Today we have Joseph of S/V Epiphany – a Gemini 3200. He refitted his 3200 from the ground up. He did a massive amount of work to spend a lot of money, and he is a great guy to tell us all about the model. He goes through all the issues he has had and gives invaluable advice to people considering buying a classic Gemini. Sailing performance, common issues, and maneuverability are all covered. Please see below for the video of our interview, refit photos, and a transcript of the Q&A.
Key Takeaways and Tips on 3200
- Total including purchase price of $55,000 into boat
- Renovated interior including painting, trim work, electrical, plumbing, and new windows.
- Renovated exterior including paint, centerboards, rigging.
- Previous owner was excellent resource while surveyors need to be carefully selected and monitored.
- Center boards are designed by Tony Smith so that if they hit an object under the water they will retract without breaking.
- Single outboard on classic Geminis is superior for ease of maintenance and low cost as compared to inboards on other Geminis like the 105.
- Beam allows 3200 to fit into regular size slip lowering dockage costs.
- Sailing performance is excellent although these are ideally coastal cruisers not bluewater boats.
- Has the basic comfort and space you would expect from a catamaran at lower cost and easier to sail and motor short handed. Joseph says he would never want to own a 40 foot catamaran.
- You can mold PVC trim from Home Depot with a heat gun to make custom shapes and cover wiring perfectly.
A big thank you to the Gemini Owners Group and especially members Eric and Walt for their encouragement and help in getting this interview done. There is a wealth of information about all Gemini models and generous owners sharing their experiences in this owners group mailing list.
Where did you find Epiphany your Gemini 3200?
Joseph: I ended up buying a home in Florida, and it had three bridges I had to go under which led me to the Gemini because it has the lower mast. I was looking at the taller mask Jaguar 36 footer but it had a 52 foot mass.
I wanted the features of of the Jaguar with the you know the salon and the berths and this you know and all the good stuff that comes with the catamaran and the Gemini had that uh too but it had a 43 and a half foot mask in the model that is called the 3200 which is a classic Gemini.
What I did was i tried to find 3200’s down in Florida and every time i’d get to it they’d be sold so finally i was back up in North Carolina and an ad came on the first day i forget which site it was.
I called the guy who was selling it who was in Ocracoke North Carolina, an island off the coast of North Carolina and it was the very first day. He said he already had like 30 calls on the boat and he already had two guys that were saying we’ll buy his sight unseen and give him a deposit but he fortunately refused them because he wanted them to see the boat.
So I jumped in my car me and my lady took off and we drove because we were in Raleigh. We drove all the way out took the ferry over to the island of Ocracoke and i bought the boat that day. It was uh conditional upon a survey. The surveyor actually turned out to be a a jerk who claimed he surveyed the boat. I wasn’t there and he really didn’t he was only there for like 20 minutes. He didn’t even take it for a test ride.
But I bought the boat anyway yeah and um took it over with the owner to the main shore which was Oriental North Carolina. I put it up on the hard and uh the boat’s in good shape i mean it it was uh taken care of but it was dated and the previous owner did not really care that much about uh creature comforts. He was just into sailing the boat so it needed a lot of work.
So tell me what kind of projects did you take on first?
The first thing i did was the both faucets the one in the galley and the one in the head were rusted out so the very first thing i did was change those faucets.
I was in a boat yard so then I did a lot of changing the old propane electric refrigerator was pretty much shot still worked on the propane but we threw that out and replaced it with an isotherm refrigerator. Replaced the ac which actually would come on but the pump was malfunctioning the compressor was malfunctioning and so i replaced the the air conditioning in the boat. Then i replaced one of the gas tanks was not functioning, and it was very dirty change that.
I put in new rigging and so much other stuff i mean at that boat yard in North Carolina a lot got changed and a new pump a new water pump and things like that.
But then we we took off to Florida uh after several months and i had the boat transported down to Florida by water uh with a guy that I knew. Then uh the rest of the work was done down in Florida.
What year is this boat?
It’s in 1990.
How was the you know the environment on this thing? Did it rot was there a lot of the painting to be redone and the soft coat?
Oh yeah yeah um when i bought the boat there was damage on the starboard rear half side. He had evidently had a collision and they then he put it back together but it was a very sloppy job and the rub rail was cracked and the railing for the jib was all bent up and and all that.
Evidently he painted that hull he must have sanded it down and painted it with one part paint but the entire boat was a pretty bad shape in terms of the gel coat and the the paint the gel coat had like most Gemini’s and most older boats had lots of spider cracks in it
It wasn’t leaking or anything but the you know the paint job was in the boat look old and you can see that in a picture i sent you yeah well that.
That’s one of the things that I think is really important to talk about though is that there are some great deals that can be had on older catamarans. You put the work in. You put the time. And you brought this thing back to life and you’re very happy with your Gemini 3200.
If you don’t mind me asking can you give me a price range about what you purchased for it how much you put into it?
Yeah oh absolutely uh the guy could have gotten a lot more. I appreciate the previous owner. He had listed it at thirty thousand dollars and um where can you find a catamaran for that’s decent for thirty thousand! I mean all the gentlemen the Jaguars that i was looking at were a hundred thousand and up yeah none were below $100,000.
So the Gemini is a great value across the board even going up to the later 105 mc models but this uh 3200 was uh listed at thirty thousand.
I pointed out a lot of the flaws on the boat so we actually made a deal at twenty eight thousand five hundred.
What kind of money did he teach you to bring it back to life?
I have in it from what i can tell about total including the $28,500 I paid about $55,000 in the boat.
Are you happy with the way everything turned out? Would you swap this boat out for anything else or is this just your ideal boat?
Oh i’m very happy with this uh boat it’s got all the creature comforts. I’ve done most of the work myself along with my lady friend. We had some problems with the center boards which mud worms had eaten into them. Not when i bought it but actually when i brought it back to Florida.
I didn’t realize in the canal when the tide went out the boat sat on the floor of the canal and mud worms got up in it. We had to remove the center boards uh and completely cut out all that damage and then re-fiberglass and re-sand and put in new pins and new eyelets and all that.
That was a major job getting them out and then mainly getting them back in so that the wind on the lines that raise and lower the center boards were done correctly. Because those center boards have to be wound correctly so that if they hit an object under the water they will retract without breaking off right.
There’s a genius mechanism done there by Tony Smith who designed the boat.
Basically it’s a great boat. I mean it’s got all the features that the bigger boats have but i realize one thing now that you know i didn’t know before.
I do not want a larger boat than this one. This one is more than enough. I can’t imagine having a 36 or 40 foot catamaran and having to paint that sucker and then you got to deal with the two diesel engines which you know if you follow the forum on the Gemini uh the biggest problems people have with these boats are the diesel or the Sillette drive that that raises and lowers the prop. Always a problem.
The nice thing about the classic ones the 3000 the 3200 and the 3400 Gemini’s is they’re powered by the outboard motor which to me is a much nicer. It is quieter. It gets just as good gas mileage and it you know if the thing breaks you take it off and put a new one on
I have the regular setup that the boat originally came with which is a single 25 horsepower Yamaha.
How do you how do you feel about the gas efficiency and maneuverability?
It’s great. I mean i had the boat motored down they motored almost the entire way from Oriental North Carolina all the way to Stuart Florida across the Okeechobee into where i am which is Port Charlotte, North Carolina.
They did it in two weeks and um the gas which was high at the time this was 2018 um i paid another thousand dollars for gas so it gets it gets very good gas mileage, but i have purposely made the boat as light as possible. I don’t have a lot of stuff on the boat. I don’t have a water maker. I only have two batteries, and I don’t have a windlass uh and and all the stuff that weighs a boat like that down.
How does how does she sail? Is she a heavy weather boat or do you prefer her in light winds?
She feels great. I can cruise up to eight knots with the uh you know if i’m not going against current or wind. Eight and a half knots on a fairly smooth surface. I can sail. I mean i’ve had the boat up to 10 knots. I haven’t failed it that much but in a pretty high wind it performs great.
In light air seven and a half knots is not uncommon. That’s about what I sail at seven and a half knots, but as I say it is kept light and uh the center boards really make a huge difference.
So how does she go to windward with those center boards down?
Great i mean she doesn’t point. I’ve had a monohull before uh she won’t point as high as the monohull but she will point pretty darn good with the center boards down. I don’t know exactly the degree but uh you know I’m very happy with the boats performance.
It’s a light boat that really does well especially on a broad reach or downwind you can fly on the thing yeah well especially like when you’re going those fast speeds.
What’s the comfort like on the 3200? Is it easy to maneuver aboard when you’re underway?
Yeah i found it it’s the biggest cat i’ve ever sailed. I had a Stiletto a 30 foot Stiletto which was a racing sailboat. It was a little bit scary. This boat is heavier
This boat handles beautifully. It doesn’t go into irons um it it stays its course um which is so important and it doesn’t heal like monohull.
Of course I was a little bit leery of the 14 foot beam on the Gemini’s because I’ve chartered you know the cats would always with 20 to 22 foot beams. But this one is steady and 14 feet seems great and the 14 feet allows you to get into a regular slip. Of course it makes the boat smaller which makes it i think more maintainable.
When you’re in close quarters the marinas and what not with that single screw and the 14 foot beam, talk a little bit about the ease of bringing her into port?
If you don’t have the center boards down and you have any kind of cross current or cross winds, it can be a bitch. I mean it it’s it’s hard to steer it with just the motor and the two rudders but with the center boards down i find it very maneuverable. I have now a boat lift for it, and it requires me to uh you know make sure the center boards are down to go in extremely slow uh when i go into my lift.
I have to make sure the boards are up to get on to the left because uh it’s fairly shallow water where my lift is.
What is your favorite sailing grounds? What you’ve had in Florida you had in North Carolina. What is your favorite place to sail this boat?
Well i’ve sailed all up around the Long Island Sounds. I’ve sailed around of course Oriental. I’ve sailed the Caribbean in charters you know. I’ve made a 10-day chart around Grenada and all that but the ideal spots that i’m in now with Florida and Port Charlotte is they’re great. I mean unfortunately we don’t have the clear water like you would have in the Florida Keys or down in the in the Caribbean because you know the lack of reefs.
But we do have nice water Charlotte Bay. It is a beautiful large bay off the Gulf. It’s somewhat protected so you don’t have it’s not inclined to be rough or real high winds although it can get there of course in a storm but it’s beautiful there’s all kinds of places to go.
I have not at this point because i’ve been so busy working on the boat. We have not gone off into the Gulf as yet we’ve sailed around pretty much Charlotte Bay but there’s a beautiful sailing club there. There’s lots of social activities going on with that so it’s great well.
I’ve taken up a bunch of your time tell me if am i missing anything what do we need to know about the Gemini 3200 that I haven’t asked you?
The one thing that comes to mind is the painting of the boat. I was able to use the Quantum two part epoxy paint and the high field primer actually filled in all those spider cracks i talked about and the top coat is very hard.
We my lady Suzanne and I, we painted the entire exterior of the boat top and bottom and she looks brand new. Put new rub rails on it all the way around um put new windows in. The windows were all fogged when i bought the boat except for he had changed a couple of the front windows but now we’ve got this clear beautiful windows and of course i redid the entire interior new upholstery new mattresses. The windows make a huge difference.
I ripped out all that horrible carpet that was on the walls and the ceilings stained and smelly. I got rid of all the uh adhesive under that with a grinder wire brush and uh repainted that.
One interesting thing that people may not know about which i discovered is you can go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and buy this PVC trim molding and there’s not a straight place anywhere on the boat to cover up you know the corners or the wiring and all that. But if you take a heat gun and you heat up that PVC trim it molds like clay and I was able to completely redo all the trim as you’ll see in the pictures um so that they mold in and really cover those corners and those ugly wires.
And of course it’s paintable PVC so that’s a nice addition.
Well that that’s a great tip you know there’s always those corners when you’re refitting a boat. You don’t have the stuff at the factory made for that boat and getting those parts are oftentimes a lot of expense so you know that PVC is a great solution thanks for sharing.
Hey I’m running out of time here zoom only gives me a certain amount of time that i can talk but um i want to thank you so much for joining us today. I’m going to put some photos up on this video and have people take a look at it so they’ll get to see your your beautiful face and your boat and all that kinds of good stuff.
Is there anything left you’d like to to share with the world about your boat and about Geminis in general?
They’re hard to find. They’re a great price still. I love the boat. I think it’s a very sturdy boat. It’s not a blue water. It’s more of a cruiser, but it’s perfect for what I do.