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Old 06-01-2016, 09:23   #1
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Opinions please on cat purchase

This looks like the year when we can ditch our stuff and take to the seas. We have decided to get a cat. My experience is for years with a Hobie, plus I've now taken a bunch of ASA classes, including a week on a cat for ASA 114. So yes, I'm an educated beginner. As we look at purchasing something, I would like your educated/experienced opinions.

So first:

Observation: cats in the last 5 years seem to have a much better design, so that the "feels like" of a 38' or 40' boat is equivalent to a 43-45' boat from 15 years ago, and the new ones have better cockpit layouts. True or false?

Rumor: Lagoon, FP, and Leopard are all fine boats, but Catana is that next step up in quality of build. True or false?

Generally agreed: Charter cats will tend to be beat up and in worse shape than owner's cats in the same age/length. EDIT: Looking through a few threads on charters, and getting a feel for an answer, no need to address this.

Based on that, I've been looking at boats on Yachtworld, and it appears we will need to decide between more length in an older boat (say, early 2004 40-43' FP) or a newer shorter charter boat (say, 38' 2012 Lagoon). But lately I've seen an interesting one pop up, a Catana that is coming out of charter. So my questions relate what to expect with a charter, and does the Catana's (alleged) higher build quality make up for the fact that it was a charter boat? I've seen people who say they've gotten a charter and it's been just fine, no problems, others who've regretted it. Any guesses on percentage each way? Would it be something where you pay to get things fixed up front, or would it be a slightly higher cost annually forever?

Since we are beginners, we are the people who (theoretically, not in reality) are banging up the charter boats. Maybe it's better to learn and make our mistakes on a boat that's already been through that?

Sorry to drown you all in vague questions....
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:10   #2
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

Before trying to address some of your questions, a couple questions for you:

What's your buying budget?

How many cruising cats have you sailed and which ones?

Where to you foresee cruising? Full time or part time?

Dave
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:16   #3
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Hulls View Post
Before trying to address some of your questions, a couple questions for you:

What's your buying budget?

How many cruising cats have you sailed and which ones?

Where to you foresee cruising? Full time or part time?

Dave
I've been thinking that if we can get into it, ready to sail with no additional major equipment, for $250K, we'll be OK. We've really only been on a couple, an older FP 43, and a new Lipari Evolution. I realize part of this process will be getting on more boats to get the feel, rather than from pictures, but I'm starting to see things I like and don't like already on certain models, and dark and cramped are my least favorite things on older boats.

Our plan is to cruise full time, probably in the Caribbean, maybe South America, and Mexico, possibly going up the east coast of the US in the summer (or maybe put it on land for hurricane season and visit friends and family -- we really don't care where we go, just to have an adventure).
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Old 06-01-2016, 10:48   #4
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

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Originally Posted by hblask View Post
I've been thinking that if we can get into it, ready to sail with no additional major equipment, for $250K, we'll be OK.
Roger. Then I suggest you concentrate on used boats of the popular production models (Lagoon, FP, Leopard) and any others that fit that budget. Browse the listing in that range to see what's on the market. While you're at it you can browse other "next step up" models and see that it's unlikely you'll find decent boats in that price range.

Good luck,
Dave
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:00   #5
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

Oh man have you got homework to do.. all the problems I had about 6 years ago. Questions questions..
owners version, air con or two, diesel gen, led lights, nav equipment, solar, wind, hard bimini, helm access, electric heads, yanmar diesels, water maker, life rafts, dinghy, dinghy motor,decent helm, electric windlass, electric winch, tall mast, short mast, auto pilot, electric davit, battery bank, shore power cords, fresh water capacity, fuel capacity, galley up, galley down, drawer or cabinet fridge freezer, fenders, anchor, second anchor, chain, dodger, cockpit cushions, sunshades, etc., etc., etc.. Lots to compare and think about. Good luck!
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:07   #6
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by hblask View Post
new ones have better cockpit layouts. True or false?
False, generally many of the recent high volume boats have increasing amounts of crap in the cockpit reducing their safe effective ability at sea.

Quote:
Rumor: Lagoon, FP, and Leopard are all fine boats, but Catana is that next step up in quality of build. True or false?
False, actual quality is no better (or worse).

Quote:
Generally agreed: Charter cats will tend to be beat up and in worse shape than owner's cats in the same age/length.
A generalisation that takes no none nowhere, you just have to look at boats, I have seen some horrific owners boats in my time in the industry, I have seen private boats that have never been cleaned or maintained in any way for many years.

Quote:
does the Catana's (alleged) higher build quality make up for the fact that it was a charter boat?
Its not relevant, it doesn't have any better inherent quality and it might be better maintained than many private Catanas. Might not, need to look at it.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:09   #7
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

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Oh man have you got homework to do.. all the problems I had about 6 years ago. Questions questions..
owners version, air con or two, diesel gen, led lights, nav equipment, solar, wind, hard bimini, helm access, electric heads, yanmar diesels, water maker, life rafts, dinghy, dinghy motor,decent helm, electric windlass, electric winch, tall mast, short mast, auto pilot, electric davit, battery bank, shore power cords, fresh water capacity, fuel capacity, galley up, alley down, drawer or cabinet fridge freezer, fenders, anchor, second anchor, chain, dodger, cockpit cushions, sunshades, etc., etc., etc.. Lots to compare and think about. Good luck!
Our goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible, so we've put a couple of things on the short list: solar or wind generator, and water maker. And of course, refrigeration, but all of them seem to have that.

The harder decisions are where the trade-offs are on all those other things -- a bigger boat without them so we can add as we like, or a smaller boat with more stuff but less room for putting more. I think one of the advantages of a used boat is it is probably ready to go, and hopefully has a reasonable compromise on all that stuff. But do we get a cheap boat with stuff ready to be replaced, or pay more for recently replaced?

The truth is, we'll probably just have to find a "good enough", and if we are still loving this in five years and a bunch of financial things work out like we expect, at that point, we can trade up.

I know a lot of these questions are things only we can answer, but I'm just curious about the choices others have made and how they worked out.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:21   #8
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

You've got to ask yourself if your priorities lie more toward good sailing capabilities or comfortable living. IMO, older production boats often sail better than new ones because they have not been optimized for comfort with fat hulls, short rigs and low bridgedecks. They will, however, have less space and more spartan furnishings. Take a look at early Lagoons and compare to newer ones and you will see what I mean.

The Catana is a different ballgame than the other boats you are considering. It's not quality (although it is probably better) - it's where on the performance vs. creature comforts scale it lies. An older Outremer is even farther down the scale.

Your best bet is to charter a few different models and see for yourself.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:24   #9
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

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False, actual quality is no better (or worse).
Are you serious, Factor? Care to elaborate?

hblask - I recommend you get on as many cats as you can to judge for yourself what the "quality of build" is, depending on what that means to you, and take what you hear from strangers or the rumor mill with shot of rum....

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Old 06-01-2016, 12:34   #10
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

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You've got to ask yourself if your priorities lie more toward good sailing capabilities or comfortable living.
Thanks everyone so far, I did want to reply to this because I'm sure it matters:

We are definitely leaning toward comfort of our family over sailing ability. I don't want something that sails so poorly that we never even bother getting the sails out, but since I can't afford a Gunboat, a knot or two difference isn't going to change how we feel about our adventure. If we had somewhere to be, we'd take a plane.
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Old 06-01-2016, 12:52   #11
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

Hblask, as others have said, with the exception of "Factor" whose opinions and comments on this and other forums are typically over biased and worthless for their intent... you would do well to research older models of the various brands for your pricepoint and get on as many examples as you can to narrow down a choice and size range.
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Old 06-01-2016, 13:53   #12
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

Quote:
Originally Posted by hblask View Post
Observation: cats in the last 5 years seem to have a much better design, so that the "feels like" of a 38' or 40' boat is equivalent to a 43-45' boat from 15 years ago, and the new ones have better cockpit layouts. True or false?
Fitting more "stuff" into the same length isn't necessarily better....
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Old 06-01-2016, 15:05   #13
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

Quite funny that the two who seem to disagree with my observations are defensive of the boat they own, thats fair enough - you would be an idiot to buy a boat and not like it, but if anyone has bias then it will be an owner. Not a retired chappie with no horse in the race.
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Old 06-01-2016, 15:12   #14
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

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a knot or two difference isn't going to change how we feel about our adventure.
it is you know. A knot or two is the difference between averaging 150 and 200 in a 24 hour run. It means that a 6 day trip on the quick boat is a 8 day trip on the slower one, it means the quicker boat will be sailing when the other is motoring,which means the slower boat will carry more fuel, run up engine hours etc, it means getting to an anchorage 100 mile away in daylight not dark.

It does make a difference.

Not to say that you need to be in the quickest boat out there, but given the choice between a Catana 40s (one the the Crowther era boats) and a number of others its the Catana every time, but given the choice between a lagoon 380 with great new sails and a nice old catana with blown out rags its the Lagoon 380 unless there is an appropriate price difference.

its not as simple as saying one brand good and another bad.
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Old 06-01-2016, 15:45   #15
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Re: Opinions please on cat purchase

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Are you serious, Factor? Care to elaborate?

hblask - I recommend you get on as many cats as you can to judge for yourself what the "quality of build" is, depending on what that means to you, and take what you hear from strangers or the rumor mill with shot of rum....

Dave

Catana had some good years but they also went through a time where the quality really suffered. I'm sure this is true of the majority of production boats.


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