Sorry about the lack of posts lately but sailing/cruising related subject matter has been in short supply. We've been waiting (hoping) for new boats to come on the market and then with the passing of my father-in-law a lot of additional work has resulted (if you want to hear about Colorado probate, updating an old home to sell, etc. let me know).
While you won't see this until I'm back home, I figured I'd try something new and at least start writing the post using my tablet while on the road. Yes, we are currently missing all the flooding in Colorado because we are in Florida boat shopping again. In fact the pilot on our plane when we departed said the airport closed just a little while after we took off from Denver. I do hope everyone is ok there. Unless the "news" is exaggerating (I'm sure that never happens), it sounds like we may be able to sail a boat back there after all.
Right now we are driving down the Palmetto expressway heading for the Keys for the second time in three days to take a second look at a boat we just put an offer in on. Glad this rental car has unlimited miles. Guess I should back up a couple of days here...
We arrived in Ft Lauderdale on a red-eye flight late Tuesday...or was it very early Wednesday. After a few hours of sleep at a hotel near the airport, we drove down to Marathon to meet our broker Pete and start our current boat shopping trip. A bit sleep deprived, our first contestant was a Leopard 38/Moorings 3800. I was looking forward to seeing this boat as we had yet to see one.
The Leopard is a South African design and for the length is a bit beamier than the competition of similar length. I've been a bit worried about bridge deck height but it seemed ok to me at 18"(at the escape hatch in the rear of the salon...more as it moves forward)...but what do I really know. Designed primarily for the charter market, this boat has three berths and two heads...all within the 38 (or is it 37) feet of length as well as a galley up design.
Starting outside, the Leopard 38 has a good size cockpit with a standard "al fresco" dining table. There is a small companionway that leads to a nice swim platform that stretches between the transoms. Moving forward there is good (wide) access to the foredeck on either side of the salon roof. Trampolines up front with pulpit seats on each hull. The anchor drops from a locker situated behind the trampolines and I wonder if access would be an issue if the ground tackle were ever fouled.
Stepping inside, there is a nice U shaped settee and U shaped galley in the salon. While galley up designs all seem significantly smaller than galley down designs, we were pleasantly surprised with the apparent usability of the space in the galley here. I guess the added beam of the South African designs does have some creature comfort advantages. The fabric patterns on the upholstery would not be my first choice, but were in reasonable condition.
The starboard hull contains two almost queen sized berths with a small wet head (bathroom is the shower) amidships. The bunks in both berths lie perpendicular to the hull and seem to have reasonable storage space. The forward bridge deck height makes for a bit of a climb to get in the forward bunk. The head reminds me of the Fountaine Pajot Athena's midship heads...workable but small.
The port hull contains a forward berth that includes a private half-bath, midship is a mostly useless dressing table, and a nice large separate shower stall in the back. According to the selling agent, the owners berth is actually the rear berth in the starboard hull instead of the berth forward in the port hull. A bit strange but that rear berth is slightly larger than the two forward ones.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this boat has straight shafts instead of sail drives (a feature I particularly like in the Lagoon 37). While it does place the engine further forward in the living space (which has pros and cons itself), my understanding is that continuing maintenance will likely be much cheaper with the straight shaft. It also has skeg mounted rudders which I prefer to a less protected configuration. Overall, we liked the boat but it does need a bit of work.
Wow, this is getting to be long and that is only the first boat...guess I'll need to continue this in a part 2. How's that for a cliff hanger?