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Old 07-09-2021, 14:20   #1
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60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

I retire in 2025. Between my wife and I we have 4 million in retirement savings. Most of that is in 401k's, so pre-tax. We also have a million in Real Estate equity between two properties.

We want to take a two year sailing trip when I retire.

Just started actually looking at boats in person. New Catamarans in the 50 foot range are upwards of a million dollars.

What we have noticed is used (6 to 15 year old) 60 foot Cats going for about the same. These boats were originally 3 million (+/-) dollar boats. They tend to be in great condition and are huge. Even the condo crusiers in this range are fast, longer waterline etc.

My two questions are:

1. maintenance costs vs a used or new 50 footer? They tend to have two generators, two water makers, and other redundant systems.

2. Can a couple handle one of these monsters? All electric winches and etc. Frankly I am a bit terrified by how huge these boats are. Those gigantic sails etc seem daunting.

My sons will be 13 and 15 by then, so they will help. I am thinking of taking on a crew member? Another cruising couple that might want to share a portion of expenses and labor in return for a dream/nightmare (lol) cruise?

Someone with big Catamaran experience - what say you??
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Old 07-09-2021, 14:23   #2
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

1) Any sailing experience?


2) That is a lot of boat and I think you would struggle to handle it and have fun. For the four of you a sub 50-footer would be better


3) The bigger the boat the more it costs to maintain!


4) And don't forget insurance, which you will need for any boat that you a) take a loan on b) plan to dock at a marina. Insurance, if attainable, is not cheap on a 60 footer by any means.
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Old 07-09-2021, 14:46   #3
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Not always bigger is better?
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Old 07-09-2021, 14:54   #4
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

go watch the o'kellys on youtube and the gone with the wynns. they are on mid 40 foot boats, and look at the maintenance. triple it for a 60 foot boat.
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Old 07-09-2021, 15:09   #5
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

As to handling a 60. The answer is “it depends”. As a delivery guy, I can easily single hand a 60, even dock to with marginal help.

Can you do it? It depends. Is your wife as committed? What is your boating experience?

My standard suggestion is to find a delivery captain you are comfortable with and use him/her as a mentor.
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Old 07-09-2021, 15:19   #6
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

With accommodation-oriented catamarans, once you get above the mid-40s you will have ample cabins, lounging areas, and load carrying capacity for a family of four. But you won’t have decent sailing performance. If you don’t have a sailing background then that doesn’t matter - these cats sail well enough for a predominantly downwind cruising plan.

If you still want decent sailing capability plus an accommodation focus then look at low to mid 50s - now you have longer hulls and better sailing capability with a bit more space. Still easily managed by a couple and as long as system complexity hasn’t increased with length, not much more expensive to maintain vs a mid-40s catamaran.

Once you get to 60+ feet you’re looking at real monsters with more cabins than you’ll need, much higher systems complexity, and a huge footprint to manoeuvre around (nicer at sea, but way more difficult in marinas). As an example, having two generators doesn’t provide redundancy - both are required to support the greater systems and the chance of one of them breaking down is higher.

For a two-year plan buy new and get the factory to install and buy all the fitout you need for cruising so that you only need clothes, toiletries and food to cast off the lines. Buying used means inheriting all the problems of the previous owner - just fine if you’re keeping the boat longer term but generally not worth it for a short ownership.

It’s only for two years - think of it as an extended charter.

Take a look at the early Starry Horizons videos to see how a (experienced) couple prepared a brand new Helia 44 for a circumnavigation, versus what the O’Kellys had to do to prepare their used Leopard 46 for cruising.

Also watch the Sailing Zatara videos when they shopped for and bought a used Privilege 585 for their family of 6. Notice how much bigger the public spaces are vs the 40 footers (not to mention how many bathrooms there are to clean on that boat). And how much needs to be done to an older larger boat to make it ready.
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Old 07-09-2021, 16:06   #7
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc9loser View Post
I retire in 2025. Between my wife and I we have 4 million in retirement savings. Most of that is in 401k's, so pre-tax. We also have a million in Real Estate equity between two properties.

We want to take a two year sailing trip when I retire.

Just started actually looking at boats in person. New Catamarans in the 50 foot range are upwards of a million dollars.

What we have noticed is used (6 to 15 year old) 60 foot Cats going for about the same. These boats were originally 3 million (+/-) dollar boats. They tend to be in great condition and are huge. Even the condo crusiers in this range are fast, longer waterline etc.

My two questions are:

1. maintenance costs vs a used or new 50 footer? They tend to have two generators, two water makers, and other redundant systems.

2. Can a couple handle one of these monsters? All electric winches and etc. Frankly I am a bit terrified by how huge these boats are. Those gigantic sails etc seem daunting.

My sons will be 13 and 15 by then, so they will help. I am thinking of taking on a crew member? Another cruising couple that might want to share a portion of expenses and labor in return for a dream/nightmare (lol) cruise?

Someone with big Catamaran experience - what say you??
As a general rule, maintenance costs for a boat rise with the CUBE of the length of the boat. There are lots of good engineering reasons for this, so you are likely to find that a 60 foot boat will have long term maintenance costs more than double that of a 50 foot boat of similar construction. That's just the way the universe works.

I think you will find that a very significant fraction of that $4M in savings will be chewed up by your plan, even with the smaller boat you are thinking of.

Q: How much money does it take to go cruising?
A: All you have.
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Old 07-09-2021, 16:14   #8
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

My experience sailing a mid 40's is for a couple I wouldn't go an inch bigger.

The Leopard 44 is as much boat as I can handle with my sailing experience.

Think pulling with both feel on a rail, and both hands just to pull it the last 2 maters to the dock against a current.

If the boat had one more foot of cross section, I wouldn't have been able to do it.

With two husky dock hands, and a third taking up slack against a cleat it was a long sweaty struggle.

My mainsail weighs 200lbs.

My Jib 100lbs.

Batteries are 200lbs each.

That anchor isn't coming up without a winch.

We live in one hull, the other is empty, and I mean EMPTY.

A 50 ft or bigger is overkill, unnecessary overkill in my book.

There are few marinas with catamaran slips in Florida, fewer still with slips over 50ft.

You will be on the T head most of the time, and paying mega yacht prices to park.

Even ropes are expensive. $1,000 for a main halyard.

Everything is 1/2 to 5/8 doublebraid dacron, or dyneema.

Blocks, turnbuckles, and all the little bits required for a sailboat double in cost every 10 ft of length.

At 42 ft LWL I get good sailing performance, and speed, and even in a moderate blow it sails smoothly, (after reefing), and you aren't going to spill the Champaign.

I wouldn't cross an ocean in a boat much smaller, but bigger isn't necessary.
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Old 07-09-2021, 18:45   #9
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Depending on where you want to go, and how you want to travel, a power catamaran (versus sail) may be a better match to your plans. Often more space, no concerns about "monster sails", electric winches, etc. Of course there's different concerns with engines, but the other systems are often in common (watermaker, electrics, electronics, anchors, genset, etc).
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Old 07-09-2021, 20:06   #10
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
As to handling a 60. The answer is “it depends”. As a delivery guy, I can easily single hand a 60, even dock to with marginal help.

Can you do it? It depends. Is your wife as committed? What is your boating experience?

My standard suggestion is to find a delivery captain you are comfortable with and use him/her as a mentor.
I am a Major Airline Captain. I currently run a 40 foot single screw houseboat just fine. My last sailboat was a McGregor 26X. That is the biggest sailboat I have ever run.

I can figure out how to dock a 60 foot Cat, it has two motors and bow thrusters.

My concern is those huge sails. Muscle power is inert against those forces. How reliable are those electric wenches?

And back to the maintenance costs?
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Old 07-09-2021, 20:20   #11
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

don't underestimate the restrictions that the extra size creates. bridges you can't get under that everyone else can...marinas that cannot give you space to berth...crowded anchorages that you dare not enter...boatyards that cannot lift you out of the water

a 60' cat occupies a very large piece of territory !

then there is the technical skill to work with the large forces the rig can generate...not just muscle power, but knowing how to design and manage the various systems needed to keep the rig under control

my advice : 45-50' is big enough for any couple

as for crew : well, you get what you pay for...and do you really want to share your dream with unknowns (plenty of horror stories around)

cheers,
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Old 07-09-2021, 20:21   #12
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by capn_billl View Post
My experience sailing a mid 40's is for a couple I wouldn't go an inch bigger.

The Leopard 44 is as much boat as I can handle with my sailing experience.

Think pulling with both feel on a rail, and both hands just to pull it the last 2 maters to the dock against a current.

If the boat had one more foot of cross section, I wouldn't have been able to do it.

With two husky dock hands, and a third taking up slack against a cleat it was a long sweaty struggle.

My mainsail weighs 200lbs.

My Jib 100lbs.

Batteries are 200lbs each.
Why would / should you be doing all those tasks by hand?

Use the engines and spring lines. Use the winches, either manual or powered. And use halyards and block & tackles to move loads around.

I respectfully suggest that you may be doing things incorrectly if you needed 3 or 4 people to pull the boat 2 metres to a dock or are trying to lift loads of hundreds of pounds without any mechanical assistance.

I speak from personal experience on many vessels both small and large. And from having done many miles and many dockings on 40-50ft boats single handed, and 60-100+ft boats double handed.

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Old 07-09-2021, 20:24   #13
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Is the person who started this thread a troll? The things you mention dc9loser just don’t add up. But I understand we all can be whoever we choose over the internet.

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Old 07-09-2021, 20:32   #14
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Running a 60' boat is no different then running a 45' boat. Loads are bigger and the boat is more slow to react to input but you get used to it. Electric or hydraulic winches are reliable, engines are reliable and most sail handling equipment is reliable. Maintenance will be around 2% of new replacement cost per year. If the boat is $3 million new then figure an average annual maintenance cost of $60k per year.
Your biggest problem will be getting insurance given your experience. They will require you to have a captain for some amount of time.
We've met several airline pilots sailing +60' boats. You'll do fine.
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Old 07-09-2021, 20:33   #15
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Re: 60 foot Catamaran for Couple?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dc9loser View Post
I am a Major Airline Captain. I currently run a 40 foot single screw houseboat just fine. My last sailboat was a McGregor 26X. That is the biggest sailboat I have ever run.

I can figure out how to dock a 60 foot Cat, it has two motors and bow thrusters.

My concern is those huge sails. Muscle power is inert against those forces. How reliable are those electric wenches?

And back to the maintenance costs?
Electric winches are very reliable. But things can always break down, so have at least 2 - on a 60ft cruising cat probably most or all of the winches will be electric.

As I mentioned above, manual or powered winches can also be used to assist with docking, with moving loads, with a kedge or stern anchor, etc, etc, too.

Bigger boats certainly require more thought and more planning, rather than just 'winging it' as many do on smaller boats, but if you are a Major Airline Pilot then you already understand this principle and just need to learn and apply it to the boat too.

As I also mentioned above, if you get to the point where you are trying to pull the boat 2 metres to the dock, by hand, in a strong current, well from my point of view that means you did not plan and execute the docking correctly, and you did not put all of the boat's equipment to it's best use.

On a larger boat you should really never get yourself in that type of situation, but things still go wrong sometimes so it's good to have a back up plan, eg: for docking you may plan to come straight to the dock by motors and just tie up but in a windy or strong current situation it may be prudent to have a longer extra line ready to send ashore and to take to a winch.

And just like with flying there is nothing wrong with a 'go around' if things aren't lining up right.

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