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I also admire the Gunboat 66. For example I really like the Cockpit Saloon interchange. However it is not my boat.It's kinda funny, but Zonker has obviously sailed or touched a large number of boats. Way too knowledgeable about the things that matter. I would call him first quite frankly.
After seeing the crap I see on a way too frequent basis I feel it imperative to comment.
You mention many boats on your list and you mention Chris White's boats. I have owned a few of Chris's boats so my bias is obviously there. There are some GB boats I love and there are some I would not touch with a 10ft pole. I will tell you that the 66 is the best looking catamaran ever designed. Sexiest damn boat ever. That being said there are some 66's that I would not own.
I do not know who Shane Young is. I shall google the name.Talk with Shayne Young about your options and what he thinks about each of those boats. Call him, don't email. He'll tell you what to look for. He'll tell you straight too.
The Slyder has slid off the list. I had someone take a look at it for me.Many, many, many boats have serious build quality issues. No one wants to address or admit this because people buy a boat based on a certain price. This means that the boat is built to that price, not to a certain quality. Many think that China, Taiwan, South Africa are cheaper and better than the US, but I don't believe that to be true.
Of your list and further options you mentioned, I'd only take the Balance 526. That simple. Phil and Jonathan are world class in this arena.
That leaves the Balance (South African), Outremer (French) and the C-Cat (Italian) on the short list . If anyone thinks either of those builders has build quality issues, please PM me soonest..
I have striven to make that not a priority.You mentioned the Gunboats being race boats, but I'd argue that a good cruising cat can be raced and raced well. GB's are fast but put the same amount of canvas on a GB and CW boat and I'll put real money in telling you who will be first. That however should not be your priority.
Hence my post on helm positions. I think I am clear on what I like. None of my family are going sitting on a watch on tillers in the middle of the night in 10 knot seas.......and nor am I. I happen to think that a secure protected , (preferably inside) helm position does not exclude also having an outside helm position .If you want outside helm positions ala the Outremer, GB, HH, then you don't have kids or a wife. They'll tell you that there is no way they are doing a watch sitting out there on the side of the boat where you can fall off if you're not paying attention in the middle of the night in 25+knts wind and 10 ft seas.
Not one for too many personal details but I do have a wonderful son. Part of the reason for "seizing the moment" is that we have a window of opportunity to sail together. He graduates from college in May. He will likely eventually find someone special and have his own family.....but for various reasons this is a good time for him to sail with me. I also have two brothers. with lots of nieces and nephews. Their wives will probably enjoy a cat more than a Boreal and that has affected my thinking. The brothers will sail everything and anything at all times of the night in all kinds of seas.....but there will be parts of the voyage we envisage as a family affair with cousins and uncles and aunts hanging out. There will be other parts where the crew can enjoy a regime that pushes harder.
I will also experiment with cameras. However I would like to buy you a plate of french fries an a bottle of redwine and pick your brains.Yeah. yeah, you can see the sails better and it's a better helm position.......the French are the best offshore sailors in the world, but I can tell you that Charles and Frank sail from the inside on Gitana!!! You will too, but don't quote me, just buy me a plate of french fries.
Dont be shy. Im here for the real scoop/I'd talk with owners that own these boats and I would also talk with the paid pros that manage these boats. Don't talk with the yards. Talk with the owners about 'REAL' after sales support when things don't work. I've seen outright delam's on far too many boats. I've seen bog on a boat that would make an illicit car repair company cringe.
Its not easy to arrange those opportunities. Im not sure I have time. So Im reaching out to people who have done 1,000s of milesPersonally, some of the expedition boats built in aluminum are way better options than many cats.........and I'm a multi-hull bigot.
Go sail the boats first. I mean do 1,000 miles on each of these boats first and then make a decision........
If you're serious about one of these boats and you're buying used then you're talking 750k +.
I am serious and I think you probably know what is needed to get into a good quality boat.
You might have dropped more names in one post than I have mentioned in the entire thread. But that is cool with me because you are hooked up in the multihull scene and Im here to pik up any wisdom offered.If you are thinking new, then you're most probably 2.5-3.5+MM new if you're thinking about a Balance. Let's agree that there are 60-80k man hours in each of these boats.
You're doing a lot of name dropping here,
so ask that dude who sailed that red Outremer if the ORC57 is better than a HH!!! I'm sure he'll give the skinny on a phone call. Ask him about a CW boat and if the forward cockpit is really a firehose when sailing. Then call my boss (ala the wife) and ask her opinion. She has 40k opinionated miles behind her..........oh and she's now biased too.
Sounds like I should go straight to the oracle.
Ahhh, so finally we come to the real issue. Truth be told I havent given any thought to the tender which shows how naive I really am.
Frankly the real issue is tenders. I'm trying to convince her that Russel's rowing tender is the way to go. She's okay with one, so long as it's on the upper davits and only I use it.........give it time, I'll show her the real value!!!!!
Ever so gently, I want to push back on earlier posters who are slapping their backs and chuckling about how much I will learn once I start cruising. Yes, this is a new chapter in my life , but I have more than a few miles under my keel. Every chapter is new. This will be my first multihull blue water boat.
As posted above I am going to pitch an offer tomorrow. We will see where it takes me.