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Old 05-03-2014, 21:03   #1
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Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

There was mention of this new design in the Miami Boatshow thread and since I was going to test sail it since it was on our short short list for a bluewater liveaboard cruiser, here are my impressions.

The takeaway impression is that this is a best kept secret, just a helluva boat

I'll try and keep it short and sweet. The first impression was when I got to the top transom step and had an "Oh WOW" moment looking at the cockpit. The space and design was impressive. The next impression was entering the saloon (or salon as you prefer) and another Oh WOW moment. The saloon is 4 meters deep and 6 meters wide with 360 degree visibility, large front opening windows with plenty of headroom (I'm 6'2") to spare throughout the boat.
There were comments on the other thread about the saloon furniture being carry on but the owner had major issues with furniture contractor and is redoing the saloon interior furniture properly.
Aside from that, I could not find fault with any aspect of the boat and I am pretty picky. All the systems were very well done with easy access for maintenance, the wiring is superbly done (very important), the joinery was simple but very well executed.
She has 54HP Yanmars that push it at 12 knots full throttle and 7 knots on 1,100 rpm. The bottom was very dirty with growth and props had barnacles, so that caused some losses.

Re sailing, we had only 5 knots of true wind on the day and sailed 3 to 4 knots on beam reach with main and small non-overlapping genoa. At one point we had about 7 to 8 apparent and the boat went straight through tacks without hesitation which I thought was pretty good re light air performance. The owner is very experienced sailor and cruiser who has owned several mono's and other cats, and he just raves about this boats performance. It does half windspeed below 10 knots of true wind and then kicks up her heels at 15 knots apparent. But the seakeeping he says is outstanding & has been through 40 knots & short seas & is very comfortable.

I was particularly interested in the wishbone rig having never experienced one before and although the winds were so light, I can see how sail handling would be a dream for short handed crew. He says it is a "set & forget" system as the main holds it's efficiency through wind shifts, and with no traveller, you just hold the line and walk the main across.

A real quality boat, beautifully constructed, and showing the design features of an experienced designer who has cruised extensively & who really knows what is needed on a cruising boat by having "been there, done that".

I would say compares very favourably with Antares 44i and if you compare on multihulldynamics.com, it scrubs up very well compared to just about anything.

As I said, a best kept secret. But I don't think it will stay that way as more of these get seen and experienced. One of those boats where the photos do not do it justice, and I mean in a good way. Sometimes boats do not live up to their marketing hype and "special effects" photos, but this was a different experience.

If any questions, I'll do my best to answer.
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Old 05-03-2014, 21:25   #2
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

so from that report i take it your buying one, do you mind saying what type of layout and what options you are considering??? Oh and what is your proposed use
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Old 05-03-2014, 21:46   #3
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

Yes I would say that my short short list, just got a lot shorter.

The use is as a South Pacific cruiser from Sydney and Oz East coast, with a trip over to the Pacific Northwest to cruise the Canadian & Alaskan coast and then a milk run back across the South Pacific. Diving/Underwater photography and fishing as favourite activities. About a 10 year cruising span is the plan.

These boats are semi custom builds so you can discuss any changes with the designer Nathan Stanton. He has seven layouts and KESHI that we were on is a galley up owners layout with island queen bed. We had 7 adults and 2 kids onboard and not for a moment felt crowded with everyone in the saloon or cockpit.

I am interested in electric propulsion using the new Torqeedo 40HP system, composting toilets with provision for regular marine heads/holding tanks, and other than that the boat is already completely spec'd for bluewater cruising. Forgot to mention the lightship displacement on launching with 100L water and 100L diesel was 7.3 T, so that explains alot about the performance, and yet it is not a twitchy, hard riding cat like many of the go fast coastal cruisers. We wanted a comfortable, safe boat that would sail instead of having to motor alot. The construction is Corecell/Dyvinycell resin infusion, mine will be epoxy. Interiors probably done with ATL Composites Featherlight panels for strength and weight saving.
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:53   #4
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

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Originally Posted by BigBeakie View Post
As I said, a best kept secret. But I don't think it will stay that way as more of these get seen and experienced.
To my knowledge, Keshi is the only example in existence and there is presently none in build stage. They do look like very nice boats.

Mark
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Old 06-03-2014, 06:58   #5
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

Anybody have any pictures?
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Old 06-03-2014, 07:34   #6
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

FreeFlow Catamarans
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:58   #7
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
To my knowledge, Keshi is the only example in existence and there is presently none in build stage. They do look like very nice boats.

Mark

Exactly. What "new" FF 46?? AFAIK, FF has only built one yacht in all the time they've been a business. So I'm honestly skeptical that they are even an active company at all.

Don't get me wrong Keshi looks like a hell of a nice yacht, and I would love to see more. I might be persuaded to buy one if it is ever for sale. But I don't understand why there is so much talk of "news" about a company that no one can even prove still exists. I think the real press release should be when there is actually a hull #2.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:20   #8
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

Just a few things you may wish to consider:

1. The hull shapes appear to have some considerable rocker - it would be interesting to see how much she 'hobby-horses' in heavier conditions.

2. It is not really a wishbone boom rig per se, as it also has a standard boom. Wishbone rigs such as used on the earlier Nonsuch and Freedom yachts were generally a cat-rigged boat with one huge sail (or in the case of cat ketches, obviously two). I have sailed on them as recently as last summer and they are incredibly easy to sail: they tack readily and provide decent performance - albeit to windward, they do not sail quite as close to the wind as a sloop (but suprisingly close). Furthermore, with such a huge mainsail, they can be a bit scarey to jibe in anything but very light air. The headsails on this boat should remedy performance to windward, atlhough ultimately do so by eliminating the operating ease generally associated with a wishbone cat rig.

In looking at the rig, it seems that they have added a wishbone boom because they were was insufficient space for a boom vang. Furthermore, the foot of the mainsail is so long that a traveller alone would have resulted in mid-boom sheeting. Apart from the stress that this places on the boom, it also increases sheeting effort substantially (the lever principle). Yes, the addition of a second wishbone boom permits leech tensioning. However, considering the angle that the mainsheet exits the boom, I would be interested to see how much effort is required to trim the sail in heavy air before I was sold on the rig. I would also be interested in seeing how well she would jibe in anything greater than the light air in which you sailed her.

3. Ventilation seems woefully inadequate. I note that there is no hatch over the galley and no opening pass-through (nor even a portlight) into the cockpit. I suspect that an overhead hatch there is impossible due to the solid dodger and rigging set up in front of it. Certainly a pass-through is not possible as the sheets/halywards will be tailed in front of the fixed window.

I also note that there is no opening hatch above the master island berth. The 'all-weather' ventilation ports may work well for the shower/work room (alhtough I would still prefer overhead hatches there as well), but they will have no effect on the aft cabins. Keep in mind that the small opening portlights will provide minimal to no ventilation under anchor or sail, unless you are reaching with winds off that side of the boat.

4. The headroom above the island berths seems to be very low ( I question whether there is enough to sit up and read without virtually brushing the overhead). I also do not see steps up to the berth - how do you get up into it?

5. Not only are they relying on loose furniture, but the exisitng cabinets all have sharp edges on the doors/drawers etc. Indeed, even the door and drawer pulls have sharp edges (look at the ones protruding by the steps into one of the hulls to see the potential risk when underway).

6. The 'office' is a joke, IMO. Once the chair was pulled back far enough to allow clearance for your legs and feet, you would be unable to reach the top of the desk.

7. The anchor releases below the trampoline. While this has been used by other manufacturers, it is far from ideal as:
- it makes it difficult to clean mud off the anchor.
- it makes it difficult to rig a bridle and/or secondary anchor
- if the boat swings at anchor, it creates the risk of the anchor rode making contact with the bows
- if you need to change the anchor, you would have to go under the boat in your inflatable and drop it in.

Anyway, just some observations and questions that arose for me after a quick look at the boat on their website.

Brad
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Old 06-03-2014, 16:03   #9
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

To address some of the points raised. Just a comment here, some of the points are very good, some are a bit silly IMO. Let's start with the latter:

Re whether Stanton Multihulls is really in business. What a weird question. Why would I be working with the designer to specify our boat if they weren't in business? Did I appear in my post to be an idiot?

Keshi is indeed the only FF46 launched so far and yes, when #2 and others are underway, you will be the first to know. There is one FF52 nearing completion in China and another FF52 being built in Turkey. The issue is finding the right builders with focus on quality & experience in resin infusion, although that is becoming more widespread. There is a very good builder in Peru who is experienced and ready to go. I am not choosing that option mainly because I don't fancy a maiden voyage across the Pacific back to Oz with our experience level or time available. So I am working on another option closer to home but not in Oz for cost reasons.

Re Southern Star points;

1. Owner circumnavigated Australia in Keshi and hit rough weather (40 knots +)several times, in short sharp seas as I mentioned. Keshi stays very steady and he did not experience hobby horsing. BTW the boat also does not bury bows running/surfing in downwind swell, despite the fine cutwater bows. Hint: the two are related re hull design.

2. Good points and I have no experience whatsoever with such rigs, but I agree with your point about sacrificing upwind heavy weather pointing compared to Marconi rig, but then again it is minor & the boat is a cruiser not racer, so that doesn't worry me too much. The daggerboards help.

3. Actually the ventilation everywhere is exceptionally good, much better than any other cat I've been on. The saloon has large all opening forward facing windows, galley up receives all that air and anyway is right by the open window to cockpit. The cockpit has all opening windows like the saloon, so are you sure you are looking at the same boat? On the day we had not much breeze, clear blue sky and 38C temp. I can assure you I spent time in every location of the boat and the ventilation is very good. It is a priority for us for tropical cruising. The side opening large ports under the bridgedeck in each hull scoop & ram air down each hull, it works very well. The open ports in the aft cabins allow the air to exit so the ventilation in the aft cabins is good also.

4. As I said the photos just do NOT convey the space on this boat. I'm 6'2" and sitting on the island queen there is about a foot and a half above my head to the cabin roof. There is a step that doesn't show in photos.

5. I explained the loose furniture, the owner is not "relying" on it, just an interim stage. By the way, I think carry on cane or wicker lounges can work well on cats. Some are very comfortable and light. But I agree with the sharp edge look on some modern boats, I prefer rounded edges for safety. But this is a semi-custom build, so do it as you wish. Didn't I mention it was a semi-custom build in the review?

6. Umm, no. I sat there and it works.

7. Some good points about the anchoring that I wondered about before I went on the boat, but;
- he uses Sarca anchors that are convex not concave for that reason & there is strong saltwater deckwash up there for that purpose.
- no, the bridling is easy and used always with the right Pelican hook & there are 2 other anchor rode leads on the beam.
- Hint: always use a bridle on a cat!
- yes you would need to drop it to change it, either in the dingy or beach it. But a very minor consideration in the scheme of things.

Thanks for the feedback, all comments welcome
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Old 06-03-2014, 17:58   #10
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigBeakie View Post
To address some of the points raised. Just a comment here, some of the points are very good, some are a bit silly IMO. Let's start with the latter:

Re whether Stanton Multihulls is really in business. What a weird question. Why would I be working with the designer to specify our boat if they weren't in business? Did I appear in my post to be an idiot?
Freeflow yachts has only built one boat in their 5 year existence. So it's hard not to wonder about these things! I do wish them well.
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Old 06-03-2014, 23:15   #11
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Just a few things you may wish to consider:

1. The hull shapes appear to have some considerable rocker - it would be interesting to see how much she 'hobby-horses' in heavier conditions.

2. It is not really a wishbone boom rig per se, as it also has a standard boom. Wishbone rigs such as used on the earlier Nonsuch and Freedom yachts were generally a cat-rigged boat with one huge sail (or in the case of cat ketches, obviously two). I have sailed on them as recently as last summer and they are incredibly easy to sail: they tack readily and provide decent performance - albeit to windward, they do not sail quite as close to the wind as a sloop (but suprisingly close). Furthermore, with such a huge mainsail, they can be a bit scarey to jibe in anything but very light air. The headsails on this boat should remedy performance to windward, atlhough ultimately do so by eliminating the operating ease generally associated with a wishbone cat rig.

In looking at the rig, it seems that they have added a wishbone boom because they were was insufficient space for a boom vang. Furthermore, the foot of the mainsail is so long that a traveller alone would have resulted in mid-boom sheeting. Apart from the stress that this places on the boom, it also increases sheeting effort substantially (the lever principle). Yes, the addition of a second wishbone boom permits leech tensioning. However, considering the angle that the mainsheet exits the boom, I would be interested to see how much effort is required to trim the sail in heavy air before I was sold on the rig. I would also be interested in seeing how well she would jibe in anything greater than the light air in which you sailed her.

3. Ventilation seems woefully inadequate. I note that there is no hatch over the galley and no opening pass-through (nor even a portlight) into the cockpit. I suspect that an overhead hatch there is impossible due to the solid dodger and rigging set up in front of it. Certainly a pass-through is not possible as the sheets/halywards will be tailed in front of the fixed window.

I also note that there is no opening hatch above the master island berth. The 'all-weather' ventilation ports may work well for the shower/work room (alhtough I would still prefer overhead hatches there as well), but they will have no effect on the aft cabins. Keep in mind that the small opening portlights will provide minimal to no ventilation under anchor or sail, unless you are reaching with winds off that side of the boat.

4. The headroom above the island berths seems to be very low ( I question whether there is enough to sit up and read without virtually brushing the overhead). I also do not see steps up to the berth - how do you get up into it?

5. Not only are they relying on loose furniture, but the exisitng cabinets all have sharp edges on the doors/drawers etc. Indeed, even the door and drawer pulls have sharp edges (look at the ones protruding by the steps into one of the hulls to see the potential risk when underway).

6. The 'office' is a joke, IMO. Once the chair was pulled back far enough to allow clearance for your legs and feet, you would be unable to reach the top of the desk.

7. The anchor releases below the trampoline. While this has been used by other manufacturers, it is far from ideal as:
- it makes it difficult to clean mud off the anchor.
- it makes it difficult to rig a bridle and/or secondary anchor
- if the boat swings at anchor, it creates the risk of the anchor rode making contact with the bows
- if you need to change the anchor, you would have to go under the boat in your inflatable and drop it in.

Anyway, just some observations and questions that arose for me after a quick look at the boat on their website.

Brad
Brad,

Thanks for your considered constructive critique. Coming from a GBR powerboat background and having watched builds of just about all available Australian cats including Graingers, Crowthers, Lightwaves, Orams, Schonnings, Spirited etc I have found that the FF46 seems to fit the bill as a full time liveaboard. Nathan having built up the Lightwave range before departing (Keshi was built in Nathan’s shed were the first Lightwave “Grainger designs” was built) I suggest it is a blending of experience from his experience building Lightwaves taking into account the best of Australian cruising designs. There is certainly some aspects from Crowther there as well.

Some comments follow regarding your observations which is always difficult looking from afar. The size is deceptive as it is a larger vessel in real life than in photos. As roomy as many 50ft vessels.

Nathan Stanton the designer built Keshi but is not intending building more himself. He is operating similarly to Schonning allowing prospective owners to choose experienced and accredited builders in their region. Remember this is essentially a custom build and interior can be setup to your requirements.


1. Yes there is quite a bit of rocker however vessel is engineered with considerable weight including mast and with motors, water and fuel centrally located under the hull soles..

2. I can't critique the rig setup myself other than satisfactory feedback so far on Keshi and a Crowther 46 with a similar rig are good. It would be my understanding if you wanted to use a more conventional and expensive rig with traveller there would be no issue. A very experienced Americas Norths Sails rigger suggested it is a very strong rig setup.

3. Ventilation is better than any vessel I have ever been on. Got onboard at a marina at Gold Coast in the middle of the day at the hottest time of the year and was amazed at the airflow. The window between galley and cockpit drops down allowing amazing throughflow. Both saloon and helm windows open up with considerable with considerable overhand protecting in many rain conditions.

4. Height is definitely not an issue.

5/6. Agreed (office and saloon furniture) I certainly would not have an office in the hull looking at wall. Remember this layout is what the owner wanted at the time. There are several alternative layout sketches on the FF website. The 4x6m salon allows considerably more room than a St Francis 50 and a similar layout such as used in several of those I have seen would allow for large galley, desk/office/nav station space as well as dining.

7. Agreed. I think I would have a horizontal winch and chain on top I like to see my chain. Easy done.

Cheers
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Old 07-03-2014, 06:21   #12
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

And thanks for the considered responses to my post. A number of my comments were based upon the OP's indication that he had only test-sailed her in very light conditions. I would want to take one out in heavier conditions to see how the rig performed and to ensure that it doesn't hobby-horse excessively - and take note, I did not say that it would hobby-horse excessively, only that "it would be interesting to see how much she hobby - horses in heavier conditions."

I recognize that as a custom build, the interior layout and joinerwork could be modified - I was only commenting on certain aspects of the interior design on the first boat that I thought questionable. The same, of course, is true of the anchoring arrangement - something else that could be fairly readily changed on a custom build.

You are both no doubt correct about the headroom over the berths - photos can be deceiving. I am not a big fan of steps up to a island berth - and if they are only on one side, it really defeats the purpose of an island berth. Obviously steps could be included on both sides, although it would interfere with the area of the cabin sole around the berth. Again, there may be sufficient space so that this is not a problem. It is something that I would want to check out, however, as it would be impossible to lower the berths (and I suspect, to relocate them).

I do think that it is an attractive and spacious design that looks as if she should be a decent performer for a cruising cat. I also think that the trunks for the boards were well-integrated into the design - something that we do not always see.

Brad
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Old 07-03-2014, 21:22   #13
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Re: Stanton FreeFlow 46 Boat Report

Rig sailing
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