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byrondv 10-07-2007 02:28 PM

Liveaboard boats for the PNW
A while ago I posted a question regarding the best cruising grounds in North America ( ). It looks like I am most likely going to be heading out to the Seattle, WA area.

Now, I would get to live alone out there for a few months while the woman is over in Ireland (long story). This gives me the wonderful chance to buy a boat before she gets back and live on it for 6-8 months. Something that would never be acceptable if she were around.

So - what would be a good boat to liveaboard in the PNW? Noting that a good portion of the time will be winter.

I would like to spend roughly 100k and have looked at these:

Tayana 37:
Catalina 400:
Gemini 105M:

And yes, for those of you who are looking at the links. I know the Catalina 400 and Gemini 105M are over 100k. That is what happens when I spend to much time looking at boats :P I also looked at a few trawlers but I bring myself to admit I might want one...

The other option is getting an apartment downtown Seattle and probably getting a membership to a sailing club / charter operation with boats I could use to get a feel for Puget Sound and the area before buying a boat. But what fun is that?

Any good ideas on boats, liveaboard marinas (and if it is even possible to get in one) would be more then appreciated.

Trekka 10-08-2007 01:30 AM

I'd go for the Tayana, no question, if cruising the PacNW.

The Catalina and Gemeni may be nicer for living aboard, but I would not trade off the sailing capability and security of the Tayana for whatever they offer tied up in a dock. At some point you will want to go sailing.

The Catalina would be a nice boat in warm, sunny waters. Look at that swim platform stern... not much use up in Puget Sound, IMO. But it's great for San Diego, where it is.

The Tayana is darker down below than I would like, but with some creative, quality lighting some of that can be overcome. But it will never be full of sunlight. The Catalina definitely has that factor in its favor.

But my consideration is shaped by the fact that if I were there, I would would want to go sailing sometime, and the Tayana is a far better boat for that region.

camaraderie 10-08-2007 10:05 AM

Byrondv...will the woman be coming back to the boat and need to be happy with it?
Is the goal to cruise and live aboard up there...or to cruise far afield?

If you plan to stay local, and she needs to be happy and most of your time will be spent at the dock and living aboard...I'd get the Catalina. It has twice the space as the Tayana for living and sails just fine in moderate conditions. The Tayana is the boat if you're heading out to sea eventually.

byrondv 10-08-2007 12:45 PM

The woman will need to be happy with it - or it has a high chance of being sold. The goal is to cruise around Puget Sound, and hopefully make a few trips up and down the coast within the protected straits. (Trips up to Vancouver. Possibly a few trips though the Strait of Juan de Fuca and peek at the ocean.)

If I do ever go out to sea beyond just sticking to the coast - I would probably expect to sell the current boat and get something else.

Anyone have any thoughts on the Gemini? Any other boats I should be looking at?

sailingdog 10-08-2007 01:01 PM

Personally, I'd recommend getting the Gemini... It is probably the best in terms of liveaboard use and still has fairly decent sailing capability. Also, you won't run into the problems with heeling that TB and his better half have encountered.

byrondv 10-08-2007 01:22 PM

I wondered when you would say that SD ;) Though your point is well taken. She handles the heeling well enough on the 25' - but heeling a bigger boat could be a bit more nerve racking.

Any thoughts on build quality of the Gemini? They seem surprisingly cheap for a catamaran.

camaraderie 10-08-2007 03:26 PM

Heeling on a bigger boat feels much safer. If you start bringing your stuff aboard a Gemini you're gonna have about 2 inches of freeboard left! (g)Lets just say that the build quality is such that it might be called "modest" as cruising world did.

sailingdog 10-11-2007 12:09 PM


The build quality is not going to be the same as on Tayana or a Catalina. PCI, the makers of my boat and the Gemini catamarans, is aiming for a specific market—that of a decent performing but low-cost boat. As such, it is going to have significantly less wood below or on-deck than the Tayana or Catalina. The majority of the interior on both boats is going to be part of a hull liner, rather than furniture built in afterwards. However, given the prices of the various boats, I think you get a lot more boat for the same amount of money.

You should probably take a look at one. Some people don't like the rather spartan interiors, but others are just fine with it. I'd also recommend that you talk to ChucklesR and a few of the other Gemini owners that are on sailnet regarding their experience with the boat. Very few boats in the 34' range are going to give you a large master cabin and two other cabins, along with a decent size saloon, galley and nav station.

For liveaboard use, it may make a lot more sense than the Catalina or the Tayana. The Tayana isn't really designed as a liveaboard... it is a bluewater cruiser, and will have significantly less room. I know several people who liveaboard their Geminis and several have used one of the cabins as an "office".

PCI has almost 1000 Geminis out there, so they must be doing something that keeps the boat selling. One reason I bought my Telstar was at the boat shows, I ran into several Gemini owners, who were hanging out with the Performance Cruising guys, and the fact that they were there and freely talking about their experience with the boats was a big factor.

I've also spent quite a bit of time talking with Tony Smith, designer of the Telstar and Gemini and owner of PCI, about the Telstar and was pleasantly surprised by how open he was about talking about the pros, cons, advantages and shortcomings of the design, as well as open about discussing changes to it. The other PCI people I've had regular contact with, Neal and Will, have also been very good.

Finally, they do ask their boat owners for constant feedback and take that feedback to improve and change the product.

BTW, the load carrying capacity of the Gemini and Telstar are a bit better than most people would expect. I have mine loaded for bear, with a fair bit more in the way of supplies, tools and equipment than she was probably designed to carry, she does just fine.

winddancer88 10-11-2007 03:28 PM

The Catalina is the best liveaboard of the three you listed, though you'll need to add some canvas (a dodger at the least). I don't completely agree with the swim step comment. I'd love to have one on my boat. True, the water is colder up here, but a step makes getting in and out of the dink easier. Especially if you have a dog or children. And there are a few places to swim from your boat where you don't need a wet suit. ;)

rsn48 10-11-2007 11:17 PM

If you come to the Pacific North West and BC Coastal area, take my advise; only get a motor sailor or a sailboat with an inside steering station such as the Sceptre 41:

We get a lot of rain and owning a boat like the Sceptre 41 will extend your sailing season. Believe everything you have heard about Vancouver and Seattle rain. If your boat doesn't have an inside steering station, don't buy it.

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