Choosing a Cruising Catamaran

Choosing a Cruising Catamaran.  At that time my circumstances were a bit different, and so was my level of education on the subject.  Much has changed since then – both in circumstance and in knowledge.  If you’ve been following along, you may have read my post last week:  Keeping The Dream Alive.  In that post I was whining about how I needed my Mother to make a decision on whether she’d join me for part of this trip.  If decided she wanted to come, great – I’d get a bigger boat.  But if not, I wanted to stay as liquid as possible in order to avoid any nasty budget-related surprises during the trip (which means I want a much smaller boat).

Choosing a Cruising Catamaran – Time: Now

Well, for the last week I’ve been working remotely with limited access to the Internet – which gave me an enormous amount of time back.  Time to think, which for me – is necessary.  It became obvious, when I was thinking, that relying on someone else (in any way) to purchase a boat for this kind of a trip is nothing short of idiotic.  Rather than making excuses, I should be:

  • Figuring out exactly how much I could afford to spend on a boat
  • Figuring out exactly what boats were on the market (in my budget)
  • Poking offers at boats on the absolute lowest end of my price-range

So I did all of that. I’m not sure if it was the right decision, but I can tell you this:  I’ve never felt such a supreme feeling of relief (and apprehension) as I did when I made the wire-transfer to escrow for a cruising catamaran this week.  Holy shit.  This is real.

Yeah, I did it.  

I submitted a very real offer on a very real cruising catamaran (a Fountaine Pajot Athena 38′). Honestly, I don’t think it will go through – but I’ll know within 4 days (or less) at which point I can take another shot at another boat. On that subject – there are two Lagoon TPI’s on the market (and a Privilege 37) that I’m very interested in; one at 42′ of length and another at 37′.   Any of these boats would suit me fine, but obviously, I would prefer the 42′.

The 37′ TPI is also nothing short of a “project-boat” needed at least $50,000 in repairs to be serviceable for my type of trip.  The worry on the 37′ TPI is that it is A) a little small for a circumnavigation and B) might be more repairs than I’ve bargained for.   The 42′ TPI?  Great boat, almost turn-key, and at the upper end of my budget.  This could put me in a tight spot if things go pear-shaped in the middle of the South Pacific. But of course, a 42′ TPI is a hell of a cruising catamaran and one that I would be infinitely happy with.  Why not buy it then? Because I can’t get ahold of the seller!  I’ve called, left messages, sent emails, and I can’t get ahold of him to buy his damned boat.  Kind of a bad joke huh? Which makes me very skeptical – in the past when I’ve overlooked this kind of failure to communicate it’s ended badly. Or maybe he just thinks I’m kicking tires… Either way, I’m at my wit’s end with this guy (and I haven’t even met him yet).  Enough of that though.

Wait.  What?  A Monohull?

What happens if my Mom says “no Nathan, I don’t want to spend time in beautiful and remote spots on a comfortable, spacious cruising catamaran”?  Well, we get her head checked.   And then I’ll go down to a monohull.  You read that right, after all this talk about cruising catamarans – if Momma doesn’t come, I’m headed down to a single-hulled sailboat.  But why?  Price.  I want more of my money liquid, where I can play in the stock market with it, repair a busted engine, or buy cruising equipment and adventure gear (see: man-toys).  I can save (at least) $50,000 of upfront startup costs by switching to a monohull – and if that’s not significant to you, I have no idea why you’re wasting your time reading these words;  you should be making small candles out of $100 bills.

Wishy-Washy and Learning to Sail

Yes, I’m still typing.  Because there’s been even more progress.  At Strictly Sail Miami I bumped into the Bluewater Sailing School – something that I planned on getting into post-boat buying. But a thought occurred to me:  what if my Mom would attend the catamaran sailing class?

It could be her “I like/don’t like sailing” litmus test, and be a genuinely great learning experience in the process.  Even if she decided not to go and sail with me, she’d have learned some really cool stuff and had a little mini-adventure. Plus – it’s affordable.  A 7 day charter on a catamaran can cost anywhere between $4,500 (on the very low end) to $20,000 (on the not-so-high end).  But the Bluewater Sailing School is ~$2,300 for 7 days of sailing/learning – including certs from ASA.  Not bad.  Not bad at all.   So I pushed my poor Mom a bit.

And check this out. Drumroll……….

Choosing a Cruising Catamaran

Mom’s going sailing!

What a massive, massive relief.  This has been, to date, one of the harder things I’ve ever attempted to do. And I’ve been through 15 months of combat (actual combat too – not just pushing paper on a military base, which – incidentally – is what most deployed soldiers actually do).  Anyways.

I can’t describe the feeling of relief that washed over me.  Soon enough, I’ll know alot more about choosing a cruising catamaran.

It was a huge ask for me, and a huge step for her.  In her generation, people didn’t just take off on a 5 year circumnavigation.  Their entire identities were tied up in their professional accomplishments.  The mere fact that she’s willing to explore the idea (and has bought the class/ticktets) is a huge step.  And it’s soon.  Which means I’ll know exactly what boat I’m looking for very shortly. Which is (again) huge.

If you’re wondering why I’m not accompanying her (and I’m not) – it’s because I must take sailing lessons, and want to do so onboard the actual boat I’ll be cruising on.  So our deal is this:  she goes and takes this course alone, I stay and don’t take time off work.  If she likes it:  I’m responsible for boat buying, survey, sea-trial, etc.  And then responsible for getting a qualified captain onboard to train us, on our boat. If she doesn’t like it:  No harm, no foul.  I proceed as described previously – get the boat, get the captain, learn to sail.

 What Else is New?

Financial stuff – I’m out of the storage unit deal, I’m thinking about a multi-family real estate deal, I’m thinking about putting $ into REIT’s, and I’m trying to design for simplicity.  Incidentally, I got the audio book from Bumfuzzle – Living on The Margin.  If the financial aspects of this (or any) type of adventure travel interest you READ THE BOOK.  This kind of thing doesn’t have to be expensive – and it doesn’t have to drain your savings.

Expo stuff – yep, this Saturday is the Blue Wild Expo.  I’ve never been and I’m stoked.

Insane?  Good? Bad?  What say you?

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