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Old 24-01-2018, 15:18   #76
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

Great post contrail and a good way to approach it ie all boats are a compromise so figure out which ones are important to you personally.

The trouble of course is new would be buyers don't know where they are on alot of these compromises.
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Old 24-01-2018, 15:32   #77
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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Which model ? the 46 & older 47 both have saildrives.
The 47 is a direct drive boat. Isn't the 43 direct drive, as well?

2001 Leopard Leopard 47 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

2003 Leopard 47 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 24-01-2018, 16:00   #78
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

My biggest issue with the older leopards is the bottom side hatch for the life raft. I hand one pop out in the middle of the gulf stream. I know a few owners that glassed the bottom hatch closed.
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Old 24-01-2018, 20:47   #79
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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come on, most cats < 50 foot have saildrives, it has been so for waht ? 3 decades ? Unless you are looking for a sport cat or an Antares I am afraid you will never find your cat with such a selection criteria.
Not correct. The older Leopards, the L38, L42, L43, L45 and L47 all had straight shafts. Hundreds built up to about 2007 or thereabouts. Plenty of older Lagoons and others did, too.

The compromise is that the sail drive allows the engine to be placed further aft, and not under the aft cabin bunk, for example. The idea was to increase space in the aft cabin and perhaps make the bunk lower and more accessible. The sail drive does not need alignment and the shaft is parallel to the water line, giving the prop more effective thrust. Not incidentally, it makes the job easier for the designer and easier and cheaper for the builder. All good things.

The cost: a large hole in the bottom of the boat with a seal that sometimes needs urgent maintenance, and always needs regular maintenance, usually requiring a haul out, sometimes in areas where there is no facility capable of handling a cat. The engine compartment is often -not always - unduly cramped. The engine is usually directly under the hatch, so susceptible to rain and water that may come in when the hatch is opened. I have personally been part of a team that worked desperately (and thankfully successfully) to keep a saildrive cat from sinking. The guests has wrapped a prop with a line - not that unusual - and that had yanked the engine off a mount. When the engine moved, so did the seal. Many who have never witnessed such an occurrence would disagree with me, but a sail drive is one thing that I would never accept on a boat. Period.

Worse even than a saildrive, depending on the installation, is a V drive, where the shaft, and often the shaft log and seal (or stuffing box) are under the engine and pretty well out of reach.

But that's just me. Many happily trade this accident waiting to happen for a more comfortable aft cabin. But, make no mistake, plenty of shaft drive cats have been made and are available.
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Old 24-01-2018, 20:49   #80
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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My biggest issue with the older leopards is the bottom side hatch for the life raft. I hand one pop out in the middle of the gulf stream. I know a few owners that glassed the bottom hatch closed.
That hatch is unique to the L47, and yes, liferafts were lost. Many did seal that hatch, which is certainly what I would have done.
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Old 24-01-2018, 21:08   #81
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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Not correct. The older Leopards, the L38, L42, L43, L45 and L47 all had straight shafts. Hundreds built up to about 2007 or thereabouts. Plenty of older Lagoons and others did, too.

The compromise is that the sail drive allows the engine to be placed further aft, and not under the aft cabin bunk, for example. The idea was to increase space in the aft cabin and perhaps make the bunk lower and more accessible. The sail drive does not need alignment and the shaft is parallel to the water line, giving the prop more effective thrust. Not incidentally, it makes the job easier for the designer and easier and cheaper for the builder. All good things.

The cost: a large hole in the bottom of the boat with a seal that sometimes needs urgent maintenance, and always needs regular maintenance, usually requiring a haul out, sometimes in areas where there is no facility capable of handling a cat. The engine compartment is often -not always - unduly cramped. The engine is usually directly under the hatch, so susceptible to rain and water that may come in when the hatch is opened. I have personally been part of a team that worked desperately (and thankfully successfully) to keep a saildrive cat from sinking. The guests has wrapped a prop with a line - not that unusual - and that had yanked the engine off a mount. When the engine moved, so did the seal. Many who have never witnessed such an occurrence would disagree with me, but a sail drive is one thing that I would never accept on a boat. Period.

Worse even than a saildrive, depending on the installation, is a V drive, where the shaft, and often the shaft log and seal (or stuffing box) are under the engine and pretty well out of reach.

But that's just me. Many happily trade this accident waiting to happen for a more comfortable aft cabin. But, make no mistake, plenty of shaft drive cats have been made and are available.
I has SDs on my last cat and it was a source of concern for sure. Engine bays were watertight compartments to a good foot above bridge deck height so damage would be contained had the worst happened at least.

That guest that ripped he engine off its mount must have been doing some serious speed at the time. I have had the misfortune to use one of my SD legs as a buoy attachment point in 35 knot gusts and by the time i cut it free i was expecting to see some damage but no issues at all. They are pretty tough except in a grounding or impact i reckon.
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Old 24-01-2018, 21:48   #82
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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Don't let the more aerodynamic saloons put you off per se. Visibility is better not worse and as for the sun see pic of my last boat below. Best of both worlds imho - sails well when underway and when anchored far cooler than vertical saloon due to double layer.

Attachment 162738
Do you mean "dual pane" windows when you say double layer?
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Old 24-01-2018, 22:08   #83
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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Disclaimer: I own a 1999 Leopard 45 (one of the "old", really strong, Leopards). I have had her for about fourteen years, living aboard the entire time. I run her in "captain only" charters and do lots of instruction. When not working, we do some cruising and have done open ocean passages as long as 1500 miles. She originally sailed, on her own bottom, from Cape Town to the BVI. In other words, she has worked, her entire life, and is not just someone's toy. And she has always been in great shape.

Working in the charter trade in the BVI, since 2005, has given me a look at the various brands, as the BVI is the catamaran capital of the world. Either I, or fellow captains, have sailed most. Friends have maintained them. To be sure, the majority of cats here are charter boats (nothing wrong with that), but we get our share of the less common cats. Heck, we sometimes even have a Gunboat class here in our regattas. Knysna, St. Francis, Prout, Antares, Gemini, Majestic Spirit, you name it, they are here or pass through. It is lots of fun actually seeing or sailing these boats, or against them, as opposed to just reading about them or seeing the pictures. The bottom line is that all of them are a compromise, and it's up to each owner to figure out the compromise they like. When I am helping students select boats on which to go cruising, I usually say, "choose the features you want, and the choice of boat will usually follow pretty normally". Unfortunately, I see many who choose the boat first, and then try to persuade themselves that the features are those they want; sometimes they are.

Budget is the first question to be answered. Next is who will be aboard. One person? Two? A family? What ages, sailing ability and athletic ability? Next is where you will keep and haul out your boat, unless you are cruising and constantly on the move. Not everywhere can accommodate every cat. Next will be your desired lifestyle...if you are daysailing for performance or racing, and not even living on your boat except for short periods, that drives you to a higher performance group. If you are planning on cruising, you will be spending most of your time (some use the figure 90%) of your time at anchor, on a mooring or at a dock. Liveaboard comfort becomes paramount, absolute performance secondary. But it's still nicer and safer to find a boat that sails well and runs up good passage times, without necessarily threatening any records. These considerations drive you to a different group than the first. Note that both groups will have well built and designed boats, and not so well built and designed boats. Also note that charter boats are designed with the idea of comfortably living aboard, although they tend more to being people carriers rather than "stuff" carriers, so some mods may need to be made here.

Safety is always paramount, and sometimes that can take some deep thinking.

The Big Three didn't get into those positions without providing good value, and they have lots and lots of experience acquired over the years.

IMHO, most cats sail much better than they are sailed, if you catch my meaning. And that colors the opinions of many who say "such and such a boat cannot do this or that or can do this or that." Might be true, and might not, particularly for you. Invest in knowledge and experience.

Most published reviews are window dressing. How many times have you read a review that starts with something like, "Unfortunately, the wind wasn't very cooperative on the day we sailed, but judging by her lines, she SHOULD be able......"? Test boats are always very lightly loaded, as well. And, of course, they are evaluated as they are at the time of the test. There is absolutely no track record of durability, ease of maintenance, handling in difficult situations, because the boat test is conducted on new boats at a particular moment in time. I can't tell you how many former "Boats of the Year", turn out to be maintenance nightmares or have other bad habits. Your best sources of information are 1) longtime owners with similar goals to your own and who know how to sail and do much of their own maintenance, and 2) yourself, particularly if you are experienced and capable. That's why you want to get onboard a prospective boat, sail it, and perhaps charter it.

Probably the most meaningless commentary is that from armchair sailors, or sailors who are simply passing on something they heard or read from someone else. There was recently a thread here in which one of the side discussions was between an owner and a vocal onlooker, both apparently knowledgeable. The onlooker was certain that the boat in question had certain dimensions, because he had read them online somewhere - and different online somewheres are notorious for publishing different specifications. The owner, who knew that his boat had been a prototype with somethings different from the production run, stated that his boat had different specs, which he, himself, the designer, and the builder all had empirically determined. No amount of discussion could convince the other fellow that the specs he quoted from the internet weren't the correct ones and that the owner's specs were wrong. All of which is to say, use your filters on anything you read. Or, garbage in, garbage out.

Some random thoughts on design or construction. Some boats are built of a solid laminate. These may withstand collisions the best and be most easily repaired. BUT, and it is a big but, they have to be built very heavily to have hulls as stiff as a cored hull can be. In this case, stiff is good. That weight takes a huge toll in other ways....power needed to move it, whether motor or sail, cost, lack of insulation,etc, etc. But, for the right application, it's appropriate. A cored hull is much lighter and stiffer, which brings with it many advantages, but can also be more fragile, in certain circumstances, such as some types of collisions (not all) or stranding on a reef. Most boats are at least partially cored, and others are almost completely cored. All are valid methods, depending upon the intended use.

When it comes to cores, there are many types, each of which is, again, a compromise. The reason that balsa is often used is that it is very strong for its weight, is less costly than most other options (and that's an advantage, not a condemnation), and - often overlooked - great resistance to compression. You don't see dented balsa cored hulls because of exactly this. Balsa cores tend not to deteriorate over time, either, unless they have gotten soaked, and therein lies their disadvantage and much of the marketing hype from other types of core makers. The answer lies in an earlier post....keep the integrity of the core. Try not to drill holes in it, and if you do, seal the holes, ideally with epoxy. If the core stays dry, and well built and MAINTAINED ones usually do, the boat will last a long, long time.

Foam cored hulls don't have the problem of the core rotting, if it gets wet, as would happen with balsa. You still don't want any type of core to get wet, but at least the foam core won't rot. On the other hand, many foams can crumble and disintigrate over time, and they have a lower resistance to compression than does balsa. You will definitely see dented foam cored boats, as a direct result of this.

A honeycomb core is very strong for it's weight, but the nature of honeycomb is that there is very little bonding surface, so the danger of the core delaminating from the outer skins is higher. They are also much more expensive.

And that is just a broad stroke at three core types. There are others.

Forward cockpits have been in use for some time now. Gunboats, Chris White Atlantic cats, Lagoons, Leopards, and others all have done this. I remember the first time I boarded a Leopard 44 and asked the owners if they had ever taken a wave into the forward cockpit, given that they had just crossed an ocean. They said they had, but to their surprise and delight, the cockpit had drained in well under a minute. That's quicker than a lot of monohulls will drain their aft cockpits, when flooded. So, the question is, really, how well is the drainage set up (huge, in the case of the L44 and many others), not simply whether the cockpit is vulnerable or not.

Of those boats with forward cockpits, some have doors, like the L44, the Gunboat and the Atlantics, and some don't. Where a door is concerned, it all comes down to engineering. Submarines have doors, after all, and so does the Space Station, and so do airplanes. My experience with the L44 is that the door seems (I have no engineering studies) very robust, as do the doors of the Gunboats and Atlantics. It is also true that many different cats, from many different builders, have had waves take out the huge windows in the salons. And THAT can spoil your day. Whether they are as well installed as the doors is a good question, but the result can be the same. So, I would want to be confident that any boat I bought had built their windows and doors well, and I imagine that most have done exactly that. But, in the end, windows and doors are a compromise as opposed to a windowless and doorless structure, but the compromise is worth it! Builders like to let in as much light as possible, because customers demand it. Every perforation in the structure, such as doors and windows, detracts from the strength and rigidity of that structure, such as the hulls or salons. The designer picks a ration that seems to meet the need. The customers choose the boats.......

Boat builders evolve their building techniques and methods over time. Some things get better, and others might not. I do believe that most manufacturers used to design their boats "from the outside in". In other words, a boat was designed as a boat, and accommodations were then designed to fit. Recently, they seem to be designed more "from the inside out", in other words, a boat is designed around the selling features of the interior. Better or worse? Could be either, depending on usage. And YOUR choice!

Flybridge: Most professional ocean sailors and delivery skippers hate 'em, and it's really hard to see under the jib. Most charterers absolutely love them, and so do lots of cruising sailors, who spend the time at anchor that the delivery skipper doesn't.

Forward cockpits and doors: Most experienced sailors instinctively frown and express doubt, at least initially. Most owner, charterers and cruisers like them for the breeze, the space separate from the aft cockpit, and for the ability to dock, stern to, and have some modicum of privacy up forward.

Ability to singlehand, which even couples do, most of the time. I truly singlehand. A lot! Builders claim a boat is easy to singlehand if all the lines are led to a cockpit, in close proximity. I say it's a lot easier to deal with spread out lines, at the mast even, than it is to dock, anchor, or moor a boat, singlehanded and without assistance. And that's a lot easier to do when freeboard is not too high and the helm is close to one side or the other, with easy access to the other side. Not much to do with where halyards and reefing lines are led!

Bridge deck clearance: More is generally better, but it comes at a price in interior headroom, or windage, and maybe looks. These prices are not small. Almost all cats will slam, at least occasionally. But the MORE you sail (which will be at an angle to the waves), and the BETTER you sail, the less any bridge deck will slam. Fire up the engines and plow straight into the wind and waves and, yep, most cats will slam and some worse than others. And so do monohulls, other than those with deep v hulls. Funny how we forget that slamming has a lot to do with how the boat is driven.....any boat.

I could go on and on. There are about 20 or so significant compromises/features/choices to be made, before you get to thinking about actual builders and models.

Do your research. Get on some cats. Talk to experienced cat folk. Talk to maintenance folks, especially at charter companies. Take your time and enjoy the journey. And best of luck with your eventual choice.

Cheers,
Tim
I want to give you my most-sincere thanks for taking the time, and the effort to pen the above post. I will read it several times taking in all that is presented.

My sincere compliments.
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Old 24-01-2018, 22:18   #84
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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Not correct. The older Leopards, the L38, L42, L43, L45 and L47 all had straight shafts. Hundreds built up to about 2007 or thereabouts. Plenty of older Lagoons and others did, too.

The compromise is that the sail drive allows the engine to be placed further aft, and not under the aft cabin bunk, for example. The idea was to increase space in the aft cabin and perhaps make the bunk lower and more accessible. The sail drive does not need alignment and the shaft is parallel to the water line, giving the prop more effective thrust. Not incidentally, it makes the job easier for the designer and easier and cheaper for the builder. All good things.

The cost: a large hole in the bottom of the boat with a seal that sometimes needs urgent maintenance, and always needs regular maintenance, usually requiring a haul out, sometimes in areas where there is no facility capable of handling a cat. The engine compartment is often -not always - unduly cramped. The engine is usually directly under the hatch, so susceptible to rain and water that may come in when the hatch is opened. I have personally been part of a team that worked desperately (and thankfully successfully) to keep a saildrive cat from sinking. The guests has wrapped a prop with a line - not that unusual - and that had yanked the engine off a mount. When the engine moved, so did the seal. Many who have never witnessed such an occurrence would disagree with me, but a sail drive is one thing that I would never accept on a boat. Period.

Worse even than a saildrive, depending on the installation, is a V drive, where the shaft, and often the shaft log and seal (or stuffing box) are under the engine and pretty well out of reach.

But that's just me. Many happily trade this accident waiting to happen for a more comfortable aft cabin. But, make no mistake, plenty of shaft drive cats have been made and are available.
I'm convinced. Shaft drive does make more sense.
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Old 24-01-2018, 23:01   #85
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

Awesome post Contrail, well written by someone that obviously knows, so many good points.
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Old 24-01-2018, 23:31   #86
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

Before you commit check RON GIVEN, multi hull yacht designer from NZ. His offshore cruising multihulls are legendary. No compromises. Fast offshore. I have done NZ to Noumea several times in one. 4 days. Comfort. Stability. Safety. Ron is now in his 80s. But his boats cruise on. I strongly recommend you carefully check his boats.
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Old 25-01-2018, 00:34   #87
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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Do you mean "dual pane" windows when you say double layer?
no im referring to the boom awning in the pic
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Old 25-01-2018, 01:14   #88
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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Not correct. The older Leopards, the L38, L42, L43, L45 and L47 all had straight shafts. Hundreds built up to about 2007 or thereabouts. Plenty of older Lagoons and others did, too.
Ok my bad, Leopard was a bit slower than the other big 2 to switch to SD. As for the Lagoons, I am suprised, even the 30 years old L47 had SD already. Which lagoons are you thinking about ?

leopard 47: https://www.multihull.nl/multihulls/...d47.77152.html
Did they make two versions of this one ?

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But, make no mistake, plenty of shaft drive cats have been made and are available.
"Plenty" ? depends how you define it. If I say "most" cats (<50 foot) on the water today have SDs, I would be right wouldn"t I ? So, my point is that by avoiding SDs the OP is avoiding a lot of good cats, from 30 years old to brand new.

You made some very good points in your messages here. So what would be your suggestion for a second hand or new cat ?
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Old 25-01-2018, 04:05   #89
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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.........I could go on and on. There are about 20 or so significant compromises/features/choices to be made, before you get to thinking about actual builders and models.

Do your research. Get on some cats. Talk to experienced cat folk. Talk to maintenance folks, especially at charter companies. Take your time and enjoy the journey. And best of luck with your eventual choice.

Cheers,
Tim
Great post, Tim. Even with some experience, you reminded me of items I've even recently "conveniently" forgotten - some because I'd rather have a Helia 44 vs the Admiral's choice of a Leopard 45! There's a chance that we may have to give up sailing for a family situation, but with the hope of things changing we continue to look at cats just in case. You've reminded me that even cruising from Florida to New England is not the same as full time living aboard and crossing oceans. I need to keep that @ 90% rule on my mind as I consider what would ultimately make (keep) us both happy!

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Old 25-01-2018, 07:20   #90
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Re: Advise on Catamaran for extended cruising

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I'm convinced. Shaft drive does make more sense.
You say you want to sail from California. Are you restricted in geography about where to buy the boat? Making shaft drive type a precondition will drastically reduce the number of cats to look at.
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