Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

In buying our new Saba 50, there are lots of decisions to make. We used the configuration of our old Lagoon 421, La Mischief as a baseline, trying to make sure we weren’t going backwards on any items and by and large we have managed to do this.

The big exception is the batteries. In the end it just didn’t make sense to go straight to Lithiums given that Fountaine Pajot don’t offer this as an option and this meant throwing out a perfectly good set of AGMs (600AH). Instead we are purchasing one additional AGM to bring the house bank up to 750AH (12V) and hopefully with 2000 watts of solar out the back, these batteries will keep their voltage up and the beer cold. We will still provision a Victron Colour Controller and a Victron BMV-712 Smart Monitor to keep a good eye on the state of the batteries, both when we are on the boat and remotely when we are on shore.

Continuing on the power theme, we decided against going Victron Quattro invertor/chargers because of a space issue in the engine room. Instead we will supplement the supplied Victron Multiplus 2000W with a second unit of the same spec; in parallel; to give us enough oomph, together with some redundancy (albeit with some manual reconfiguration). What we lose is the seamless cutover from genset to shorepower and vice versa that the quattros provide, but I think I can live without that. I haven’t been able to find out what else I’m doing without by going down this path; but one of the reasons I’m writing this blog post is to get feedback from people that know a lot more than I do. 

A larger cat means we can have a larger dinghy. We wanted something a bit more comfortable – maybe we are getting old. The Saba 50 allows for a 3.8m dinghy, which meant the Highfield Ocean Master 390 was 10cm too long. New Zealand’s OC Dinghy looked interesting but it’s too small and does not offer a centre console. We kept coming back to a Highfield as Uchimata is an agent and Uchimata can get us stuff VAT free. We came down to either a Hypalon Highfield CL380 Deluxe tender (181kg) with a Yamaha 40 HP (97kg); or the Classic CL380 tender (80kg) with FCT console and Yamaha 30HP. Even with the extra weight, we are leaning towards the Deluxe version because its a bit more comfortable and is drier with a self draining floor. Yamaha seems to be the logical choice for an outboard based on the availability of parts around the world.

Coupled with the dinghy decision is choosing the right hydraulic lift platform for the dinghy. We look like we will go with the Tenderlift platform rather than the one that Fountaine Pajot offers, because:

  • it supports a heavier dinghy. This is even after we found out the FP model supports considerably more weight that its spec says, based on feedback from Quest who have a similar Highfield CL380 Deluxe dinghy with a Evinrude 40HP outboard (we will go a Yamaha 40HP) on the FP Platform.
  • It has a grab bar that we can use in rough anchorages to steady the dinghy.
  • It offers the ability to ride up in the dinghy (we saw a video suggesting you need to get out of the dinghy before lifting it with the FP Platform. The video shows that you need to stand on the submerged platform – something that doesn’t thrill me coming back after dinner).
  • We also suspect it might be better built.   

The downsides are the significantly extra pricetag and the fact it will not be factory fitted, meaning another contractor to manage – albeit Robin Marine who we are familiar with from our Lagoon commissioning days in Sables D’Olonne.

Wifi on a boat is very important to us and we wanted something better than the Badboy system on La Mischief. SV Ghost put us onto Glomex’s Webboat 4G LITE COASTAL INTERNET, which is both a Wifi extender a la the Badboy; and a 4G booster, where we can insert a Google Fi SIM and get Internet further out to sea than just with a phone. 

One of the most important items is a watermaker. We liked our Dessalator watermaker on La Mischief, but this time we have decided to go with an Aquabase 12V 105l/h Watermaker. They come well recommended from other FP owners; and it is the brand that FP offer as a factory option. However we didn’t like either of the two factory options (the 60l/h unit was too small and the larger unit was only 230V – we like to make water using the solar panels). So we opted for the 105l/h model that Lady Roslyn has and as a company called Uchimata is doing a lot of our aftermarket items and they are an Aquabase reseller and installer, this made sense. We will get the Auto Flush feature as well. 

Manoeuvring a much larger cat got us thinking; and I have asked for a quote for an extra set of throttles to be installed on the rear deck to help me back into marina slips. These don’t have to be electronic (expensive) as Lady Roslyn has a second set which are mechanical. Lets see what the quote comes back.  I will also pick up and install a Garmin GC100 wireless camera, interfaced to the chart plotter to help with backing into tight places. 

Other aftermarket items include: 

  • Replacement swim ladder 
  • Stern (sugar scoops) grab rails 
  • Fuel Polisher/Fuel Transfer System 
  • Passerelle/gangway 
  • Additional European 230V Outlets 
  • Isolation Transformer
  • Automatic Anchor/Tricolour Light
  • Automatic Fire Extinguishers – Engine Rooms
  • Fresh and salt water Washdown pumps 
  • Fans in Rooms. 
  • USB Outlets
  • Filtered fresh drinking water 
  • Fortress FX55 Secondary anchor 
  • Jacklines
  • Liferaft 
  • Genneker
  • Ladder at base of mast and Mast Steps
  • Five 400W Sunpower Solar Panels and Controllers
  • Starboard Winch for coloured sails
  • Parasailor – 170m2
  • Ultrasonic Antifouling
  • Second Autopilot
  • Dive Tank Holders and Compressor
  • Dockwater inlet
  • BBQ
  • Third Electric Winch at Helmstation
  • 40kg Rocna Primary Anchor 
  • Propane gas detection system
  • 12mm Dyneema Main Sail Halyard
  • New Bed for Master and Bed Slats
  • Underwater Lights
  • Garmin Charts
  • Spares
  • Forward Facing Sonar
  • Propeller Anti-Fouling
  • 70%  Phifertex Vinyl Mesh for Window Shades
  • All around Sunshades

All input welcome!

2 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions”

  1. Hi Dee & Steve, this is Gilbert from former Vent d’Ailleurs (and next one soon 😊). Nice post, well documented.
    I’ve just a comment linked to the Glomex system; Teiva had one which never worked correctly despite of many requests to the provider in order to try to fix it !! I also looked at it and in comparison to my basic system (R36 Alfa router + amplified antenna) the WiFi reception was very bad. In my memory it was not impressive with the 4G too. You may perform some tests on that system in order to check if issues have been fixed…
    Take care and looking forward to meet you in France.
    Cheers

    1. Hi Gilbert….good to hear from you. Thanks for the feedback. Will keep looking for a suitable solution then. Look forward to catching up when we finally get to France. My guess is that we will spend next winter in La Rochelle, which means plenty of time to drive up to Brittany to see you.

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