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Old 21-10-2007, 21:56   #1
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Headroom

I have just begun the journey of trying to find an appropriate cruising cat to live on here in the states, and also to cruise at least the west coast of northern and central america, if not further.

I have to admit, my search began at the Seattle boat show a few months ago when I go on a Lagoon 38 (only cruising cat there). I was blown away by the living space. When my wife saw it, we suddenly had a new plan for retirement: to live aboard a cat.

So I have read, and studied obsessively, and that will continue for some time. But today we looked at two boats: a Lagoon 38 again, this one owned by a private owner, and a Manta 42. I was VERY suprised to find that the Lagoon seemed to have vastly more living space than the Manta. The Manta had a lot of other good features, I am not running down the boat, BUT, I had assumed interior volume would be roughly in proportion to length (given that beam seems to be about 2 to 1 as a design principle). Today I found out that assumption is wrong.

I am 6' 4" tall. If I am going to live on it, I have to be able to stand up in the salon, in the heads, and in the owners stateroom.

So, can all of you please help me? I am looking in the 38 to 45 foot range. In that category, which boats, new or used, meet our requirement for headroom?

Also, can someone who has been aboard a Mahe 36 comment on the interior volume of that boat? I instintively think that 36' is too small for our needs, and expected that I would be buying a used boat rather than new, but the pictures on FP's site sure make the Mahe look nice...

Also, can someone answer the same question about a St. Francis 43 or 44?

I have been reading (with great appreciation to the various contributors) the threads on <$200K cats, and money is no object cats, and I am not asking that you rehash anything in those threads. But I need a list of boats 38 to 45' of somewhat recent manufacture that I can stand up in, and then I can start evaluating other criteria.

Thanks!

Kevin
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Old 21-10-2007, 22:26   #2
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Check out the MaineCat 41. 6'9" Headroom in the salon and cabins and heads. Not quite as plush (boaty) as the Lagoons et al. Not much in the way of wood and somewhat austere by some standards but it works for us. We've lived aboard for a year and a half now.

Ours is the only one on the west coast. Currently spending the winter aboard in Friday Harbor. Best for a couple with room for another couple for guests. I probably wouldn't recommend it for a family.
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Old 22-10-2007, 01:33   #3
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Hi Kevin, Also check out the new FP Orana44, large living area, master bedroom with ample headroom. Have delivery into Aus. next month, will be able to report first hand.
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Old 22-10-2007, 09:29   #4
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Kevin,

I was recently aboard a St Francis 43 and found the headroom in the salon was marginal for me at 6'1". I have heard that the headroom in the salon was increased, as was bridgedeck clearance, on the 44 and 44 mark ll. Hope this helps and good luck!

Mike
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Old 22-10-2007, 10:35   #5
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HI Kevin, please check your PM
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Old 22-10-2007, 11:40   #6
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Originally Posted by kevinmac View Post
But today we looked at two boats: a Lagoon 38 again, this one owned by a private owner, and a Manta 42. I was VERY suprised to find that the Lagoon seemed to have vastly more living space than the Manta. The Manta had a lot of other good features, I am not running down the boat, BUT, I had assumed interior volume would be roughly in proportion to length (given that beam seems to be about 2 to 1 as a design principle). Today I found out that assumption is wrong.
Hi Kevin - be aware that the Manta 42 started life as a 38. It was stretched twice by adding 2 feet at a time to the hulls. (If I'm wrong about this I ask a Manta geek to correct me.) Lagoons get a lot of their interior volume via their vertical salon windows. The payback is more windage and a less "flowing" exterior profile. I like both of these boats in their price range. Just Saturday helped a friend deliver his new (used) L-380 to its new home.

What is your budget? Do you plan on chartering some cats? Please, please, please do yourself a favor and sail some before you get a minset on a particular model. No one else can pick one for you. If you stay above 38' headroom should be generally adequate - but check the model stats. On many (most?) production cats you will need to duck moving into the salon from the cockpit.

Dave
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Old 22-10-2007, 13:04   #7
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The Voyage440 has the highest headroom for you.
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Old 22-10-2007, 13:11   #8
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Kevin my son is 6'4",he has no problems anywhere on our Mahe,plenty headroom.
JC.
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Old 22-10-2007, 15:10   #9
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On the shorter end of the spectrum....I'm 6'3" and the Wildcat 35 had ok headroom for me.
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Old 22-10-2007, 15:25   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinmac View Post
I was VERY suprised to find that the Lagoon seemed to have vastly more living space than the Manta. The Manta had a lot of other good features, I am not running down the boat, BUT, I had assumed interior volume would be roughly in proportion to length (given that beam seems to be about 2 to 1 as a design principle). Today I found out that assumption is wrong.
Hi Kevin,
We own a Manta 40 and I have spent 2 weeks on a Lagoon 380 as a charter. Like previously mentioned, the Manta is really a 38' boat. It has narrower hull beam than the L380 and this translates into less space (cubic volume). The hulls are where most space differences between similar length and beam catamarans occur. One thing that also makes the L380 seem large is the whole back (almost) of the saloon is open to the cockpit.

One always runs into the danger of being a cheerleader when talking about one's own boat, but I find the Manta to have more LIVING space than the L380. "Living" being the operative word. Even though the volume may be smaller on the Manta (I actually don't know), I think it is laid out better for living. A few differences relating to the Manta: the galley is larger and better designed for live-aboard cooking and dish/utensil storage, the large built-in pantry is more convenient and better organized for food storage (if you include the shelving built along the port hull, 1/3 of the whole hull is a pantry), the separate reefer and freezer are larger and more functional than the dorm fridge in the L380, the full "bathroom" with separate shower is nice when living aboard (although the owner's version of the L380 has a similar setup), the saloon table is not meant for 12 and doesn't take up the full bridgedeck, there is much more storage in the form of hanging lockers, drawers and cabinets not to mention an actual wet locker immediate to the companionway, the machinery access (AC, reefer, batteries, inverter, etc) is more convenient, and the electrical system isn't French (sorry, cheap shot ).

That probably does sound like cheerleading, but the L380 was on our short list, so we actually made the comparison and decision between the two. One way we find the Manta "larger" than the L380 is that we aren't in each other's way as often. Examples of what I mean by this is that one person isn't moved off the settee so another can access food storage, or we aren't bumping into each other trying to pass around a too-large fixed ottoman/table setup, or one doesn't have to clear other space to prepare dinner. We actually came to the conclusion that the L380 was "smaller".

So living space is more than absolute volume.

As for your headroom needs, older Mantas only have 6'1" in the saloon and 6'4" in the hulls. New Mantas have raised the cabintop to 6'4" in the saloon. The window slope occurs over counter space and behind settees, so that really shouldn't be an issue unless you like to stand up in your freezer. But transitions like going down into the hulls and traversing doorways cut out of bulkheads will still challenge you. These limitations are going to be present on most cats in the 38-42' range, so you may end up with a very short list! But I agree with you that I wouldn't want to live on a catamaran without full headroom. This is less of an issue on a monohull where most everywhere can be reach within a couple of steps and then you are sitting down. But on a cat, you need to walk across large spaces and traverse three separate parts of the boat. Bending over through all that is not worth it.

There isn't too many ways to skin the cat on the headroom thing. Be careful about designs that sacrifice the bridgedeck clearance or make protrusions under the bridgedeck to gain headroom - the dig a hole approach to headroom. The alternate is to raise the roof, which can play havoc with visibility and windage. I wouldn't be too concerned about windage but the visibility part is important. Interestingly, on my boat you wouldn't be able to stand up in the saloon like you could on the L380, but on the L380 you wouldn't be able to sit upright on the helmseat without sticking your head through the bimini like you could on my boat. The reason for this is the higher roof of the L380 saloon necessitates a higher helmseat which is closer to the bimini which is limited in height by the boom.

Good luck with your cat hunting.

Mark Cole
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Old 22-10-2007, 16:45   #11
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Thank you all so far, your replies are very helpful. It was an older Manta I looked at, so that explains why some folks are saying the Manta headroom should be fine for me, and others are saying it is limited. I am going to the Miami show in the spring, I will make sure to walk around on a new one.

Please keep the replies coming, this is helping a lot.

Thanks,

Kevin
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Old 22-10-2007, 16:48   #12
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Oh, one more thing to 2Hulls. Ducking going the hulls is no issue. But I have to be able to stand up comfortably in both the hulls and in the salon in a boat I am going to live on.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Kevin
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Old 22-10-2007, 17:32   #13
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Mark:

I agree that the Manta is a very nice cat and I would have liked to have bought one but I have to disagree with your description of headroom in the newer Manta 42's. I spent many hours on it and yes, there is 6' 4" in the middle of the Saloon and throughout the hulls but the most important areas of the Saloon did not work for my 6' 3" height. I could not stand up in front of the counter to open up the lids of the fridge and freezer and in the galley area my head just rubbed the headliner throughout with bare feet. Dan, the owner of Manta mentioned he could raise the headliner in a new Manta about an inch or so for me because there is some space above.

One other observation with the Manta had to do with the headroom as you descend down into the hulls. A tall person hits their head if you try to go straight down. Its no big deal and I could get used to it, but a tall person has do do a turn/spin as you descend from facing forward to facing back up to the saloon to descend without hitting their head.


In addition, my feet was longer than the mattress in the Master berth on the Manta. Again, I has the Manta at the top of my list but just could not make it work for my 6' 3" height. I would have to compromise more than I was willing to do. I will still argue that the Manta is the best designed and outfitted Cat for liveaboards in that size and price.

And by the way, there is plenty of headroom under the bimini of a Lagoon 380 S2 for a tall person to sit at the helm.

Enjoy your Manta!
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Old 22-10-2007, 21:12   #14
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Hi Laser,

I haven't spent more than a few minutes on a new Manta, so wasn't really speaking about the headroom from a lot of experience - just coupling what is posted in the marketing with the tested fact that it was higher than mine. I agree on descending into the hulls. The Manta berths are normal queen-sized which is convenient for sheets, blankets, etc since you can pick new ones up anywhere, but just like at home, US standards for beds are too short for people over 6'.

Maybe the L380 biminis are not of uniform standards or changes have been made? I have been on three of them where my head hit the top and I had to undo the "window" flap to keep from rubbing my head on it (I'm 5'11").

BTW, nice to see we are getting another catamaran in the Northeast. Five years ago you would see maybe one each year. During a two week cruise through Buzzards Bay and MV in September we saw a dozen, and there are at least five within neighboring marinas here in Mystic, CT.

Mark
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Old 23-10-2007, 19:16   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevinmac View Post
But I need a list of boats 38 to 45' of somewhat recent manufacture that I can stand up in, and then I can start evaluating other criteria.

Thanks!

Kevin
Kevin,
I know your pain.
I am 6'4" also and it will be the single most important deciding factor in a boat purchase.
I want to live and thrive, not slink around.
Those that are not 6'3" or above have no idea what a handicap it is.
I built my own bed 31 years ago and have since built two more, one for each son.
I so love the Manta, or thought I did till you posted.
I don't know if I will make it to the Miami show or not so please post the results of your measuring.
If I go I will stand tall and carry a long tape!
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