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post #1 of Old 01-25-2013 Thread Starter
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The search begins

We are about 1 year away from buying a boat to use as a winter retreat to the Caribbean. The timeline is set up to decide a few things. Monohull or Cat, I am seriously leaning towards a Cat because of the space and we have 4 kids with 2 grandchildren and a 4 berth Cat is about the only way we would ever fit on a boat for a Xmas in the tropics. We would be living aboard from November until March of each year. The second thing is of course to decide which Cat. Budget would not exceed 400k under any circumstances. We don't want a boat older than 10 years and I would prefer to stay under 300k to allow some budget for improvements and extra living buffer.

Other than the first question which is something I am going to decide with a 3 week charter of both a monohull followed by a cat I would like to know what brands of cat you folks would suggest. ( I am far more familiar with brands of Monohull) I would like quality over quantity. A high quality 38 is much preferred to a low quality 47. Happy if the price is right to refit and replace items so a chartered boat is not out of the picture given a sound hull. Replacing the engines of a high hours diesel ( as a farmer I figure 5000 hrs is about the useful end of a tractor engine and about the same in a boat engine.) But knowing which brand of Cat is a quality brand is a bit more challenging. I have spent hours looking at boats online but what the actual quality difference of a Prout, Admiral, Lagoon, Leopard, FP, Privilege, Catana or a Nautitech is I simply cant tell based on my experience. I have ordered Chris Whites book, Mc Mullen and Tarjans.

As to my experience, Its not extensive, we have completed Offshore's bareboat and cruising courses with fast track to passage-making in cards this coming fall. I spent 4 years in the RCN doing Met, Radar and Nav. I am a Farmer so hands on maintaince and hay wire repairs isn't at all foreign to me but getting experts to expert stuff is my general approach. We have been chartered sailors up until now but the cost of chartering for the period we need isnt cost effective and strangely enough I really want to get my hands dirty working on my own boat.

So there it is an idea of Cat brand quality ratings would really help me out here.

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