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Old 03-18-2008, 01:35 PM   #1
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Hi all,

I am re-introducing myself here in "The Tavern" as I have been absent for 2+ years. I joined in December 2005 and after receiving a lot of advice here and on other sites... I had to halt the process and answer my own questions.

I am Douw Venter and I have spent the last two years with my family getting ready to take "THE STEP"

My initial questions were with regards to building or buying etc... but we have subsequently sailed on and chartered as many boats as possible and have reached our final descision...

I have sold my companies and my wife's Events business.. we have taken our kids out of school and are in year 2 of homeschooling... we have sold all bikes and cars bar our pick-up and all our posessions have a home or new owner... we will receive final settlement on the sale of our house here in South Africa soon (2-3 months)... we have extended 10 Year USA Visas in our Passports and will leave on an extended holiday to USA where we will holiday untill we find the "RIGHT" boat.

I have reached the conclusion that Internet shopping from here is cumbersome and hope that being present there will move the buying process along.

If anyone knows of a reasonably priced Fountaine Pajot 46" Catamaran anywhere ....please let me know.

I look forward to participate and learn more from you all.

Thanx

Douw
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:00 PM   #2
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Hi Douw

Welcome back. You have certainly made the commitment towards your dream. I just hope that the Rand strengthens somewhat before you need to pay for your dream boat in the U.S.

Please keep us informed on your progress.

Fair winds!
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Old 03-18-2008, 08:42 PM   #3
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I haven't any experience with the Rand, but the US Dollar is suffering badly, and when the economy slips this badly you can usually find some good bargains.

Find yourself a good broker in the US and you will have access to listing country-wide.
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:50 PM   #4
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you know about yachtworld.com right? a nicely designed site. worldwide listings. and a LOT of them.

im still 10 years away from doing what you're doing. be interesting to follow your progress, as i'll have to divest myself of a lot of 'detritus' before i shove off as well.
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Old 03-20-2008, 12:12 PM   #5
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Hi Again ..

And thanx for the welcome.

Yes Cartoon.. I have been checking it out..

Problem is that when you find a well priced boat... you or someone you trust has to lay eyes on it... in Miami etc it's OK as I have mates there... but other places becomes a problem...

You then try to negotiate with a broker .. (who once he finds out how far away I am from the actual boat..moves you to his "NOT SO SERIOUS" pile)...

If he continues helping you .. a surveyor has to be found and managed ??? and then only can you start arm wrestling over price with owners via the broker.

I flew to USA last year and saw 2 boats... I put offer in..Pending survey on both.. the one was removed from the listing and the other was sold within the period that I would assume I had it "Under Offer" ... go figure

No... internet is killer to show you range and price... but all brokers seem to run a "agreed" price on ex charter boats etc... although it seems from time 2 time there are better priced catamarans being sold by owners....

The proces of shopping from 100's of Km away is not a great plan...

Thanx for advice and keep it coming if you have more ideas

Cheers

Douw
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:38 PM   #6
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have you ever looked at the Lagoon 440?

i'd love to pick your brain (i've only considered monohulls till i 'discovered' the 440)...about advantages and drawbacks of going with a cat. but i imagine you're a busy man these days. i'll settle for any references you might recommend regarding the cat experience.

i think im falling in love with that boat. i like it better by far than even lagoons larger offerings. and check out that port in the aft cabins...to the inner side hull water....opening...with giant warning sticker i can't read.

http://www.cata-lagoon.com
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Old 03-21-2008, 07:46 PM   #7
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Douw:

As I understand it, you don't want to purchase a boat where you are, you'd rather buy one in the USA; you've already got your visas for the USA so you could go ahead and move here while you find your boat--right? You seem to have the time, money, visa, it all...so...pick a coast (US East or US West) and go for it. There are tons of boats for sale right now here in San Diego/Southern California. Same goes for Miami, Fl on the other coast.

I just met a couple from the UK who are here in town scoping out boats for 3 months--they'll buy one and start their adventures from here. I think their adventure has already started

We lived on the east coast, bought a boat out here on the west coast (which needed complete rebuild) and moved x-country to do the rebuild as part of our cruising adventure. Everyone has their own way.

We look forward to hearing about your adventures! If you need anyone to scope out a boat in San Diego, CA, let us know, hubby and I would be happy to give initial look at something. Also, we know a couple very good surveyors here, too. Only know one trustworthy yacht broker here, though. We did the whole "fly all over the place" thing to find a boat and know its hard...

Good luck!
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Old 03-22-2008, 02:31 PM   #8
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Hi Redbopeep,

Yes... That is the plan so far... I have looked at boats here in SA but the 2nd hand market here is very limited. The few companies here that build like Robertson & Caine (Moorings), Cape St Francis and Dean all build for the export market and are already priced at USA figures. A few others are not as experienced or some are even just scary ??

The idea is to come to the USA and buy there...even if it is a boat that will need some TLC. I am rather leaning towards the East Coast as that for a start would afford us a trip up the ICW and also put us into the Carib. Cruising grounds.

I have a dream that includes 4 moments.... sailing past (1) Statue of Liberty (2) Sydney Opera House (3) into Venice and (4) through the Panama canal.... a tall order I know but men are on earth to dream...

I also want to go back down to Brazil as far South as Ilha Grande as this is a "Big Secret" as a cruising area. There is .. as they market themselves "An Island for every day of the Year".. and it is awsome. I did a delivery back to Cape Town SA after the Cape Town to Salvador de Bahia Ocean Race and this is what finlly made my mind up and changed our focus from sail racing to cruising.

So it seems that for a start we would wanna hang out in the Atlantic for a while...

Thanks for the interest and the offer to keep an eye out if needed and I will keep banging on the same nail..

Cheers

Douw
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Old 03-22-2008, 02:52 PM   #9
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Hi Cartoon,

Yes I have looked at them... but they are not often around long as 2nd hand boats.. also not often cheap...

I love the escape hatches on the inside of the hulls...

The WARNING stickers there are with regards safety under way... I believe that most people open these hatches when at anchor as they help hugely with airflow to cool things down... the stickers are a reminder to close them 100% before shoving of as to stop water from getting to the wrong side of things.

Many modern cats have these and in the "Very Rare" chance of a capsize.. these allow you to get back into the interior to get to water ..supplies..etc.

they do however pose the flooding threat mentioned above and in some cases i have been told that they pose a risk as thieves etc can break in from a dinghy and will not be seen doing so as they are hidden between the hulls ??

I have made a mission of checking out different cats and would never never never buy any other yacht again...EVER.

I have 2 kids aged 9 & 10 and the space..level travel.. privacy and payload is a winner...

Keep things simple though and dont end up with 4 heads etc... these are 4 times more likely to break.

Even if I end up with a 4 head 2nd hander I will rip 2 heads out and turn them into storage or workshop r wet lockers...

As much as brochures will tell you that every and any cat will outsail mono's... it is not true... In my case though I am happy to sacrifice speed for comfort... I have done racing and now want to cruise.. so I am in no hurry.

The modern tech on boats will give us all enough warning of bad weather and the you make your choices and with a cat you have 2 motors ( 1 is like a spare) to help you gap it out of the way..

There are many sites on the net where the pros and cons are realised... by people much more knowledgable than me... I will dig up some of these site and send them to you.. one such item was "good cat bad cat" and if I remember correctly there is a link from the Fountaine Pajot site

Careful though as I have been in more than one heated arguement with sailors who are hell-bent on ONLY the pros of monohulls and ONLY the cons of multi's....

Thanx for the ask re 440 and hope to chat soon..

Cheers

Douw
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Old 03-22-2008, 04:35 PM   #10
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Sounds like you've got a lot of good things to look forward to! If you're not working in SA at this moment, I'd still suggest that you/spouse/kids pack it up and start your adventure now by moving to USA IF you really plan to buy in the USA rather than some other place. I didn't realize you were looking exclusively at cats...You are probably much more likely to find a good cat in Florida or the Caribbean (easy flights from Florida) than many other spots.

We lived in Washington, DC for 14 years (mid-atlantic) and dreamed of doing the ICW (since we thought we'd start our cruising life on THAT coast not this one!). But, we've since heard so many negatives about it that we believe we'd only use the ICW if we were in a motor yacht. Even my sister-in-law, who lives in Florida, owns a motor yacht, and has been on the ICW many times, thinks there are too many inexperienced boaters yukking it up on the ICW for it to be enjoyable. A fellow cruiser that we know who is presently here in San Diego, also lived in Florida on his boat for most of a decade and talks about ICW experiences that were awful. From some moving shoals, waiting on bridges to open w/traffic jams of boats, and crazy motor-boaters, it didn't sound to be much fun.

On the other hand, getting into a shoal draft cat and cruising around the shallow waters of the Keys and the Caribbean at first sounds lovely!
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:42 PM   #11
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Hi again

I take note of the concerns regarding ICW... I have read a couple of blogs over the years and have noticed a trend that more people felt the same with regards to powerboats etc. Not slowing and having to rock in their wake etc.... also noisy jetskis seem to have been on the increase ??

I would want to do this regardless as a first year out of the Huricane situation.. ( I need to learn a lot more about Huricane avoidance etc.. ) but the plan is to do the caribbean islands as far down as Dutch Antilles. I got fired up again after reading Geoff Schultz's logs with my kids... he has a killer log and even better pics !!

I have always felt that the ICW would be a good trip to "wean" my kids of land living while still being almost next to land.. it would also afford me the time to "fix" al the bits and make the changes I might have to do... as I am in no hurry with no plan..end ..or deadlines.. we can take as long as needed and can even "stay" somewhere for an extended time on board to get things sorted out before hitting the Gulfstream and the Islands..

I assume that chandlers and hardware shops are more prevelant along the ICW than in the Carib..... so would want to take advantage of that too.

We are coming to the USA soon as we wrap up details here .. and will "holiday hunt" the docks for a good cat..

Thanx for the advice

Douw
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Old 03-23-2008, 01:09 AM   #12
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Hello Douw,

Welcome again, especially from this multihuller to an aspirant one of the same family.

I have a very similar experience in searching for a catamaran that would fit the criteria I set for living aboard, cruising, averaging 200nm/day, deck clearance, mainsail sheeting and control, rigging design and sizing , access to engine/s, number of heads, number of berths, beam to length ratio, storage etc etc etc.

I circumnavigated by 747s to Europe, to the US, to Aussie, to NZ. Read everything I could on Cats, sailed on Cats as crew with anyone who would have me. Took on board many suggestions, ideas etc. Evaluated the doomsayers' comments on safety. Ignored those who compared the stability of a 17ft Hobie cat with that of a 52ft Cruising Cat.

Finally, got an Australian specialist yard to build me a 52ft Cat designed by a New Zealand multihull designer.

Douw, we have a member Johnt who is busy delivering South African built Cats to the US , Bahamas and elsewhere. He is a good guy and could be a good source of knowledge regarding where to search for a good buy in Florida -

Contact John at :- zs1jnt AT gmail.com

His Blog at :- http://www.sailblogs.com/member/deliveries/

A good site to get an appreciation of Catamarans prices through a specialist broker :-

http://www.2hulls.com/

Sterkte daarmee

Richard
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Old 03-23-2008, 03:35 PM   #13
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Hi Richard..

I have read John's delivery blogs and found them interesting... he surely has a few trips under the belt !!...the story he told about having to turn back as the rig was loose ?? worried me but may be an isolated incident.

I assume he is delivering for R&C to the Moorings program ??

The SA market has become to expensive for me and that is why I have decided to look in USA.. what did you build ??

Schionnings are beautiful and also the Kelsall designs (Older) where nice ??

I also would like to know if you have any knowledge regarding a builder in Pattya in Thailand.. called Raoul Bianchetti.. company is Power and Sailing and they seem to have a nice range ?? Just can not get info on them other than the website... I have mailed them a few times with no luck ??

Take care

Douw
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Old 03-23-2008, 08:04 PM   #14
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Our first time down the ICW was in 1986 in our sailboat, and I loved it. I must qualify it, though, by saying that we sailed offshore for chunks of it. From Southport, NC to Charleston, SC (bad weather convinced us to head for port for a while), and from Charleston to Florida.

When we looked at the route through Georgia we decided that avoiding that part was a good idea, which we found out was still valid when we next went on the ICW in 2005 in our power catamaran.

The Chesapeake Bay is a wonderful cruising ground that your children would find interesting, particularly if you had them read Michener's Chesapeake first. I don't like Michener, but I found Chesapeake to be quite accurate and not quite so pedantic and stilted as some of his other books. I loved the museums, though at some point Peter dug in his heels and refused to go to one more little waterman's museum. I just liked them, and they aren't very large or time-consuming.

Norfolk, VA and south you will find the people a bit warmer, a bit friendlier, the pace a bit slower, and lots of history to make this an educational as well as low-stress voyage.

For those sailboats who gripe about powerboats not slowing down for the poor sailboats, ask yourself how easy you make it for a powerboat to pass you. MV Watermelon doesn't usually raise a huge wake, and we always slow down as we pass sailboats and slower power boats (our top speed is sometimes up to 14 knots though just over 12 knots is what we consider our most fuel-efficient speed). Sailboats, however, have a terrible habit of running right smack dab in the middle of the ICW and maintain course and speed which is a royal PITA to the powerboats that pass them. I've tried to pass sailboats that are humming along at 6 to 8 knots, which means I have to be going at least 8 or 10 knots to pass, and at that speed we raise a bit of a wake, and most sportfishing boats raise a big wake. If the sailboat would just give the powerboat a little more room to pass, and slow down dramatically, the powerboat could slow to a barely recognizable wake and still pass quickly and painlessly. Not one single sailboat tried to do this on our last few trips on the ICW, and when they hogged the center of the channel we sometimes had to pass too close at too high a speed to make it perfectly comfortable for them.

We have no interest in making it uncomfortable for sailors. We were ones ourselves and still identify with boats under sail much more than with boats under power. But the sailboats have to help us out a bit.

Noisy jetskis. Yeah, but they're a fact of life everywhere nowadays. Another day we've got a story about that, too!
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