Power Catamarans FAQ's
If you are considering a PDQ, we anticipate you may have questions. Rhumb Line has answers! Having focused solely on the PDQ brand, we have seen/experienced/lived it all. Below are several questions we tend to be asked. We hope they help guide you in your decision-making process. If there are questions you still have after looking these over, please do not hesitate to reach out to us.
What makes power catamarans great for cruising/liveaboard?There are several characteristics that are key to a great cruising boat including; indoor and outside space, comfort, storage space, sea keeping ability, the economy of use, ease of maneuvering, shallow draft, and ease of maintenance. Catamarans excel in all of those categories, some manufacturers, more than others, depending on the details of the design. The wide beam of a catamaran offers excellent stability and more living space than a monohull. Having two engines so far apart provides the ease of maneuvering and all catamarans have a shallower draft than a comparable monohull.
What makes the PDQ unique in its class?
A combination of two critical components, DESIGN and CONSTRUCTION make the PDQ a very unique yacht. The DESIGN is the key to success as a cruising yacht and the PDQ has a design that is totally focused on the previous needs of a cruising couple or family. ALL of the items mentioned in question one are optimized in this design. Unlike most catamarans (most are designed for charter use) the PDQ is focused on spending prolonged periods of time aboard, not a week or two like a charter boat. Charter boats focus on sleeping accommodations, bathrooms, and outside space and place little or no importance on any of the other critical cruising necessities.
When cruising you will encounter many periods when comfortable indoor space is critical to a successful cruise. The PDQ layout features a bright open interior with excellent seating and visibility. The galley is large (for a 34’ vessel, 41’ is even better) and offers great functionality and storage for long trips. The two staterooms offer queen berths with excellent ventilation and good personal storage. The head features a large enclosed shower and an electric freshwater toilet for ease of maintenance (34). The 41 also has an additional guest head. The upper and lower helm stations allow for comfortable cruising in any weather and the flybridge provides great visibility as well as being a great area for entertaining. The wide walk-around decks allow safe passage to the bow in any sea conditions. The foredeck is a great lounging area and provides access to four lockers and the generator. Lastly, one has to comment on the underwater hull design which is one of, if not THE, most efficient ever launched in its class. This allows for very small diesel engines to push the yacht at a remarkable speed with very little fuel burn.
On the subject of CONSTRUCTION the builder went to great lengths to provide strength AND lightweight. Hulls and major components were built using the SCRIMP method for fiberglass layup. This allows for exacting layers of the hull glass and resin to maximize strength and reduce weight. Underwater is solid fiberglass with vinylester resins to eliminate any possible blistering. There is no wood coring used in the hull. After many years of extended cruising, no structural or manufacturing defects have ever been noted.
What makes the PDQ so economical/efficient to operate?
Efficiency starts with the design of the hulls. The manufacturer had a lot of hands-on experience with racing sailboats and then progressed into using the most advanced computer design and testing software. After many many hours of computer experimentation and testing the outcome was a design that no one in the industry has yet to improve upon in terms of efficiency.
The second component that affects efficiency is the construction as mentioned in a previous answer. By keeping the yacht as light as possible (but still strong) smaller engines can obtain the desired cruising speed.
The last component is the engines that power the yacht. PDQ selected Yanmar diesels because of their high power to weight ratio and their very low fuel consumption.
As a special note, many owners when cruising slowly and in calm conditions cruise on one engine only. Testing has indicated that when cruising at 7 knots with both engines you can kill one engine and still achieve a 6+ knot speed with 1/2 the fuel consumption.
What about the construction of a PDQ makes it unique in the marketplace?The construction of a yacht is a combination of design, construction techniques, materials, and skilled technicians to bring it all together. The PDQ factory in Whitby ON Canada was able to bring all these elements together and deliver one of the highest quality yachts of our time. Using the most advanced layup techniques and the best available fiberglass materials resulted in a very lightweight but exceedingly strong hull and superstructure. The use of foam coring material in lieu of the less expensive wood coring was a major factor. The factory maintained a staff of competent technicians and always put quality ahead of quantity. The company management were all experienced boaters and was able to focus on issues critical to the quality and performance of the yacht not just marketing or cost control issues. Each yacht was thoroughly tested and sea trialed at the factory before delivery to the buyer. This process of delivery, testing, and sea trialing at the factory led to the immediate discovery of any deficiencies which in turn led to a much higher quality end product.
Why is the PDQ design different than most other power cats that are on the market?
The PDQ catamarans were specifically designed for the cruising couple (with occasional guests) who want to explore the Americas coast and offshore islands. This design criterion focused on features that are critical to the long term cruiser, not the week-long charterer. The ideal charter boat focuses on maximizing sleeping and head accommodations as well as outside lounging and recreation space. Charters also don’t care how much fuel the vessel burns or how much storage space there is for items that are critical when you are living aboard.
So…what PDQ focused on was providing comfortable interior living space, excellent visibility when inside, a galley that would see extensive use, two helm locations, lots of indoor and outside storage space, a spacious flybridge, only two queen size berths, only one head, and as important as all the above, run the yacht at cruising speeds in excess of 14 knots for prolonged periods while consuming miserly amounts of fuel.
Is the PDQ considered a “blue water” cruiser?
I guess the answer to this question depends on your definition of “Blue Water Cruiser”. This writer’s definition includes the ability to cross large oceans and safely endure any weather you might encounter on the open ocean. Based on that definition the PDQ 34 or 41 are definitely not blue water cruising boats.
However, if your definition focuses on coastal cruising including the Bahamas and the Caribbean then the PDQs are definitely qualified. Keep in mind that the PDQ 34 is ONLY 34 feet in length…which is a relatively small yacht…..it feels much bigger when you are on it but it is still a relatively small yacht! Given this reality, the prudent captain pays close attention to the weather forecasts to ensure that the voyage is a pleasant one. It is seldom an issue of safety but rather one of comfort that dictates a go or no go voyage decision.
In terms of cruising distance, the 34 is capable of 400+ miles at 14 knots, 650+ miles at 7 knots, and 1100+ miles at 7 knots on one engine. given this range, the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Central America are all within easy range.
It is interesting to note that PDQ 34s have been as far south as Belize and far north as Alaska and there is a 34 cruising Japan and another in Hawaii. This writer’s personal PDQ 34 now has over 28,000 miles under Her keels, six extended cruises to the Bahamas, and eight trips from New England to FL.
When you are cruising, say the Bahamas, how long can you stay anchored without the need to visit a marina?The limiting factor is freshwater usage. The 34 holds 80 gallons and the 41 150 gallons. The writer's experience on the 34 is that we last about two weeks before we need to find water somewhere. This is based on normal usage with no special efforts to conserve water except for brief showers. We do not have a watermaker on board but we do have a rainwater catchment system that works quite well in the rainy season.
If you have a watermaker, the length can be extended significantly as the generator only burns about 1/2 gph. and the limiting factor then becomes fresh food. The generator provides for battery charging, ac usage, and hot water. If you have solar panels, which many of the yachts have now, the generator is only necessary for hot water and ac usage.
Is a PDQ easy to operate and maneuver?With two powerful diesel engines located so far apart, you can spin the boat around in her own length. No thrusters are required!! Because of the twin-hull design, there is very little sideways drift on a windy day so you will find yourself controlling the boat in terms of inches in a docking situation.
Once again, because of the hull design, the PDQ wants to track very straight when underway. When running offshore in a beam or the following sea this makes holding a course very easy as her stern does not get pushed around as it does in a monohull boat.
What is the maximum cruising range of the PDQ 34 and 41?The answer depends on how fast you like to travel. The faster your speed the more gallons per mile you consume. The 34 carries a total of 184 gal in two tanks but for safety sake, lets assume only 150 are usable.
As an example, in normal conditions with the boat loaded for cruising, the 34 will burn about 1.6 gal per hour at 7 knots which gives you a range of about 650 nautical miles. If you increase the speed to 14 knots she burns 5.5 gal per hour for a range of about 400 NM. On one engine at 6.5 knots, the range becomes about 1100 NM
The PDQ 41 carries 350 gal of fuel of which about 320 gal is safe to count on as usable. At 18 knots she burns 10.5 gph which gives you a range of about 550 NM. If you reduce speed to 9 knots she burns 2.5 gph for a range of 1150 NM. If you run one engine at 7 knots she burns 1.4 gph for a range of 1600 NM.
Why did the Canadian manufacturer go out of business in 2007A significant increase in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the US dollar over a six month period was the sole reason. All of the factory’s costs were incurred in Canadian dollars and virtually all of their income was in US dollars. As is common practice, PDQ yachts were purchased at a fixed price in US dollars for delivery sometime over the next twelve months depending on backlogs. Over 90% of their production was sold to Americans in US dollars. There was no clause in the contracts that would allow the factory to change the price once the contract was signed so the net effect was that they went from making 5% to 7% on each boat to losing 10% on each boat. They had no capital to fund the losses and the banks would not extend credits so within a few months the factory was forced to shut down operations. All buyers who had contracts with deposits had their deposits returned.
How difficult is it to get parts for all the critical components..engines, generator etc?PDQ owners are fortunate in that the factory selected key components that were common and very popular in the marine industry at the time of manufacture. There are thousands of the Yanmar engines and Northern Lights generators in use today and the parts are readily available. The same holds true for the next level of components like AC units, pumps, electrical components, and fixtures. On the smaller items like pumps, the exact replacement may no longer be available but a newer compatible model is easy to find. Navigation electronics are a slightly different story. These units, for marketing reasons, have a relatively short life as the manufacturers want you to replace them on a regular basis and thus discontinue support for the older models. Many PDQ’s have older electronics that are still 100% functional but just do not have some of the newer whistles and bells.
Do the PDQ 34 and 41 fit in a regular width slip?The “regular slip width” has increased significantly over the last 10 years due to demand. Twenty years ago very few vessels were over 10’ in beam so marinas developed at the time had mostly 12’ or 14’ slips. Today so many new vessels have beams in the 14’ to 20’ range that marinas have been forced to upgrade to wider slips. Most marinas built or renovated in the last 10 years have a minimum of 18’ and most have just gone to a 25’ standard. This writer has encountered many older marinas that do not have wide slips but we have always been able to get a T head or alongside accommodation.
Why have the PDQ 34 and 41 held their value so well over time?This is actually a very complex question as there are so many factors that affect a yacht’s value in the market. Supply and demand are always the key drivers but demand is also generated as a result of the desirability of a yacht's design. We are fortunate that the design is both unique and very desirable and thus the demand has stayed high relative to other yachts. The quality of construction also plays a large role in determining long term value. So many yachts were built using inexpensive materials that over time deteriorated thus decreasing the value of the yacht. This was not the case with the PDQ. They have stood the test of time an extensive use without any known manufacturing shortcomings. Another factor that affects the PDQ value is how the owners take care of the yacht. As a group, we have been very fortunate that the PDQ seems to draw a type of owner that is not only proud of the yacht but more importantly very conscientious about the proper maintenance thus extending the life of the yacht. Lastly, PDQ owners have become a “family” who have shared information about the yacht and its maintenance and this family has been supported by a Yacht brokerage firm that has chosen to focus only on the PDQ line of yachts. This family orientation has helped every owner to maximize the enjoyment of the yacht and at the same time enhance the yacht’s resale value.
How many 34’s and 41’s were built?PDQ yachts built 7 PDQ 32s 106 34’s and 11 41s.
Why is the 34 so popular with “Great Loopers”?The answer once again has many facets. Maybe first and foremost is that it is a comfortable yacht for a cruising couple. Next on the list may be that it is a very easy boat to maneuver. Additional reasons include the shallow draft and speed (7 to 17 knots for the 34 or 7 to 22 knots for the 41) versatility. Lastly, but none the less a major consideration, is the miserly fuel consumption. When you are traveling that many miles…it adds up.
Is there adequate outdoor space on a PDQ?The PDQ 34 design offers a wide (safe) walk around, a large open foredeck, an excellent flybridge layout, and a very functional aft deck area with seating for 4. This layout makes it easy to get around the boat quickly and safely in all sea conditions. The flybridge is great for entertaining (six or more) and is where most owners spend 90% of the time driving the boat because of the excellent visibility. A foredeck is a great place for lounging when the weather is good and also provides easy access to all the forward lockers.The aft deck is a sheltered area for relaxing and also makes for easy launching and retrieval of a dinghy.
Is cooking on board a pleasurable experience?To better answer this question the writer has asked the “Admiral” to answer…and the easy answer is YES.
Entertaining is a pleasure on a PDQ, because the bar and the galley areas are separate, eliminating the need to “intrude” in the same space. As for the galley, it’s light, bright and well ventilated. In southern climates, most owners rely on bbq grilling. The microwave is also a convection oven, so if one is inclined to roast or bake, that option is available. There is ample storage and the double sinks are a plus. With 106 PDQ 34s, owners have cleverly used a vast variety of functional space saving ideas.
In case of inclement weather can the PDQ be fully operated from inside?This is one of the strong points of the design of both the 34 and the 41. The designer realized that there would be conditions where flybridge operation is just not comfortable and a good lower helm was a must. In both boats, the lower helm includes a double seat, full electronics and controls, and most importantly excellent visibility. Admittedly this writer seldom uses the lower helm but when he does, it becomes a priceless option.
Is the deck space on a PDQ adequate and safe?As described earlier you have wide walkarounds and lots of open deck space. A key feature in terms of safety is a solid 1-inch stainless steel railing/stanchion system around the boat with upper handholds around the entire vessel.