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Choosing the boat

The choice of boat is critical to the outcome of your cruising adventure. Inevitably it will be a compromise. We feel that our choice of Fuga has so far been borne out in practice. There are many factors to consider:

Get it right, and you will perhaps enjoy many happy years cruising. Get it wrong, and the experience could be a short one. We met friends, who having cruised over many years, nearly parted company. The reason was that the their new boat, a very much down sized catamaran with few comforts, was simply too uncomfortable and too marginal. The last boat, also a cat, was too big! The happy ending to the story was that they compromised, and completed an Atlantic circuit, including Brazil.

A lone sailor we met had put up with a small but seaworthy 32 foot boat, sufficient for his purposes. Having met up with a new partner he sold what she called his 'crappy little boat' for a larger boat with many more comforts. Another couple up-sized for much the same reason, having started out with a 35 footer.

Size is not the only consideration. Sea worthiness - the ability to withstand adverse conditions, particularly hull stability are important. Sea-keeping, how the hull copes with the waves are considerations. One couple we met found that when they upsized he was completely free from sea-sickness, when he has suffered on the old boat.

Converts to catamarans will extol their virtues. The space usually available on the deck spanning the two hulls is enormous, and the comfort of a stable platform is a benefit. We were told that the ornaments arranged on one large cat were simply not moved when going to sea, it was unnecessary. If however a catamaran is accidentally rolled or pitch poled by extreme seas, then they are inherently stable upside down, and for this reason I would not want to travel anywhere where large seas were a possibility, and that is almost anywhere!

If you want to cruise estuaries and inland rivers and canals, draught is an issue. If you are sailing to the extremes, then insulation and equipment is paramount. Sailing as a couple, then you must be able to handle the boat without too much difficulty: 11 to 14 metres is about right. Beyond this the envelope can be stretched, for example by installing bowthrusters.

Your budget is also important. We exceeded ours, and it is difficult not to do so! This applies not only to the initial set up costs, but is also reflected in the running costs including berthing, insurance, and repairs and renewals. 12 metres is invariably at the breakpoint between moderate berthing costs, and higher costs for the larger boats.