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Old 02-09-2013, 09:00   #46
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post

In general, I would go as "home depot" as feasible, so that repairs could be effected as much as possible with locally/regionally available parts and skills.

That would suggest the boat should be built in China.

No sail drives. Expensive, proprietary parts; tools; and skills required to repair. Basic shaft installation which can be repaired/replaced anywhere w basic machine shop serices.

I have sail drives and have not found them to be a "burden" and like their advantages, shaft drives place the engines in the aft cabins (typically) which can lead to very warm, sometimes hot, interior cabin conditions and noise.... better weight positioning tho in the hulls. Its always a trade off.

Skeg hung rudders and protected prop. Ever hit a fishing net in a typical modern cat? It aint pretty...exposed sail drives/props and spade rudders just love fishing nets...and this creates not only an immediate hassle, but also maint issues like scored prop shafts and damaged seals.

I would suggest that hitting fishing nets in "any" boat can create real problems.

No wood ANYWHERE. Inside or out. Just a maintenance issue waiting to happen. A pair of sister ship Voyages I run sometimes are like this...not a scrap of wood .

A bit of "Earth" on the boat maintains your "caveman" roots...

No foam backed headliner material. Time release problem waiting to happen.

Agreed!

No Windows. Proper hatches only, windows are a continuos maintenance issues, good hatches (not Lewmar) can be serviced easier and opened for ventilation.

"Some" boats have window installations executed well.

Tank access. All tanks should be easy to access and remove. My W35 is like this, I can remove any tank on the boat relatively easily to repair, replace, clean.

Strongly agreed!

Easy maintenance access. If something is hard to get to then it wont get properly maintained. Batteries are one of the most common examples of this, but also applies to engines, steering gear,etc.

Strongly agreed!

Plumbing. PVC tubing and hardware store fixtures...none of this overpriced and unreliable, and often plastic, "marine" crap.

Marine=expensive agreed, but some Marine kit is quality designed and built, you just have to find it.

"Marine" Diesels are one of the biggest rip offs afloat. Marinize a widley used truck motor and get inexpesive parts and skills world wide.

Self Marinizing requires some skill and time and .....


.....and much more...
Its always a Compromize game.


Bob
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Old 02-09-2013, 10:28   #47
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

So use a truck diesel in a sailing cat at say 800 lbs vs. a well designed Yanmar that weighs 300 pounds and will go an easy 6000-8000 hours with proper maintenance?

Home Depot parts? Make sure you're always moored near a store to return all the junk when it breaks down in the marine environment every few months. there's cheap marina here in St Augustine 2 blocks from Home Depot. most of the guys there would agree will all said in your post
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Old 02-09-2013, 12:31   #48
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

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Originally Posted by SunDevil View Post
I know there are some popular multihull boats out there, but is there one type or brand that holds up well for years and years without all the 'doing boat repairs in remote tropical islands' thing?

And is it possible to reduce the likelihood of having problems by swapping out certain parts or equipment. If you were designing a boat, what would you put in it or change from what was done on your boat?

Or is the sea just an extremely harsh environment and most man-made materials are no match to it over time. Will everything break or need replaced in time and the best answer is to go as simple and with as little as possible?

(For clarity, I'm not necessarily asking about withstanding accidents, running aground, or hitting docks here, just normal wear and tear and what holds up to it year after year and still looks good. Kind of like a Pelican case or something like it.)
I'm partial to St. Francis Catamarans for the build quality. There has been one well publicized build that was not what the owner expected but in general they are fairly bullet proof, as far as I know. My second brand would be a Privilege.

If I was designing one, I would go with shaft drive for sure, and a skeg hung rudder would be very nice as I would feel more comfortable about beaching the boat. Fish nets don't really worry me after two years of sailing the med. They are all over and yet we have never caught one. I'd go with as many systems running off 12 or 24 volts as possible with a hard top bimini and tons of solar. Simplify everything.

I didn't go this route and pay the price by spending lots and lots of time messing with mechanical systems. But, I do have the time so it isn't all that bad and I kind of like messing with the stuff. There's nothing like sweating your ass off in the engine compartment repairing some pump that shouldn't have broke to make you appreciate the rum and coke your about to consume.
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Old 02-09-2013, 13:20   #49
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

There were other St. Francis 50s on that forum with problems. I'm not sure about the 44s. My buddy has a 44 and he likes it.
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Old 02-09-2013, 17:53   #50
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Originally Posted by Boatguy30 View Post

....

Home Depot parts? Make sure you're always moored near a store to return all the junk when it breaks down in the marine environment every few months. there's cheap marina here in St Augustine 2 blocks from Home Depot. most of the guys there would agree will all said in your post
I am not advocating buying junk. "Home Depot" is intended more as an expression of using components which are more readily available than so called "marine" products...which often are just over priced proprietary junk. Either using commonly available, but good quality parts, or have parts machined which can be reproduced easily, inexpesivley, and quickly by any competent machine shop. The objective being to have as many components on the boat as possible which are widely available, serviceable, or easily repaired/replaced in remote locations.

Ive experienced a long list of expensive "marine" components which were over priced crap no more engineered for a marine environment than standard hardware store stuff. Couple examples of many:

Cruise Air AC units, built in variety, min price about $2,500, the "marine grade" condesate tray is ferrous metal...had to pull one out last year and refurbish the rusting tray...second unit is due for the same.

Vovlo engines. Their grossly over priced parts are no more marinized than standard auto parts. Example, clamp ring for sail drive bellows, priced at around $400, is nothing more than stamped ferrous metal. Corrosion of this piece could be catastrophic, at that price point it could easily be made of a more appropriate metal and still maintain a wide profit margin.

Whale plumbing fixtures, faucets etc, frail plastic junk at a "marine" price...I can buy better quality non-ferrous metal fixtures at any decent hardware store for half the price.

Pressure switches for fresh water pumps. Over a period of decades, and many boats, Ive rarely seen actual pump motors fail, but Ive seen dozens of pressure switches go south. Finally got fed up w this and went to standard external pressure switches available at any hardware store, 100% serviceable (unlike totally non serviceavle "marine" variety), inexpensive, world wide availavility.

...

Nothing wrong with paying for quality, but why pay "marine" prices for crap?

Add to this the cost, and wasted time, which most cruisers incur of shipping this proprietary junk to remote ports.
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Old 02-09-2013, 17:57   #51
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.... My second brand would be a Privilege. ....
Yes, built solid, and despite their big chunky size, sail surprisingly well.
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Old 02-09-2013, 18:04   #52
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

I agree, NEVER buy a Volvo!!! One nice thing about the larger 6 cylinder Yanmars also is they are Toyota engines, but not relevant to this subject.

I also agree that most new "marine" equipment a is junk. Have not bought many newer whale pumps, but was quite happy with many purchased over 10 years ago.

All the stuff is built in the same sweatshops now so I generally try to find new "old stock" items on EBay either made in the US, Japan or Europe.

Cheers,
Jeff
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Old 02-09-2013, 18:16   #53
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

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Will everything break or need replaced in time and the best answer is to go as simple and with as little as possible?
yes. about the most complicated thing ever are sails, masts, furlers, booms, rigging.
Look at all the parts and equipment it takes to have a sailboat.
All of it wears out and must be replaced.
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Old 03-09-2013, 06:50   #54
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

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Statistics are wonderfull things, you can make them prove anything. It is all in the qualfying question.

So "how many cats sold per model", has less traction than "how many cats per model are sold to owner sailors who intend to keep their boats for at least a decade".

The first numbers will be hopelessly distorted by the charter market, whereas the second will be for the somewhat more discerning owner with an eye to how the quality will affect the eventual value.
Besides, 66.7% of statistics are just made up!
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Old 03-09-2013, 20:10   #55
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Great thoughts all around, but given your original inquiry, I must assume you're looking for your perfect boat... Which will Lead you to a serious of compromises (speed, weight, size, price, etc.). I would be surprised if basic maintenance is top of your list - although on all of ours I'm sure...
Might want to figure out your "limiting factor" and start from there... Allow me to explain, if there are 10 potential models that you're looking at, 8 might be a fit for speed, 7 for size, 6 for service / Maintenance, 4 for price, and 3 for X... Then start with X.
In my case, I was overwhelmed at first. Once I realized that I needed more headroom and a budget under $600k... I used that to narrow down the list considerably. Ended up with only 3 boats to consider.
Good luck
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Old 03-09-2013, 21:15   #56
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

Ive never owned a Cat, as yet! But I have worked on many of them over the years, from CSK, to Lagoons. But I think I would sure look at Prouts, every one Ive been aboard, or worked on, has been well thought out and hell for stout! and ya can be sure they have cruised if they are in the US. just sayin, for the prices and there good sailing abilty, they are a pretty good choice for a couple or two to do some cruiseing aboard! Just the 2 cents of someone who wants a cat but is a little short of money LOL
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Old 03-09-2013, 21:21   #57
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

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Besides, 66.7% of statistics are just made up!
At least and 99.9% can be manipulated to 'prove' whatever result you're looking for, ask any political party, safety committee or sales consultant!
@belizesailor.. re. equipment
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Old 03-09-2013, 22:40   #58
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

The BVI is the charter capital of the world...more cats here, by far, than anywhere else. Almost every brand and model of charter cat is represented. Comments about charter companies only being interested in a five year life-time apply to the first tier companies, like the Moorings or Sunsail or Voyage and a few others only, but are otherwise absurd. The second and third tier companies use boats after the first tier companies are done with them. They might have boats that are eight, ten, twelve, fifteen years old. Same for the independently owned crewed charter yachts. For all of these people, longevity is a really big deal, as is ease and cost of maintenance. Don't kid yourself, in the charter business, time is money, and in the BVI there are some pretty well held and substantiated opinions of what holds up and what doesn't.

In the crewed yacht sector, maintenance is meticulous and many yachts are beautiful years and years after they are built. A few years ago, the Tortola Charter Yacht Show, hosted by the Charter Yacht Society of the BVI (this is the largest and most significant charter show anywhere for this size charter boat, Antigua being for mega-yachts) awarded its Best in Show award to a stunning nineteen year old (!) Lagoon 57 named ReAction. And, the latest and greatest and largest cats (think the Matrix 76's and big Privileges) were in that Show.

The second and third tier companies only accept models with a good reputation for durability and ease of maintenance. Using these fleets and the crewed yacht fleet as examples, the most tried and true cats in the mid 40 foot range are the Leopard 45 and 47. And, you will never hear a nasty comment about either from ANY of the professional maintenance teams. The youngest 45 is now 13 years old, I believe, and the youngest 47 is 7 years old. There are far fewer of the old lagoons in service. The FP's are known for being less durable. The Privileges are very nice, but the woodwork takes lots of care. The Catanas have their own problems. It is no surprise that the Leopards have skeg rudders, straight prop-shafts in their own skegs (no sail drives), sacrificial keels, twin spreader rigs, Yanmar engines and almost no stress cracks. How they hold up, way after five years have passed, is remarkable, but most of the others do reasonably well, too. The newer Leopards have done away with some of the aforementioned features, and that makes some of the charter folks quite uneasy. The Leopard 45/47 is the Boeing 737 workhorse of the charter industry. But, fair is fair. I would disagree with the statement that Leopard gel coat is better than others. It is the weak point of this generation of boat and suffers from various forms of discoloration. For some reason, R&C had a very hard time with this, and the problems occur on the interiors of the boats as well as the sun-baked exteriors. I would say that the Voyage and Lagoon gel coat is superior, but that is the Leopard's only deficiency. And it is not to say that the boats are blister prone or that the gelcoat oxidizes more easily than other manufacturers. But, it can get a bit blotchy. Oh, well.

In the interest of transparency, I own and operate a 1999 Leopard 45 in the crewed yacht industry in the BVI. I have owned and lived aboard her since 2004. She still gets rave reviews, although I don't consider her gel coat a strong point. She has worked all but one of her 14 years in the crewed yacht industry, the first five years being with the Moorings, and the other eight with me. There are eight other Leopard 45/47's in the high end crewed yacht fleet, here, way more than any other design. And there are lots in the second and third tier bareboat fleets (which REALLY get used hard) as well, and for good reason.

I will admit to being highly biased, but I can back it up with facts!

Cheers,
Tim
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Old 03-09-2013, 22:44   #59
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

The Leopard 45/47 also has no exterior wood (other than on outboard motor mount that many have gotten rid of) and almost no real interior wood. The sole is plywood with a faux wood laminated surface, and most of the other "wood" is a faux wood surface, too. There is a little bit of trim that really is wood.
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Old 04-09-2013, 08:40   #60
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Re: Most Reliable Multihull Boat

It seems like the French makers are very price competitive, and you will literally get what you pay for. I wouldn't buy a cheaper boat with the intent of immediately upgrading the parts, as that will be more expensive than simply buying a higher-grad model or custom purchasing the boat with factory upgrades.

In today's world, there are gross inequities in the global labor markets, but not in the commodities markets. What that means for the bargain hunter (whether buying boats or kitchen appliances) is that the bargains are to be found coming out of the more obscure and overcrowded nations of the pacific rim. However, that is traditionally also where the worst engineering work is coming from.

When Lagoon starts building boats in Malaysia, I think you'll get a break. For now, SA seems to be providing a bit better value in the Leopard line, but it's a small margin.

For me, the biggest disappointment in the French lines are in styling - cheap and ugly looking. It's why a Leopard is now on the top of my list for newer models.
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