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Old 21-01-2013, 03:14   #1
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Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

Hi Everyone
Ive only recently joined the forum and have already found it to be incredibly useful. Im hoping I can learn more and use your feedback and advice to make that most important decision. What boat to buy! Apologies for the length of the post!

Until quite recently (i.e. when I started reading some of the other threads), I was pretty sure that we wanted a FP, an Orana, Helia or maybe a Salina 48. Now Im not so sure and so your help is needed please!

I know its important to describe what we want so here goes.

Were a couple, mid-late forties. Im reasonably fit and mobile. My wife has Ehlers Danloss Syndrome (EDS) which among other complications causes her to suffer from chronic back/neck pain and a subsequent reduction in mobility (e.g. bending can be difficult). Otherwise her mobility is ok but she definitely struggles with the heeling on monohulls (our last boat was a Tayana 55) and so we feel a move to a Catamaran is the right thing.

Probably our single most important criteria will be the stability and motion of the boat both under sail and at anchor. Under sail, we need to have the calmest motion possible with minimal slamming, rolling, etc. At anchor, were looking for similar stability. I was very interested to read the long thread between IMPI and others on their experience with the Lagoon 440 and the gull-wing design which seems to perform very well.

It also seems that taking two boats of similar length/width, the heavier boat will provide the most stable platform. Seems logical but is it true? I would have thought hull design, weight distribution, LWL, etc would matter more? Reasonable sailing performance is needed but we would definitely sacrifice speed for stability and ease of motion.

Most of the time we will sail short-handed so layout and ease of hoisting/trimming sails is important. We like a boat that can take all the weight of long term cruising without severely degrading performance and motion. So weight and space for water-maker, genset, A/C, spares, long anchor chain, etc all need to be factored in. Wed also like to be able to fit a dive compressor in if possible.

Wed prefer to have a dinghy with a wheel/console and seat with a backrest (for my wife) as well as a decent size outboard (e.g. 20hp) to ensure it can plane easily. Therefore the dinghy will be a bit heavier than normal and so strong davits are needed. Some of the standard davits look a little flimsy to me and Id be interested in any advice. Also I think the clearance needed for the console/seat might mean that the Salina 48 is not viable due to the dinghy being mounted below the sun-deck?

Build quality is important to us. Were looking at spending around 400/450K Euros or 5/600k USD. Our budget wont extend to something like a Privilege so were probably looking at one of the more mainstream production cats from Lagoon, FP, etc

Im also tempted to buy a fully kitted 2nd hand boat rather than new. It seems the customer service of FP, Lagoon, Leopard etc is abysmal so it might simply be better to buy a boat where the kinks have been worked through already. Again, Id appreciate your advice and experience in this matter.

Right now, Im open minded about the boat but the Lagoon 440/450, FP Helia/Salina 48 and maybe a Leopard seems like an obvious short-list. Id welcome any other suggestions or comparisons.

So in summary, key questions to hopefully get advice on.

Which boat combines the optimum blend of stability, build quality, performance???

Would you buy new vs old????

Kind regards
Magor
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Old 21-01-2013, 03:39   #2
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We have a 440 and its just great, i would go for one loaded up by some one else.

Factory wont give you any useful help so forget them.

Very comfortable boat, the nacelle works great in heavy seas.

You will feel bad weather but not get worn out like on a mono, so much more friendly.

Very easy to sail single handed once you learn the boat.
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Old 21-01-2013, 04:56   #3
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

Hi,

I cant help specifically but someone posted this for me to look at when I had a comparison question. This may help although you may have to request a custom eval to your specific needs. Multihull Dynamics

Good luck.
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Old 23-01-2013, 14:13   #4
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

Thanks for the replies so far. Would really appreciate hearing from other Lagoon, FP, Leopard or any other Cat owners.
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Old 23-01-2013, 14:44   #5
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

Hi Magor and welcome, probably the way to look at it is get everything electric, i.e. all winches.

Thruster also to ensure your wife can helm the boat easily into a berth leaving you to tie it up.

The 440's sugar scoop stairs are better angled (less steep) than the 450's.

Owners version is a must the room incredible.

Any Cat would suit it becomes a matter of personal taste, as far as our boat goes it totally satisfies our every need.

Cheers
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Old 24-01-2013, 08:45   #6
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

Hi Magor

Considering your wife's condition, I would count the number and check the steepness of the stairs from the saloon into the hulls of each boat. Off hand (and I stand to be corrected) the Leopard has lots of stairs eg when moving fwd /aft in a hull, you climb/decend over the engine housing. The Lagoon 440 has the engines right in the stern, so it is totally flat inside the hulls when walking fwd/aft.

There is another advantage/disadvantage in having the engines aft:
- no mechanics walking their oily shoes through your boat.
- it's not nice getting into the engine room in rough seas.

Hope this helps.
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Old 24-01-2013, 10:42   #7
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

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Hi Magor

Considering your wife's condition, I would count the number and check the steepness of the stairs from the saloon into the hulls of each boat. Off hand (and I stand to be corrected) the Leopard has lots of stairs eg when moving fwd /aft in a hull, you climb/decend over the engine housing.
I vaguely remember from the boat show that newer Leopards have aft engine rooms. Floor plan for 44 shows three steps and large aft hatches: Leopard 44 | Leopard Catamarans US
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Old 26-01-2013, 13:05   #8
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The sailing performance of the Salina is great, I constantly outperform ever bigger cats.

Bridgedeck clearance is something you cannot change, the Salina could do with more, but is good.

The roof is great, you can walk to the end of the boom to fold the main and zip the bag even underway. There is a gutter diverging rainwater and the cockpit if vary dry.

The props are in front of the rudders giving you excellent manovrability at slow speed, no need for thrusters.

The sundeck is very popular and keeps your dinghy shaded and dry, no probs for the 20hp, but you will not be able to fit a centre console.

A lighter cat will always bang less, be faster and safer than a heavy one, keep that in mind.

Lastly, every cat-owner woman that visited us, admired with some envy our galley.
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Old 28-01-2013, 09:54   #9
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

Hi Spiv

thanks for the feedback. You say that "A lighter cat will always bang less, be faster and safer than a heavy one, keep that in mind."

The faster bit I completely understand but surely a heavier cat will be more stable and safer? Less likely to be thrown about, more likely to have the displacement and mass to push through heavier seas? It is certainly the case with monohulls?

Would appreciate feedback/thoughts from other cat owners on this as well.

regards
Richard
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Old 28-01-2013, 10:04   #10
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

Hi Spiv
One other question on the Salina. I've heard that FP's in general and some 48's in particular suffer from a lot of creaking/noise underway or at anchor in rolly conditions. Have you ever had that problem?
regards
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Old 28-01-2013, 14:50   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magor View Post
Hi Spiv

thanks for the feedback. You say that "A lighter cat will always bang less, be faster and safer than a heavy one, keep that in mind."

The faster bit I completely understand but surely a heavier cat will be more stable and safer? Less likely to be thrown about, more likely to have the displacement and mass to push through heavier seas? It is certainly the case with monohulls?

Would appreciate feedback/thoughts from other cat owners on this as well.

regards
Richard
Cats were never intended to ride like monos. A catamaran should ride on top of the water not pound through it. The lighter displacement means the cat stays on top of the waves reducing pounding. It also means less stress on the boat brought on by heavy seas as she should ride over them rather than through them.
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Old 28-01-2013, 14:56   #12
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

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Cats were never intended to ride like monos. A catamaran should ride on top of the water not pound through it. The lighter displacement means the cat stays on top of the waves reducing pounding. It also means less stress on the boat brought on by heavy seas as she should ride over them rather than through them.
I really think any boat that has a draught beyond 800mm is sailing through the water, the old analogy you quote is more for cats that plane, there needs to be a balance to be comfortable.
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Old 28-01-2013, 16:44   #13
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

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Originally Posted by Lagoon4us View Post
I really think any boat that has a draught beyond 800mm is sailing through the water, the old analogy you quote is more for cats that plane, there needs to be a balance to be comfortable.
800mm? Is that a magic number?

My hulls are 457mm in the water, what does that mean?

Cats, including production Cats, bounce on top compared to a heavy displacement monohull. The ride is very different.
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Old 28-01-2013, 17:07   #14
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Re: Lagoon 440/450 VS FP Helia/Salina VS Leopard/Other? Help needed!

[QUOTE=Magor;1141952]..........
The faster bit I completely understand but surely a heavier cat will be more stable and safer? Less likely to be thrown about, more likely to have the displacement and mass to push through heavier seas? It is certainly the case with monohulls?.......
/QUOTE]

Richard,
as SMJ said, cats behave differently from monos; if I was to choose a mono, I would have a long keeled one, long and slim, like one of that S&S used to design in the 30s and 40s. Read "Seaworthiness, the forgotten factor" by C. A. Marchaj, every designer of today's 'skimming dishes' should read it!

A cat needs to be lifted over the big waves, not be swallowed by them, otherwise you risk to pitchpole.
She needs to accelerate fast in a gust in order to wear it, otherwise you risk to damage your sails or worse, loose the mast (forget about lifting a hull with a cruising production boat).

You make a cat heavier and it will turn into a bulldozer, lower the bridgedeck, slam more frequently risk carrying too much sail for the speed (see above) and more problems that it would be too long to discuss.
So, not in only my opinion, but in the opinion of many experts of whom I did read their books, a lighter cat is a better cat.

Now having said that, lighter cats such as the Outremers, the Atlantic etc, are a bit spartan, so that is where you must compromise: lightness v creature comfort such as what you get with a Lagoon or FP or Priviledge.


The other point you were asking, the creaking: yes, there is some.
That is not a structural problem, but caused by the cabinet work rubbing against the fiberglass hull. I had one particular creaking that was driving us crazy, but a friend with another Salina did not, so eventually we found out where it was, shaved the offending fiberglass and it disappeared.
There are some others, but they only come out in a seaway when the boat flexes (as per design) and I can live with them.
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Old 28-01-2013, 17:45   #15
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I really think any boat that has a draught beyond 800mm is sailing through the water, the old analogy you quote is more for cats that plane, there needs to be a balance to be comfortable.
I would agree there are many overweight cats that plunge through waves rather than float over but in my opinion they are badly designed. Your draft has nothing to do with the buoyancy, flotation and motion of your boat. A well designed cat is designed light and kept light.
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