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Old 20-01-2014, 18:53   #1
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how big of a catamaran do we need?

Greetings all,

My wife and I are retiring from the military soon and are looking forward to sailing in the near future. We are planning to sail around the Caribbean - so no planned trips to Europe or pacific. It will be just us and maybe a dog and occasionally maybe one of our kids will join us whey they are out of school. Would a 30' to 38' boat suffice? The cost seems go up quite a bit going over 40'. thanks!
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Old 20-01-2014, 19:47   #2
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

I noticed your other post . The moorings offer a course that includes Cats .
Take the course and while you are there look at the boats.
Good luck in you quest
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Old 20-01-2014, 21:13   #3
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

In my search for a catamaran I came across a very good series of youtube video that was put out by the Catamaran company on what the believe people should consider when purchasing a cat. I have no affiliation with the company but thought their series of videos were very informative and may give you something to ponder over.


Good luck with the hunt


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Old 21-01-2014, 14:55   #4
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

For a couple with occasional guests I would say 38 feet would be reasonable for long term cruising. Just watch the payload issue ie work out how much weight you plan to carry and chose a boat accordingly
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Old 22-01-2014, 07:25   #5
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

All depends on your desired level of comfort and your pocketbook.

We are at 34' and find it near perfect for a couple with a small dog (short term guests are OK a third or fourth person for more than a few days would get cramped). Others might find a 60' boat too small and if you hang around the boards, you will hear of people living happily on 25' monohulls.
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Old 22-01-2014, 07:42   #6
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

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Originally Posted by h2ofowler View Post
Greetings all,

My wife and I are retiring from the military soon and are looking forward to sailing in the near future. We are planning to sail around the Caribbean - so no planned trips to Europe or pacific. It will be just us and maybe a dog and occasionally maybe one of our kids will join us whey they are out of school. Would a 30' to 38' boat suffice? The cost seems go up quite a bit going over 40'. thanks!
Get as big a catamaran as your wallet will allow.
You never hear cruisers saying they wish they had a small catamaran.
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Old 22-01-2014, 08:39   #7
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

No smaller than 32 and no larger than 50 - unless you are very experienced.
* Two cabin or owner's three tops - since you won't be chartering.
* Semi displacement hulls vs wider condo style hulls. If you're serious about cruising far offshore, the narrower hulls are preferred and will respond better.
* You don't need big engines - 18-30hp Yanmar - best choice. You'll want to sail - not motor.

When looking for used or even new - consider the weight factor. The diff btwn net and gross. Most new boats have every conceivable option on board and it weighs something = look at the stern steps - put a dozen people on the boat and see how far down it sinks.

While it looks pretty, you don't need corian or granite countertops!
Masonite has been around for ages and is light weight.

There are probably a dozen other items to remove - like the w/d and the oven = but you will discover this on your own.
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Old 22-01-2014, 08:52   #8
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

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There are probably a dozen other items to remove - like the w/d and the oven = but you will discover this on your own.
At about 40 ft You even can retain an oven probably...
Joking on the side, You surely want to remember - the size is important for cat, as the cat is much more weight restrictive than any mono. If You have too much of comfort on relatively small multi it is at the cost of seaworthiness and sailing abilities.
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Old 22-01-2014, 08:59   #9
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

The 38 fountan owners version looked like a grate layout for what you are describing. I whent on one and could see my girlfriend and myself with a gest or two once and a wile but.... it was a bit frilly for my liking I like it simple! less means less to brake and less to keep up. the one thing that I have figured out in my time on the water is Simple. Make a list of what you need, not what you think will be cool or what you think you mite need. You will have a light craft and less clutter and less problems they way. Good Luck!
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Old 22-01-2014, 19:37   #10
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

We spent 4 years aboard our Seawind 1160 (38'). It was the perfect size for us. We met people on smaller and larger cats - I think you adapt to the platform you choose.
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Old 24-01-2014, 08:02   #11
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

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We spent 4 years aboard our Seawind 1160 (38'). It was the perfect size for us. We met people on smaller and larger cats - I think you adapt to the platform you choose.
Some folks will adapt, others will not. A Seawind has rather narrow hulls compared to the seemingly more common condocats and usually will not have some of the extras of the more roomy boats. The owners bunk requires climbing up to chest heights which some folks do not like.

On the other hand if you have a big square top like my Seawind 1000xl does it will run away and hide from most everything but stuff like Gunboats and Chris White designs.

You will have something of a learning curve what ever boat you get. Things like how many sheets, towels, wash cloths, shirts, pants, pots and pans, dishes, silverware, food, water and gas you require directly affect how large a boat you will need, or want.

There is also the question of how much you have to spend. While chartering can give you some idea of what cats are like there is a big difference between an owners version and a charter version. My boat has a single head, but lots of charter cats have four heads. Do you need/want an enclosed shower or will a sun shower on the sugar scoop do.

My advice would be to check out the crew wanted forum here, and similar sites and try and sign on with an owner who is looking for company. Hopefully start with day sails or weekend trips, then work your way up. Try as many boats as possible and you will get some feel for what works for you, as opposed for what works for others.
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Old 24-01-2014, 09:10   #12
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

As suggested by others, buy the biggest catamaran your money can buy. You will then have to be careful of the weight you add to the boat. Although you might now only consider sailing the Caribbean, this can later change and you will want a suitable boat for this. But for what you now want to do, I think a 35 to 40 foot catamaran will be suitable. Some designs have more space and load capacity than others - so check the details carefully.
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Old 24-01-2014, 10:37   #13
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I wouldn't buy the biggest catamaran my money could buy, I would buy a cat that I felt comfortable handling and one that I felt comfortable maintaining. Remember, as the boat goes up in size, so do the costs of maintaining.
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Old 24-01-2014, 11:34   #14
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

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I wouldn't buy the biggest catamaran my money could buy, I would buy a cat that I felt comfortable handling and one that I felt comfortable maintaining. Remember, as the boat goes up in size, so do the costs of maintaining.
To add to this, if you have a fixed amount to spend on a boat you are probably better off buying a smaller boat for your money than the largest one you can find because the smaller boat will most likely be in better shape than a larger boat for the same price. Having to choose between say a Gemini or a Lagoon both priced at $US100,000 I have no doubt which one would be in better shape; even if the Lagoon was eight or ten feet longer.
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Old 24-01-2014, 11:52   #15
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Re: how big of a catamaran do we need?

We have lived aboard full time on out 35' catamaran for 7 years. We are now in French Polynesia, left from the East Coast of the U.S. We left with 2 (big) dogs (both have since passed away).

Our size boat for the Caribbean and East Coast, was perfect (my opinion of course). It is a bit undersized for crossing the Pacific (safe, just was not very comfortable). After doing the Pacific crossing, if coming this way I would go for >40'. We have not seen any cat's around under about 42' in the 7 months we have been here. So, cruising plans do come into play. We did not buy our boat planning on going to the Pacific, it just sort of happened, and we trusted the boat enough to do it, and it did.

Our size if perfect for us. Easy to single hand (when needed), easy to have 2 guests for periods of time (4 is a bit crowded), we keep out boat systems simple, but comfortable as I don't like spending all my time fixing things like generators and water makers (in my experience, the #1 and #2 items that people wait in port to fix).

As some others stated, don't by the biggest cat, buy the one you like . Bigger is way more expensive, and haul outs can be more challenging also. But, you need something you, personally, feel safe on.

Lots of info on our blog if you are interested.
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