Experienced Cruiser having lived and cruised on various boats (catamarans and monos with all sorts of rigs - sloop, ketch, cutter, junk, wingsail) and worked on charter/expedition boats for more than 12 years. Cruised US east coast, Bahamas, and Virgins. I have cruised single handed, as well as with my family. We have also made deliveries of various boats to various locations. I now build catamarans and plywood composite dingys until we decide to cast off again at some later date.
US East Coast, Bahamas, Virgins
Visit: BudgetBoater.com or WharramBuilders.com
Build more boats for a while, then cruise the Pacific from Alaska to Australia.
Best Anthem EVER!!
"Hecate" A Wharram Pahi 52
Comment Wall (4 comments)
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Well, my experience and wisdom comes from lots of mistakes and successes. So, before I comment, let me start with the following: I lived and cruised on several different boats for more than 12 years, some by myself, some with just my wife, and others with a family of 3 growing to 4. We lived on the boats during 10 of the 12 different hurricanes/tropical storms that we endured over the years. We did 99% of all of our own maintenance, sometimes including hauling out on a beach to make repairs, and rebuilding our own engines.
From my experience, shallow draft is ALWAYS a requirement. Deep draft has its advantages, but not enough for me to go that route. The reason we survived those hurricanes was due to our boats being able to get back into tight and shallow places (and having lots of large and heavy ground tackle). During one hurricane, a boat with a 7' draft sank less than 100 yards away from our boat simply because I was in a mangrove creek, and he was exposed. A shallow draft also allow you to get away from big crowds when you want to.
My second consideration is ease of maintenance and monetary considerations to own and operate a boat. We typically cruise on less than $800 per month so cannot own a boat with a lot of maintenance requirements. What does this mean? No outside varnish, no teak decks, no wood masts, quality engine, quality batteries, and the best systems money can buy before leaving. We are also both too lazy to do a lot of maintenance, and would rather see the sights.
The third consideration is comfort both at anchor and at sea. We never stay in marinas (except when a baby is about to be due we go in for month or two before and after ) so liveaboard comfort is important since 95% of our time on board is at anchor. Comfort to us means excellent ventilation, comfortable seating areas and bunks, adequate space for movement and storage, light - both natural and artificial - and good systems. Good systems just means that whatever we have on board works the way it is supposed to and is reliable - like the head. I hate fixing heads, and swear by the Lavac and have still never had to fix or unplug one. We try to have as few systems as possible so that we can spend more time having fun, rather than working on the boat.
At sea comfort is important as well. For us this means that the galley is useable at sea in normal conditions and the cook does not get overheated or get bumped and bruised, the off-watch does not get thrown out of their bunk, the cockpit is secure, the sails are easily managed, and the motion at sea is enjoyable.
Our last consideration is the overall appearance of the boat. Personally, we like to be different and have a boat that is not like the rest.
Not addressed is strength and stability. Simply stated, most boats designed for offshore work are plenty strong and when properly equipped and maintained give nothing to worry about and will maintain their designed stability when proper seamanship is used.
Why we choose wood composite catamarans:
1. Shallow draft - typically 2' to 4' even on very large catamarans
2. Very easy to maintain - wood is available everywhere in the world and is exceptionally strong and flexible. Wood composite boats are plywood boats that have been incapsulated in epoxy and fiberglass. When properly built, they are lightweight, very strong, and maintenance free. Remember wood has been around in boat building forever and the invention of plywood and epoxy have advanced the material substantially.
3. Comfort - A catamaran is always flat. Catamarans are form stable just like ships. Their form is what keeps them upright. The fact that they are always flat contributes to their inherent comfort both at sea and at anchor. I never liked rolling at anchor in a mono and avoided some anchorages simply because of this. With the catamaran, I never hesitated to anchor in an open roadstead or in a rolly anchorage and just smiled while I sat flat and watched the other boats roll from side to side. The seating areas and bunks are also always flat which contributes to their comfort. Thing do not get thrown around as much on a catamaran either since they stay flat. The galley and head also always stay flat making it a pleasure to do business anytime. Doing deck work at sea is easier as well.
4. Speed - The 38 foot cats that we build weigh 3 tons, 5 fully loaded. They are fast, fast, fast. The wingsail design is simple and efficient. Not as easy as a junk rig, but easier than most with great pointing ability.
5. Storage - Though you do not want to weigh down a catamaran, there is lots of space to store things. So, you can partially fill all of the areas thereby giving yourself easier access to your stuff. You can easily store a hard or inflated RIB dingy and outboard on the deck. A 38' catamaran has space equal to a 50'-60' monohull.
After we take care of our customers boat builds, we will build our own, then assemble it in Washington, head up to Alaska, cruise down to Mexico, then out into the Pacific.
If I had to choose a monohull here is what I would look for: Solid glass hull with foam cored deck; 4'5" draft or less (loaded) ; full or modified keel; no external wood; aluminum masts; split rig (prefer junk rig); pilothouse; and a large diesel engine (at least 2x the horsepower required) or diesel-electric drive. I like Island Packet, but I would never pay the price for one - even if I had the money.
Well, that is my opinion. Now, to answer your simpler question "which boat?" Just about any boat will work. Whatever you abilities and wallet can deal with will usually work.
I would certainly like your opinion. It has always baffled over which boat would suffice(worthy) on a given coast or sea. Would a boat adequate for the east coast and BVI (shallow draft) work for the west coast and around Africa say?
Others have commented to this questions which I have posted in my various groups, so take your time and if ye want to read those to elaborate on.
I see ye fancy multi's and I think ye steered me away from Tayana's this mornin'.