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Discussion Starter #1
G'day all
We are a family of 4, 7yr daughter & 4yr son who are selling up & sailing. We've sold the house!, now need a boat.
The plan is to buy in the Caribbean & get it sailed to the Med where we will start gently cruising 'till we get the hang of things.

So, any experience with the Leopard (Robertson & Caine) 47', she seems solid, seaworthy (by Cat standards), able to carry the weight we will create, and have space to liveaboard.

Any comments/suggestions?

There are related questions re VAT, CE & the Med rules??, length of stay etc etc, but that'll come later. For now i'm interested in the Leopard as a safe familly platform for extended cruising.

Thank you
Jono
 

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While I haven't sailed on the Leopards, I understand that they're very nice cats. I've sailed on a Gunboat 48, which I believe is designed by the same designer as the Leopards, Melvin and Morelli. Is there any particular reason you chose the Leopards?

Weight is always an issue on any multihull.

Are you planning on buying new or used?

It would help if you said where you plan on registering the boat... as that will affect VAT, CE, and Med import rules. It would also help if you said where you were from and what citizenship you hold, as that also has some bearing on the issues you're asking about.

Do you plan delivering the boat to the Med yourself or hiring a delivery captain to do so?

edit: BF- LOL... didn't see your post until after I posted mine.
 

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It sounds like you might be looking at a used charter boat, since you mention buying in the Caribbean. That would be helpful info as well, to give better advice.
 

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Good point PB..

The charter boats are often in pretty rough shape... since they're often used by less than excellent sailors, who don't have the problem of ownership, so the care they take may not be as careful as it should be. Also, I've noticed that with any large piece of equipment, cars, trucks, forklifts, sailboats, etc, the more operators you have, generally the worse shape it will be in...

The other problem with the charter boats, is that often the gear is minimally sized. Instead of getting a ST48 winch, they'll get the ST40 winch, since it will do the job, but just barely... and they pocket the savings...
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That was quick!
We live in Australia & have applied for citizenship, but we (adults) are English by birth & the kids Aussies. So we should have dual citizenship by the time we leave (early July).
Registering the boat? We have no firm ideas yet as we don't understand all the implications around this.
We don't necessarily want to import it to Europe, the plan, if we think we are up to it, would be to sail it back to NZ/Oz and sell her there.
It is quite possible we will spend two years in the Med.
Ideally I will sail her over initially with a hired skipper, but there is the work/time mix involved in that!
Why a Leopard: for our budget, they seem the most seaworthy, strong allround liveaboard.
Yes, it will probably be a ex charter boat and we are prepared to spend money bringing her up to our spec. Some of the neglected privately owned boats scare me equally as much. Hopefully the budget will stretch to a later model which will not have had as much abuse.

There are some good looking Leopard 45's which are privately owned and appear to have been well maintained, so they are an option.

Hope that helps some.
Cheers
Jono
 

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Jono-

Given the size of the boat, I would go with the smaller 45s, that have been privately owned. The space difference is not going to make that much of a difference once you're up past 40' IMHO... Especially given that your children are relatively young. A privately owned boat is much more likely to have been abused less, have less wear and tear and have better upgrades, as private owners tend to like their toys and put them on their boats, where charter boats usually have the minimum expected.

The problem I see is that you can't stay in the EU waters for two years without paying the VAT and essentially importing the boat, so you'd have duck out of the EU waters for a bit during that time frame. That shouldn't be a big issue IMHO, given the capabilities of the boat.

However, when you bring the boat to Australia, you will definitely be paying the import duties and taxes on it there. I'm sure our Aussie and Kiwi fellows can chime in on this.

If you will have your Austrailian citizenship by the time you are ready to go, I would recommend that you register and flag the vessel in Austrailia. The paperwork for doing that will probably be less complicated that flagging it in another country, except possibly the UK.

However, flagging it in Australia will prevent any problems with VAT and such if you should decide to visit the UK with the boat on your way over to the Med. If it were flagged in the UK, you would then be responsible for paying the VAT and making sure it had EU RCD certification upon entering UK waters. By registering it in Australia, you avoid the EU RCD certification requirement and the VAT problems.

I hope that helps.
 

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Hmmmm.. I just found that I had registered here in 2001 and not been back! Okay, a few years ago I crewed on a delivery of a Leopard 47 (Moorings 4700) to Ft. Lauderdale via Cape Hatteras.... I was NOT impressed by the sailing. Off the wind no problem, which is true of most boats. Beating to windward it was very uncomfortable; felt like 100 midgets all w/ rubber mallets were beating on the hulls!
Now, I will admit this was my first (and only) time at sea on a Cat. but I didn't like it. The hefty cross member would slam into waves that weren't all that big (4-5') and just shake the whole boat. I have several thousand miles of blue water sailing, about a third under race conditions, and usually sleep pretty well at sea; I slept like crap the whole trip.
I also did not like the fact that you basically have to leave the "cockpit" and get up to trim the main. I felt very exposed. One good jolt and I'd have been thrown to the hull and it wouldn't have been pretty.


THAT SAID... it was REALLY nice to be able to walk around the cabin, fix something to eat and in general feel comfortable even at sea. And taking a HOT shower underway was reallllllllyyyyyy nice. The model we were moving had the hard top which I would highly recommend.

Think you'd probably do better w/ something a little smaller though. Maybe like 40'. I know too many people who bought too much boat, including a former coworker that bought a Grand Banks 49' trawler w/o EVERY owning a boat before; he sold it a year and a half later at a big loss.

Hope I'm not raining on your parade, have fun and good luck!
 

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Slamming of the bridgedeck under rougher conditions is a pretty common problem. The problem a lot of catamarans have is that they have a lot of windage, and that can make their windward performance and their ability to tack less than stellar. Trimarans generally have much better sailing performance, and tack much like a monohull, since they tend to pivot around the main hull.

The motion on a multihull is very different from that of a monohull. It tends to be faster, since the boat doesn't have a heavy keel to give it the inertial mass a monohull has.
 

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The motion on a multihull is very different from that of a monohull. It tends to be faster, since the boat doesn't have a heavy keel to give it the inertial mass a monohull has.
Going to windward the Leopard was NOT all that great a performer. Off the wind it was, but so are most other boats. For a Catamaran I would have expected a little more speed. And the 47 has two shallow keels w/ a ton or so of lead in them to keep them from capsizing, but tends to give it some inertia. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing; lightweight boats tend to STOP in heavy seas instead of carrying through.

I PERSONALLY would not want one for blue water cruising. Gunking around the islands w/ some friends it would be one hell of a party platform though!:cool:
 

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Sailordave-

Heavy is relative... the keel on a 47' monohull would weigh how much??? :D

The Shannon 47 has
13,500 lbs of ballast.. So, 2000 lbs is really not a whole lot in comparison. :rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Guys
Thank you for your comments, that's the kind of feedback I was looking for. Funnily enough I was just going to post on the cruising forum the question "when is big too big for a Cat". We will be a couple, sure we'll cope no probs when things are cruisy, but what about when things heat up & the roller reefing breaks in a heavy sea (pick any scenario). The bigger the boat the heavier the sail etc.
Sailor Dave, it's a shame you haven't sailed other Cats so you could give a comparitive account.
The choice of boat will be a Cat, but which one & what size is now up for debate.
Are you sure the waves were only 4'-5'?
Cheers
Jono
 

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Jono-

The bridgedeck on most cats is usually less than five feet from the water, at least until you get to the megacats... like the Gunboat 62. The reason for this is to limit the windage caused by the bridgedeck salon. If the bottom of the bridgedeck is five feet from the water and the salon has six feet of head room, that means the cabin top is over 11' from the water. That's a lot of windage, and negatively affects the boat's performance, like the ability to tack, quite a bit.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi Sailingdog. I appreciate your comments and wonder what you think about the "when is big too big for a cat" quandry I'm raising. I'm no muscle man, my partner is strong for a lady but has limited upper body strength. i know experience counts for a lot & we have some of that, but is 47' pushing it for two people?
Cheers
Jono
 

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Leopard cats

Hi:

I think you should consider chartering one of the bigger cats you are interested in to see if you and your wife are able to muscle it around. You're talking about making a pretty big expenditure, and you might find out this isn't what you want to own.

I've owned a Morris 32 monohull for 8 years, which is a moderate displacement boat built in the US. Once a year or so I charter in the Caribbean with some friends of mine. I previously owned a smaller sailboat and have been sailing for over 30 years.

Last year we chartered a Moorings/Leopard 45 with 3 other couples in the BVI, and last week I returned from chartering the new Lagoon 50 out of Martinique. Other than those experiences (about 18 days total), my catamaran history consists of daysailing or small beach cats.

Compared to my little boat, these big cats are astonishingly spacious. There's so much room to move around, I'm not sure what I'd do with it all. If I filled it up with junk, which is the temptation when it's available, I'm sure performance would be seriously compromised.

No surprise, these boats don't much care for windward work. They probably don't go any closer than 55 degrees true to windward, as compared to 45 degrees for most cruising boats, and even closer for performance monohulls. That's a fairly significant difference in windward performance. The cats are, however, pretty quick on a reach. Downwind, they aren't all that impressive as the swept back spreaders keep you from being able to let out the mainsail very far.

Whether any of us on the charters would consider owning one of these big cats is an issue that regularly comes up while we are sailing them. In general, none of us would consider owning cats that big. The problem is the loads are enormous, and in my opinion higher than I'm comfortable my wife and I would be happy to face on a daily basis.

Let me give you an example. On my boat, the mainsail is about 250 sq. ft. I have a small winch on the mast, but normally hoist the sail without mechanical assistance except for the last few feet. On the Leopard 45 we sailed, the mainsail was almost 1000 sq. ft. It's a full batten sail, built of heavier cloth that on my boat (due to the sailing loads), and I don't know how much it weighed, but I seriously doubt my wife or I could carry the sail down the dock if it were bagged up. On the Leopard, there was a huge Lewmar winch on the mast, which was needed for basically the entire hoist. Indeed, the higher gear ratio was necessary when adult males hoisted the mainsail for probably the last 20 feet or so. (The mast on these boats is over 70' high.)

Normally it took 3 of us to hoist the main, with two alternating on the winch and one keeping the battens out of the lazyjacks.

On the Lagoon 50 we charted last week, the main halyard was mercifully controlled by an electric Harken winch.

When you are sailing and look skyward at these big mains, you really appreciate what enormous sailing loads are at work.

I know there are couples and families that sail Leopard 45s, as I've seen a few of them in the islands, but I'm impressed they are able to do so. Without electric or hydraulic winches, however, I think they are facing considerable difficulties, particularly with the mainsail.
 

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liveaboardjono said:
Hi Sailingdog. I appreciate your comments and wonder what you think about the "when is big too big for a cat" quandry I'm raising. I'm no muscle man, my partner is strong for a lady but has limited upper body strength. i know experience counts for a lot & we have some of that, but is 47' pushing it for two people?
Cheers
Jono
That is a definite consideration, especially since a lot of the time you both will be effectively singlehanding, since the other will be off-watch and resting or cooking or caring for the children.

Many ocean crossings have been done in smaller cats, and even a smaller cat, say 37-40' is going to provide more than enough room for you and your family, but will have much more manageable sails and ground tackle.
 

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So what has happened?

This doesn't really need to be in the forum but the great computer won't let me send a private message until I have posted 5 times .... therefore...

Hello liveaboardjono

we are essentially in the same boat (no pun intended) that you were last year. ie we are looking at a retired moorings cruisers and hope to sort of gunk hole for a year before setting out on a circumnavigation. Soooooo

What did you end up doing / getting and how is it going?

thanks sk
 

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How about a Seawind 38? That seems like a lot of boat to me and should be sufficient for two adults and two kids.
Seeing as you're in Australia already, have you seen this particular catamaran?
I keep hearing about another catamaran built there called the Lightwave too. Might also be worth checking out.
 

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Going to windward the Leopard was NOT all that great a performer. Off the wind it was, but so are most other boats. For a Catamaran I would have expected a little more speed. And the 47 has two shallow keels w/ a ton or so of lead in them to keep them from capsizing, but tends to give it some inertia. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing; lightweight boats tend to STOP in heavy seas instead of carrying through.

I PERSONALLY would not want one for blue water cruising. Gunking around the islands w/ some friends it would be one hell of a party platform though!:cool:
What a load of tripe - a cat with lead in the keels! On top of that you claim to have sailed on one? If you did, it obviously was not in a capacity of any responsibility.
What unbelievable nonsense to write.
Even a pea brained idiot knows that cats do not have ballasted keels. Keels yes, ballasted keels no. Anyone with real knowledge, you do not even need to have put a foot on board a boat to know about this, shall be aware of why some boats have ballasted keels whilst other just have keels.
If you dont know, then rather keep quiet then post incorrect speculation whilst pretending to have knowledge. Yours is a dangerously incorrect posting.
 
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