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.
I think you two are the best ones to judge what boat and size is best for you. Sure there are many options (dishwasher?) but in the end you two know your own needs skills and expectaion. Trust yourselves! I would like to thank you both for the professional yet relatable content you provide in such an estetically pleasing way! Yes, it is obvious you care about your work!
Have Fun -N-
Scott Laprise JUST BACK FROM HH
JUST BACK FROM HH LAST WEEK
Hi You guys, great content, we are big fans.
We saw your name up on the order board at HH in Xiamen, they told us you will be in China soon. We are a family of 3 living in Beijing China for last 25 years. We went to visit HH because we are also looking for a boat, we have met with all the boat makers now in China, next we plan to visit France (we are French Canadian) I am a financial analyst and we are getting ready to leave China soon. If you want any feedback on our visit just give me a call. I think you are making a great choice but I highly recommend you go for carbon and dagger boards otherwise not sure why you would get an HH. The 44 is very small inside but I am sure you know all that and you can see a lineup of 44′ at the factory in different stages, well worth a visit. You can even see an 88 footer just for partying being built. Very nice people. We found the 44 too small for us, we even found the 55 pretty small. There is Chinese guy who brought his boat back to the factory to fix it, he has a 55 and told me it is too small. You might see him and can talk to him when you visit.
If you are planning to come up to Beijing you are welcome to stay with us, we have a very very big house so more than enough room. A lot of tea, I have about 40 kinds of tea. You can buy a lot when you come to visit, I recommend you visit a tea planation.
I highly recommend you get WeChat, this is all we use here in China, this will allow you to communicate better and it even has a translation tool. We all 3 speak Chinese so if you need any translation help just call or Wechat, my wechat is the same number.
Good luck with everything. Your new boat will be great. We are cheering for you.
Scott, Jing Jing and Luc
By definition a boat is a hole in the water that consumes endless amounts of money. Something is always broken and needs fixing or needs upgrading. Life on a boat is a way of life.
Michael Hellyar Sr
Congratulations. Have followed since your sailing beginning. You are talents and marketing acumen have been fun to observe. Your new HH investment will expand your reach to another breed of bigger dreamers and doers.
Wishing you the best on your new HH. You earned it.
You guys are awesome! Wife and I really enjoy all the content you’ve given over the years and this latest is simply fantastic. I’ll retire in a few years from the airline world and the wife and I plan to start our water adventures. If anything, I think you’re videos have made choosing between monohull and a cat so much more difficult, at least for us. She’s crewed on a mono and doesn’t mind the heeling and neither of us have been on a cat. Sure like the idea of more room, redundant power. Thanks to both of you for being that inspiration to follow our dreams. Best wishes on that new RV for the water, it’s gonna be amazing!
Chris & Carolyn
Wow. Nikki and Jason. Your excited excitement travels the airwaves.
Before I watched this, I was a bit ho hum. Now, after watching my attitude has woken followed by a gleaming personality. 😁 Taa Daaaa..
Those boats look way cool. You guys are definitely joining a league of remarkable quality and excellence.
Enjoy your new choices, your excitement and congratulations on your great success.
Thanks for letting me tag along.
Happiness and Joy,
Great post! We are very interested in the HH44 but that HH52 with forward cockpit is really sweet! Can HH configure the HH44 with a forward cockpit?
I just can’t figure out how in the world you two can afford a new boat with no visible income. My and I both worked for GM, she was an engineer in
Advaced Vehicles and I was a Software Project Mgr for GM final Assemble Plants. Someb body must have some deep pockets!!
No visible income? You’re looking at it! Nikki and Jason generally spend 40-60 hours/week filming, editing, writing blog posts & articles, and all the other things that happen behind the scenes to build a YouTube channel with half a million subscribers and thousands of supporters on Patreon. More details here: https://www.gonewiththewynns.com/travel-money-wynns and thanks for being a part of the crew!
You must not know how YouTube works. There are YouTube content creators making millions of dollars based on the number of subscribers they have and how many hits their videos get. Plus, add in the Patreon revenue stream and there you have it.
It’s always great to see people discuss pricing, so we all fully understand costs of owning and operating a boat.
Holly & Stephane
Hey guys, we are currently going through the process for our new Outremer 52. We should have it by August, hull #4. The process this time is very different than with our last boat which surprised us with everything extra we had to do after we got the boat. We do agree that it’s not always clear what kind of boat best fits you until you are on one and figure out how you like to sail and what tradeoffs you are willing to make between comfort, weight and value.
– Sailing AWEN, O52
This breakdown really hit home, literally. We’re moving into a “tiny” home; base price $72k. After options (& we aren’t talking fancy or highest grade) – add-ons, land purchase land prep, well, septic, clearing, blah, blah; Right around $300k. There is a marina just down the road. If our job was doable from anywhere in the world we would be on a boat at this price point 🤣. In fact, we’re seriously talking about just living on a boat anyway as we live on an island.
I can understand you’re excitement. Just being able to be in a space that is close to what you’ll have does wonders for the brain and those feelings of “Did I make the right choice?” Feeling the space around you and how you move through it is always vastly better than assumption and hope. I can’t wait until you’re in your new home about as much as I can’t wait to be in mine. We miss your sailing adventures! Stay safe!
Great perspective and thanks for sharing the real numbers. Of course, cars, planes, homes and RVs have the same phenomenon of up-pricing in options and frankly, that’s where most of the OEMs make their profit margins. From wrestling this problem over the years, I would add the following to your insight:
1) Check how rarely/often the option is purchased. because if its one that is seldom ordered, the aftermarket support is likely to be sketchy and there is often going to be installation problems as the Yard has infrequent experience with its requirements.
2) I have learned to budget ~10% of the purchase cost for maintenance over a rolling 5 year period. Of course during warranty periods the cost will be less but eventually you will have to pay that amount and the funding needs to come from the earlier years’ budgets where you underspent. Now the US sales process does not either discuss or emphasize the point as most owners are aspiring for their next “toy” within 2 years of its acquisition and leave the deferred maintenance to the new buyer. But this number is generally the case and its a function of all those options purchased when the boat was new and to make matters more challenging, that 10% is a function of the NEW boat/plane/RV/Home/Car cost.
Savings can be obtained as you have done by DIY practices together with friends and neighbors. Many do not have that opportunity especially in the US. In addition careful maintenance, Nicki’s cleanliness, risk management and sensitivity to mechanical aberrations can help too but your comments about NEED for options vs. nice-to-have can also have major cost implications in the future.
N&J,Great video and blog post. Yup you can always think bigger is better, it’s the american way ….but 44/48 is huge and as you know it will be 99% just the 2 of you. As you scale up everything gets more expensive, harder to handle, maintain and on….
The sailing weight is a huge performance gauge, the published weights are frequently way less than real life, can you get a true measured weight not just an design estimate ???
Avoiding all the heavy extras and ‘winglet on keel’ and the like should cut the wt and the cost! ( hopefully) if they removed the gelcoat above the waterline before painting otherwise there is no wt saving, did not occur to me they might be painting over the gelcoat??? It could save 500-1000# removing the gelcoat!
It’s a performance gain you get forevermore no matter how old your sails get it’s like aerodynamic on a car it always works even when it’s lost it’s shine!
To be in a position to have these choices is amazing , cherish every moment!
As you are!
PS what racing series are there for ‘racing’ these performance catamarans? Dazcats race but I don’t see the others out there ? What am I missing? W
Thanks for this! I have sailed with you (in spirit) for a number of years and I can feel the excitement. Wishing you the very best in your future sailing on your new floating home.
I know originally you were supposed to get your new boat in June of 2023 in time for Jason’s birthday. How is that timeline looking? Can’t wait to see your new adventures out on the ocean.
Sailing vicariously has become one of our important daily activities. We are day-sailers and I used to grind for a few west coast Newport-Ensenada races… your undertaking and your sharing the large and the small things provide remarkable
insights. Fair winds and following seas!!
As always…great info.
Congratulations on buying such a beautiful, seaworthy catamaran. The Interior is as beautiful as the outside, and talk about ‘cruisin in style’…you have done it (or will do it). Also, I feel that the 44 is an almost ideal size for 2 as it will give much more comfort and ease when manuevering in close quarters + there is plenty of room aboard.
Great content with all the pics and model comparisons, wow! And Nikki…I need that black shirt, where did you get it 🙂