Review Date: Thu January 22, 2004
||Would you recommend the product? Yes |
Price you paid?: None indicated
| Rating: 0
We were sailing a Beneteau 39 with a wing keel, which drew only 4'6", and we thought we had a great boat for Southwest Florida's skinny water. We loved gunkholing our new sailing grounds in Charlotte Harbor, and we were trying to get used to the weather patterns that determined our sailing schedule.
The best sailing was Spring and Fall...roughly April through June and October into December. Extending that season by a few weeks meant dealing with squalls that could catch you by surprise. And that's when we starting noticing that we didn't really enjoy rough weather. Maybe it had to do with reaching post-adulthood. Maybe it dealt with my wife's inner-ear problem, which made her want to jump off the boat when we were knocked down by rough winds.
Whatever the reason, we were surpised to find that the problem simply didn't exist when we went sailing with some friends on their 38-foot Manta catamarran. "Sailing flat" is really fun, we found. And my wife's enjoyment of sailing was back, as soon as the heeling went away.
The next time we went to the Miami Boat Show, we found that Endeavour was previewing a new hull they had introduced. The was the factory that was building the Manta as that time, so we were interesting in seeing what they had come up with.
It was a 36-foot version of their successful 34-foot cat. My wife and a friend of hers went aboard, and she returned to say "I could love cruising on this boat."
She liked the fact that cat bridgedecks sit above the water, with a great view. She loved the extra space that two hulls provide. She liked the extra stateroom foreward, which we have come to think of as our "TV and reading" lounge.
I liked the fact that this boat's designers had obviously done a lot of cruising, and knew how to make it easy and enjoyable.
Led by our wives, one of my sailing friends and I approached Endeavour about the boat. After some discussion, we proposed a deal-- "Make us a great offer, and we'll buy two."
"Great idea," said Endeavour, "but we already have customers for the next several hulls."
Well, there went our negotiating power. Nonetheless, we kept talking. We got to know the Endeavour staff, because we were within a couple of hours from their Clearwater, Florida factory. We found that Bob and Alice Vincent rescued the Endeavour marque from obscurity, and came up with the concept of selling affordable cats as a way of surviving the "luxury tax" debacle that killed so many boat builders.
The Endeavourcat-30 could be sold stripped by just under $100,000, so it escaped the luxury tax. It kept Endeavour in business. But buyers started saying they needed more boat for cruising, and the Endeavourcat-34 was the answer.
One owner came to the Vincents and asked if they could build a "one off" version with extra space with the wife's wheelchair, so she could continue sailing. The result added a couple of feet to the rear deck (my wife calls it our "dance floor," and the change added some hull speed to the boat. The beam was kept to 15 feet...narrow by cat standards, but great for finding dockage at yacht clubs and marinas. The Vincents decided to make it a production model.
By the time we met them, Bob and Alice's son Rob had become the marketting guy for the company. He was instrumental in fine-tuning the boat to marketting conditions. The hull we bought-- number 5-- contained some refinements that Rob helped us develop, and it was really fun being involved in the boat's construction, from watching it come out of the mold, to seeing the canvas installed. The Endeavourcat family, including production manager Mike Keihl, became almost part of the family.
So why do we love this boat?
First, it's extremely comfortable. We sail for enjoyment, and we've reached an age where we don't want to stress ourselves while cruising. The Endeavour family of cats is a perfect match for our goals.
I remember claiming some years ago that "Cats aren't really sailboats." I could just as logically have claimed that people who explored the Pacific Ocean weren't really sailors. If you look at the history of sailing, monohulls have been favored for many centuries by people who have a haul goods over large expances of water. Early sailors who wanted to get people safely from one place to another have used multihulls. Whether you research boats with amas or true multihulls, people get places faster and more comfortably on boats that don't have to heel.
Do you think that's cheating? I used to feel that way, but I've come to enjoy the feeling of finding just the right combination of sail set to move my cat at hull speed without stressing the rig in fresh winds. (Yes, that's the biggest difference between monohull and multihull sailing in my opinion: You have to pay attention to rig stress, because the boat just sits there are goes faster when the gusts increase. There's no extra heel to warn you to point up.)
Twin diesel saildrives-- ours are 29HP Volvos-- allow you to spin this boat in its own length. For the first time in this sailor's history, I enjoyed coming into marinas I didn't know, because I had such complete control of the boat-- even in moderately strong crosswinds. I starting to enjoy telling dockmasters that I would back the boat into the slip.
When we sailed up north, I laughed at people who wasted their money putting air conditioning aboard. Here in Southwest Florida, it is mandatory. And if you're going to enjoy A/C at anchor, you have to take that horrible next step-- a generator. We put one on, the the world did not end. In fact, it opened up new vistas.
We found that cats allow a sailor to add ponderous amounts of extra weight to the boat without slowing down the speed below that of comparably-sized monohulls. We comfortably cruise in the company of friends on trawlers, and keep up at 8 knots.
If you're looking for comfort, convenience and a well-build boat with a lot of positive surprises, you could do worse than to look at an Endeavourcat-36.