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I suspect it is fairly common thinking that a larger boat is better than a smaller one. This is probably justified in many cases as it seems as if manufactures often begin by building smaller yachts and then as time goes on, increase their designs in size. That was not exactly the case with PDQ Yachts though. The original PDQ cat, a 34′ model, was introduced in 1987. This was eventually lengthened to 36′ and was very popular. In 1994, PDQ introduced a second design, a 32′ long model. While shorter in length, the newer yacht had both a higher bridge deck clearance (the distance from the surface of the water to the underside of the boat), and higher freeboard (the distance from the water’s surface to deck level). In fact, if you look at the image below which shows ZTC on the left rafted up to a PDQ 36 on the right, it almost appears as if our PDQ 32 is the larger boat!

Which boat looks larger?

Rebecca and I had a real treat the last few days. We had the opportunity to spend some time with David Slater, the son of Alan Slater, PDQ’s chief engineer and designer. David shared his thoughts on the catamaran’s designs. He explained that when PDQ Yachts first introduced the 34/36, they had no idea that the catamaran owners would load so much “stuff” onto their boats. When they designed the newer model, keeping in mind what they had learned from their initial offering, they began with the bridge deck clearance that they wanted and then went from there. In his words, completely unsolicited, the 32 is really a better boat for cruising the tropics! Obviously, we are biased but, having been on board both models, we tend to agree. And we’re not the only ones. ZTC’s previous owner told us that when they were shopping for a cat, they looked at both the 32 and the 36 and chose the slightly shorter boat as they felt that is was a better design. Food for thought if you’re looking to purchase an awesome small catamaran!

Sailing yesterday with David Slater and friends from LTD Sailing.


  1. Hi Mike,
    We’re not quite ready for moving to grenada but if you can deliver to florida or bahamas we might make a deal.

    • Hi Brian. A delivery skipper can do that trip in 10 days. I happen to know two professionals who do trips like that for a living. Contact me by email if you’d like to make an offer.

  2. There are 3 things about the 32 that I find delightful in warm weather:

    * With the slider open the salon and cockpit become one.
    * The all-around view from the salon is delightful. Sailing is an outdoor activity–you shouldn’t live in a cave.
    * Since the tramp is high enough above the water to be dry in fair weather, it is often the best seat in the house; it has put a lot of guests to sleep while underway!

  3. I don’t think you could go wrong with either the PDQ 36 or PDQ 32 s they are quality built catamarans. We owned a 36’er and have been on a few 32’ers and they both have their pros and cons. We decided on the PDQ 36 as the extra length and beam meant for a more seakindly motion. We also liked the ventilation that the 36’er has over the bunks which is unmatched by any catamaran that we have owned. Given that, we have always been jealous of the bridgedeck clearance of the PDQ32 and the fact it would take less $’s and time to maintain. Did you ask David why he chose the PDQ 36 as his personal vessel? He seems to have it really tricked out with daggerboard’s etc. I hope he’s enjoying his new Outremer 45!

    • I agree AJ. I’m sure we’d be pretty happy on a 36 too!

      While I haven’t seen it, it sounds as if David’s 36 is pretty unlike most of the other. As you mentioned, it has daggerboards. He also said that it has no stanchions and lifelines. Sounds as if it’s pretty tricked out for racing, or at least sailing fast.

      I think he likes the Outremer too. That is what we were sailing on this past Sunday.

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