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Old 24-03-2014, 04:22   #1
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The remaining question.

Having spent a few months researching on the net, asking colleagues and even getting out there and putting in a couple of sails, Im about complete in my assessment regarding Catamarans.
  • I like them.
  • I like them a lot.
Ive had a lot more sails on 'bigger Cats' (40ft plus) than smaller, and I have learned that
  • I love them.
Only, I dont want one, the bigger ones that is. I go solo a lot and prefer smaller rigs. I dont like masts that disappear into the fog and then reappear again ABOVE the fog.

Up is up and climbing is climbing.

A smaller climb is appealing to a wimp, and as a fully paid up member of the International Wimp club, it is VERY appealing.

I like to get up and go. Not walk round the deck and be frightened by the size of the sail bags that take 2 people to move. I like boats that dont need a wheel on each side of the deck and that cause extreme lack of breathing ability just walking from one hull to the other. I dont like getting lost inside the vessel looking for the Master Stateroom or even having to make the decision which luxury head to take a dump in, knowing that if I took a dump a day, I would not have used all the heads in a week!

Now, if I had a crew, deck hands, A captain, a Chef, a wonderful lady who cleaned and smiled all the time and brought me drinks, (heck, I would have two!) then yes.. dang it I would have a 60 footer!

The reality is, I dont, and as my pick of 6 failed to even get close to ANY of the numbers mentioned on Saturday night........ its not in my immediate future.

So its 36 foot or less for this boy (ok a touch older).

In my tests of the smaller boats I have discovered something.
  • Its hard to get a really bad design. Its under 36 foot, they all face the same issues. Have to sacrifice one good thing for another.
  • The differences are personal
  • The costs are related directly to how much you want the one you purchase.
I have read comments from experienced Multihullers making statements like: " the worst hull design ever!" and another experienced Multihuller expressing the thought "wow! was so impressed! Just a fabulous sail!"

Helpful? Not so much.

I prefer factual statements like "Five people were picked up by the Coastguard today from the XXXX Catamaran as its known fault of sinking when placed on water occurred at 0600 this morning in calm conditions". This is what helpful is.

In my own circumstances, I have concluded in the main that my purchase is mainly governed by cost within a set budget. This statement whilst obvious, is the ACTUAL arbiter of what is available to me, and gives me a limited choice within the framework.

Within that framework, are the choices left.
  • Size
  • Equipment
  • Engine choice
  • layout
  • Sailability
  • Maintenance costs.
And....... these choices, apart from mandatory requirements, are personal. (But constrained by the budget)

I have worked out what I want to do with the Catamaran I purchase. Its going to sit in a marina in the Med with me living on it. When friends and family turn up (they will, they dont have a boat) it will be small sailing episodes up the coast for a day. This will gently taper off as the hint that "beer is expensive" sinks into their collective minds and they find other things to do.
I will make a monthly, or perhaps every two months sail across open water from Mainland Spain to the Islands of Menorca and Mallorca (100-150 miles each way).
I will be cleaning the hull a lot as the waters are full of life and contain things that want a free ride on the bottom of every boat in there. I will making a lot of covers so the U.V. doesnt kill stitching and materials faster than my wallet. I will be enjoying the stateroom I choose, the heads I use (maybe a choice of two!). I will cook in the galley or on the bbq, and have a berth (unused) full of a choice of wine.
All the marina "essentials" (powered by shore electric of course) like A/C, Computer fridge etc, will make my life extremely comfortable. I will also have lots of glue to reseam the inflatable, lots of spray bottles of GPS Gleam for polishing and plenty of tools to remove 'stuff' that refuses to perform as it is supposed to, and replace it with "new stuff" with my tools that will work until it becomes "old stuff" and needs doing over again.

At this point you are wondering why your reading this, and all I can say is that its a slow day in clinic..... go figure.

I have narrowed by selection to, and between a Catalac 9 or 10, and a Gemini 105 MC. Ive joined the Gemini owners club on Yahoo, but am not impressed really because its full of really enthusiastic people reveling in the stories of replacing this and that and how to fix a problem using a winch and tubes of silicone sealer whilst opening their wallets and extracting large amounts of money. Ok.. I guess if I owned one it would be useful. I do like the boat and the quirks are known and its not too bad to look at.

Me thinks the Catalac and the Gemini come from the same stable of design. Different build quality and other things but each has its its good points. I like them both.
However, I have no experience with Centerboards. I know when they rot, they are expensive to fix. I know when you leave them down in certain sea conditions you might be kissing your tush goodbye.

I have seen the comments by Mr Woods (whos abilities and experience I respect) that centerboards are really for racing. He recommends keels for cruising. If you have reached this place in the diatribe, for those with experience in centreboards on the Gemini and also experience in the Catalacs, perhaps you would be so kind as to express an opinion?

This is the one question that has yet to be answered for me to complete my choice.
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Old 24-03-2014, 04:57   #2
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Re: The remaining question.

well done for figuring out what you need/want. For your needs I think either boat would be good and whichever is in decent condition/value for money. If it came down to 2 cats in the same condition, but one with boards and one with keels, I would go for the one $100 cheaper..
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:04   #3
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Re: The remaining question.

Have you actually been aboard a Gemini and a Catalac? I went through most of the same things you are going through now. I was convinced I was going to be the proud new owner of a Gemini 105Mc, probabably about a four or five year old one with the budget we had.

We walked aboard a Gemini, and things changed. We're two large people, and with the things we want to take cruising, that boat would not have been a good choice. I also liked the specs on the Gemini, including the "18 inch draft" until I realized that this was with the boards and the rudders and drive all pulled up. IN other words, yeah it will float in 18 inches of water if it's lightly loaded and you are willing to give up all control of it and drift. This wasn't acceptable. The true working draft of that 105 is more like that of our Catalac 12M, just about a meter. You have to have the rudders down, or the drive leg, and that destroys the 18 inch draft reality.

You stated that you want to live aboard. You really, really should spend about thirty minutes on each boat just sitting there thinking about the realities of it. I think you will come to the conclusion that the Catalac was better designed as a liveaboard, while the Gemini is a coastal cruiser designed to a price point.

On the whole centerboard thing, my opinion is that the simple solutions are the best solutions. Centerboards and that drive leg and swiveling rudders are a lot of moving parts. Moving parts that will sit static in the ocean for long periods of time if you are living aboard in the Med. Things that are supposed to move that sit still for long periods of time in the ocean eventually stop moving. Making them move again takes time, money, and a lot of work.

Having said all this, I still do like the Gemini. I wanted one. I pictured the two of us and the small dog and the diving hookah, and the camera gear, and our clothes, and the occasional overnight guest..and all the extra linkages in the Gemini, and the reality started setting in. Then, I stepped on board a Gemini and felt the deck flex under my 220 lbs. I stepped onto a Catalac, and it's as solid a fiberglass boat as I've ever seen. I like solid. I like simple.

It wasn't clear to me from your post if you have spent much time on the boats. I really think you owe it to yourself to do this before making a decision.

You could also talk to Rick at the catamaransite.com he's got a lot of info on the boats you are looking at and is happy to help.

By the way, a lot of the parts on the Catalacs are from Europe. My strainers are from Italy, for example. My copper tubing and hoses are metric. You might factor that in a little bit too. The Gemini is US made. Not a big deal, but it might make a difference in parts cost.
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Old 24-03-2014, 06:43   #4
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Re: The remaining question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Have you actually been aboard a Gemini and a Catalac? I went through most of the same things you are going through now. I was convinced I was going to be the proud new owner of a Gemini 105Mc, probabably about a four or five year old one with the budget we had.
Yes and yes.
I have sailed a Catalac. I have puttered a Gemini around a harbour under motor.
As stated, my choice is around price. Its only me and I can live on either vessel. my preference at this stage is for a Catalac for lots of reasons, but I have the option of getting a more recent manufactured Gemini for a decent price at the end of the year. For two people..... I dont want a Gemini. For me, its ok.
I love the Catalac. Is beefy, its solid its traditional and its great fun. I like the Gemini because its lighter its known and its sold a lot and has a huge following. I could live on it.
I just want to be sure the centerboard thing is not something I would regret not getting....
Thank you for your input. It does mean a lot.
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Old 24-03-2014, 07:11   #5
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Re: The remaining question.

Weavis, as has been pointed out, either boat would work for your intended use. The Gemini will be faster - and much faster upwind - if it is kept light. Since your plans seem to involve minimal sailing, that is probably not so important for you.

I do find the tendancy for stress cracks on the Geminis to be a bit disconcertning (as well as unsightly). However, there is no denying that they are great bang for the buck. Cost is an issue and the age of the vessel is only one factor - certainly, I would pay more attention to the overall condition. Which boat has newer sails, running rigging, standing rigging, hatches/portlights, thru-hulls/sea cocks etc., etc.?

Brad
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Old 24-03-2014, 07:23   #6
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Re: The remaining question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Weavis, as has been pointed out, either boat would work for your intended use. The Gemini will be faster - and much faster upwind - if it is kept light. Since your plans seem to involve minimal sailing, that is probably not so important for you.

I do find the tendancy for stress cracks on the Geminis to be a bit disconcertning (as well as unsightly). However, there is no denying that they are great bang for the buck. Cost is an issue and the age of the vessel is only one factor - certainly, I would pay more attention to the overall condition. Which boat has newer sails, running rigging, standing rigging, hatches/portlights, thru-hulls/sea cocks etc., etc.?

Brad
Thanks Brad. Its these insights on the manufacture and the experience of the individuals in the group that give impetus to making a decision one way or the other.
I think I can go back to my original outline and make it solely on the personal choice of which vessel is better value for my situation and in better condition. I have not seen the surface cracks on the Gemini Im considering but I guess they will turn up in due course if its a manufacture issue. I keep a light living arrangement, but things do accumulate over time. Thanks so much.
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Old 24-03-2014, 07:35   #7
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Re: The remaining question.

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
.....
You could also talk to Rick at the catamaransite.com he's got a lot of info on the boats you are looking at and is happy to help. .....
I guess that's my cue to weigh in.

A few years ago Canibul was where you are now and leaning towards buying the Gemini. I am, of course, an avid Catalac fan and suggested he'd be better off with a Catalac. He disagreed with me, and we publicly argued this, in this very forum. If you search, those discussions have to be here someplace. Eventually, Canibul got out there and had a look at the boats we were arguing about, and he bought a Catalac. Now, he's as big a fan of the boats as I am. (Disclaimer ...we are also friends)

Geminis are good boats for their intended purpose. From what I hear you saying, either boat will work as a floating apartment for you. The Catalac has solid fiberglass hulls and there's no history of osmosis. The Gemini has cored hulls and previous owner's maintenance is more of a concern than construction issues. Cored hull boats can be expensive to own. And those centerboard trunks will become home to every marine creature in that marina. (I've seen what happens to Gemini centerboard trunks)

There's a Catalac 10M in Kaz, Turkey who's owner just lowered the price to €48,000. She'll probably go lower as Turkey, as she's finding out, isn't the most convenient location to buy a boat. And those Turkish / Syrian air strikes must be flying right over her boat.

Think of a Catalac 10M as a Gemini 105 with twice the fiberglass content and no centerboards (the Catalac 9M is closer to a Gemini 3400). Similar boat layout. The deck of a Catalac 10M is cored, but the laminate is about 3 inches thick. I have photos around here of the plugs when a friend installed a windlass and made the cuts in the foredeck. As Canibul already said, there's just a lot more boat in a Catalac.

After you learn to sail them -- any of these boats will be fun to sail. I have the little Catalac 8M and begin to bump 7 knots of boat speed in winds approaching 20 knots. I can point to 35 degrees apparent before pinching or leeway (subtract 5-7 degrees). But admittedly this took years of learning to sail her and tweaking the boat. Here in Florida, I have the never ending sailing season, and take full advantage.

For whatever this is worth ...

Rick
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Old 24-03-2014, 07:46   #8
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Re: The remaining question.

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Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
I guess that's my cue to weigh in.

Think of a Catalac 10M as a Gemini with twice the fiberglass content and no centerboards. Same boat layout. The deck of a Catalac 10M is cored, but it's about 3 inches thick. I have photos around here when a friend installed a windlass and made the cuts in the foredeck. As Canibul already said, there's just a lot more boat in a Catalac.

For whatever this is worth ...
For the record, Ive read your site backwards and forwards and refer to it a lot. It was your site that prompted me to look at Catalacs in the first place.

Truth be told, and it became clear in the post I made (To me at least) that Im looking for a reason to purchase the Gemini as opposed to looking for a reason to not buy a Catalac.

I guess the reality is we pays our money and takes our choice. CEnterboards are no longer a possible issue or attraction, and unless the price and equipment is unbeatable for value, I think maybe geminis are back to second on the list.

Sorry Mr Smith.
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Old 24-03-2014, 07:49   #9
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Re: The remaining question.

I'm not sure about the new Hunter built Geminis but the PCI Geminis have no core in the hulls, solid glass.


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Old 24-03-2014, 08:02   #10
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pirate Re: The remaining question.

For something with reasonable standing headroom SimonMD.. a member on here... has a very nice and well equipped Catalac 900 for sale in Spain... delivered it from the UK for him so know she's sound.. he's also updated a lot of the gear on board.
This is the raised coach roof model which makes life aboard much more comfortable..
You could fit in an ARC adventure taking her home..
PS: Take a look at the Iroquois.. one of the best Cats of that era.. and fast.
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Old 24-03-2014, 08:07   #11
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Re: The remaining question.

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For something with reasonable standing headroom SimonMD.. a member on here... has a very nice and well equipped Catalac 900 for sale in Spain... delivered it from the UK for him so know she's sound.. he's also updated a lot of the gear on board.
This is the raised coach roof model which makes life aboard much more comfortable..
You could fit in an ARC adventure taking her home..
Yep I looked at Simons boat. As stated elsewhere my purchasing cant happen till years end or early next year due to work schedule.... Simons seems very well updated and photos present well. I watched his video and saw it on Ebay for sale. SUrprised it hasnt sold yet.
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Old 24-03-2014, 08:18   #12
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Re: The remaining question.

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I'm not sure about the new Hunter built Geminis but the PCI Geminis have no core in the hulls, solid glass.


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You may be right, I'd have to check my notes. I'm thinking back to a Gemini I saw that scraped against a piling in a marina. The brush against the wood piling removed some gelcoat. From inside the boat you could look right through the hull. It was ... well...disturbing.
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Old 24-03-2014, 08:24   #13
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Re: The remaining question.

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Yep I looked at Simons boat. As stated elsewhere my purchasing cant happen till years end or early next year due to work schedule.... Simons seems very well updated and photos present well. I watched his video and saw it on Ebay for sale. SUrprised it hasnt sold yet.
The only reason that Catalac 10M hasn't sold is it's location. If they took the time to sail that boat a 1000 miles or so west it would sell quickly.

Catalac 10Ms here in the states sell as fast as they are listed...as do Catalac 12Ms, 9Ms and 8Ms. I'm using my website as the data source.

I've only sailed on one Catalac 900. I was impressed by the updated design and it's interior helm. Yet in the tropics, no one sails a boat from it's interior (unless it has the A/C running of course )
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Old 24-03-2014, 08:24   #14
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Re: The remaining question.

The new Hunter built Gemini Legacy has a core mat core above the waterline. The older PCI Gemini's have solid glass hulls and cored decks.

http://www.catamarans.com/sales_port...53&catamarans=


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Old 24-03-2014, 08:38   #15
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Re: The remaining question.

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Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
You may be right, I'd have to check my notes. I'm thinking back to a Gemini I saw that scraped against a piling in a marina. The brush against the wood piling removed some gelcoat. From inside the boat you could look right through the hull. It was ... well...disturbing.

Nice save!


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