Meet Dev & Caro of Sailing Kallisto who own a sexy orange Snowgoose 37 Elite! In this video River interviews them about their buying experience and adventures so far sailing. Follow along their story by subscribing to their YouTube channel. They also post on Instagram.
Note: The Snowgoose 37 Elite is an evolution of the Snowgoose 37. The hull was redesigned, and Prout increased the beam 1 foot as well as 2 inches deeper draft, 5 inches taller mast, and a few kilograms heavier displacement. The Elite was built from 1986 to 2002 while the 37 Snowgoose regular version was built from 1978 to 1986. The two design are very similar and share the same layout configurations and engine arrangements, but the Elite is just a little bit bigger.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Kallisto?
I am 29. Myself and partner Caroline decided 3 years ago that we wanted to transition from a house and travel. I come from a yachting background…motorboats. I have quite a bit of maritime experience but before we bought the boat we had never sailed before.
My partner Caroline worked in economics. We came across Kallisto. She was in the UK. Caro was in Switzerland. I was in Italy. We took a weekend to see the boat and everything went from there. Next thing we know we were signing provisional deals, surveying, and everything happened pretty fast.
Why did you choose a Prout 37 Snowgoose Elite?
It was a boat within our budget. We both wanted a catamaran. Since we were going to live onboard that we would appreciate the space. We had very open mind no specific builds. But once we saw the boat and did a bunch of reserve. The general consensus was the Prout 37 was a well built, stout maybe not so fast but that doesn’t matter.
When was she launched? Where was she built? What do you know about the builder?
1986. She was actually one of the boats where Prout built the hull, and someone else finished her out.
What’s the best thing about her?
She feels really solid in the water. We haven’t been through anything too heavy so far, but the heavy weather so far we haven’t had any doubts about the boat holding up. The main safety thing. The enclosed cockpit as well. Feels very safe. Someone inside getting a rest. Great peace of mind. You know less mistakes can happen.
You mention bad weather. What is the worst weather you have been in?
Soo we left from the UK through the French canals. When we got to the med we stepped the mast again. Across the Gulf of Lion. And the Gulf is notorious for bad weather because the Mistral blows through there.
We anticipating that winds were not forecast to be anything hectic. We left in the morning and then in the afternoon 3 or 4 oclock out of nowhere the sea stood up to 3 to 4 meters and the 40 to 45 knots sustained gusts. We looked at each other with big eyes and how are we going to handle this stuff.
We were handling the sails and trying to figure something out as newbies. We kind of dropped the sails and turned the motor on and headed up. Once we were actually sailing it was 10 times better than trying to fight the weather helm.
What’s she like in light winds?
She is quite a heavy boat. We found ourselves in a situation where we have been sailing a lot into the wind lately. If 10 to 15 knots sailing as close to the wind as possible we get 3 or 3.5 knots. That of course at our skill level. I am sure some more seasoned Prout sailor could get a lot more out of the boat.
How about on a reach, heading down wind?
She loves a beam reach. And downwind we had one run. We don’t have a whisker pole which limits it a bit. She loves a beam reach
What would you change if anything?
I am not too sure. I guess on this boat specifically it would be the electrics. They are not in a bad way by a long means. But the boat has passed through 3 owners and things have been added, removed and wires left in place. I’d like to get around to one day.
Is she easy to maintain?
I would say so. It depends on your experience level but there are no real high tech systems. It is a relatively straight forward boat. If you have a little 12 volt knowledge, some mechanical aptitude, and can mix fiberglass resin, you are smiling.
How about access? For instance wiring.
Not too bad. On every sailboat this size you have do a little bit of yoga. Engine bay is quite roomy. Services really accessible. As far as wiring some of the longer runs are quite well hidden. Good but not so good when you have to work on them.
Is she easy to sail short-handed? To shorten sail? Easy to reach the boom?
Yes. All the lines lead aft. Pretty easy single hand too. So far with the both of us haven’t needed any extra hands. Really good. I guess it is easy to reach the boom. You can go on aft deck. But if you need to get the mast you have to go around outside and hold tight.
How close to the wind?
We found no more than 50 degrees. Depending when the winds are stronger you can push a little higher. If you get less then she gets kind of sucked into the wind
Any problems with bridge deck slamming?
Won’t lie. She slams. Lol. If going downwind and seas from the side. You get used to it. You get used to it. To be honest we don’t know any better.
Typically, what’s your average speed on passage?
We average about 5 knots. If the wind is stronger the most we hit is like 7 knots. Probably going a little faster than we should of in that weather.
How does she handle at speeds like that?
Pretty smooth. Much better than under power. Any time we can get sails up lot more comfortable than under power.
What’s she like under power? Speed, manoeuvrability?
She takes a bit of getting used to with the unique drive leg and single engine. Helps a lot that you can turn the drive leg. Once she gets slow then the rudders get useless and you have to learn how boat responds in the wind and use the drive leg.
Is she easy to dock, what’s the visibility like?
We are in the canals most of the time or right in the beginning. And a lot of the locks are pretty high and narrow. That stood in good standing learning how to manueaver the boat pretty well. I watch the wind direction. We generally try not to go into port when blowing abeam. Ahead or behind not a big deal. Lot of windage to the side
What is she like on the hook?
Really good. We actually haven’t been into port for over a month. First few nights was definitely gaining trust in anchor setup. We have a 20 kg / 44 lbs Delta like magic. If we know it is a sandy we are not going anywhere. If wind is blow 20 to 25 knots then sleep with eye open. If we are anchored in mud not so great. We generally try to keep it to sand.
Some of niggles we had when wind is real light and swell side running, she tends to go sideways. That can get annoying. We haven’t had that experience for multiple days. We would probably just find another anchorage if so.
She has a narrower beam. Do you experience any rocking?
We have had a few night when it has been uncomfortable but in all fairness the swell was pretty big those nights. When she goes side she does rock and roll but not as much as a monohull.
How is visibility in the cockpit?
Really good. Our helm station is on the starboard side. If we are pulling up to a fuel dock port side to Caro will be on the bow giving me distances. Other than that really good.
Is she comfortable down below?
Pretty good eh. She is not an owners version where the master is forward. We kind of made her into that basically. We put our bed in the saloon. There is a little less space but there are still two bench seats and table. Area for people around the table. Common space. Really comfortable.
We have had two guests – a couple one time. Been fine. No issues. Some of the other modifications we made. We used the starboard aft and forward. We used the forward as a pantry with fridge. The aft is at the moment a project happening. We have a watermaker I haven’t installed yet. Bits and pieces. We have left the port side for our guest cabin.
We thought we kitted it out for primarily for us to live on we pinched a few cabins.
How is the storage space on the boat?
Most of the storage is under the bunks. You have to plan because obviously you have to life up bunks. Another is under the settee in the salon. There is enough.
What kind of modifications have you done and why?
The big one was putting the bed in the salon. If we are living aboard, we figured we might as well have nice big bed. Make sure we are nice and comfy. We added more solar. Cool project. Made our own solar arch. We have 410 watts permanently mounted. We setup 2 additional 50 watt panels at anchor. That keeps our bank topped up. We have 3 x 120 amp batteries and separate starter battery.
Also the starboard forward and aft cabins still in progress.
Any plans for further customisation and if so what specifically?
In both those starboard cabins I am going to look into and see what is structural. Take out as much as possible. Make the aft a storage area. Make the forward a pantry more take as much as possible out.
If you were to swap her for another boat, what would that be? Or maybe you wouldn’t swap her?
If you put a Gunboat on the table I wouldn’t say no!
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying a Prout 37 Snowgoose?
Good. Yeah. I think they are good boat eh. The fact that the two of us can sail by ourselves. She is pretty easy to sail unless we are doing something wrong. Lol. Nothing too complicated. Yea I would say good.