Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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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.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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