lowered by crane is a bit different..!)

Something else I would add is solid glass (not cored) below waterline. This is still almost mandatory in the monohull world (eg your mono list) after some nasty experiences by the builders - including HR - in the past. Cat builders use core below for weight saving but I would still be concerned over water penetration in the long term.

(Incidently, I tried to find out how the Lagoons were made. they send me a brochure on their wonderful processes using Vinylester resin, foam core througout, vacuum this and that, then I saw at the back, in tiny writing: "note, due to cost constraints, this does not apply to the smaller boats in the range, the 380, 410...." maybe more, so I am none the wiser.)

I have been on the BB435 and sailed the BB385. 435 is obviously superior in terms of space (cabins especially), 'construction' (by which I mean draws, cupboards, folding table with chess board) and so forth. Very nice, and appeals to my taste. Also (as with 385) it is 2:1 length:beam ratio. The main difference is that the extra length allows a wider hull, so you have more accomodation space in them. I would go for it if I was wanting to spend that much, and was live-aboard. It does have very high, narrow bows, which can look a bit odd from a front view, but are there for good reasons and would give a very dry ride.

For my needs, a smaller boat is suitable (the 435 looks huge in the local marinas!). Main cabin space is big enough in the 385 - there were six in there at the weekend and it seemed fine. The sleeping cabins are more compact, but big enough. There is not room in the narrow hulls for a walk-around heads, so you have walk through (with cabin or storage or shower on the far side. The width of the hulls are determined by the L:B ratio you want according to various design parameters. (Slim hulls are better for light winds and up-wind sailing. You can overcome this by having larger sails, but in a blow you might wish you hadn't.) Fewer draws and cupboards, but loads of 'odd' storage spaces. Less use of internal mouldings than the french cats, so easier to get behind the scenes for installation or repair. A friend of mine has just taken delivery and he says he can point to about 40 degrees, depending on wave height. I can answer more if you want to PM me.

It is interesting, the monohull list you have is the same as I had when looking at half-boats. They are all high price, conservative, over-designed, go-anywhere boats with resticted accomodation and that you dont see much on the mass-charter market and hence hold their prices well. I think the the same division is evolving in the cat market, and I suggest you seak it out. Based solely on what I hear, PDQ, Manta BB may be worth looking at. Unitiil the Swedes start making cats, of course.
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