Looking for a Catamaran

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Looking for a Catamaran

Post by Buster65 » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:05 pm

I am kind of new to boating and am thinking of getting a catamaran because motor boats are too expensive on gas and sail boats are fun but I prefer a more stable boat with larger cabin underneath and wide berth. Any experience by any of my fellow Boggleheads with Catamaran's and can any of you suggest a brand or specific model that you like. Want a boat that is comfortable for a long weekend but manageable in size.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by sailaway » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:09 pm

It sounds like a Gemini would be a good choice for you. It is the smallest of the well known Catamaran's and fits into a regular berth, rather than requiring a double berth or end tie.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by 6miths » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:39 pm

So I guess my Hobie Cat wouldn't make the grade? ;)
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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:56 pm

16' Hobie Cat is a Porche on water.
If for the ocean and larger with interior cabin, then single hull as its not vulnerable to turtle'ing.
Sailing a catamaran is a whole nutter thing than a monohull.
In Hawaii there might be only several catamaran's in the entire harbor dock area filled with monohulls.
As you are new to sailing, perhaps start out with something small enough to "single hand" yet large enough to fit your needs.
Last edited by Sandtrap on Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:02 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by btenny » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:56 pm

Since you are new to boating I will give you a pass. Do you realize how BIG a catamaran sailboat is and how hard it is to turn and manuever? Plus they cost a fortune, $120K or more is normal for a 33 footer. You should look around at normal 33 foot sail boats or similar size power cruisers. These are easy to drive and manuever. Either of those make great weekend outing boats for 2-4 people. Sail boats are cheap to use but you cannot get anywhere without taking days to travel. Do the math. A 25 mile trip takes 6 to 8 hours so any real exploring is very hard. But power boats are fast to go exploring for a weekend. A nice 50 mile run is maybe 3 hours and then you have the rest of the day to swim and explore. So you choose. Oh and you can get a great regular 33 foot power or sail boat for $40k or so.

Good Luck.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by furnace » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:13 pm

Maybe start out with a used 25 foot sailboat that you can buy for $4k. There are a zillion of them for sale in FLA. Sail the boat back to your location. If you can handle the voyage, you're ready for a catamaran 8-) A trip up the intra-coastal or Mississippi river would be fun.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by TimeRunner » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:13 pm

Do this first: https://www.offshoresailing.com/sail-an ... g-courses/

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by seychellois_lib » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:39 pm

If you are new to sailing then I suggest before you even consider a larger catamaran, you get some training like previous posted suggested. There are many on water courses available. They aren't particularly cheap but invaluable for the newbie. These courses have the dual benefit of familiarizing you with a larger boat and providing perspective on mono vs cat vs triamaran. You may not sail each type but the instructors will have much to say about the trades involved (no pun intended).

To jump into a "cruising" cat with your limited sailing experience is not a good idea. Get some exposure, then make your decision.

With regard to an earlier posters comment about maneuverability. Cats with auxiliary motors are incredibly maneuverable. Typically each hull is equipped with a motor. I have seen cats turn circles in their own length when maneuvering under power. Not only that but they can power along at a pretty good clip for a sailboat. Maneuverability is not an issue. Fitting into a slip is an issue.

They have a lot of space down below and on deck and they don't heel much...until they heel a lot. If you plan on sailing offshore you need to KNOW what you are doing. Capsize a cruising cat and you might as well send out distress signals, Ain't no way you are going to get squared away on your own.

Finally, I am sorry to say, savings on fuel should NOT be in your trades analysis. Take it from a sailor, Ex UK Prime Minister Heath's quote says it all. "Sailing is like standing in a cold shower and tearing up 5 pound notes" Ha Ha Ha. No truer words have ever been spoken. I love sailing and I just try to forget about the money. This can not be said about my significant other, consider an offshore bank account designated for boat expenses. It may save your marriage/relationship.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by eye.surgeon » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:42 am

Agree with others that fuel costs will be couch change compared to the all-in cost of owning a cat,or any large boat. If it's your one true love and passion, go for it. If it's a passing interest, take a pass.
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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by brajalle » Tue Nov 14, 2017 4:16 am

I'd recommend posing this question at Sailing Anarchy or Cruisers Forum, but they're going to want to know ALOT more info about your needs, wants, sailing area, budget, etc.

If you had to force me toss out a name on this forum not knowing anything else, but assuming some sort of normal cruising, safety, and value, I'd probably say a used St. Francis Marine cat. Just based on my own research. It may be a bit much for a "long weekend" though - but I guess it would vary depending on your expectations.

Since you mentioned fuel costs though, I'm guessing you're not concerned about bunker fuel burn on a large yacht, and are instead looking for something more modest. In that case, you'd probably want to look at some used Cats, where the brand doesn't matter as much, and instead just make sure you get a really good boat surveyor and know what you're getting into.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by 2comma » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:30 am

I grew up sailing in the Chesapeake Bay and now charter larger mono hulls and cats in the Caribbean, San Juan's and Greece for vacations, We'd need to know a lot more about your sailing area and wishes to make useful recommendations. As a mono hull sailor I found I liked cats a lot for my passengers that don't like leaning and anchorages that were rolly but others don't do well with the quicker/jerking motion of a cat. Sailboat buying is all about where you buy it, how you use it, and where you'll dock it. As Bogleheads we won't be too into splurges like boats but I've had a lot of fun with cheap, small day sailors, smaller power boats and as my net worth increased larger boats for vacations.
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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by motorcyclesarecool » Tue Nov 14, 2017 6:06 am

Have you considered a displacement hull power boat? The right one will sip fuel and be about the same speed as a sailboat, with more useable space, and the ability to haul more things. With catamarans, you’re always fighting to keep weight down and in the correct place.
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by SouthernCPA » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:12 am

I grew up on boats and own a power boat (I'm more into offshore fishing than sailing). I always recommend to new potential boaters to make friends with some folks that own boats and have owned them for a while and start going out with them before you buy. Learning how to navigate safely, deal with the inevitable storms and challenges that will pop up, read the weather and water conditions, etc is much more important at first than which boat you should get. You will also get a better feel for exactly what type of boating you prefer before you sink a lot of money into a boat.

I admire sailors because it can be very challenging to get the boat to do what you want it to do in adverse conditions and requires a great level of skill. Power boating does as well, but it seems there is more room for error when you have power on tap to correct mistakes. No matter which way you go, buying the boat is the cheap part - maintaining it and keeping all the systems on the boat operational is the budget drain. Sailboats are no different.

That said, I love having a boat and while it's not the best use of money by bogleheads standards, I can't put a price on the memories and fun we've had over the years and wouldn't trade it for more money in my vanguard account. For a "boat person", not having access to the water is torture. For others they just see it as an unnecessary expense. I'd bet most bogleheads will fall into the latter and advise you based on that perspective.

The first few times you take it out you will be super stressed out because you'll realize the guys with years of experience make it look easy and you don't realize all the minor adjustments and things they are doing to make it a smooth trip - all based on years of experience on the water. You'll get more and more comfortable, though, and that is when boating becomes very enjoyable - like riding a bike.

Good luck!

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by renue74 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:33 am

I bought a monohull 23' Oday about 10 years ago. I loved it, took sailing lessons, and moored it at a lake about 80 minutes from my house (in-laws lake house).

The first few years, we spent a lot of weekends there sailing and enjoying the water, but as my interests and my family's interest changed/dulled on sailing, we were "stuck," with the boat.

It didn't cost much to maintain and I had a storage for free, but it was just more of a hindrance than a value to our lives.

I think folks who grow up on the water and make it part of their lives, sailboats may be an option. Or folks who are retired or semi-retired and want to spend X months sailing....I think boat ownership is great for them.

In my case, my boat mooring ball came lose and the sailboat floated around the lake a few days back in April until the game warden knocked on my door and let me know. Then, I scrambled to go and get it...easter weekend.

I put an ad on Craigslist on Thursday and gave it away on Friday after I had cleaned it up like a new dime. I had maybe about $3,000 total in the boat. (newish motor, boat itself, various lines, etc.)

The new owner bought it for $1 and I signed over the title. I was happy for him and he sent me many photos of what he did to restore it.

I'm happy to not own my sailboat any longer. We were too far away from it and it deserved a better owner.

Perhaps before purchasing, you can spend a lot more time on a sailboat. There are plenty of "free" opportunities to be part of a sailboat crew. If you google "boat crew finder," you will find a ton of websites of people who are looking for sailing helpers or whole crews to move a boat. A lot of them don't pay anything, but are known as "miles builder," projects where you learn as you sail with a more experienced crew.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by vveat » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:44 pm

Another point - do you know how you will use the boat? Purpose would determine the best fit.

We have a small 26' catamaran, which is perfect for day trips with multiple guests (we have had 8 adults and 3 kids without feeling crowded) since it has a large platform in the middle and no cabin. In a mono hull you have to sit in the cabin or on top, it's much less comfortable.

On the other side sleeping in the hulls would be like getting into MRI tunnels, so if we do an overnight trip we'll likely have to sleep on the platform. But as I said, not how we use our boat.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by tmhudg » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:01 pm

I don't think this has been mentioned yet - I'd suggest chartering a catamaran to see how you like it before buying one. The British Virgin Islands is a mega charter area. Alas, they took quite a hit from the hurricanes this year but they are bouncing back relatively quickly and look like they will be up and running certainly by early Spring.

It sounds like you would need to hire a captain since it doesn't sound like you have much experience but it would be a good supervised learning opportunity for you. You can also combine your charter with a sailing course if you have the time (and funds).

I've owned boats and I've chartered boats. Puttering about in boats is it's own special breed of fun but man, being able to step off the boat and let someone else take care of fixing the myriad things that go wrong is *very* nice at this stage in my life.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by WhyNotUs » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:30 pm

For long weekends, a decent cat is going to be quite pricey and perhaps overkill.

A 30'- 40' mono will save you a lot.

Doesn't sound like you are planning any big adventures but I vastly prefer sailing a mono on open ocean, once you drop the anchor a cat is hard to beat.
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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by Taylor Larimore » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:22 pm

Buster65 wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:05 pm
I am kind of new to boating and am thinking of getting a catamaran because motor boats are too expensive on gas and sail boats are fun but I prefer a more stable boat with larger cabin underneath and wide berth. Any experience by any of my fellow Boggleheads with Catamaran's and can any of you suggest a brand or specific model that you like. Want a boat that is comfortable for a long weekend but manageable in size.

You have received many thoughtful replies from experienced sailors. Heed their advice. If you are located in South Florida, please PM me for suggestions.

Best wishes.
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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by tic » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:36 pm

The 2017 hurricanes damaged or destroyed thousands of sailboats and catamarans.
This means:
1. It's a sellers market right now, as demand>supply.
2. Be wary buying a used boat if it's electrical system might have spent 2 weeks taking a post-Irma swim.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by just frank » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:41 am

After a day sailing with a friend recently, I looked at some Gemini cats.

Seems that they rent out in FL and the Bahamas for about what a summer rental house is per week (without crew), and can sleep two small familes. So if you know what you are doing, and have some certification to prove it, you can just rent the boat you want, whenever/wherever you like.

Unless you were going to live on it or sail a looong ways...I don't see how purchase of a >$200k boat would ever pay.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by smitcat » Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:17 am

Buster65 wrote:
Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:05 pm
I am kind of new to boating and am thinking of getting a catamaran because motor boats are too expensive on gas and sail boats are fun but I prefer a more stable boat with larger cabin underneath and wide berth. Any experience by any of my fellow Boggleheads with Catamaran's and can any of you suggest a brand or specific model that you like. Want a boat that is comfortable for a long weekend but manageable in size.
I like CATS a lot but there is much less cabin space in a Cat vs a monuhull - and at less than maybe 45 feet or so the CAT under cabin space is very limited. You will also need some form of engine power in addition to the sails so be prepared for that thought and costs as well. When thinking about the word 'stable' it is important to realize that boats that 'lean' are not unsafe and in many cases more 'safe' then boats that do not lean. CATS will have a tendency to not lean in certain seas but can be a huge task to handle dependent upon the direction and timing of the seas yo are in.
A strong suggestion would be to carefully evaluate what you really need/want in a boat as well as why you are pointing out the stability of a boat this size. If it is stickily due to the heeling nature of the boat perhaps sail boats are not for you and a trawler (as someone mentioned above) would be a better fit.
Looking at things like accessibility to the water, height above water (bridges) , draft , speeds, tankages , galley and cabin capabilities, range etc and making your own list will help your search and ultimate decision greatly.

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Re: Looking for a Catamaran

Post by philpill » Thu Nov 16, 2017 11:37 am

New to sailing, NO CATAMARAN. you will capsize boat and never get it upright again.
A 21 ft keel sailboat would be best, small cabin, keel for capsize prevention and easy to control. Buy only used boat and for about 2000 dollars you will get your pick. Carefully check the MOTOR and ask for free lesson to seal the deal. You must take lessons.

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