Searching For A Catamaran
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself as you search for the right catamaran:
What is your purpose?
Where, and for how long do you plan to travel with your catamaran? This is vital in deciding on the type of catamaran you will be looking for – not all catamarans are created equal.
Have you visited boat shows and boarded as many catamarans as possible?
You can quickly rule out which manufacturers or models don’t suit you or your needs. Boat shows offer great opportunities to pick the brains of everyone in the industry, from the builder, the broker, the charter companies, vendors promoting the latest gear – it offers an all-round experience.
Is your husband or wife on the same page as you?
It’s not uncommon that, at first, one spouse is not interested in, or is unfamiliar with catamarans. After being on a charter, or experiencing a catamaran in some form or another, their minds may be change. Or not.
How many people are you planning to travel with, and how many berths and bathrooms do you anticipate needing?
Layout, whether charter or owner’s version, will significantly narrow your options in the marketplace.
Do you want a galley up or galley down?
Most of the newer models have the galley-up version as this has become the most popular version but there are still some galley-down versions out there.
Have you chartered or sailed a few catamarans you might be interested in?
Has your husband or wife been with you on these trips? The best advice to any potential buyer, is to physically climb aboard as many catamarans as possible to discover which one ‘fits’ best. It’s amazing how many details come into play the moment you step on board and navigate around a catamaran…things like headroom, general ease of movement in and throughout the vessel as well as on deck, tight quarters or surprisingly spacious quarters, discovering what kinds of storage options are offered etc. Chartering a vessel that you may want to eventually purchase will solidify your choice or have you move on to the next potential model.
How much equipment do you anticipate needing or wanting?
When buying a used catamaran, it is convenient to find a boat that has recently returned from sailing and is equipped to handle the daily sailing and onboard living needs. Of course, the opposite can also be said for a boat where it may look well-equipped but the majority of the equipment is faulty or outdated. That’s why the survey and sea trial are crucial for any purchase. Either way, it is good to decide upfront whether you are looking for a heavily stocked vessel with solar panels, generator, water maker, air conditioning etc. or something simpler…these are important things to question and again, it will depend on what your plans are with the vessel. Working these items into your budget is important too, knowing how much the cost of purchase, upgrading and/or installation is for these items might be.
This leads onto the next item. Budget. How much are you prepared to spend?
Do you have pre-approved financing for the particular models you are interested in? Have you looked at the other costs involved with a purchase? Taxes, Insurance and Registration?
Are you contemplating chartering your catamaran during the off-season to subsidize your costs?
Have you spoken to any charter companies to find out what their costs/income potentials are?
When do you plan to buy?
Sometimes, people plan to take break from the rat race for a few years, some take their family on a round-the-world trip, some plan to live out there on the big blue for the rest of their lives, or do the snowbird thing for 6 months of the year… just as unique as each one’s plans are, so too is finding the right boat to meet those needs…and the timing of when these plans will converge.
Finally, but most importantly, find a broker that you can see yourself working with for as long as it might take you to purchase your dream catamaran. Just as with real estate, it is preferable to work with one broker.
If you are still shopping for the right broker, let the broker know, being upfront and honest about it. You should only choose a broker once he, or she, has earned your trust and confidence. Once a broker knows that you have chosen him to represent you, it gives the broker a firm position to work from, and ultimately stick with you till you find what you are looking for.
Finding your dream catamaran, however, is just the first step in the process. The right broker will also help you navigate the rest of the way through to actual ownership.
Just Catamarans experience as sailors, brokers and service providers for all brands, gives us a unique perspective to help you make the right choice. Let us help you find, and buy, the catamaran you are looking for.