Annapolis Boat Show - October 2009
Well, the plan was just to visit the boat show to "look around", so to speak. I wonder how many folks have gone to the boat show, the car show, the home renovation show with a promise not to actually buy anything? We didn't even take the cheque-book with us!
We actually had one main goal, and a few smaller ones in mind as we passed through those hallowed gates of nautical lore and paraphenalia; we wanted to see the Seawind 1160, attend the Beth Leonard seminar, and I had a secret shopping list I'd been building for months (but more on that later.)
The Seawind indeed was there and we spent loads of time and many visits admiring its many features. What an awesome cat - I could just taste the salt spray and feel the warmth of the sun as we sped over the open ocean somewhere between tropical island destinations. I did say we were still in dream-mode, didn't I? Seriously folks, this is one well-designed cruising boat - galley with huge open view in one hull, massive saloon and cockpit area that increases in size when you raise the solid door up under the roof of the targa (bimini), the owner's version features a laterally-laid island queen-size bed and still there's room for guests. The only drawback, the price-tag. This is not a hugely expensive boat by catamaran standards but one thing we learned in the Beth Leonard seminar (yes, we did find time to attend) was make sure that you get the boat you can afford and still have $$ left over to get out there, otherwise, you'll never leave.
The other goal we had for the boat show was to investigate the various BVI (British Virgin Island) charter bases. We had an idea that we'd look into purchasing a boat, probably a catamaran, that we'd then put into charter for a number of years to build up equity in the boat. We arrived with our short list: CYOA (whom we chartered with in March'09), TMM, Moorings/Sunsail, Conch Charters, to name a few. We certainly did the rounds, but I guess once you've done business with someone and the experience was pleasant, it gives you a head start, so we found ourselves back at the CYOA booth checking out a surprising new development in their charter lineup. They must have known we were coming to visit because they'd decided that with the economy as it's been, now would be a good time to partner with a willing investor on a specific boat. The choice: a Hunter 40-something (monohull) or a Fountaine-Pajot Mahe 36 (cat). To make the opportunity sweeter, FP were there at the boat-show just two doors down so we spent ages going over the Mahe they had at the docks.
So, are we nuts or is there another explanation? I like to think we just recognize serendipity when she comes along. To make a long story short, we finished up the boat show with a deal with John J. at CYOA to purchase the Mahe 36 to put into charter sometime during the winter of 2010 for a five-year term - perfect for us, perfect for him - all the components of a good deal.
Here's the full scoop on this beautiful little boat. All the reviews that we've found to date are favourable, a quick little entry-level catamaran that's easy to sail, has ample room for a family vacation and the sea-worthiness to cross oceans. Yes, she is being built in France by Fountaine-Pajot at La Rochelle and will actually be sailed across the Atlantic to be delivered to St. Thomas,USVI. She'll be fully equipped with all the amenities for chartering as well as safety and navigational aids and will be based out of St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, just a short day-sail away from the BVIs.
LOA: 11m / 36'
Beam: 5.9m / 19'
Draft: 1.15m / 3'10" (nice and shallow for places like the Bahamas)
Sails: Mainsail w/ LazyBag / Genoa on Profurl furler
Freshwater: 2 x 265 l
Diesel: 210 l
Galley includes 130 l refrigerator and 12v. freezer, 3-burner stove and gas oven
Each hull contains 1 double cabin and 1 bathroom with hanging and shelf storage
Helm has a double-seat and all control lines lead to the helm
Cockpit includes table and bench and door slides open to salon for easy access
Engines: 2 x 30 hp Volvo engines with 3-blade folding props
Dinghy with outboard on davits
Charter package includes galley, linen, snorkel and deck gear, TV & DVD
Are we excited, or what? More details to come...