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Old 20-03-2019, 04:35   #1
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Bali 4.0 / 4.1

My wife and i are looking for a retirement cat to spend considerable time aboard soon, mostly island hopping in the Caribbean. We have boated all our lives, but this will be our first blue water boat. Putting aside your thoughts on whether this is a good idea for us (I know many are tempted to weigh in on whether this is smart without knowing much about us), we are particularly interested in the Bali 4.1. I am surprised at how few reviews are online - here or elsewhere - by those who actually own them, or at least have spent considerable time aboard. I have seen the walkaround videos from boat shows, and videos by brokers trying to sell these boats, but I am particularly interested in reviews by those who can point to the pros and the cons. Anyone own a 4.0 or 4.1 who can tell me what they like and dislike about it? Is the garage door a plus, or a disappointment? Is the boom really too high, or a non-issue? Does the fridge consume too much energy? Any feedback is appreciated.
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Old 20-03-2019, 10:15   #2
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Overall their build quality leaves quite a bit be desired.
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Old 20-03-2019, 11:00   #3
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Wiley,
Thank you for the reply. Can you elaborate on the build quality deficiencies? Also, have you sailed one, and can you address the other questions I posed, such as the utility of the loft door, etc.?
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Old 20-03-2019, 13:13   #4
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

I had a look on the 4.0 and 4.3 last year and the garage door mechanism looked very cheap and of very poor quality, in fact there were huge gaps at the top right and top left of the door and it was very flimsy when opening and closing, and not a very smooth mechanism.

The boom is Indeed very high and that perhaps removes some of the blue water capability or at least adds risk.

The fore deck is simply brilliant in my view and has loads of usable space and adds a nice space to be.

Wanting a second look we went to boot in Dusseldorf in Jan this year, the lady manning the front desk asked if we had an appointment, we did not (the uk broker was not there) but since we could only see 5 people looking on the boat we did not think it was a problem, but we were wrong. We were sharply told that there was no chance we could look at the boat at any of the two days we were there for. Customer service is worse than terrible, I don't think they give two cares for potential customer service, and I've been left thinking that they certainly don't have the quality product in order to be stuck up and treat people like dirt.
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Old 20-03-2019, 18:19   #5
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

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Originally Posted by BlueSkyOne View Post
I had a look on the 4.0 and 4.3 last year and the garage door mechanism looked very cheap and of very poor quality, in fact there were huge gaps at the top right and top left of the door and it was very flimsy when opening and closing, and not a very smooth mechanism.

The boom is Indeed very high and that perhaps removes some of the blue water capability or at least adds risk.

The fore deck is simply brilliant in my view and has loads of usable space and adds a nice space to be.

Wanting a second look we went to boot in Dusseldorf in Jan this year, the lady manning the front desk asked if we had an appointment, we did not (the uk broker was not there) but since we could only see 5 people looking on the boat we did not think it was a problem, but we were wrong. We were sharply told that there was no chance we could look at the boat at any of the two days we were there for. Customer service is worse than terrible, I don't think they give two cares for potential customer service, and I've been left thinking that they certainly don't have the quality product in order to be stuck up and treat people like dirt.


Düsseldorf is in Germany. Some Germans are as sweet and fun while others have the potential to live up to the stereotype at any moment.
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Old 21-03-2019, 08:38   #6
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Dream Yacht Charters rents these for bareboat. Try before you buy.
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Old 21-03-2019, 08:50   #7
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

We just bought a catamaran after a year of doing most of the major shows in the USA and Europe. The Bali 4.0/4.1 was on the list, although we ended up choosing a Nautitech for our program. You will only find about deficiencies from people who actually own one, and everybody at every show was more than willing for us to visit extensively (although Dream Yacht being the Bali booth in Annapolis and Miami... They try to sell you a charter catamaran instead of an owner's boat). After extensive research, I can attest to the fact that the quality is relatively equivalent for all mainstream cruising catamaran (Leopard, Fountaine Pajot, Bali, Lagoon, Bali, etc.). They all have their pluses and minuses, the choice comes down to choosing the right boat for your program. On our side, the reasons for excluding Bali was because our program is going to take us across oceans and to remote places, in which case we could not live with the helm station and a power hungry fridges. But our program was only in the caribbean, it would have stayed on the list until the end. I certainly don't want to pretend that the right choice for us will be the right choice for you, and Bali are really nice boats, but if you want to read about what went through my mind as we were going through the process, you'll find it here: https://oxalisborealis.com/choosing-...itech-open-40/
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Old 21-03-2019, 13:39   #8
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

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Wiley,
Thank you for the reply. Can you elaborate on the build quality deficiencies? Also, have you sailed one, and can you address the other questions I posed, such as the utility of the loft door, etc.?
I had one listed for a period in time, and it was lost during hurricane Irma. To be honest, I was somewhat relieved when I lost the listing.

I did get the boat out sailing for a video shoot, and the sailing was nothing to write home about. Although, that didn't surprise me due to the high boom and relatively small sail area.

- It seemed like every time I showed the boat there was an issue with the garage door, and I needed to get one of the guys from Dream to help me.

- The woodwork was ok at best, and sloppy in the worst parts. The steps going up to either weather deck was an example of how bad it could be.

- The self tacking jib is great in theory, but because of poor deck layout the tack of the head sail/sheet beat the front of the boat up.

- The fixtures and the fridge were not marine grade, and badly pitting in less than 1.5 years.

I've had the opportunity to list a few Bali's since listing the 4.3, and I've declined the opportunity. As a commission only yacht broker I think that should tell you something... Putting this out there will probably not help me list or sell any Bali's, I'm ok with that.
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Old 22-03-2019, 00:55   #9
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Like many other replies on this forum, this is my opinion and experience with the Bali 4.0. We have been chartering and sailing Cats for the last 10 years from St Thomas to Grenada. Eastern Carrebean only. I have only lived on Cats for one to two weeks at a time. We have sailed 38-46 foot cats from Leopards, Lagoons, Fontaine Pajot, Catanas. We sailed a Bali 4.0 in Dec 2018 out of Martinique for the 1st time. We loved the garage door concept at first. We kept it open (against manufacturers recommendation) for our passages . I enjoyed the cat but not the height of the boom. Way too high to safely deal with in open water. Nice lounging area up front but some slapping while under way. The fridge I understand was a power hog but not a concern on a rental.
-I just secured another Bali 4.0 for December 2019 charter out of St Martin. I am looking to purchase a Catamaran in 2020 but it will not be the Bali.
Cons: No trampoline causes some slapping. Horrible layout for the Windlass and bridle. Boom too high ( for me). Garage Door takes away from the cockpit ambiance and the separation from the galley/salon. Power consumption on fridge I am told is a hog.
Pros: great boat for a short stay with friends. Great boat to charter but not to live on in my opinion.
Good luck with your search. I would recommend you look at a Maestro Version Fontaine Pajot or I also like the Leopards. I can’t wait to officially be ready to make offers next year.
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Old 22-03-2019, 09:21   #10
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Bali 4.5 was on my short list too but I went for a Leopard 45. At a sea trial a Bali was out at the same time and was no match for the Leo. I think it’s a nice vessel while on anchor but you have to get there. Finally a friend insisted not to go for a Bali, he is a cat professional and his points were convincing that the bow construction is no good choice for blue water sailing. So I am happy with my decision.

I have checked the garage solution too (not on the 4.5) but it seems to be cheap and not a smart solution for long distance sailing. What if it jams in remote places, can’t close the vessel? I did not like it at all.
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Old 22-03-2019, 19:34   #11
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

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We kept it open (against manufacturers recommendation) for our passages.
If the manufacturer is advising against using their gimmick the way it was intended to be used, you know it's a bad gimmick.
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Old 22-03-2019, 21:02   #12
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Yes the Garage Door is a gimmick for all the seasoned livablards. If you are chartering for a week or two, it makes a nice social open concept. In my search for a yacht to purchase for long term cruising/ownership it doesn’t fit my lifestyle.
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Old 04-06-2019, 13:22   #13
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Here's something I recently wrote up about the 2019 Bali 4.1 for another couple who were interested in our charter experience:

We recently spent 4 nights chartering a 2019 Bali 4.1 from Dream Yachts/Navtours in the Exumas. This boat was a surprise favorite for us at the Miami Boat Show this year and we were anxious to see how she would do away from the dock. Here are some of our thoughts about our experience on this beautiful boat.

Like many cats in her class, she’s not going to win any records for speed under sail, (6 knots in a 15 knot beam reach) but she performed pretty well overall for what many may deem to be just a floating condo. She did well motor-sailing, too, with efficient fuel consumption (roughly one gallon an hour at 2200 RPM on two 45hp Yanmar diesels).

Her steering is extremely responsive, to the point where it took us a while to get used to handling her . I wasn’t accustomed to having only a slight touch of the wheel cause the boat to change course pretty radically.

I have seen criticism of how high the boom is on this boat, but my 6’3 husband had no trouble working it on the coach roof. Shorter folks might. I didn’t work the boom and assess it myself. Obviously, in any weather or seaway working the boom is a risk, and all should wear a life jacket or harness as you risk a steep 12-foot fall overboard - there is no room for error on the boom or working the mast on this Bali.

The helm station is very high up and you cannot access it directly from the cockpit. This would make it challenging in bad weather and also when trying to communicate with those in the cockpit. Getting up and down from helm station can be challenging in wet conditions or a rough seaway. Again, proper footwear and safety gear is important when offshore as any misstep likely means a fall over board. A positive note about the high helm station on the starboard side: at 5’4 I can see all the way forward to the port quarter from the helm station, which I can’t do on other cats I’ve toured or chartered of this size. Additionally, there is a fabulous lounge area adjacent to the helm station which allows the person keeping you company on watch to relax comfortably.

The version we chartered did not have any additional protection from the weather at the helm station besides the soft bimini top. Adding a proper enclosure is a must for a long-term cruiser. Furthermore, there are no lights on the steps leading up to the helm station and that could create a risk operating her alone at night.

The model we chartered did not have any sort of radio at the outside helm station - only at the navigation table inside at the nav station, so a handheld VHF was necessary topside while underway. The Raymarine chart plotter and auto-pilot electronics at the helm station were very nice and worked well.

The boat layout and deck camber were good and she generally drains nicely when taking water over the deck.

The dinghy davit works well and the dinghy was snug as we transited. However,*based on where the line for the davit is (lead to a power winch at the helm station,) it takes two people to raise and lower the dinghy for proper visibility and safety. We don’t feel this would be ideal for the long-term cruising.

I like the solid foredeck as I have an easier time walking on it than I do on a traditional trampoline. And you can’t beat the enormous lounging area that the hard forward deck creates. The cushions are very comfortable too.*

Sadly, Bali has chosen to emboss their brand name in middle of the transom so you can’t easily put your own boat name there without an awkward pause in the middle of longer boat names.

The factory swim ladder must be made for tiny children. It is very narrow and poorly designed such that it was hard for me to get out of the water (I’m not skinny or young) and it was impossible for me to use to try to get into the water. Additionally, there was no swim ladder on the other side of the transom.

We would add additional handholds at various points on the outside of the boat. There isn’t much to hold onto in a seaway.

My tall husband thought the engine space would be easy to work in. The forward locker where the anchor is stowed can easily be accessed by a tall person as well. However, the locker door hinges should have a piston on them as they won’t stay up on their own. It’s not practical to require two people to hold the anchor locker door up.

The biggest negative is the anchor which is very difficult to manipulate with just one person based on its location (in the forward locker above the nacelle) and the inability to see it in action due to the lack of the trampoline to look through up forward. If you were going to pick up a mooring, you would need to add a bridle up forward and a very long boat hook to rig the mooring on the bow.

Shockingly, two fractured battens came out of the mainsail while we were making passages. One fell out and bounced off the deck, landing in the water and we removed the other as it looked shredded when we inspected it. We don’t know if that is a sail design flaw or if something had been mishandled since the owner took possession.

The Bali we chartered did not have a table installed at the settee up forward which we were originally sort of disappointed about, but, ultimately, we were pleased with the extra walking room. It would be easy to fall on to that table in rough conditions.*

Now for the interior. Wow! Just beautiful. Light and airy. So much room to relax and things are very well laid out. Plenty of room for 6 adults onboard during this charter. The stove and oven both worked well. There were enough (AC) plugs from the inverter for everyone’s electronics, though no plugs in the berths for charging phones, etc.*

The salon table is really large and could easily accommodate spreading out paper charts and such.*

The storage on the boat is amazing. That being said, some of storage under the floorboards in the hulls wasn’t totally dry when we got onboard, but maybe that was due to the boat having been cleaned just before we started the charter.

The galley has lots of room, but no means of bracing yourself in a swell. The fridge and freezer are quite large and kept their temperature nicely. However, the fridge door needs some kind of mechanism to keep it from slamming into the person sitting at the small settee in the salon.*

The number of windows on the boat is probably the best in this class and provide great views from the nav station, galley, salon and just about everywhere on the boat. The enormous window in the galley, the garage door and large side windows adjacent to the garage door provide amazing cross air flow. One of my favorite features is the large window that slides all the way down, allowing you to reach out from the galley to the settee in the forward part of the boat. Not only does it greatly increase the circulation, but it’s perfect for talking to friends or passing sundowners and snacks. Overall, the ventilation in the galley/salon is really exceptional. But there are no fans installed in the main cabin area which was something we’ve seen on every other cat we’ve chartered.

I’m not the first person to question the strength and water tightness of the garage door and how it would hold up over time, but we observed no issues during our charter (which included more than one blowing thunderstorm). Personally, our travel plans would probably not take us into big seas crossing an ocean (where the garage door could be a risk). But it’s still a question in our mind.

The forward-facing Nav station was well set-up. But when standing behind the nav station on the starboard side of the interior of the boat, it feels like you could easily fall down the companionway to the two cabins below. These steps also need a second handhold to provide more safely get up and down.

The beds and cabins were very comfortable. The bed height was*a little tall for me at 5’4, but I could still get in it. I can see the appeal of having a bed that’s an island style (on a different boat), allowing you to get on the bed from somewhere other than the very end of it.

We loved the large separate shower in the master hull head. It’s so nice to shower on a boat without having to get everything else in the rest of the head wet.* The owner’s hull’s medicine cabinet door slams into the bulkhead but something as simple as a felt dot on the bulkhead would probably be sufficient to reduce noise and possible scratching when the door swings open. The ventilation could have been better in the heads. I wish the hatch above the owner’s head was bigger. Also, I had a hard time raising it all the way up from inside due to my height. I would consider getting a 3/2 cabin/head setup as the 2 heads in the guest’s hull were quite small.

This Bali 4.1 did not have gen set or a/c. It was very hot and sticky the first night as it was raining, but the fan in the master hull was strong and worked well. If living in the tropics, A/C would be very desirable in the cabins given the poor natural ventilation and no overhead hatches in the master hull.

In short, we really liked this boat and would consider buying one to live aboard, but we want to see if Bali’s competitors offer enough features which would prevent us from forgiving Bali’s short-sighted anchor design and the fact that you have to leave the cockpit to get to the helm station (a major safety concern while offshore).

I’m happy to answer any questions about our experience. Cheers!
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Old 04-06-2019, 15:47   #14
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

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Originally Posted by jmondl View Post
My wife and i are looking for a retirement cat to spend considerable time aboard soon, mostly island hopping in the Caribbean. Anyone own a 4.0 or 4.1 who can tell me what they like and dislike about it? Is the garage door a plus, or a disappointment? Is the boom really too high, or a non-issue? Does the fridge consume too much energy? Any feedback is appreciated.
Happy to answer any and all questions/concerns you may have!
I believe us to be uniquely qualified as we are (currently) the only live aboard Bali owners. I understand a few others are purchasing now with the intent to liveaboard, but at least from those Ive talked to they will be chartering their boats for the first few years before sailing full time as well.

In short, we love our Bali 4.0!!
Are there things we would change, sure… but I’m a designer and this will make the first home I’ve ever lived in that I didn’t gut and remodel completely from the frame up. The fact that I haven’t done a major renovation and am still thrilled to live aboard is actually quite telling and positive!

In full disclosure, this is our first boat ever and we have been learning to sail while aboard (left FL about 6 months ago and have been teaching ourselves as we make our way south through the Caribbean en route to Grenada for hurricane season), so it’s fair to say that we didn’t have a lot of experience with other boats to compare our Bali to.

That being said… we also had lots of fears/hesitation after reading reviews of Bali’s before our purchase. Most of those (as with some responses here) seem to be people who have either never sailed one or haven’t spent ample time on one, so we took them for what they were worth and decided to move ahead anyway.

We did spend ample time and money outfitting our boat as a live aboard, as would be required for any typical charter-built cat. We felt lucky that our boat was privately owned before us and therefore had never been chartered, so it was and is in excellent condition. While we may be new to sailing and living aboard, we have passed up the traditional “get stuck” anchorages that hold onto most cruisers and/or send them back home at the end of their first season (Georgetown, Bahamas / Luperon, DR, etc) and have already made several major passages in rough seas (the gulf stream, the mona, the anegada, etc) and feel as though we can speak to how the boat has held up better than most and certainly better than anyone chartering for a few days in the BVIs.

Overall, the things that made us buy the boat we are still absolutely thrilled with. The garage door and open layout is amazing in terms of livability, airflow, hosting/entertaining etc. If the new age of charter cats are known as “floating condos” this is surely the most comfortable of them we’ve experienced. So far each and every other cruiser who has stepped aboard has been floored by the open space and how large it feels (and many of those live on much larger cats than our 4.0).
The indoor/outdoor feel of this boat was the number one for us and we’ve never regretted it. Truth be told… I now find myself visiting other/larger boats and realizing I’m not a fan of their layout at all - simply seem like a step backwards compared to our layout.


All of the fears mentioned above are the same ones we had, but here are our findings (good and bad):

Garage Door-
Is it poorly sealed? probably. But we’ve yet to have any water or insect intrusion (and that’s saying something given the insect invasion we had off of Monserrat and the countless torrential downpours and squalls we’ve faced both at anchor and while underway. The garage door is by far the biggest positive of this boat/layout, it is open almost all of everyday except for when sleeping or going ashore in an anchorage where we don’t feel safe leaving it open (like any other door/window) and when underway in rough seas. We might even consider leaving it open when underway but also have an old dog aboard who we’d rather not wander onto the sugar scoops without us noticing.
It is a bit heavy/difficult to close, but my wife (the captain of our boat) has no problem at all and if we ever have the time to adjust the struts that make sure you can open the door with only one hand… there’s probably a better balance to be found. 
The garage door not only makes for an enormous indoor/outdoor space that makes the 4.0 live far larger than it is, but combined with the guillotine window at the galley, the airflow/breeze through our boat at all times is superb compared to others we’ve spent time aboard!

The high boom-

Probably the one thing the sailor in me would change if i could… but only because I cant help doing the math on how much more sail we could/would have if we had even an extra 18” that would put the boom right on top of our bimini. That said, we seem to have plenty of sail…so i cant blame them for making a charter cat with a higher boom that’s less likely to send someone overboard, and when we do have guests aboard who are “lounging” around the boat I’m pleased to not have to worry about them. Is it a few steps up the mast to connect/disconnect the halyard? yes. Do I mind, no.

In terms of speed… I cannot really say how this might impact high end performance. We didn’t buy our cat to win any races and know about ourselves that we like to go slow pretty much anywhere, so we knew when buying a “floating condo” that was part of the deal. That being said, as two complete newbies with no sailing experience in a boat that everyone thinks should be slow, we don’t seem to be moving at much of a different pace than the other boats we’re crossing alongside…

-

The fridge-

Ah, the fridge. I have designed and built off-grid campervans and am anal (to say the least) when it comes to power management onboard. The amount of research i did, calls and emails placed trying to track down the draw of this fridge is laughable. I already had a replacement fridge on order when we moved onto the boat. But - in actual use, the fridge isn’t much worse than the small 12v fridge we had in our van, and for the amount of space we have in the fridge and freezer (without even doing the math compared to most every cat we’ve been on that added a second small fridge/freezer to make it a liveaboard), its really no big deal. We did decide to ramp up our battery and solar as part of our preparation… but thats because our goal is to live generator free like we did in our van, not to make up for a fridge that i actually thought I was going to want to throw overboard. Call me happily surprised!



The solid foredeck-
We were never really impressed with hanging out on the trampolines of catamarans we visited in the past, so it seemed easy to give them up in replacement of the lounge seating. 6 months in - we feel exactly the same way. Does the boat slam if the waves get large enough? Yes. Are all the “traditional” catamarans with tramps we are crossing beside in those same waves slamming too? Yep. 
Can I compare the slamming, no… I’ve yet to figure out a way to be on the same boat at the same time for an overnight crossing to see what they feel like/sound like in similar seas. Does the sunken “footwell” collect water? No. Have we had waves break over the bows and did it drain immediately, yes. 

- Anchoring/Mooring. Again, Ive never anchored another boat, so cant speak to whether its easier on other setups… but i honestly have no idea what the fuss is about here. If two rookies can figure out how to anchor seamlessly in this boat I’m guessing the rest of you can figure it out as well. No, we’ve never even come close to having to employ the tender or any other such nonsense.

Helm Station-
Is it connected to the cockpit? No… but there really isn’t a cockpit in the Bali so its not a fair comparison. Instead, the seating/lounge area is made comfortable enough for everyone to join you above rather than staying down below. 
I actually wouldn’t want the steps to interrupt the indoor/outdoor space that the bali has crafted anyway. The helm is for sailing… the living space is for the rest of the time, which as a liveaboard is always going to be a far great number of hours. 
Do we have issues getting to/from the helm when underway, at night or during crossings, No. We have a rule to harness in before heading outside and you can use the large side window to slip outside and directly up the steps to the helm during watches.
Visibility? It’s superb. I laugh every time I read a negative review that talks about how high/disconnected the helm is, and then continues on to talk about how there’s bad visibility. Yes, its high… which results in great visibility.


All in, we’re VERY happy with our Bali. 
Are things in need of fix/repair? Yes… but maybe you’ve heard that things break on boats. 
Are the things breaking or loosening or wearing the same as (or less than) the things we see breaking on other catamarans cruising alongside us, yes. In fact, knock wood… we’ve actually had less issues than most. We know couples who purchased brand new FP and Leopards who’ve had to have serious warranty issues in the first few months/years (masts replaced, engine problems, leaks, etc). Overall, we consider our minor rattles and loosening pipes and leaks to be just that… minor.

I will say, that if you expect a ton from Bali in the way of after sales service… I’m not sure what you’ll find. The Bali is intended as a charter cat and my early emails seemed to be met with curiousity why i wasn’t just going through the charter organization rather than writing Bali directly. Have they helped when i needed it now that they understand why I’m talking to them, yes. On the upside… (other than pestering them for fridge draws or maintenance part numbers), have I needed them? No.


If you have other questions, details, clarifications don’t hesitate to ask, or if you prefer message us. Happy to share both good and bad!


Also, in response to your non-question of whether this life change is right for you??
It's amazing! and if we can say that with zero experience in the middle of our first season (when the fears/stresses/lows may still outweigh the good/positives/amazing ones)... you're gonna LOVE IT!!!
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Old 30-09-2019, 08:42   #15
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Re: Bali 4.0 / 4.1

Hi - Looks like you guys are having a blast. Just found this Forum and your site. I had a question about your experience on your beautiful Bali 4.0. My wife and 2 boys are booking our 3rd family bareboat to the Carib for April and first on a Cat. We did 2 great ones in BVI's past 2 years and heading to St. Vincent and Grenadines this year. The main question is about the sailing experience on the Bali. As a long tome monohull guy, I like the feeling of a cockpit where when sailing or someone else is at the helm I feel like I am outside and can look forward for traffic etc. The very cool and spacious saloon on the Bali looks to move so far aft that there is really no cockpit and are kinda forced to sit inside if you want a shaded spot to hang out in. The front cockpit looks awsome, but does not offer refuge from the sun. Do you feel like you are inside all the time when underway and not at the helm? We are looking at a Lucia 40 and Lagoon 42 as well as a 3 cabin Bali for our trip in April. The Bali is also the only one with A/C. Any insight on the under sail experience would be most helpful in helping us decide. Thx
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