Quite a list. Not all of it is/was necessary for us when purchasing
and we are not super hardy, but this is your boat not mine! Here are a couple of comments/suggestions after a couple of years of full time cruising (Atlantic, Caribbean
and Med, but not South Pacific). Our boat is an older Catana
48, so you will see my biases based on that:
- I don't think it is "solar or wind". From my experience I would go with solar
and then add wind
if you really wanted to. When thinking about wind look very carefully at the location of the wind generator
and what can swing in to it, e.g. topping lift
and reefing lines when you drop the main quickly in to the sailbag/lazy jacks.
- Access to the water/dinghy is important. If you are like us, you'll be in and out of the water
a lot, and you want it to be easy.
is important. It is your everyday transport. You want it easy to launch and stow (davits), and you want to be able to carry one that it is big enough to let you explore. You'll probably want somewhere to store the outboard
off the dinghy/davits for passages.
- If you are coming to the Mediterranean
, some thought of how you will mount a passerelle.
- You can get redundancy in steering if you have a catamaran
with two helms. Each ends up being a separate steering system connected by a tie-rod that you can disconnect. However, even with the recent abandonment of a cat in the Atlantic with steering problems, I think steering problems are sufficiently uncommon on cats, that I wouldn't let this stop me from getting a boat that otherwise met my needs.
- You don't say much about sails
. To carry all the gear you have listed, you'll have a fairly large boat with a correspondingly large rig if it is going to sail well. You want to think very carefully about how that is set up to be easily and safely managed by a couple. I'm personally a big fan of simplicity so we have a big main with lazy jacks/sail bag and traditional reefing so there is not much to go wrong. A traveler that is the full width of the boat behind the cockpit gives us good control of it, but it is still a very large sail so care is needed with it even in light winds. We have an electric halyard winch
to take care of raising it. To go with that we have a relatively small jib
on a roller furler
. I'm not a big fan of in-mast or in-boom furling
because of the additional moving parts
, but I think the systems have matured enough that they are actually quite viable solutions.
- Light wind sails
- I am a big fan of being able to sail in light winds 7 to 10 knots rather than motoring as a lot of boats have to. Having it rigged well is important - the layout and ease of use of the bowsprit
, sheet leads, appropriate turning blocks and winches is important - it shouldn't just be an afterthought. And if you are really keen, add an asymmetric spinnaker
, but I would go with the "code 0" first. (We did it in the other order, and are finding we are not using the asymmetric
very much now we have the code 0)
- "Hot standby autopilot" - I would think twice about that. I had that and when we got a minor lightning
strike that wiped out our electronics
, it of course wiped out the standby. I now have the electronics
for the standby wrapped in foil in their boxes, with the spare ram installed. As I have done all the installs myself, it would only be a matter of half an hour to swap out the bad electronics for the standby ones. You could also have it installed but not connected. It seems all lightning strikes are different, but in our case, everything with electronics that was connected, even if switched off, got fried. I assume we got a significant induced current
through the grounds.
- "Folding Props" - I would definitely suggest feathering not folding props. Folding props have slightly less drag and less tendency to catch lines when folded, but typically have much poorer performance motoring in close quarters, particularly in reverse. Maneuvering around a marina or anchoring
, with good forward and reverse power you can put the boat exactly where you want it with no drama. If reverse doesn't work well, you lose some of the advantage of having two engines 20' apart that you can use independently.
- "Workshop" - I' would have liked to have one, but our cockpit and cockpit table with a cover on top, have actually worked well for me. I have installed a quick mount for a bench vise in the cockpit to hold things while I'm working on them.
- You don't mention cleats
etc for docking
, but the location and size of the cleats
can make a big difference. Make sure they are well thought out with good leads.
setup - look at the anchoring setup and imagine using it at night in rough conditions. I'm not a big fan of anchors that lead back under the trampoline because of challenges with access if things go wrong, but it does let you get the weight of the anchor off the bow. Make sure rigging
is easy - you'll use it everytime you anchor. It doesn't need to be complicated - it can just cleat on the bow cleats.
Good luck with your search.