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Join Date: Feb 2013
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Advice and Experience Requested

03/14/2017 1:52 PM

Leopard 45 Yachts.

Crazy idea it may seem, however I am seriously considering/looking at/for a Leopard 45 yacht.

  • L.O.A. : 11 m. 99 cm.
  • L.W.L. : 11 m. 62 cm.
  • Beam : 6 m. 72 cm.
  • Draft : 1 m. 25 cm.

I am considering packing up and getting out of the rat race that life offers. I have spent too much time working and losing family so I am considering purchasing the above type of yacht, Catamaran, and sailing from the the island territory of the UK, either down through the canals of France and into the Med. Although the beam may be just a tad squeaky for the French canals. So that may require sailing down past Portugal, Spain, through the Straits of Gibraltar, along the coast to the Suez, stay well away from Somalia and down towards Madagascar. The alternate possible route, along the coast to India, Ceylon, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia.

I know it is a long and a possible pipe dream idea for now; however, having nothing to lose, I am considering this and investigating the thought.

The trip would be single handed hence 45 foot max as that is the limit, maybe just over actually. So my question to the people here,

1. Has anyone here undertaken a trip of this magnitude, or similar?

2. Has anyone here experience of sailing/owning a Leopard 40/45? If so, can you offer any advice or possible negatives of these yachts.

3. Anyone who has sailed the Med and may offer advice.

4. I am more interested in any one who has sailed a Cat single handed and any advice they can offer, i.e. pit falls, positives, any things that should be considered.

Of course I would be looking at automatic sail furling and windlass for single handed managing from a cockpit.

I have considered Bertrams 38 with fly bridge, (Riviera), and such like powered yachts. The fuel costs and distance to fuel used is high, 3000 litres of diesel and possibly 500 miles traveled, of course that is speed dependent and twin Cat, Volvos, Mercruisers, Cumminns can be handy in times of need.

If anyone has some input, I should like to hear it, no matter what it may be. At this stage I am investigating the idea. And of anyone has sailed a Leopard Cat, or similar, I should like to hear from you. Thanks.

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Guru
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#1

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/14/2017 1:58 PM

<...French canals...> One wouldn't be using canals on account of the draft and the beam dimensions, plus the mast is too high to go under bridges.

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Guru

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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/14/2017 2:06 PM

The mast is removable and can be stored along the deck length. Pain in the butt to de-rig, remove, reinstall and re-rig it.

I know the UK canals are narrow, shallow and the bridges narrow and low. Hence the UK is out for this yacht. Only coastal sailing and some rovers such as the Thames and Firth. But Yes, I had thought of the height and mast removal.

Have you sailed the French canals by any chance? I assumed the French canals are very similar to the UK canals and mostly suited for narrow boats.

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#16
In reply to #3

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/15/2017 4:55 AM

Last year I read a book called "Narrow dog to Carcassonne" by a guy (can't remember name) who took a narrow boat across the Channel and via French canals to Carcassonne. It wasn't a yacht but the book might throw some light on what to expect, and it wasn't a bad read.

Most French canals are much wider than British ones.

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Guru

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#17
In reply to #16

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/15/2017 5:48 AM

Height is a problem on any canal as the old days they did not know about the future and anticipating growth. Bridges arches here, the middle is fine in most places for height, it is the sweep down that can cause the restriction. Believe it or not, I have watched some narrow boats on the canals in Birmingham and they have issues on bridges and tunnels and I have never seen any narrow boat negotiate a bend or corner without hitting the canal edge, especially the long narrow boats.

But, as I stated previously, any points that get thrown in are good points.

Is there anyone across the ocean who has a motor yacht who can offer fuel consumptions on a cruising speed of 10 knots using inboard Mercruisers/Volvo/Cummins/Yanmar diesels, either on Z drive or direct drive shafts.

Sail is of course far cheaper in fuel but a turn of speed is lacking. I know inboards are heavy when up around 20-38knots but that speed is not sustainable and not comfy at all.

Thanks for the comments so far.

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#2

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/14/2017 2:03 PM

I can't answer any of your questions, my biggest yacht being the 18' fishing kind, but it sounds like you have thought this out. If you have the means and capabilities to take on such an adventure with nothing to lose, and it is your dream, then I say do it. Don't let it become a regret when you are no longer able to do it.

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Guru

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/14/2017 2:09 PM

The idea needs holes picked in it, in case I have missed something obvious or even hidden. I am not 21 any more!

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Guru
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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/14/2017 2:27 PM

Catamarans have two stable positions, one with the mast to the sky, the other with the mast into the deeps. Upside down is a real risk The second one is more stable. Some use mast top floats to prevent inversion. As a single newbie sailor on a 'cat', you should have such a safety device. In addition, get loads of experience in protected waters first, on a rented cat. One month's rent might be a prudent investment.

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#7
In reply to #5

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/14/2017 3:01 PM

Good point, I had forgotten they tend to nose over when sailed hard.

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Guru

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#6

Re: Advice and Experience requested.

03/14/2017 2:34 PM

Ah the romantic dream of living carefree on a trim sailing vessel, adventure on the high seas, island native girls in grass skirts and coconuts, warm sunny days basking in paradise......hahaha....I hate to burst anybodies bubble out there, but reality is quite different...It's hard work, expensive hard to find parts, bathing infrequently, commutes to shore, theft, more money, more work, licensing fee's, insurance, boatyard fee's, docking fee's...Unless you are a hardscrabble hermit(conch), or rich, it's not a good lifestyle for most people....In any case it would be disastrous to start big, you should start small and progress over the years to a larger and larger vessel, taking instruction on navigation and rules of the seas, protocols etc.....Plus, you really need a partner...a first mate to assist you....while it may be possible to handle a vessel by yourself, it's awkward a lot of the time, and a safety hazard sometimes, and dangerous...

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Guru

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#8

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/14/2017 3:14 PM

Are you used to sailing a cat? How much sailing experience do you have? How much blue water experience do you have (either sail or motor)?

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Guru
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#9

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/14/2017 4:16 PM

OK... but, what have you been sailing recently?...

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Guru

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#10

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/14/2017 4:17 PM

A better use of your resources would be to buy a mountain or remote lake cabin absolutely no one but you knows about, cash out all your assets and fake your death.

Skip the boat and family business altogether.

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Guru

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/14/2017 5:11 PM
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Guru
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#12

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/14/2017 8:49 PM

This is a Ushant 41 foot motor ketch. It is part of the Rogger family of motor-sailers. She has a 5 foot draft, 6 cylinder 100 HP Perkins diesel, and 22 ton displacement. Fuel consumption is 1.8 gallons per hour at 6 knots (no sail aloft). The original owner did something very similar, except after reaching the Med, headed west across the Atlantic. He bought the boat in Scotland. Did the whole canal thing including a canal tunnel in France. He had the masts shipped to Med because even with the masts down, but across the pilot house, it would have been too tall for some of the bridges across the canals.

It is very similar to the yacht in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YECvp68xUaA

My dad was the second owner of this vessel and he and my mom did about 15 years living aboard with no home ashore. Spent most of their time traversing the Intra-Coastal Waterway, spending summers on Cape Cod and New England area and winters in Florida and the Bahamas. They did do one 6,000 mile trip up the Hudson to the Erie canal system to the Great Lakes and down the Mississippi to the Tennessee River and Tombigbee River entering the Gulf at Mobile Alabama. I was at Fort Gordon, Georgia at the time ('89) and I helped them re-step the masts in Mobile, Ala.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Loop

Good luck with your quest.

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Guru
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#13

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/14/2017 11:34 PM

Job 1 - Research pirate activity world wide.

Job 2 - Research pirate activity world wide.

Job 3 - Research pirate activity world wide.

Job 4 - Ensure you have "adequate" defenses.

Job 5 - Recruit multiple crew mates for standing round the clock watches.

Did I mention that you need to understand the piracy risks around the world? And study the experiences of all the intrepid round the world sailors that you can find, those who lived and those who didn't.

Seriously!! Your open ocean boat handling skills are almost secondary in this day and age.

Hooker

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#14
In reply to #13

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/15/2017 3:02 AM

One 30mm cannon mounted on deck, a couple of street sweepers for the crew, and an RPG just in case....you should be fine...

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#15
In reply to #13

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/15/2017 3:36 AM

I agree about the piracy warning, as the Somali's just took a ship yesterday, but this is another set up and slight of hand move. But an expectation that could happen.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4312384/Somali-pirates-hijack-oil-tanker-time-2012.html

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#18
In reply to #15

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/15/2017 8:57 AM

Piracy is much more widespread than one would assume per reporting by most media outlets. And that which is reported is mostly large commercial ships.

Commercial shipping piracy 2016.

Reports of piracy against private boats are very difficult to find outside of very localized media.

HERE is probably the best source of news regarding piracy against privately owned cruisers and their owners.

The world has gotten exponentially more dangerous since Joshua Slocum and his Spray. Nobody is to be trusted, unfortunately.

Hooker

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Guru

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/15/2017 10:26 AM

Great site, thanks. I could not locate anything from my side and overseas links tend to help. It is looking that my idea is not so bright. But this all helps at days end. I seem to have a very risky bucket list.

Thanks.

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#20
In reply to #19

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/15/2017 11:19 AM

You're welcome. I don't mean to put you off on your dream. After all I lived aboard my Columbia 28 for over a year and had my own dreams of extended cruises. Unfortunately, life intruded, and the majority of my sailing was in the protection of the Chesapeake Bay with an occasional foray into blue water. My worst problem was tugs with a tow on a cable 300 yards behind with most of the cable in the water.

But you certainly deserve to understand all the risks so you can prepare properly. There's some nice info on the second site regarding security recommendations.

Best of luck,

Hooker

PS - don't forget several radar reflectors. A lot of the big boys are on automated navigation and don't see tiny sailboats if their radar doesn't alarm.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/15/2017 11:40 AM

A lot of ships are turning off the radar so that pirates can't detect them. That is what went on at the weekend with the small fuel tanker off Somalia with 8 crew.

But, I know Africa well and they have there informants along the Suez. Africa, money talks loud and buys favours.

This is why I was looking at coast hugging along Yemen, Oman, round India, and down through to Malaysia and on to Au. The alternate route was down the east coast of Africa to Durban or Cape Town. Just Somalia is the pain to go past, followed by Kenya. Tanzania is not so bad....yet!

I assumed that shadowing close to a freighter may be a good idea, then this boat got nailed at the weekend. That is what raised my question for input from others who may have already done such a trip.

So far all info has been most helpful and all info absorbed. Thank again.

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#22

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/16/2017 2:35 PM

I gather from your post that you are at best a novice at sailing. Though it may appear to be an exciting aspiration, and in fact it is, there are so many aspects of such an endeavor that it would require a lengthy dissertation to cover only part of what one needs to know, learn and have faculties of to safely and enjoyably undertake same.

I would most highly suggest that you get engaged in the sailing community nearest you so you might meet and engage with experienced sailors. For the most part, sailors are quite receptive of people interested in their passion and many will willingly teach and include novices in the education process required. Sailing lessons are available for people of all ages and abilities and these will provide you and others the opportunity to gauge your progress and knowledge.

As previously posted, books are a good resource for getting a good idea as to what to expect from the experience and the do's and don't already discovered by others. The best of sailors have come upon situations that require innate reaction and skill to brave through unexpected situations.

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#23
In reply to #22

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/16/2017 3:57 PM

I have done a fair amount of sailing but not as a lone sailor. On a cat there is much to contend with, especially on a 45 footer and during rest periods one cannot just park up and sleep, so I have to plan well. Hence looking at Cats and powered yachts.

Clubs where I am is an image thing, boats never leave the marina. My friend spends 2 days a year on his yacht, and that is to clean it. Last year rthe yacht never left its berth.

So far all comments have been good advice and they are all considered, kept in mind and alternate routes and plans are being investigated. It looks like getting to the med is easy enough and safe. It is the next leg down past the East African coast is the hassle with few safe landing places from exiting the Suez until arriving at the Seychelles. A long empty trip

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#24
In reply to #23

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/16/2017 6:20 PM

You bring up a great point. One of the reasons I bought my 28' Columbia sloop was because I could easily single hand it, yet it had plenty of room and facilities for extended trips. Most of the time I was sailing with a 150 Genoa and a sunshade over the boom. Maneuvering was a piece of cake.

And, you're right, I was shunned by the yacht club types for trolling a fishing line off the transom. I was more interested in a fresh dinner than the white sailing outfit image.

Hooker

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/17/2017 5:51 AM

Partially the reason for asking for input here. It should be varied, getting a different view point and a broader response. Looking at a bigger picture than the limited input based on constraints.

How far did you travel with your Columbia 28 and how long were you aboard on trips?

Sometimes stir crazy can set in from being alone so planning regular shore stops can be handy and sociable.

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#26
In reply to #25

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/17/2017 11:34 AM

I'm not one who has trouble spending lots of time alone so single-handed sailing was something I really enjoyed.

Because of employment requirements most of my sailing was weekend over-nighters and sometimes 3 day weekends. I made it a habit to get out of the marina on Friday evenings and anchor in a nearby cove for the night, otherwise I'd get caught up in the marina merrymaking and drinking and never go anywhere.

I traveled all over the Chesapeake Bay from my marina in Hampton Roads. My longest trip was a multi-day up the Potomac to Washington, DC and back with fiance and another friend. I would never do that again. Fighting the river current for 2+ days going upriver was exhausting. I had to motor way more than I wanted due to unfavorable winds and stiff river current added to the outgoing tide. On the incoming tide the river current was mostly zeroed out but winds would make maneuvering in the river channel challenging. I mostly stayed out of rivers after that. And the Columbia had a 6 foot fixed keel that needed to be accounted for.

Most of my overnights were in secluded coves, sometimes with other boats. I really enjoyed protected anchorages where I could hang my hibachi off the transom and grill steaks. Because I lived aboard I never lacked for amenities. And power wasn't an issue because I had a big ice box which held 50 pounds of ice that lasted for about a week. I could cook on the hibachi or an alcohol stove in those conditions.

On the other hand the weekends I spent in my marina usually resulted in all the fresh fish I could handle. The sport fishermen would come in on Saturday evenings overloaded with fish and would even give them to me cleaned. That's when my toaster oven got put to use on shore power. This was in the mid '70's so microwaves weren't all that common yet.

Those were some good times! Thanks for making me remember them.

Hooker

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#27
In reply to #26

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/17/2017 12:23 PM

I am stuck on the Leopard 45 or 40, a South Africa built yacht, Robertson & Caine design. Plenty space and quite stable with a shallow draft. Certainly not a new yacht, would I buy, 2nd hand, (looked after used) is fine. When I started looking they were not badly priced, now I see them creeping up. Summer and dreams are arriving again.

I actually, (ideally), want to end up back in Au and make home around the Whit Sundays, Qld. That's the idea and current plan at present. Back up plan, head to Durban or Cape Town through the Med, via the Indian Ocean.

So this is all gathering info for now and I am sure I would find eager folks to crew and to share the trip. So currently, all info is good info that is being provided.

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/17/2017 1:32 PM

Wow, I got to go on a crewed sailing tour of Sydney Harbor when I was there on R&R in 1969 or '70. I forget which. I can just imagine a cruise up to the Gold Coast from there with lots of stops for diving!

I bought my boat used from a co-worker who was trading up. He knew he couldn't get a decent deal on a trade-in. While I was actively sailing, one of the things I learned was that finding a good used boat was like gold. If you buy new you spend a second fortune outfitting the boat, which effectively doubles the cost, and the value goes down by half as soon as you take delivery.

I was also fortunate that I had a job where stainless steel hardware (including stainless wire rope and swaging equipment) was readily available for the picking. And I quickly learned never to buy anything from a yachting store that is available at a regular hardware store. They put a huge premium on their stuff depending on one to be a loyal yachtsman who wouldn't be seen dead in a hardware store.

Best of luck! Hooker

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#29
In reply to #28

Re: Advice and Experience Requested

03/17/2017 2:12 PM

Totally agree with you, the chandlers cater for the lame and lazy image conscious who need to call out the AA to change a wheel. Some yachts have been up for sale for 3 years at the same asking price. I might be better off flying to Au and buying a yacht, then sailing up to the Reef... defeats the whole exercise....

Europe is in chaos at the current stage, along with the UK, and amazingly, thier policies and chaos affects everyone else who just raise prices. Very frustrating trying to locate and sensible yacht that meets what I require. As you said, like gold. Even the repo yachts are crazy priced.

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