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Old 18-03-2018, 16:14   #1
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What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

I’m a monohull sailor, so I fully understand the need to get to windward. This request is for two good friends of mine, who are in fact also mono hull experienced sailors. Possibly because I’m older and I have a beard, they ask me an important life-changing question for which I have no practical experience, only monohull chatter to draw on.

And that is; What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

I’m looking to receive some independent feedback from the cruising form to draw on the best catamarans to consider say around 50’ which will give them enjoyment and keep them out of trouble.
My outreach to the cat community is my attempt to help them not make an error in buying a bad performing unsafe catamaran, which looks good in the harbor but not traversing oceans.

Thank you ahead of time, for your input and considerations,
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Old 18-03-2018, 18:17   #2
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

You are likely to get tons of opinions... and very different points of view.

I can tell you that price, where they plan to use the boat, how they plan to use the boat (will they live aboard full time?), home port... and about a million other questions will come up.

Search through all the posts on this site under monohull section and you will get some ideas. (as this topic has been discussed about a million times)

Leopard, Lagoon & Fountaine Pajot are some of the current main manufacturers... Seawind is unique with galley down and outboard engines that can be tilted up when sailing...

Good luck
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Old 19-03-2018, 00:10   #3
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

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You are likely to get tons of opinions... and very different points of view.

I can tell you that price, where they plan to use the boat, how they plan to use the boat (will they live aboard full time?), home port... and about a million other questions will come up.

Search through all the posts on this site under monohull section and you will get some ideas. (as this topic has been discussed about a million times)

Leopard, Lagoon & Fountaine Pajot are some of the current main manufacturers... Seawind is unique with galley down and outboard engines that can be tilted up when sailing...

Good luck
Exactly, there is no generic "best".

If they are on a small budget, no 50' cat will be the "best" because they can't afford it (even if they find one in budget, the care and feeding will likely be too much)

If they need to keep it on a canal that is only 40' wide, a 30' wide monster is probably not reasonable.

If you want to take 8 people for weeks at a time, a 35' cat is probably not viable.
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Old 19-03-2018, 00:20   #4
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

I'll take a shot. Gunboat 66.
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Old 19-03-2018, 03:26   #5
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

Pretty much a how long is a piece of string question but ........
Not the one you can afford to buy.
The one you can afford to run.
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Old 19-03-2018, 08:26   #6
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

Our used Antares 44i took us across the Atlantic and throughout the western Med, and will do so for the next 5 years until we sail her back across West again. Couldn't be more happy - for liveaboard couple, not suitable for charter.

If I were looking today, I'd go here: http://rhumblineyachtsales.com/sail/ and probably focus on Antipodes. I've been on her.
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Old 19-03-2018, 08:38   #7
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

I would just suggest that if they come from monohulls and enjoy sailing to windward (some people do!), then look at ones with daggerboards.
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Old 19-03-2018, 08:40   #8
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

I would look at some of the older Outremers. They are well built and have traversed many oceans and are good sailors to weather-need retractable dagger boards if you want decent upwind sailing.
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Old 19-03-2018, 09:00   #9
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

The one they can afford and actually get cruising.

I have strong opinions on cats and sailing to weather :-) Read Catamaran storm tactics to save me writing it here.

That being said most modern cats will do the task. I have a soft spot for custom cats, wouldn’t rule em out!
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Old 19-03-2018, 09:01   #10
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

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I would look at some of the older Outremers. They are well built and have traversed many oceans and are good sailors to weather-need retractable dagger boards if you want decent upwind sailing.
I'd second this one. What made it an easy choice for us:

- Designed for owners, not charters
- Three bulkheaded compartments in each hull (safety)
- Great weather performance / speed
- Great space for storage of gear
- Simple sub-systems. Most things are pretty easy to repair as plumping/wires and equipment is typically in pretty easy to access locations
- Solid fiberglass hulls - should we need to make a major repair this should make it reasonable to undertake and have faith that the repair will be nearly as good as new
- Great value for the amount of boat you get. Granted it would be more reasonable to compare a pre-2007 Outremer 55 to a much smaller charter catamaran in terms of space
- Hold their value really well. The one I'm sailing on is worth more today than what it was purchased for brand new. That doesn't include inflation of course but that sort of depreciation ain't too shabby.

But, as others have said though, the best is going to come down to specific priorities. I wouldn't look at an older Outremer if accommodations was a high priority. A Gunboat 66 wouldn't be too bad either if our financial situation was....cushy.
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Old 19-03-2018, 09:09   #11
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pirate Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

I see you have a 50ftr mono..
Seeing as all agree that a Catamaran offers at least 50% more living space than a mono I suggest a Lagoon 380.
And.. they are one of the better performers to windward.
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Old 19-03-2018, 11:01   #12
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Exactly, there is no generic "best".

If they are on a small budget, no 50' cat will be the "best" because they can't afford it (even if they find one in budget, the care and feeding will likely be too much)

If they need to keep it on a canal that is only 40' wide, a 30' wide monster is probably not reasonable.

If you want to take 8 people for weeks at a time, a 35' cat is probably not viable.
You make a good point. Also finding a yard that can haul them or a slip. There are a no. of cats out there with a 14' beam just for that reason. You get to ship yard beam, hang onto your wallet.
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Old 19-03-2018, 11:36   #13
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

One that fits well within your budget, and isn't broken all the time.
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Old 19-03-2018, 13:19   #14
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

The one you own!
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Old 19-03-2018, 13:24   #15
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Re: What is the best Catamaran to cruise and retire on?

Well--I do not think there is one definite answer because there are so many variables--but mainly it depends on one's ability to afford to buy and maintain the craft as well as have enough powered equipment aboard so as to allow the vessel to be sailed even if one sustains an injury, or to be motored to port if close to shore and sufficient fuel is aboard.

My needs are comparatively modest, so I lived aboard a 42 foot trimaran in a far greater measure of comfort and clutter than did most of my monohull friends. For a couple, a sound vessel of around that length or maybe even a tad smaller would be more than adequate. The costs rise out of all proportion to the size of the vessel the larger one goes.

As to the make of the vessel--it is hard to say. Some of the newer models are designed more for an easy lifestyle that super-fast passage-making, but my tri was almost always grossly overloaded and still managed to out pace most monos.

I would be plumping for comfort and ease of sailing with powered winches and auxiliary power generation. That means around the 40 foot mark.
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