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Old 31-12-2013, 23:05   #1
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Input on possible boats

Hello All,

I have been doing research for a catamaran for live-aboard sailing. I am retiring and am hoping to spend significant time in the South Pacific over the next 3-5 years. I would like input about any boats that you think might be appropriate but that I haven't mentioned. Also any customs that are for sale that might work.

I am seeking a catamaran under 40 feet with significant offshore and live-aboard ability. The ability to be single-handed as there are only 2 of us going. We do not need an abundance of luxury, but some comfort is desirable. I am hoping for about $150 k US all in. I will be purchasing in 2014. I prefer 2-3 staterooms, 1-2 heads, galley in hull and some upwind ability. The short list so far is:

Privilege 37 (tough to get in my price range)
Lagoon 37 tpi
PDQ 36

a little way down the list is:

Prout Escale
Prout Snowgoose (either elite or pre-elite) - some concern about ability upwind.
Catalac 10 m (wife is more interested, I am concerned about sailing characteristics)
Catana 381 (probably can't afford unless it is in very poor shape)

rejected boats:

most of the charter boats because of galley up and many cramped staterooms. Gemini, AMI, Wildcat, most of the FP's, Simpsons, Rogers, Maxim, Wharram Tiki, Dean, Solaris and a smattering of others.
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Old 01-01-2014, 02:42   #2
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Re: Input on possible boats

Happy new year and welcome aboard.

Please take all my comments as personal taste and observations and not gospel. I am no expert!

Now I have to ask. Have you spent any time on cats yet? Has you wife / significant other? If not and your only perspective is one of reading forums like this and internet magazine reviews then I think you are doing yourself a huge disservice. There are simply too many experts with opposing opinions to make informed choices. My best advise is to go spend some time crawling through as many boats as you can. Invest the time and some money now to avoid buyers remorse later. Try and imagine different scenarios such as how am I going to move about on this deck when its dark wet and pitching wildly? Am I flexible enough to get to that starter motor? How am I going to load this boat for cruising and keep it in balance? How is the visibility from the helm not just for me but for your crew as well? How heavy is this boat now and how heavy is she going to be in cruising configuration. Does it have water tight crash bulkheads? Have the been compromised by previous owners? What equipment does it have? Is it functional and useful for your abilities? You talk about a pacific crossing. Does this vessel have enough tankage or are you going to be lashing jerry cans all over the boat? Does it have a water maker or will you be adding one? If so where? What if a fuel tank leaks? Can you get it out of the boat without cutting something? I know of several that have had to cut their decks to get at leaky tanks! There are many more things to think about but you get the idea.

Lets start by agreeing that all boats are compromises. You seem pretty adamant that galley up is a deal breaker So I'm not going to try and change your mind . For more on the pros and cons of galley location there was a thread yesterday you should read. For us Galley down was a deal breaker but thats just personal taste. Galley down does make sense in smaller cats most of the time however I think FP nailed Galley up with the Mahe 36 duo as did Lagoon with their 380 S2.To bad you already discounted them.

Things that were also important to us that you didn't mention.

The first is engine access. If you have to lift a mattress even one on gas rams, you neck is going to be sore from craning your head over to do basic maintenance. If the engines are under the berths there will be heat and a little more noise added to you cabins, depending where you want to cruise that could be a good thing. In the tropics not so much. That said usually under bunk engines have shaft drives which i would prefer to my sail drives. Thats not true of course of all boats with under berth engines, plenty have under berth engines and sail drives! WHY?!!

The next item on our important features list was bunk headroom and arrangement. Another deal breaker for us was what we call crawl over bunks, meaning if you or your partner are on the inside and need to use the head at night both of you will be awake. Not ideal!

Then we have bridge deck clearance and under bridge deck appendages. I have never been a fan of the bulb under the Prout's or in general any hard deck carried far forward, altho I can make an exception in the later model Deans. While bridge deck clearance is a hot topic among cat enthusiast, It has proven to be less of an issue than i first thought. On our leopard 40 we have an average bridge deck height of just under 2 feet. This is higher than the pdq , about equal the privilege and slightly less than the lagoon. The only time we have had any hull slap we were beating into big choppy seas. Bare off 5 or so degrees and the slap stops. Im guessing this is true of most cats. While higher bridge deck can be desirable remember it will cause your topsides and CG to be higher creating windage for the same headroom that you have in a lower bridge deck cat.

Another important feature for us was water access. We dive and do our own underwater maintenance so for that we favor wide sugar scoops with stairs that aren't so thin and steep that climbing with dive gear is treacherous. Along those lines we prefer the bottom step of the scoop to be only inches above waterline so that one can climb abard unaided by a ladder. The leopard 40 does this well.

Here are some first impressions I see looking at your short list

Privalage 37
Athwartship berths i.e. crawl over
Closets for clothes and personal belongings in the hull or where? That little closet in each stateroom doesn't look big enough for 2 for an extended cruise
Under berth engine maintenance and added cabin heat?

Lagoon 37TPI
Headroom in bunks?
Engine access?
I like the shaft drives

PDQ 36
No headroom in bunks
Bunks are crawl over.
Access to forward deck looks very narrow and sloped sections of salon / coach roof look like they could be difficult to move around on. I have zero time on the boat so I am just eyeballing it from pictures.

Prout Escale
What is that giant bulb hanging down? If it spends time in the water do you think it may slow you down a bit or make pointing more difficult?
Nice looking joinery

One last thought. All of the boats listed above are older models with older design thinking and older systems. All boats require constant maintenance so take what you want from that statement. I think it would behove you to reconsider your rigidness about more modern but designed for the charter market cats. There is a reason they are proliferating and its not because they are poorly though out, poorly designed, or not seaworthy. Most cross oceans routinely on their delivery shakedown cruise.

Good luck and keep us posted. We love to live vicariously through others. :-)
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:33   #3
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Re: Input on possible boats

Do you have any boat building skills or just mechanical skills?
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Old 01-01-2014, 13:20   #4
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Re: Input on possible boats

Hi Shaktis and nimblemotors,

I have some mechanical skills but no boatbuilding skills.

I am starting to crawl through various configurations and my wife is also starting to do the same as she is working in the South Pacific. Most of the discounted boats are because of various comments of seaworthiness or designs that are more appropriate for 1-2 weeks sailing than living aboard. I am not firm on my views although many of them are coagulating. I did consider the Athena and Mahe - price is a bit of a problem and I can't seem to find appropriate owners versions. Yes the boats I have mentioned are significantly older, but given my limited budget - I suspect the only newer boats I could afford would not be appropriate for extended cruising. I had thought about the under bunk arrangement of the engines and have some concerns about that due to access, heat and possible carbon monoxide in the cabins. I kept the prouts on the list because of their reputation for offshore cruising, but I agree with you about the center nacelle. I also worry about their ability to sail upwind.

I appreciate you reminding me to hold all opinions tentatively. I am creating a decision matrix about plusses and minuses and over the next few months will be scrambling through various boats with my lists.

thanks for the feedback and anything you can think of around other issues or particular production boats or customs that would work, would be appreciated.
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Old 01-01-2014, 13:57   #5
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Re: Input on possible boats

Next question where are you and where are you looking USA, Caribbean, Mexico?
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Old 01-01-2014, 14:18   #6
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Re: Input on possible boats

Unfortunately I am in British Columbia Canada. It makes the search more difficult due to the lack of catamarans locally and the price premium on the west coast. I am looking international which causes a load of other challenges. I suspect that the Caribbean and Europe hold the most inventory. After the purchase I will likely put it on the hard to do the appropriate upgrades and catch up on any deferred maintenance. We will then start the adventure/retirement from where ever we are. I will be looking for a shipyard with a good reputation working on catamarans close to the purchase location. I will likely also hire a captain to get us to reasonable cruising grounds so that we can hone our skills without courting disaster.
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Old 01-01-2014, 16:32   #7
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Re: Input on possible boats

A quick yachtworld search yielded the following cats. These would interest me greatly with your stated budget. There are a couple of wildcats in the list. Wildcats got a bad rap with the Bumfuzzle Saga but I have talked to several owners who really like them. For a 35 foot boat the wildcat space is hard to beat but bridge deck clearance suffers some. Several of these boats are in Florida all within a days drive of each other. Enjoy!

1996 Privilege 37 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

1998 Fountaine Pajot Tobago Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com


2001 Charter Cats Wildcat 350 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

2004 Fountaine Pajot Athena 38 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com


2001 Fountaine Pajot Athena 38 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

1996 Jeanneau LAGOON 35 CCC Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

1999 Wildcat 35 Sail Catamaran Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 02-01-2014, 22:06   #8
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Re: Input on possible boats

The all-in budget of $150k, means spending less than $100k on the boat itself,
this rules out most newish cats, you are going to have work to do and parts to replace,
but if you can do that there are boats out there.
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Old 03-01-2014, 02:03   #9
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Re: Input on possible boats

I've got to ask;

Why did you rule out Simpsons ?
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Old 03-01-2014, 17:52   #10
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Re: Input on possible boats

Hi Redreuben,

I read 2 negative reports about slamming and offshore ability. I believe that one of the comments was by Richard Woods, but it was earlier in my research and didn't keep the link (memory doesn't work quite as reliably as it once did). I would be willing to relook at it given the research has progressed somewhat since then. Do you have experience with a Simpson that would be suitable for live aboard and offshore cruising?
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Old 03-01-2014, 18:07   #11
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Re: Input on possible boats

Quote:
I am looking international which causes a load of other challenges. I suspect that the Caribbean and Europe hold the most inventory. After the purchase I will likely put it on the hard to do the appropriate upgrades and catch up on any deferred maintenance. We will then start the adventure/retirement from where ever we are. I will be looking for a shipyard with a good reputation working on catamarans close to the purchase location.
This sounds very wise to me. Assuming the need to perform upgrades & maintenance (& there will be), Europe has excellent yacht service--probably better than the Caribbean.
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Old 03-01-2014, 18:08   #12
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Re: Input on possible boats

Im pretty sure Richard Woods was talking about Alex Simonis, the designer of the Norseman 40, not Simmons. I could be wrong.

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Old 03-01-2014, 18:18   #13
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Re: Input on possible boats

Have you looked at any trimarans? Higher "bridge" clearances, etc., etc. You may be in for some surprises.
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Old 03-01-2014, 18:31   #14
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Re: Input on possible boats

SMJ - Interesting about Simonis... it was a few months ago when I ran across some negatives and may have mixed them up. I will look again at the Simpsons.

Roy M - I haven't looked at trimarans extensively. I have read a few comments that they have no appreciable space increase from mono hulls, so that had put me off. Is there any particular trimarans that would suit my situation that you know of?

Prairie Chicken - I haven't done any particular research yet for good shipyards, but have seen some positive comments about a few in the UK. When I find the boat - I will scramble to find a yard close at hand that is experienced with Catamarans.
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Old 03-01-2014, 18:41   #15
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Re: Input on possible boats

I don't have personal experience with a Simpson but I would have thought their offshore credentials were well and truly established.
Google catamaran Ramtha.
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