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Sunsail 444 #44564
03/09/2015 10:14 AM
03/09/2015 10:14 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,593
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content OP
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If anyone has sailed the Sunsail 444 (leopard 44), I would love to hear your thoughts on the boat. Feel free to PM contact info and I will be happy to give you a call or comments posted here are great!
George

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Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: GeorgeC1] #44565
03/09/2015 12:55 PM
03/09/2015 12:55 PM
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Posts: 129
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fstorms Offline
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Hi George,

I think I mentioned it in a thread a while back, but we really liked the "front porch" aspect of the boat - the ability to walk through the main cabin forward to another lounge area.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: fstorms] #44566
03/09/2015 01:08 PM
03/09/2015 01:08 PM
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jboothe Offline
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We are chartering one in June. How did that main sheet system work out? Seems very odd when a normal traveler would have work just fine.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: GeorgeC1] #44567
03/09/2015 01:19 PM
03/09/2015 01:19 PM
Joined: Mar 2001
Posts: 1,028
Maryland, US
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Hi George. This is Steve - we met up with you and Harry at Myett's when out on a Beneteau 50 a couple years ago. Since then we've taken a 444 out twice now, our first cat experiences, and really loved it. Easy to sail, and a lot better suited for a fun family deal. Very comfortable boat. I still like mono's better for pure sailing, but really like this boat for a family vacation. Let me know if you need more info, we can always chat it up.


"Confidentially, I've had these problems with the tides before"

[Linked Image]
Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: gordapeak] #44568
03/09/2015 02:05 PM
03/09/2015 02:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,593
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GeorgeC1 Online content OP
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I have sailed a 4800 with the screwy main sheet system. I could not make the boat move. I was coming from a Voyage 440 however which is a quick boat however much less space. I think with time I could shape the main better then I did however a traveler is much easier. Gorda, I will send you a PM.
G

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: GeorgeC1] #44569
03/09/2015 09:17 PM
03/09/2015 09:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 32
Houston, TX
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HtownHondo Offline
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Would love to know a bit more about the "screwy main sheet system". No chance anybody has a video or documentation?

I jumped on the Moorings 4800 thread where somebody was asking for vessel manuals but I couldn't get a copy. The more I can read before now and June, the easier the wait gets.

Thanks.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: HtownHondo] #44570
03/09/2015 09:58 PM
03/09/2015 09:58 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 66
Massachusetts
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Rhumbline Offline
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We just finished a charter on a Sunsail 444 - great boat for a family vacation. First experience with a cat - easy transition from a mono. We were a large party of 10 (two families of 5). Each family took a pontoon. Plenty of room for everyone.

Pros:
- Lots of space for large crowd; walk through from salon to front seating area a+
- Elevated helm had good visibility and good communication with the mooring tender
- Easy to single-hand. All lines lead back to helm. Plenty of winches
- Ample storage throughout vessel
- Plenty of water capacity. We took on an additional 125 gallons beyond the full tanks. This was for eight nights with ten people.
- Power winch to raise main was a plus
- Easy access to all valves - opening / closing holding tanks very simple;

Cons (very few)
- VHF microphone was in salon - useless to helmsman
- Dingy rubbed against charcoal grille when on the davits - needed to deploy padding between dingy and grille to avoid popping dinghy.
- Not enough cup-holders / storage at helm. Two cup holders and no room for hand held VHF or rigging knife (both of which I like close by).
- When raising the mainsail it often got hung-up in the lazy jacks. Unable to see lazy jacks from helm - needed a spotter to watch main and give instructions to bear off port/starboard to keep main out of lazy jacks

Other items of note
- I found the mainsail traveler a non-issue. Not sure what others had issues with.
- On a cat - there are two of everything - learned this when port pontoon did not have hot water. Remember to turn on both hot water heaters!
- Forward cleats are not to be used for anything with major load. Be sure to cleat off to the proper cleats that are on the pontoons.
- Reef earlier than literature indicates. We found going to reef #1 at 15 knots worked better than waiting to 20 knots.

Hope this helps!

Cheers,

Brendan

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: GeorgeC1] #44571
03/09/2015 10:00 PM
03/09/2015 10:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 161
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Jccarr Offline
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We have used the 444 for two trips. It is very comfortable for 8 people, we have people up front, at the helm and else where. Nobody seems to be on top of each other, everybody can find their own spot. It is easy to sail, the main sheets do require some extra work and thought while tacking but is no big deal.

Need to be careful and not overload the generator, it won't run everything. We would shut off one AC unit and water heaters at breakfast, the dual toaster will send it over the top. Not a bad workaround for a few minutes a day when you have people sleeping in. Or just open the doors and enjoy the morning air.

The forepeak bunks will not fit a full size adult, but is great for storage or kids. It also has a large water storage capacity, I think we could make it all week with no issues but we always refill mid week at Leverick bay. I don't think you will go wrong.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: HtownHondo] #44572
03/09/2015 10:05 PM
03/09/2015 10:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,593
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content OP
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The system is essentially two separate main sheets each anchored on opposite sides of the hardtop. You have to adjust both to try and control and shape the mainsail. It was difficult to have go to settings to get a sail shape for different points of sail like you can with a traveler. There is no installed traveler and it's not even available as a option on owners versions.
The first pic on this link gives a look at the design.
http://www.sunsail.com/fleet/sunsail-444-4-cabin-catamaran-yacht
G

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: fstorms] #44573
03/09/2015 10:05 PM
03/09/2015 10:05 PM
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,205
Somewhere out there
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George, the early boats, perhaps 20-30 had issues with voids in the hulls causing compression from the chain plates. R&C sent over a team to address this issue which was causing rig failures. Geoff Williams the surveyor was the one that did the survey work with R&C, so he know more about the important stuff that someone that has chartered the boat.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: GeorgeC1] #44574
03/09/2015 10:13 PM
03/09/2015 10:13 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,593
GA/NC
GeorgeC1 Online content OP
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Brendon and Jccarr, thanks for the updates. I was shocked at the amount of water and fuel the boat carries. It's 180 gallons of fuel and 264 gallons of water. These are more like the numbers you expect to see in a monohull and double what you find in many cats this size. While it's good to have lots of fuel and water I wonder if it bogs the boat down a bit under sail. It's about 3000 lbs with both topped off!
G

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: kneafseym] #44575
03/09/2015 10:16 PM
03/09/2015 10:16 PM
Joined: Apr 2012
Posts: 32
Houston, TX
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HtownHondo Offline
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Certainly appreciate input from folks like Rumbline, Jcarr and George.... gives me more to think about.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: HtownHondo] #44576
03/09/2015 10:20 PM
03/09/2015 10:20 PM
Joined: Mar 2012
Posts: 315
Redmond, WA
MrEZgoin Online content
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While it is commonly understood that weight needs to be controlled for catamarans to perform well, it is evident that performance has been relegated to a relatively minor consideration in the design of catamarans aimed at the charter trade.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: kneafseym] #44577
03/09/2015 10:32 PM
03/09/2015 10:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 5,593
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GeorgeC1 Online content OP
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Quote
kneafseym said:
George, the early boats, perhaps 20-30 had issues with voids in the hulls causing compression from the chain plates. R&C sent over a team to address this issue which was causing rig failures. Geoff Williams the surveyor was the one that did the survey work with R&C, so he know more about the important stuff that someone that has chartered the boat.

I had some worries about the early rig failures and actually called Geoff today. He said they reworked the early boats and incorporated a redesign on the later boats with no issues since. Still the rig looks awful light to me compared to the Voyage 440. I knocked out 850 miles in 3.5 days in the Voyage boat reaching in 18 to 20 knots of wind with a chute. Not sure I would trust that in the 444.
G

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: GeorgeC1] #44578
03/09/2015 10:58 PM
03/09/2015 10:58 PM
Joined: Feb 2005
Posts: 249
Virginia
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Virginia
We just chartered the 444 for a week. It's a great party platform with plenty of room. The front cockpit is pretty nice as is the saloon and the rear cockpit.

The mainsheet system could use an extra winch so you can ease one sheet and trim the other. It was slow to adjust using a winch and clutch. The power winch was great to raise the main.

I hated that the boat needed about 150 degrees from one tack to the next. After a few attempts to go upwind, we gave up and motorsailed. The boat really showed well on the beam reach to Anegada where fair winds and following seas had us surfing at 10 knots.

So a spacious charter boat but not a sailor's boat, IMHO.

Last edited by JoshA; 03/09/2015 11:06 PM.

Josh
Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: JoshA] #44579
03/10/2015 12:56 PM
03/10/2015 12:56 PM
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 198
SF Bay Area
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OneEyedJack Offline
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SF Bay Area
The only problem we had was with the sliding door between the saloon and the bridge deck. It would not stay locked in the open position while underway. On de-brief, it was revealed that this is a common complaint about this boat. That was two years ago and it may have been fixed by now. The boat is horrible going to windward. The tacking angles are huge and your VMG will be crap. Expect to motor-sail a lot.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: OneEyedJack] #44580
03/10/2015 02:25 PM
03/10/2015 02:25 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 16,156
Tortola/ Sonoma, California
Manpot Offline
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I look at that design and it looks like a big windbrake to me on the front..cannot imagine being close hauled with wind and waves hitting that front scoop..gotta stop you dead!!!..great for partying but looks like a terrible boat to sail in open waters..could they not have made that front "porch" fold down when you sail???

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: OneEyedJack] #44581
03/10/2015 02:52 PM
03/10/2015 02:52 PM
Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 1,391
Maryland
Kirk Offline
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Maryland
Quote
OneEyedJack said:
The only problem we had was with the sliding door between the saloon and the bridge deck. It would not stay locked in the open position while underway. On de-brief, it was revealed that this is a common complaint about this boat. That was two years ago and it may have been fixed by now. The boat is horrible going to windward. The tacking angles are huge and your VMG will be crap. Expect to motor-sail a lot.


We had the same issue with the door last month (we had the owners suite version) We bungee'd it open when the going was easy...on the 30+kts into the wind going to the NS we locked it and left the key in the hole. At first we had put one of those floating key thingy's in the track, but that didn't prove to be strong enough.


Kirk in Maryland
Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: Kirk] #44582
03/10/2015 06:07 PM
03/10/2015 06:07 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 161
J
Jccarr Offline
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We have used duct tape to keep it open on the first boat and the second boat had a nice latch. You don't want a door slamming uncontrolled.

As for sailing, we sailed almost everywhere without motoring, except 2 times I got tired of tacking and motored in the last bit of the trip. The best we could get it to sail upwind was about 50 degrees apparent. We could sail at 7 to 8 knots most of the time on most points of sail.

Last edited by Jccarr; 03/10/2015 06:09 PM.
Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: Jccarr] #44583
03/10/2015 08:26 PM
03/10/2015 08:26 PM
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 51
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Sailbum Offline
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We chartered a 444 a few years ago and enjoyed it, but have gone back to monohulls (and smaller groups), with a larger group the 444 is a great boat for limin' - sailin' not so much.
I wrote a long review at the time www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/sho...p;topic=&Search=true#Post1434003

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: Sailbum] #44584
03/11/2015 12:12 PM
03/11/2015 12:12 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 109
Georgia
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cruzdoc Offline
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Just got back from 8 days on the 444. It was my third time sailing this boat so we obviously like it. Winds were high so we consistently made 8-9 knots on most points of sail. I agree with JoshA above that you could use a second winch for the main sheet to make it easier and I had trouble with it at first but got used to it pretty quickly. It is not a problem for close hauled tacking as you don't have to adjust the main sheet but you really need to be prepared if you're reaching or running when you make direction changes. Center the main a little before gybing and ease it over and have some one else let out one sheet while you take in the other. Also, when tacking don't release your jib sheet until it has backwinded and pushed you all the way across (like most cats <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />)

I have had trouble getting close to the wind in the past and you can expect about 60 degrees but this time we were able to get to 45 degrees, I think because of the higher winds. Would not want to beat all the way to St. Marteen against an easterly wind in this boat but it is roomy with an electric winch and great for a week with a big group where everyone has a cabin/head to themselves. Can pretty much single hand except for some minor difficulties with the furling line and the main sheet. And definitely make sure your latch works on the sliding door before leaving as it would be very annoying if not working correctly.

I'm not sure there is a better boat for 8 adults for the price from the standpoint of single handing and roominess. It handled 7 foot swells on the way to Anegada like a champ close hauled.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: cruzdoc] #44585
03/11/2015 10:16 PM
03/11/2015 10:16 PM
Joined: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,066
South Jersey, USA
boatjunkie Offline
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Quote
cruzdoc said:
Just got back from 8 days on the 444. It was my third time sailing this boat so we obviously like it. Winds were high so we consistently made 8-9 knots on most points of sail. I agree with JoshA above that you could use a second winch for the main sheet to make it easier and I had trouble with it at first but got used to it pretty quickly. It is not a problem for close hauled tacking as you don't have to adjust the main sheet but you really need to be prepared if you're reaching or running when you make direction changes. Center the main a little before gybing and ease it over and have some one else let out one sheet while you take in the other. Also, when tacking don't release your jib sheet until it has backwinded and pushed you all the way across (like most cats <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Wink.gif" alt="" />)

I have had trouble getting close to the wind in the past and you can expect about 60 degrees but this time we were able to get to 45 degrees, I think because of the higher winds. Would not want to beat all the way to St. Marteen against an easterly wind in this boat but it is roomy with an electric winch and great for a week with a big group where everyone has a cabin/head to themselves. Can pretty much single hand except for some minor difficulties with the furling line and the main sheet. And definitely make sure your latch works on the sliding door before leaving as it would be very annoying if not working correctly.

I'm not sure there is a better boat for 8 adults for the price from the standpoint of single handing and roominess. It handled 7 foot swells on the way to Anegada like a champ close hauled.


Agreed! We have done 3 trips on the 444.

Last edited by boatjunkie; 03/11/2015 10:17 PM.


[Linked Image]
Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: boatjunkie] #44586
03/12/2015 12:42 PM
03/12/2015 12:42 PM
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 2
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SnowPaul Offline
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Eight of us are off on our first cat trip next week. A quick question regarding the 444: does it have a BBQ? It isn't listed on the Gear List and the photos don't show one on the rails. Having a BBQ will affect our provisioning, most of which we hope to do before we arrive at the boat.

Thanks for all of the advice on this forum (this is my first post).
Paul

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: SnowPaul] #44587
03/12/2015 12:43 PM
03/12/2015 12:43 PM
Joined: Dec 2005
Posts: 10,211
GJ, CO S/V Long Overdue
sail2wind Offline
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ask the charter company

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: SnowPaul] #44588
03/12/2015 01:03 PM
03/12/2015 01:03 PM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 252
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jboothe Offline
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Quote
SnowPaul said:
Eight of us are off on our first cat trip next week. A quick question regarding the 444: does it have a BBQ? It isn't listed on the Gear List and the photos don't show one on the rails. Having a BBQ will affect our provisioning, most of which we hope to do before we arrive at the boat.

Thanks for all of the advice on this forum (this is my first post).
Paul


If it is Sunsail, it will have a grill

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: jboothe] #44589
03/12/2015 01:35 PM
03/12/2015 01:35 PM
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SnowPaul Offline
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Thanks to both replies. It is a Sunsail. They don't return questions as quick as you guys do.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: SnowPaul] #44590
03/12/2015 01:55 PM
03/12/2015 01:55 PM
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jboothe Offline
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It should be a charcoal grill. So plan on the charcoal as well.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: jboothe] #44591
03/12/2015 03:56 PM
03/12/2015 03:56 PM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 66
Massachusetts
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Rhumbline Offline
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Our sunsail 444 came with a charcoal grille. We used three bags of charcoal for four nights of grilling.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: Rhumbline] #44592
03/12/2015 04:14 PM
03/12/2015 04:14 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 5,597
Massachusetts
maytrix Offline
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I buy the charcoal at the base now. Some of them have gas grills do rather than have charcoal we can't use, I just but it once I know what we have.


Matt
Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: maytrix] #44593
03/12/2015 09:57 PM
03/12/2015 09:57 PM
Joined: May 2011
Posts: 933
JAX
jphart Offline
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JAX
I thought all boats in the TUI fleet used charcoal grills.
But whatever @maytrix Matt is drinking, I'll have some of that too. <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />


JPH
I spent my money on booze, broads, and boats...the rest I wasted.
Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: jphart] #44594
03/12/2015 10:48 PM
03/12/2015 10:48 PM
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Sailbum Offline
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We had a brand new gas grill on a sunsail boat last summer. The 444 we chartered 3 years ago originally had a gas grill, but they had capped the gas and turned it into a charcoal grill. Seems the gas grills don't last long.

Re: Sunsail 444 [Re: jphart] #44595
03/14/2015 02:21 AM
03/14/2015 02:21 AM
Joined: Jan 2015
Posts: 109
Georgia
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cruzdoc Offline
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One other flaw in the 444 is the location of the grill with the dinghy davits. The dinghy tends to rub up against the grill causing damage to both while under way. We tend to take the grill off to avoid this problem.


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