S/V Lynx

About S/V Lynx

This page will be all about our future catamaran.  How we are choosing a model, and some major changes we plan to make to the boat once we purchase our catamaran.

Choosing our Catamaran

What are the considerations for S/V Lynx?

Boat Drawings


Choices: custom built, kit boat, performance design, or production model.  For us, it has to be a production cat.



Knowing what style we desire, now we have to narrow down to which brand.  We are down to two boat builders, Leopard or Fountaine Pajot.



Knowing our brands (and price point), as well as length (44' to 48') we have narrowed the field to four choices: a Helia 44, Leopard 46, Salina 48, or Leopard 48 (see pic, right). 


Charter or Owner's cabin

With a larger crew, we need 4 cabins.  As for previously chartered or a privately owned cat, we prefer the latter, but will accept the first.

Let's take a deeper dive into these considerations...

Style of Catamaran

Custom built

These are often one off boats, though it is also possible that a few hulls have been made in this design.  The issue here is, there are typically not many iterations of the boat, therefore, not as many improvements on the design.  They also tend to be more spartan.  Also, there are not many modern designs available to purchase.  We would consider one if we found a design that was good and had been made many times (which is rare).

Custom Boat

Kit Boats

These are often build by amateurs, so they have unknown quality.  There are some compromises in design to make a kit.  So far, we have not found a kit boat that has a design we desire, even if one had been made by a professional boat builder.

Kit Boat

Performance Design

Narrow hulls are required, and this reduces the living space in the hulls while also cutting down the load carrying capacity.  We could live with less space, but not less stuff.  With a larger crew on board, we need more of everything, and that adds weight.  This eliminates performance designs.  The other problem is that by the time you load all the stuff we want on board, it sinks the narrow hulls too deeply and slows down the boat anyway.  Now you have boat with less space and comfort that doesn't sail any faster.

Performance Boat

Production boats

Some models have good load carrying capacity, at the cost of sailing performance.  Along with the wider hulls, you also get a more comfortable boat.  If we are going to load a lot of stuff (and we are), we aren't sailing fast anyway, so we might as well be comfortable.  We still want the boat to sail decently, but half of wind speed is sufficient for our needs.

Production Boat

Brand of Catamaran


Leopard catamarans are a well built boat, therefore a top choice in brands for us.  They have well done bulkheads (which you may inspect), sacrificial keels, hard tops over the helm and cockpit, excellent dinghy davit systems, good storage, dry heads, up galley, navigation station, 'sports top' style helm position, engine rooms, spacious cabins, large tables in the salon and cockpit.  On the 48, there is a forward cockpit and decent sailing characteristics. They are safe boats that have traveled the globe without a history of major issues.


Fountaine Pajot

Perhaps a slight step down from Leopard in build quality, they are still a well built boat.  Inspections at the factory by purchasers have shown that they fully tab their bulkheads.  They also have sacrificial keels, an up galley, a forward facing nav station, a 'sports top' style helm, large engine rooms, spacious cabins, dry heads, large tables in the salon and cockpit, and decent sailing characteristics.  They are safe boats that have traveled the globe without a history of major issues.

Fountaine Pajot

Other Brands

Each of the brands below have many good features, however; here is the deciding feature (or missing feature) that eliminated each of these production boat brands from our choice.   
* Lagoon: do not have sacrificial keels.
* Catana: Exposed helm stations near the back sugar scoops.
* Nautitech: exposed or flybridge helm positions.
* Bali: boom too high.
* Privilege: older model slanted windows, newer models too expensive.
* Outremer: not enough load carrying capacity.
* Royal Cape and Voyage: not enough bridge deck clearance.
* St. Francis and Antares: too expensive for their age.

Other Brands

Model of Catamaran

Length and Beam

We want the longest cat we can afford, yet one that also fits through 33' locks.   That requirement limits us to a maximum beam of 26'.  That width of beam gives us the approximate length, since beam should be about half the length.   So, our maximum length is about 50'.  Unfortunately, most 50+ foot boats are too expensive, even used.  Therefore, we are looking for a used production cat with a length of 44' to 48'. Based on that, it narrows down the models from the two builders we are interested in using.

Length and Beam

Fountaine Pajot Models

In the length we want, at a year we can afford, the Helia 44 and the Salina 48 are the two most likely models we will consider.  A Saba could work, but is unlikely to get into our price range.  The Elba 45 and Saona 47 are too new, so likely too expensive.

Salina 48 layout

Leopard Models

In the length we want, at the year we can afford, the Leopard 46 and Leopard 48 are our two top choices. We prefer the 48, but the price may be a bit too high for us. The 46 is a good boat yet it is older and it does not have the forward cockpit of the 48.   We considered a Leopard 44 but is a bit short on length.  A Leopard 45 is probably too new and therefore, too expensive.  Older Leopards, like the older 47s from the early 2000s, have too low of a bridge-deck clearance.

Leopard 48

Chartered or Private

Privately owned

Since we must buy used to get a boat of sufficient size into our price range, we would much rather buy a privately owned and never chartered boat.  One that has circumnavigated is even better, since the owners likely did a lot of upgrades for that kind of voyage.  The down side is price and the fact that we want 4 cabins when many privately owned boats are 'owner' version 3 cabin models.  Still, if we can find a privately owned boat at a good price, with four cabins, that is our first choice.

Privately Owned


These boats were likely sailed by people without a lot of experience, and used hard and put a way wet, so to speak.  They will have a lot more cosmetic damage and possibly even worse.  However, they are less expensive.  We figure, if we must, we will seek a Chartered cat that has one thing... good hulls that have not been damaged.  Everything else we can upgrade or replace.  So, if we find one at a price we can afford, with good hulls, we may go that route and spend a lot of money on the refit.


The Contenders:

We plan to purchase a Helia 44, Leopard 46, Salina 48, or Leopard 48, hopefully privately owned, but likely chartered and in need of a major refit and upgrade.  Our search for S/V Lynx will begin in 2022 or 2023.

So let's take a look at the specs of all four of these boats...

Boat Specifications

Fountaine Pajot: Helia 44


Mast Height: 60'
Length: 43.64'
Beam: 24.28'
Draft: 3.77'
Bridge deck Clearance: 28"
Dry weight: 26,000 lbs.
Load Carrying Capacity: 9,600 lbs

Other things of Note:
Rooftop seating area, Cockpit hard top, Sports Top Helm, Low Boom, Core-Cell foam core, Sacrificial Keels, Up U-shaped Galley, Ensuite Heads with separate showers, Nav Station, Island beds.

Helia 44

Leopard: 46


Mast Height: 70.75'
Length: 46.4'
Beam: 24.10'
Draft: 4' 1"
Bridge deck Clearance: 35"
Dry weight: 28,067 lbs.
Load Carrying Capacity: 13,300 lbs

Other things of Note:
Cockpit hard top, Helm Hard top, Sports Top Helm, Low Boom, Sacrificial Keels, Up U-shaped Galley, Ensuite Heads with separate showers, Nav Station, 2 Island beds (aft), 2 semi-island beds (forward), strong and high davits.

Leopard 46

Fountaine Pajot: Salina 48


Mast Height: 68' 11"
Length: 46' 5"
Beam: 26'
Draft: 3' 6"
Bridge deck Clearance: 33.5"
Dry weight: 23,900 lbs.
Load Carrying Capacity: 9,480 lbs

Other things of Note:
Cockpit hard top, Sports Top Helm, Low Boom, Sacrificial Keels, Up U-shaped Galley, Ensuite Heads with separate showers, Nav Station, 2 Island beds (Aft) and 2 semi-islands beds (forward), 2 single beds in companionways, Large engine compartments, 

Salina 48

Leopard: 48


Mast Height: 74.80'
Length: 48.5'
Beam: 25' 7"
Draft: 4' 5"
Bridge deck Clearance: 38"
Dry weight: 28,900 lbs.
Load Carrying Capacity: 13,328 lbs

Other things of Note:
Forward cockpit seating with door to salon, Cockpit hard top, Sports Top Helm, Helm Hardtop, Low Boom, Sacrificial Keels, Up L-shaped Galley, Ensuite Heads with separate showers, Nav Station, Island beds, Gantry Bar Dinghy Lift system.

Leopard 48
Combo Hybrid

Combo Hybrid Propulsion

We are combining two 55 hp diesel engines with two  SeaDrive, 7.5 kw electric pod motors, creating a combo hybrid.

Originally, we were interested in converting our catamaran into a diesel/electric hybrid.  That meant removing the original diesel engines and adding a larger generator along with two 20 kw electric sail drives.  There are a lot of advantages to such a system, and only three for the diesel ICE boat (Internal Combustion Engine).  Let's take a look...

Hybrid Advantages

  • Quiet - Electric motors are quiet, while diesels are noisy.
  • No Exhaust to breathe or smell - Diesel exhaust smells foul and can make you sea sick from the fumes.  Electric propulsion is odor free.
  • Large Battery Bank - Since you will need a large battery bank to power those electric motors, you also gain the use of them for other applications, like Air Conditioning, all night, without running a diesel generator (see the first two points, above).
  • Save diesel fuel - Since you start with 3 hours of battery power, and recharge 3 more on a full sunny day, you may often motor for 6 hours a day just off battery power stored from solar panels.
  • Fewer refills of Diesel -  It is a pain in the rumpus to go to a fuel dock, and worse if you must ferry jerry cans in your dinghy, and abysmally worse if you have to do that and then take a taxi to a gas station, then back, then load the dinghy, then pour them all through a diesel filter into the fuel tanks on the catamaran.  Due to electric motors, we will save a lot of diesel fuel and, therefore, the need to buy fuel far less often.
  • No Propane on board or need to refill - Because we have a large battery bank we can get rid of all appliances that run off of propane and ditch the propane bottles, going exclusively electric.  That reduces fire risk and hassles of finding propane (and having the appropriate adapter in various countries).
  • No Gas on board or need to refill - Because we have a lot of solar and batteries to store electricity, we can use an electric outboard on the dinghy.  That gets rid of all the hassles of obtaining and then storing yet another flammable fuel on board, gasoline.
  • Greater Range - With a hybrid system, you gain enough motoring from solar each day to more than make up for any loses in power conversion, so you may motor further on the same amount of diesel fuel.
  • Less Maintenance - There is just a lot less to maintain with an electric system.  You would have one less diesel on board (two generators instead of one generator and two engines) and no sail drives.

Diesel Advantages

  • Horse Power- Two 20 KW electric motors do not have enough horse power for emergency situations unless you either go with more than two or upgrade to larger motors.  In either case, that means you need more batteries (which would become too heavy) and more solar to recharge them (and there is no more room for additional solar panels).  So, in an emergency, the boat will be underpowered with only about 60 hp.  A large cat, like the one we wish to purchase, needs more like 110 hp for situations like dragging anchor in heavy winds toward a lee shore, or dealing with high current during a tide change or going up a larger river against the current.  In these kinds of cases, you may need all 110 hp you would get from two large diesel engines.  This is the main advantage of diesels, and it is a big one!  So big that we cannot possibly ignore it and go with electric motors only.
  • Weight - Two diesels and their sail drives weigh about 1,116 lbs.  Two SD15 Servoprop electric motors run 204 lbs, plus 576 lbs of lithium batteries, plus two 20 kw generator at 640 lbs, all totals to 1,420 lbs.  So, a hybrid adds slightly more than 300 lbs.
  • Cost - The diesels will come with the boat.  Now, over time, the maintenance will cost a lot more than the hybrid system, but the initial cost is a whole lot less expensive.  How much, the hybrid system will cost us about $96,000!  (Note: we would likely add quite a bit of that system to the diesel boat, things like the lithium batteries, ($10,000), inverters, ($10,000), solar panels and arch ($4,500), MPPTs (1,000), plus a bunch of other small hardware ($2,000).  Still, that totals to $27,500 vs $96,000 for the full hybrid system.

But what about having both?

The question is, can you have your cake and eat it to?
And, you get most of the advantages of a Hybrid system plus the most important advantage of a Diesel boat.  Yet, at what cost?
Let's take a look...

Combo Advantages

  • A Combo boat gests almost all the advantages of a Hybrid system (see above)- There is only one real thing that you lose from the hybrid list of Advantages... lower maintenance.  We will still have three diesels on board (2 engines and a generator) plus two pod motors.  Since the pods require almost no maintenance, the maintenance needed on a Combo boat is less than a Diesel boat because you use the diesel motors and generator far less often, yet the Combo boat is significantly more maintenance than a Hybrid boat.
  • More Horse Power - We gain more horsepower than either of the other options, simply because we get the 110 hp from the diesels plus 20 hp from the two 7.5 kw electric pods.  (It isn't 60 hp because we will be going with 7.5 KW motors instead of 20 KW motors).  When we are sailing or motoring, and don't need all that horse power, we can run the electric pods enough to reach a decent cruising speed.  In emergencies, we fire up the diesels and up our horse power significantly!
  • Greater Range - In most circumstances, electric motors give you greater range, though not in all situations.  Anytime you must motor for more time than your batteries allow (about 3 hours) and run the generator, then you are losing some efficiency in conversion with a hybrid system.  However, if you motor for those 3 hours on electric, then lift them out of the water, turn on the diesel engines, and motor until your batteries are recharged from solar and the large alternators on the diesel engines, you may then motor on electric again.  Therefore, your range is farther than either a Hybrid or Diesel boat.

Combo Disadvantages

  • Weight- You have both the weight of the diesel motors and the hybrid system.  This is not quite as bad as it sounds.  Most of the weight of a hybrid system is in the batteries, and we already planned to have a larger battery bank than typical on a boat.  This is so that we may run AC all night, make more water for showers, cook with electricity for safety, etc. Therefore, we would have increased our battery bank even if we kept the boat with only diesel engines.  Therefore, we are only adding a little more battery power and the pod motors, which don't weight much (around 40 lbs. each).  All total, we are likely adding no more than 300 lbs. to the boat when we go with a Combo setup.
  • Cost - Though adding the electric propulsion system to a diesel boat is expensive, it is less expensive than converting to a Hybrid simply because we don't need the 20 KW Oceanvolt servo prop motors (which run $50,000).  The SeaDrive 7.5 kw, regen pod motors will cost $20,000.  That's a big savings of $30,000!  We also don't need two generators, eliminating yet another $18,000.  In the end the Hybrid boat runs $96,000 to upgrade while the Combo boat runs $48,000 (half the price).
  • More maintenance - We have the same engines as a Diesel boat, though we will use them far less often since we do not run the engines anywhere near as often.  Electric pod motors are almost maintenance free.  They are brushless, and only have a bearing which requires no maintenance, and must only be replaced many years down the line.  Still, there is some maintenance on the diesel engines and sail drives, so the maintenance cost is higher than a Hybrid boat, yet less than a Diesel boat.
  • Complexity - Well, there is no denying it, two systems are more complex than one. However, compared to an ICE equipped boat, becoming a Combo Hybrid/Diesel is not much additional complexity.  Remember, you will already have batteries, alternators, inverters, MPPTs, solar panels, etc.  We will likely add a few more of these, but the systems are already on board.  So, what else are we adding?  Two things.  First, a hydraulic lift system (and hydraulics have been around a long time on boats).  The second part is the electronics.  Fortunately, on the SeaDrive, almost everything is self contained in the pods, and they hook up to the throttles and a small display.  We plan to add an additional set of  throttles on the port side of the boat for docking on that side while placing the other set of throttles at the helm, on the starboard side of the boat.

Detailed Comparison

If you want to see a full detailed comparison of fuel over various passage distances, the cost, and horse power between all of these propulsion systems, click on the image (right) or use the link below.

Combo System

However, we will give you a spoiler, the answer is 'yes', we plan to go with a Combo Hybrid!

Use the button below to go to a schematic of the entire system:

Should We?

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