The Greatest Show on Earth

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After we finished our tour of the Northeast, we had captain Richard sail the boat down to Annapolis where we would fly in for the show.  This show was cancelled last year so it promised to be well attended and a freaking blast for those of us who have a sailing problem. It didn’t disappoint. The docks were swarmed, and everyone was so excited to be there. We spent days visiting with friends and meeting manufacturers and dealers of all sorts of boats and gear. This is continuing education if you are a committed sailor/cruiser/racer so don’t miss one of these if you can make it. If you have never been but you have an interest, then come see what the fun is all about!

Secret Mission

During this time of Covid, and the first two years of ownership of our current Leopard 50, we were forced to cruise based on borders and testing regimens. A pain for sure. Heading to the Northeast into lighter wind areas (out of the Tradewinds) meant lots of motoring. Along this route up north we hatched a plan to “maybe” switch boats (yet again, we’ve had 15) to a performance cat which would sail at wind speed and teach us about this exciting type of sailing – which is all about making your own wind and wind angle. (More on that later) I re-read the book “Catamarans” by Greggor Tarjan and the plan came together. The more we thought about it the more excited we got. There were basically 4 boats on our list that we thought would be the right size, space, speed, comfort and of course we were looking for quality and best in class systems. The boats were the Balance 526 or 58, Outremer 55, HH50 and the Kinetic 54. We had kept this quiet as not to tip anyone off that we were serious about this and of course didn’t want to tell Leopard we were switching brands, as we loved our two leopards so much. This was actually hard for us. Every boat has its purpose and our Leopards served us well, but an all-carbon boat that weighed a third less was a horse of a different color.

Narrowing it Down

We spent the first three days of the Annapolis show investigating the boats and talking to owners and manufacturers. We interviewed all our resources we have built up over the years from boat builders to designers, naval architects, and yacht brokers. This was about the most fun we can have imagining building a “Supercat” and how you would outfit it and use it. Of course, these boats are all about reducing weight so our list of options did raise some eyebrows. Actual conversation: “So I know this boat is weight sensitive so how do we offset the fact that we will have a generator, washer and dryer, scuba compressor and 48 bottles of Rose?” Okay that guy almost pointed me back to the Leopard display. In reality, we will have these things as comfort and toys are part of our DNA so this pointed us to a larger ALL carbon boat which could handle the payload and have every bit of weight saved before we loaded it. In the end, after evaluating all the great boats listed here the Kinetic 54 won the contest for us for many reasons.

It was Probably Over Before it Started

You could say that we had thought the KC54 was in the lead all along and we really went to the show to determine if there was something better. And for me, part of that struggle was something “less expensive”, as this Kinetic is the most expensive of that group. We are huge fans of Simonis-Voogd Design which had been the designer of our two previous cats – the Leopard 48 and Leopard 50. This firm designs boats to “sail” and most Leopard owners realize this before or after they buy one, and we all appreciate the forward cockpit, high bridge deck clearance and handling characteristics. The KC54 has all those attributes the designers are famous for, and meld that with all carbon construction, a yard that has been building carbon Supercats for 20+ years, and the yard owners’ desire to build the “best in class” Carbon Cats, and that all sealed the deal. We had already had several Zoom calls with the owner and designer leading up to the show and had followed the progress of the 54 while under construction. You might even say this plan was hatched as Lennie and I test sailed our Leopard 50 in Cape Town with Alex Simonis almost three years ago. He saw our excitement in sailing with extreme conditions and he knew we had another build coming our way, so when the KC54 was first conceptualized he spilled the beans to us early. It was in the back of our minds for 2+ years.

18 Responses

  1. Bret

    So very happy that you’ve shared your voyage throughout the evolution of your catamarans with all of us. Your positive attitude combine with your willingness to always share the good and bad of everything is so highly missing in today’s world that you are appreciated beyond belief.

    I still can’t wait to get together as we are almost neighbors
    Call me 😀😀

    • happytogether

      HI Bret! Thanks so much and nice to hear from you!

  2. Bob Crain

    Life is good, It is better to live live versus letting life pass you by. I miss your You Tube channel but understand why is has been moth balled. You two show what it is to Live Life. Enjoy

    • happytogether

      HI Bob, Thanks so much and we agree about living in the moment or at least not waiting too long….Randy

    • Phillip Baldwin

      The news of the new boat is exciting. When the boat is delivered do y’all still plan on the World Arc if and when we learn to live again?You might set all kinds of speed records in the Arc with that beast. Congratulations!!

      • happytogether

        Hi Phillip, Thanks so much. We will sail the pacific when they are open. Maybe 2024 for us now….Yes we will be fast!!!!

  3. Trevor (Hypolette II)

    Congratulations Randy and Lennie, what an amazing boat. I believed the Leopard was a perfect choice, the KC appears to be in an entirely different league. I cant imagine your excitement as I am now looking forward to seeing your first voyage. Thank you for the updates. All the best this Holiday Season

    • happytogether

      Hi Trevor, Thanks so much and yes we are beyond excited!!!!! Happy New Year

  4. Randy DiDonato

    WOW! The KC 54 is a hell of a boat. Can’t wait to hear what options you are going with. I like the dagger-boards. Nobody wants to sail to weather but it happens a lot so let’s be as efficient as possible. Also the in boom furling. I’m very excited for you guys and looking forward to the next blog.

    Randy (The Tile Meister)

    • happytogether

      HI Randy! Thanks so much and yes its an amazing ride. We are thrilled and will make some videos!

  5. Bud Clark

    All the best to you and yours! What an exciting time building out a stunning performance Cat. How long is the “projected” build time?

    • happytogether

      Hi Bud, This boat was already started for us 6 months ago so it should be done in November 2022. They sort of knew we were the buyers for it but we wouldn’t pull the trigger until the Annapolis show but they had it on hold for us and not for sale. They were smart!

  6. kbcb

    Wow congrats on the new boat! We actually saw you at the show chatting with Phil while we were signing on the dotted line for the build of our Balance 526 but didn’t get a chance to say hello and introduce ourselves, I must admit having the KC54 sitting on the other side of the dock made it difficult to keep the wife focused. What a beautiful vessel a truly amazing sailing machine! Our build won’t splash until ’24 but hopefully we will cross wakes out there one day down the road.

    • happytogether

      Hello!!! We love the Balance and are so happy for you. We just were at the Miami show spending more time on her. I look forward to talking to you more about this. Shoot me an email sometime

  7. Klaus

    All the best to you! Very interesting decision. It would be perfekt, if you would tell us a little bit more about this decision. What are the reasons against HH50 and the Outreamer 55? I can imagine the long discussions about the pro and cons. It is always very interesting to hear all the different opinions, but may be when you finde some time you could write a Comparison between the boats. I think this will be very interesting and I think a lot of people including me would be very happy, to hear especially your opinion. Thank you so much!
    Greetings form Bavaria (Germany)

    • happytogether

      Hello Klaus!
      Thanks for your note and yes I will be working on a video to discuss in detail our decision. The headlines are simple really. We wanted a forward cockpit and after having one its hard to go back. We have a lot of faith in the designer Alex Simonis and he designed our 48 and 50 Leopard and we have become good friends and I really like the design. Including centerboards in lieu of daggerboards. We love the Outrmemer 55 but know the interior space was a bit smaller for us although we have not seen one in person only floor plans. We also like the 8 foot headroom in the Kinetic. Also we like South Africa build quality and trust it over China. That is just my opinion and not based on first had accounts. anyway more to follow later and look forward to posting videos!