Originally Posted by k9spud
...The 43 fp Belize has caught my eye and ticks the box in a lot of my requirements...
One of the few compromises that I see is doesn’t appear to be the best set-up for fishing and spear fishing/diving
Off the back...
I have run a variety of FPs as a charter captain
including the "Belize". In general, they are good boats. Good bridge deck
clearance and good sailing performance. One characteristic, particular of older generation FPs, that is a bit disconcerting is that some areas of the boat are quite lightly built. However, they seem to have chosen the right areas to build stronger because they hold up pretty well in charter. The cabins can be a bit cramped and cofin like on some of the FP's. Poor ventilation to the aft cabins is typical -- seems so even in their newer designs. Engine
access is a real pain on the smaller FPs (like the Athena 38) because they mount the engine
a few inches aft of a bulkhead, but the larger FPs with separate engine room hatches have excellent engine access (and of course having the separate access hatch
means you don't have to disrupt a guest cabin
to get at the engine).
Don't like the "escape" hatches mounted on the inside of the hulls under the bridge deck
(on the FP's or any other cat). They are quite nice for ventilation -- especially when it is raining, but the only other thing I have seen these accomplish in actual use is to swamp boats. I would either glass them in or replace them with a proper full aluminum hatch
(one that locks so that only I can open it...several guests have caused swamping of boats here in Belize by leaving these open or improperly secured).
Another feature I don't like of the FPs is their foredeck (no I am not knocking FPs...just a few typical features). Rather than having a "cat walk" for use when working ground tackle and such, they only have netting between the hulls forward. Worse yet they are mostly rigged with fishing net like netting. This stuff is too stretchy and open to walk on easily and it is even uncomfortable to lay on. Makes this area almost unusable for anything -- especially challenging if you have to go forward in heavy conditions (to clear a jammed roller furling
A feature I do like in many of the FPs is the installation
of the heads at mid-ships in the hulls. This works out much better than in-suite heads -- especially if you have a few guests aboard.
Re fishing. Quite the opposite is true -- cats make excellent fishing boats because of their wide beam (no need for out riggers) and ample deck space (although the FP's tend to be slightly more crowded aft than some other cats). For example, I once had a group of charter guests aboard an FP Bahia
46 who were heavily into fishing -- we had a quintuple? (5) tuna hook up just outside the reef in Belize -- we were all quite pleasantly surprised that we landed all five of them! I fish
a lot off my boat: I have two good heavy stainless (Tigress brand) trolling rod holders on the sterns and two lighter plastic rod holders on the bows (these are handy when anchored and spin casting or bottom fishing). I troll, spin-cast, and even fly fish
right from the deck.
. The transom step areas are generally relatively large on the FPs. Provided you have a good large strong ladder (not the typical yacht style swim ladder) then diving
works out OK too. Divers can gear
up/down on the transom steps (many FPs have a relatively large flat area at the bottom). One custom cat here has a hydraulic platform that raises and lowers between the aft end of the hulls -- the ultimate in convenient cat diving.
Re AC on cats: See my post regarding installing AC on cats here on CF at Installing AC in a Cat