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Old 20-08-2010, 18:35   #1
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Help Choosing Liveaboard Cat for Eight

Hello Everyone,

I am new to sailing and this forum so please forgive if I ask obvious questions. This is great group and has given me many hours of invaluable reading. Thank you all for your contributions. I need some help planning my adventure. Iíll give you some background and our needs. I welcome all your input.

About Us:
I have a wife and 5 year old son. My brother has a wife and one year old son. We would like to go on an epic cruise until we get tired of sailing or run out of money in about 9 years. In my mind I would like this to be a 4 year cruise. I know 9 years is a long time from today. However, I would like to start planning and preparing for this today. That includes sailing lessons, chartering different cats to see what we like, planning routes and destinations, and many things I havenít thought about yet.

Our Needs:
I always put function before form. I would like a functional cat that is fit to sail around the world. I think that 4 total double berths in the aft and midship (bow berths donít seem comfortable at all) would be perfect. That would give me room for 8 but would accommodate 6 without having 2 people getting a queen bed to themselves. I have looked at everything from the Chris Whiteís A57 (beautiful) to the Wharramís (not so beautiful to me). The Atlantics are amazing but 4 queen berths seems excessive. Is that kind of space really necessary (I know thatís an opinion eliciting question)?

Both our families are pretty Spartan. We both live in 1000 square foot apartments now despite the fact most of our friends live in 3000+ houses. We drive Toyota Corollas and Honda Civics but we eat steak and lobster as often as we can (heart attack, YES!). I love good food so I donít sacrifice. My Corolla gets me around so I donít care about that. My apartment provides me housing so I donít care about that. However, my BBQ is a ceramic that cost $1,300 and makes the best damn steaks ever and smokes a mean chicken and ribs. My apartment provides housing for $760 a month but inside it I have a 73Ē HD TV with a $3000 gaming computer and $12,000 surround sound system. That is just a snapshot into my strange eccentric self, but I hope it helps to illustrate my mindset or perhaps nuttiness.

Okay, back to specifics. I want a Cat that performs well, is safe, and is comfortable enough for 8 people. I do not need anything excessive (another subjective I know). I want it to feel good on the sea and have a nice motion, be comfortable in bad weather and good weather (warm weather), go fast but doesnít need to be the fastest, use diesel engines because thatís tried and true, be built of foam and epoxy because that is a solid standard with good resale.

Budget:
I donít have a budget yet because I donít know what I need. I would rather decide what I need and then plan my budget to accommodate since I have so much time. Basically everything from a used junker to an Atlantic 57 is in my price range. However, just because I can offord it doesnít mean I want to spend the money without a compelling reason to do so.

I apologize, this turned into a bit of a ramble. What advice would you all have? I appreciate the help.
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Old 20-08-2010, 18:54   #2
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Quote:
However, I would like to start planning and preparing for this today. That includes sailing lessons, chartering different cats to see what we like, planning routes and destinations, and many things I haven’t thought about yet.
You have answered your own question right here. Picking the boat is the easy part. It's all the other preparation you need to do along the way. It's amazing how quickly you figure out what you really need after you really know. Charters and training all play in getting you ready to do the trip but it also adds the ability to pick the perfect boat = - for you!. Too many people think it is the most important part to do first. When you know what you need to know and how to sail and work on a boat the picking of the boat is not so hard. There is also a common perception that you'll pick the wrong boat so do it early. Being under prepared is the thing to worry about.

Between now and when you need to buy the boat I would just concentrate on learning all you can and getting as much charter time with the whole crew as possible. Things you learn in one week on the water in close quarters will get you thinking closer to where you need to be.

Quote:
I want a Cat that performs well, is safe, and is comfortable enough for 8 people. I do not need anything excessive (another subjective I know).
Guess what. You and almost every person that has ever posted a similar post (many many of them) say the same exact thing. So did I. We don't get many that don't. So the good news is you are starting like everyone else does. How you end up is really in your own hands. There really is a whole lot to learn and concentrating on that will help you "pick the right boat" better than any suggestions you can get in the next month or so. Just be sure to make the process inclusive of all crew and attempt to find ways to make this whole preparation a lot of fun. If you don't start out fun I doubt you can end up fun.

In the end it 's about you and your crew and it's up to you to find the little things they each need even if they don't know what they want. Learning for the group is the insurance you can pick the best boat and know why. More money is never a problem but I expect you already know that part.
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Old 20-08-2010, 20:01   #3
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Paul,

You make very valid points. I guess I really need to get a short list of books, sailing schools, and charter services.I think it's time for more archive searching

Any advice on the education side? What type of learning would you say would be most valuable. I know there are a few ASA schools but are there better ways to go? What sort of education track would you follow?

On the charter side, any recommendations? I figure I'll get something that has 4 double berths and go from there until we find our fit.

Thanks again for the advice. It seems simpler when you put it that way. I feel silly for shopping the boats so early. I guess that's the dreamer part. Now I gotta get busy and start doing stuff.
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Old 20-08-2010, 20:57   #4
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Bigger cats are more comfortable, a lot more work to sail and maintain, and are more expensive.

It sounds like money is no object. So you need to figure out how much catamaran you can handle and comfortably maintain.

No yacht, multihull or monohull, is comfortable offshore in a storm.

Fast speed is exciting, but not very comfortable and it requires a lot of vigilance and work on the part of the crew.

You need to clearly define what you are trying to accomplish, where you are going, whether you are doing high latitude sailing, whether most of your time will be spent partying at the dock or sailing offshore.

Until you decide on your voyage, it's hard to pick out a catamaran.
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Old 20-08-2010, 21:23   #5
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Dave,

Thanks for the reply.

I had tentatively planned to start on the CA coast, go south to Chile, head to the south pacific for a lot of island hopping, hit New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, cut across to the strait of Hormuz and spend some serious Mediterranean time, head to the Caribbean, go through the Panama Canal, then go back to CA. This is based on no research whatsoever though.

I do plan to be at anchor a lot but not necessarily at the dock. I find little about docks appealing except for loading up on good food. I can drink on the boat if I want, though I really don't drink much.

You make a good point about speed and comfort. I plan to set aside about 4 years for the voyage so speed may not be a critical factor. I know that's a long way in total but the time spent underway would still be only a small fraction of my total time I would think. I do need to chart that distance though and see what it really works out to with a fast vs. slower boat.

Money is an object, but I do buy what I need to meet my goals. You're right; I need to find out what I want to do. Since I don't have my goals clearly defined it is impossible to find the catamaran I need.
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Old 24-08-2010, 14:32   #6
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Originally Posted by delacroix333 View Post
Dave,

Thanks for the reply.

I had tentatively planned to start on the CA coast, go south to Chile, head to the south pacific for a lot of island hopping, hit New Zealand, Australia, and Papua New Guinea, cut across to the strait of Hormuz and spend some serious Mediterranean time, head to the Caribbean, go through the Panama Canal, then go back to CA. This is based on no research whatsoever though.

I do plan to be at anchor a lot but not necessarily at the dock. I find little about docks appealing except for loading up on good food. I can drink on the boat if I want, though I really don't drink much.

You make a good point about speed and comfort. I plan to set aside about 4 years for the voyage so speed may not be a critical factor. I know that's a long way in total but the time spent underway would still be only a small fraction of my total time I would think. I do need to chart that distance though and see what it really works out to with a fast vs. slower boat.

Money is an object, but I do buy what I need to meet my goals. You're right; I need to find out what I want to do. Since I don't have my goals clearly defined it is impossible to find the catamaran I need.
Remember to ask the other 7 people what they "need" as well
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Old 24-08-2010, 14:58   #7
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I like Siamese cats.
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Old 24-08-2010, 15:13   #8
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And when I posted about a week with 8-10 people, some thought I was crazy
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Old 24-08-2010, 15:39   #9
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Man 8 people around the world on a cat..... hmmmmmm... get the biggest thing you can find so you can hide in a corner and get away form the other 7 people on the boat. Even a 57 CW isn't big enough for what you're looking for. I would strongly recommend going on charter in a lagoon 55 in the BVI for a week with the crew you are going with... all of them..... once you get there you cant get off the boat or stop .... just sail around for a week.....provision and water etc... watches etc..... If no one on the crew has a lot of sailing experience a cat of this size will bite you for money and for sailing experience.

It's a great plan, but 8 people extended cruising on a cat.... that thing is gonna get small fast... until the weather gets bad... then its going to be VERY big just as fast as it got small.
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