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Old 11-02-2010, 10:14   #31
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sorry drifter - you answered my question at the bottom of your last post. dur.
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Old 11-02-2010, 10:37   #32
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The starboard engine is very easy for changing out the usual stuff, a bit of a twist for the oil filter, but not enough where I would call it difficult. (The far more irritating aspect of that is Yanmar's horizontal placement of the filter, such that you're just going to have a bit spill, even with a very well-placed catch rag -- but that is Yanmar's fault and can't be helped.) While I haven't had to pop off the head, from the looks of things it would be quite easy.

The port engine can be made much easier by a simple modification to the galley counter-top, which we did. We cut out an access panel in the Corian, such that when I take that off and slide out the utensil drawer, I've got great access to everything needed.

To give you an example: I helped a friend change out his water pump impellor on a Lagoon 410 with 40 hp Yanmars. What an exercise in frustration and bruised knuckles. Took us 4.5 hours to do it. I can do the same job in 15 minutes without hurry; probably 5 if I really had to do it fast!

One of the other advantages to having the midships placement is that doing the daily engine checks is quite fast and doesn't involve tearing up the bedding (or disturbing my sleeping-in spouse).

RE: the Atlantic 42; that is one of my lusted after boats. What a fun boat that would be. I'm not sure how practical it would be for a long-distance cruiser with more than 2 people, though. It is pretty spartan and I really wonder how well it would do with the added weight. You still have to watch the weight with a St. Francis, though. They have a designed payload of 5000 lbs and I'd say that's about right. Of course, they also have a number of luxury features and space that you get before you start subtracting for payload.

Regarding the Mantas -- really nice boats, I like them and have spent a fair bit of time sailing on them. Probably the easiest to sail cruising cat out there -- they really did an excellent job in that regard. I don't like having to go thru a head to get to a berth and the boat is really a 38 footer with transom extensions, in terms of interior space. The curved surfaces in the bridgedeck and crossbeam result in both strength and nice water flow. Excellent cockpit, the galley layout is excellent, too. What I would call a "decent" performer, but they suffer in light winds. (With a lightly loaded Manta 42, she just wouldn't move much with winds less than 10. For comparison, the other day we went for a sail out of Ensenada and had light winds on the return leg, 6 to 7 knots true and we were still making 4 to 5 through the water, without the spinnaker. I'd expect the Atlantic to also be very good in light winds.)

One more thing about engine placement: There is no doubt that the separate aft compartments are quieter. But open engine hatches/panels stuck out on the transom? I've had to change my fuel filter in rough, following seas with 10 minutes before coming up on the harbor entrance. It wasn't fun, even when inside in the St. F. Stuck out there at the end of the boat, moving up and down, with the thought that a random large wave might come in over my head and swamp the engine compartment? No thanks. Love the boat, otherwise.

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Old 11-02-2010, 12:20   #33
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Many thanks, Drifter. Your comments tend to confirm many impressions I'd got myself. The SF and A42 designs both have narrow hulls and should be loaded with care. The Mantas seem to create huge loyalty among owners - a lot of people have named them in this thread already - so they've obviously got something right. The A42 is basic inside, especially the one currently for sale - not that I'd care, it just makes for fewer surfaces to clean for me.
What's the St Francis like below the waterline? No daggerboards, right? How does it do to windward? At the risk of sounding stupid, does that mean it can be beached OK? I'm worried about how to get any cat hauled in remote locations for essential hull or prop maintenance, or cleaning & drying out, etc, and I gather some boats can be safely be beached which would help a lot. I know the A42 can be beached because Chris White makes a big deal about it on his website, but otherwise I'm confused about which boats are safe for this and which are not. Comments?
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Old 11-02-2010, 18:55   #34
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Undoubtedly, Manta got a lot of things right. They earned their loyalty. From what I've heard, though, the ones built during the last year or two suffered in quality, so if you consider one of those, I'd suggest getting a particularly meticulous survey.

I've got some pictures of our boat during a haulout that gives some idea of below the waterline, but I'm not locating them at the ready. You get some idea by going to: Welcome to St Francis Marine | History

The hulls on that page are 44's. There are no daggerboards. For a keeled cat, they go to windward pretty well and can be pinched to 35 degrees and still do about 50% of wind speed. Of course, much happier and faster at 40 and 45 degrees. One of the realities of cats is the relatively lousy tacking angles. 100 degrees is typical and the St. F is no different. Tacking is a different process in a cat; bear off to pick up some speed, often backwind the jib, pick up some more speed and then go to your course. You can spend quite a bit more money and pick up another 10 degrees, but that's about it.

Yes, it can be beached. I don't know of too many cats, daggerboard or keeled, that can not be beached, but you would want to take great care in picking the location.

Regarding keels, there are differences there, too. For example, Lagoons are open keeled -- you can see all the way down. If you crunch one, you've got water in the boat. Some cats like Fountaine Pajot have sacrificial keels. They're essentially foam with fiberglass, glued into place and made to come off in the event of a hard grounding. St. Francis integrates the water tanks into the keels (the tanks are purposefully independent, too -- contamination of one tank won't contaminate the other). If you do a hard crunch on a keel, you might lose a water tank, but they are water tight and will keep the water out of the boat. Same thing with the holding tanks in the St. Francis. They are in the bows and integrated with the hull. A hard crunch might cost you a holding tank, but you've got a pretty good chance of keeping the sea out of the boat. Nice feature.

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