in search of the unavailable/unaffordable…

So, the last few days had me shopping for a small affordable catamaran, and, like Dr. Thompson used to say, things turned ugly.

Part of the problem is that the words “affordable” and “catamaran” just don’t seem to fit into a sentence together. Wharrams, long the gold standard for budget cats are selling for silly prices, and elderly production catamarans are selling for far more than anyone could have imagined. A fifty-year-old Iroquois which cost $6485.50 in 1973 can be had for the bargain sum of $37,300. today. Is that nuts or what?

While we’re bemoaning the horrific costs we should point out that a lot of Iroquois cats were sold as hulls and decks which makes for a wild card in terms of outfitting quality. Throw in the amount of possible mayhem from previous owners and it’s a recipe for any amount of mayhem come refit time.

An equivalent monohull of similar size and pricing new would go for maybe a couple of thousand dollars today. Which I suppose underlines why I don’t write much about multihulls as VolksCruisers.

That said if anyone knows of an Iroquois or Heavenly Twins going for a non-insane price I’d be very interested in hearing about it.

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5 thoughts on “in search of the unavailable/unaffordable…”

  1. Also – you don’t get much weight carrying capacity for your readies either. Iroquois are ( were) famous for being tippy uppy as well. Not good. I have seen Wharram’s rotting at one end faster than the owner was rebuilding the other. Very not good. As you say, big old plastics are a far better proposition, especially if you look in Scandinavia. Norway especially.
    This from a lifetime multihull builder!

  2. I met a Swiss guy who took a Heavenly Twin 26 around the world. Not a fast boat and best kept light in his opinion. Was one on Fleabay in the UK a while back needing an entire refit, not sure it made reserve price. The Scirocco 26 from Prout in the UK seem rarer still, but a great layout for its size. Met a Dutch guy on an old plywood Diamond 26 which i thought back then was really funky. They had crossed the Atlantic, but they had very low bridge decks. Spoilt for low cost monos in the US. Not sure the cats are worth the extra given how much stuff you will have to throw out.

    1. When we were cruising on LM2 we had a friend with a Scirocco on the leg from Gib to the Canaries and he’d loaded up with just about all of the family’s worldly possessions. Which had the nacelle submerged and the escape hatch acting as a window for the fish.A very good lesson on why you don’t overload multihulls. I know of at least four Heavenly Twins who have circumnavigated in reasonable style. I’m not sure about circumnavigations with the Iroquois but there’s been lots of Atlantic and Pacific crossings.

      For me, any cruising aboard a cat requires a minimalist mindset and approach if you’re doing it right.

  3. About prices, here in “rich” Brasil (minimum monthly wage 400 US$) we have old fiberglass production boats selling around 18k to 60k US$. And multis, it goes to 300k. Even a Tiki 38, well built less than 7 years, are selling by 200k. Country is going crazy.

    About good cats to liveaboard and make some passages, remember the Ross Turner Coral Coast 29. A relativo sucesso in Australia, thinks it is worthy to look at some Aussie Craigslist…

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