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Old 15-04-2010, 19:11   #16
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I'm glad your are going to charter this Fall. I would suggest you charter twice, once from a Tier One company like SunSail or the Moorings, and then from a low budget company. In the first you will experience a new-ish boat with lots of bells and whistles, while the next will reveal the effect a few years can have on a boat. This will help you set some parameters.

Placing a boat in charter (or buying a boat the charter company wants to use) is not a good investment. You might think of it as an entertaining place to park some money with a bit of risk involved.

If you wander the waterfront of any island in the Caribbean, you will meet a few people who took a boat there to charter, and after a few sad seasons don't even have bus fare home.

What you won't find are more than three people who have made big money in the charter industry.
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Old 15-04-2010, 19:32   #17
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That appears very sound to me. I would never consider a boat an investment but still I can see it providing some revenue from time to time and if it does and you meet some interesting people doing it, I would consider that a win. I just took a 45 Hunter monohull out of Panama and find I like sailing, do not get seasick in the least and appreciate the skill necessary to make the thing go. So I have learned a little about sails, more about GPS technology, plotting on paper charts, safety and standing watch. I have also learned about the joy of a good auto-inflatable PFD and tether and why it is not a good idea to sail with a drunk even if the capt did not drink on the boat!
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Old 15-04-2010, 20:02   #18
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15 years ago, my wife and I bought a 46 foot monohull. We had never sailed and never owned a boat before. We had to take a sailing class so we could get insurance. Soon thereafter we moved aboard and sailed the Pacific Northwest, Bahamas, and Eastern Carribbean for many years. It was GREAT! We were just super careful, had good luck and a good boat, and since we were retired, we had all the time in the world to wait for favorable weather.

We now own a 46 foot catamaran. Although we learned on a monohull, I believe that a catamaran would have been a MUCH easier boat to start with. Good luck and have fun! We sure did.
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Old 16-04-2010, 06:43   #19
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Tell me about your cat

And why you think a cat so much easier. I can guess, but would like to hear it from you and what downsides do you see? How does it perform in very heavy seas vs. the monohull? What trouble can you expect in heavy weather? Have you ever deployed parachutes or drogues?
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Old 16-04-2010, 20:12   #20
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I think there are several reasons a catamaran would have been easier for me and my wife to start out with. My wife too, was somewhat apprehensive about sailing and it certainly wasn't her dream to go off into the wild wet yonder. It was mine. I learned very quickly that if I was to live my dream with my wife along side me, then my number one concern was her comfort. Although she is quite adventuresome and always up for a challenge, I knew that one or two bad experiences on the boat would be the end of her participating in my dream and the beginning of our nightmare.. "To love, honor and obey" be damned. She would leave me or the boat or both if push came to shove.

There are a total of four situations in which your wife may become close to being outside her comfort zone. These include, in no specific order: docking the boat, anchoring the boat, sailing the boat, and living on the boat. Pretty much anything to do with the boat. I'm not trying to be facetious or a sexist pig, I'm just telling you what I know from experience.

1. DOCKING THE BOAT. I understand that you are a pilot, so you will soon learn that docking a boat is child's play compared to landing a plane. However, your first mate, soul mate, and chief line wrangler is going to be terrified coming into the dock. She has an important job to do and doesn't want to screw up. She is also relying on your piloting skills and does not have total control of the situation. To complicate matters even further, there is always a crowd of onlookers present, silently judging your seamanship and the happiness of your marriage, so the pressure is on.
A catamaran with two engines 20 feet apart is probably the easiest type of boat to dock. It doesn't need any speed to maintain steerage like a monohull and it can literally pivot 360 degrees in it's own foot print. No more roaring up to the slip like Captain Ron.

2. ANCHORING THE BOAT. Anchorages can be quite rolly due to divergent wind, waves, and boat traffic. There is nothing that will kill the romance of your first night anchored out in your new boat than "anchor sickness". Catamarans don't roll as bad as monohulls and because of their shallow draft, you may be able to tuck up closer to shore away from the waves.

3. SAILING THE BOAT. Catamarans don't heel over like monohulls, and their wide beam and high freeboard give the neccessary illusion of total safety to an anxious crew member. Also, avoid at all costs discussing the two stable positions of a catamaran in your wife's presence. In other words don't talk to any monohull sailors while in the company of your wife.

4. LIVING ON THE BOAT. Does your wife love camping in a cramped tent, boiling freeze dried MRE (meals ready to eat) over a sputtering alcohol stove for weeks at a time? I didn't think so. Neither do I. A catamaran gives you the luxury of SPACE! And because of that additional space not found in a monohull of the same length, you can fill it with every nick nac, paddy wac, washer/dryer, shave ice maker, stairmaster, etc. you can imagine. Now some cats can't take the added weight well and their water line disappears along with their sailing performance. I won't name brand names, but all I know is that our catamaran could probably carry the space shuttle without a problem.

As to your inquiries about big waves, rough weather, and corresponding extreme offshore safety gear, this is all I have to say about that: DON"T BE A TALKING ABOUT THAT STUFF IN FRONT OF YOUR WIFE! ARE YOU CRAZY?
Seriously, I have'nt had or do I plan to have the (pleasure?) of being in really rough weather in the catamaran. The largest seas she has been in were 6-8 footers in the Florida Strait. The boat handled them well but the captain did get sea sick. My wife and our dogs were fine, however.

In short: The key to a successful long term, loving relationship with your wife and boat is this: For your first adventures, go short distance island hopping preferably some place warm with plenty of islands like the Bahamas. Wait for calm seas even if you end up motoring a lot. Absolutely no extended off shore or over nights. And most of all: WATCH THE WEATHER! Invest in a weather fax, XM receiver, SSB, whatever. They are worth their weight in gold. And, DON'T BE IN A HURRY! The most asked question I get from non sailers besides the "Pirates of the Caribbean" inquiry, is: How big of boat do you need to go sailing in the Caribbean? I always answer this way: You can sail the Caribbean in a 10 foot dinghy as long as you wait for good weather, it will eventually come. . Good luck to you, your wife, and new life. Erik
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Old 19-04-2010, 02:13   #21
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Really excellent post Kashmir cat.
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Old 19-04-2010, 03:24   #22
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Zarkmud - I'm doing exactly what you are doing and I also have aviation experience (solo glider pilot). Like you I'm planning ahead and finding stuff out. The planned date for me is 2016 due to kids and some other stuff, so I'm in no rush. This year I'm learning, next year I'm doing the courses and then a couple of years intermittent crewing then in 2014/15 buy the boat, refurb and do coastal sailing in the UK. Then in 2016, it's off over the horizon.

This is a great forum. I have asked loads of dumb questions and been given lots of sensible, clear answers.

Just don't ask which is better, a "cat" or a "monohull". If you do ask then put on your helmet and hunker down.
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Old 27-04-2010, 12:43   #23
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Yes, excellent response kashmir-cat

I have copied it and saved it for lots of future reference. and funny? Yes, VERY funny. Keep writing!
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Old 27-04-2010, 13:23   #24
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I've sailed a lot in small boats (Albacore, Hobie 18, Drascombe Longboat).

I took the one week "Zero to Hero" course on a 37' Cat to get my ASA Charter Cerificate.

Then a year later I chartered a 47' Cat and took my girlfreind and 6 other unsuspecting friends out for a week in the Abacos. It was so much fun that I bought a 40' Catamaran and we've sold almost everything and the house is on the market.

We're doing the 5 to 50 year sabatical starting now.

So my advice is to listen to Kashmir Cat and go for it.

I'll see you out there.
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Old 27-04-2010, 14:11   #25
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Kashmir cat is right on, may I add...Try to talk your wife into a women's sailing course, then get her comfortable at the helm so you can do all the grunt work of anchoring and docking. My wife has bought in because she is an equal in our sailing adventures.
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Old 27-04-2010, 15:22   #26
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Hi Zarkmund. Cats are easy. I started with no experience in the last fifty years but flight sim experience of planning, navigation, cross bearings etc. The sailing side is easy until you get it wrong, just like flying. Reading some good books helps too.
I'm in Southampton with a 31ft Prout. Experience day and weekend trips available if you want to come out some time.
An if you get down this way go and Multihullworld at Emsworth where you can walk around some twenty cats and see all the different approaches that have been taken over the last forty years. They do some local boatshows too as well as the big ones.
Mono's and cats are completely different. I'd not recommend learning on a mono, they give you too much info and are hard to push too hard. Techniques and expectations are markedly different. Cats are more of a fly by the manual approach, they don't lean much, they need careful management of speed, course etc and appreciation of their strengths and weeknesses. Learning to tack on a cat is not just putting the rudders over, until you've praticed in all sorts of conditions.
But the liveaboard aspects are hugely better. Hugely. For space, for permanent double beds, for not falling out of bed, for cooking, fridging, staying dry, carrying a dinghy and liferaft, trimming and deploying sail from the cockpit.
An older boat will require good maintenance skills and some practical engineering skills. In working the boat up the advice from the marina pontoons will help a great deal, there are no problems that someone hasn't had to solve already. Insurance for a newbie is around 400 quid on a thirty thousand pound boat. Annual budget should be about a tenth of the boat value if you choose well. Marina's from 4 quid a foot, dearer the nearer they are to open sailing water. Go see some old boats and do a good boatshow, Southampton is easy but only has half a dozen cats, there are better ones in France. A trip to FP would be good idea as part of a northern france car turing holiday week/end. Good luck to you. And fair winds.
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Old 27-04-2010, 17:51   #27
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Hello to all---I am the wife of Kashmir Cat. While everything my husband has said is remarkably true (and he is funny), I must add that sailing on our other boat was heaven and I cannot wait to return to the Bahamas/Caribbean on our new boat, Kashmir. Only once did I question OUR sanity while sailing, but it was a short-lived experience and one that I treasure now. That half hour of sheer terror in a surprise storm cell taught me that we had purchased the right boat---it was much tougher than we were and would look after its novice owners. My simple advice is the same as everyone else----get out there and enjoy that life, I cannot wait to go again. I look forward to my next sailing adventure.
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Old 29-04-2010, 06:38   #28
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Great responses. I would like to hear how cats handle very bad weather, bad situations. As a pilot I can always make a 180 and escape. That is not always true with a boat. So, how do you handle errors of judgment when you are caught in a very bad sea? Please tell me about drogues, parachutes, slowing down, head into the waves? What do you do...what do you NOT do? What is the worst possible acts that can get you into very bad trouble? What about a cat that can lead to total disaster in a bad sea? Anyone can handle calm weather...but can I handle the opposite? Are boats with daggerboards safer or not?
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:47   #29
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They handle bad weather just great. Once you flip yours upside down it will remain so indefinitely. So, you will have a perfect and safe base to await your SAR transport - with all your fresh water, food, EPIRBs and flares at hand. Imagine this, you can even play your fave PSP game, provided you were smart enough to keep it in a dry bag.

The only problem is that it is extremely difficult to flip a cruising cat upside down.

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Old 04-05-2010, 15:40   #30
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G'Day Frank and welcome.
Enjoy all the research and planning - for some it is as good as actually doing it. I've absolutely no doubts you'll enjoy mastering your boat and sailing free. Good luck and keep us posted.
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