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Old 27-07-2015, 11:34   #1
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Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Greetings from a new member seeking info as we are on the verge of purchasing a 2003 FP 43.

We find we are much more aware of the strengths of the boat than its weaknesses. You hear a lot of negatives about cats, but mainly from monohull owners! We would like to hear what FP and multihull owners have found to be the biggest weaknesses of cruising multihulls of this size and of the 2003 FP 43 specifically.

Some background to provide context: I guess I am the admiral, and my husband (not sure what you call those) and I have owned a Newport 30 (monohull) for 10 years and sail on San Francisco bay (mostly South Bay). We have always planned to get a bigger boat, and got interested in an FP 43 because we want to do some water sailing">blue water sailing. We have chartered a similar cat in Belize and really enjoyed it, and are attracted to the FP Belize because of its stability/safety for blue water sailing. After some time to get used to the much bigger boat and a multihull, we expect to make short trips, then sail farther afield to Mexico, Hawaii, etc. We had a sea trial in SF Bay on a beautiful windy day and were impressed with how fast the FP sailed and how well she pointed.

So what do you experienced owners think are the most important weaknesses of cats of this size and the FP Belize?
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Old 27-07-2015, 12:04   #2
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Biggest downside for me is finding a place to haul out. Even in south Florida, there are only a few spots. Not sure about California!
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Old 27-07-2015, 15:52   #3
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Thanks, Travellerw, you make a very good point! This definitely seems like an issue to inquire into. Our upcoming survey will be at a marina that is about a day's sail away from the boat's current location, rather than a yard near by. So worth asking whether the nearby yards won't haul out a big cat or charge significantly more.
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Old 27-07-2015, 17:35   #4
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

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Originally Posted by Eve Carlson View Post
Thanks, Travellerw, you make a very good point! This definitely seems like an issue to inquire into. Our upcoming survey will be at a marina that is about a day's sail away from the boat's current location, rather than a yard near by. So worth asking whether the nearby yards won't haul out a big cat or charge significantly more.
Its all about the beam. Our boat has a 22ft beam and trying to find a travel lift that can accomidate us can be a little tough. Its not a deal breaker, but requires some planning.

I can't think of any other downsides for a 40+ ftp other then the cost of slips.

I looked at a couple of FP Belize before I bought my boat. They are nice boats and very homey. They sail pretty well and don't slam as much as some (ours), but suffer from more windage. The one thing we liked and didn't like was the wood interior. Loved how rich it felt inside, but was turned off by the upkeep required.

If I was still looking and found one for the right price, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it.
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Old 27-07-2015, 18:31   #5
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eve Carlson View Post
Greetings from a new member seeking info as we are on the verge of purchasing a 2003 FP 43.

We find we are much more aware of the strengths of the boat than its weaknesses. You hear a lot of negatives about cats, but mainly from monohull owners! We would like to hear what FP and multihull owners have found to be the biggest weaknesses of cruising multihulls of this size and of the 2003 FP 43 specifically.

Some background to provide context: I guess I am the admiral, and my husband (not sure what you call those) and I have owned a Newport 30 (monohull) for 10 years and sail on San Francisco bay (mostly South Bay). We have always planned to get a bigger boat, and got interested in an FP 43 because we want to do some blue water sailing. We have chartered a similar cat in Belize and really enjoyed it, and are attracted to the FP Belize because of its stability/safety for blue water sailing. After some time to get used to the much bigger boat and a multihull, we expect to make short trips, then sail farther afield to Mexico, Hawaii, etc. We had a sea trial in SF Bay on a beautiful windy day and were impressed with how fast the FP sailed and how well she pointed.

So what do you experienced owners think are the most important weaknesses of cats of this size and the FP Belize?
There are several FP 43 threads..this being one of them...

Belize 43 Survey


Type in "Belize 43" in the Google custom search to learn more.

Cheers!
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Old 28-07-2015, 09:18   #6
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Looked at a Belize before buying a Lagoon 470. The owners version of the Belize had agreat owners cabin/hull. Couple of personal things caused me to pass on it.

One, everything is curved, including the cockpit seating. Could not lay down straight. Like to sleep outside (under the bimini for dew protection) and that wouldn't work for me.

Two, headroom. I am 6'4" tall and the headroom was tight in parts of the salon.

Three, salon and cockpit were smaller than the Lagoon. Part of this accounted for by the size (46 vs. 43 feet) and part by the layout/design.

Liked the other aspects of the Belize. Would be careful with the FP Bahia 46 if you look at those. The traffic pattern from the cockpit to the swimsteps means you have to traverse a rounded deck area. To me that was just an involuntary swim waiting to happen. FP fixed that with the Belize.

Don't know any structural items as I never got that far with the Belize.
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Old 28-07-2015, 09:41   #7
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Hi Admiral Eve,

We' owned our 2001 belize since 2007 and we know the boat pretty well.
Weknesses will be my starting point since there are not too many to list, but here are some we feel would be an improvement:
- the cockpit door leaks into the saloon due to the stupid design ov trying to drain the bottom rain into the entry drain in the cockpit. Have not succeded in getting an answer from FP how to fix it. We have now a fixed roof over the cocpit and clears all around so this is no longer an issue.

- you cannot install folding props due to the short distance between thelegs and rudder, only feathering props can be used unless you go for thefixed ones, which we have.

- the side decks are not sandwich construction, but solid fibreglass, this was a problem for us as the plyfood fastening for the roof liner got saturated with condensation. I have removed it all completely and installaed Armaflex insulation and sandwich blocks to screw the roof liners. Theboat is now very nice and condensation free.

- there are a tremendious amount of opening hatches with alu frames, which is good but really bad for condensation in cold weather as we have plenty of up here in Scandinavia.

- newer designs have more angled settees which makes for more confertable lounging with you feet up. Every settees in the Belizeare curved and allow for many people to be seated but not as comfy when you are a pair.

- You need to move the port winch across to starboard so you dont have to move over the cocpit to use the winch. I have moved it to the helm position and makes for easy single handling.

- there could have been a separate shower enclosure but I have installed a rail in the center of the head preventing splashing down the entire head when showering.

As you can see there are not in my opinion too many issues that would make the Belize a no go.

The boat is comfortable to sail and the motion in a seaway is very good. The bridge deck clearance is adequate preventing slamming.

The Belize is quite quick for a "ocean going caravan" and outperform most mono's even fully laden with cruising gear.

One thing I've seen on the various FP models, which Ibelieve is the same for the other competitors is that the older models was much stronger built with no squicking like you will experience in newer models.

The boat is built using vinylester, which do not saturates with water as will polyester.

Sacrificial keels are a benefit and they work! If you hit a reef the keel will be damaged but there will be no leakage into the boat, hence a great safety aspect.

We love our Belize and would only consider another boat if it was a Belize owners version.

Good luck finding your dream boat, for us it became the Belize. We also have owned a FP Athena 38 which is also a nice boat as long as you don't get one of the older ones with the "furry" interior lining.

Happy lead free sailin from Lucky
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Old 28-07-2015, 10:19   #8
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Thanks again, travellerw. The beam on this boat is 23', so we will definitely have the same problem with haul out options. Very good point about the wood. In this boat it is in perfect condition, but we didn't think about what it takes to keep it that way. On our Newport 30, the teak counter, floors, and deck rails have suffered from lack of upkeep, but the walls seem to need little. I am going to take a good look during the survey at where the wood in on the FP Belilze we are looking at. What kind of upkeep did you expect that turned you off?

Eve
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Old 28-07-2015, 10:21   #9
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Thanks, Saleen 411. We saw the FP Belize forum, but missed this thread in the multihull forum. I'll take a look and search for others.
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Old 28-07-2015, 10:27   #10
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Thanks, Moontide. I don't think the problems you mention will be problems for us...we are considerably shorter and will likely sleep inside. Compared to our Newport 30 interior, this boat space looks huge to us. So no red flags there for us, i guess. Very helpful!
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Old 28-07-2015, 10:31   #11
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

Thanks, Lucky! You are a font of useful info. We will note these issues and ask about them. And may come back to you with some questions!
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Old 28-07-2015, 11:17   #12
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

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Originally Posted by Eve Carlson View Post
Thanks again, travellerw. The beam on this boat is 23', so we will definitely have the same problem with haul out options. Very good point about the wood. In this boat it is in perfect condition, but we didn't think about what it takes to keep it that way. On our Newport 30, the teak counter, floors, and deck rails have suffered from lack of upkeep, but the walls seem to need little. I am going to take a good look during the survey at where the wood in on the FP Belilze we are looking at. What kind of upkeep did you expect that turned you off?

Eve
To me.. Wood is like a necessary evil. It makes the boat feel homey and warm and removes the "I live in a shower stall" feeling, but has downsides. It shrinkes and swells and can squeek. Leaks will cause damage and staining. It definately requires maintenance as the boat ages and will eventually require refinishing. Not deal breakers, just something to know and consider.

But maybe I came off wrong. I still would have bought a Belize, if one came up for the right price in the right place.
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Old 28-07-2015, 12:56   #13
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

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To me.. Wood is like a necessary evil. It makes the boat feel homey and warm and removes the "I live in a shower stall" feeling, but has downsides. It shrinkes and swells and can squeek. Leaks will cause damage and staining. It definately requires maintenance as the boat ages and will eventually require refinishing. Not deal breakers, just something to know and consider.

But maybe I came off wrong. I still would have bought a Belize, if one came up for the right price in the right place.
We really love the wood too...funny how it can change the feel of being in the boat. So not a deal-breaker, but really helpful to be aware of the issue so we can pay attention to where the wood is and ask about what his upkeep routine has been. The owner is retired and has kept the boat pretty pristine inside, so maybe that requires work. Since we both still work full time, we may need to figure in the cost of wood maintenance in our cleaning budget. We just started paying for exterior cleaning of our small boat, and found the $45 fee well worth it as it saves us scrubbing down the decks at the end of a day of sailing. We were thrilled to find that they charge by the foot with no extra charge for a cat. I think it is the one cost that will not escalate dramatically if we go from a 30-foot monohull to a 43-foot cat. And they do maintenance work on wood as well. So maybe we will pay to get that done periodically until we retire and can do it ourselves. In any case, thinking about this is much better than being surprised by it later.
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Old 04-08-2015, 11:29   #14
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

I have not found that yards charge more to haul out a cat - have a 26' beam so need a 150 ton Travelift. When hauled we are surrounded by the big boys. :-) In So Cal the choices are Ventura or 3 yards in San Diego that can haul you.

Do plan on more bottom paint though. Lots of surface area on the cat, which is one reason the light air performance is so bad. On the other hand, can save money on some bottom work by just putting it on a beach at high tide.
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Old 04-08-2015, 13:14   #15
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Re: Weaknesses of 40+ cats & 2003 Fountaine Pajot 43?

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I have not found that yards charge more to haul out a cat - have a 26' beam so need a 150 ton Travelift. When hauled we are surrounded by the big boys. :-) In So Cal the choices are Ventura or 3 yards in San Diego that can haul you.

Do plan on more bottom paint though. Lots of surface area on the cat, which is one reason the light air performance is so bad. On the other hand, can save money on some bottom work by just putting it on a beach at high tide.
Thanks for this input, Moontide. We just had a survey and haul-out did not seem to cost more, just less available. We know of only one in the Bay area, so are glad to have some So Cal options. Our surveyor seemed doubtful that there was anywhere in SD where a cat this big could be hauled out.

I kind of like the idea of beaching to check or repaint bottom, check sail drive & through-hulls, etc., but the skipper is doubtful. Maybe he will get more adventurous after some sailing on the high seas!
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