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Old 03-08-2013, 11:16   #1
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What is Your Happy Medium Cat by Comparison for a Couple?

Hello Sailors,

I am not at the point of buying yet, however informing myself as best as I can based on owners experience.

I will be sailing 4-5 months out of the year both coastal and passage (I live in Canada and have relatives and friends in North America, Europe, South America, South Africa and New Zealand) and will be sailing with my wife, however I am the sailer, she is the happy passenger (she needs some comfort to stay that way ). Not for high speed, but need to cover distance none the less.

What is your experience/recommendation with regards to make, length/size, performance , comfort, reliability and maintenance/cost of ownership?

There are so many boats to choose from and only owners can tell you what a cat really is like, while sellers try to sell (well intended as they may be).

Nothing in life is perfect and neither is any cat, but through the process of prioritising checking and crossing off from a list you get to your own happy medium. And that is what i am trying to do.

My budget is $300 000

Thank you for taking the time to read and any time you take to answer my question through sharing your experience. And yes I will crew to get my own too .
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:52   #2
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Lots to choose from, in your price range my choice would be for a lagoon 420 owners version, or if if you could find a decent Prout 45 Or Manta 42.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:54   #3
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

We sailed our Privilege 435 on a circumnavigation with me as the sailor and my wife standing watches but calling me if ANYTHING needed to be done. So a 44ft boat will do you nicely. Privilege 435 is one of the toughest boats around and will look after you very well.

No boat is reliable and they all cost more to run than you think!
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:59   #4
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

I am not an owner but I have sailed a number of cruising cats with longest voyages on a Catana and on a Schionning. Catana would be my pick for any extended voyage - comfortable, sturdy, fast. Gives a feeling of confidence. Schionning I would never buy. The one we sailed was very poorly built.

From the charter boats crowd, I like Privileges, Lagoons, FPs and Nauticats. I would pick a Privilege if I were to buy one: they feel sturdy enough and I like their finish and layout.

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Old 03-08-2013, 15:05   #5
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Schionning I would never buy. The one we sailed was very poorly built.
b.
Its important to note that schionnings are not production boats, so it is not appropriate to say sailed one bad schionning therefore they are all bad, they are a design which can be built well or poorly.

Possibly the best high performance cruising cat in Australia is a schionning and in fact there are are number of very excellent ones.

There was a RSA company building a schionning design (wildcat/Jaguar) as a production boat, and from all reports it was ordinary at best in quality terms but I have not inspected one.
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Old 03-08-2013, 15:30   #6
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

well, as my handle implies.. at the beginning of all this I was considering a Privilege, Leopard, or Lagoon.. criteria was 3 cabin owners versions, easily single handed, around 40 feet, I was undecided as to galley up or down but wanted it tight so easy to lean against something in a roll while cooking, and wanted it ready to go with updated electronics, solar, generator, rigging, etc. or that those lacking would be reflected in the price. I ruled out the lagoon early, ruled out the privilege 37 next (mainly because a good used one was priced to high I felt), and then took the money and bought an owners Leopard 39/moorings 3900.

I looked at the Manta but didn't like the layout, especially the huge top loading fridge/freezer that took up 1/3 the saloon, looked like a good sailor maybe. Also looked at a Jaguar, poorly designed where the mast stepped, but loved the looks and lines of it, liked the Island Spirit, visited someone on a PDQ and ohhh if I had the money, that was a sweet looking boat with beautiful interior, reminded me a lot of the Privileges I saw. I thought by all the pictures I saw of a Lagoon 380 that it would be one of the top runners but sitting at the helm ruled it out..and a few other things, what a saloon though, wholly cats, but nothing to brace against while in the galley cooking.
The Leopard 39 won out.. but to each their own
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Old 03-08-2013, 18:59   #7
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

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Originally Posted by Factor View Post
Its important to note that schionnings are not production boats, so it is not appropriate to say sailed one bad schionning therefore they are all bad, they are a design which can be built well or poorly.

Possibly the best high performance cruising cat in Australia is a schionning and in fact there are are number of very excellent ones.

(...)
I did not say they are all bad. Of course, you do not say I did. Let's keep it this way.

If it is as you said that Schionnings are not production boats then it may be a bit of a roulette for anyone less than an experienced cat surveyor to say a good Schionning from a bad one.

In such a case, buyers are well advised to stick with production cats built to clearly specified scantlings and technologies and available in numbers large enough to assure the builder was not a one trick pony garage "boatbuilder" somewhere in the outback.

I promise to write up a positive reference when I come across a very excellent Schionning. The point is, outside of Australia, there are very few of them.

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Old 03-08-2013, 21:32   #8
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

All pretty fair comments here so far. There is certainly lots of choice...and every vessel involves some compromises.

We spent ~4 years looking and it was a huge learning curve. It was also often a lot of fun...and that was because we took the view (which we would strongly recommend to anyone in the OP's position) that we would sail on as many different types of vessels as possible to both learn more about those vessels, as well as learn more about the sorts of things that appealed to us amoungst the many, many compromises/choices available.

So that'd be our first suggestion...become as near as possible to a full-time boat buyer...and get out on the water (charter, test sail) with as many vessels as you can. You'll enjoy the experiences; meets lots of interesting people; and learn heaps about your own selection process and choices.

Our next suggestion would be...take your time! You will need time to both experience other vessels and learn from others (including lots of stuff you didn't even realize you needed to learn) about both your choices and your preferences.

The production vs custom vessel choice was already mentioned here and it's important. We ended up wanting a production vessel because we wanted a reasonable pool of other owners out there with whom we could share all the myriad of ongoing issues of boat ownership. We also wanted a reasonably deep market so that we could better assess value in both our purchase and our eventual resale. Before we decided on a production vessel, we sailed on several custom vessels (including Schionning) and our experience was consistent with Factor's remarks, viz. build quality varies enormously such that the buyers' focus becomes less to do with the designer (Schionning, Granger etc) and more to do with the builder.


For a short(er) answer to the OP, our experience would suggest he/she at least consider a Lagoon 440. The relevant features of the L440 might include:
  • plenty of them out there such that a reasonable bargain should present itself to a patient buyer;
  • they are superbly capable 'blue water' vessels. We've done ~20,000nm on ours including crossing the Med, the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Tasman and then up and down the OZ east coast and Tasmania...and there were some serious seas in all those miles, but we always felt very safe;
  • they are very comfortable passage-making vessels with plenty of room, multiple living areas -- We love and frequently enjoy both the flybridge and the forward cockpit -- and easy motion underway with minimal (certainly no more than any other vessel in our experience)slamming;
  • they are definitely capable of solo sailing, with the proviso that docking can require two people because the high freeboard means plenty of windage which can be challenging when coming alongside hard stuff; and
  • they are very good sailing vessels. Lagoon are too often (and wrongly, in our view) criticized as 'slow', but we tend to average ~7kn passage-making and often cruise in the 10-15kn range when conditions suit. They sail well in light air too -- In fact, that became our only 'performance' priority in our final list of compromise preferences -- and we only rarely call upon our engines. We burned 1400L of fuel sailing from Italy to Sydney (just <14,000nm) and a lot of that was maneuvering around marinas. Our top speed was >21kn, on 3 occasions, but that's not something we recommend or want to repeat!
Anyway, it's always a matter of 'each to their own'. While the L440 is perfect for us, it may not be for the OP, for whatever reason!

We wish the OP all the best in the search...and enjoy the process!
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Old 04-08-2013, 16:18   #9
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
We sailed our Privilege 435 on a circumnavigation with me as the sailor and my wife standing watches but calling me if ANYTHING needed to be done. So a 44ft boat will do you nicely. Privilege 435 is one of the toughest boats around and will look after you very well.

No boat is reliable and they all cost more to run than you think!
I reallly like the 435. She is a beautiful vessel and the build quality looks good. And the layout appeals to me too. Thank you.
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Old 04-08-2013, 16:27   #10
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by D&D View Post
All pretty fair comments here so far. There is certainly lots of choice...and every vessel involves some compromises.

We spent ~4 years looking and it was a huge learning curve. It was also often a lot of fun...and that was because we took the view (which we would strongly recommend to anyone in the OP's position) that we would sail on as many different types of vessels as possible to both learn more about those vessels, as well as learn more about the sorts of things that appealed to us amoungst the many, many compromises/choices available.

So that'd be our first suggestion...become as near as possible to a full-time boat buyer...and get out on the water (charter, test sail) with as many vessels as you can. You'll enjoy the experiences; meets lots of interesting people; and learn heaps about your own selection process and choices.

Our next suggestion would be...take your time! You will need time to both experience other vessels and learn from others (including lots of stuff you didn't even realize you needed to learn) about both your choices and your preferences.

The production vs custom vessel choice was already mentioned here and it's important. We ended up wanting a production vessel because we wanted a reasonable pool of other owners out there with whom we could share all the myriad of ongoing issues of boat ownership. We also wanted a reasonably deep market so that we could better assess value in both our purchase and our eventual resale. Before we decided on a production vessel, we sailed on several custom vessels (including Schionning) and our experience was consistent with Factor's remarks, viz. build quality varies enormously such that the buyers' focus becomes less to do with the designer (Schionning, Granger etc) and more to do with the builder.


For a short(er) answer to the OP, our experience would suggest he/she at least consider a Lagoon 440. The relevant features of the L440 might include:
  • plenty of them out there such that a reasonable bargain should present itself to a patient buyer;
  • they are superbly capable 'blue water' vessels. We've done ~20,000nm on ours including crossing the Med, the Atlantic, the Caribbean, the Pacific, the Tasman and then up and down the OZ east coast and Tasmania...and there were some serious seas in all those miles, but we always felt very safe;
  • they are very comfortable passage-making vessels with plenty of room, multiple living areas -- We love and frequently enjoy both the flybridge and the forward cockpit -- and easy motion underway with minimal (certainly no more than any other vessel in our experience)slamming;
  • they are definitely capable of solo sailing, with the proviso that docking can require two people because the high freeboard means plenty of windage which can be challenging when coming alongside hard stuff; and
  • they are very good sailing vessels. Lagoon are too often (and wrongly, in our view) criticized as 'slow', but we tend to average ~7kn passage-making and often cruise in the 10-15kn range when conditions suit. They sail well in light air too -- In fact, that became our only 'performance' priority in our final list of compromise preferences -- and we only rarely call upon our engines. We burned 1400L of fuel sailing from Italy to Sydney (just <14,000nm) and a lot of that was maneuvering around marinas. Our top speed was >21kn, on 3 occasions, but that's not something we recommend or want to repeat!
Anyway, it's always a matter of 'each to their own'. While the L440 is perfect for us, it may not be for the OP, for whatever reason!

We wish the OP all the best in the search...and enjoy the process!
And another great candidate. The lagoon 420/450 was on my list and will certainly stay on it. Some sailors say that the luxury and quality on the dock , often is a strike against the sailing/built quality/performance while underway.

It is a compromise whenever you buy a boat. Thank you.
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Old 04-08-2013, 16:37   #11
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

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Originally Posted by Privleoplag View Post
well, as my handle implies.. at the beginning of all this I was considering a Privilege, Leopard, or Lagoon.. criteria was 3 cabin owners versions, easily single handed, around 40 feet, I was undecided as to galley up or down but wanted it tight so easy to lean against something in a roll while cooking, and wanted it ready to go with updated electronics, solar, generator, rigging, etc. or that those lacking would be reflected in the price. I ruled out the lagoon early, ruled out the privilege 37 next (mainly because a good used one was priced to high I felt), and then took the money and bought an owners Leopard 39/moorings 3900.

I looked at the Manta but didn't like the layout, especially the huge top loading fridge/freezer that took up 1/3 the saloon, looked like a good sailor maybe. Also looked at a Jaguar, poorly designed where the mast stepped, but loved the looks and lines of it, liked the Island Spirit, visited someone on a PDQ and ohhh if I had the money, that was a sweet looking boat with beautiful interior, reminded me a lot of the Privileges I saw. I thought by all the pictures I saw of a Lagoon 380 that it would be one of the top runners but sitting at the helm ruled it out..and a few other things, what a saloon though, wholly cats, but nothing to brace against while in the galley cooking.
The Leopard 39 won out.. but to each their own
I agree the PDQ would be my favorite if money was no object. It has it all as far as I am concerned. Great pointers though for things to consider on a practical level.
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Old 06-08-2013, 01:33   #12
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

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say that the luxury and quality on the dock , often is a strike against the sailing/built quality/performance while underway.
We would not call Lagoons 'luxurious'. They are built to a price, inside and out. There are certainly a number of vessels with more luxury in their fitouts. That said, all the inside fittings work (and 'fit') and ours are still doing so after a far few sea miles...and Lagoon do not spare expense in the quality of the sailing and other gear they buy to install...Lewmar winches, Raymarine electronics, Sparcraft rig, Whale pumps and so on. So there's that compromise thing again (!), but we wouldn't see "luxury" as being part of the L440.

Then and as we mentioned already, we find the criticisms of Lagoon's sailing performance are very often mis-leading, at least as applied to the L440. We don't race and we wouldn't expect the L440 to do that well 'around the cans' as she needs ~40-45 degrees AWA to keep her speeds to windward. For cruising, however, the L440 would be right there with the best for her size...and if comfort is added into the picture, the L440's performance would be very hard to beat.
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Old 06-08-2013, 05:41   #13
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

We're not out cruising on ours full time yet but I'll add that I agree with D&D's comments on the Lagoon 440. We started with a Lagoon 400, which we enjoyed, then moved up to the Lagoon 450 when it came out to replace the 440. We have chartered the 440 and loved it. We wouldn't even consider a boat without a fly bridge now.
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Old 06-08-2013, 07:00   #14
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Re: What is your happy medium cat by comparison for a couple?

We are not cruising yet and we don't own a cat (out of our price range) but we have sailed on a number of them. All of them were Leopard's as we've chartered them through the moorings. If we were to buy, based on our experience on the Leopard's and what we've seen at the boat shows (been to Annapolis the past couple of years), we would buy a Leopard without any doubt. The layouts work well and there's really not much if anything I would change - certainly nothing major. While there's been numerous things we didn't like about many of the boats we've seen at the boat shows from helm exposure to visibility..etc.

Leopard 39 would probably be our first choice given its price, but the 44 or 48 would be preferred if finances allowed for it. The forward cockpit on the 44 and 48 is a great place to hang out and relax, only downside is it does impact the forward visibility, but a fair trade-off. Having sailed both the 39 and 48, they both sail well and are comfortable. My wife loves these boats as well.

Best bet is to try to get out and see as many as you can and get some time on them sailing if you can as well. Annapolis is one way to do that. If you can, chartering one for a week would be good too. A friend of ours joined us our last trip just for that reason and is now in the process of buying a 48.
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Old 23-08-2013, 16:41   #15
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[*]they are very good sailing vessels. Lagoon are too often (and wrongly, in our view) criticized as 'slow', but we tend to average ~7kn passage-making and often cruise in the 10-15kn range when conditions suit. They sail well in light air too -- In fact, that became our only 'performance' priority in our final list of compromise preferences -- and we only rarely call upon our engines. We burned 1400L of fuel sailing from Italy to Sydney (just <14,000nm) and a lot of that was maneuvering around marinas. Our top speed was >21kn, on 3 occasions, but that's not something we recommend or want to repeat!
Hi read this quote with some surprise. What conditions does a 440 cruise at 15 knots? I mean that's up there in the realms of gunboats and 300 mile plus days...
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