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Old 10-14-2010
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I will be a little guarded in my comments, but here goes:

I live in SW Fl on our boat (wife, 2 kids, fat bulldog). The 6 foot draft is ok. There are many places you cannot go, but most of the time you can anchor a short way out and take your tender in. THat is always the most fun anyways. If you stick around 6, I would be surprised if you have many problems. And taht deeper draft will play in your favor when you get into the deeper water and are making longer runs (I believe they are more sure footed and point better).

Do not underestimate the importance of sailing well. You can't carry enough fuel to motor across the Atlantic. And better performing (sailing) boats have a huge safety aspect to them. Case in point might be when we came across the gulf. We got caught in a gale. I was hooking across at 8.5 - 9.5 kts. It minimized my exposure (and absolute discomfort). Now when the seas hit 10+ feet, I don't care what boat you are on, it gets uncomfortable with some baots worse than others. But if you are making best time across, you will be much happier. Plus, better sailing boats will use less fuel. You will be in light winds all the time (we are). Bobbing around at 3 knots stinks and you will get real tired of it real quick and turn on the iron ginny. There goes your fuel. Better sialing boats can get away with less fuel because they sail... a novel idea on a sailboat, I know.

I sail CIRCLES around IPs and Valiants - and my boat is grossly overloaded with everything from legos and books to a very large solar array. The wind has to really start blowing for the IP's of the world to catch up and when the wind is howling like that, you aren't going to want to go out in the first place because the seas stink. Now if you are in the middle of the ocean, you have no choice. I understand that. But all the better time to have a good performing boat that can make the most of the light wind days and have superior control when it is not so light (like being able to point and being sure footed).

I have (duck and cover) always felt that Sabres were over priced Catalinas and IP's were overpriced (and over hyped) tankers. For example, the PHRF on my C400 is 102. IP doesn't make a boat at any size that approaches that number that I am aware of! Not even their IP45 which is in the 126! In some respects, we hate racing against them because you can arrive at the finish line when they are still rounding the first mark, AND THEY STILL BEAT YOU!! Now the sabre has a better PHRF than we have. But the cost, lack of fuel, and general livability of them pushed me away as an option. Bottom line is I think they are overall a better boat than a Catalina (Jeff will break in and tell me about their expensive hull layup, etc), but are they THAT much of a better, comparably sized, Catalina? And the key negatives of taking a Catalina 400 across the pond (spade rudder, low tankage, wide open cockpit, open saloon, etc) are exactly the same issues you face with a Sabre.

So no one hate me, ok? THese are just my opinions. But if I was serious about his locations, I would seriously consider buying a Passport 40 (PHRF 138... which is a crock because I have seen them running faster than that) or if I could talk him out of actually sailing his boat across the pond (use dockwise to ship it), put him in a production boat which would be perfect for everything BUT crossing the pond (though we have Catalina that do it).

TO be clear on one other thing, I am not suggesting him buy a Catalina. I am not trying to tote the Catalina line. I am just pointing out some real negatives of the two boats he seems to be stuck on and trying to get him to consider other options, and why. Basically - don't underestimate the importance of performance.

And lawdawg, I am in Fort Myers Beach right now. If you are in that area too, we would be happy to meet you and your wife and show you around our boat and what works for us and what does not.

Brian
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2004 Catalina 400, Sea Mist IV (our boat, F/T Mobile Live Aboards in S FL and Keys primarily)
1987 Tayana Vancouver 42, Credendo Vides, (Mom and Pops boat, F/T Mobile Live Aboards in Puget Sound)

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