Saturday, January 30, 2021

On the subject of cruising and charter design...

A question of note, an interesting charting method, and in the "seriously creepy" department...

So, what do we actually want a cruising boat to be?

Think about that for a minute or two... 

A good cruising boat is a nomadic habitat that can take you pretty much anywhere in the world accessible by water. You want it to be safe, comfortable, and as trouble-free as possible. It should also be easy to maintain and operable within its crew's physical and financial abilities or constraints.

A good charter boat, on the other hand, is designed to generate income and that's the bottom line. Which, I'll be the first to admit, is no bad thing but making money creates a completely different design brief than you'd want for a cruising boat.

One of the things that still surprises me is that 90% of our crewed charter clients don't sail, they're not into boats, and, if anything, the whole idea of a sailing vacation does not quite track with them. What does track however is they like the idea of a movable luxury hotel room that moves from location to location with their own personal Chef and crew to take care of them. The newer the boat, ensuite heads, lots of toys, all creature comforts, and a killer menu is more often than not why people choose the boats they do.  Sure, they want the boat to look great but to most clients anything that's expensive and floats right side up is considered a great looking boat.

Charter cats are all built to a cost point as most charter boats are only built with a five year lifespan factored into the mix. Term charter (crewed boats) tend to last longer as they don't get the abuse that bareboats do but a seven-year old crewed charter boat is considered too long in the tooth to get top dollar. The point being that longevity is not a high priority on the design brief.

Most catamarans are sold to the various charter companies and, as such, most cats for sale are designed for charter. That equals a lot of catamarans. So many in fact, that you'll find very few manufacturers willing to start building a non-charter oriented multihull. Sure there are a few exceptions coming from small or boutique builders (Gemini comes to mind). 

How to tell the difference between a cat designed for cruising or a cat designed for charter? If the boat sleeps ten and has four heads it's a charter design.

Like I said before, I like term charter boats and have a business that is part of that industry so I understand why they're designed the way they are. The downside where cruising is concerned is that there are just not enough people buying new cruising multihulls for the boat building companies to design and tool up for, in their view, what they consider a minuscule market.

Since we're on a roll we'll talk about what I'd like a cruising cat to be in 2021 in the next post.

Listening to Margo Timmins

So it goes...

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