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kootenay 01-25-2013 06:46 AM

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.

Faster 01-25-2013 10:25 AM

Re: The search begins
 
Sounds like you've got your ducks in the right row.. (love your sig, btw!;))

FWIW we have friends that were long time multihull sailors, but when it came time to choose a boat for all-winter Island hopping in the Easter Caribbean they chose a mono. It was not about accommodations (just the two of them), but about performance, safety, to some extent budget, and practicality (moorage - though as it turns out that's not nearly the issue down there that it is in BC)

We've sailed their mono alongside the typical 40ish chartered cat and the time difference on a 50 mile passage was less than what it took the multi's crew to prepare to enter the harbour, so in practical terms the performance aspect is not significant either, though of course that depends on the boats involved..

Anyhow you've got a fun-looking year ahead! keep us posted!

TQA 01-25-2013 11:11 AM

Re: The search begins
 
Small cats, say sub 40ft, are often seen motorsailing in typical inter island passages. Why cos they seem to get slowed or stopped by the wave patterns. AKA the Caribbean 2 step.

I think you should look for a cat with a waterline length of at least 44 ft. Check out the French islands for ex charter cats at reasonable prices. Something like this CLICKY .

I am retired in the area you talk about as liveaboard on a monohull. If I wanted to house the numbers you talk about then a cat would have been my choice.

Re engine hours 5000 -6000 hrs is the approximate equivelent of 250,000 road miles. I would not be too frightened of high hours if the engines start easliy and don't smoke under load.

kootenay 01-26-2013 03:25 PM

Re: The search begins
 
I will have a look in the French Islands. As well as a larger boat. Of course if someone has a slightly used Hylas 49 for a super low price I could be convinced otherwise.I love Martinique. Fell in love with the Island in 1980. I would imagine that one would have to consider VAT in any EU jurisdiction as an issue. In looking at the Offshore list I see that the Leopard are well thought of and seem fairly reasonable given the charter use.

TQA 01-26-2013 07:09 PM

Re: The search begins
 
Vat would not be an issue as you are exporting the boat and are not an EU resident.

BTW not all Leopards have the cushion cover color and pattern in the example I gave.

Incidentaly I just spent a month in Martinique, it was great.

SloopJonB 01-27-2013 12:22 PM

Re: The search begins
 
When we chartered in the BVI we had a French 47' Harmony monohull. When we were prepping to go out, a couple of us spoke to the manager of the operation about the cats - they had many for charter. He was an experienced offshore sailor - sailed over from France some years before and had a very nice old mono of his own.

He realized we were "real" sailors and simply said "motorhomes" with a bit of a Gallic sneer. :D

Just so's ya know. ;)

The women all seemed to love them though.

kootenay 01-28-2013 07:35 PM

Re: The search begins
 
I wouldnt disagree with the description of a Cat as a motor home. But its really about how you we would be using it. Right now we are sitting down in Playa Hermosa, CR and my wife is making all kinds of cooing noises about tropical homes and lots and gardens. (I need to get salt under her feet pretty quick, time for a Bareboat charter this spring I think) Given that the option is a home that is stuck in one place having a Motor home that you can relocate and enjoy the journey is in my mind a viable counter to her evil urges. The comfort and size would make her happy and in my case anything with a hull and a sail is going to satisfy my urge to a great degree. As I said above I could talk her into a Hylas 49 CC but thats abit out of our budget I suspect. Sometimes its about staying married and sailing as well as how good a blue water platform it is.

SloopJonB 01-28-2013 09:06 PM

Re: The search begins
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by kootenay (Post 982448)
I wouldnt disagree with the description of a Cat as a motor home. But its really about how you we would be using it. Right now we are sitting down in Playa Hermosa, CR and my wife is making all kinds of cooing noises about tropical homes and lots and gardens. (I need to get salt under her feet pretty quick, time for a Bareboat charter this spring I think) Given that the option is a home that is stuck in one place having a Motor home that you can relocate and enjoy the journey is in my mind a viable counter to her evil urges. The comfort and size would make her happy and in my case anything with a hull and a sail is going to satisfy my urge to a great degree. As I said above I could talk her into a Hylas 49 CC but thats abit out of our budget I suspect. Sometimes its about staying married and sailing as well as how good a blue water platform it is.

Have her read Arthur Ransome: "Houses are but badly built boats so firmly aground that you cannot think of moving them. They are definitely inferior things, belonging to the vegetable world, not the animal." :)


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