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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife and I are in the market for a pilothouse, which shouldn't be a suprize to any PNW sailors ;). There are several makes/models that we are attracted to and one that seems non-traditional to me but certainly common enough is the Nauticat. We're looking at 1970-80s vintage natuicat 38s mainly which are the sparman/stephen's design that draft 6ft.

Any thoughts on these boats? Any known issues I should be aware of or look for? Thoughts on their sailing performance or offshore seaworthyness?

I'm not scared of big windows for our proposed route (milk run followed by circumnavigation of Australia) but I am looking at the wooden sliding doors with a little suspicion.

MedSailor
 

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I have sailed a Nauticat 37 (sloop rigged). But not a 38.

I checked some pictures on yachtworld and there are some similarities.

The teak rails are nice and sturdy, but once past a beam reach I found that an outboard barber hauler was necessary to prevent chafe on the jib sheet.

The pilot house does result in a high centre of effort in the main which can lead to tenderness. The one sailed had a tall rig as well.

The hydraulic steering was a little tricky. You have to remember to transfer control.

Engine access was via the saloon floor. There were two layers to remove. The floors are secured well.

The workmanship was great.
 
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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Some time back we had a NautiCat owner on board SailNet and they were in the main positive about their boat but I seem to remember two points.

1. The sliding doors posed an insurance issue for offshore use.

2. One of the owners found the motion unacceptable. Again from memory only but I seem to recall something about the height of the aft deck being the problem.

I dare say that era NC would be something of a motor sailor in light airs but for the coconut run should be fine though maybe sailing ability would be more of an issue once you are tromping around Australia and/or heading home.

As I said I'm going off my somewhat faulty memory from days past. User was maybe TrueBlue ? They havn't posted here for some years but do a search of that name and have a read.

Someone else has a Nauticat as well don't they ?
 

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I will add stuff as it comes to mind.

The showers drain into the bilge - not wise in my opinion.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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Nauticat's construction quality is top notch and the interior woodwork is absolutely beautiful. I've never sailed one but there have been a few in to the marina here and the owners tend to love them (the 38's, well, actually all of them). Like TD I recall an owner of a 38 that posted regularly here but can't remember the name, I'll do a search and see if I can find something.
There has been a NC 38 in a storage yard between the Sw. slough and Anacortes (south side of Hwy 20 just west of the topsoil place) for years, I keep looking at it wondering if it will ever see the water again.

edit: the owner I was trying to remember was "Christyleigh" and also as TD mentioned "TrueBlue".
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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I will add stuff as it comes to mind.

The showers drain into the bilge - not wise in my opinion.
erkk .... why oh why would anyone do this ? The smell is gonna get you.

My only other thought is that before we bought our current boat we did seriously consider a pilot house/deck saloon albeit not Nauticats themselves and one of the major reasons for not going PH was heat through those big windows. For the PNW I'd not argue and would almost certainly go PH but not for the tropics.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the thoughts so far. Keep 'em coming!

The tropics issue is one we're really batting around quite a bit. We are going to be here in the PNW for the next several years with little ones that will likely get cold, so the pilot house is good. Once in the tropics, it could be a liability for sure, but orginally we weren't planning on spending more than about 8-9 months in the south pacific. We are more interested in the Aussie part. But then again, the Kimberlies (NW australia) appeal greatly, as does that big reefy thing in the NW, and it's hot up there too. The cockpit is also not a great big place for entertaining which is something I assume people do in warmer places. ;)

I've experienced the swelter of the greenhouse effect of pilothouse (power) boats before, but I wonder if the huge skylight and the side doors would mitigate that?

We looked at a 43 and it looks like a whale to me. Only drafts 5 foot as well. I can't imagine it would sail at all. The 38 has a modified-fin /cruising keel with a skeg hung rudder and I think the one we're looking at is the tall rig. I wonder if that would sail any better? Any thoughts on the SA/displacement ratio on this one? I don't really know how to read those numbers and I don't know if they are adequately canvassed.

I am always told my Formosa won't sail, but we've sailed upwind into anchor twice (engine failures) in winds of 2-3 knots and she goes like a scalded cat when the wind picks up. She doesn't point for beans, but the rest is good. I wonder how the Nauti-38 would compare to my current boat's sailing ability....

Good thoughts on the motion. You are really up there in the pilot house, and REALLY up there in the cockpit...
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Kimberleys - stinking hot, same goes for Queensland (thats where the big reefy thing skulks) and all over the top end much the same. Further south while it gets hot in summer we have generally balmier conditions. You'll also be up there in what we laughingly call winter cos summer they have some mighty cyclones that i have on good authority can be a bugger to sail through. ;)

Killarney is a good man to talk to about the top end as he and his good lady wife sailed through there last year. Any advice he'd give you is well worth the taking.

Ref the cockpit and general comfort, I'd think you could make that aft deck a very comfortable place to hang when at anchor and decent awnings make all the difference when the sun is blazing down. You'd probably just need to make sure you had plenty of ventilation and a decent wind scoop for the forward hatch. Air Con is probably a waste of time as you'd not spend much time shore powered in the places you mention. Oh yes, and a decent grill cos you'll not want to do much cooking inside. Up north it can be very dry indeed but it rains it buckets down so you'll want those covers to allow you to live outside even when its raining. We have our girl set up so that even in the heaviest downpours the cockpit stays dry and most importantly remains ventilate.

I'm afraid I'll not be of much help re performance and SA/D ratios but that's why god gave us Jeff_H. :)

We have had btw a Canadian Roberts Spray Schooner hanging about Sydney Harbour of late and while I didn't get the opportunity to speak with them that thing looked designed for an Alaskan winter and they seemed happy enough. Maybe it is what you do with what you have is the key.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Fuzzy! Great insight. I guess another part of the equation is that the one we're looking at has air-con and a genset. Neither of which I would pay a dollar to add, and I don't really like air-con but then again, when I was in The Isa I did use it to cool down my flat before going to sleep. Sleeping in the hot is not my favorite. If it does take running the genset all day to mitigate the window issue, that would not please me but since the boat has it, I'm sure I'd fire it up from time to time.

I suppose I should have looked at the data before asking too many questions. Nice coincidence that the SA/D ratios are the same. Don't hardly need to know what the numbers mean now because they're the same for both boats.

I think I could be happy with most of the Nauticat issues and quirks, and while I'm not afraid of windows offshore, the big doors do still give me pause.... but then again, aren't nauticats common boats to be seen circumnavigating the downwind routes?

MedSailor
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I certainly don't know these boats well but a couple of general observations.

I think we saw a few (not necessarily 38's but in that range) of these in the Caribbean and maybe one between Panama and South Africa, can remember where though.

Don't assume that your route means you are safe from nastiness. We were knocked down in 50+ knots in French Polynesia. You need to know whether the windows are designed to take that sort of abuse. I talked to a guy who builds Oysters and he said the tempered glass windows they have now are stronger than the hull. Was this true in the 70s/80s? I have no idea but would want to know.

About the doors, try to picture a good part of the local ocean landing on the deck - most often forward, but could be from anywhere, After the bath you have six inches of water running down the leeward decks. Where does it go? How long does it take to drain? and Is there is an issue with the doors? I don't know these boats well enough to even suggest an answer.

Is the one you are looking at a ketch or cutter? In general ketches are not as good going downwind as single-masters and when you add the very low SA/D ratio it becomes very problematic. Think about various downwind rigs (two poles for example, but even then the sail area with a ketch is small), or some form of spinnaker.

Heating from the sun could be an issue, but I assume you could almost always have one door open. It can be very hot in places (northern Oz being one and we were there mid-winter) and I don't think you want to rely on the a/c too much. At the very least it will mean carrying lots of jerry cans of fuel from the nearest gas station since most places do not fuel docks. I looked at one of these boats on YW and it had 90 gal of fuel which does not seem to be much for a boat that may have to motor quite a bit and may use the genset quite often.
 
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NC38 are motorsailsors as best. Have a friend with one, we use to sail together and also help eachother out when (un- &) stepping masts etc

Comfortable boats, good with the PH when it is cold, lot of GRP in these - friend installed a bow thruster and there was a lot of GRP. Heavy boats.

But not much sailing. That said, there use to be a annual regatta:
http://www.nauticat-club.com/the_world_sailingreg/the_world_sailingreg_BR.htm

They have great fun, but no great sailing.

As far as I know, no problems with these boats becomes to hot in the sun, there are good possibilites to vent. Where I sail :)

/J
 

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A shower that drains into the bilge is easily fixed with a blivet on the end of the drain hose, or installing a shower pan and sump.

Heat coming in big glass windows, also fixed easily by applying 3M Crystalline or similar window film, which can cut something like 98% of all IR radiation through the glass, with or without any extra visible tint. Great stuff.

But a Nauticat is what it is, no matter what you do to it. Gobs of room, up and down, for the length. Which will mean gobs of windage and motion, as it will on any boat. My impression is that they're really built as comfortable harbor boats which also can conveniently transport themselves under engine or sail, but they're designed for the destination and not the journey.

Of course a single-level more conventional design is going to mean either less accommodation space, or a steeper marina bill for the extra length. But I think if I were crossing the Pacific and the Equator, and then circumnavigating Oz, I'd want a more conventional cruising boat aimed at the best experience (comfort, safety, speed) at sea, rather than one built for comfort in harbor.

The Nauticat 38 - information for cruising sailors Says capsize ratio 1.51, fwiw.
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A shower that drains into the bilge is easily fixed with a blivet on the end of the drain hose, or installing a shower pan and sump.

Heat coming in big glass windows, also fixed easily by applying 3M Crystalline or similar window film, which can cut something like 98% of all IR radiation through the glass, with or without any extra visible tint. Great stuff.

But a Nauticat is what it is, no matter what you do to it. Gobs of room, up and down, for the length. Which will mean gobs of windage and motion, as it will on any boat. My impression is that they're really built as comfortable harbor boats which also can conveniently transport themselves under engine or sail, but they're designed for the destination and not the journey.

Of course a single-level more conventional design is going to mean either less accommodation space, or a steeper marina bill for the extra length. But I think if I were crossing the Pacific and the Equator, and then circumnavigating Oz, I'd want a more conventional cruising boat aimed at the best experience (comfort, safety, speed) at sea, rather than one built for comfort in harbor.

The Nauticat 38 - information for cruising sailors Says capsize ratio 1.51, fwiw.
Thank you for your thoughts. I never bothered to school myself on the numbers of boat comparison. I always wondered about their utility. So, I assume 1.51 for a capsize ratio is bad?? I would think that all the boyancy of that huge pilothouse up top would help keep you from going over, but only if the doors held, and that's a pretty big if....

As nice as the floating house we're looking at may be, the broker just emailed me the recent survey and it appears that it has lots of blisters. For a boat that is at the upper upper upper end of my price range, I would want turn-key and then some, not a project....

MedSailor
 

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Dirt Free
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I cruised parallel to a Nauticat 38 in 12-15' head seas for about 35 miles. What a beautiful thing to watch ! Those waves did not bother that boat at all.
 

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I'm recalling some items as fuzzy is, some of the nauticats while very nice boats, are not ment to be sailed open ocean. IE they only have the european class B not an A rating. Probably a good to great boat for around here in the salish sea, but not in the middle of the ocean! I know one person that had one sink under them in a storm off of SF bay area IIRC. There was an article in 48 north. Not that one should use this ONE sinking as an example of the lack of great sailing, build quality of a boat.

If it were me, I would look at this VERY careful. For probably the same coin, there is a Jeanneau SO49iP at marine servicenter that has been to oz and back, and probably ready to go again. Only needs an enclosure.

Marty
 

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Medsailer,
You should go to the Nauticat website to see the difference in the 2 lines of Nauticats. Mine and True Blue were the 'Traditional Pilothouses" = Boxy.

The other totally seperate line looks more like the "Deck Salon" type of boats being offered by everybody now. Much sleeker and good sailers but with a - Full Pilothouse - not just a raised salon. Also they Don't have the sliding side doors like mine so they are A - Ocean Rated unlike mine at B.

Price is going to be your problem - it's obscene ! You may be able to find a 38-42 foot (same boat just listed differently) 86 - 90 somewhere near your price range but I just took a quick look and Nope.
 
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