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Old 03-23-2007
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TNT,

Well, here comes the dissenting opinion.

If you are thinking about heading south to Florida and doing it in a multihull, you better start checking where you are going to park that battleship. SD may know better about up north, but finding a nice slip for a monohull (even more so for a multihull) is very difficult down south. If you come around the the SW side, it really gets interesting. Most slips are made for monos, not multis. You will find yourself with no way to park that thing most of the time and you will be limited to mooring fields (at best) or anchoring out (most likely). Now this may not seem like too bad of a thing (as I much prefer anchoring to crappy marinas) but there will be MANY times you wat to tie up and go to shore for a while (or days) to see the sights and get free of the boat. When you find out the limited slips where you can do that and even more so the extraordinary prices they are going to charge you (maybe twice a mono... they are crooks), you will not be happy.

I personally would also forget about crossing the Atlantic. That is not something a newby should take on, especially with kids. I would focus on the islands and Fl and the surrounding. That will be more than you can see in 5-10 years, much less one.

My opinion is similair to Cam's, a production, coastal cruiser. It is much more volumous than a passagemaking boat, will be newer, and makes a nice home for liveaboard. The comment about the 40 is probably not far off for a monohull. I like many of the benes and Jeauneaus. I love Catalinas (duh). We lived on a 380 with Chase and 2 dogs and are soon to ship back off with Glen too on a Catalina 400. You can find ways to get around the 3 stateroom problem in my opinion, even at that age. We seperate out the V on our 400 so each has their space (which is important). I can offer many more thoughts on cruising with kids too, if you are interested.

The dog will be an issue. I will be honest. Without regurgitating a bunch of old threads, you will be a bit limited to the Bahamas & US (though you can cruise further south, it will be irritating). However, you better start getting used to cleaning up 5 pound piles of crap of the deck (hopefully the deck). It can be done, and we do it, but you will get frustrated many times having to haul that dog to the shore (hopefully, where available) in a blinding rainstorm so he doesn't befoul the boat and stink it up.

I personally am not against cats. We seriously looked at a Lagoon 440. I think Privelege makes a fine cat too. I would be wary of any charter boat. I can tell you that the Catalina 380s are a well built boat and will go about anywhere you want to take them. I have never owned a Bene or Jeauneau, but I like many of their designs (and not some of the others). If you are going to pay cash for the boat, fine. If you are going to finance, which may make more sense (depending on your liquidity), you may find it easier to get the boat with a house versus not with it.

If your wife is moved for the peace corps, you can still get a "coastal" boat (which is not coastal, just more limited to maybe 5 day offshore passages or so - depends on the boat, could be more). You will just need to ship it via Dockwise from Ft. Lauderdale to the Med. From there it is an easy hop over to where you need to go. Given your experience, I would highly reccomend that anyways.

We cruise (or soon will again) with kids. Stay in touch with us. There are very few of us. Shoot away questions and I will try and answer them to the best of my ability. You have a lot to learn quickly.

Take care. Fair winds.

- CD
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