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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody active here with direct experience on the C445?

I've been looking for a boat that will take me into a semi-retirement and beyond. I can handle my C36 very easily and had been thinking that I needed to stay 38' or less to continue to singlehand for docking and spinnaker work. Never the less, some people are working toward convincing me that 44' is not that much of a problem. Given a bow thruster and all, is the boat size much of an issue?

I was hoping to get a more solid boat than my Catalina 36. I know my C36 is built very strong, but the bulkheads are not tabbed in. When I'm sailing hard upwind into a 4' chop it sounds like an old wooden sailing ship, with all the bulkheads and furniture moving a bit. I've noticed the new Catalina 5 series have all bulkheads glued in place. Is that going to keep her quiet when sailing hard?

My limitations on cost are not too severe. Last week I was looking at the Blue Jacket 40 but I found the aft cabin too small for those times when I sail with friends. Looking at a new Hallberg Rassy 372, but I just don't like the traveler in the cockpit. Current front runners in my thinking are Catalina 385, Catalina 445, and X Yacht Xc38. I'd considered a used Malo, but I think it might be heavy and slow. I like the 412, but I'm never going to find a used one and $650,000 is getting to be a bit much. I'll feel less irresponsible if I keep it under 500K. Any other models I should be considering?

Thanks,

GJ
 

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I don't know what kind of sailing you like to do, how many people you routinely carry, etc., etc., but if you like your 36 and it serves your needs, the 385 will give you the build quality of the 445 in a more manageable & familiar package. That said, I've got a Catalina 50 that's set up very well for shorthanded sailing and think that the 445 would be very similar in feel and performance. My setup includes:

1. all lines led back to the cockpit
2. main on Harken battcars with a stack pack (you can go in-mast, but I don't like it)
3. a good jib furler, properly installed
4. electric halyard winch (helpful in a pinch and great for going up the mast)
5. a good autopilot (don't cheap out on this one)
6. a good windlass
7. a powerful bow thruster with wireless remote if you want to dock singlehanded

If you do go big, it's very important that you go with high-grade running rigging to get as much friction and stretch out of sail handling as possible. Vectran halyards, oversized ball bearing mast base turning blocks, large deck organizers, oversized winches, etc. are all helpful and will allow you to manage larger sails with the same effort. I also find that it's easier to shorthand a boat that's less tender, so I'd go with deep draft over shoal if at all possible.

Mine's a piece of cake to sail with two people and with the exception of docking, I can singlehand it for just about everything else. If/when I get the thruster remote I think I'll be able to manage solo docking as well. Underway, the boat is so big and stable that I find it's much less stressful and risky to go forward on deck in bigger seas than on my old 31'.

A 45 or 50 foot boat can be a handful but having all that waterline length is a lot like having a car with a big V8. You don't always use its full capabilities and it can be demanding but when conditions allow, it gets up and goes like nothing else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't know what kind of sailing you like to do, how many people you routinely carry, etc., etc., but if you like your 36 and it serves your needs, the 385 will give you the build quality of the 445 in a more manageable & familiar package. ...[much deleted]... You don't always use its full capabilities and it can be demanding but when conditions allow, it gets up and goes like nothing else.
Thanks for your suggestions. I had a bow thruster installed last year on my C36. The Edison pedestal is so crowded with wires that I had them install the thruster primary control in an inconvenient location but then include a remote control. Having experienced the remote control on the thruster I would never do it any other way if I planned on docking solo. In a crosswind I can easily catch a midship spring or stern line, then keep the bow in place while I casually stroll up there to tie a line. I'm hoping it works the same in a larger boat. Unfortunately I need to stay with a shoal keel in order to retain access at some very nice anchorages.

GJ
 

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Thanks for your suggestions. I had a bow thruster installed last year on my C36. The Edison pedestal is so crowded with wires that I had them install the thruster primary control in an inconvenient location but then include a remote control. Having experienced the remote control on the thruster I would never do it any other way if I planned on docking solo. In a crosswind I can easily catch a midship spring or stern line, then keep the bow in place while I casually stroll up there to tie a line. I'm hoping it works the same in a larger boat. Unfortunately I need to stay with a shoal keel in order to retain access at some very nice anchorages.

GJ
Good to know you like the thruster remote. It's on the project list, there are just a bunch of things above it!

I think Melrna got a shoal draft 445 and she says it's pretty stiff (10-15 degree heel), so it may not be an issue. My C50 has a shoal draft keel too (5'9" draft) and generally stays below 15 degrees but it's a different hull design so I don't know if it's apples to apples. That said, I believe Catalina increases the weight of their shoal draft keels to keep the righting moment the same no matter which version you get.
 
G

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Check out http://www.mrcocktailsailing.com This is my 2011 445, Hull #41. The Equipment Specifications are listed on the Site. Overall, I have been thrilled with my Boat. With this being said, it is clearly, having toured some more recent Boats, that they've learned from the earlier Design. Those things that frustrate me to no end, seem to have been addressed, in the more recent Boats.
 

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Don't have any experience on the Catalina 445, but I do own a Catalina 400. Similar in many ways, I find my boat to be easy to single-hand. Like IStream, I have the boat rigged to make it easier, but I have in-mast furling. I don't have a remote on my bow thruster, but I find the boat quite easy to dock. A 445 would be a great boat from what I hear about them, and based on my experience on the 400.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Oooooh, I just Love gizmos like bow thruster remotes...

What could POSSIBLY go wrong...?

:))
Satirical comments a usually amusing, but I distinctly remember the same comments in made 1992 regarding roller furling. In 1988 it was considered folly to go cruising offshore without the tools for celestial navigation and a working knowledge of how to use them. Things change and technologies eventually transition from silly gizmos to standard practice

If it were really foolhardy to depend on such gizmos as bow thrusters then it interesting to observe the percentage of commercial vessels that have them and the percentage of veteran sea captains who have come to depend on them.

GTJ
 

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Satirical comments a usually amusing, but I distinctly remember the same comments in made 1992 regarding roller furling. In 1988 it was considered folly to go cruising offshore without the tools for celestial navigation and a working knowledge of how to use them. Things change and technologies eventually transition from silly gizmos to standard practice

If it were really foolhardy to depend on such gizmos as bow thrusters then it interesting to observe the percentage of commercial vessels that have them and the percentage of veteran sea captains who have come to depend on them.

GTJ
Little wrong with bow thrusters, of course, aside for the fact that they fail occasionally... It's the mention of the wireless remote controls that I was referring to...

I've witnessed even a wired remote controller go haywire in the hands of a professional captain on a 75' Marlow backing into a slip at Ocean Reef...

Needless to say, it wasn't pretty... :)

Leave the helm and controls of a boat in tight quarters at your peril, and make sure your insurance is paid up...
 

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Go big. For singlehanding bigger is better is most ways. Docking is perhaps the only negative. But the bow thruster is a big help. Just learn how to control her while moving really slow. Go someplace where docking is rare. Life is better in those places anyway. I've used a slip twice in the last 4 years.

Sail size can be an issue. But the sails on a 44 are manageable. And you don't really need a huge overlapping headsail.

Bigger boats are far more stable for singlehanders to voyage on. Stable gives better rest. Stable makes all tasks from cooking to reefing much easier. Large boats can easily carry all the fun toys without having to look like you are having a yard sale everyday. You can have big fuel tanks, store a SUP below, etc. etc.

Go big. You deserve it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Little wrong with bow thrusters, of course, aside for the fact that they fail occasionally... It's the mention of the wireless remote controls that I was referring to...

I've witnessed even a wired remote controller go haywire in the hands of a professional captain on a 75' Marlow backing into a slip at Ocean Reef...
...
That might be true, but I don't think so. My day job involves control system engineering and I know how modern RF things work. Things like garage door openers can just send out bleeps and get missed or confused, but something like this would have a continuous connection signal with signal integrity feedback so it would simply shut down if anything was funky. If done that way, the wireless would have no less reliability than a fixed hardwired station and better reliability than a handheld wired controller.

On my current boat I have a Raymarine Lifetag MOB system. Every crew member has a broadcast tag in their pocket and alarms go off if someone falls overboard or wanders 30' from the boat. Obviously I'm already trusting a wireless device in a life-critical application.

GTJ
 

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I will play devil's advocate. I have single handed a Catalina 42 as a full time cruiser for the last five years. I have soloed the Atlantic from Florida to Portugal. I have been as far North as Newfoundland and as far South as Grenada and Guatemala. All in all maybe 15,000 to 20,000 NM (who is counting.) Reboot weighs about 12 tons (with all the live aboard stuff) and does not have a bow thruster.

I think the key question is: how strong are you? The older I get the more Reboot is a handful in bad weather. If you are only going to do coastal cruising its not much of an issue. You just pick your weather windows. Offshore that is not an option. Getting my main down from double reefed in a 25 to 30 knot wind is not fun. In fact I am in the process of installing a third very deep reef for offshore work.

Frankly, with a $500,000 budget for coastal work I would get a catamaran. Far more friend friendly in port. Much nicer living conditions at anchor and the dock. Yes, there are handling concerns - pointing and hobby horsing in larger seas. I am not sure I would want to do a trans-ocean in one - but people do all the time. The charter fleets in the Caribbean are now almost 100% cats. That is because except for serious ocean sailing they are the configuration of choice for most people.

It is a personal choice - that is my 2 cents.

Fair winds and following seas :)
 

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That might be true, but I don't think so. My day job involves control system engineering and I know how modern RF things work. Things like garage door openers can just send out bleeps and get missed or confused, but something like this would have a continuous connection signal with signal integrity feedback so it would simply shut down if anything was funky. If done that way, the wireless would have no less reliability than a fixed hardwired station and better reliability than a handheld wired controller.

On my current boat I have a Raymarine Lifetag MOB system. Every crew member has a broadcast tag in their pocket and alarms go off if someone falls overboard or wanders 30' from the boat. Obviously I'm already trusting a wireless device in a life-critical application.

GTJ
Well, if you have confidence in a wireless setup, then go for it...

I suppose my larger question, is why the need to be able to operate a thruster once leaving the helm, anyway... I suppose I may have encountered a couple of times where the ability to do so might have been handy to have, but I honestly can't recall any situation where I found it necessary...

Hell, in many instances where a thruster might be engaged in an effort to bring or hold the bow up against a strong blow, they prove inadequate to the task anyway :) One of the worst boats I've ever run in this regard, is Chuck Paine's beautiful Cabo Rico 42. I really love that boat, but in close quarters maneuvering in a strong breeze, with her double-headed rig and bowsprit creating a lot of windage forward, combined with such a deeply cut-away forefoot, once the wind started taking the bow away, it was usually game over... Thrusters are generally like anchors, it's tough to 'over-size' them... :)



In my view, there are 2 keys to making a sailing yacht user-friendly for singlehanded docking. Foremost is the correct placement of the midship deck cleat for running a stern spring, that will keep the boat parallel to the dock after the line is made fast, and comes under load... On most boats, that point tends to fall back around Station 7 or thereabouts. One of my biggest gripes about most production builders, they invariably place their midship cheats too far forward, which usually results in the bow being pulled sharply into the dock once the spring becomes taut... Tough to tell from the pics i see of the 445, those cleats appear to be perhaps further forward than I'd prefer, but maybe not too bad... ideally, I think a boat of that size should have more than one set of midship cleats anyway, but of course that's rarely seen on most boats today... Don't get me started on how under-sized most midship cleats I see are, especially when in so many instances they wind up having more lines run to them than any other single cleat on the boat... :)

The second consideration is how easily and quickly the sailor can move from the helm and cockpit to the deck, and onto the dock... For a boat of her size, the 445 doesn't look bad in this regard, although along with virtually every other modern boat out there, the cockpit coamings are a bit wider than I'd like to have to straddle, ideally... But compared to most boats today, not bad at all...



I've never been aboard one of these, but it looks like a pretty nice boat... However, given your set of priorities, I'd still vote for something like a shoal draft Sabre 402 or 426, instead... A nicer and more distinctive boat, probably more sprightly under sail, for probably less $..

Few builders do the ergonomics of cockpits and companionways better than Sabre, and they do appear to get the placement of the midship cleat reasonably close to where it should be... :)

They only have one wheel, however - so I suppose they've already been relegated to the dustbin of cruising yacht history...

:)

 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I suppose my larger question, is why the need to be able to operate a thruster once leaving the helm, anyway... I suppose I may have encountered a couple of times where the ability to do so might have been handy to have, but I honestly can't recall any situation where I found it necessary...

[/IMG]
I understand your point but I've certainly had occasions where I've been docking solo and sent into a slip where there's a good crosswind (18 knots) and another boat opposite the dock, without poles between. If I can get a midship cleat on then, of course, the single line combined with the engine thrust and the wheel off to one side will hold the boat in place. Getting that line on involves very close timing and if you miss it then Plan B involves bouncing off the neighbors boat to leeward. With the bow thruster on a remote Plan B (after I miss catching the midship line) becomes catching a stern line, stepping to the dock, and then casually walking up the dock while bringing the bow in with the thruster. The process is controlled and casual. It's quite different than running up to the bow on deck and hoping you get there before you've blow off the dock so far that you cannot reach a dock cleat.

Having said that, I'll confess that the process requires a bow thruster that is actually powerful enough to overcome an 18 to 20 knot wind. I'll also agree that proper use of a midship spring line is the best first choice even if there is a bow thruster onboard.

I sort of leaning toward a used Sabre 426 over a new Catalina 445, but with a used Sabre it's a matter of finding the right one while a new Catalina just requires writing a check.

GTJ
 

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It seems more appropriate to compare the Sabre 456 to the Catalina 445. The Sabre 426 seems better to compare to a Catalina 400. As far as size, cost and dimensions.

On a boat this size I prefer twin wheels.. So I would have a tough time with Sabre. Twin wheels provide considerably easier access from the helm to the rest of the boat. However, Could be if you never had twin wheels, there is nothing to miss.

Definitly bow thruster is personal preference. If it something you like go with it.
Bryce
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
.......

The second consideration is how easily and quickly the sailor can move from the helm and cockpit to the deck, and onto the dock... For a boat of her size, the 445 doesn't look bad in this regard, although along with virtually every other modern boat out there, the cockpit coamings are a bit wider than I'd like to have to straddle, ideally... But compared to most boats today, not bad at all...

.....[/IMG]
The issue of getting from helm to the side deck and then to dock is a good point. I just got back from the Chicago boat show and walked a few boats. The Catalina 445 seems OK in that respect, but the Jeanneau 44DS was truly awful. It was like needing a ladder to get from the cockpit to the deck.

Other boats I'm interested in may have similar issues so I need to step aboard each to get a feel for it. My short list keeps changing. Now I'm looking at a 1985 Little Harbor 44, a newish Najad 405, and Tartan 4400. The replacement cost for those boats would vary from $750,000 to $1.25M, yet all of them can be purchased as used boats in outstanding condition for less than a new C445. The Catalina is not looking as good now as it did a week ago.

GJ
 

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The issue of getting from helm to the side deck and then to dock is a good point. I just got back from the Chicago boat show and walked a few boats. The Catalina 445 seems OK in that respect, but the Jeanneau 44DS was truly awful. It was like needing a ladder to get from the cockpit to the deck.
One of my biggest gripes about many of today's boats, just one more consequence of boats being designed from the inside/out... Although I'm 6'5", negotiating some of these coamings can still involve quite an awkward 'straddle', even for me... In sportier conditions, that can translate into being downright dangerous...

Coamings used to be simply a design feature of the cockpit, keeping it dry, serving as a seat back, providing the platform for winches, etc... Now, they've morphed into a means to increase interior volume and headroom...

Oh, well... Modern Sailors rarely leave the cockpit, anyway...

:))

 
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