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Old 10-07-2012, 06:58 PM   #1
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Looking for a live-aboard trawler

My better half and I decided we'd like to spend the next chapter of our lives living aboard a boat and spending the winters in milder climates. Previously, we spent over five years living in a 40' motor home traveling all over the US and spending the winters in southern locales. As we did before, we started researching suitable vessels and learning about the various aspects of owning such a vessel about a year and a half ago.

I was thrilled to find this site and have read many of the postings. What I've learned is invaluable from terms I was unfamiliar with and had to research to how much HP is necessary to move a displacement hull at hull speed to common repairs etc., etc. I followed links to personal blogs and read what they had to say.

Over this time I started to form opinions as to what would work best for us for the kind of cruising we'd like to do - Great loop, St Lawrence Seaway out to the Atlantic, Labrador, Newfoundland, east coast. ICW, Florida, Gulf coast, Caribean Islands, Central and South America.

We've also visited many marinas with trawlers for sale and toured many vessels. What we've got so far is full displacement hull, raised pilot house, flying bridge, minimum 2 staterooms, 2 heads w/showers, upper galley, cockpit, twin engines (tho' single with a get home would do). The vessel that best matches our ideas is the 49' Defever with aft cockpit and raised pilot house. We also want to be as independent as we were in the motor home so stabilizers, water maker, large battery banks, solar panels, wind generator, and so on are desireable.

We attended the Trawler Fest in Baltimore last week and had the pleasure of touring many different vessels. A 52' Kady Krogen knocked our socks off but is way outside our price range. There were several other interesting vessels but weren't exciting and then my better half went aboard a 40' Endeavor trawler catamaran. This thing lit her fire as no other vessel has. Now, all the traditional vessel designs hold little interest for her. I, on the other hand, am having trouble embracing the trawler cat style. I prefer the traditional lines.

This vessel was not for sale - the owner apparently made a deal with the manufacturer to come here and display the boat. It was about 2 years old, had been up and down the ICW a couple of times, and spends winters in FL and further south. My wife and the owner's wife spent a great deal of time talking about the practical aspects of living aboard and entertaining guests. This pretty much sealed my fate.

So, I'd like to know any pros and cons of the trawler cat style and whether it can do the St Lawrence seaway, Canadian Maritime provinces and northeast coast safely, picking ones weather window, of course. All input is welcome.

Gary - looking for that live-aboard trawler
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Old 10-07-2012, 07:41 PM   #2
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Don't know much about "trawler cats" but I would think that they might be problematic in canals, locks and marinas due to their beam.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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If you go into Canada as a extension of the Great loop, there are a few water ways that a cat's beam may not allow you to pass another boat going in the opposite direction. Also, one of the locks on that system is really more of a travel lift. Not sure if the beam of a Cat would allow you to use it.

Dockage in slips is usually a premium as beam not length is the controlling factor.

Lastly, because of their beam, there will be many fewer travel lifts you can use for haulout. Not a problem for routine haulouts that you plan in advance, but maybe a significant problem if you need an emergency haulout while cruising.

I really like the cat trawlers, but the above became a deal breaker for me as I plan to do the Great Loop and up into Canada.

Ted
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:32 PM   #4
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Don't know much about "trawler cats" but I would think that they might be problematic in canals, locks and marinas due to their beam.
The beam can be a little problematic. Many times the only place to tie up is on a T or face dock. However, the beam is a lot of what gives the boat such good initial stability without the need for active stabilizers. From your list, you will probably be anchoring most of the time. Any boat mentioned would do the job. Cats have many advantages. Be careful in high winds or big seas as the high initial stability can move to instability quickly. This is not a usual situation, but one to be aware of.

In Hopetown, Bahamas the mooring field has moorings with two lines that help keep the cats swinging with the rest of the boats.

You are doing you homework well. You will make a good choice. Glad you are here. Keep us up on your quest.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:36 PM   #5
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Don't know if you saw the PDQ cats in Baltimore last week. PDQ was a Canadian sailing cat company that branched out to power cats and made 114 34 footers and 11 41 footers before falling to the economic hard times. The 34s have travelled extensively up & down both East and West coasts and many, many of them have done the Great Loop and the Downeast Loop (NY north through Champlain to St. Lawrence, east to the Atlantic and south back to NY). A couple have done Eastern Carribean down to Central and South America and at least one up to Alaska. They are incredibly efficient getting as much as 12 nm/gal at 7 knts and 4-6 nm/gal at 15 knts. No stabalizers needed, no bow or stern thrusters needed (and they can turn 180s in their own length), draw 2.5 ft and have surprisingly comfortable living space. They are, however, very non-traditional and therefore have not been widely accepted in a very tradition-oriented pursuit such as boating.

OC diver - just saw your post, PDQs were designed at 16'10" beam so they can be lifted by the standard Travelift with the 17' capacity. They fit slips in most newer marinas.

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Old 10-07-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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Just be wary of Power Cat claims...many versions I believe can't tolerate weight very well and still get to their claimed (read lightly loaded) performance levels...just not possible due to the hull design. Yes displacement hulled cats can carry and still perform well...but no where's near what some may claim.

So for long distance cruising...make sure they can carry the load you want aboard.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:32 PM   #7
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You're going to find a lot of hot and cold opinions on cats, but since our final boat selection was made up of one mono-hull and two power-cats, I have to chime in on this one. The Endeavour 40 is a 16 ft. beam, allowing it to be handled by many more slips and travel-lifts around the loop. It has a huge 600 gallon fuel capacity and a so-so 115 gallon water tank. For us, buying the Endeavour would have meant reducing the fuel and increasing the water, which the great people at Endeavour know how to manage. It's twin 315 Yanmars are not as miserly as....say a PDQ 34. The hulls are buoyant, but sensitive to weight. Planning for the Endeavour 40, we figured we'd never have more than 300 gallons aboard. Still, 600 gallons of fuel is divided by two hulls and are a stability factor in itself. The boat is quite tall and windage is noticeable, but the twin hulls make it more difficult to blow around than a mono-hull of the same stature. It is not a blue water boat but does better than most costal cruisers in medium chop. I found it pretty noisy over 12 knots or so but delightful at 8 knots, especially in the Sky Lounge. You couldn't ask for or get more space in 40 ft. than an Endeavour 40, but beware that there are few things to hang onto in all that space when things get rough. It is the closest thing to a 40 ft. condo on keels. I saw that a 40 Endeavour was for rent on the Chesepeake. Might want to check it out.

The 34 PDQ is a cruisers boat. Super economical, even up to 15 knots. The boats that have been recently fitted out with the newly designed 4 blade props can achieve 20 knots. The boat design is exemplary, but if you're a big, stiff guy like I am, it's hard to get down and around in the hulls. If you're 5'9 or less, you're going to love the boat. Try though I may, I could not eliminate the boat from our short list right up to the very end.....it's that good. It handles like a sports car, can be run easily on one engine with little effort from the rudder, and keeps its value. If I were alone on the water, I'd probably have one. Maintenance spaces are really good for a 34 ft boat. Well thought out. A relatively moderate beam keeps it from being too much of a problem on the loop.

The Endeavour 44 may be an option for you. Huge spaces, more buoyant hulls, but an 18 ft. beam keeps you on the T-head of most marinas. Full beam master suite like the Endeavour 40, and a host of optional layouts for the rest of the hull, typically which are twin staterooms in the rear of the hulls and twin heads with separate showers. Big galley down with great conversational access to the salon. Ungainly appearance, just like the 40, but these are boats of function over form. I've spent literally days on Photoshop experimenting with stripes and paint to smooth out the Endeavour 40, 44 and 36. It's better to just buy the boat for the celebration of function that it is, just like I did the boat you see in my Avitar to the left.

There is at least three other cats worth looking at. A clean Fontaine Pajot 37 Maryland is a nice boat with a design that puts it dead center between the Endeavour and the PDQ. Good space, efficient, and more price friendly. Twin staterooms in the rear with twin heads in the front of each hull. I like them, especially with Yanmar power. They grunt and groan in heavy seas, but have a good bridge-deck clearance, so may be a bit better in blue water. Another is the Leopard 37 which is similar in layout, and is now becoming available off-lease from Moorings down in the islands. It should be noted that each one of these boats came across the Atlantic on its own hull, as do the 38's and 47's. If that doesn't speak of confidence, I don't know what does. They are nearly as efficient as the PDQ 34, and much easier to get around in. Layout is similar to the Fontain Pajot. The new 38 is my preference, but very big bucks.

When you get into the over 40's like Africat 42, Lagoon 43 and 44, Endeavour 48, Leopard 47 and some of the custom builds, you have to want a lot of boat and want to spend a lot of money. PDQ 41's are again, probably the most efficient and practical, but there's only 11 built and you'd probably have to give over 400K on a used one. Lagoons are sexy and some are in the 300's, but are marginal in their bridge deck performance....known to "sneeze" a lot (throw water forward from in between its hulls and over the deck). Full beam stateroom is 20 ft. wide but has no headroom between its hulls. Heads have integrated (rather than separate) showers. An acre of deck space though.

The rest above are likely to be over 500K and depreciating. Leopard 47's are probably the best new boat out there but again big, big bucks. Round-out the competition with Maine Cat 47 and a few others that are building their first boat and you've got a lot of competition for over 600K boats out there. Too rich for me, but if money were not an object, I'd do a custom build from Pacific Expedition Cats. Of course, we'd be talking about 22 ft. beams, and that may not be the best choice for the loop.

Good luck.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:49 PM   #8
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If the idea is to cruise in friendly climates, do not short change yourself on outside living space. Sundeck with cockpit is the most realistic option. You will grow tired of living inside that jaunty looking trunk cabin or pilot house configuration sooner than you think.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:06 AM   #9
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"Lawrence Seaway out to the Atlantic, Labrador, Newfoundland, east coast. ICW, Florida, Gulf coast, Caribean Islands, Central and South America."

Cats are stable inverted , ONE bad wave could end your cruise .

The "advantage" of a cat is slightly higher speeds for the same fuel burn.
Higher speed is not usually a concern for long passages, fuel burn (range) is.

The disadvantage of a multihull is unless huge , payload restrictions (weight is a dirty word) and the required light construction is a disadvantage in poor docking conditions .

You may need to rig a breast anchor and lines to stop for lunch at a resturiant or stay O'nite with a beam wind.
Pilings are a PIA.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:01 PM   #10
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I used to sail a Hobie Cat in Hawaii and capsized all the time (actually "huli'd," in local terms). That was half the fun of it. However, when it comes to cruising catamarans (sail) I could only find one record of a capsize under bare poles, and that was in 170 mph winds of a hurricane when the wind lifted the bridge deck. I could not find any record of a cruising powercat capsizing, but did find the following quote:

Some years ago the Wolfson Unit at Southampton University conducted some model tests in their wave tank of both a power cat and a conventional deep V power boat to see which was the more stable in waves. People accept that a modern powerboat, like a Princess or Bayliner does not capsize, yet the test showed how EASY it was for a model powerboat to get rolled over by even relatively small waves. In comparison, NOTHING the Wolfson Unit could do would make the powercat capsize!

I never say "never," but I would not hesitate to buy a cruising power cat for fear of capsizing.

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Old 10-09-2012, 10:08 AM   #11
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Interesting, DVD. I also had to satisfy my engineering mind when considering the stability of powercats (don't mind saying, I was a sceptic), and there was more than enough data to resolve any doubts about the matter. It's when cats that are "relatively" narrow beam and "relatively" high CG that my doubts return. I mean, when and if that thing goes over, the self-righting quotient is not even in the formula. The condo-on-keels example is probably safe in most coastal situations, but I worry about the stacking of decks on keels as it is relates to their beam.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:24 AM   #12
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DVD

On sailboats, Cats indeed capsize, as do mono hulls. The advantage of a mono hull is they flip back up. Well understood by blue water Cat owners is the "tripping" hull phenomena. So long as you avoid inverting "tripping" conditions (not always easy) Cats are pretty nice. Cats popularity though largely stems from the Charter fleets where lots of deck space in sunny climes is nice to have. Deck space is less fun in snotty cooler weather. In a big head sea a power Cats really pounds as compared to a mono hull, for sailing this is less an issue as one can sail off the wind.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:09 PM   #13
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Not that it would give me much consolation in either case, but I have heard that survivors of monohulls after a flip are rescued from life rafts. Survivors of catamarans after flips are rescued from their upturned boat.

I agree that too much "house" on a catamaran would be a concern, not only for stabilization but also for looks. I don't care for the looks of the new Endeavors with the large "Sky Lounge" up there.

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Old 10-09-2012, 01:22 PM   #14
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Since you have included the Gt Loop and Canadian waterways in your plans, you should also consider maximum height factor. Our trawler mast (26ft) would need to be lowered to do canal segments of the Gt. Loop. While this does not sound too difficult at first glance, in reality it means we lose most of our upper deck, our radio/AIS antennas and our radar, and are unable to launch our dinghy that we would then have to tow. In addition, raising/lowering the mast is a 3-man job!!
On the other hand our boat would be ideal for the offshore segments. Horses for courses!!
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:43 PM   #15
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My thanks to all who responded to my post, especially Healhustler. There were many considerations mentioned that I had not thought about. Great forum which really means great members.

My head is spinning over this trawler cat stuff. I did not go aboard the PDQ at Trawler Fest, certainly a lost opportunity. I feel like we are back to ground zero, essentially starting over. It always amazes me how much we don't know about how much we don't know. I'll let you know how this comes out.

Thanks again.
Gary
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:28 PM   #16
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Lastly, because of their beam, there will be many fewer travel lifts you can use for haulout. Not a problem for routine haulouts that you plan in advance, but maybe a significant problem if you need an emergency haulout while cruising.
While this typical travel lift easily handles the 13-foot beam of the Coot as well as 50-to-60 foot-long monohulls, it possibly could handle catamarans with a beam not exceeding 18 feet.



But then, never saw any catamarans in this (KKMI, Pt. Richmond, CA) boatyard.
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:38 PM   #17
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This is the only multi-hull boat I've seen in a typical berth. All the "normal" multihulls I've seen are berthed at the dock ends.

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Old 10-17-2012, 06:07 AM   #18
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All the "normal" multihulls I've seen are berthed at the dock ends.

This is true , I had a H Nicol Voyager trimiran built in British Honduras in the mid 60's , and in a decade only found one slip that was not a dock end.

Because of the better location and privacy dock ends may be far harder to come by and far more expensive than a slip.

No problem if the boat is a cruiser and does not rely on the power hose , as it can live well on a mooring ball.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by VAtrawlerguy View Post
My better half and I decided we'd like to spend the next chapter of our lives living aboard a boat and spending the winters in milder climates. Previously, we spent over five years living in a 40' motor home traveling all over the US and spending the winters in southern locales. As we did before, we started researching suitable vessels and learning about the various aspects of owning such a vessel about a year and a half ago.

I was thrilled to find this site and have read many of the postings. What I've learned is invaluable from terms I was unfamiliar with and had to research to how much HP is necessary to move a displacement hull at hull speed to common repairs etc., etc. I followed links to personal blogs and read what they had to say.

Over this time I started to form opinions as to what would work best for us for the kind of cruising we'd like to do - Great loop, St Lawrence Seaway out to the Atlantic, Labrador, Newfoundland, east coast. ICW, Florida, Gulf coast, Caribean Islands, Central and South America.

We've also visited many marinas with trawlers for sale and toured many vessels. What we've got so far is full displacement hull, raised pilot house, flying bridge, minimum 2 staterooms, 2 heads w/showers, upper galley, cockpit, twin engines (tho' single with a get home would do). The vessel that best matches our ideas is the 49' Defever with aft cockpit and raised pilot house. We also want to be as independent as we were in the motor home so stabilizers, water maker, large battery banks, solar panels, wind generator, and so on are desireable.

We attended the Trawler Fest in Baltimore last week and had the pleasure of touring many different vessels. A 52' Kady Krogen knocked our socks off but is way outside our price range. There were several other interesting vessels but weren't exciting and then my better half went aboard a 40' Endeavor trawler catamaran. This thing lit her fire as no other vessel has. Now, all the traditional vessel designs hold little interest for her. I, on the other hand, am having trouble embracing the trawler cat style. I prefer the traditional lines.

This vessel was not for sale - the owner apparently made a deal with the manufacturer to come here and display the boat. It was about 2 years old, had been up and down the ICW a couple of times, and spends winters in FL and further south. My wife and the owner's wife spent a great deal of time talking about the practical aspects of living aboard and entertaining guests. This pretty much sealed my fate.

So, I'd like to know any pros and cons of the trawler cat style and whether it can do the St Lawrence seaway, Canadian Maritime provinces and northeast coast safely, picking ones weather window, of course. All input is welcome.

Gary - looking for that live-aboard trawler
Gary,

It's been over 24 months since you asked and I too am starting my research on this very same possibility. Care to update the forum?

Cheers
Steve
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:18 PM   #20
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Any updates Healhustler?

It's been 18 months or so since your very informative post on the latest in CAT engineering. I too am now in the market for a live-aboard and am finding some desire in the CAT for interior comfort. Any updates in your post as many of these are on my list. Note I'm new at this, have a 20' runabout (but going through power squadron training) so ease of handling is important to me.

Thanks in advance!

Steve

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You're going to find a lot of hot and cold opinions on cats, but since our final boat selection was made up of one mono-hull and two power-cats, I have to chime in on this one. The Endeavour 40 is a 16 ft. beam, allowing it to be handled by many more slips and travel-lifts around the loop. It has a huge 600 gallon fuel capacity and a so-so 115 gallon water tank. For us, buying the Endeavour would have meant reducing the fuel and increasing the water, which the great people at Endeavour know how to manage. It's twin 315 Yanmars are not as miserly as....say a PDQ 34. The hulls are buoyant, but sensitive to weight. Planning for the Endeavour 40, we figured we'd never have more than 300 gallons aboard. Still, 600 gallons of fuel is divided by two hulls and are a stability factor in itself. The boat is quite tall and windage is noticeable, but the twin hulls make it more difficult to blow around than a mono-hull of the same stature. It is not a blue water boat but does better than most costal cruisers in medium chop. I found it pretty noisy over 12 knots or so but delightful at 8 knots, especially in the Sky Lounge. You couldn't ask for or get more space in 40 ft. than an Endeavour 40, but beware that there are few things to hang onto in all that space when things get rough. It is the closest thing to a 40 ft. condo on keels. I saw that a 40 Endeavour was for rent on the Chesepeake. Might want to check it out.

The 34 PDQ is a cruisers boat. Super economical, even up to 15 knots. The boats that have been recently fitted out with the newly designed 4 blade props can achieve 20 knots. The boat design is exemplary, but if you're a big, stiff guy like I am, it's hard to get down and around in the hulls. If you're 5'9 or less, you're going to love the boat. Try though I may, I could not eliminate the boat from our short list right up to the very end.....it's that good. It handles like a sports car, can be run easily on one engine with little effort from the rudder, and keeps its value. If I were alone on the water, I'd probably have one. Maintenance spaces are really good for a 34 ft boat. Well thought out. A relatively moderate beam keeps it from being too much of a problem on the loop.

The Endeavour 44 may be an option for you. Huge spaces, more buoyant hulls, but an 18 ft. beam keeps you on the T-head of most marinas. Full beam master suite like the Endeavour 40, and a host of optional layouts for the rest of the hull, typically which are twin staterooms in the rear of the hulls and twin heads with separate showers. Big galley down with great conversational access to the salon. Ungainly appearance, just like the 40, but these are boats of function over form. I've spent literally days on Photoshop experimenting with stripes and paint to smooth out the Endeavour 40, 44 and 36. It's better to just buy the boat for the celebration of function that it is, just like I did the boat you see in my Avitar to the left.

There is at least three other cats worth looking at. A clean Fontaine Pajot 37 Maryland is a nice boat with a design that puts it dead center between the Endeavour and the PDQ. Good space, efficient, and more price friendly. Twin staterooms in the rear with twin heads in the front of each hull. I like them, especially with Yanmar power. They grunt and groan in heavy seas, but have a good bridge-deck clearance, so may be a bit better in blue water. Another is the Leopard 37 which is similar in layout, and is now becoming available off-lease from Moorings down in the islands. It should be noted that each one of these boats came across the Atlantic on its own hull, as do the 38's and 47's. If that doesn't speak of confidence, I don't know what does. They are nearly as efficient as the PDQ 34, and much easier to get around in. Layout is similar to the Fontain Pajot. The new 38 is my preference, but very big bucks.

When you get into the over 40's like Africat 42, Lagoon 43 and 44, Endeavour 48, Leopard 47 and some of the custom builds, you have to want a lot of boat and want to spend a lot of money. PDQ 41's are again, probably the most efficient and practical, but there's only 11 built and you'd probably have to give over 400K on a used one. Lagoons are sexy and some are in the 300's, but are marginal in their bridge deck performance....known to "sneeze" a lot (throw water forward from in between its hulls and over the deck). Full beam stateroom is 20 ft. wide but has no headroom between its hulls. Heads have integrated (rather than separate) showers. An acre of deck space though.

The rest above are likely to be over 500K and depreciating. Leopard 47's are probably the best new boat out there but again big, big bucks. Round-out the competition with Maine Cat 47 and a few others that are building their first boat and you've got a lot of competition for over 600K boats out there. Too rich for me, but if money were not an object, I'd do a custom build from Pacific Expedition Cats. Of course, we'd be talking about 22 ft. beams, and that may not be the best choice for the loop.

Good luck.
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