Just thought I would share my observations from the past weekend I spent doing some serious Cat shopping
at the show. I should preface that I am looking at boats under the following premise: able to be single
handed/sailed as a couple, under $1M cost (preferable much less, but I understand you get what you pay for), 6-12 month at a time liveaboard
with time for breaks in between, able to comfortably carry 6 adults for a couple weeks at a time, mostly island hopping with a couple potential crossings, oh...and this will be my first sailboat after couple decades of power boating
45 is one sexy boat. It has the feel of a purpose built instrument to be used in the hands of a connoisseur and true sailor. Fit and finish adequate, but utilitarian...this boat is about performance under sail, not cocktail parties at anchor
. But it will most likely be the boat be the one all the guys gather around to admire. Seems like it would be the most fun to actually sail.
-Antaries 44i...wow, this seems like the boat you would want to be in if/when the you know what hits the fan. Rugged design, protected helm
is great, cockpit
is nicely sized and well thought out. Interior
...if you've never had the chance to see one I highly recommend it, it is as good as it gets. The galley
down, I did not think that I would like, but the way the interior
is open to below it all just flows so nicely. I can see why they have such a fiercely loyal owners following and long backlog. I may be completely wrong here, but I get the impression that this is the boat you get when you just want to relax and enjoy the journey safely and luxuriously...and you are not super worried about 0.4 of a knot
of boat speed. Only knock is that it is a dated overall design...but hey the Porsche 911 has been the same basic design for over 50 years & I think if you get something right it is okay to stick with it.
-Bali...these boats I just don't think were targeted towards me. Solid bridgedeck, I don't get that at all. These seem fun for a party cruise
week with 10 of your closest friends, but I just wasn't feeling them.
-Leopard, eh...nice boats again, and just not for me.
-Nautitech Open 40...cool concept
, but my first thought getting on this thing was essentially they just put two church pews running down the sides of the cockpit
. They could have been a little more creative with the outdoor space. I could deal with the super duper tiny salon
if the cockpit was a little cooler. Again...just my opinion, but overall nice concept
that is not for me.
-Lagoon 42 - this is a hard boat to find fault in. I will just say it is on the super short list...compares very closely with the Helia44 at a lower price
point. The 450 sport top was not there, but the 52 was...that is just so damn much boat though that I don't need. Hell all of these boats are more than I need, but for a couple, unless you love the flybridge (which I do really like) it seems the 42 will be a strong contender for years to come.
-FP40 - Nice, but at essentially the same price
as the 42, its not a fair fight...L42 hands down. Helia44...now IMO that is one really nice cat, love the newer cockpit layout, honestly I think the Lagoon
guys might have copied the Helia, then tweaked it to make it just a tad better. IMO it is really a coin toss. I am a firm believer in buying
what you like and not what other people tell you to like...regardless to a certain extent even pricing. The H44 is right up there on the short list.
Other tidbit...from more than one owner I heard: "just get a big manufacturers production cat, a custom boutique manufacturer will just bring you heartache." Prime, but extreme example would be the G55, granted, these are all first world problems I realize, but cruising is supposed to be fun not stressful!
I apologize for rambling, but in full discloser, I went in thinking I wanted to get a L42 or H44. I left wondering if I'd be remiss in not going with a performance boat like the Outremer
45...it is a little scary though going with a boat that has less than 10 hulls in the water
. Then at the same time the 44i just seems classy, like you know what the hell you are doing. Not sure if I am looking for somebody to talk some sense into me or what, but geez this is a fun adventure I'm headed down the path of.
P.S. (overall sexiest boat award