Looks like you are getting good advice here from a number of people with experience. Of course we don't all quite agree, but are surprisingly close on most issues - in particular avoid weight anywhere you can - or at least be aware of the consequences.
A couple of follow-up comments:
- both my installed hydraulic rams are on separate arms on the port rudder
stock, so I do not have redundancy on the autopilot
to a failure of the port rudder
that jams the rudder stock - for other failures I can think of I have some redundancy.
- one set of electronics
is installed in the port stern with the rams, the other is in foil in boxes
- because the rams are beside each other, it is easy to swap the connectors if one fails
- I have redundancy in steering
because the Catana
48 has two helms each mechanically linked to the rudder on its side with a tie-rod joining the two systems. Either helm
drives the system, and if one side gets damaged and jammed, the tie-rod can be disconnected to allow steering
with just one side.
Solar: We have 800W of solar with MPPT
controllers, that will happily keep up with 2 fridges, spectra water maker, computers
, tv etc. in most conditions. We have 10 80w panels, because I have 8 of them on our hard bimini
and that was the size that fit. I agree with the advice to go with as large a panel as you can manage. For backup we have 100 amp alternators on the engines and a small 1000W Honda
generator that we almost never use. Sounds like you are committed to the genset for various reasons, so I would just go solar + genset.
- there are definitely two schools of thought here, and it just depends on your priorities. You either get planing speeds with 3-4 people (15-20hp) or light weight and easy to get on and off (6-8hp). We went for the planing as we are 2 adults and 2 kids
and like to anchor away from town, or head
off snorkeling exploring. It does mean the outboard
weighs 110lbs and we need a lifting tackle to safely get it off the dinghy and on to its stands for passages.
Water: Once again I see two schools of thought here with respect to drinking water
. Some people like to keep drinking water
separate, others just use the tanks
. We have always just used the boats tanks
for all water, even when we were filling up from town supplies. I understand that not everyone is comfortable with that. However with a water maker providing all your water, I see no reason to do otherwise. To our tastes, the water from our water maker tastes better than almost anything else available, and is of known very high quality.
Props: We have Autostream props from Seahawk that I have been very happy with. The Maxprop is also very highly regarded, and probably the most popular by numbers of installs. I also looked at the Kiwiprops, but I think our size boat is on the large size for their construction.
- I agree with the comments above about keeping it as light as possible. We have one primary anchor (Rocna 33kg) on 200' of chain plus 200' of line. We almost never use anything but the chain. We also carry a smaller Spade aluminum
anchor as a secondary that is rigged on a 30' piece of chain and 200' of line. This is ready to go in a forward locker, but must be managed by hand. The line can be put on the drum of the windlass
if need be. We also have a large fortress
(aluminuium) onboard, but disassembled with it's own rode
- I can count on one hand the number of times we have put out more than one anchor in 2 years of cruising the US East Coast
. My advice is to to get your primary set up super reliable and comfortable for the circumstances you are going to be in, and have available something smaller and lighter that can be used as a short term backup if you lose your primary, or as a kedge, or to stop you swinging if you need to. Our experience has been the newer generation of anchors (Bugel, Spade, Rocna
, ...) are so much more effective than the ones that came before that the old advice on the need to have multiple different anchors setup for every day anchoring
is out of date.
- keep your secondary as light as possible, as the circumstances we have actually used it in, we laid it with the dinghy by hand. This was to stop us swinging with the current
in a tight anchorage in the Bahamas
, and once in a very narrow cove in Maine
- we have used a long line ashore to stop swinging in tight spaces more than we have used a second anchor. We have a long line (200') flaked in a bag ready in a locker for that purpose. It is normally used off the stern. It helps having two teen-aged boys you can throw in the dinghy to take the line ashore in those circumstances. :-)
- we have a Jordan series drogue
on board rigged and ready to go, but have never used it.
- We do not have a parachute anchor. I know some people swear by them, but the loads they generate, and the challenges of deployment and recovery have made me choose not to have one. I have actually used one in moderate (Gale Force) conditions on a monohull
to stop for 24 hours to wait for weather
many years ago, and though it lets us stop the boat and rest comfortably, I don't think it is the best option for a catamaran
- I bought our boat second hand, so can't comment on the quality of factory delivered sails
, but this is where I spent money
- getting well built, high performance sails designed by someone who knew catamarans. The loads and design of a main for a catamaran
of this size is very different than for a mono-hull of the same size.