Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Weekend of Boat Shopping - Day 2

Day two began with us making a quick trip from St. Augustine to Jacksonville as a nice couple who recently bought a 39 ft Prout graciously allowed us to come check out their boat (saving us a drive to New Port Richie or New Bern, North Carolina).  The Prout is an English design and pretty much every one that is in the United States sailed here from Britain, so they are sturdy blue-water boats.

Walking around the outside of the boat you can tell it is a quality boat.  Unlike the Gemini from yesterday, you hardly see any cracking in the gelcoat and the deck doesn't give under your feet (and this boat is around 15 years older than the Gemini from the day before).  Similar to the Gemini, the Prout has a solid forward bridge deck.  You won't find any trampoline here which does add weight (they are known to be a bit heavier for a catamaran).

Inside the boat there is a lot of space with an absolutely huge salon.  It is a galley down design with 3 large berths.  The boat has a lot of nice wood accents (even a small built-in bar...or maybe that is for afternoon tea), but being a mid 1980's boat, the interior does feel a bit dated (something that could be easily addressed in a refit if one wanted to).  My wife and I liked the boat. The one thing I didn't particularly like is the rather small entrance from the cockpit into the boat.  It is a roughly 4.5~5 ft high hatch and the idea of having to duck thru it every time I want to go in or out doesn't appeal to me.  I actually did take some pictures (I know...I'm surprised I remembered too) but I won't post them as this was a privately owned boat and the couple was in the middle of refit work and repairs and the pictures wouldn't do justice to how nice the interior actually is.

(Brown and Nancy, Thank you again for your hospitality.  We will hopefully see you soon with some time to sit down and swap boat refit stories over dinner or sundowners.)

After Jacksonville, we make the short hop to Ft. Lauderdale (yeah, a mere 330 miles away in our overgrown roller skate).
The Fox "Economy" Rental (anyone have a shoe horn)
In Ft. Lauderdale, we took a look at a couple more large catamarans mostly for the sake of looking at features (we'd love to own some of these boats...but short of winning the lottery it just isn't in the cards). We got to see a Voyage 43, a Fountaine Pajot, and a couple others. Here are a couple images of boats about 5x our price range (sorry, don't remember the models...but if you are interested in one I'm sure our broker would love to show them to you).  A nice looking galley up and you can see a washing machine in the distance.  And I think my wife liked the "master berth" below.
Nice Modern Galley Up Design
Master Berth that spans the bridge deck
Back to reality, we also looked at another Gemini.  I was able to confirm that the gel coat cracking and deck flexing was not limited to just the first one we saw although this one was a bit better.  We also determined that the Gemini, while may be sufficient for a couple or a small family for vacations, we think it would be too small for us and our dogs as a permanent home.  It was described to us as an efficiency apartment and I'd have to agree that seems a good description compared to other catamarans in the 32 to 38 foot range.  While I have no idea of the maneuverability of the Gemini under power, I do think I prefer the redundant safety of two engines over the single engine configuration.
Another thing I learned from this boat is that the hoses used for waste plumbing can actually begin smelling like the stuff they are carrying.  I don't know if it is just cheap hose or if all hose will eventually do this, but I think a replacement schedule may be in order on  any boat to prevent leaking as well as smells.  phew.

With the long travel time, this was the end of boat viewing on day two.  Fortunately, this was a 3 day trip for us and day 3 will actually include 3 boats that are all on our list (part of the justification for heading to Ft. Lauderdale) before we catch our flight back home.

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