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Old 09-05-2017, 21:37   #1
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Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Hey Folks,

First post, great to be here and read all the awesome input. I know this has been asked in a variety of ways but here we go....

We are a young family of 4 heading out in 2 years time (Europe) to Liveaboard - we are novice sailors. We are two years into planning and research and have narrowed down the choice (a little!). Some criteria which we think is suitable for us:

- Owners Version 3b 2h
- min 40ft, max 44ft
- Good storage
- Will eventually cross oceans
- We are not born sailors so performance whilst interesting from a time point of view - is not our #1 priority.

Open to different brands but so far out of the newer models we like the Lucia 40, Lagoon 42, Helia 44. We've been on a couple of 40's and 44's (and a 45 which felt far too big).

Would love to hear about and connect with any families who are either currently sailing or planning in the same way.

Budget is likely going to be in the range of $250-400k USD. Wide range I know - but don't necessarily want to get the biggest/newest we can afford. Given the difference can be huge between 40 and 44 we wanted to hear

Some questions:

- New vs 2nd Hand, obviously depends on the condition. How did you personally make that decision?
- Anyone found the 40ft (in some models 38/39) too small for storage/performance when loaded up?
- We want this to be a relatively comfortable experience (hence the cat v mono) so interior space/design is going to be important for morale in the long run. Anyone got some comments on which brands have this nailed?

Thanks a bunch - it's hugely helpful to have such a well informed and enthusiastic crowd to bounce off!
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:23   #2
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Hi and welcome... I'm not really going to recommend any particular model but I am going to suggest you forget about 3 cabin versions. I don't know what age your kids are but I think they should each be given a cabin. You as parents will take a another and in my opinion you want a fourth cabin simply for storage. Also, 3 cabin versions are generally more expensive and not very space efficient.


I've done a circumnavigation with just my wife and I aboard a 44ft cat and, like you, performance was not a high priority for us. Arriving safely was far and away the most important priority to us!


If you are in the UK or nearby you might consider going along to this event... Portsmouth Harbour Multihull Show next month. There'll be quite a variety of new cats there and, more importantly, quite a number of used boats from the Multihull World brokerage which is based there.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:30   #3
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

We're in the same boat, so to speak.
Last week we charted a Lagoon 450F in Croatia and that sure made it easier for us to decide on boat and loadout. So, my advice would be: if you narrowed it down to one or two boats -> go charter one. Everyone uses their boat different and have different standards of comfort. By using it for a week you will have a good view on what's lacking/abundant.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:35   #4
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

3 vs 4 cabins was one of the major questions we had to decide on.

With all respect to Jeannius' advice on 3/4 berths: we chartered a 4 cabin version. I don't fall in to the category small (1m96, 125kg) and found the toilet so narrow and small on the 4 cabins version, the week of chartering made it very easy to decide for the owner's version. Like I said, everyone uses their boat different and has other standards. Proof of the pudding is in the eating.
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Old 10-05-2017, 03:06   #5
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Hi. It feels like we may also be in a similar position to you. Family of 4, children now 4 and 6, looking to live aboard in 2 years time on a cat 40-44' starting europe. We are currently in the uk, where are you?

Price difference between different sizes is starting to be the key factor, certainly in the new market. There is quite a lot of difference between lagoon 42 and helia 44. Really like lagoon 42 but rarely yet available 2nd hand and unlikely to fit your budget new and fully equipped for live aboard. One arrived in the uk in the last few days so have a viewing booked on Sat. Very happy to share ideas, just message me.
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:14   #6
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

I'm not a fan of four cabins. The boats are usually configured for four couples to charter and have their own head. It a big waste of space to have so many heads but that's what the charter market demands. Sharing a head is not a big deal, certainly for a family of four. I like your two head idea and that would free up storage space. I'm not sure Ive ever seen a two head Cat. in that size range?
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:16   #7
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
...I am going to suggest you forget about 3 cabin versions. I don't know what age your kids are but I think they should each be given a cabin. You as parents will take a another and in my opinion you want a fourth cabin simply for storage. Also, 3 cabin versions are generally more expensive and not very space efficient.
Agreed. The 3 cabin feels nice and luxurious when you charter for a week, but we ended up going with a 4 cabin cat for our family of 4. 4 people, 4 cabins. The 4th cabin is storage for tools and spare freezer, but converts to extra capacity for when we have guests (or when one spouse needs some time away)

FWIW, ours is 4C/2H, and the heads are big enough, with separate shower stall. No, not as big as the shower on the owner version, but big enough.
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:39   #8
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Here are my thoughts and for perspective, I have half circumnavigated from California to New Zealand as a family of 4 on a 42ft monohull, now I own an owners version Lagoon 380.

1 - OWNERS VERSION hands down, you want the larger head/shower more than a spare berth. Each kid gets a cabin, you and spouse have 1 hull to yourself with a good shower. If anybody needs space, go on the foredeck, take the dingy, there is lots of space to escape, yet nothing is more annoying to not have a decent space to do your personal business such as showering.

2 - SPEED is about safety, we found that with a faster boat you get out of the way of bad weather easier, you often can cut passages down to a weather window that allows for more comfortable passages. For example, many passages in the South Pacific are either 3 to 4 days, you can get a good weather forecast for 3 days, not 4, so having a faster boat is much more about safety than anything else. Yes I know, this sounds contra what most people will tell you but we saw this in action, many of our heavy, "safe", full-keel friends being stuck in nasty weather while we were hanging out at the next anchorage.

3 - COST of upkeep and parts for a 44ft vs 42ft is considerably larger, all lines get larger, sails get larger, loads get larger etc. Yes you will be able to take considerably more stuff with you, so it's really about what do you really want to bring. Things I'd think about twice because they are heavy are a dive generator (great way to connect with people), water maker (highly recommend), spare parts. Things I'd leave at home are wind generators (ineffective in the anchorages you'd like to be) and books for example but get a few tablets and yes we had light but effective electronics for our kids that kept them happy during passages. Did I mention that our boys were 6 and 8 when we crossed the Pacific for 20 days?

OK that's enough I think, the best piece of advice I got was "Just do it and LEAVE" and this is no joke. Too many people talk about it, plan it, listen to others for their advice and never leave because there is this 1 piece missing, this 1 last item on their todo list ... in the end, it'll all work our and you'll know what you need and want.

Hope this helps and feel free to reach out directly if you'd like. Have fun planning!
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Old 10-05-2017, 08:39   #9
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

3 cabin 2 head 44 footer would be the way to go for an offshore cruiser with 4 people on board.

4 people need a lot of STUFF.

You will just be fighting to make something < than 44 feet work for 4 people.

Can a smaller boat work, Absolutely, but the SUCK factor will increase.
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Old 10-05-2017, 09:06   #10
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Buy as much waterline as you can afford. Trust me.

Think 47-50. (Maybe 45 at the short end)

Best advice we ever received.
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Old 10-05-2017, 11:03   #11
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

The last three posts were SPOT ON. Pay attention to those. g
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Old 10-05-2017, 14:37   #12
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

It all depends what level of comfort and space you personally find necessary, and to a degree that perhaps depends on the climate where you want to go cruising and how readily you can make use of the great outdoors.

As with modern houses where everyone now seems to need 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, compared to years ago where no one had more than three bedrooms and 1 bathroom, boats have also grown with rising expectations of what is "needed".

If you have a tight family unit and enjoy each others company and can use the outside spaces then 38-40ft is fine. As a child I cruised extensively liveaboard as a family of 4 (kids 8 -12) on a 35ft mono and we thought we had heaps of space compared to other families on 30ft monos. I lived on a 37ft cat for 8 years and thought it ideal. I now have a 44' cat with a family of 4 and at times find it too large.

The cost, effort and mooring difficulties rise exponentially as you go over 40' so I would disagree with the previous posters and I would say go as small as you think you can find comfortable - to me something like a Lightwave 38 is a great size for a liveaboard family.

Each to their own - but don't go too large as handling certainly gets much more difficult - I see lots of newbies in 50ft cats who were told that's is what they need, who are liveaboard but who hardly leave the marina because they find it all too daunting.

Each to their own but make sure you critically examine where and how you are going to use the boat to pick the size for you rather than relying on what might work for others. As was said previously, chartering is a great way to learn whether a certain size and type of boat will work for your family.

Good luck!
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Old 10-05-2017, 15:39   #13
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BoMoose View Post
I'm not a fan of four cabins. The boats are usually configured for four couples to charter and have their own head. It a big waste of space to have so many heads but that's what the charter market demands. Sharing a head is not a big deal, certainly for a family of four. I like your two head idea and that would free up storage space. I'm not sure Ive ever seen a two head Cat. in that size range?
Our FP Belize 43 Maestro (owners version) has two heads.

A good sized one fwd on the owners side with separate shower compartment.

The shared head/shower compartnment on the starboard (two cabin) side in cramped with a small sliding door. It's OK for short term guests or kids but is a bit of a PITA for adults to get in/out of and use. When our daughter (at boarding school most of the time) is on board and using her stbd rear cabin, she much prefers to use our shower.

Personally, I think our size/layout is great for the OPs situation of a couple with two kids and well maintained Belize Maestro ticks all the boxes in his first post.
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Old 10-05-2017, 16:34   #14
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Do not forget to look into the Leopard 45. We have a 1999, 2 52 HP Yanmars, 4 cabins,4 heads. Purchased it in the BVI, sailed it to San Felipe, Sea of Cortez, Mexico. It has worked very well for us. We usually have from 3-5 people on board. We have encountered some fairly rough weather in the 2 years we have owned it. The boat has done very well. I am not so sure about us. It is very well built. Low profile (some drumming). Last week we ran with the wind,. 5 ft. swells, symmetrical out, 24-30 knot gusts, hit 13.4 knots. The boat took it in stride. One cabin ends up as storage most of the time. We do not spend much time in the cabins nor bathrooms. There is a lot of living space on top and a lot of beaches, ocean, and places to explore out there. We see it as a self contained, movable, condo to go out from, and return to. Have a nice day.
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Old 10-05-2017, 18:02   #15
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Re: Liveaboard Family of 4 - Catamaran Choice?

Hi there dreamers ..cats are total money drainers...please just buy a house for your family . In 2 years time ..boat size is to big over 40 foot its a running weekly bill if 400 dollars just maintenence. Okay .i too did wait years with family . Research too .lived on board to ..ended buying a beach front land in philippines .building a house as we speak. Live aboard .on a cat .gosh the daily water supply the toilet issues..solar generators changing of sails oh thats 10.000 dollars .list goes on .they say the best part in owning a boat . Is the day your buy the boat . And the day your sell the boat happy dreaming ..but please get a reality check first
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