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18 July 2014

Shakedown Cruise Review: Wish List For Our Next Boat (Pt 4/4)


Background - When we decided to become full-time cruisers, rather than buy our "forever" boat and set off around the world, we took a different approach and moved aboard our "for now" boat in New Zealand for the 2013/14 season. We used it as an opportunity to do a shakedown cruise to discover what works and what doesn't for us in terms of the cruising lifestyle before we buy our next boat. This is the sixth in a series of posts on how it all went.


In the last few posts on our wish list for our next boat, we shared the things we want that make life easier, what kind of setup we want down below and what systems we need. In this post, we talk about what we want in terms of the boat itself (some of which might be unrealistic given our budget), as well a few other things.

1. Size

The all important question - how big should our next boat be. We're looking for something in the 35-38' range. Could be a little (just a little) smaller and possibly a little bigger. We want something small enough that we can easily manage as a couple and which can be theoretically single handed if the need ever arises. Cost is the other big factor in what size boat we're looking for - we don't have a ton of money to spend and we don't want to pay oodles more for a larger boat in terms of slips, maintenance costs etc. You can read more about our thoughts on size here.

2. One Hull or Two?

We're going to most likely getting a monohull for our next boat. Cats are more expensive and they are generally bigger which kind of rules them out for us. However, I am very interested in the Gemini cats - small enough to fit into a standard slip and big enough for a couple. And they aren't tippy which is a big draw card for me. You can read more on our thoughts on cats vs. monohulls here

3. Type of Boat & Set-up

We're looking for a sloop with a keel stepped mast. Ketches, schooners and yawls look nice and evoke that romantic sailing feeling, but one mast is enough for us. Scott really wants a keel stepped mast - he seems pretty adamant about this. But I know that there are a lot of different opinions on the matter and pros/cons. Let's hear what you have to think about the subject in the comments!

On our sloop, we want fibreglass decks - teak is pretty, but it is a real pain to maintain. We also want a center cockpit as they allow for an aft cabin (think center-line queen bed!) and you get more protection from the elements. Which brings us to dodgers, spray hoods and biminis - we want some of those! Our last boat didn't have any protection, so when it rained we were wet and we didn't have protection from the harsh New Zealand sun. We also want a decent size lazarette to store all of our stuff in.

And the final key thing in the set-up is easy access. I get enough bruises from sailing without having to add to my collection banging into things when climbing over the pushpit rails. I would love a decent swim platform, an open transom and/or a sugar scoop. 

4. Anchor 

We loved our Rocna anchor - with just one or two exceptions, we never had any problems anchoring and pretty much always felt secure with our ground tackle. We would like another one of these for our next boat, as well as one or two more for different types of conditions and those times when you need an extra anchor or {gasp} you lose your main anchor. Add in an anchor hose, and we'll be as happy as Larry.

5. Other Stuff 

Besides a winning lottery ticket to be able to buy all this stuff with, there are few more bits & bobs that we want in our next boat. Davits would be awesome. This should have been listed in our post on things that make life easier. We hauled our dinghy up using a halyard on our last boat and stored it on the deck which meant it was constantly in the way when you had to go forward. Davits would make life that little bit easier and keep the dinghy out of the way.I should have also included good ventilation in our post about the set-up down below. And finally, Scott wants a 3-blade folding prop. I have no opinion on the matter - do you? 

So what do you think? What else should we consider when it comes to buying our next boat? 

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13 comments:

  1. We just bought a Gemini, haven't yet started cruising her so I can't say how we'll love her long term. But we like the living space, and the sails are smaller than a comparable mono, and the sail drive makes her WAY more maneuverable. Also shorter mast (for bridges) and very shallow draft with the boards up. Not a blue water boat, but we're thinking she'll be a great coastal cruiser!

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    1. I've been reading about your new Gemini - they sound like a fantastic coastal cruising option. Who knows - maybe we'll become cat owners :-)

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  2. Buy a Jeanneau! Fits your spec perfectly I reckon :)
    Lynn

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    1. Your Jeanneau looks gorgeous. I can see why you're recommending them!

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  3. It seems like most modern production boats will fit your list. Did you state your budget, I don't remember see it? There are now a lot of sub-40 foot production boats that have centerline queens. Most of them aren't center cockpits though. Jeanneau and Catalina (the 350 and 380) come to mind. Also, by being an aft cockpit you tend to be closer to the water so the feeling of healing is less. The center cockpits do have a bit of exaggerated feeling when healing due to be higher up off the water.

    And with the aft cockpit you can get the walk-through transoms. Way more convenient and they drain a lot quicker when you get popped by a wave. You just have to make sure the companionway is sufficiently high. On our boat its low, which is nice in port but not on passage. This can easily be corrected by setting up a way to lock the bottom board in or building up the companion way with fiberglass. I have seen both and we went with locking the board in. We like the lower step when in port. So we have two brass bolts that lock the board in when we think we will have a rough passage.

    For the Gemini's, and I am not speaking from experience but I have a very good friend who used to be the North American dealer for Fountaine Pajot and has sailed multihulls of all different designs around the world and even designed a catamaran that Catalina considered making, the one comfort "flaw" that has been pointed out is the hard forward deck. The trampolines that you see on some catamarans actually have a lot to do with comfort motion. By having a hard deck you have a more stiff feeling that results in a very quick, jerky motion in some sea states that can be uncomfortable. A kind of hobby-horse feeling. I have research a number of multihull designs because I really like them for the stability at anchor and the extra space. Although they generally have less weight capacity so the space can be deceiving. Our next boat will likely be a multihull.

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    1. I didn't realize that you felt the effects of heeling more in a center cockpit than an aft one. That alone will make me rethink things! I hate it when it gets too tippy.

      You've obviously done your research on multi-hulls. Really good points about trampolines vs. hard forward decks. Are there any other smaller cats (like the Gemini) out there that have a trampoline?

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    2. For the catamarans, the ones on my short list are the Fountaine Pajot 37 Antiqua, the PDQ 36 and 32 for boats that I think can be had for $100K or less. I really love the Lagoon 380 S2 in the 2 cabin or 3 cabin version but those are pretty expensive in the $200K plus range. Our "lottery" boat is the Antares 44 but it cost $850K. There are some tris that I would consider but a lot of them are home built so it's more about the quality of the individual boat than the make.

      I haven't completely rules out catamarans with hard decks. It's just something to consider when you evaluate the option. The height of the bridge deck is another one. If it's too low you can get slapping of waves on the bridge deck that can be annoying.

      But most cruisers spend 75+% of their time at anchor. So is it worth trading some minor discomfort underway for some more comfort at anchor? We think so. Our Catalina is not as comfortable underway in heavy seas as say a Pacific Seacraft. But it blows the PS36 away when at anchor. We are fair weather sailors. When the weather looks good, we make a passage to the next port. If it looks bad, we find something to explore or do in the port we are in.

      When we head off for the Bahamas and the Caribbean we don't plan to sail more than a day straight before hitting a port. We sail with our dog so we will need to get her to shore anyways. It's all in how you plan to cruise and what compromises you want to make. Since we are going cruising well before retirement age we knew our choice was an older larger boat or a newer smaller boat. We chose newer and smaller. It has more of the comfort items we wanted for when we are anchored in a port.

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    3. Thanks - will check out the other cats in the 100k of less range. Good point about balancing out being at anchor vs. underway in terms of what you look for. Really appreciate all of your tips!

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  4. It seems like most modern production boats will fit your list. Did you state your budget, I don't remember see it? There are now a lot of sub-40 foot production boats that have centerline queens. Most of them aren't center cockpits though. Jeanneau and Catalina (the 350 and 380) come to mind. Also, by being an aft cockpit you tend to be closer to the water so the feeling of healing is less. The center cockpits do have a bit of exaggerated feeling when healing due to be higher up off the water.

    And with the aft cockpit you can get the walk-through transoms. Way more convenient and they drain a lot quicker when you get popped by a wave. You just have to make sure the companionway is sufficiently high. On our boat its low, which is nice in port but not on passage. This can easily be corrected by setting up a way to lock the bottom board in or building up the companion way with fiberglass. I have seen both and we went with locking the board in. We like the lower step when in port. So we have two brass bolts that lock the board in when we think we will have a rough passage.

    For the Gemini's, and I am not speaking from experience but I have a very good friend who used to be the North American dealer for Fountaine Pajot and has sailed multihulls of all different designs around the world and even designed a catamaran that Catalina considered making, the one comfort "flaw" that has been pointed out is the hard forward deck. The trampolines that you see on some catamarans actually have a lot to do with comfort motion. By having a hard deck you have a more stiff feeling that results in a very quick, jerky motion in some sea states that can be uncomfortable. A kind of hobby-horse feeling. I have research a number of multihull designs because I really like them for the stability at anchor and the extra space. Although they generally have less weight capacity so the space can be deceiving. Our next boat will likely be a multihull.

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  5. On the davits, this is one we go back and forth on. When you talk to cruisers on sub-40 foot boats, most either took off the davits or only really use them for dingy security in sketchy areas. Its harder to steal a dingy or engine that is up in the air and locked to the rail. You generally can't use them on passages because boats of that size can't get the dingy high enough off the water to be safe. Also, the additional weight hanging over the back end can really affect sailing performance due to the lever effect. A full arch is a good way to fix some of those problems but still isn't perfect. I keep coming back to the conclusion that one of the sacrifices for going on a smaller boat (31 footer in our case) is not having davits. This means towing the dinghy most of the time and putting it on the for deck the rest. Although I am still exploring using snap davits like power boaters use to have the dingy across the transom. This would move the weight closer to the stern instead of having it handing off and would able to be there in a large sea state because you don't have the risk of it filling with water and putting additional stress.

    On the lack of teak, I am with you on that. The only external wood on our boat is the hatch boards. Sure astatically its not as nice having all white gelcoat and stainless steel. But the lack of maintenance is great! I wipe down the stainless every couple of months and wash the boat after long sails and that's about it. Once a year I polish the stainless with Prism or Flitz, takes about an hour.

    On the anchor, I am a full believer in the modern anchors. We have an oversized Mason Supreme as our primary (not much different than the Rocna's but they were having the Chinese quality issues when I purchased). I also have two Danforth style anchors, a galvanized in the anchor locker for a second bow anchor and an aluminum Fortress on the stern rail for kedging and emergencies. There is also a collapsible fisherman's style deep in the lazz for storms. I used to think I carried too many anchors and then I read Cap'n Fatty's "Buy, Outfit and Sail" and he wrote that he usually had 7 anchors on his 38-foot Hughes that he sailed around the world multiple times. I think I am OK for cruising the Caribbean with 4 but you never know. I might add more. I like the spades and mantus because you can take them apart and store them flat. I could add another.

    Just realized how long and rambling my comment is. Sorry. (LOL, it was too large and I had to spilt it into two comments).

    Fair winds,

    Jesse
    s/v Smitty

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    1. Don't apologize about the length of your comments! You have given us such good advice and food for thought - we really, really appreciate it!!

      On our old boat (26'), we put the dinghy up on the deck (we rarely towed it) which was okay, but it made going forward a real pain. i would love to find a way to get our next dinghy out of the way and out of the water. I've been reading about Mantus anchors and they do seem similar to Rocnas. Are there any issues in terms of strength and stability with the Mantus anchors given you can take them apart?

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    2. A dinghy on the foredeck of a larger boat won't be as much in the way as it was on your 26 footer. So that is something to consider.

      I have not heard anything about the Mantus having problems yet. They are still new but the build quality looked really good when I checked them out at a boat show. Again I don't think you can go wrong with any of the modern design anchors. So I would take a Rocna, Manson Supreme, Spade, Mantus, etc. without a second thought. I would probably base my choice on what will fit my anchor roller best. My Manson Supreme is almost too big and doesn't fit great. But it's oversized and holds great.

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    ReplyDelete

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