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Old 04-22-2016, 04:12 PM   #1
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Power Cat vs. Trawler dilemma: Please Advise

My dilemma is I like both styles but don't have enough experience to make an informed decision. Retiring in two years, heading from Galveston around to keys, then later across to Bahamas. I will liveabord for a year or two before heading out, during which I will be using boat in Galveston Bay complex. Hope to spend several years in Caribbean post retirement. What are the pros and cons of a Power-Cat like 37' Fountaine vs a 44' DeFever trawler. Hope to be fishing, scuba and snorkeling, island exploring. Budget is 250K.
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Old 04-22-2016, 04:58 PM   #2
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One issue you will encounter is finding dockside moorage with the Power Cat. Its beam is huge and many places will not be able to accommodate it.
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Old 04-22-2016, 05:08 PM   #3
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My choice was a PDQ 34. Looked at a FP 37 but wasn't my cup of tea. Most every catamaran power or sail has one place to sit inside, the dinette, except the PDQ 34. I have been living aboard for 6 months or so and find an alternate place to "lounge" very important, especially when guests are aboard. As far as pros: stable, fuel efficiency, speed, cost of dockage(shorter), simplicity( no thrusters or stabilizers). Cons: doesn't look "shippy", mine doesn't have walkaround bed. Also I never have had to pay extra for dockage because of being a multihull.

I left Houston in September. Would have been glad to show you around.

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Old 04-22-2016, 06:00 PM   #4
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The Caribbean once you are east of the Bahamas is a sailboat world and the majority of new boats are cats. Don't know how a cat without a sail does in six to eight foot waves on the beam. I would ask around. I have only met one power cat in the Caribbean and a I didn't ask that question. The monohull trawlers generally have stabilizers.

As far as dockage, expect to pay 150% of the normal charge because of the multi-hull. Not a big issue as anchoring is more common than being in a slip.

As you will be anchoring pick a model that has a hatch over your berth that will face windward at anchor. Typical nightime temperatures are 78 to 82F.

The shallow draft will be of little value in the Virgins and the Eastern Caribbean as these are deep water areas.

The speed and fuel efficiency of the cats is nice, but you will probably slow down to six to seven knots as you will end up buddy boating with sailboats.


Good luck in your decision.
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Old 04-22-2016, 10:14 PM   #5
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Rent both in the areas you think you will be boating and see what works best. We started that 5 years ago and found what we liked and didn't of various styles. It was a tremendous help as we decided on our next boat.

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Old 04-23-2016, 06:48 AM   #6
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The speed and fuel efficiency of the cats is nice, but you will probably slow down to six to seven knots as you will end up buddy boating with sailboats.

Indeed!

And for long term cruising the added weight of "stuff" can make a cat a danger.

They must be light or HUGE.

The monohull displacement boat will require little extra power for every ton of goodies.

An inshore boat can use the "Thornless Path" to get to the islands,with less need for stabilization or offshore scantlings.
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:45 AM   #7
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A showstopper for us would be lack of a walk-around master berth... and most cats we've looked at don't solve that.


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Old 04-23-2016, 09:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slowroll View Post
My dilemma is I like both styles but don't have enough experience to make an informed decision. Retiring in two years, heading from Galveston around to keys, then later across to Bahamas. I will liveabord for a year or two before heading out, during which I will be using boat in Galveston Bay complex. Hope to spend several years in Caribbean post retirement. What are the pros and cons of a Power-Cat like 37' Fountaine vs a 44' DeFever trawler. Hope to be fishing, scuba and snorkeling, island exploring. Budget is 250K.
For what you want to do, power cat hands down. Shallow draft, stable at anchor and in most cases a very nice big cockpit to hang out in at anchor.

I wouldn't worry about the issue of finding dockage and haul outs. Places in the Caribbean are pretty used to dealing with catamarans these days.
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:33 AM   #9
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The Caribbean once you are east of the Bahamas is a sailboat world and the majority of new boats are cats. Don't know how a cat without a sail does in six to eight foot waves on the beam. I would ask around. I have only met one power cat in the Caribbean and a I didn't ask that question. The monohull trawlers generally have stabilizers.

How does a sailing cat do in big beam seas? I wonder how a powercat would differ from the movement of a sailing cat at low speeds. Seems like the width of the hull itself would provide the stability in beam seas and not really the sail, but I'm speaking from ignorance here. Does the sail dampen movement of the cat hull that much?

And as to speed, I understand Powercats don't really like to beat into waves. The one I tested out hobby horsed when we had 4-5' waves on the bow and the waves slammed the deck pretty loudly (but it was a POS so maybe that's why). I wonder if a cat can use jts speed with a 6-8' beam sea or would that run the risk of stuffing a hull?

Are there are other reasons there are not more more powercats in the Caribbean? Fuel capacity maybe? Range?
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Old 04-23-2016, 01:05 PM   #10
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There is lot to like with a power cat. We looked fairly hard at a Endeavour 44'. It had a nice king size bed in the master stateroom and two queens in the other staterooms. Dockage will be an issue at a lot of marinas. We would have had to sign up for a 60' slip locally due to the 19' beam.

To me, the big power cat turn off is the engine rooms. Real, real tight.

The Defever 44' is a real nice boat with a fairly decent ER and having a sea chest is a big plus. The 4'6" draft can be an issue in the islands.

I would recommend you consider a Great Harbour GH37 or N37. You get a nice roomy boat, a super engine room, twin engines, twin skegs, sea chest in the more recent boats and a draft of under 3'. They were really designed for island cruising. The negative is many of them only have a single head.
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Old 04-23-2016, 03:51 PM   #11
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?

Are there are other reasons there are not more more powercats in the Caribbean? Fuel capacity maybe? Range?
There are very few cruising powerboats period. Ignoring the megayachts, 95% or more of the cruising boats are sailboats.

A sailboat with the sail up provides a stability even with beam seas that a powerboat cannot match. The almost constant five to eight foot beam seas in the Eastern Caribbean make it tough for a non stabilized power boat.

The range of the powercats is fine for the Caribbean.
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Old 04-23-2016, 04:44 PM   #12
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I looked at a bunch of power cats seriously considering that style boat a number of years back. There are many things to like but what I found is that in our case we needed to get into a rather large power cat to get near ore equal the room and storage in that 44' DeFever. I eventually ended up with a power Cat but not as a cruiser as it was only 24' in length, sea keeping was impressive for its size.
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Old 04-23-2016, 07:57 PM   #13
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I am one year into owning a Moorings 372 PC, which is the Leopard 37 PowerCat. I have also chartered a 39 power cat in the Bahamas and the PDQ 34 and other power cats up to 45 feet in Florida. After also chartering monohulls like a Mainship 43, GB 36 & 42, etc, my wife demanded that we buy a multi-hull. So that's point one. They are much more stable in small seas. Note I said small seas. There's just nothing better than a cat in flat water.

But our 37 Leopard PowerCat "True Love" sucks in a beam sea over 4 feet, and I mean sucks. It rocks violently and the freezer and fridge doors, and even the heavy sliding glass cockpit door open and shut with each wave. In fairness, our Leopard 37 only has a 14'8" beam so it's possible wider cats would be better.

But because it's only 14'8" it does fit into any regular slip. That's a big plus in our Marina in Cape Coral and elsewhere,but not as important in the mooring-ball oriented Bahamas.

I also agree with the earlier poster about the "hobby horse" problem. Into a 4'+ sea it's a bucking bronco.

As for livability, the crawl-in berths are not as nice as an island queen, but the bright light and wide saloon outweigh that, with a large single level that extends out the large sliders into the rear cockpit. That's a very nice arrangement. Also, split accommodations make for very good privacy.

Because we have our boat in SW Florida in the generally calm gulf, with a friendly ICW to stay in if it's blowing hard outside, the sea-keeping aspect is just not an issue for us or our charterers out of Southwest Florida Yachts, who take care of it for us.

All in all, the pluses of a PowerCat for us outweigh the minuses greatly.

I'd be happy to talk more about it.

Happy hunting!


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Old 04-23-2016, 08:01 PM   #14
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Oh, and while the PDQ 34 is cool, the engines are under the berths, and that totally sucks. The Leopards/ Moorings have them back under cockpit hatches with easy walk-down steps.


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Old 04-24-2016, 12:26 AM   #15
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Two hulls to scrape, 2 engines buried in canoes? Oh right, they don't tip when you're sailing...wait...what was the question?
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Old 04-24-2016, 06:42 AM   #16
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width of the hull itself would provide the stability in beam seas

The hassle is the multi hull will have each hull conform to the wave under it.

"sucks in a beam sea over 4 feet, and I mean sucks. It rocks violently and the freezer and fridge doors, and even the heavy sliding glass cockpit door open and shut with each wave."

The added momentum of a sail rig can not overcome this.

The "cure" is a change of course , no big deal in a many day ocean jaunt , but a real PIA in an inland situation.
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Old 04-24-2016, 02:47 PM   #17
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I would recommend chartering both and evaluating on the basis of how you intend to use.

However, comparing a 37' Cat to a 42' Mono is not what I consider a good comparison because you're complicating it with type hull and size.

I see two issues:

1-Cat vs. Mono.
2-Size.
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Old 04-24-2016, 02:54 PM   #18
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"But our 37 Leopard PowerCat "True Love" sucks in a beam sea over 4 feet, and I mean sucks. It rocks violently and the freezer and fridge doors, and even the heavy sliding glass cockpit door open and shut with each wave. In fairness, our Leopard 37 only has a 14'8" beam so it's possible wider cats would be better."

This quote would seem to explain why Bay Pelican doesn't see too many powercats in the Caribbean!
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Old 04-24-2016, 07:14 PM   #19
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Great info above. I think BandB has a legitimate point. The comfort of a larger cat, let's say a 50 footer vs. a 37, takes care of some of the hobby horsing and a 23' beam makes for a gentler snap roll than under 15'. When I think of the live-able production cats in your budget range, they vary widely in ease of maintenance, interior space and features.

PDQ 34
Endeavour 36
Endeavour 44 may be reachable for 250K.
Fontaine Pajot 37 Maryland
Lagoon 43 possibly
Aventure 43
Leopard 37
Occasional Custom builds

This small list vs. a plethora of very good mono-hulls, even stabilized for that budget. I agree with Bill that a cat might be the ticket for you, but not a cheaper ticket. Make sure to compare maintenance spaces.
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:14 AM   #20
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"A showstopper for us would be lack of a walk-around master berth... and most cats we've looked at don't solve that."

For an offshore cruising boat this creates a big problem.

The bed must be fitted with "bundeling boards" or some method of not rolling out of bed underway.

Most folks do not like straps like a seat belt to sleep with.

A boat large enough to have good sea berths , plus island beds would be large indeed!
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