Sailboat Shopping – Searching For A Cruising Catamaran

Sailboat Shopping – Searching For A Cruising Catamaran

Well, our search for a sailboat is in full swing and I think we’re in for a long grueling, process.  We have a lot to learn, a limited budget and it’s our future home…so we have to be really picky.

We’ve known for a long while that we wanted a catamaran over a monohull, so at least that’s one less decision to make. We’ve got our cameras in hand and we’re headed over to meet our boat broker, and yes, we’re trying our best to keep an open mind.

Honestly, it’s going about as good as we expected.  We knew finding the perfect sailboat would be an impossible task, much like finding the perfect RV or house. However, after stepping foot aboard more than a dozen cats in the past week, I do believe we’ve come up with a solid list of our wants and needs for our “perfect” catamaran.

Kent is the owner of Just Catamarans which is a service center as well as having some brokers on hand. He really does seem to be a nice guy and we can see why our friends Pat and Ali of Bumfuzzle like him. He has a ton of ocean crossing sailing experience and his service knowledge is incredibly helpful when we ask questions like “Where’s the best place for the solar to be installed? ” or “Can we put a washer-dryer combo in there?”.  So far, we’re feeling really good about having him on our side.  Too bad most of the RV sales guys we’ve met over the years aren’t this knowledgeable or experienced.

After spending some time on different catamarans, and talking through a lot of the pros and cons among ourselves and with Kent, we’ve come to some conclusions. I’m sure as we walk around more sailboats this list of wants and needs will only grow.

Size Always Matters

At first we were thinking we wanted to stay small. It’s just the two of us, smaller boats are cheaper and we figured it would be easier to get in and out of docking areas, it’d be less expensive to dock and less square footage to maintain.  We knew it would be a challenge to make the space work but we thought we could probably do it.  So, our thinking was a Gemini 34 or 35 or the Fountain Pajot Mahe 36 would be good full time cruising options.  However, the limited space, galley down in the Gemini and the lack of access in the Fountain Pajot ruled out those sailboats right off the bat.  Now, we know we’re looking for a catamaran around 40 feet.

The Budget

When we were looking at Gemini we thought we could get away with a sub $125,000 sailboat, but once we scrapped the smaller cats we had to dig deeper into our pockets.  We’ve increased our budget to a whopping $200k and while it doesn’t seem impossible to find a good boat for this price, it does limit our options to older boats (like 2000 – 2006).  Older boats will obviously need a little more work, or may need things replaced due to age (which we will have budget for).

Catamaran Wants

  • Galley Up – meaning the kitchen is up top and not down below in one of the hulls.
  • Spacious Galley – we cook a lot and want plenty of counter top space, cabinets and room to maneuver.
  • Navigation Area With Desk – the navigation area could also double as a work space so having this up top would be best.
  • Easy Access – having easy access to wiring/plumbing/engines is important for maintenance, repairs and upgrades.
  • Storage – we are going to live on the boat so a place to put all of our stuff and the room to distribute the weight evenly is a must.
  • Easy Sailing – single handed sailing will be important as it is just the two of us. However, we hope to have friends join us often (somebody’s got to scrub the deck).
  • Bridgedeck Clearance – This is all about comfort while underway. If the bridgedeck is too low, waves will pound the underside of the boat making a very annoying “slap” among other things. We want to make sure we find a boat with good bridgedeck clearance to keep the ride as comfortable as possible while underway.
  • No Raised Fly Bridge – A few boats we’ve seen have the captain separated up top and away from the galley and saloon area. Because it’s just the two of us, it makes more sense to be closer together for communication purposes.
  • Load Capacity – Much like RV’s, boats have a certain load capacity. If you’re just an occasional user, this isn’t such a big deal, but as full time live aboards…we want to make sure we’re not overweight.

We’re only in the beginning stages of our search for a cruising catamaran and we still have a lot more to learn and see.   We’ve got our man Kent on the lookout and we’re scouring the internet for all possibilities. If you see a cat that you think could be our next home, drop us a note!  You never know, maybe a friend of a friend has a perfect, recently updated 42′ cat sitting around they want to sell us for less than market value…one can dream right?!?  Wish us luck, I think we’re gonna need it!

A Shout Out – A big thanks to our friends Pat and Ali of Bumfuzzle for recommending Kent and being a constant source of inspiration.  Also, Pat wrote the best Cat vs Mono debate that perfectly describes how we feel: Cat vs. Mono — The Great Debate

Equipment used to film this video:

Disclosure: None of this is a paid endorsement. There’s no affiliation, compensation, sponsorship or discounts with Kent our broker, Just Catamarans or any sailing brand, boat or product.