Please explain how you are going to refit or even do minor work to a boat in 3-6 months? The way things are at the moment you may wait 3-6 months for anything you order.I;m back at my desk. I see there have been a good number of advice , discussion and rants in my absence.
It is all good stuff.
One of the more interesting discussions was about build quality.
At the top of the quality ladder, there is no doubt that there is a thrill about having a custom build by craftsmen at a shop like ACC. With the right designer, the finished boat will be exceptional. In Penman's case, he was already sailing a multihull and this was a project that he could relish and enjoy the planning and construction time. I would add Rockport Marine to that lost of custom builders that would be thrilling to wok with. Unfortunately, due to PPP, I dont have the luxury of time. I want to "go" soon.
However there is one interesting option that I am looking at. That is the option of taking on a manageable project. Good bones that need a refit. The hull and structure would be production boat quality. But the fixtures, fitting and much of the equipment would be customized by me working with a custom shop. I'm looking at 3-6 months. They say three months but they also say "We may be slow but we're expensive". I could live with that. It involves getting on another plane. I've locked it in sufficiently that it is worth the trip.
One rung above the custom build is the skilled builder who is building their own boat. When @Dogfish built his own cat', the quality standard was build as if your own life depended on it because.......
One rung below the custom builder is probably Balance. I agree that Balance is a notch above Outremer. One reason for that is that skilled craftsmen, laminators and cabinet makers are less expensive in Cape Province than they are in Provence. They both have to end up at the same price point.
So Outremer has to be efficient in hull production (Resin Infusion is more time efficient but not as weight efficient as hand laminators), cost conscious (polyester in places where Balance uses vinylester) and pick their spots where the cabinet finish matters (the visible quality is first class but when you reach behind the fittings, the Balance is lined or sanded, and you will sometimes find rough edges in the Outremer).
But......and this is a very important but......the quality of workmanship, and the stiffness of the hulls and boat in an Outremer is many rungs above the vast majority of production boats, both monohulls and multihulls. Both Balance and Outremer are dedicated to building Blue water performance catamarans.Both are passionately proud of their product and very close to their customers. Both stand behind their product, with a "no questions asked" approach to their warranty. There are several "build managers" and "surveyors" located close to Outremer who work for prospective owners during the build process and Outremer is happy to work with them and gives them complete access throughout the build. The best is a woman who is an international surveyor, lives in town and knows every millimeter of the Outermer build process . Again, I dont have time to build my own boat.
One further difference between Outremer and Balance, is that Balance is owned and managed by the founder who has a clear and forceful vision (and a great business model).....with two builders who are also owner/managers. Outremer is now part of a conglomerate. However on the factory floor, there is no doubting the passion of the workforce is still there. At the margin, I think the ownership of Balance helps the product , and I detect they refine the boat in a faster more responsive manner to sailor/customer feedback...but that is only an impression (no doubt reinforced by Phil's marketing prowess).
I dont have a view on HH although I have walked around the boat carefully. The eye for detail is not as sharp as when you are actually considering buying a boat.
Outremer and Balance are currently the two most successful "production" builders in this space and there is good reason for both of their success.
On the rungs below them are several boats I dont want to comment on for fear of being superficial. Some are great designs with less build quality. Some are terrific build quality without enough blue water experience incorporated in the design. Some are brilliant boats with great design and quality that have not built enough boats to be available on the market, except in rare instances.. Some are Aussie or British limited production runs which look really interesting but I dont know enough about them to contribute. None of them seem to be from the USA......how far down the ladder do I have to descend to find an American boat? Sad in a way.
More than once you have mentioned you are time restricted on this. That quite simply means comprimises. If I were in a hurry to get out there the last thing I would do is put a boat in a yard at the moment.
Choose the important things. Comprimise and get out there. Or wait for a new build to your specs.
Maybe you will have to run an engine to charge the batteries occasionally, maybe it wont be quite as fast as you wanted, still plenty fast.
Or you may get to the point where you could have ordered your dream boat and still be looking or waiting for your not dream boat in a yard.
If you are lucky enough to be in this situation don't let it pass.
I think you can put that in the rant file.