Scouting for Cats
Last week, we decided it’s time to upgrade our boat, and downsize our life.
Since we will be living aboard a boat almost full time, and I will still be working full-time, size matters. Lagoon is considered the King in comfort for blue water sailing, and the Lagoon 440 – at 44’ with a 25.6’ beam, she will surely meet our needs. Besides, with the Owners Version, if I wants some alone time, I can always go chill in the guest cabin. Boat goal: Lagoon 440.
We found a really good broker from Knot 10 out of Maryland named Spencer Kent and he met us in Ft. Lauderdale to view three current 440’s on the market.
We went straight from the airport to view the first boat, a 2006 called Powder Blue. She’s been constantly sailed the last 4 years solid and the attention the boat has received shows through. We met her current owners who bought her in Spain and sailed her throughout the Mediterranean and Caribbean. She was clean, but worn a little here and there, had portable solar panels, a newer dinghy (with davits), a water maker, a parasailor, and a sissy bar for the mast – that’s a great idea by the way, even if it does get in the way of the jib from time to time! A couple down sides: traditional Yanmar engines and 220 wiring. Those Frenchmen who make this boat should have both 220 and 110 wiring, in this girl’s opinion. Still, a clean yacht.
The three of us left the marina and headed to get a cocktail and get to know each other a little more. Ok, cocktails – plural – it had been a long day. Over dinner, we made the game plan for viewing the final two yachts and catching our flight back to Virginia.
10:00a arrived very quickly and we set out to view Boat #2 (not naming her on this post). This is clearly not a boat that has been sailed consistently. I couldn’t open the cupboards, she was filthy, they had recently replaced the flooring with a very dark brown laminate, the appliances were rusted, she was leaking, all hinges were corroded, the list goes on and on. On the plus side, she had a mini dishwasher (although who needs that on a boat?), and a washer/dryer combo. We left after just 15 minutes. Sorry – just not the boat for us right now.
Coincidentally, the 2005 Cattagirl was just next door so we headed over to check her out. This was the boat that Erik and I really wanted to see. She’s got the rare Solomon drives – so her engine is a hybrid – electric re-charged by a bank of batteries running off the generator. Solomon drives have a life of 90,000 hours – this means the life of these engines, unlike diesel engines, will last as long as the fiberglass. The first thing I noticed stepping aboard was she was outfit with safety handrails throughout. I have to tell you, that was freaking smart. I immediately felt more sturdy on her. It’s not a huge upgrade, but I gotta say, that right there set her apart from Powder Blue. Her two refrigerators were brand new, as was the new multi-shelved stainless steel freezer. Loved that! Her equipment was state of the art, and while there is no solar, or watermaker, and the dinghy was terrible, she was fit with fixed fans in all rooms, AC throughout, teak deck was recently conditioned, and she was just CLEAN. Her owner clearly gives her attention.
I weigh the quiet engine against the lack of solar and water maker, balance the new fridge/freezer against the reverse camera on Powder Blue, and compare the two dinghy’s and I still believe the better deal is Cattagirl.