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Old 23-02-2008, 13:00   #16
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: BVI
Boat: Leopard 45, 45 feet, Jet Stream
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To each his own...sorry that 2hulls had such a bad time, because the 45 and the 47 are actually good sailors, when sailed well with good sails, like any other boat.

Here are some facts:
The 4500 also came in a "crewed yacht" configuration, more properly known as the 4500c, that had about $50,000+ in extra gear, was different cosmetically inside, has much bigger tankage, and were generally much better cared for....never bareboated and always run with a professional crew. These are generally the more expensive ones. The most recent one of these I saw sold went for just under $300,000, and some have a lot of new equipment like watermakers, etc, that make them worth even more. The $250,000 ones are not only refugees from the Moorings bareboat program, but will now have gone through a second tier charter company's program, as well. Condition varies widely, and there are some great boats, some not so great, and everything in between, so if you know what you are doing (or your surveyor does) you can get a good deal...or not.

The design itself was very sound, and the boats sail well. The bareboat did not drag its tail. The crewed version does, as a result of the generator aft and a generally heavier dinghy. If you look carefully, you will see the bootstripe applied at a different level and angle. That said, the "c" also came with Max Props that more than made up for the difference. We are based in the BVI, and frequently go up against cats of many types, and I can tell you that we have never (true statement, not even once) been taken by a bareboat 45 or 47, the newer 4600, the Lagoon 410, 420, 440, or 47, or any of the Voyages up to and including the 500, (these are often professionally crewed, like us) which we consistently beat, although always just barely. This includes upwind sailing where we are as closewinded as any of the above, if not more so. The boat tacks without any problems, either, although there is a trick that is necessary to keep the lazy sheet from fouling the winches on its way over.

When offshore cruising on passages of multiple days, over four years we have maintained an average speed, including calms, lulls, winds, whatever, of 6.4 knots, or about 155 miles a day. I think we are a bit faster each year, but that is the average. Individual runs and days have included ones much faster. Our most recent passage from St. Martin, for example, was an 80 mile run at an average speed, door to door, of 8.4 knots. We are well acquainted with several others that routinely do about the same. Bareboats sailed by either novices or experienced sailors who are not familiar with the boats (there are definitely some tricks to them) would probably get lower numbers.

Under power, we cruise at an honest 7 knots at 75% revs on one engine, and at 8.5 knots on two. All of these statistics are from a heavily laden, liveaboard charterboat, so I am sure the design can do much better. When we first got the boat and sailed her up to the Chesapeake, ( before becoming fully loaded), we could motor at better than 9 knots with both engines. Note....Robertson and Caine routinely set the Max Props pitch at one setting too coarse. This needs to be adjusted to get the best out of the engines. The fixed prop on the bareboats was pitched correctly.

The 4700, which we have also sailed fairly extensively, differs in a number of ways. The transom is extended about two feet, which does keep the transom up and leads to a smoother wake and quiter ride. It is also much noisier at anchor than the 4500. The interior of the hulls are identical, or nearly so, but the salon and galley are quite different. The 4700's salon is raised so you can see better out the window, has a great little island seat, and has the settee set at a different angle. However, this all comes at a cost of a considerably narrower galley, which causes the 12 volt fridge and trash locker to switch places. Neither works as well. The stove is a bit higher which allows a nice locker beneath. The 4700's freezer does have some very nice improvements. The door to the freezer and the door to the refrigerator are split, with the fridge door on the front. This allows a nice space on top. All considered, we feel that the 4700 salon is a bit more practical, but not at the cost of the galley changes. If we were choosing, we would take the 4500 salon and galley, with the 4700 freezer/ fridge. Both the 4500 and 4700 can be fitted with a smaller table than standard (the crewed versions in both have this) and the smaller table is a huge improvement for usability of the settee.

The 4700 comes equipped somewhere between the bareboat and crewed 4500's. It has the generator and airconditioning and props that are found on the crewed 4500, and some of the decor, but lacks the greater tankage and a number of other things.

Robertson and Caine, and the Moorings, maintain that both models were built equally well, and the boats have a deservedly great reputation in the charter fleets. Almost always, the 4500 and 4700 bring in higher chartering fees per week than similarly sized boats of other brands, and both are very well laid out for maintenance. But, scuttlebutt among virtually all who have worked as crews, not to mention the maintenance crews, is that over the years a lot of weight was taken out of the 4700. Later boats were much more"flexy".

Now, it is important to understand that lightening a boat is not necessarily a bad thing. Many model runs of many boats achieve this when they find a particular area to be over-built. Lighter means faster, etc. Lighter often means less expense, too. The only problem comes when lighter means weaker, and I have no solid information of whether this has been the result with the 4700, so I am specifically not implying this... just saying that I believe the boats got lighter.

I do agree that maintenance at the Moorings has slid. The merger with Sunsail has not been easy on anyone and it shows. How that affects "phaseout maintenance" I do not know, and I would rather not guess.

I have not sailed the new 4600, (nor been passed by one) so the following represents the comments on those who have done so professionally, often on deliveries. There have been many, many bugs. In another thread, a 4600 owner has commented on these and the future fixes that are in the works. One hopes that these will work. However, I think that you would find a huge number of people that deal with these boats on a professional and constant basis who would applaud the Simonis designs (the 4200 and 4300 are also very well thought of) and would raise both eyebrows at the notion that the shift to Morelli has achieved any magic. The same can be said of the 4000, which is a really light boat. The amount of time that Morelli and the Robertson and Caine crew have devoted to after-the-fact fixes and fiddles is ample evidence of this. As a Leopard owner, I wish them the best and believe that they will definitely get it right, in time, but I would caution disdain of the earlier Simonis models which can be some of the best boats and deals you will ever find.

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Old 24-02-2008, 06:56   #17
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Location: Western Caribbean
Boat: Manta 40
Posts: 54
From personal experience I had a 4500 with Moorings in Belize. First the boat had serious manufacturing defects in both hulls, extensive delaminating down nearly the length of each hull probable caused when the boat was squeezed between two other boats on the Mooring dock during a heavy weather and osmosis in both hulls due resin starvation during manufacture. In the end adequate repairs were performed and the gel coat was peeled and an epoxy barrier coat applied.
From my experience I would not buy a boat that had been with The Moorings in Belize. Maintenance was all breakdown no preventative, they did not have the infrastructure nor qualified staff to service the fleet, only one mechanic for 27+ yachts with the nearest haul out, La Ceiba Honduras, a good half days sail away. Their sales pitch was the quality of maintenance, this was definitely not the case, repeatedly on ending use of the boat I would give a long list of maintenance needs to the staff to only find the same issues the next time I used the boat. The phase out process was supposed to take 2 months it took over a year. They tried to pass on the boat on three occasions as fixed, only on verification to find repairs defective.
The boat is comfortable and a nice sailor and my initial plan was to keep the boat for cruising but due the lack of adequate maintenance I preferred to sell. My observations as to lack of maintenance also applied to the other boats in the fleet I sailed when for what ever breakdown reason mine was out of commission. I would never purchase a used Moorings boat and I question the consistency of quality workmanship claimed by Robertson & Caine.

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Old 26-02-2008, 14:20   #18
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I think these are some of the most awesome values on the used catamaran market. Sure, there could be more clearance. Sure there might be some issues with them. But where else can you get such a spacious solid boat and even the crewed version of the Leopard 47 for $300k?
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:24   #19
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Just happened to stumble on a survey that a surveyor uses as an example of their work:
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:32   #20
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I agree on the performance. I sailed the 4500/4700 many weeks on charters. The boats always performed well. I took a 4700 from Anegada to the Baths on Virgin Gorda in 2 hours and 10 minutes. This was from dropping the mooring to picking up the mooring and included turning into the wind to raise and lower sails. Distance was about 18 miles and the wind was 20 knots on the beam. One thing to keep in mind is knotmeters on charter boats are almost never accurrate. Unless the speed comes off a GPS it is a guess at best.

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