Buy Boats, Sell Boats, Review Boats

Posted by on Oct 5, 2013 in Boats We Love, US | 2 comments

Boats We Love: Two Charter Catamarans

Leah Kaiz considers the pros and cons of two different charter catamarans, as well as the option of putting a boat into charter to help offset ownership costs.

Ever since we first met, my husband and I have been talking about buying a catamaran and sailing around the world.


The Leopard 44 has a distinctive forward cockpit and is part of the Sunsail charter fleet.

For the past seven years, we’ve never missed a boat show—or any other chance to walk aboard catamarans and daydream about what our lives will be when we can finally take off on our adventure.

One option we’ve been considering as a way to speed up that date is to buy a catamaran and put it into charter. Any boat we buy would be both a charter investment and a vehicle for our future sailing plans, so it would need to be livable, easy to sail short-handed, and sturdy enough to travel across oceans.

I’ve lived aboard catamarans before, and in looking at many models I’ve noticed that most have the same general layout.

Until recently we had narrowed it down to one boat, the Leopard 44 in the Sunsail charter program We love this boat for its distinctive front cockpit, which creates an extra covered outdoor living space. The helm station is set up for ease of sailing, with all lines and sheets within arms reach of the helm. The only thing I’m not a fan of is that there is no navigation station in the main salon.

But now that we’ve moved within a stone’s throw of Annapolis, another charter boat buying option has crested the horizon. Dream Yacht Charters offers an interesting program that would give us local access to our boat, and we’d be able to send it down to the Bahamas for the winter  for  use in a tropical paradise!

Here, the boat we’d be considering is the Helia 44, which does have the nav station—but no forward cockpit.

There’s a lot more we need to compare bewteen these two: the construction of each boat, resale potential, and overall durability, especially if we follow through with our plan to put the boat into charter. Luckily, the Annapolis Boat Show is in October and we can do some more serious comparisons.

Stay tuned! And if you’ve owned one of these boats, please share your thoughts.


  1. Hello Leah: nice to read your future cruising plans! Always inspiring.
    As for the boats, I am not a big fan of the current Robertson & Caine Leopard cats. Whereas the older generation (the 45, 47 and 43) were built like rocks, the newer ones are, form what I hear in the industry, built, say, much “lighter”…let’s put it that way.
    As for the forward cockpit and the door to the salon, think about this: when you are at anchor, or at a mooring, your boat will face the wind, rigth? If you are in the Caribbean, where the wind typically blows at around 12-15kts., it can make it quite unpleasant to sit in that cockpit to enjoy your cocktails! Additionally, the door makes me cringe. Imagine you are sailing in heavy seas, would you feel safe seeing hundreds of gallons of sea water engulf the cockpit and threaten the door waterproofing? I don’t think so.

    To me, although I am a Lagoon fan, the Helia seems a much better choice AND most probably a much higher resale value.

    My 2 cents!

  2. James, thanks for your feedback! I tend to agree with you and we are now leaning toward the Helia after attending the boat show and spending a while weighing the pros and cons. Will be writing something about it soon! Thanks for your 2 cents!