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Old 22-11-2013, 06:13   #1
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Sensory Overload

Hello everyone, I've been looking around on this and many other forums for a couple of months.

My wife and I have been thinking of selling our house and buying a catamaran to live on and sail the Caribbean or further. While we are land locked in TN, the availability of Catamarans are pretty much non existing here. So we have thought about taking mini vacations to go look at some in various coastal states.

The problem is, we are new to sailing and are looking for a handful of brands that would meet some (not all) criteria so we are not wasting time looking at boats that won't fit our needs.

Here is what I'm asking. Can you suggest brands that would have any or all of the following and I'm more than happy to search and find them (if you have links that's great but I'm not asking for you to do any leg work).

I have been looking at (online not in person yet) the following, but would like opinions feedback about personal experience with any listed or others you can thing of that would be similar

PDQ 32-36'
Gemini 105
AMI 320
Lipscomb Simpson 33
Custom Simmons 35'
Prout
Roger Simpson

Looking to meet some of the following:

- 32-45'

-easy to sail / handle for 2 people

-very safe and reliable

- I'm 6'1", have enough headroom where I can stand comfortably. Tilted head on occasion not an issue. If I have to bend over because head room is 5'4" that's a different story.

- Built well structurally. I know in automobiles we have: the cheap gets you a car (kia), intermediate most popular and generally lasts a while with regular upkeep (ford, chevy) last long time with minimal upkeep (toyota), and expensive luxury all bells and whistles (lexus, mercedes). Looking for something along the lines of lasting ford, chevy, toyota like. I will attempt to do any and all repairs within my means, or learn, or eventually hire someone

- suitable for offshore cruising (non lake cruising, non coastal only). Able to go to bahamas, caribbean and almost anywhere after there. Has good length to beam ratio (thinking safety here)

- budget in mind... less than $150k. I know cruising is expensive, but if we can find something suitable for less money that is great.

If you are able to provide any info for these or other brands, pros / cons, personal experience that is great.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 22-11-2013, 16:11   #2
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Re: Sensory Overload

Quote:
Originally Posted by IslanderWannaBe View Post
SNIP

- budget in mind... less than $150k.

SNIP
At that price you will be looking at a used boat. This means the condition of the boat will be more important than the brand. I looked at a PDQ but it needed so much work I kept looking. I have also seen PDQs that are in good shape and I would consider buying them if I was still in the market.

While I never looked at a Gemini I know they are popular boats. Don't know much about the other boats you mentioned. But there is some agreement that most modern cats are all seaworthy. There is almost universal agreement that any boat is capable of taking much more than the captain and crew.

My advice would be to hit the docks every chance you have. Places like Charleston, Brunswick, and Savannah should be close enough for a weekend or three day weekend. Chesapeake Bay is fairly close and will have a lot more docks.

As for head room most boats list their max head room and there may well be places where the head room is less than what is advertised. Getting on a boat is a must.
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Old 23-11-2013, 05:13   #3
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Re: Sensory Overload

Below 36 ft most of the advantages of the cats are not existent particularly for live aboard. .. I woud go for a 36-38 ft range, old but good kept second hand. 150 K should be OK for that.
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Old 23-11-2013, 05:34   #4
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Re: Sensory Overload

Here's an idea of what you're looking at ...(Sail) Catamaran Boats For Sale

I'd focus on the FP's or Prout. Prout made some really tough older boats in the 35-40' range. They would be my first choice with your budget.
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Old 23-11-2013, 09:19   #5
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Re: Sensory Overload

I can't advise you on Cat's but having spent three years looking for my perfect boat here are a couple of suggestions.

Buy with your head not your heart.

Don't be in a rush.

Make a list of what you want and stick to it. Yes, there will be compromises but be clear in your mind what is important to you. If you don't like something from the start you will hate it in a few months time.

Before you travel any mileage to see a boat make sure it is actually for sale. The boat I bought 6 months ago is still being dislayed by some brokers. You will find there are also some boats that just don't exist.

Ask lots of questions, has she ever been involved in an accident, grounded or sunk. I know of one boat that was seriously holed and just about went to the bottom but the new owner is unawares. He never asked and the seller never mentioned this fact!!!

Good hunting
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Old 23-11-2013, 09:27   #6
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Re: Sensory Overload

You will also have to like the boat and the features. Given your background, you should plan on at least a "familiarity" trip to look at as many boats as you possibly can. Pictures give you little idea of how YOU actually will "feel" on any given boat, true for both multi and mono hulls. Take pictures and notes.
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Old 23-11-2013, 09:45   #7
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Re: Sensory Overload

Looking at all sorts of cats for years now I don't think a cat 36-38' for 150k is going to cost less than 225k by the end of the first year of use.

Not trying be negative.

Or maybe the cat in my mind need not have big items due or almost due for replacement, i.e. engines, refrigeration, sails, standing rigging, running rigging, wiring, etc.
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Old 24-11-2013, 23:40   #8
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Re: Sensory Overload

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Looking at all sorts of cats for years now I don't think a cat 36-38' for 150k is going to cost less than 225k by the end of the first year of use.

Not trying be negative.

Or maybe the cat in my mind need not have big items due or almost due for replacement, i.e. engines, refrigeration, sails, standing rigging, running rigging, wiring, etc.
You may or may not need to have the big items replaced. As an example some PDQs have outboards. If you need them replaced you can pick up a 9.9 longshaft Yamaha for around $US3,000 while an inboard might run $US20,000. You can get new sails from a first rate loft or go to some place like Bacon and maybe pay 1/10 of the price for sails that will give you say 75-80% of the new ones, maybe more.

It is very important to look for a boat in good shape that does not need a lot of things upgraded. Even if it costs more up front you will wind up saving money in the long run.
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Old 25-11-2013, 00:16   #9
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Re: Sensory Overload

Here is what you need to do if you are serious about this:
  1. You need to meet some boat owners in the Caribbean, and face-to-face ask them your questions. When you do that you will be able to place some credibility on their answers by assessing them and their boats. Fly to Grenada and spend several days in chandeliers and marinas finding boat owners and asking them...my guess is that in 2 days you can talk to 15 to 20 people and visit 5-10 boats...you could even find something that you would want to buy on this first trip, but you will find the correct answers to your questions.
  2. You will find a surplus of boats in the Caribbean that are 5-6 years old. These are boats retiring from charter fleets like The Moorings, etc. You should be able to buy one of these for about 1/2 the original cost to the owner...forget about what anyone says...1/2 is the magic number...my guess is that 1 out of 4 will take that offer, based on the cost/revenue of owning a charter boat.
  3. Make sure that you correctly estimate your annual costs. You may want to look at our annual costs for a larger and more expensive boat...but we probably eat the same things you do. Go to our Costs Tab on our blog at svbebe.com direct link to Costs is S/V BeBe: Costs
Hope this helps you.

Bill
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Old 25-11-2013, 06:31   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svBeBe View Post
Here is what you need to do if you are serious about this:

[*]You need to meet some boat owners in the Caribbean, and face-to-face ask them your questions. When you do that you will be able to place some credibility on their answers by assessing them and their boats. Fly to Grenada and spend several days in chandeliers and marinas finding boat owners and asking them...my guess is that in 2 days you can talk to 15 to 20 people and visit 5-10 boats...you could even find something that you would want to buy on this first trip, but you will find the correct answers to your questions.
[*]You will find a surplus of boats in the Caribbean that are 5-6 years old. These are boats retiring from charter fleets like The Moorings, etc. You should be able to buy one of these for about 1/2 the original cost to the owner...forget about what anyone says...1/2 is the magic number...my guess is that 1 out of 4 will take that offer, based on the cost/revenue of owning a charter boat.
[*]Make sure that you correctly estimate your annual costs. You may want to look at our annual costs for a larger and more expensive boat...but we probably eat the same things you do. Go to our Costs Tab on our blog at svbebe.com direct link to Costs is S/V BeBe: Costs

Hope this helps you.

Bill
Thanks that was a great break down. I think it holds true that most people, not all, will spend all they can afford. Having said that we could in no way have afforded your budget so we spent quite a bit less. Of course the boats we've owned have been a lot less expensive both to buy and maintain which makes a huge difference. We also spent quite a bit less in some of the other categories. I don't think there's a basic rule in what a cruising budget will be as cruising can be a different experience for everyone.
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Old 27-11-2013, 16:46   #11
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Re: Sensory Overload

Thanks for the input so far. If there are any others, keep them coming.

Is anyone aware of any boats that you know for a fact will not meet any of these?
Example, stay away or don't even bother with brand 'X' because it has: not enough head room, best for 4 or more people on board to handle, are like Lamborghini and out of budget regardless of age, etc.
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