The PDQ is well-built (and I suspect structurally capable of a circumnavigation), performs well if not overloaded and has excellent bridgedeck clearance and a very well-protected cockpit
. However, I am confident that it was not designed, built or rigged for a circumnavigation (perhaps Admiral Slater can weigh in on this). I would certainly want to reef very early and often and make sure that you never took any significant seas beam on. I seem to recall
a PDQ32 that capsized a few years ago (off San Francisco) in boisterous conditions and know of one (Zero to Cruising) that lost
her rig (although I cannot speak to the condition of the standing rigging
at the time).
35CC is also well-built, although I seem to recall
that they were shipped overseas in pieces - clever, but I would want to make sure that this design does not compromise structural integrity in extremis. They also have good bridgdeck clearance (although I am unsure whether it is greater than on the PDQ32). We do know that they were not designed or intended for offshore sailing; indeed I seem to recall that 'CC' stands for 'Coastal Cruiser'.
The Gemini is quick if not overloaded, although is less solidly built than the PDQ and subject to the above proviso, the Lagoon
35CC. You can expect to see numerous stress cracks develop in time over the deck
enclosure. Yes, a new one circumnavigated and at least one other new one crossed the Atlantic, sailed by the then owner of Gemini (Tony Smith?). However, even he is purported to have said that he would never do it again. The low bridgdeck is an issue (they can even pound under anchor
in a chop), which could make your voyage very uncomfortable. I also find the helm
position, which requires the helmsperson to look through the main saloon
, to be less than ideal (especially if the windows are even slightly hazed). It also provides less ventilation in hot weather
. I prefer the set-up on the PDQ ( a wide, sliding companioway hatch) that allows an unobstructed view forward (and improved ventilation), and while when closed in bad conditions it reduces interior headroom
in the saloon
, it also reduces windage. Your take may vary.
You must keep in mind that over and above the purchase price (including any taxes
fees), you will need to budget for a significant refit
. I, for one, would not contemplate a circumnavigation without new sails
, running riggng, thru-hulls, seacocks, hoses below the waterline (in fact, on all of these boats, you may wish to go up a size in diameter for the wire.
Can I make a couple of suggestions? If you are sold on a cat, instead of buying
and equippiing for a long-range goal, why not buy and equip for your short-term plans? Any of these boats would be well-suited for cruising Florida
, the Bahamas
and the Caribbean
through the coast of South/Cental America. If after a few years living aboard
and cruising, you still want to circumnavigate, sell your cat and buy a monohull
that is equipped for the same.
Alternatively, if you are sold on a cat and are committed to a circumnavigation, at your budget you should focus on an older British cat that was built for offshore sailing and which can be purchased inexpensively enough to permit
a proper refit
. Yes, it will be slower and dated looking, but it will be safe, have a very solid rig and structure and, as many have been sailed offshore, is more likely to come equipped with some of the gear
you will want for a circumnavigation.
Various Prouts and Catalacs, the Solaris 36 (there are two models), Solaris 32, Cherokee 35 and 40 etc., would all suit that purpose and your budget.