Every day that goes by solidifies the idea of buying a boat for The Amazing Ocean. I'm working on a business plan and have been researching the different brands.
The first catamaran we toured (at the Annapolis Boat Show this spring) was a Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40. And we loved it. But looking at the floorplans later, we both thought it was too small and were leaning towards the Helia 44. But hours (and hours!) of You Tube bing watching later, we realized several of our favorite vloggers had Leopards. I dug deep into the Leopard literature and their website.
The Leopard front cockpit is awesome! I'm an introvert and need "me" time to recharge. That front cockpit would be a lovely place to spend some alone time. We definitely like the Leopard 45. It's interior is sleek and modern. But it's sleekness has it's downsides -- no galley storage. It has a wannabe U shaped galley, but not really. And if there is one thing I've taken away from Gone with the Wynns and Sailing La Vagabonde, its that during passage you often need to brace yourself while making food in the galley. But, oh, that front cockpit!
Two weeks ago, we spontaneously decided to find Wiley Sharp to look at a Leopard he had just posted on You Tube. We drove to Dennison Yatching in Annapolis, but it was closed. So we stopped in next door at the Lagoon dealer. We got a tour of the Lagoon 450, but while it was a nice boat, it didn't wow us. We found some shoddy finish work and the interior, while spacious and considerate of storage, felt like an RV. Not what we are looking for.
Then last week I discovered the Helia's big sister, the Saona 47, online. The website showed that not only does it have three refrigerators, but it also has a big freezer and an ice maker! I couldn't ask for more cold storage. And it has an island in the galley. An ISLAND! My inner chef is drooling.
There is no front cockpit, but it does have a large sun lounging area above the main cockpit. Many a sundowner could be had there.
So yesterday, in the drenching rain, we visited Atlantic Cruising Yachts in Annapolis to see a Saona which had just arrived. The skies poured down on us. Waves had whitecaps in the marina. The Saona rocked back and forth in the wind. Still, they graciously let us onboard to look around. We examined every nook and cranny we could find. ACY's Director of Operations, Kenny, was our guide and answered every question we had easily and expertly. I discovered the washing machine/dryer is always vented externally (a concern of mine) and can be located in one of three (!) locations. The Saona also has a full-sized door from one of the cabins into the space in the point of the bow. While it could be a tiny captains quarters with an additional head, I found the space to be perfect for a walk-in storage room. Storage and more storage! Plus, the interior was beautiful. Though not as sleek as the Leopard, it was still modern and felt more like an apartment than a boat. This yacht is definitely a contender.
The race is close between the Leopard 45 and the Fountaine Pajot 47. We can't wait for the fall boat show in Annapolis to compare them side by side. Stay tuned!