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First cat purchase: Torn between Topaz 16CX and Nacra 500  Bottom

  • I did a search for Topaz and saw a post that was similar, but didn't hit all the points and wanted to run it by the group.

    My wife and I are sailors of cruising cats and are both in our early 40s (no kids). We have a home on Lake Gaston in North Carolina which can see fairly decent wind. (15-20 knots) where we are located on a decent basis. Normally when the wind is up, the motor boats are less frequent, and you are generally battling small wind whipped waves and an occasion monster from a wake surfing boat (which is still nothing compared to an ocean wave).

    We have zero experience on a small cat. As a kiteboarder, I am looking fun to getting the boat up to speed, hanging out of the trapeze and flying a hull. My wife is open to those things, but not quite as keen on them. So we need a performance boat, but not one that is going to punish beginners from small mistakes (boat can also not be fragile).

    The cost of a Topaz 16 CX with furling jib and furling Code 0 with just about all the other extras is around 13k. The cost of a Nacra 500 with a similar setup is around $17.5k. The used boat market in our area seems to consist of old junkers, and I just don't have it in me to drive around a examine the slim pickings that are out there.

    Is it worth up-spending for the Nacra? From the specs, I don't see a huge difference. Nacras do however have a much bigger and established dealer network. Topaz seems to be pretty new in the CAT space, but I actually love the idea of a plastic virtually indestructible hull. Our cat will be on a PWC lift on the dock. Our dealership would be East Coast Sailboats which is about 3.5 hours away from us. They sell both brands. The try before you buy is going to be difficult for us, and to be honest, we wouldn't have a lot of knowledge to really judge what will be better in the medium term.

    Thanks for the advice.
  • typically the rotomolds are lower performance but these are new boats that i have never sailed so unsure

    i think/feel the fiberglass will be stiffer and therefore more responsive but as i said - not real first hand exp with this new boat

    i would suggest you take a long weekend and set up the time with the dealer for on the water trials and time to pick their brains - either way a new 5m cat will be fun

    I will say the 570 is my dream boat so you should try that too :) - ymmv
  • Topaz is popular in rental fleets (Europe) for all the reasons you mentioned. That said, you may outgrow a Topaz in a season or two, as it's a bit of a depowered, ruggedized platform for learning, camps, rentals. However, the legendary Hobie 16 is something great to learn on... and sail for the next 30 years. It's fine for your wife's specifications, and you can also solo it and have a blast. It's an old design, but still very popular around the world, and still solde new. It seems to hit the sweet spot between durability, cost, sailing appeal and fun. New they're around $10K, so cheaper than both the other options.. AND should you change your mind, easier to sell later on.
  • Thank you both for the feedback. On the Nacra 570, this would end up over 20k after it would be equipped. Definitely beyond where I am going to go. I have to spend $2500 alone just for the lift. But the thing with nacra that really seems to stick is their racing pedigree.

    On the Hobie. That base price of the Hobie 16 is now $12k. By the time I add options, it will be around 15k. So it seems to sit somewhere in the middle. For better or worse, I have heard a lot of complaints about pitch piling with Hobie design, but that could be a result of just a lot of older/worn boats in existence. I would agree just for name recognition alone the Hobie will be superior on resale and will likely make up the difference in premium. It’s possible it will be the same situation for the Nacra.

    In the end, I consider these toys. Resale isn’t super important to me. But I would be irritated to get through a season and find I should have bought up.

    I think we will have to arrange a demo day.
  • There is a reason more Hobie 16s have been made than all other manufacturers combined. Maybe even twice as many.

    Here is another idea. For the cost of a Topaz you can buy 2 UFO's. In my opinion the ultimate lake sailboat right now. http://www.fulcrumspeedworks.com/UFO/

    Just a thought....
  • QuoteThere is a reason more Hobie 16s have been made than all other manufacturers combined. Maybe even twice as many.


    Many reasons - first or early to market (excluding those Polynesians 3000 years ago), ideal (small) boat for off shore / pacific sailing, simple design, fleet racing, hobie Inc. methods, cheap (back in the day), lack of other options

    I owned 2 hobies (16 and 18) - they were good boats but i would go for the nacra 500 hands down over a new hobie anything - ymmv



    Edited by MN3 on Apr 21, 2021 - 05:18 PM.
  • I sailed the Topaz a few times, & have both a Nacra 5.0 & it’s bigger brother the N5.7. Also have a Hobie 18 Magnum, & used to own The Beast, (20’ x 10’ Spin equipped Mystere, with modified Hobie 21 wings).
    If I could only own one Cat, it would be the 5.7.
    Carries 4 people well,(of course performance would suffer), & I have had it at 23mph on GPS, solo, two-up & three-up. Only once have we ever pitchpole it, & that was my buddy with really ham fisted driving.
    The 5.0 is not quite as fast, Max speed was 20.X. It is a blast with two adults, & you really have to work to get it to pitchpole. Both Nacras, no boards, no boom, simple rig, quality Harken gear.
    Sounds like you will keep it for many years, IMHO, if you can’t spring for the 5.7, the 5.0 is the choice.
    The only downside is light wind days. The 5.0 is slightly under canvassed, makes for relaxing cruising, & really likes 15+ wind.
    The Topaz is a smaller boat, both in length & width. It weighs about the same as the Nacra, BUT, it carries quite a bit LESS sail, which really shows up on light wind days.
    I only sailed the Topaz in lighter winds, & I would have sooner had my 1988 Nacra 5.0, (essentially the same boat as the newer 500).
    The Topaz roto mold hills are tough, but if you do damage them, they are difficult to repair.
    People have championed the H16, yes there are plenty of them, but I prefer the symmetrical high volumn hulls of the Nacra. You can literally push a 500 or 570 until either, or both bows submerge, to the point where water is shooting from the front beam, & they will come back up.
    I too keep my Cars on modified Seadoo lifts. You should be able to get one for way less than $2500. The newer PWC lifts are rated at 1400lbs, because the new boats are so bloody powerful...& heavy. Your cat only weighs 300lb. Look for an old stock lift, with 800 lb rating. I picked up a brand new one down in NY State, (I’m in Canada), for $450 about 8 years ago. The N5.0 sits on a used lift we bought for $200.
    I mounted 2”x2” hollow bar steel cross ways, (remove the Seadoo bunks), with a 1”x6” deck board on top of the steel beam. Attach small blocks at one end of the beams- they prevent the cat from drifting off the lift when you come in. We remove the “feet” from the lifts, & drive stakes, angled a bit through the opening the feet fit in, this anchors the lift in big winds. Though if a hurricane approaches, get your boat out of the water, mast down.
    An important item to remember when buying a lift- you must know the INSIDE & OUTSIDE dimension of your hulls, along with the width between the lift uprights. Unless you buy a very large lift, (designed for powerboats), the cat will not fit inside the uprights, it has to straddle them.
    This is no problem on a 10’ width- see the 20’x10’ Mystere below. My H18 now sits on this lift, but with only an inch or so to spare on each side. (Click in the image to get full size). The N5.0 is sitting the used lift we got for $200.
    I also have a little Dart 15, for really windy days- it will not fit on the larger lift, to wide to go between the uprights, but not wide enough to straddle them.

    https://www.thebeachcats.…ictures?g2_itemId=109396
    https://www.thebeachcats.…ictures?g2_itemId=119559
    https://www.thebeachcats.…38b35218215fa793cddad250

    https://www.thebeachcats.…ictures?g2_itemId=128506
    This is the mess after a particularly hard day of sailing.
    https://www.thebeachcats.…164&g2_imageViewsIndex=1



    Edited by Edchris177 on Apr 21, 2021 - 07:59 PM.

    --
    Hobie 18 Magnum
    Dart 15
    Mystere 6.0XL Sold Was a handful solo
    Nacra 5.7
    Nacra 5.0
    Bombardier Invitation (Now officially DEAD)
    Various other Dock cluttering WaterCrap
    --
  • I actually have seen your pics of the lift for a while. What would be even more outstanding is a picture of the lift setup with the boat off the lift :)

    I have a more difficult situation than you for the lift. I live on a cliff and the water depth off my dock is 20 feet deep. As a result, I can't just mount the lift on the side of the dock and set it into the mud. Extra reinforcement and beams have to go down deep to keep it upright and in place. The lift is only $1400, but I am expecting the install and customization to run me at least another $500. We are fortunate that one of the premier boat lift companies (Ultimate Boat Lift and Doozy) are on the lake and will do custom installs. I have been doing a full home renovation myself and I'm honestly tired of figuring everything out. I want the pros to handle this.

    You've made a good case on the light wind sail area. I do see that in the specs. That gives me a lot to think about. Thank you.



    Edited by carzin on Apr 21, 2021 - 08:56 PM.
  • The Wave and the Getaway look more like a Nacra than a Hobie 16. I think that should say a lot. If you are into one design racing, the H16 is hard to beat. Other than that, I personally don't see the attraction compared to modern designs. If you want the simplicity of no dagger boards, you are down to the Nacra 500 & 570. I own both an F16 and an F18 (older models). The F16 is light, fast and can be sailed in multiple configurations; main only, main and spinnaker, main and jib or all three. Both one up and two are very doable giving a lot of choices depending on wind conditions.

    --
    dk

    Blade F-16
    Hobie Tiger
    Hobie 14
    Corsair F-242
    Mirage 25
    --
  • This is a difficult post to answer, because a N570 could be had used in the price range you want. I think if you are open to anything but brand-new, that is your answer. The skeg hull works with your lift and the hulls are surprisingly high performance.

    The H16 in spite of its popularity has a large profile top-deck on fairly shallow hulls with far less buoyancy than the Nacras. When you bury a bow on a Hobie, you are going over. When you bury the bow on a NACRA you are in amazement at the power of the boat as it drives through and under the water and a rooster-tail rises off the crossbar. This is a common experience on the 5.7 and 570. The narrow profile, high buoyancy hulls never cease to disappoint, even on calm cruises. The cost differential between new and used is a lot, but the 5.7/570 is pretty rare. Prices new seem to start about $2000 more than the 500 at $16,500 https://www.eastcoastsailboats.com/build-your-quote/?myBoat=Nacra%20570

    --
    Tom
    NACRA 5.7 (1984 Sail 181)
    Pennsylvania
    --
  • If you are not set on a cat, the Weta could an option. A fellow cat sailor of mine bought one and he wasn't disappointed. Not as fast as a performance cat but there is a fairly solid one design racing scene down your way.

    --
    dk

    Blade F-16
    Hobie Tiger
    Hobie 14
    Corsair F-242
    Mirage 25
    --
  • For the record, I am not averse to a used boat. But I just don’t see them for sale in my area. Everything I see is a ragged out 1980s Hobie with soft spots. If you can point me to the best site to find used beach cats for sale in my area, I would be thrilled. I just don’t see anything on craigslist or yacht world or any of the other sites I would think to search. But I would want a newish model of something (less than 10 years old).

    For you folks out there that have not been in the market for toys lately, the market is insane. My 2013 Centurion Enzo appears to be called 10k more this year than last year. Prices are going through the roof and availability is tight.
  • Facebook Market Place

    --
    dk

    Blade F-16
    Hobie Tiger
    Hobie 14
    Corsair F-242
    Mirage 25
    --
  • QuoteI actually have seen your pics of the lift for a while. What would be even more outstanding is a picture of the lift setup with the boat off the lift :)

    I have a more difficult situation than you for the lift. I live on a cliff and the water depth off my dock is 20 feet deep.

    I’m in Taipei right now, I’ll post a photo of the bare lift within the next week. The lift is in the water, so you won’t see the legs, but I can show you the “bunks” for the Cat.
    Your situation is definitely tough. There are no standard lifts that work in 20’ depths.
    Without seeing photos of your access, (you must have stairs down to water edge?), would it be possible to cantilever some sort of ramp from the stairway structure, or 2 posts off the dock, with beams attached to the dock?
    Looking at Lake Gaston, I see why your lift setup will cost considerably more. I think you would need 4 posts, sunk into solid lakebed, with diagonals to prevent racking. You would only need 2 crossbars to attach the lift to.
    The other issue with deep water...what do you do when returning in strong winds?
    I have to furl the jib, round up, unhook the main blocks, hop off, & walk the boat onto the lift. Jumping off in even chest deep water & 20mph wind, you are at winds mercy, drifting til shallower water is obtained.



    Edited by Edchris177 on Apr 22, 2021 - 11:59 PM.

    --
    Hobie 18 Magnum
    Dart 15
    Mystere 6.0XL Sold Was a handful solo
    Nacra 5.7
    Nacra 5.0
    Bombardier Invitation (Now officially DEAD)
    Various other Dock cluttering WaterCrap
    --
  • Carzin, I still don't know what part of the world you are in. There is a classified section of this site with catamarans for sale and wanted (see top menu) https://www.thebeachcats.com/classifieds/g1-catamarans-for-sale.html There are often some very competitive looking and priced boats there. It's fun to read about the ones I would never consider like the Morelli AC33-foot world cup proof of concept/ trainer.

    --
    Tom
    NACRA 5.7 (1984 Sail 181)
    Pennsylvania
    --
  • So I have a good sized boat house with a large dock (maybe 40 feet long). On strong winds I plan to do what I always do. Put out the smallest sail possible when coming to the dock, then release the sheets as I get close and drift in. I am 'assuming' on these beach cats there is no reason I can't pull down the mainsail, furl up the jib just enough where there is barely any material out, and make the boat slow. Where our dock is situated, it experiences all the wind. And where I would dock the boat is generally directly into the wind. So that is going to slow the boat considerably. At that point, I would just attach lines and walk it around.

    See the third picture in this link for the lift. My lift would not have the standing platforms. The iron support beams would extend enough to handle the beam of the boat. The bunks would be mounted in the same direction as the iron support beams, not perpendicular. When you think about it, PWCs can weigh about 1,000 pounds. While there is a good bit of leverage with the boat having a beam of 6 feet, it really isn't that much weight. The lift company says they can do this so I am going to have to trust them. I won't be buying the cat until this is done because trailering and re-rigging constantly is not going to be enjoyable.

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