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Old 02-02-2018, 22:55   #1
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Sell me on your favorite cat

Hi all!

Iíve been lurking here for a while, but this is my first time posting. Iíve read a lot of threads about the pros and cons of different makes and models of catamarans, and Iíve noticed the trend that most discussions devolve into nitpicking or irreconcilable differences of opinion.

I want to try framing the what-cat-should-I-get discussion differently, in a way that I hope will lead to a more productive thread.

Request: Sell me on a cat that you have personally sailed, whether you own it or chartered it. Tell me why you think itís great, and why itís great FOR YOU.

Two rules:
I only want to hear about cats youíve actually sailed, not just looked at online or in a boat show.
I only want to hear about cats you love. You can tell me about the drawbacks of a cat that you otherwise love, but Iím not interested in hearing about cats that you hate.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:16   #2
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

Love my Lagoon 400S2. Its for me the best choice / compromise regarding space, layout, sice, price, features...
Looked at many others, still love her.

Its like a marriage. At some point you make a commitment.
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Old 03-02-2018, 06:48   #3
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

Love my 1999 Leopard 45. Sails well. Small enough to singlehand effectively. Large enough for a crowd. Very solidly built - doesn't creek at age 19. Shaft drive - very important to me. Sacrificial keels - incredibly good idea. Fractional rig with large mainsail - easy to sail under main alone, which allows for easy, slow speed maneuverability, when necessary. Skeg hung rudders - bulletproof. Easy to use davits.

Also enjoy L47, which is very similar to L45 inside, and identical outside, other than longer transoms. Noisier at anchor than L45, due to wave slap on longer transoms. Quieter underway, for same reason.

Enjoy FP 60 but steering is not responsive enough and it they creek so much that it's unnerving. Solidly built, though.

Loved sailing Gunboat 66. Not only fast, but incredibly comfortable. Loved "bed" in cockpit. If I owned one, that's probably where I would sleep, but I don't and can't!

Loved saling Voyage 520.....extremely quiet. Couldn't even hear when I started the engines, which takes some getting used to.

Enjoyed older Leopard 38. Tons of boat for its size, and bullet proof like it's larger cousin, my L45.

Enjoyed older Leopard 43. Loved the higher and drier decks and tramps. Seemed to pitch a little less than the L45. Not as fast, not as big, but very well laid out and built.

That's enough for now! In order, Gunboat 66, Leopard 45/47 and 43, Leopard 38, F/P 60.
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Old 03-02-2018, 07:04   #4
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Have delivered several Lagoon 380's (Owners version) over long distances in all types of weather up to F8 in the Med and Atlantic.. for me they are the best Cat Lagoon produce.. hence the reason they still build them.. 800 since 2000 and still counting.
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:53   #5
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

I loved our custom cat. One offs are not mentioned much here so Iíll give them a shout out.

We were looking for a Catana 471 or similar and at the time they were 500k. There was a 50í Dutch built cat with the same broker for 330k. At first I ignored but that is A LOT of money and she was a lot more boat than the Catana in some respects.

We bought her, sailed her eventually to NZ and she has since sailed back, the wrong way, to Germany.

Would I buy another custom one off cat. Yes.

Why? A lot more boat for the money. More reasonable to buy up front. They are harder to sell on the back end but they sell. Iíve found that one offs are generally built by two types of folks, the dreamer and the experienced.

Do not buy a dreamer built boat unless his last name was Gates and heís giving her away. It will be obvious.

The experienced guy another story. These boats are the sum of years of cruising and thinking about exactly what they would want in a world cruiser. The owners are generally of some means and this is their ďlastĒ boat. They do that cruise and then sell her.

As I looked at all of the systems aboard Ohana what stood out was the size, strength and detail. I found comparable production boats engineered to exactly what the engineers felt was needed. Custom boats I found to be a bit over engineered. I like the latter.

The other thing I loved about our custom, she was unique. Lots of conversations at anchor about her story and nice compliments.

Most of the systems were off the shelf so that didnít pose much of an issue. The finish was not quite as perfect as production and that would have been nice. Overall though if I had it to do over I would seriously consider a custom cat again.

Side note cause you asked. A friend did give us his Catana 471 for three months which started in the Carolinas and ended up in Bahamas. That is a fast boat with a great cockpit. Heads too small but thatís a French thing :-)

Good luck!
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Old 03-02-2018, 08:59   #6
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

I have sailed our Voyage 50 1998 for over 8,000nm in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Caribbean. These are not only spacious (beam 27 feet) and absolutely huge ballroom in the bridgedeck plus four ensuite queen-size cabins, 5th head and 5th single cabin I exaggerate not a jot...

...but these boats actually SAIL unlike Winnebagos from Privilege, Fontaine-Pajot, Leopard and Lagoon. In 8-foot seas we could point to 45 degrees off the apparent wind and still make 5 knots. Under jib alone I hit 19.6 knots a couple of weeks ago in the north Atlantic, but the previous owner says "Ptaaw, I made 25!" Then we sailed on bare poles downwind for 2 days at average 7 knots. That was surprisingly comfortable. Not bad considering we were carrying over 2 tons of disaster relief supplies to the BVI.

Bridgedeck slap? Yeah of course, difficult for a monohuller to get used to. Having sailed 4 different catamarans though it seems like they all do it to about the same degree.

After a circumnavigation and nearly 20 years, our Voyage is now being refitted which basically means internal paint, new electronics and buffing the exterior. Not a stress crack to be seen, which staggers me considering the seas she has surmounted.

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Old 03-02-2018, 09:01   #7
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt. Ray View Post
I have sailed our Voyage 50 1998 for over 8,000nm in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Caribbean. These are not only spacious (beam 27 feet) and absolutely huge ballroom in the bridgedeck plus four ensuite queen-size cabins, 5th head and 5th single cabin I exaggerate not a jot...

...but these boats actually SAIL unlike the Winnebagos like Privilege, Fontaine-Pajot, Leopard and Lagoon. In 8-foot seas we could point to 45 degrees off the apparent wind and still make 5 knots. Under jib alone I hit 19.6 knots a couple of weeks ago in the north Atlantic, but the previous owner says "Ptaaw, I made 25!" Then we sailed on bare poles downwind for 2 days at average 7 knots. That was surprisingly comfortable.

After a circumnavigation, our Voyage is now being refitted which basically means internal paint, new electronics and buffing the exterior. Not a stress crack to be seen, which staggers me considering the seas she has surmounted.
I agree! If I was going production the voyage 50 would be top of the list.
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Old 03-02-2018, 09:43   #8
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

If when you travel on land, you always eat at Howard Johnson's, Ponderosa, Golden Corral, McDonalds...then look at Lagoons, Leopards, Fonte Pajot. They are all the same, built the same, sail the same.
Want something difererent, better...look at the smaller South African cat builders.
I have been living on a Knysna 480, for 3 1/2 years. While first looking at cats, I never heard of this company, but happened to look at one. Everything is better, the quality of the build, the sailing, how it comes equipt from the factory. Lots of storage space to make it easy to liveaboard.Large heads and showers. Large, easy to work in galley. Wide decks to make it easy to walk around in rough seas. No drink holders, because we don't need them. Very stable platform. Ready to go.
Knysna only makes about 5 boats a year. All are semi custom. Lots of owner involvement. They love feedback from previous buyers...by only making a few boats a year, they can easily make upgrades based on the feedback.
Many owners of cookie cutter boats come aboard my boat and ask why they hadn't seen these before. It's a better boat and usually cost less than their for charter built boat.
Unfortunately, due to personal, family changes, mine is for sale. This is the only Knysna 480 for sale in the world. All the others are out exploring the world.
Look at it on Boattrader or sailingveterinarian@gmail.com.
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:22   #9
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by contrail View Post
Loved sailing Gunboat 66. Not only fast, but incredibly comfortable. Loved "bed" in cockpit. If I owned one, that's probably where I would sleep, but I don't and can't!
What was your impression of sailing with the forward helm position and forward line handling cockpit?
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Old 03-02-2018, 10:23   #10
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Have delivered several Lagoon 380's (Owners version) over long distances in all types of weather up to F8 in the Med and Atlantic.. for me they are the best Cat Lagoon produce.. hence the reason they still build them.. 800 since 2000 and still counting.
What distinguishes them from other Lagoon models in your opinion?
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:18   #11
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

I have sailed many Cats. Instead of makes and models, here are my favorite features:

A gangplank to the bowsprit across a net made of knotless dyneema.
A foredeck cockpit.
A flying bridge & lounge area atop and not what I call a Whack-A Mole helm.
A 360 view from the main salon.
If you sail in colder climates or do allot of bluewater crossings, a salon helm station.
My wife likes galley-down, I prefer galley-up.
Electric dinghy lift or power winch davits.
Shower enclosures larger than coffin size.
If you cruise the US east coast, keep your mast height under 65 ft (62-63) to clear IC bridges.

Sailing Accessories: A Manta Chain Hook. A separate mooring buoy line with a Clevis Slip Hook with Latch. I have spent thousands of dollars on marine grills. The best is not a stainless "marine grill" but a Weber Q-Grill mounted on a fish cleaning table somewhere aft.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:33   #12
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

I chartered for 20 years before we bought. What I learned is that there are many good boats, and the good ones are "horses for courses". I loved the Lagoons and Leopards - from 36-47' - all of the times we chartered them (in BVI's, Turkey, Tahiti, Greece, Italy, Belize, Florida, etc.). For a week or ten days at a time, they were great and plenty comfortable, and the exposed flybridges and pop-up helms were great with sunny skies, warm weather and moderate seas. I would charter both again.

When my wife and I decided to buy a boat to live aboard for 11 months and to cross the Atlantic on, we did more thorough research. Eventually we bought the Antares 44i. The downside are that it is expensive and it's lines are not cutting edge.

It's positives are huge:
* windscreen and enclosure kept us warm and dry in winds up to 50 kts and seas up to 17 feet, as well as during night watches and rainy and off-season passages
* in-mast furling makes it great for single-handed handling on watches, and perfect for a couple
* unbelievable storage as all cabinets are not just stuck in pre-built, but custom fit to use the inner hull as the cabinet back
* everything you want for live-aboard - big genset, watermaker, tanks
* placement of everything is amazingly well-considered. A tight and sea-worthy vessel
* incredibly well-designed and big galley down with microwave and oven.
* light, fast and stable - routinely sailed in the 8-9 kt range, and often would hit 10-11 kts
* beautifully finished in cherry wood. Not cutting edge styling, but also no sharp angles that would have caused injury in significant weather
* with all four corners easy to see from the helm station, docking and med-mooring with two way easy to do
* holds value really well. 4 year old boats sell for 80% of new.
* cabins are really comfortable. Wife would never sleep below on the charters - too claustrophobic. On Antares, our cabin was her sanctuary
* Every detail is really first class - down to labeling of each electrical wire, seacock, and tubing.

After a year of sailing the Antares 44i and seeing other friend's boats, we will keep her until we are too old to sail by ourselves, and then move onto a bigger sailing cat with a crew (I jhave no idea what boat that will be - I wish Antares made a 78 footer!)
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:59   #13
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pirate Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by resistor View Post
What distinguishes them from other Lagoon models in your opinion?
Nice helm position, an easy size to solo, lower windage than the later models.. more manageable boom for reefing.. and enough room for my needs.. prefer cottages to condo's..
They just feel nicer to me.. shame I'll never afford one..
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Old 03-02-2018, 13:12   #14
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

I'll wait for the definitive answer when SMJ chimes in. He's owned them all.
Personally, for the price and size, I like a Seawind1000. Lots of space & comfort, good helm position & you can get an all around view in the bridge deck cabin when you go inside.
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Old 03-02-2018, 13:26   #15
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Re: Sell me on your favorite cat

I am definitely in the custom camp and extremely happy with our Schionning 17C. What attracted me in the first place was a youtube of a Schionning consistently travelling at 20 knots plus and the owners relaxing with a cup of tea. Designed from the outset to cruise long distances easily; the downside is they are lower on amenities and you have to be vigilant on weight all the time and you have to be a "tweeker" - for me cruising has to be exciting I go craycray if I go slow.
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