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Discussion Starter #1
I have been looking at Cats for about 18 months - mostly waiting for the financial (*&^ storm to blow over, but I hope to buy something in the next few months. I have been looking a PDQs, Wildcat, Prout (Snowgoose), and Dean as my primary interest.

Our criteria is: single-hand and long-term cruising and be bluewater capable.

Does anyone have any comments on these cats, or advice about what to watch for etc when buying a cat.

MediaGuy
 

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I'd add a used Manta to that list. They're out of business now like PDQ...but a used ones can be found.

Biggest thing to look out for...the manufacturer being in business!!! The financial $hit$torm has taken quite a few manufacturers out already
 

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Telstar 28
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I'd highly recommend two books to you:

First, Chris White's The Cruising Multihull, which is an excellent book, although it is getting a bit long in tooth.

Second is Mike Mullen's Multihull Seamanship, which goes into fairly in-depth discussions about the differences between handling a multi-hull and a monohull.

It would help if you said what your budget for the boat is, as that will certainly limit what catamarans you will have the choice of. In addition to your list of PDQs, Wildcat, Prout Snowgeese, and Deans, I'd add the Catalac 8/9/10Ms, the Leopards, Manta, Seawind, Iroquois, and the Geminis.

Welcome to Sailnet. I'd highly recommend you read this POST to help you get the most out of sailnet. I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether other boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey for boats that aren't worth looking at further.

Finally, I'd recommend you read the Multihulls In A Nutshell post I wrote a couple of weeks ago.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Buying A Cat to Cruise

Thanks SailingDog your reply was very helpful. I have read all the info you suggested and it will be put to good use. (much appreciated)

You asked about budget. I didn't mention it because part of our strategy to avoid potential problems related to the world-wide financial crisis is to buy the boat with a partner. We have not located the partner as of yet and they will need to have input on how much they want to spend. We are prepared to put in 40-50K so if the partner was to do the same we would be at 80-100.

Seems like boats are down in price (asking prices -20%) but not what you would expect under the circumstances. Boats may be selling well below the asking price, but there is no way to know that since there is no data on this.

We are retiring in June and want to cruise the caribbean during our winter (Nov - April) for at least 3 months. We want to buy now but we see some real risks which we are trying to mitigate. Number one is: there is a possibility that there may not be a market for boats at all in 5 years. Considering the number of boats available and the decreasing number of boaters, selling a boat could get harder and harder. If we wanted to leave sailing for health reasons etc down the road, we may have to take a bath.

The other risk is inflation which has been predicted. In that case our assets may be depreciated making sailing more difficult financially. There is one other issue we have to overcome and that is the exchange rate problems (we are in Canadian Dollars - paying for everything in USD) It has been a policy of the Cdn Government to keep the exchange rate at about 1.24 (ouch!). However, that has been the past and the future is a whole new ballgame.

The above huddles are real concerns with pulling the trigger now, although we both believe that there is always a reason not to do something and that creative solutions are possible. Buying a really good boat which is regarded by the sailing community is part of our strategy for a few reasons - enjoyment and resale. The partner is another, which allows us to get in and reduce the risk. We may look for a vender take-back as well, which would also help lighten the risk load.

We are open to any suggestions that anyone would have.....about boat choice, risk reduction, price of boats, the financial crisis and boating etc. etc.
Thanks for your help!!

MediaGuy
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Gemini

Just wondering about the Gemini as a bluewater cruiser? I have no experience with them but most of what I have read indicates that they are a lighter built boat for coastal cruising. Does anyone have comments on the Geminis??

We are thinking that by investing in a heavier built boat there is an advantage for safety, flexibility and resale value.

What do you think??

MediaGuy
 

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Telstar 28
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While not specifically designed as a bluewater boat, the Geminis have made several circumnavigations as well as trans-oceanic passages. The blog of one that is currently making a circumnavigation is that of Slapdash.

Larger boats, to a point, are going to be more seaworthy. However, given the budget constraints you have listed, getting a larger catamaran in decent shape is pretty unlikely. Also, I'd point out that the larger the boat—the more expensive the maintenance, mooring, dock, slip, and haulout fees are as a rule. A Gemini is designed so that it can be kept in a single width berth in many marinas...

I'd also point out that the scantling rules for multihulls is a bit different than that for monohulls. Monohulls have to be built much heavier to withstand the pounding seas due to having to carry all that weight around with them. Multihulls get beaten up a bit less since they tend to float on top of the waves rather than having to bash through them. That said, yes the Geminis are built a bit more lightly and to a specific price point than other catamarans, but it does give you a lot of boat for the money.

There are several Gemini owners on this forum that probably will be along to comment specifically about them.

In terms of full disclosure, I would point out that my boat, a Telstar 28, is made by the same company as the Gemini 105mc and I've sailed on Geminis and have several friends who have owned different versions of the boat over the years. Some of the issues I have with my boat are probably similar to those that Gemini owners have, but overall, I love my boat and wouldn't hesitate to get another one. My Telstar 28 is also probably the most heavily modified from stock of all the ones out there currently. :) They're not perfect boats, but they are a decent boat and a good value IMHO.
 

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Most of the South African catamarans have a good reputation. The Wildcat has had some delamination issues on at least one boat (see "Bumfuzzle"), but otherwise, these boats (South African cats- St. Francis, Leopard, S.A.cats, etc...) have real trials at sea as they make their way to the Caribbean from South Africa. French catamarans also typically make the leap across the pond under their own hulls, as did the English cats.
I like the PDQ, and there's one on yachtworld (either a 93 or 94 in Florida for under 140K) It's a 36-footer that should be a great catamaran for the Caribbean. A survey would be essential.
If you could get two partners, you'd all share the costs over time and could possibly charter it out or loan it to a chartering company when not in use by you and other owners.
You might be able to find a Catalac in good condition for your price range and have it all to yourselves.
BTW, the big fat nacelle hanging down under the transom on the Prout Snowgoose would put me off that design completely.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I think that would make for a lot of pounding. The biggest concern I have been told with the Snowgoose design is no trampoline up front. Does anyone have comments on that?? They seem to be well liked and have a great record but almost all newer designs use a trampoline.

You mention the Catalac, but I am not very familar with this boat. There doesn't seem to be many available on YW. Why do you suggest this boat?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I'd add a used Manta to that list. They're out of business now like PDQ...but a used ones can be found.


PDQ - is this recent news because I live nearby and hadn't heard anything.
 

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PDQ- I think Pearson bought out the powercat line, but the sailing cats are unfortunately a thing of the past.
Catalac- solidly built English catamaran that the designer claims have never lifted a hull (read as "will stay right-side up). It's an old design, but have many pond crossings. There should be some on YW. Probably more in Europe than here, but there are certainly a few here, even on the west coast.
The Gemini's have a lower bridgedeck and would be more apt to "slam" than a higher bridgedeck PDQ 32 or 36.
 

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Midwest Puddle Pirate
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I think Snort has his info a little mixed up. PDQ is alive and well. Antares Catamarans luxury sailing catamarans for liveaboard comfort extended cruising

I haven't sailed most of the cat's you've listed, but I have sailed a PDQ 42. I've also looked at a lot of cats at boat shows. If you can afford to write the check for a PDQ, that's the way I'd go. They don't come up for sale often, but I've been seeing more of them lately. There is a 2005 model listed on yachtworld for 550K, but there was an almost new one in florida just a couple of months ago for about 100K off list.
 

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Hi John,
You're right about the Antares. Is that being built in SE Asia (I'll admit confusion on that fact!)? But, I'm pretty sure the 32 and 36 are no longer in production. If you go to the PDQ website, they're just building the powercats. The Canadian firm which started the operation seems to be out of business. Others who are actually owners will hopefully chime in and let us know.
 

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You're right, the 32 and 36 are out of production. The only boat they make now is the Antares 44 sailing cat. As far as I know the Antares is still being built in Canada, but under new ownership.

I knew that the sail and power cats were separated now, but I didn't know why. Now I know.
 

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I actually like the cold-molded boats better than the cored-fiberglass ones. Properly built, they're more durable and just as low maintenance.
Don't be afraid of a cold molded boat, and there seems to be a lot of them built in Australia. Our dollars to theirs could be a deal maker?.....i2f
 

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Discussion Starter #16
QUOTE: I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether other boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey for boats that aren't worth looking at further.

I read your guide to buying a boat, and it was excellent. Thanks for that resource. Just wondering if there is something similar for catamarans. They seem to have their own unique problems. Have you thought of putting together something for us buyers who want a pre-survey inspection of a cat?

MediaGuy
 

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Discussion Starter #17
PDQ 32 and 36 no longer in Production

You're right, the 32 and 36 are out of production. The only boat they make now is the Antares 44 sailing cat. As far as I know the Antares is still being built in Canada, but under new ownership.
I knew that the sail and power cats were separated now, but I didn't know why. Now I know.

This is correct - I confirmed this today with the factory.
MediaGuy
 

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There really aren't any real specific differences between surveying a monohull or a catamaran or trimaran. The systems on the three are pretty similar and will likely have the same issues for the most part.

There are a few multihull specific issues that you'd need to check specifically.

Catamarans:

The steering is usually two rudders, one on each hull, and that complicates the steering setup a bit, with additional cables or linkages.

There are often two engines, two cutless bearings, two prop shafts on a catamaran. This complicates the electrical setup slightly and gives you more to inspect in terms of engine and propulsion.

Also, there are generally no keel bolts or hull-keel joins to worry about. Instead the hull-to-bridgedeck connection has to be inspected. In many designs, the hulls and bridgedeck are a single composite piece, with no fasteners or real "join" to speak of.

The rigging may often be simpler, with a spreaderless rig due to the wider stay base available on a catamaran. Some may have a rotating mast, which is a bit more complex and requires a bit more investigation and inspection.

Other than that, there really aren't any major differences between a cruising catamaran and a cruising monohull, in terms of things to watch out for.

Trimarans:

The biggest issue on trimarans is on the smaller sport trimarans that fold, since the folding system has its own complexities and mechanical problems. However, the aka structure and how well it has been maintained is a concern on many trimarans, and needs to be investigated.

These also may have a rotating mast, which is unusual on a monohull. Some may have simpler rigging without spreaders, but the folding boats generally have the rigging on the main hull and are rigged much like monohulls.

Many trimarans use an outboard motor as an auxiliary engine, and while that simplifies the inspection process, it also reduces the options for things like A/C, refrigeration, battery charging and hot water.



I read your guide to buying a boat, and it was excellent. Thanks for that resource. Just wondering if there is something similar for catamarans. They seem to have their own unique problems. Have you thought of putting together something for us buyers who want a pre-survey inspection of a cat?

MediaGuy
 
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