A Boat Named Sue

Picking a boat, especially one to live on for a year with your family while cruising North and Central America, is no easy matter. Due to the size of our family and our commitment to living comfortably vs. camping, we quickly decided that a Catamaran would be our best option. Often viewed as the minivan of the boat market, Catamarans are super practical but not super popular. Most important for us is the space that a Catamaran affords. Our’s measures 47′ long and 25′ wide, giving us a living space of approximately 1,000sf. In addition to being very comfortable, the Catamaran’s design is very fuel efficient, especially relative to mono-hull boats of similar size.
While more romantic and much cheaper to operate than a power cruiser, sailboats are too slow and too much work for our taste. As such we began looking for power catamarans. We spent countless hours researching various manufacturers, styles, and sizes. Ultimately we decided on our current boat, a 2010 47′ Leopard Power Catamaran.


Our boat, illustrated in the nearby image, have three full cabins, each with its own bathroom. Each of these cabins has a near queen size bed. The owner’s suite (bottom of the image) also has a couch, desk for Matt’s work and a much larger bathroom than the other two. In the top right of the image you can see there is mini-cabin with a twin size bed. This will be a spare for any of our kids that need extra space, or for the occasional guest.  The center section is our kitchen/dining room, formally known as a galley & saloon.


How fast is your boat?

The boat’s cruising speed is 18 knots (approximately 18mph). She can go a little bit faster than this, but not without risking engine damage. While 18 mph sounds painfully slow by auto standards, it’s relatively fast for a boat this large. Unless we are in a hurry, most of our cruising will be done at ~12 knots or less, both to save fuel and due to speed constraints along much of our route.

What about fuel?

Both of the 260hp engines, as well as the 9kw generator run on diesel, provided by two 150 gallon tanks and two 50 gallon reserve tanks for a total of 400 gallons of diesel. Depending on our speed, the boat’s fuel economy ranges from a high of 4-mpg to a low of just 1-mpg. Yes, you read that correctly. At our cruising speed of 18-knots, we are traveling only one mile for every gallon of diesel we burn. Like out cruising speed of a ‘mere’ 18-knots, by land standards our fuel economy is disastrous. However, by boat standards, our fuel economy is substantially better than traditional mono-hull boats.

Why is your boat named ‘A Boat Named Sue?

Getting a family of five to agree on a boat name is no easy task. Over our months of planning, we discussed dozens of possibilities, but none of them received unanimous approval. Then one day Jackie proposed the name “A Boat Named Sue”, inspired by the song “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash. Laughing we all agreed that this was the perfect name for our family’s boat.