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Old 03-12-2007, 09:16   #1
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St. Francis 44

Hi I am thinking of buying a 1990 st. francis 44 to move on to with my wife. our goal is in 2 years to sail to new zealand from california and definatly take some time to surf french polyneasia. I just wanted to know it the boat is built tough for it or am i going to end up with a hundred grand in structual damage. I am going to take it for a seatrial this week. I noticed the clearance isn't as high as say the lagoons or any other french boat. but the brocker told me it dosn't slap to much and when you hit 7 to 8 its smooth but I guess i will find out, Thanks for the wealth of knowledge found here.
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:17   #2
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I know its a sa boat my wording is kinda strange
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Old 03-12-2007, 09:47   #3
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A sister boat to ours is in Indonesia right now and was in Annapolis a year ago and in Brazil before that, another is in Thailand, brazil, argentina, new zealand, another is completing a circumnavigation now and rounding South Africa, another was for sale this year in Florida which had just completed a circumnavigation. This is VERY unscientific, but I would say as a percentage of the total fleet there are more St Francis catamarans which have done circumnavigations than any other type of production boat (I would hazard to guess that at least 25% of them do a full circumnavigation over the years, almost all of them have done at least 10,000 blue water miles). Almost every St Francis left their home continent and went to people who intend on using them for sailing to remote locations. Very few types of boats do this. Almost every other type of boat either stays in their home continent, or stay near their initial destination as a charter or coastal cruiser.
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:31   #4
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thanks that makes me feel way more comfortable, I hope the trial and inspection go well. if so I will have my new home next week and be in mexico for the next 3 months, viva la cruising!
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Old 03-12-2007, 10:32   #5
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Tough to find a much better designer then Angelo Lavranos. Maybe contact him directly?
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Old 03-12-2007, 21:08   #6
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I think a 1990 would be a SF43 model, not a SF44. I was asking some of the same questions on the St. Francis Google Group, which you can read here Saint Francis Owners Group | Google Groups.

Finditsurfit, If you happen to be looking at the one in Ventura CA, we looked at her long and hard, but in the end we decided she was not the one for us. I know somebody who has many hours on this particular boat, and he reports a fairly significant amount of pounding, but she is made to take it. SF raised the bridgedeck clearance just a few hulls later. She is fast though, and a beautiful boat in excellent condition! I believe this boat is either hull #1 or hull #3. I was able to email with Duncan Lethbridge directly, which is really neat, not many builders would have done that!
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:02   #7
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good and strong build cats that can sail very fast but cannot handle a load
you have to keep your payload to a minimum.
Duncan Lethbridge is a quality boat builder .
The only part that needs attention are the rudder shafts , a few have broken of on the older 43 and 44 ft cats
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:48   #8
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what would be the best way of determining if you rudder shafts are still good? Should they be pulled and surveyed?

Quote:
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good and strong build cats that can sail very fast but cannot handle a load
you have to keep your payload to a minimum.
Duncan Lethbridge is a quality boat builder .
The only part that needs attention are the rudder shafts , a few have broken of on the older 43 and 44 ft cats
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:53   #9
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good and strong build cats that can sail very fast but cannot handle a load
What kind hull construction are the using on the St Francis? Poly? Vinylester? Epoxy?

Keegan
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Old 07-12-2007, 14:08   #10
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quadriaxal fabric with isophthalic resin used over divinycell core above water line, solid glass below. It's speed and low carrying capacity are related, it has narrow hulls (11 to 1 ratio where most are much wider) to reduce wetted area, which correspondingly reduces load carrying capacity. Engines are amidships which results in a finer exit hull form and allows the transom to be designed without the wide aft hulls that aft engine boats need, again helping speed and handling. But the opposite boat such as a Prout 45 has huge engines aft and very wide hulls so they can carry a 500 lb 12 ft center console dingy with a 40 hp engine. I would aim for something about 1/4 of that weight. I imagine the fastcat 435 would be about the same hull profile, but it has far more expensive materials to eliminate weight and increase strength and is probably 4000 lbs lighter at 11,000 vs 15,000 lbs hense they've been able to increase the payload capacity.
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Old 07-12-2007, 14:55   #11
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If I where the lucky owner of a st francis 43 or 44 build between 1990 and 2002 I would have the shafts pulled out and examined. I have heard of a rudder snapping of on 3 occasions and it is never in a convenient location or time.
It happens with other makes of catamarans to so if you have a steel or aluminium rudder stock a yearly visual inspection is neccesary after 5 years .
In our manual we explain what can happen and why the inspection needs to be done
Make sure that no part of the shaft makes electric contact with any other part in the boat.
Our hull lenght to width ratio on the water line is 12.5 to 1
And yes you are right schoonerdog the materials like carbon , kevlar , basalt, epoxy etc we use are much more expensive and so are the number hours of labor put into building a completely resin infused Catamaran
we use 12000 hours to complete a cat while a Voyage 440 takes 5000 hours to complete
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:28   #12
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pirate ST Francis44'

If your sail trial doesn't fly, check out our St. Francis 44' - SCUD - (means to move fast!) via our family website: yachtscud.com. You've chosen an excellent vessel to world cruise in, as we just completed a world circumnavigation with our teen surfer sons recently. By the way, SCUD is for sale. She's a 2002 Mark II, was refit after our world cruise and is ready to go again. All alternative energy installed: solar panels, wind generator. Slap? These boats were designed to round the Cape of Good Hope, so not only are they are tough in heavy weather, they go smooth and fast as a train. We never experienced heavy weather in all our 30 yrs of extended cruising and living on boats. We love the St. Francis designs so much, we're buying a bigger one, and going around again for charter. Yachtscud.com shows where you can surf in Tahiti, by the way! Check it out! You can email me if interested in seeing her.
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:54   #13
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a yearly visual inspection is neccesary after 5 years .
Do you mean that after the first 5 years, you need to do this annually?
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Old 02-12-2008, 08:33   #14
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Quote:
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what would be the best way of determining if you rudder shafts are still good? Should they be pulled and surveyed?
Hallo Doug

just noticed the question on the rudder stock
You can actually visually inspect them by going underwater, to my ( unfortunate ) experience the corrosion is normally most where the stock goes into the blade so if you drop the rudder 1 or 2 inches it will show .

Greetings

Gideon
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Old 15-12-2008, 21:48   #15
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St Francis 44

Hi,
I have owned a St. Francis 44 since 2000. My boat is Obelix, and I am well acquainted with most other '44 owners, especially Peter and Tina on Scud.
They are treasured friends of mine. I keep my boat at stocking island, across from Georgetown, Great Exuma, Bahamas.

I would love to trade off the pros and cons of various catamarans with you, but really I only know the '44. I do know my boat very well though.

Can the boat circumnavigate? Yes, it certainly can. Scud has certainly proved that, and other '44's have gone the blue water route as well.
You should know the '44 is a very strong boat. It is built low to the water, so it does pound in certain weather conditions. I find in less than 2 or 3 feet, it is no problem, and in greater than 4 to 5 feet it is no problem either. I have had my boat out in > 15 foot seas, (I came across the gulf stream in a gale, but not by choice) and while it was a thrill, the boat had minimal problems with it. All '44's are sailed from St. Francis, South Africa to the US, so they are really blue water travelers. I was told that the day my boat left SA, the seas were so high that the mast of the accompanying boat disappeared into the trough of the preceding wave and was lost from view. The mast is 62 feet above the water. I was not there. I am not aware of any St Frances 44 that has ever been lost to structural failure, or to any other reason for that matter.

My boat spends most of the time between the Bahamas and Fl. I think it is an ideal boat for the Bahamas. It has decadent amounts of room, and is an ideal party boat. It has plenty of sleeping space. My boat is loaded down, so is less speedy and pounds more. I am built for comfort and not for speed, but the boat tolerates my excesses very well. I carry no life raft, I trust my boat. I can motor in the 7 to 9 knot range, and motor sailing I can hit double digits. Sailing I can point up to roughly 33 degrees into the wind. Cats don't point well. I have no daggerboards to worry about.

Pros and cons:
The boat is very strong. I have been pounded for days at anchor with no problem. It was uncomfortable, but no problem.
The boat sails level and stable. I don't have to "put everything away" before setting sail.
It has tons of room (more than you should have, really).
It is a very comfortable boat.
It is relatively fast under sail or motoring.
It only needs 3 feet of water! but it DOES need 3 feet. I have run out.
The boat will not sink unless burned to the waterline. (I have not tested this)
The mid engine design makes the boat highly maneuverable. The placement of the saildrives makes it unlikely that you will damage them on an obstruction. You would have to straddle a coralhead....
The boat is easy to beach if you need to work on the bottom for any reason.

The boat is easy to singlehand. I have taken it to Fl and to the Bahamas alone. You will find that not everyone can drop everything and come be decadant with you on a moments notice. Jobs and families intrude. Not to fear, you can do it alone with just a little practice if you need to.

I have bent my rudders twice, and straightened them out. I can tell you how to do this if you like (both bending & straightening). I have never had a problem with the rudder stocks in spite of bending them. Remember, you have two rudders. The odds of them both failing simultaneously are incredible, so I have never worried about it very much. The rudder shafts are designed to be sacrificial. Better to bend a rudder shaft than blow out the fiberglass and supporting structures in the hull.

Cons:
The boat should not be overloaded with stuff. (Do as I say, not as I do.)
The mid-engine design can be hard to work on (Think of doing diesel repair in your kitchen, galley down version)
Yanmar suggests replacing the oil in the saildrives every 100 hours. That is like every week or two while cruising. You must haul the boat to drain the saildrive oil. There are a limited number of places that can haul you. In the Bahamas, Bradford boat works on Great Abaco can do it, as can Marsh Harbour Boat yard. Nobody in the exumas can haul you. In Fl., Cracker boy in west palm can do it, Seminole at the top of west palm can, Rybovitch in west palm could, but won't work on boats this small. Ft pierce can, if they are still in business. The issue is, you need a BIG boatlift. You are not heavy, but a 24' beam requires a BIG boatlift. Finally, most '44 owners I know replace the SD20 oil once per season and let it go.

Be careful to not overprop the saildrives. The engines don't care, but the SD20 saildrives do. They overheat and break down. I have replaced mine twice, but have a handle on it now. Yes, it is a bitch to replace them.

I have also rebuilt my engines recently, and that too is a bitch. Email me if you want to know about that. I can look up my prop specs if you want. As I remember, you must be < 16" and pitched to max out RPM's at 3200. I gave up folding props and run 3 bladed fixed pitch props.

I feel that the boat will become unmanageable in winds > around 55 KPH. I have had mine out in 50 Kts, and had a hard time getting into West Palm.
The boat is built to South African Standards. It has been no problem complying with US standards so far, but occasionally it catches you up short.

Since I own one, and you are considering buying one, you can email me with any questions you have on the '44. I have pretty much been into every nook and cranny of my boat in the near decade I have owned and enjoyed it. There is no such thing as a perfect boat, they are all compromises. I love my boat, and consider the compromises well worth the strengths she brings to me. I have had more fun on my boat than any person has a right to. Perhaps you will feel the same. I can send some pictures too if you wish. I will be on my boat from early Feb '08 to mid March or so. Regatta at Georgetown, don't 'cha know!

Greg Peterson
Owner, SV OBELIX
capngp@hotmail.com
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