Sailboat Shopping & The Almost Perfect Catamaran

Sailboat Shopping & The Almost Perfect Catamaran

We’ve learned a ton since we posted our first sailboat shopping experience a couple of weeks ago. Even when we fled south to the Keys it wasn’t all serene paddles on turquoise waters and laughs over sunset pina coladas.  We’ve spent hours wondering the docs, searching, researching and chatting up every sailor we’ve come across.

We’ve seen some potential cats come and go within hours of listing.  We’ve expanded our search to include the islands and even the world.  We’ve spoken and met with other full time cruisers, been aboard all types of boats and even spent some time learning and looking with one of our friends who’s an ASA sailing instructor.

We realize there’s a major benefit to purchasing a boat that has NEVER been chartered but that is proving difficult to find.  Add to that our new found love for an “owners version” and now we’ve narrowed the search down big time.  We feel like we’ve got a solid beat on what will and won’t work for us and what is a smart, long term, live aboard boat.

Fortunately, the east coast of Florida is a hot spot for catamarans and currently there are few that could potentially be our dream boat.

By the end of the video we were a little mentally exhausted (as I am sure was evident) and we only viewed two boats! To our credit, there were a few hours of driving involved to go see them that added to the day’s toll.

The day however was a great success because we were able to scratch one more brand of boat off our list of potentials.  Now we really know exactly what we are looking for and can go on a virtual world wide hunt!

Our Dream Catamaran

  • A Leopard 43 or Lagoon 410 is at the top of our list
  • Asking price under $300k
  • Owners version that’s never been chartered or lightly chartered and well maintained

A few thoughts on the boats we viewed…

Leopard 43

The first catamaran we viewed in the video was a 2005 Leopard 43 that fits our search perfectly.  Low engine hours, well cared for, light usage and many of the upgrades and service have been done at Just Catamarans, so Kent knows this boat well.  We really like the Leopards overall as they seem to be very solid boats, known for good performance and easy to work on as they have good access to everything. The downside: The asking price is more than $100k over our planned budget.  On top of that, it’s priced higher than other Leopards on the market.

Fontaine Pajot Belize

After seeing the FP Mahe, talking to Kent and doing a little more online research and polling other sailors we’ve moved all Fontaine Pajots to the bottom of our list.  The largest reason being accessibility to wiring, plumbing and the engines.  On top of that, FP seems to make a lighter built boat that shows age, along with wear-and-tear a lot faster than some other brands we’ve looked at.

However, we do like the looks of them and some of the layouts.  Which is why for the sake of not completely ruling FP out, we decided to check out a promising owner’s version which we showed in the video.  Sadly, we were not impressed with this particular FP as it was in horrible condition and way, way overpriced for its condition.

Lagoon 410

We had originally planned to see a Lagoon 410 this day as well, but during our first viewing the broker called Kent and told him the cat was now under contract and they didn’t want anyone else to step foot aboard the vessel in order to limit risk of accidental damage.  What a bummer!  This is the 3rd Lagoon 410 that has sold (or gone under contract) in the past few weeks and we still haven’t had the chance to see one in person.  Obviously, it’s a very popular cruising boat.

A little update on our Broker

There are good salespeople and bad salespeople. We’ve all encountered them and the bad ones can leave a long lasting distaste with a desire to never encounter their likes again.

After watching our first sailboat shopping video we’ve had several sailors reach out to us and tell us things like “Kent is one of the most honest people in the business.” and “Just Catamarans is by far the best place to have your cat serviced.” Through serendipity, we even met a couple other Cat brokers who have said great things about him. Of course they also jokingly said that’s he’s their competition and they’ll beat any offer he makes.

Through this process we’ve also met a few other brokers that gave us that creepy, we’re totally getting swindled, get me outta here salesman vibe.  So we feel good about our choice to go with Kent (who was recommended by our sailing friends).

Kent has personally sailed and serviced so many of the brands/models of catamarans we’re looking at.  His understanding of each of the model years and brands is exactly what we need as newbies.  He seems to be very conscious of our wants and need and he is helping steer us in the right direction…even though I jokingly gave him the finger of shame in the video.  Kent, if you’re reading this don’t let it get to your head, we haven’t bought a boat yet so the jury is still out.

What’s Next

Based on our wants and needs we’re going to keep searching for a Leopard 43 and a Lagoon 410 (and keep our eye out for anything else interesting).  We’re hoping one comes up on the market that’s closer to our budget, even if it is a bit more of a “fixer upper” or a year or two older.  While we’re waiting it won’t hurt to put in an offer on the Leopard 43 Owners Version that we looked at.  We’re just don’t want to “kick him in the gut” with too much of a low-ball offer (it is a nice boat)…but it can’t hurt to try right!?!

Sailing!!!! We’re going sailing!  Our ASA sailing instructor friend (his name is Sheldon) just purchased a new to him Lagoon 410 that he needs to move from St. Augustine to Ft. Lauderdale.  We’re going to be his crew and are excited to soak up all the knowledge and share the journey with all of you!  We’re headed that way today, so wish us luck and fair weather!


Thank you to everyone who’s left words of encouragement, sent their thoughts about each cat we’ve looked at and even those who have left words of caution. We enjoy reading every comment and we feel like we’re all in this together…and that makes the whole process a little less scary and a lot more fun. THANK YOU for being a part of the journey!

Share  your thoughts, advice, questions and tips in the comments below!

Extras you may have noticed:

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.