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Old 18-07-2016, 18:56   #46
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Have another look at the Asia Catamarans Stealth 13 metre - 3.5 tonnes & sub US $400,000-
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Old 18-07-2016, 21:20   #47
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

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The 1160 sail well but I wouldn't put them in the category of "performance cat" ,

Performance to me means you can sail above wind speeds which I cannot do on my 1160 , normally we are around 2 knots off true wind , but it's not a boat you will be sailing at a constant 15 knots which is what you would expect from a " performance cat"

i read through OP list and missed the title!
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Old 18-07-2016, 21:44   #48
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

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Originally Posted by Phantom v View Post
Have another look at the Asia Catamarans Stealth 13 metre - 3.5 tonnes & sub US $400,000-
And ready tfor pickup right now


http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2013/Asia-Catamarans-Stealth-12.6-2714941/Ao-Chalong,-Phuket/Thailand#.V42u-vT0qJI
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Old 20-07-2016, 03:44   #49
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

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Have another look at the Asia Catamarans Stealth 13 metre - 3.5 tonnes & sub US $400,000-
These boats tick all the boxes. Thanks for the tip. Finding a second hand one for sale might be the next problem.

I see in your description you have one, can I ask what is good and bad about them ?
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Old 20-07-2016, 04:44   #50
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

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I have a huge wish list, but I understand that you can't have everything so here are the things that I hope to find.

Fast in light winds
Suitable for travel - East Coast, Kimberley's, and Pacific Islands
Light
Dagger Boards
Outboard motors
Swing up rudders
Galley up
Can beach it
2 heads
2 showers

So far I've come up with Schionning and not much else but my wife doesn't like the look of them much. I'd like to say her view is way down on the list and I'm not scared of her but her super power is that she can smell fear.
I'd highly suggest you send this post to Gold Coast Yacht builders on St. Croix. Their charter cats have everything on your list and they build to suit an individual's needs. Great boats.
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Old 23-07-2016, 17:02   #51
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

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As you comment elsewhere, better to take the advice of experts, unless they are proven wrong, and Berman and Paarmen claim the manufactured and launched Balance 526 weighs in at 9.3T.Now, this is not out of the realm of possibility as the O51 is nominally 10T but Francois told me that a carbon bimini and a carbon mast will save over half a tonne in weight. The first Balance 526 has both. It also has all furniture fabricated out of lightweight materials. Obviously this comes at an expense and I would hate to think how much that first Balance 526 cost the owner, but it would have been North of U$2 million I would think. Similarly if you want a lightweight O51 this can be accommodated but the costs really mount up.
These weights are achievable but at considerable expense.
Always happy to listen to experts Chris. However when its the salesman talking I get a little more discerning. Quick question. Will Balance contract the build to a particular weight, i.e. will they guarantee, contractually to hit their displacement figure. If so they have my admiration. If not, well - enough said. On the other hand we know that Outremer will contract to weight.

My concern with Balance has been I suppose from the perspective that Phil simply took the moulds of the Montebello, stuck a reverse bow on them and claimed it to be a new boat. I have struggled with their credibility since. But hey - good luck to them if indeed they contract to build to their specifications.
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Old 23-07-2016, 17:17   #52
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Andrew, I have no idea of whether they will contract to a certain weight, as I have had no discussions with them as I would not be prepared to entertain any boat that did not have a long pedigree.

I agree with you in regard to the Montebello knock offs for the smaller variants (out of China) but I do think the boats in the 50ft range (out of SA) are a different animal.

I think it is a matter of seeing if the South Africans can build a number of these Balance designed boats of reasonable quality.
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Old 31-07-2016, 21:09   #53
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Thanks everyone for your input.

I tried to buy a Stealth but we couldn't agree on a price. I have since bought a Schionning Waterline 1480.
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Old 01-08-2016, 04:40   #54
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Now that sounds great. Care to give some particulars?
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Old 01-08-2016, 15:11   #55
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Just going through the process now, I'll post some details up when my names on the piece of paper.

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Now that sounds great. Care to give some particulars?
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Old 02-08-2016, 21:24   #56
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

I think I might know which one you bought. Does it have outboards? If it's the one I'm thinking of I understand it's a very well built boat, congratulations.

I went out on a new'ish Outremer 45 in Sydney Harbour and outside the heads yesterday. Wind strength was variable in the harbour but around 20-30knots lifting to around 30 outside the heads and gusted up to 38'ish knots. There was a bit of sea running too and on a broad reach we touched 18 kts boat speed but more regularly sitting around 15/16. It was around half wind speed most of the time. The boat had around 10 of us on it plus a bunch of cruising gear/spares for a long cruise. I was on the tiller at the time and we were just about to head up and put a reef in when we hit the 18 - the tiller was pretty heavy but I still had control and despite pushing the lee bow into the drink a few times and getting a bit of spray the only reason I was getting wet was because it was raining. Before we reefed we had the full main up and the self tacking jib all the way out. The fruit bowl didn't move from its position on the galley bench.

Decent sail trim could have gotten more out of her too. I loved it.

A Nautitech Open 40 was behind us and went past when we headed up to put a reef in and they didn't reduce sail at all.
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Old 03-08-2016, 08:49   #57
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Balance Catamarans

My name is Phil Berman. I own Balance Catamarans as well as The Multihull Company. I am 60 years old and have sailing cats since the age of 11.

I do not follow this forum closely, or post too it much, but stated something to the effect that, "Balance Catamarans will not offer a guarantee weight for their boats."

This is untrue unless this person thinks that a builder can craft an 8 to 10 ton yacht and arrive at level of dead accuracy for each yacht they build. Any builder that states such is not a truth teller. We are happy to offer a guarantee weight for our boats, give or take a few hundred pounds, because during any build you can have a change of vendors for a range of parts. Dead accuracy is not possible.

What we cannot do at Balance is guarantee an exact weight for the options or added gear people put on their boats. We base our advertised weights on the base boat without any options, with a very long and detailed equipment list of what we offer at the base price. I believe we have the most detailed equipment list for our base boat offered in the industry.

When we build a boat we look at the buyers equipment list and do a general weight study that enables us to position their equipment where it belongs for the boat to sit properly on her lines. The first 526 we built had a massive amount of equipment beyond the base boat, yet when she went into the water she sat perfectly. That she crossed the Atlantic and hit 22 knots at one point and rescued three French sailors from a sinking ship, at 1 am in the morning, is a point of pride for all of us. Our crew were called out for high praise by the U.S. Coast Guard.

As I pointed out recently in a piece I did for Multihull Sailor called Buying a Multihull: 14 Things to Think About, too many people who are inspired to purchase a performance cat fail to focus on what is most important - the quality, weight, volume and strength of the hulls and decks - the fiberglass parts. On this score I cannot see how anyone in the catamaran industry is offering lighter or stronger fiberglass parts than Balance unless they are using far weaker laminate schedules or constructing all carbon hull parts.

All of our boats are closed cell foam, composite bulkheads, reinforced in carbon in all high load areas, and we use only vinyl ester resin in the 451 and epoxy on the 486 and all the larger yachts we build. We make our own composite doors, and seating, and davits on the 526 ourselves - at great time and cost, to save weight. If one of our boats appears "heavier" than another on paper, for her length, it can only be due to the extra or better gear we offer, or because the boat we are being compared to has far lower fiberglass volume or far fewer cabinets or cheaper lighter fittings; is in fact a smaller, cheaper boat all around.

If weight is all that matters to a buyer, if someone is satisfied with Lexan windows over marine glass windows, we are very happy to offer them this lighter, inferior product for a discounted price - so long as they do not call us or later moan on this forum about their leaking or crazing windows after five years, or the horribly costly job to replace them. There are many ways to make a boat lighter and cheaper, but often at the expense of durability and function. One must, forgive me, seek a balance!

Someone on this forum was comparing the 526 to the Outremer 51, which is curious to me because the Balance 526 is a much larger yacht. These are totally different boats in design, price, quality, and volumes inside and out. You could, after all, take the hull of an Outremer 51 and stick it inside a Balance 526 hull. Our overall volume is much greater, both in the hulls and salon than an Outremer 51. We are in fact closer in size internally to the Outremer 5X. What we are is far lighter than the Outremer 51 or 5 X for the volumes we offer because our fiberglass parts are much lighter, stronger, high end carbon/epoxy with spray finished hulls and decks. Totally different build levels and materials and anyone with build experience sees this instantly upon inspection.

There is nothing at all wrong with an Outremer! They have always been narrow, flat sided performance cats that were never designed to carry significant payloads.

When we designed the Balance 526 the only competitor we had in mind was Gunboat. Our goal was very simple - produce a more live-able, practical, high performance cruising cat of the highest quality at a lower price than Gunboat. We have done that with aplomb and are currently building our fourth 526 hull, with two of them heading to North America this year and next. We just launched another 451 and the quality for value is amazing.

We never set out to compete or build boats for people who are prepared to sacrifice all comfort and payloads for the sake of speed. Building such a catamaran is very easy. Make her long, light, narrow, put in very little cabinetry, equip her sparsely and there you go. At the age of 60 that just isn't the sort of boat I want to voyage on, or any of our customers. But such a boat is far more cheaply built than a Balance, and I've got no issue with those who want that sort of boat or cannot afford a Balance. That is the sort of cat I owned in my surfer/backpacker days.

Today, I want a boat to carry the spaces and the comforts I need when voyaging - I want a dive compressor, some air conditioning, a small generator, kayaks, washer dryer, two fridge and freezer, etc, etc. So how do you still go fast and carry all this stuff? You have to build the boat very light and strong, flare her hulls, and give her plenty of sail. Unfortunately it costs a lot more money to build such a boat, wherever you are doing it.

I am privileged to oversee the sale of nearly 100 used catamarans a year at the Multihull Company, which I also own and operate. I get to sail on all of them, survey all of them, and have a very good idea of how catamaran brands compare in quality, speed and function to one another. I can say that every catamaran on the market is a fit for someone based on their budget, needs, and desires. I see a lot of people obsess over what cat to buy, but the reality is most of them will work. At issue, really, is which one is the best fit for THEM, for their needs, not the sales agent or broker.

The only way I have ever found to assist a person buying a cat is to learn who they are, what they are after, and what is their budget.

The most frustrating question I get at boat shows is, "Tell me why your boat is better than that Lagoon, or Gunboat, or Outremer, etc, etc." I always respond in the same manner. "I have no clue. I do not know you. I do not know your aims, your desires, your payload needs, spatial needs, the features you desire, performance cravings, cruising agenda or budget, etc." A yacht broker wants to knows these things before spouting off on why there boat is better than someone's else's for a specific person. A salesperson just wants to blabber. Outremer, Catana, Gunboat, Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot, Leopard, etc, etc, there is nothing "wrong" with any of these catamarans. I've sailed and sold all of them and will continue to do so. What is best FOR YOU is all about finding the best fit for your budget and sailing agenda.
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Old 04-08-2016, 04:43   #58
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Phil thanks for the post. Very informative to me. There has been some discussion in this forum a while back as to whether the balance 451 sits lower in the water than intended in design. A few pictures were posted supporting both sides of the argument with no real conclusions reached. What is your response to the question?

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Old 04-08-2016, 10:28   #59
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

Dear Sail Power,

Let me tell you the story of the 451. She is a Roger Hill design. Roger was asked by some Aussies to take one of his designs and then create a charter version, a four cabin luxury boat for Barrier Reef Charters. These Aussies spent enormous sums to produce really first class tooling for this boat in Brisbane. It was called the Montebello.
A business partner of mine said the company was in trouble and would I fly over to Oz to see one and sail on her and tell him if we should buy the tools and build her in China. (Nobody can build anything in Australia any longer for a global market due to labor and overhead costs). I flew over and sailed the boat. It was obvious the moment I walked up to her that she was sitting three to four inches below her intended design. Roger Hill really designs performance hulls. The builders just loaded on so much stuff on this boat, and were not weight focused, but they really honestly did a super quality job - just using a lot of very heavy materials. They were focused on charter, not performance, and in my view ordered the wrong design for this purpose from the start. If you are doing a charter boat, nobody cares about performance! They want big spaces and cheap prices. Just get a Lagoon or FP or RC and be done with it.
The moment I saw the boat I said, if she is built right, very light, and we modify a lot of her design and put on boards she could be very fast. Her polars showed this. I then took another trip to Barrier Reef and chartered another one to refine my design brief for changes. What becomes very clear in this business is that there is simply no point whatsoever to build a charter cat, because Lagoon, FP, Leopard are doing that already with good efficiency, mass production. The only area for a smaller, boutique builder is in the area of performance cats, or cats made specific to voyaging sailors - either faster and stronger, or just stronger and better.
We elected to buy the tooling and shipped it to China and then spent very considerable sums to splice the tooling well aft of her bow and well forward of her stern to make her longer and leaner - to really make her go. When I see people on a forum such as this assume this sort of effort is cheap or just a rehash of old tooling, they clearly have little experience in boat building. Doing a first class job takes engineering, skill, and a lot of money. The 451 is a vastly different boat as we changed her all over. The reason we bought the tooling is that the boys in OZ did a truly first class job on the tooling - the nonskid, the reset hatches, all of it - far better tooling than anything I have seen come out of France in performance cats.
As for her clearance, well, it is far higher than it was before, because we are building her very light. Because she is very beamy, and her hulls are now so sharp, her bow entry is like a knife, she produces a very small bow wave. That wave meets just aft of the salon door on most cats, and this is the area where you will find the most persistent noise and or pounding on most cats. Having sailed her now in a wide range of conditions I would say that her clearance is just about right. She is not a total SUV in super lumpy choppy seas (meaning she will get a bit of noise and a very occasional slap), but nor is she a low slung slammer and pounder. She is far quieter in rough seas than really most of the cats I have sailed. The issue that folks fail to factor is that every inch of true underwing clearance is another inch of hull side - you stick a boat up 6 inches over another and you get a lot of windage, and a lot heavier boat. Take the Catana 431 or 471.
When we built the Dolphin 460 in Brazil she was a bit lower than the Catana 431 or 471, and when we raced against them we learned that we were much faster in smoother seas upwind, but when it got into the
8 foot size or so we started to come down to their speed as our drag
increased on the underwing. We were a lighter boat, had less windage, and
always performed better off the wind.
I can say with confidence that the 451 is not a slammer or pounder, but I can also say that, in some conditions, yeah, you will get a few pounds, etc. But never persistent stuff. But remember that a 451 is going to wind 7 degrees higher than any of the keel cats, and also going a lot faster. I have found that she likes to sail upwind in the 8.5 to 9 knot range with ease, so she is sailing higher into the waves and faster.
Earlier this year I had to deliver the 451 from Fort Lauderdale to Miami for the boat show and this boat is mind blowingly quick in light air. I started off with just 8 to 10 knots of wind and on the beam reach was doing 10, then wind came up a bit and I was doing 12 to 13 for long periods, and hit over
15. She is a very fast boat and has a superb helm feel.
For the money, frankly, I really have not seen anything that comes close to her for quality and performance. It took us a few hulls to iron out little stuff, and mostly really the interior cabinetry issues, but the most recent one we launched, now in the Philppines, wow she came out fantastic.
In my brokerage business what I see is people chasing after 10 year old boats for 350 to 450K in the performance class, and I deem it a sort of no brainer that a new Balance 451 will be a far better value for a buyer considering the lower cost of refit and repair annually and the resale one would get selling a 10 to 12 year newer boat. But the reality is, a lot of folks are in a tight range - the number of them asking for the turn key 350K
cruising cat is massive - they are all chasing the same inventory. We see this here clearly in our brokerage business.
Well, I love the 451. Lee is building her very well, strong, and her design is excellent. She sleeps superbly, showers well, galley is nice,
aft cockpit is large, flow to sterns is super, helm station is great. She is a super tidy catamaran. I suppose her only competition is the Outremer
45. They are a good bit more money for similar kit but feel our fiberglass work and cabinetry are far superior. This is the labor factor cost of China versus France, which is considerable. She really is a super value. The largest problem for us is the cost of shipping her back to US is about
$45,000, which is why some buyers are just picking them up from us in
Hong Kong. I am a bit surprised that Aussie's are not all over this
boat given her location and price and the fact that she sails so much
better than the production cats - has nice boards, a super Selden rig,
real cabinet grade interior.
In the end, no boat is perfect, they are all such a range of compromises. I think the 451 is far more livable than the Outremer 45. She has a lot more storage and space as well. If you ever want to see one, we have one cruising in Philipines now and another is in Fort Lauderdale easy to see. One of our owners used to have a Catana 431 - the first time I took him sailing he just sat there with his mouth open as we did windspeed in 9 knots of wind. He said, "This changes everything. We would be motoring in this stuff on our 431.)
On this issue of underwing clearance, weight and windage, see the article I did for SAIL on our website. Now that I talk to so many performance buyers I find the same questions arising a lot and a good many misconceptions on the trade-offs we face when designing performance voyagers.
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Old 04-08-2016, 10:49   #60
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Re: Help me find the right boat - 45'ish performance cruising cat

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I've started Leopard dreaming. I had been a Catana/schionning dreamer, but recently found some beaut pics of Leopards that changed my mind. never sailed one though. anyone got opinions on them?

Love my leopard 40 Nikki. Not two big for 2 to handle comfortably.


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