Catamaran Questions from a Newbie
OK. For all of you sailors with plenty of blue water sailing under your belts -- Let me first say, I salute you for living your passion. Next, I'd like to get some seasoned advice from your experience.
My wife and I are looking to purchase our first boat. We have no real sailing experience. The plan is to buy a liveaboard that we can learn the ropes with, perhaps a year or so in 'gentle' waters of the Caribbean, and then off to points around the globe. Lessons, of course, are part of the plan.
We've decided that a sailing catamaran makes the most sense for us as they are more stable, safer, etc..
I would like to know what advice as to what is the minimum and maximum size we should consider for our first boat? We do not want to hire a crew.
I've been looking at the Antare's 44, but question if it is really big enough for extended blue water cruising and comfortable liveaboard? What are the equipment and features that should be considered absolutely necessary, and what equipment/features are desireable, but not really necessary? What is the maximum size catamaran 2 can reasonably handle in the Caribbean without additional crew members? And for trans-pacific or trans-atlantic crossing, what is the minimum number of crew for safe passage?
Also, I am wondering if technology has really advanced all that much in the last 10 years -- is a Catamaran built before, say, 2003 going to be less safe/comfortable/enjoyable than a newer model. We will, of course have a professional survey done before any purchase.
We are leaning towards a used Cat. Used 'Owners versions' seem to be significantly more expensive than 'charter' boats. Other than the obvious upgraded amenities, are charter boats in generally poorer structural/mechanical shape?
Finally, is there a Catamaran model or company that you particularly like and would recommend?
Thanks, your insight is most appreciated.