Did We Choose The Right Boat? (HH44 vs HH52)
How a boat ages says a lot about the build materials and quality. And, there just so happened to be a three-year-old HH50 on display at the La Grande Motte boat show. Which prompted us to hop in the camper van and drive the 9 hours from Italy to France. (Ok, that plus the temptation of all the other new catamarans we could step foot on.) The HH50 is the closest in fit, finish, and size to our soon-to-be HH44. Plus, HH just announced the new and highly tempting HH52 which naturally leads to the question, should we upgrade?
There are seemingly more options than ever when it comes to new boats and that’s both good and bad. Good because there really is no such thing as “One Size Fits All”. Bad because all these options can lead to decision fatigue. (Just wait for next week’s video, the boats just keep getting better!)
Thankfully, we aren’t actually boat shopping. Because it would be a tough call with all the new options on the market! We are nearing the end of our build and still feeling solid in our decision. But let’s be honest, for 99% of us, budget decides what boat we get.
And speaking of budget, let’s talk price for those of you contemplating or simply curious as to what the cost of a new boat is.
We asked for updated pricing because it has gone up significantly, all across the market and on all boats since we signed in early 2022. This is the beauty of most boat contracts, it locks in the pricing at the current time. Because inevitably, the prices will go up with inflation.
Base Price vs Fully Equipped
Before I list out the base prices, let’s chat for a second about what that means and thank our Patrons for making informational breakdown posts like this possible. We’re in the works of conducting interviews with other buyers from other manufacturers so we can really hash out the cost and fun/pain of building a new boat. So stay tuned.
Because base prices can be EXTREMELY misleading and frustrating. Some new catamarans will be listed with an attractive low base price of $495k but that will be little more than a polished hull. The fully equipped price will be drastically different, sometimes double or more than the base price. Because if you can’t get a decently outfitted 7-year-old used production boat for that price, you certainly won’t get a decently built new catamaran for that price!
Let’s face it, boats are freaking expensive. Especially catamarans. There are loads of scrappy sailors who make it work on a shoestring budget and they are mighty impressive. Captain Fatty Goodlander literally wrote a book on it: How To Inexpensively and Safely Buy, Outfit, and Sail a Small Vessel Around the World
But it won’t be aboard a new boat, especially a new catamaran. These are 2-4 bedroom off-grid homes that can turn salt water into drinking water, harness the sun for power and use the wind to cross oceans. And, when it comes to something we expect to carry us safely across an ocean, cheap isn’t our priority, quality and safety are.
Even our 18-year-old Leopard 43 was $380k (granted, she is a well-loved fully set up for off-grid living vessel). If someone is trying to sell you a new boat for that price, are you sure you want it?
So when comparing boats, do not use base price, and keep in mind you get what you pay for. Some will ask what the “sail away or fully equipped” price will be. I don’t like that either because everyone’s idea of fully equipped will be different. Ask for the price and options sheet, check the boxes you will want, get your total, and then start comparing. You will notice the seemingly affordable boat starts to become the same price or even surpass the seemingly more expensive boats.
From our experience, most buyers will check off at least $200k in options from any manufacturer. This isn’t necessarily because a builder is trying to deceive or lure in a buyer (sometimes it is). Every single sailor’s wants and needs will be different. Not everyone will be offshore sailing and need a watermaker or heaps of solar on the cabin top. Some prefer manual winches and the
never-ending challenge of grinding a mainsail up while others will want an electric push button.
HH44 & HH52 Pricing
HH44-OC (Ocean Cruiser, no dagger boards): Starts at $957k USD
I will say HH comes with far more as standard than most boats we looked into. (5-year warranty, quality hardware & Karver reefing systems, toughened glass windows, electric dinghy lift, SeaDek, sofa cushions throughout, PowerPlex digital switching, Rocna anchor, anchor chain, blinds for all windows and hatches…and the list goes on). So there are a lot fewer boxes to tick. The OC version is the version we chose and we’re still happy with that choice for our needs.
HH44-SC (Sports Cruiser, daggerboards, carbon mast, carbon rudder, more racing-oriented gear): Starts at $1.325m USD
At first glance, there is a big price difference between the two models but it’s not just because of the added performance gear. The SC comes standard with paint, the hybrid electric eco-drive, a huge lithium battery bank, a cabin top full of solar, and all the B&G navigation equipment. All of these options are boxes we needed to tick on our OC. So again, this is why you want to ask for the price & options lists on whatever boat you are looking at. We still saved money by not opting for the SC version and we weren’t interested in all of the extra gear and performance upgrades. The OC will already be a massive upgrade for us in comfort, performance, ease, and joy of sailing. Unlike our friends s/v Endless Playtime who absolutely wanted the extra performance gear. They will 100% participate in races and rallies and take full advantage of all that the SC offers. Different sailors, different boats.
HH52-OCF (Ocean Cruising Forward Cockpit): Starts at $1.57m USD – HH52-OC (Ocean Cruising): Starts at $1.62m USD
Again, the Ocean Cruising versions are more cruiser oriented with standard mini keels and a Carbon backbone with E-glass construction.
HH52-SCF (Sport Cruising Forward Cockpit): Starts at $1.9m USD – HH52-SC (Sport Cruising): Starts at $1.95m USD
It can get a little confusing here: The HH44 models share the same carbon & E-glass construction. But on the HH52 when you buy the SC you get a full-carbon boat, which is one of the biggest upgrades. The Sport Cruising versions also come with curved carbon daggerboards, carbon mast, aramid stays, custom carbon rudders, and other high-performance sailing upgrades.
Not that we take our own advice (notice the increase in grey hair over the last 6 years?) but here it is anyway. New or used, don’t max yourself out on the boat purchase. There will be unexpected extra costs down the road you simply can’t foresee at the time of signing. Even “normal” things like registration, documentation, taxes, insurance, and delivery can throw in unexpected curve balls (more on those subjects soon 😤). So don’t forget to save some cash for the cruising kitty.