on down vs right…

It’s been pointed out to me recently that my interest in buying an old classic plastic catamaran could be all sorts of problematic. The fact that a small cat is small, has less room for stuff, and is disadvantageous in terms of carrying weight, is not something I was unaware of.

The funny thing was that no one bothered to ask me why I was thinking of getting a small cat, what purpose I intended for it, or if there was an inkling of a plan involved.

Seriously, doesn’t everyone need a plan if they’re going to buy a boat?

My search began as a byproduct of seeing an Iroquois for sale for $12.5K that was apparently in an implied crappy condition that got me thinking along the lines of what should a fifty-year-old cat cost and whether it was even possible to buy one within a VolksCruiserish budget.

With me so far?

So I started to explore what was available and what it would cost. Unsurprisingly, I found that the used multihull market was even more insane than the monohull market and the popularity of catamarans was wildly distorting prices to an absurd level. Try as I might, I could only find a few cats that were selling for a fair price and in reasonable condition.

Talk about depressing…

What’s even more depressing is the fact that no one (while offering advice) bothered to ask what I would have done with the said cat if I had found one. The general advice against an Iroquois or Heavenly Twins was simply that they were too old, too small, and not expensive enough to consider.

Sure, a 26-foot or 30-foot cat is not going to have the accommodation of a 45-footer but then I don’t need four queen-size berths with ensuite heads for my purposes. Sure I’d have to downsize my tools because tools are heavy but most everything else I find needful in the grand scheme of things would fit quite nicely on either a Heavenly Twins or Iroquois. The fact that both designs have some serious blue water credit is a lot more important to me than their ticket price.

Bigger can be better for sure but that does not mean bigger IS better; it’s all about what you need for your desired purpose. I used to use the term downsize a lot where boats were concerned because if you put a boat through the Need/Want/Value exercise, smaller almost always seems to make more sense. These days, it seems I’m starting to use “right size” as opposed to “downsize” because it just seems to make more sense even though 99% of the time rightsizing will involve smaller rather than larger.

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3 thoughts on “on down vs right…”

  1. One may jump to a conclusion that you would be “cruising” on it, and since your current ride can carry a lot of “stuff”, I thought it helpfull to point out if you intended to put the contents of your monohull into a small cat, then the boat is not going to perform.
    Lots of “ifs”, as you didnt point out what ideas you may have had, ergo, people will jump to conclusions……such is the internet.
    If you are downsizing to bare basics then a Wharram Tiki 21 with a deck tent is cheap for a new boat, and capable of circumnavigation in the right hands. Now tell me its too small…….

    1. One could do a lot worse than a Tiki 21 which, in my opinion, is one of Wharram’s best designs. I could certainly do some serious cruising on a Tiki 31 which is the Wharram design I have the most experience with.

      As it happens the idea behind a small cat was more about having one boat in one place with another somewhere else… A vacation boat of sorts and a way to get around the Schengen treaty. That whole 90-day thing plays havoc with a cruising plan and we all know sailing to a schedule makes for an unhappy camper. My thoughts were that a catamaran would be more interesting for a shared ownership situation.

      Monohulls make a lot more sense for the scenario mostly because of cost and the boat I keep coming back to is the center-board Fantasia. In my search I did find a couple of very interesting Waterwitchs which has long been my favorite Maurice Griffith’s design.

  2. The “size” bugaboo might be eased by a self built multi using locally milled strip planks or, if large enough, a recycled plate steel or concrete main hull (now we are talking cargo proa sizing). With a free standing rig. Hans Klaar did this with his over 70 foot multi Ontong Java, built on a beach in central africa, and it has sailed globally for years now.The insanity of the boat market pricing might eventually ease off in a few years given a collapse or reset. Meanwhile…. nuts.

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