Midweek visit with Phil Berman

“Get wisdom… it’s worth more than money; choose insight over income every time” Pr. 16:16

A good visit Wednesday with Phil Berman of the Multihull company.  We’ve decided to use him as a buyer’s broker to help in the search for the right catamaran (see previous post).  Thought it would be good to jot down some thoughts while they are fresh.  Phil has really been gracious with his time and a valuable teacher & “search coach”.  Time spent with him so far has felt a lot like visiting with one of my Hobie cat sailing friends.

  • One of the surprising things that Phil said today was that he would rank Lagoon above Robertson and Caine (RC) and Fountain Pajot (FP) in build quality, fit and finish.  He also said he felt that the FP typically sailed better than the other 2.  This was surprising to me, as I had thought FP had a better build quality.  Phil builds and sells catamarans for a living, so I’m trusting he has a better than average idea what he is talking about.  RC and Lagoon have traditionally used balsa core construction which is heavier and stronger.  FP is now using balsa core for the Helia, making it heavier than their previous 44 footers. FP has typically had better bridge deck clearance.
  • He also mentioned that FP had blistering issues from 2004-2009 which were repaired under warranty.  If the work was completed, then it should be fine, but something to keep an eye out for… the Orana and Lavezzi specifically.
  • Lagoon seems to be a better value used than FP, by about $40k for a comparable boat size.  The Lagoon has a V-hull underneath the bridge deck that significantly reduces slamming.
  • When comparing to a new boat, keep in mind about 25% needed to equip a new boat (sails, electronics…etc.)
  • There is a very high demand for owners version catamarans in the $250k range (may possibly make it a better market in the $350k range).
  • The manufacturers continue to build heavier, slower boats because that is what the market is demanding (more space and comfort as opposed to speed under sail… the 90% use)
  • Don’t be too concerned about high engine hours on a used boat.  3500 hours would be about 1/2 life.  New engines would run about $25 to $35k to replace both.
  • Oftentimes there are better deals in the Caribbean because people don’t want the hassle of travel.

So, next step for us will be to attend the Annapolis Boat Show Oct 6,7,8 and try to get a better feel for the size of catamaran than will best suit us.  At the same time we are staying onboard “Love Knot” (a Lipari 40′ cat) and should be able to see some used catamarans in the area.  Will also look forward to visiting with many other boat show buyers who are going through the same process we are & hope to learn a lot from them as well.

That’s it for the quick thoughts on the conversation with Phil.  Back to the remodel of the bungalow now.  Almost there!

No Comments

Leave a Comment