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Old 16-12-2008, 05:35   #16
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I also own a SF 44 and concur with most of Greg's comments. Although I was initially quite skeptical about the mid-hull engine placement, for reasons of access and noise, after actively cruising for a year, I've changed my mind.

We did do what I think is a good modification before we started. On the port side, the engine is under a galley countertop, with a cowling for access. We replaced all of the fiberglass/gelcoat countertops with Corian, which is certainly more attractive (and no more, or very little, extra weight), but also allowed us to cut the countertop above the engine, for a pretty large access point. Checking the vitals on the port engine is now very easy and takes only a few moments. The starboard engine (for some reason) has a larger cowling and the access is fine.

We've been buddy-boating with a Lagoon 410, with Yanmar 40's. Just two days ago I helped our friend change out a water pump impellor. It took, the two of us (and he is quite mechanically skilled), four and a half hours, while at the dock, no less! He had to tear up his bed, whenever we dropped a tool (and we all drop tools, don't we) we had a dickens of a time fishing around in the deep bilge to find it, and had to contort ourselves in all sorts of positions. All of this, to do what should be a simple job and one that, more than likely, will need to be done, sometime/somewhere, in a quasi-emergency basis. Plus, we noted that if you actually had to pull off the entire water pump, it could only be done by lifting the entire engine! This is because a critical bolt is actually behind a motor mount.

On my St. Francis, I changed my starboard impellor (the first time, no less) in 15 minutes. Having done it once, I know that I could do it, in a hurry, in 5. The entire water pump could be done in 10. The port side took a bit longer, about 25, but in an emergency, 10. And I don't have to tear anything up to get to them, just pull off the cowlings and the access panel in the galley.

Regarding noise when under power, it is probably a bit more than having the engines under the aft beds, unless you are trying to sleep. Sure, the 410 has some sound insulation, but the overall noise on the SF is not enough more to make that a deal breaker, at least in my opinion.

Sailing-wise, I certainly agree with Greg and the others. Keep her light and she will be quite fast, especially for a cruising cat. Like Greg, we're guilty of not keeping her light, but even then she still sails very nicely. We're able to do 60 to 65% of wind speed on a beam to broad reach, pretty consistently, up to the point where we want to slow her down (which is about 11 to 12 knots), and we've had her to 14.

I also agree with the strength of the boat -- I've never doubted the quality of the build. Another plus, is that you can easily see every chain plate, back plate and deck fitting from the inside of the hull. You will know, quite soon, if one is starting to have problems (which hasn't happened, yet, on ours, but I know it is just a matter of time). But, the point is that unlike many boats where those things are hidden behind various panels, fittings, etc., not on the SF. If it is easy to inspect, then a problem won't go hiding for long.

I also agree with Duncan Lethbridge's responsiveness. I've emailed him with various questions several times and he's always gotten back to me. Even though I bought the boat used (so he didn't get any money from me), he has nonetheless been helpful and available. How many other builders can anyone say that about? (Except, perhaps, the sadly departed PDQ team.)

ID
Currently in Ft. Lauderdale, preparing for Exumas & BVI's. Maybe we'll see you, Greg, in Georgetown.
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Old 16-12-2008, 12:37   #17
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ID, it's interesting you find the starboard side easier to reach and replace the impeller. I have Yanmar 40s and my impeller on the starboard engine is on the foreward inside portion of the engine, against the hull. I put in the same access panel you did (BTW, I'll look into corian, isn't that though much heavier, did you use a certain type?) and found that now replacing the impeller goes very smoothly, but it's still low and inside against the hull. My port engine on the other hand has the impeller on the outside and easy to reach. I think the yanmar 40s are overkill with the boat, under power with smooth bottom I can go over 10 knots. I guess that's one objective test of a boats possible performance and speed as most boats which are 44s use Yanmar 40s (or 50s) and very few of them can go over 10 knots under power alone.
In fact with just one engine I can do 6+ knots.
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Old 16-12-2008, 13:56   #18
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Ah, but I have the Yanmar 27's and they are definitely different. The water pump is pulley & belt driven rather than geared and on the starboard side of the engine. So, starboard engine would have the water pump sitting in the middle of the hull rather than up against the inside edge of the hull.

I'm not unhappy with the 27's; they power the boat just fine.

RE: the corian, it is probably a bit heavier than the glass, but really not nearly as much as I expected. It is standard 1/2" Corian. You can get 1/4", but the color selection is less and I sort of doubt that it would be as rugged.

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Old 29-03-2010, 23:07   #19
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Hi Greg,

What was the difference between the MK I and MKII versions of the St.Francis 44?

Nicholas
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Old 30-03-2010, 03:26   #20
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for the MKII, they improved the clearance underneath the boat, they compensated for this rise by adding an equal amount to the cabin roof (it curves up on the mk II).

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Hi Greg,

What was the difference between the MK I and MKII versions of the St.Francis 44?

Nicholas
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Old 30-03-2010, 03:32   #21
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btw, all of the st francis were fairly custom made by the manufacturer, so you'll find a greater variety than a typical production boat. some had 4 heads, some had two, some made an office up forward where the head was, others made one aft, etc. especially in later production boats in the mkII series as people with a ton of the money from the real estate market used that to customize their boats. I've never seen a st francis with a carbon mast and synthetic rigging, it would be a formidable boat though. As is, it has the highest SA/D ratio of just about any catamaran with 1200 sq ft of sail pushing around a 15,000 lb boat. She sails extremely well in lighter winds.
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Old 30-03-2010, 21:50   #22
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Schoonerdog,

I have attached a link to latest construction photos of FeeeFlow 44/46
which has similar certrally located motors to SF44 and Antares44 with a lot more room. Load carrying and bridgedeck clearance will be a non issue.

I believe the certral location of motors/tanks will provide for a great motion on the sea. Even a large person will be able to hop complently into the motor bay for servicing and access.

Photo Gallery
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Old 01-08-2010, 15:39   #23
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for the MKII, they improved the clearance underneath the boat, they compensated for this rise by adding an equal amount to the cabin roof (it curves up on the mk II).
Do you know at what hull number the (higher clearance / higher coachroof) configuration of the MK II began with? I'm really not sure if ours is Mk I or II. It was commissioned around Jan 1, 1999 - but I understand it had been some time in completion (it's hull #016).
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