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Old 10-09-2015, 00:01   #1
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Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Today is launch day for the latest St. Francis 50 catamaran from St. Francis Marine. These semi-custom catamarans balance cruising comforts and speed under sail. After a long search and many boat shows, this is the boat I chose to become my home at sea.

A lot of boats would have made me happy. There are so many fantastic cruising cats on the market right now, both new and used. The SF50 just ended up being the perfect choice for me.

I started a thread seven months ago to detail the build process. I had no idea it would garner so many reads and lead to so many new friendships and great ideas. I thought I would start a new thread now that the boat is going in the water and will go from being built to being used.

One of the reasons I went with a St. Francis 50 is that they iterate each boat, making every hull better than the last. And also that they work with owners to customize each boat to their liking. Having sailed on a previous SF50, and having sailed on many other boats over the years, I knew several things I wanted in a cruiser, and the builder obliged and then went beyond the call of duty.

The result is the first of the St. Francis 50 mk II line. This is a new designation, as several of Wayfinder's features have now been integrated into the hull and deck molds. This is not the same boat in several crucial ways, but still the same SF50 that so many have come to know and love. A partial list of changes to the boat, as well as items that I chose to add. Note that some of these (the hull changes) are now standard, but most of this list is not part of the base price but show the options you can go with and the ones I elected:
  • Added portholes to the hull to provide more light below and sea views from all four cabins.
  • Larger windows in the saloon for more light and even better visibility.
  • Wraparound look with the hull and bimini windows.
  • Square seating in the cockpit, for more space and better lounging.
  • Square booth-style seating in the saloon, for better use of space, more modern look, and better lounging.
  • Cockpit and saloon tables both lower into day beds.
  • New davit system that allows simple, 1-person hoisting and launching of a 13' console RIB.
  • Switch to 24V electrical for smaller (and lighter) wire runs, greater performance, and more reliability.
  • Lithium Phosphate battery bank with over 800 amp hours at 24V.
  • Nearly 2kw of solar panels on the bimini, without restricting access to the boom.
  • DC generator, providing lots of recharge power for the house bank while being quieter, lighter, and more fuel efficient.
  • Two-drawer fridge in galley, providing liveaboard capacity and cruising efficiency.
  • Harken split track, which reduces the main stack pack to half the former height.
  • LED underwater lights for attracting mermaids.
  • The only boat in its class to stow paddleboards and similarly sized toys away, rather than lashing them to the rails.
  • Electronic throttle controls inside and out.
  • Whole-boat audio with 4 zones, including speakers in the forward cabin that project sound onto the bow and trampoline.
  • A 50" flatscreen TV that rotates for cockpit or saloon viewing. Perfect for grilling on the back deck and entertaining outside while watching a game or viewing pictures/videos from the day's adventures.
  • Stowaway cubbies for charging phones and tablets where they and their cords won't be seen.
  • Luxury vinyl floors that look as good as wood, feel better than wood underfoot, are much hardier, and require no maintenance.
  • New common rail 57hp Yanmars, which are said to be more fuel efficient and quieter than the previous generation.
  • An expanded nav station, built for two, and with space designated for the inevitable laptop, without covering installed instruments.
  • Luxurious master shower with rain nozzle and bench seating for two (or three, if you're into that sort of thing).
  • Mast steps to the top of the mast for extra stability aloft and for spotting coral heads in a jiffy.
  • Load path laminate cruising sails for extra strength, better shape, and reduced weight. Fully battened main with three reef points.

I'll update more in coming days with video tours of the boat as well as videos from sea trials and notes as I go cruising with my new catamaran. Today will be so busy and celebratory that I may not get pictures up of the launch, but rest assured I am taking them. Thanks so much to everyone who chimed in on the other thread, which I'll continue to monitor. Many of your suggestions helped shape this boat, and I look forward to seeing all of you in a harbor soon. Dinghy over for a visit.
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Old 10-09-2015, 03:24   #2
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Congrats, we can't wait to see her with the sails full.

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Old 10-09-2015, 03:52   #3
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Master shower for three.. I'm sold! Congrats! Hope to see this work of art in Miami. Best wishes on the see trials. BB


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Old 10-09-2015, 08:19   #4
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

I was lucky enough to drive into St Francis as Wayfinder was winding its way VERY slowly down the road to the harbor. We saw the whole launch - I will leave Hugh to regale you with all the details - suffice to say the yacht is beautiful!! Great job Hugh!!!!
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Old 10-09-2015, 10:40   #5
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Wow, congrats.
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Old 10-09-2015, 14:17   #6
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Sitting on the boat now, downloading the pics and videos. I'm in a daze. Can't believe this is my new home. Had two friends over and watched a movie, had dinner and a beer, then started futzing around the boat. Installed a barometer and ship's clock. Got the fridges up and running. A long couple of weeks ahead of testing everything and doing some finishing touches.
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Old 10-09-2015, 14:39   #7
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Congratulations Hugh, I'm very happy for you!


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Old 10-09-2015, 21:36   #8
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Howey View Post
Sitting on the boat now, downloading the pics and videos. I'm in a daze. Can't believe this is my new home. Had two friends over and watched a movie, had dinner and a beer, then started futzing around the boat. Installed a barometer and ship's clock. Got the fridges up and running. A long couple of weeks ahead of testing everything and doing some finishing touches.
How exciting, you must be like a little kid. I would be!

Enjoy
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Old 10-09-2015, 21:52   #9
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Congrats Hugh and St Francis. Seems like they delivered on time as well which is pretty awesome for a relatively small boat builder.
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Old 10-09-2015, 22:02   #10
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Wonderful news Hugh

So much anticipation, so many details to research & think about, so many dreams to daydream about, and now it's actually REAL!

Our journey is just beginning, as yours is ending (so to speak) as your baby has been splashed.

How long will it take to get that silly grin off your face?

Fair winds to you Sir.
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Old 13-09-2015, 18:02   #11
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Congrats Hugh! It has been such a pleasure to follow this story to a launch. I am hoping to get a cat in a year or so. So looking forward to the upcoming show in Annapolis for exploratory fun. When time allows, we are looking forward to hearing about all your electrical decisions and why you chose what you did. Enjoy this time... and of course, a wonderful sailing future!
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Old 13-09-2015, 20:36   #12
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Spent my fourth night on the boat. I'm using as many of the systems as I can. Leaving lots of lights on, playing movies on the TV, burning the underwater lights for hours every night, playing music constantly in all zones, running the fridges and freezer and nav instruments, and the only power we've needed has been the solar. We'll see if that changes once the winches are getting more use, or the davit, but so far the batteries and panels have been incredibly robust.
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Old 14-09-2015, 00:48   #13
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

You must be like a kid on christmas! Congrats.

Have you tested how much runtime the aircon gets on the batteries?

Also, any pics of the davit system?
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Old 14-09-2015, 04:51   #14
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

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Originally Posted by Rugger View Post
You must be like a kid on christmas! Congrats.

Have you tested how much runtime the aircon gets on the batteries?

Also, any pics of the davit system?
I'll have a better idea of the aircon load soon. And we tested the davit system in the yard, and it worked beautifully. Still want to try it a few times in the water, with the boat wet and the added weight of the dinghy's anchor rode and chain, but it appears to work great.
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Old 14-09-2015, 15:25   #15
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Re: Introducing the St. Francis 50 mk II: Wayfinder

Congrats Hugh and Fair Winds.
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