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Old 01-01-2007, 06:00 AM   #1
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Default Five Years Left

Ahoy there Admirals, Captains and mates,

We're new to the forum. This is our research stage. Wife and I plan on early retirement in about 5 years and have spent last 8 years becoming well read in all things nautical and the last 4 of those getting some practical knowledge on the subject. We, well, I feel confident enough that we can get out there and enjoy life without killing ourselves or anyone else in the process. The wifey on the other hand, is deathly afraid of water and the "heel" associated with sailing, until we started to practice on a catamaran. She has graduated from wild-eyed pandemonium to maniacal rantings. Further progress is expected.

Because I cannot and, will not do it without her, it looks like a catamaran will be the way to go. Gotta have the admiral on board to keep the captain under orders. It maintains discipline in the chain of command in a sort of way. In any event, I'm here for advice and hopefully will be here long enough to learn much before we cast off our land lines and head over that away --->.

Actually, we already did some little circumnavigations... Great Lakes, Florida Keys, NY Canal System, and the Great Circle Waterway, in order to acquire some inshore and offshore experience while relatively close to assistance. I loved it, she loved it and I think that trying to make sure that things were uneventful as possible had a lot to do with it. I can tell you tons of stories about incredibly spectacular events that we witnessed and swore on Neptune himself that we would never place ourselves in those predicaments...unless we were both comatosed. We did it on our 1967 26 foot bulletproof Privateer.(sv Highlander). They don't over-engineer them like that anymore. One inch of solid glass at the sheer, four inches at the turn of the bilge!!!

I like cats, researched them and even designed a nice 34 footer after a steep and painful vertical learning curve. I had a nautical architect review and call out the scantlings and all was a go.(The renowned designer for Crowther, Stewart Bloomfield, currently of Bloomfield Innovations). I wanted to build, but, old combat wounds act up every now and then and I became really worried that I would not finish the project, so I decided, we decided, to purchase a boat and forgo the possibility of failure or further injury.

Any suggestions? I'm a left brained, math kind of guy that likes things systematic and methodical. Has anyone here gone through a "process" that keeps you objective about purchasing a vessel? I can probably create a whole checklist of items with categories, blah, blah, blah, but, with all this experience in here, I thought I would ask first and give the brain matter a little break. That is not to say that I plan to purchase the "perfect boat" that we don't like...it just keeps us honest to ourselves with so much variety to choose from.

Well, that's is a little about us and our plans. We look forward to hearing your advice and opinions and wish everyone happy holidays and, a safe, peaceful new years full of cruising beauty in your horizons. Don't forget to look aft in about five years, we may be right behind you.

Fair winds,

Juan & Belkis

sv Visualize Peace <--- soon to be.
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Old 01-01-2007, 06:39 AM   #2
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Personally, I think that when a person sees the boat that (s)he loves, (s)he turns their brain off (or at least the most critical part of it!). So once you've moved on you realize that "there are compromises", even when you didn't expect those particular compromises when you bought it.

I would probably suggest that you charter any boat you are considering buying so you have a better feel for the living on it part. For example, catamaran berths tend to be quite high. On some boats people need a ladder to get onto the berth (our friends' 40' S. African-built cat is like that, and the wife dislikes the struggle up to the berth). Others are just as high, but the builder already built in the step.

Some galleys are horrible, but you need to use it to realize just how difficult it is. Same with refrigeration - we always had an Adler-Barbour Cold Machine and I never had a complaint about it. Our friends, on their previous catamaran, had a cold plate which was dreadful. Awful. And a problem to boot.

Now for some more experienced sailing catamaran users take it from here. And I don't mind if they disagree with me - it just makes the choices that much more interesting!

And for cruising/living aboard hints and whatever, have you checked out my Cruiser's Dictionary? It's available as a free e-book, downloadable at http://www.cruisingconnections.co.za/ebooks.htm

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 01-01-2007, 08:17 AM   #3
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Hello Jeanne,

Wow...that was a fast response.

Yes, I did look at the cruisers dictionary that you have published. Excellent job at compiling all that data into one easy to understand reference.

Well, we have been on some catamarans, from 26 to 43 footers but not on a cruise or longterm. I thank you for pointing out some of the things that may be viewed negatively about a catamaran, and I do indeed understand that everything is a compromise. That's probably why the climb up to the bunk to sleep flat will be the compromise to leaning against a lee board at 45 degrees plus on the low bunk. I didn't look too much into all the other issues you raised while on board as a guest, but I don't remember the galley and refrigerating system being at all as you have described. It was pleasant actually. I will however make sure that I look for those things when we are ready to purchase as you have suggested.

I'm like a rock...comfortable where ever it lays...my wife on the other hand...is more sensitive to things and I want the experience to be comfortable and pleasing for her. As long as I have the sea, I can compromise everything and live on a log with some fishing tackle.

We consider ourselves minimalists, well, within reason. As of now, we're thinking 36 to 39 feet, believing that much more than that is just much more than needed. The 36 for us and some visiting family or guests... the 39 if we decide to bring on crew for assisting in longer voyages. Some have said "what...out to sea in less than a 50 footer???!!!" We feel that's a lot of bunk and is driven by boat manufacturers and salesmen. The size is actually as far as we have decided after belaboring the issue to death. We are retiring early and plan to live off the interest from our savings and investments and have a definite budget that would keep us quite comfortable with little want. After some calculations, I realized we had a good safety cushion for expenses at 39 feet, and luxury at 36 feet, but that our budget would be blown out of the water by maintenance costs and "administrative fees" the minute the boat hit 43 feet LOA. It appears that the adage "expenses increase by the cube of the volume" is right on the nose. This of course was calculated for a multi...I'm not sure the same would apply for a mono, but believe it may double in detriment for a power vessel.

I see that you both went to a catamaran...power at that. That's like coming about 180Deg. If you don't mind me asking, why? What was so compelling about a power catamaran after so much time in a sailing monohull that caused you both to decide? How many compromises did you have to accept and was it, or is it worth it? We also began to look at a power catamaran and even took one out, but the noise, fuel smell, constant vibration and associated costs was just too much. We even tried it at idle speed! Powering up or down and turning was wonderful, but we abandoned ship and we never looked back. My other half said she didn't mind because I wouldn't have to aggravate the nerve damage in my arm while working the sheets etc.., but when I decided to walk away, she did not hesitate to follow. Sometimes, the Admirals will follow the Captain.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:00 AM   #4
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I'm taking a break from preparing food for our New Year's Day party. Since I like LOTS of guests, I have to prepare LOTS of food! However, I work the way I stand watch in bad weather - a few hours on, a few hours off. And I have some wonderful family to help me tomorrow so I'm not frantic.

Peter started his boating life in power boats, and I was the one who said that if we were going to cruise it would have to be a sailboat. No argument from Peter, and our sv Watermelon kept us safe and comfortable for 17 years. We have done some deliveries of our friends' sailing cats, keeping us active until we found our power cat.

We are older, we do not plan to cross oceans anymore, and thus our needs have changed. It's time for Peter to have his power boat and for us to stay a bit closer to land and family.

It's a nice boat, rather quiet (relatively speaking), but is a HUGE compromise, primarily because it's 34 feet and we would have been happier with 39 feet but couldn't find one that size that we liked. Over 39 feet and I felt we were driving a house (I do most of the driving, so my input is a prime consideration). Sometimes I miss the sailing a whole lot, but since we don't do passages anymore, I get over it fairly quickly. (I never liked daysailing very much. Anything over five days got my interest. I LOVED long passages.)

I have difficulties accepting that we have to run the generator every day.

Sailing is, IMO, easier than running a power boat. But I think that it is harder work hauling the sails, keeping the boat and sails clean, etc. Compromises, and this seems like the most reasonable for our age and present state of disrepair.

In the end, though, being on the water, cruising, visiting new places, meeting new people, they're the same whether it's the wind or diesel that got us there. I haven't give that up.

Diff'rent strokes, and all that.
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In 1986 we went cruising for a few years. After 20 years and 50+ countries and several oceans, we are STILL "cruising for a few years".

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Old 01-01-2007, 04:01 PM   #5
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Welcome aboard Juan & Belkis.

I must tell you that I love your posts - you make them so interesting.

I wish you luck in your "homework" and whatever decision you make on the vessel it must be what you both want.

My comment, for what it's worth: I would love to have a catamaran if I was spending a few years around Thailand BUT, I would not enjoy getting it over there. Others will think differently.

Good luck.
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Old 01-01-2007, 10:28 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by JeanneP

In the end, though, being on the water, cruising, visiting new places, meeting new people, they're the same whether it's the wind or diesel that got us there. I haven't give that up.
Happy New Years to all...

I understand completely why you went to power. Most, I think, would have said enough is enough and not adapted and overcome. For me, the above quoted, could not have been said in better words and makes everything crystal clear.

BTW, we started to read your logs. We started there because it seems to be the longest running. We want to get a reality check. For the rest of the Captains...'yes, we will read all others.'

Well, thanks again.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 01-01-2007, 11:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by admin

Welcome aboard Juan & Belkis.

I must tell you that I love your posts - you make them so interesting.

I wish you luck in your "homework" and whatever decision you make on the vessel it must be what you both want.

My comment, for what it's worth: I would love to have a catamaran if I was spending a few years around Thailand BUT, I would not enjoy getting it over there. Others will think differently.

Good luck.
Good Morning Admin...

Thank you for the invite. We are happy to be aboard. Thank you for your kind wishes and hopefully we will be able to make an informed decision given enough advice from members of this forum.

Why do you question the worth of your comment? Is your opinion not valid to you even if to no one else? I'm not really sure if a post in this forum becomes a bullseye everytime someone disagrees with another, but as far as I'm concerned, we can agree to disagree but we can never agree to disrespect each other. Do you concur?

Why would you love a catamaran and why specifically in Thailand? Is your home port Thailand? Why wouldn't you enjoy getting it over there? I ask because I see a parallel. In our "limited" baby cruising experience, the Admiral always favored the destination and all new "known" things associated with it...the voyage a close second. For me, it was always the voyage to get there and the "unknown" associated with it...the destination a close second, at best. It's not a perfect water-world.

Thanks again,

Fair winds,

J
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:07 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Why would you love a catamaran and why specifically in Thailand? Is your home port Thailand? Why wouldn't you enjoy getting it over there? I ask because I see a parallel. In our "limited" baby cruising experience, the Admiral always favored the destination and all new "known" things associated with it...the voyage a close second. For me, it was always the voyage to get there and the "unknown" associated with it...the destination a close second, at best. It's not a perfect water-world.
During our cruising years we spent a couple of years in Thai waters - just could not pull ourselves away. The sea over there is flat calm and light winds - IDEAL (I thought) for living on a catamaran.

We crossed the Indian Ocean (West to East after sailing up the east coast of Africa - and riding out a "blow" of 50 knts for 52 hours off Mozambique) and must say that the whole passage was "comfortable" in our 20 ton full-keel, 44' steel ketch.

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/seerose/?xjMsgID=4642

My take on the cat/mono is that I personally would prefer to do long passages in a good, heavy displacement mono (for the comfort underway) and it must be very nice to "potter around" in smooth waters on a cat (grace and space). Note: I'm probably going to get crucified for this statement - please be gentle.
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Old 01-02-2007, 01:45 AM   #9
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Wow...responses are quick around here. Oh, out of Durban. Okay.

I understand the whole weight thingie in one environment and "space and grace" in a different environment. I love the solid feel of our 26 footer which is built like a tank. I think I will love the "space and grace" since it will give us seperate hulls to "cool" whenever cabin "fever" decides to board and sneaks up on us. This space and significant effort of grace from my part should find us like this ---> on final approach!

Fair winds,

J
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Old 01-02-2007, 06:17 AM   #10
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I also was envious of those cruisers aboard catamarans along the north eastern coast of Australia. The protected waters inside the Great Barrier Reef are among the best cruising grounds in the world.

Having watched a 42' cat skip across a a reef, submerged at 7 feet, into an anchorage, while I sailed my mono 10 miles around the same reef, was dispiriting for me. But I had a much better time of it than the cat, in the washing machine which can be the Gulf of Carpentaria.
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Old 01-02-2007, 12:42 PM   #11
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I did the monohull thing for many years but now cruising with a catamaran. I'll never go back. The comfort and ride is far superior to a monohull, both at anchor and on passages. A cat doesn't roll; an anchorage with a swell running through it will have a lot of monohulls rolling and the cats stationary. I can always tell how many cats are in an anchorage from miles at sea. Count the number of masts that are not swinging to and fro.

On a long passge the cat's advantage is it isn't healed over. You don't fall out of bunks, things don't roll away if you set them down, your life aboard is pretty much the same as at anchor. On a monohull everything is stowed away, you eat holding your plate and there is no place to put anything down. Even sleeping is difficult underway in a monohull and you fatigue a lot faster. You can sit in the salon of my boat and see in every direction. In a monohull you have to be on deck to do that.

Weather. Here's where the added speed of a catamaran (if you keep it light) comes into play. Going 6 knots in a monohull, 9 in a catamaran, 1200 mile journey...8.3 days in a monohull, 5.5 days in a cat. Trying to get an 8 day weather window is impossible. On shorter passages it means getting to your anchorage during daylight, rather then entering in the dark....you can't sail without sunlight in the south pacific as the coral reefs will eat your boat.

Lots of other advantages. Space, safety (most cats float), cockpit size (you'll spend a lot of time in the cockpit), reliability, depth, speed, fuel efficiency,...etc. My experience is that it's a lot easier to single hand a cat then a monohull. You can even fly the spinnaker alone (doesn't require a pole).

Disadvantages...Cost is the number one deterrent. About 1.5 times a monohull, sometimes 2X. Weight...if you're a guy who packs everything then a cat is not for you. My cat weighs 5 tons fully loaded for cruising. Adding 1000 lbs (you can easily do this!) is 10% of my entire weight! Adding 1000 lbs to a 30 ton monohull is insignificant, might even make it ride better. You must keep a cat light! Take what you need but leave home the rock collection. A cat "wanders" at anchor. A monohull will sit downwind, a cat may or may not...depends on how it feels that day. Usually not a problem but in a very small anchorage, with a lot of boats, you'll want to be careful where you drop the hook. Here's where the shallow draft helps as you can anchor closer to shore.

It really ends up a personal choice, but I've never seen a cat owner ever want to go back to a monohull.

This is just my opinion. The text is about sailing cats, not power cats. It assumes a well designed catamaran, trampoline, adequate bridge deck clearance, light weight, etc.
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:01 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Converted Post'
Originally posted by Spike_dawg

I did the monohull thing for many years...

...This is just my opinion. The text is about sailing cats, not power cats. It assumes a well designed catamaran, trampoline, adequate bridge deck clearance, light weight, etc.
Ahoy there Spike,

Thank you for the thoughts. I think that in my own limited way, I agree with everything you mentioned. I, we, haven't quite yet got to that level of knowledge, but being well read, we agree that it corroborates other things being said. You don't have to try to convince me...for me it's a no brainer...if it isn't a stable platform, the wife isn't going to come, no way, no how. I would still be able to do it (I'm capable), and maybe I'll be happy (that's a damn lie), but it would be awfully lonely without her (that's the truth). You know what they say...tell the truth, shame the devil.

I agree with keeping her light and all the design considerations you mentioned. I'm not so sure that 10% payload can be considered justified for a cruiser. The ten percent you speak of might be justified for a racer. The payload on my design was between 23% and 30%. I designed the hull in such a way that the lwl/bm ratio of the ama remained at 11.5 until the waterline just kissed the transom. At 23%, I still had a significantly high SDR for light weather wind. At 30% the bridgedeck clearance was just too low. I don't think I would have ever taken it to 30%...that was just the highest the design could carry before slamming became a stability issue.

You would be shocked at some of the bridgedeck clearances called out for offshore vessels. Some designers set it at height "x" no matter what, others design as a percentage of the LWL. The wiser ones say, 6% to 7% midship. Mine is 8% at the stern increasing towards the bow to 15% LWL! Yeah...a whale couldn't slam that baby...well, you get the picture.

Here is another...windage. A killer for multihulls, but very rarely is a cat below 23% of LOA, well, except for Wharram Cats. Racers look for 4 to 8% LOA and most cruisers, especially the smaller ones, are 25% to 30% LOA or greater. My design is 16% because I wanted sitting headroom in the bunks, but could drop it to 14% if I kept the bunk heights to 28 inches. Oh boy, I strayed from the subject. I hope I didn't break any rules.

Anyway, we already established that cost would be a huge difference as you have pointed out and we are prepared for it. We don't want a mortgage so we will be making the purchase outright. We think that $160K +/- 10% should get us into something that will fill our needs nicely. This would probably not include "make it our home" expenses, or conversely, "make it back to home" expenses. This uncertainty, is the reason for the initial post...so that we can be objective about the purchase and not violate our budgeted amount. If we get 15 good years out of the vessel, it would have cost us about $720.00 per month ($175K/180Mo.), without having to pay the interest due on a mortgage, which we figure we can just pay ourselves.

Well, thanks again, and if you think of any objective proceedures we can incorporate into our plans for a purchase, please let me know. We're kind of lost right now because we don't really know what kind of cat, equipment etc., we should consider for offshore cruising before we place a value on it. I've been in touch with another member that actually created a spreadsheet that he will share with me...tee hee, I'm so happy.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 01-03-2007, 05:16 AM   #13
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Hello Jeanne...

Was reading through your logs. Came across the underwater volcano entry. I loved it!!! I wanna do it tooooo!!! Pick me, pick me!!!!

The wife says in my #@%^&$#&%$&* dreams and then only on a bed on land because I went to sleep after watching a show about volcanoes on the science channel.

I think I like Peter a lot...a whole lot. Wowwwwwww!! I know its a bit early, but would you care to share the coorfjnksdvw,...whoops, sorry, the wife interrupted in a futile attempt to stop me from getting the coordinates from you. Care to share them?

<looking at wife that is looking at me looking at her>, and no one is blinking.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 01-03-2007, 09:02 AM   #14
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I'm glad you liked that story. Back in '97 I finally had no choice but to run Windows on my laptop computer. A cruising friend was helping me convert some of my old files so they wouldn't be lost. She was very good, and did wonderful, hard work saving the hundreds of files. As she was working she started laughing. She said that the title "volcano" caught her interest so she read the file and couldn't stop laughing. That's why I keep it. Our logs are supposed to make people smile.

As for the coordinates, I was steering (I always drive the boat), he didn't mark the chart (he's no dope!). But they're marked on the charts, you can't miss them!

The man has a sick sense of humor.
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