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Old 09-05-2008, 08:59 PM   #1
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Folks when is a Catamaran too old to circumnavigate? I am very handy and can repair most things, yet my wife insists that we buy a Cat that is 2006 or newer. The cost of a boat in that size that is 40 or so feet is $300k (US) or more, then you have to equip it to go cruising and that is in my estimation an additional 25 - 40K depending on what you add.

I guess in some respects she is right, stating that Catamaran technology has moved forward in leaps and bounds in the last 5 years and Catamarans that are 10 years are dated. She further states that if we buy a 10 year Catamaran and we refit it, after 5 years of cruising it is then 15 years old. This is where I defer to the folks out there on this site.

IMO any yacht that is sound will do the job, it may take more maintenance and upkeep but that is constant anyway as the sea is merciless on both people and equipment. If it is going to fail it will fail on a boat. Besides if I repair it and make it seaworthy I would have intimate knowledge of the vessel and be better equipped repair and maintain the boat while at sea.

My thought was to buy a yacht that was in the 1999 to 2001 range, and refit it (inside and out) , update all the electronics rebuild the motors and upgrade them if necessary, replace sails etc... but I have no idea of the longevity of a Catamaran

Opinions and insights please ...
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Old 09-06-2008, 02:04 AM   #2
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THE QUESTION :- "when is a Catamaran too old to circumnavigate?"

Taking the Question in 2 parts:- #1 "when is a Catamaran too old" Simplistic Answer: when the structure cannot be repaired or replaced because it would cost more than purchasing a new bare hull or buying another in good seaworthy condition.

#2 "when is a Catamaran too old to circumnavigate?" Another simplistic Answer:

Never too old - there are Wharroms and Catalacs and Prouts and Pivers and Home Builts still wandering the oceans, many well over 30 years on the water - however:- most would take forever to get anywhere, living quarters were cramped, bridge deck clearance meant slamming, narrow in the beam meant the platform was less comfortable, hobby horsing.

Compared to the giant design change brought about by the French, the Australians : designers Crowther, Chamberlin, Farrier, Simpson, Grainger,Schionning - Tennant of New Zealand - And the very gifted Irens, Shuttleworth, Kelsal,Simonis, Newick and Marples. All were instrumental from the mid 80's in introducing fundementally new concepts that could provide a safe, fast and very comfortable means of circumnavigating the world oceans. Of course in line with the design changes came new materials - hulls are now made from the most exotic and many from still from the most practical. Resins and epoxies; paints and coatings and the equipment, the electrics and the electronics all have changed. HOWEVER, the bean counters have also had a contribution - some negative! Monohulls with bolted-on keels and spade rudders that break off; Catamarans without dagger boards - all to save production costs which result in less safe and less efficient boats.

Therefore returning to the question and trying to provide a reasonable answer :-

A well equipped oceangoing, owner's model catamaran with a updated inventory - designed by a recognized catamaran designer - built by a yard with a good reputation in the period 1995 <<>> 2003 - surveyed by a professional accredited multihull surveyor should be considered.

A circumnavigator would have a good shaded cockpit, good interior ventilation, Minimum Bridge deck clearance of 800mm at full payload, engines that have no more than 2000 hrs . An accurate and complete Owner's maintenance and repair log available.

Finally Cost :- to quote Roger Simpson the Designer Builder of Cats for over 30 years -

"Take the example of a 12m catamaran versus the 13m .... a mere 1 metre the difference in length.

There's an increase in rig size.

This one single factor affects:

* Mast extrusion size

* Rigging wire size

* Rigging screw and swage size

* Boom size

* Winch size

* Halyard and wire lengths

* Chain plate size

Just in the one area of the rig there's a substantial increase in cost even though the 13m is only 1 metre longer.

Extend this principle over the whole boat and it will be seen that the 13m is a much bigger enterprise than that of the 12m, and the cost is not in proportion to the difference.
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Old 09-06-2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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Richard as insightful as ever and you will get no argument from me on this. I am just concerned about what cannot be found by the surveyors, stuff like stress on the hull, general fatigue of the metal, the joints and glasswork. At what point does this become a liability. Certainly each boat is different and the stress and fatigue on the hull and rigging will depend on where the vessel is located, IE: 10 years sailing the Caribbean is likely to put less stress and hardship on the hull than say 10 years of sailing in South African Coastal waters.

However, your reply was essentially the confirmation I needed ...

Gavin
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Old 09-07-2008, 01:45 PM   #4
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My only contribution to this thread is my caution regarding buying a boat out of a charter fleet.

We did it, even though we knew better. Some of the issues could have resulted in serious problems and we're fortunate that so far almost all the problems we have are cosmetic rather than structural.

Bareboat charterers don't care. It's not their boat and too many of them are less competent than they should be. Our boat at two years old had more wear and damage than we had put onto our previous boat in ten years.

One of our issues was that the fuel filters on the engines and generator had never been changed. When we picked the boat up we were reassured that all filters had been changed, so imagine our confusion when one of the engines suddenly lost power. The clog turned out to have been so bad that it damaged the Racor primary filter housing as well. Three years later there don't seem to be any serious results of this neglect, but the memory of that still rankles.

A friend of ours bought a lovely sailing cat after it had been in charter for only a year, and several years later he's still sorting out problems and repair issues. His and our boat were in charter to one of the "good" operations. We helped and sympathized with an owner who had left his boat in the hands of one of the not so good charter operations, and the damage and problems were so severe that it was almost incomprehensible.

That said, look around and choose a boat that has cosmetic problems - you'll probably find that it is the greater bargain.
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Old 09-16-2008, 11:42 PM   #5
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There can be a couple of answers to your question ,which also give rise to other questions .

1.Where do you expect to spend most of your time when you are not on long ocean crossings,eg in a marina with all services or in a secluded anchorage away from it all or a combination of both.Why I raise this most important point is that my wife and I have a great passage making cat but she finds it uncomfortable ,when we are in a marina but great at sea and in a anchorage away from it all.

2.Which way and how high or low ,eg from South Africa to Aust in the 40's or west from S.A to Brazil via St Helena and Ascension .This would determine which design, size, type and construction material in my humble opinion.I currently have a 15 year old 30 foot ply and glass cat which has circumnavigated australia and been out to some pacific islands but I would want something bigger to do the southern route where as with this boat I would island hop across the pacific at the equator and the tropics region.

3.How long do you expect to take as this will have a big bearing on costs and your budget eg some passages are harder on boats than others and there is wear and tear from just normal day to day living.I ask this question because somtimes my wife and I push the boat to get somewhere quickly because of time constaints and other times we just plod along ,but our true speed is never allowed to drop below 6 knots (her number one and only rule) over the ground .

Those are the questions that I would ask myself, out of the way .Here in Brisvegas as we call it we have a heap of multihull designers and builders and what you want determines what you get to best suit your needs.For example the guy who designed and built my cat also designed and built a trimaran which won the brisbane to gladstone 368 mile race line honours when first launched and 15 years later won the same race on handicap this particular boat is also cruised up and down the coast with owners family,so it doesn't really matter how old the boat is ,it is what you do with it that matters.My own boat is able to keep up with and beat some of the newer designed and built boats of the same size and weight when I take it twilight racing .The most important thing is that you and your partner agree on certain things ,my wife and I have come up with a couple of things that we agree are must haves for our next bigger boat and these are

1.good sized cockpit for sailing and when alongside

2.open and airy saloon with galley up

3.easily accessable queen size bunks that are athwartships ,so there is no climbing over one another in the mddle of the night when at anchor or in a marina.

4.twin helm stations with twin engine controls

5.all sail controls led back to cockpit

6.a combination of mini keels and dagger boards

7.toilet with separate shower compartment

We have come to these after sailing on our boat and friends boats and having numerous discussions over sundowners over the years.I hope these help you in your decision
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Old 09-17-2008, 04:43 AM   #6
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Hi Kev,

First welcome, one as a Cruiser and two as a Multihuller. Thanks very much for your contribution to our new forum. You raise some very valid points and questions, which of course raise some more questions to help clarify some of the areas you have highlighted :

“I have a great passage making cat, but my wife finds it uncomfortable when we are in a marina - but great at sea and in an anchorage away from it all.” Q

Question : what makes it uncomfortable in a marina ? Is it a ventilation issue?

“I would want something bigger to do the southern route”

Question :- what minimum LOA do you believe would be your choice? Any particular design ?

“because sometimes my wife and I push the boat to get somewhere quickly because of time constraints and other times we just plod along ,but our true speed is never allowed to drop below 6 knots”

Question :- what do you see as an optimum daily average distance covered ?

“For example the guy who designed and built my cat also designed and built a trimaran which won the brisbane to gladstone 368 mile race line honours when first launched and 15 years later won the same race on handicap this particular boat is also cruised up and down the coast with owners family,”

I likewise, my catamaran was designed by multihull designer and builder in Brisbane –

Question:- who designed yours ? what model ? What displacement fully loaded ? Is the 368 mile race the same as the 308 nm Brisbane to Gladstone Race?

“The most important thing is that you and your partner agree on certain things ,my wife and I have come up with a couple of things that we agree are must haves for our next bigger boat and these are"

’3.easily accessable queen size bunks that are athwartships ,so there is no climbing over one another‘

Questions :- Where are the pillows on these bunks ? where is the bulk head ?

’4.twin helm stations with twin engine controls’

Question: are these both in the cockpit ? Or one in the Cockpit and the other in the saloon ?

’6.a combination of mini keels and dagger boards’

Question:- because dagger board cases take up so much room when built in internally – what do you think about the case and board being on the outside of the hull ? where it can easily be cleaned and the board easier to move within the case.

Richard
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Old 09-18-2008, 02:01 AM   #7
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Hi Richard

thanks for the welcome to this forum .I will do my best to answer your questions as mine come from a personal experience and talking with friends who have and have had multis.

1.Yes ventilation is the major issue because the hatches aren't over the bunks but out to the sides of the hulls on both sides.In summer here in queensland when we go away for a quick trip to get away from it all we mostly stay anywhere from the gold coast to mooloobah and tangalooma or north straddie ,and at the weather can be quite humid and sticky .This makes my wife feel claustrophobic as she likes to feel moving air on her face in summer.The other problems are the size of the cockpit which is great for sailing as it is open and easy to get to all the lines as necessary.The boat has 6 bunks (2 queens and 2 singles ) but we have found that when sailing 4 people (adults ) is just right for comfort but alongside or at anchor when we have family and friends join us on our boat ,it becomes awkward to move when we have set up covers over the cockpit with 4 adults and our 3 grandkids or whe we get 6 adults on board.The saloon area in the bridgedeck is only 3 foot high so one has too double up and climb in ,kids think it is great but as we are aging we have to think of our failing bodies.We have thought of putting in a pop top or a permanant raising of this but it would affect other areas of the boat.So you can see it is nothing major it is just issues related to the boats size.

2.From personal experience and friends experiences aswell nothing under 10 metres or 36 foot as you need space to carry all the essentials to be self suffucient depending on how far south you are going and how long you want to be there.Design wise is open ,but good bridgedeck clearance and bouyant bows and sterns are a must for these waters.Personally I feel 38 to 40 foot is about the right size as we would have another couple onboard with us to help avoid fatigue issues and the like .

3.I feel that 180 to 200 miles a day is pretty reasonable to expect from a loaded cruising cat as minimum.But as always this is weather dependant and also an individual decision as some people are better able to utilise their vessels full potential.where as others what can one say.It all depends on the indiduals circumstances at the time some people like to enjoy the place where they are going to ,where as others enjoy getting to where they are going to and others enjoy both like myself.So who can say on that one.

4.My current cat is a Shawn Arber Compromise 30 which was built in his yard by his foreman at the time for himself so it is built like the proverbial brick outhouse.I guestimate around just over 2 tons at the moment with all our cruising gear and stores on board .That is we have enough stores to stay away from a marina for 2 weeks as this the longest we have done so far in the last 3 years ,we could have stayed longer but my wife had to go back to work ,not too sure but I reckon maybe another 4 days tops as we were running out of fresh veges and meat at the time.

Yes that is the same race but it is now longer for the multihulls as they now start off Manly and not Sandgate anymore and so the course is a bit longer than the monoslugs and they are still beating them into Gladstone.

The next boat question answers have come about after looking at some of the newer designs around the place eg seawind 1160 ,spirited380 ,fusion40 and the like.

1.The best place for the pillows to be would be towards the centreline with a hatch over the top of the bed for ventilation this could also be augmented with fans as we do now on our current boat.Which bulkhead were you talking about the centreline ones in the forward cabins would roughly stay the same and if you put them aft there should be no real problems.The only problem we have is that my wife is vertically challenged and hates with a passion having to climb everest as she puts it to get in to bed so she likes the way the bunks are in the nauticat 40,44 which she feels is a good height for shotarses like her and also for older and less agile people who wish to keep on sailing.

2.This is a personal one as you will get so many different opinions on it. I would have both of them in the cockpit one either side as over time and after sailing on different types of cats the ones that were the easiest to sail and the best I feel were the ones with helm positions on each side.This also helps in getting novices to learn where they can see what is happening .My current boat has twin tillers which I find wonderful as I can see what is happening all the time and my wife who is a late convert to sailing can see what is happening.Wheel steering is a must as most of my friends wives who have come sailing with us have said that they find it easier as most of them sometimes mix up left and right in hairy situations eg crowded marinas.A remotely controlled autopilot would also be a very handy addition as they have become more reliable these days.My previous cat a Compucraft 40 only had a central wheel and it was bloody awkward at times when berthing singlehanded in a crowded marina,so that was my main reasoning for that.

3.I have given this some thought over the years ,but would still prefer them to be on the centreline through the mini keels or just off beside the mini keels .On our current cat the space between the daggerboard case and the hull has a watertank mounted there which is also is connected to the main bulkhead and so adds some rigidity to the overall stucture which is a major part of cat construction.Were you thinking along the lines of the lee boards that were carried on vessels like viking longboats and thames barges and the like?These could work but you would need to carefully plan and engineer the placement of the mounting positions.But I feel that the stresses placed upon the hull when having to tack upwind in a narrow waterway would make me feel uneasy especially if one was single handed .The only other concern that I have about boards on the outside of the hull is what happens in the case of hitting something submerged eg container or the hard bit of earth.My personal feeling is that the mini keels be made sacrificial and that the bottom metre of the board is also .On the subject of boards my bes mate and I are talking about making new boards for our cats out of foam so they are lighter and more manageable,we have both thought about making them double ended so one can put them in either way for ease of maintanence and also if one hits something.

I hope this helps you somewhat in your decision and maybe gives you some ideas to think about .

kevin
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Old 01-16-2009, 01:40 PM   #8
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A boat is only too old when it's no longer sea-worthy. I have been circumnavigating on a 38' Newick trimaran out of Montreal for ten and a half years. The boat was launched in 1996 and is a 1977 design. With a wing-mast, people still think it looks futuristic. I've sailed more than 30,000 nautical miles on her and I love her. She's as sea-worthy and speedy as ever. We frequently sail over 15 and over 20 knots on her. What do you want to do? Impress your friends with the newest, swish-est boat around, or go sailing? Have a reliable marine surveyor do a really thorough check on a boat to determine its weaknesses. This is your life, not a design question.... isn't it?

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Old 01-16-2009, 03:06 PM   #9
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My only contribution to this thread is my caution regarding buying a boat out of a charter fleet.
Well, Jeanne, you are right in many respects but there are a couple of points:

"bareboat charterers dont care...." Not always the case - there are some extremely competent and conscientious charterers around: its unfair to lump all charterers together.

At the end of the day, it is still the Owner's boat and responsibility. I've been involved in many "phase-outs" of charter boats here in BVI and the more the owner gets involved, the more the company will do. So, dont discount buying an ex charter boat: just make sure that a good "hit list" was made by the phase out surveyor and then make sure that the company has attended to it. As I said, this is at the end of the day, the owner's responsibility but there is no reason why a purchaser cant be liaising with the owner (and therefore the charter company) during this important stage. Tony
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Old 01-20-2009, 06:23 AM   #10
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WE bought our home, a charter boat, a Leopard42, out of St Lucia and have sailed her back to Australia. We got a very good surveyor to go over her with a fine tooth comb and nothing major was wrong. We have been one of the lucky ones. We hope to keep on sailing her as long as we can; Bluewater Cruising has become a passion.

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Old 01-20-2009, 02:08 PM   #11
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" Not always the case - there are some extremely competent and conscientious charterers around: its unfair to lump all charterers together.

At the end of the day, it is still the Owner's boat and responsibility.
Tony, of course you're right, not all charterers are careless cowboys out to run your boat onto the rocks. *However, with sometimes several dozen different charterers a year, it doesn't take more than a year or two for a bad or incompetent one to show up.

One of my favorite stories of bareboat charterers took place in the BVIs. *Our friends were in a marina (20+ years having gone by, I can't remember which one) when a charter boat came in, and the couple on the boat almost took out their lifelines as they bump-em-car'd their way into their slip. *Our friends, in self-defense, walked the boat in for the charterers. *Over thank-you drinks, the charter couple mentioned that they had never operated a boat before. *Our friends were only seriously alarmed, and asked how the charter company let them take the boat if they had no experience. *Turns out that the couple had been invited on the trip by friends who were qualified to take the boat out, but they had had a family emergency and couldn't make it. *Rather than lose their deposit, this couple decided to take over the charter. *(after all, how hard is it to drive a boat with a steering wheel?). *This was a Moorings charter. *Our friends convinced the couple to stay in the marina and just use the boat as a hotel room.

In our case the charter company was the owner of the boat, and they insisted that the fuel filters had been changed, even though I had photographic proof that they hadn't been changed in the two years since they took possession of the boat (the filters had overspray from the engine's original paint job, and were rusted in). *It wasn't worth getting into an argument about since there was no permanent damage, but we were lucky. *The surveyor was pretty good, but not all problems can be found in a survey or sea trial, which is why I suggest that boats coming out of charter should be inspected with greater suspicion than a boat that had an evidently conscientious owner. *
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Old 01-28-2009, 02:50 PM   #12
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Tony, of course you're right, not all charterers are careless cowboys out to run your boat onto the rocks. However, with sometimes several dozen different charterers a year, it doesn't take more than a year or two for a bad or incompetent one to show up....
Ah yes - Bareboater stories!! Here's a couple (both true)

1. Bareboater calls the charter company: "Can you send us our new anchors please?" Charter company reply: "You've got a main and spare on board - what is the problem?" Bareboater: "Well, yes we DID have but we used the first at The Bight and the second at Deadman's Bay".....

2. Bareboater to Company: "Why does this boat go round in circles?" Company: "Excuse me - what are you talking about?" To cut a long story short they had anchored somewhere on a short stay and the tide (all 14 inches of it!) unanchored them. It so happened that they were justr about to move off so they were thrilled that the boat had anticipated their needs and had unanchored for them....aint automatic phycic (sp) boats wonderful. Anyway en route to their next stop the boat anchored them whilst on the move (with 20 feet of chain dangling) and they suddenly found themselves going round in circles.

And talking about sharp practices, there was a company (now defunct) whose owner called up 2 boat owners of similar boats in his fleet to explain that during routine maintenance, it had been discovered that their mast foot was badly corroded and that the mast would have to be replaced. However, fortuitously, he knew of an available 2nd had mast in reasonable condition. On getting the reluctant go-ahead from the owners, he then swapped the masts, charging both owners handsomely for the work done!
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Old 03-16-2009, 04:23 PM   #13
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6.a combination of mini keels and dagger boards
What are the advantages of having ‘mini keels’?

. . . I have heard them being mentioned as a must have a few times, and am trying to work out their worth. I can see they would protect the rudder from floating debris and I guess they would protest the hull skin if you found yourself beached.



However, do they help stabilise the vessel in heavy weather? And do they really work together with dagger boards?
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Old 03-17-2009, 06:13 AM   #14
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Ruby, and to this forum.

Keels with a sacrificial hardwood strip along the under-surface are certainly an asset to beach the Cat for whatever reason. But how deep a "protection" keel depends on the total waterline length of the boat and on the sectional shape of the hulls ( Circular, elliptical, vee etc)

Dagger boards are there to improve the cats windward ability and speed because of the lift that they provide.

Here is an excellent article by the sponsors of this forum :- CLICK HERE

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