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Old 10-04-2020, 20:18   #1
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Broadblue 385 Design

Hi - my wife and I are looking to start our sailing adventure with little to no knowledge of sailing. We are looking at several boats including the Broadblue 385, Seawind 1160, Leopard 384, and a couple of Fountaine Pajots.

We quite like the feel of the Broadblue 385 but are finding it difficult to compare with the other boats in terms of safety, sailing performance, comfort, and durability. In particular, we note that the BB385 doesn't have any trampolines. Our understanding is that trampolines reduce the risk of capsize. Does this make the BB385 a riskier boat to sail? We are also interested in comments on whether the BB 385 suffers from excessive slamming due to the bridgedeck height - and does this materially impact its comfort and/or sailing destinations.

For context, we are mainly hoping to use the boat sailing up and down the east coast of Australia but want the flexibility to be more adventurous in the future. Being able to sail the boat single handed is also important as there will just be the two of us.

Many thanks
BB
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Old 11-04-2020, 01:53   #2
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Re: Broadblue 385 Design

Let's put it that way, no Pout boat, the company Broadblue originated from, had trampolines and they are one of the boats that were sailed around the world in high numbers.
Yes, the design may not be the most modern, but it seems to be working for decades.
And if you look at the Balis, the charterboats from the Catana group, don't have trampolines as well.
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:26   #3
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Re: Broadblue 385 Design

Nets are a design consideration, do not assume that because it does not have nets that the naval architects who designed it did not take this into consideration, As noted above number of the older designs and most power cats do not have nets. The finer the cats bows the more they will sink into the back of a wave, so look at the Outremer - long skinny bows, huge nets. As the bows get fuller toward the front the smaller the net area. Sure if you take a wave over the front it will not disperse as quickly, but will it capsize you - probably not unless you are going faster than your boat was designed for (reef early) . In fact I do not recall any reported pitch poles with solid fore deck, but quite a few with trampolines.
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Old 11-04-2020, 03:42   #4
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Re: Broadblue 385 Design

BraveBear if it’s the Broad Blue on the Gold Coast I think you will need to budget to have all that old Antifoul removed. It looks like a large build up in the pictures? Nice boat in the pictures. Not sure about the trampoline theory, I think once you are in those conditions anything is possible?
No reason why you could not single hand her. She seems well set up.
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Old 11-04-2020, 05:02   #5
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Re: Broadblue 385 Design

BraveBear, you may be focused on a narrow issue when broader issues will determine whether you ultimately like your first boat or determine that buying it was a mistake. Over the next several years, and maybe forever, you are not likely to get your boat into a situation in which whether or not it has a trampoline matters, if indeed having a trampoline matters at all.

Here's the opening post to a 2007 thread on this forum by a BroadBlue 385 owner:

A couple of forumites were interested in the pro's and con's of the Broadblue 385, I thought it made sense as a separate post, rather than hijacking the original thread.

We bought hull #1, the show boat, at the Southampton Boat Show 2005. It was used again at the London show in January 2006, It is now based in Gosport and last year we cruised it around the Solent and over to France and the Channel Islands.

It has a Prout style rig with both genoa and gennaker & twin Volvo 2020's. It is the 3 cabin layout, with a storeroom.

My comments below assume the comparison is with similar sized cats and it is all just my opinion <g>. There is no order, just as it came to me.

Pro's
#1
The set up of the cockpit means there is a very safe and secure feel to sailing it. We are not hardened sailors yet 25knt to 30knt winds do not put us off sailing. We have seen 40+knts over the deck, and on an English Channel trip we did 3 days in F6 to F7 with no concern about the boats ability to cope, some of it in rough'ish seas. It is not a wet boat.
#2
A large bimini with windscreens and side panels means the weather isn't an issue (and in the UK it could be). The deep cockpit and location of the helm means we sail in a thin fleece when we are passing folks in mono's in
full oilies. Visibility is good from the helm.
#3
There are always 4 to 6 of us onboard. Last year 3 weeks was our maximum in one stay (France and Channel Islands). We had no issue with storage, space, comfort or privacy. See below for caveats.
#4
It isn't fast, but it is easy to do a steady 7 to 8knts without any tweaking. Our trip across the Channel, in F3 to F4, averaged above 7knts. That was a loaded boat. There will be faster boats, but with a family sailing casually it was OK. I doubt you will ever see double figures in normal conditions.
#5
Build strength. Solid GRP hulls (maybe overweight by cat standards). For example while in a marina last year the port hull was t-boned by a Contest's anchor. Huge thump, boat rocked. I went for the insurance documents, the marina staff went to hold the Contest owner, son went to look at the hole. We struggled to find a mark on the gelcoat.
#6
Somewhat old fashioned build methods. You can get at almost everything. Roof linings come down and go back up. Furniture is fitted. You can get into the void under the raised saloon table. I even like the wasted space that is taken up by the double skin of the fore and aft bulkheads of the saloon. I'm sure I won't explain this well, but there is a gap between the apparent walls of the saloon and actual bulkhead. So, you can climb in and stand up inside the gap behind the steering wheel. This gives you access to the back of all nav station instruments, all the morse controls and wheel, the cockpit instruments and the base of the mast.
#7
The feel. It feels like a boat when you are on it. There is enough wood to avoid that practical, but plastic, ambiance of some cats.
#8
The rig. The mast is very well stayed to the point of over-engineering. The small fully battened main is very easy to raise and lower by hand, no winches needed. In fact I can raise or furl all sails without a winch and I am not strong. The main barely needs reefing, even up to 30knts, it is already the same size as a reefed main on most cats <g>. The genoa is of course very big by contrast, but easily furled if you need to reef, and easily 'let go' in a hurry. The gennaker is, to us, huge. We only use it up to F4/5, despite it being heavyweight material. You have a built in twin headsail set-up.
#9
If you ignore the associated con (see below) the solid deck is great when accessing the lockers or anchoring or sunbathing or entertaining.
#10
Loading. We are not blue water live aboards, but we are careless cruisers. We carry 6 people, 100 gallons of fuel and 100 gallons of fresh water, a portable generator, spare propellers, bikes etc. etc. There has been room for all this and it hasn't moved on it's marks, we're a good inch above.
#12
Robust. It has done quite a few miles in its short life, and has been abused through two boat shows. There is little sign of wear and tear on decks, floors, furniture or furnishings. It would still clean up nicely.
#13
The storeroom. How do those of you without a storeroom manage? It holds wet weather gear, wet suits, dehumidifier, dirty clothes basket, spare everything etc etc.

Cons
#1
Finish. Some areas show signs of shortcuts. For example the cabling to the windlass is crude and has failed and the roof linings were fixed with effective industrial velcro, which was glued, but it was not stapled. It sagged in very hot weather. Easily fixed, but clumsy.
#2
Rig. You can't reach the gooseneck from the cockpit, if you need to to reef the main you need to go up onto the coachroof. Once there, because you have the bimini, deep cockpit and sheltered wheel, you can neither see nor hear the helmsman. This would be solved by doing away with a full bimini. Then how do you get along the boom to furl sail? Some of the lines (main, topping lift etc) cleat off with cams as they exit the mast. I'd prefer them to be separate and lower down.
#3
Cats struggle to look attractive vs the sexier mono's and mobo's. Versus even other cats the BB385 isn't one of the best lookers, IMHO.
#4
Broadblue themselves. Nothing serious has gone wrong, but there are quite small things Broadblue were supposed to sort. They haven't, despite being asked by our dealer.
#5
There is only a small amount of storage in the cockpit.
#6
Our boat has the higher bunks, now lowered on newer models. Ours are clumsy, though bearable. The forecabin bunk narrows sharply at the bow. It is a squeeze for two, you'd need to be friends!
#7
Layout. You have to walk through the starboard heads to get to the s'board cabin. This actually turns out not to be an issue in itself, but we find everyone instinctively treats those heads as "en-suite" and so uses the owner's heads on the port side all of the time. A pain if you wanted an "owners hull".
#8
The chart table is aft facing and a clumsy shape. We use it for electronic planning and PC use, but paper charts have to go on the saloon table. Upside is almost limitless space for electronics.
#9
Contrary to the wishful thinking of some mono sailors it does tack quite readily, but it is a steady and stately business. The large head sail is balanced by the small main because the mast is set so well aft, and that main can do a fine job of weathercocking the boat once the genoa goes slack if you lose momentum. So we tend not to sheet the main hard in and we briefly back the genoa as we go around. You can get away with not doing it, but don't even think of short tacking!
#10
BB did not think through blinds on the round hatches. In the aft cabins there is no way to attach sensible blinds. They have not come up with a solution.

Finally bridgedeck clearance and that hard foredeck. Neither a pro or con. We don't sail in open oceans, just coastal passages and we have occassional slaps. However would we trade less headroom, less security, less saloon space, a higher centre of gravity or more windage to give us more clearance? Nope, but others may have different priorities.

Summary - if you are thinking safe, solid, reliable and capable, then the BB385 could be on your list. If your words are exciting, nimble and quick, well, maybe there is another boat out there!
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Old 11-04-2020, 05:24   #6
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Re: Broadblue 385 Design

Sure that you might face issues, when you buy hull #1. Also BB was a new company in 2005.
The boat is built now for 15 years and it's in it's 3rd version, so I think they did do some changes to the fit and finish...
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Old 11-04-2020, 17:20   #7
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Re: Broadblue 385 Design

You may have seen this review, but I think it is quite a nice looking cat
https://www.cruisingworld.com/sailbo...85-true-color/
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Old 18-04-2020, 23:04   #8
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Re: Broadblue 385 Design

Thanks to everyone for their comments. They have all helped us get comfortable with the Broadblue 385 as our first boat. All the best. BB
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