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Old 10-02-2007, 01:18 AM   #1
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I just logged in as a new member and am impressed by all of your knowledge. I'm 44 and have sailed small boats (catamarans) on Lake Michigan since I was 12. I have ASA keel boat certification and chartered a 32' boat out of Tampa, and a 38' mono and 36' cat in the BVI's. In addition I've owned a 26' powerboat for many years. Since I was young(er) I've wanted to cruise. My wife likes sailing but probably won't go for long streches of time. When we chartered the 36' cat she didn't get seasick at all even though we had pretty rough seas. I have a son and daughter. My son is thinking about putting off his first year of college and going with me on a extened cruise. My wife and daughter would then join us at different points. In addition, I have a large family and friend base who would visit us in many ports worldwide. Finally, I would mostlikely use delivery captains when the boat needs to cross oceans or other long ranges. Another factor is that I would need to return to work every couple of months to keep things in order.

I have a fair amount of money and purchasing a normal large new boat will not be a problem or having to pay for maintenance and upkeep. So, what am I looking for? I have always been hooked on catamarans and would think something between 40 and 48' would fit my bill. Except, sometimes I'm worried that if a storm of the type you have discussed on this forum should hit, I'd be better off with a mono like an Amel. Much of the time I will have to basically singlehand with assistance from inexpearenced crew.

1) Do you think two people can safely handle a 40+ foot catamaran.

2) Do you think a cat is risky sailing in open ocean

3) Where can I find info about people who are currently sailing cats to see how it's going for them

Any other advise would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2007, 05:25 AM   #2
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A hearty welcome aboard.

To answer your question about websites of catamarans "out there", have a look at:

www.maxingout.com and have a look through the list at www.cruiser.co.za/links1.asp

Good luck in your search for the right boat.
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Old 10-02-2007, 11:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davidlambright View Post
1) Do you think two people can safely handle a 40+ foot catamaran.

2) Do you think a cat is risky sailing in open ocean

3) Where can I find info about people who are currently sailing cats to see how it's going for them

Any other advise would be appreciated. Thanks.
Hi David,

Welcome to our select group and thanks for the kind words. I hope you feel very much at home here.

Som short and long answers to your questions:

1. Yes, two people should be able to handle a 40 + feet cat. But if you are planninga long voyage then you should at least consider having someone else along with you for the sake of watchkeeping.

2. Difficult one. Normally, my answer would be yes. Under normal conditions cats are perfectly safe but I have a vivid memory of picking up two guys from a tr-maran halfway between San Francisco and Hawaii. Their boat had capsized in had weather off the coast (I think of Costa Rica) and using a large "western style" belt buckle had cut into the centre plywood hull where they had been living throughout their period adrift - 72 days no less! There was a third person, sister of one of the men and wife to the other, but she had died before we picked the guys up. We (I was a cadet on a container ship at the time) landed the guys at Midway Island. One died not long afterwards of heppetitus. The other said he was going to write a book about his experiences but I have not seen it.

So, my opinion? Well, if they had been on a monohull they may have survived but, on the other hand, there is no way you would be able to cut into the upturned hull of a monohull and have it continue to float for 72 days! I favour monohulls but many others favour cats. Basically, your money - your choice. Whichever you choose I hope you will be very satisfied with it.

3. Lighthouse has already given you some good links.

Good luck with your boat search!

Aye // Stephen
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Old 10-02-2007, 02:03 PM   #4
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My wife, and I sail our 47ft. cat alone. She is 4'10", and 100 lbs. We have not done any passages more than 2 days, but all went well. This was from northern Florida to Miami in a N.E. wind averaging 30 knots. In several years we plan on sailing to the Philippines by ourselves. When sailing away from land I believe that 2 people are more than enough. Close to shore I would appreciate a third person. Although I have gone 4 days straight sailing down the coast of Baja in a mono-hull single-handed.

Most cruising time is spent at anchor, and a cat is wonderful as you know by now. Of course the room on the cat gives lots of privacy.As MAXINGOUT has said. The cat is great for tropical, tradewind, sailing, but it would worry me to sail higher than 40 degrees. The only thing I don't like about the cat are the bombs. It takes some getting use to.
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Old 10-02-2007, 07:40 PM   #5
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I was peeking around in YOUTUBE, and found the Seawind1160. Looks like a nice simplistic cat. Lot of nice features, and easy to sail.....good luck in your search
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Old 10-03-2007, 12:53 AM   #6
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Thanks for your advise. I'm going to spend the night reading the sites you suggested. It will be fun following your forum for awhile. If there is a time I can contribute I'll feel honored.
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Old 10-03-2007, 01:02 AM   #7
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Since you have experience sailing catamarans, particularly smaller ones on the Great Lakes, I think that you are a few steps ahead of the game as far as knowing better what you will be comfortable with.

I'm a monohull sailor, and monohulls sail differently from multihulls. Storm tactics are different, for example. As a firm believer in experience (and developing the habits of good seamanship), I believe that with the right skipper and crew, just about any well-found and well-maintained boat is capable of crossing oceans. That doesn't mean that one would want to sail on some of the boats that have completed circumnavigations!

We had a friend who was an avid and extremely experienced multihull sailor. He built a 52-foot catamaran and took it across the South Pacific, two-handed with only his (inexperienced) wife as crew. To our eyes it was a huge boat, but he felt that for crossing oceans he needed an even bigger cat, which he subsequently built.

He did qualify his views with the comment that his crossing of the Pacific was done on a short budget and so he didn't wait for perfect weather to make his crossings and so encountered a bit more bad weather than slower, more cautious cruisers would encounter.

When we sailed to Easter Island, which meant sailing well south of the standard “milk run” South Pacific crossings, the first half of our crossing was a beam reach, a less than comfortable point of sail for days on end, but not intolerable. At the same time a catamaran who started the sail to Easter Island from the west coast of California or Mexico decided to give up the fight and changed course after several days and wound up sailing downwind to the Marquesas instead because the discomfort of the beam seas were intolerable to the wife. At the time I thought that she was simply too inexperienced and new to sailing to overcome the moderate discomfort of this point of sail.

Since our trip across the Pacific, we’ve sailed a friend’s catamaran on several delivery runs, and we now own a power catamaran. I think that the difference in motion between a monohull and a catamaran is significant and should be considered in one’s choice of a cruising boat. I personally don’t like the motion of multihull in strong winds and a beam sea, or worse, confused cross seas. Even in our light-ish Jeanneau monohull, our boat’s motion was not as bouncy as what we’ve experienced on the cats we’ve been on. However, I should admit that many people find the liveliness of our monohull, Watermelon, to be unacceptable, preferring the heavier, slower full-keel “cruising” boats.

As usual for me, that’s a long way around to the say that I see no reason why a catamaran of the size you are considering would be unsuitable for blue-water cruising, with only two people for crew. The caveat to that is, of course, “a seaworthy boat”, whatever the number of hulls.

Twenty years ago we met a fellow, Beaufort Beach, who sailed on his (very large) catamaran, Beach House. I can't remember if he circumnavigated on the boat, though I believe he crossed the Atlantic from US to Europe and back. He loved his boat.

There have been quite a number of other sailing cats that have circumnavigated (most notably, due to their blogs and rather insoucient attitude, Bumbuzzle). Another aspect of the Bumfuzzle blogs is How Not to Buy A Boat! One pays a surveyor for a good reason - to be sure that you are not buying a lemon.

And here are links to one instance of crew who ran into weather problems on a catamaran – the second link shows that it was the crew who had the problem, because the boat came through it fine. I do not mean to minimize the dangers and discomforts of a Tehuantepec’er, because it has brought many a boat to grief.

http://www.ybw.com/auto/newsdesk/200...057ywnews.html

http://www.latitude38.com/LectronicLat/200...Apr07/Apr7.html

Fair winds,

Jeanne
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:18 AM   #8
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Thanks Jeanne. I read the Bumfizzle story awhile ago as it was a 36' Jaguar that I chartered in the BVI's. It had to be the worst boat ever built and the fact that anyone could sail one across an ocean is amazing. Poor craftsmanship in everything - period. I'll read the links you posted. Honestly it scared me to see some of the photo's of the boats in breaking sea's and reading some of the other stories. While I know many survive storms and near-disasters at sea, I want to be as safe as preperation can make me. "Chance favors the prepared mind" David
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Old 10-03-2007, 02:21 AM   #9
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David, there will always be times at sea when a particular design shows its weaknesses and you will say…If only I had gone with a…?



Cats are definitely less forgiving than mono-hulls when it comes to storm survival, the G forces are much higher and of course they will not roll 360. But in the hands of an experienced sailor who knows his boat and the weather, they have been successfully crossing oceans, often times better than monohulls.



For me, I always let the ergonomics of a particular design influence my final decision once I am satisfied she is sound and seaworthy. Then I adjust my passage planning to suit my design.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:22 AM   #10
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You may want to review 'the Cruising Multihull' by Chris White for some good advice, although ten years old. Also Gavin LeSueu's Multihull Seamanship. they both give you insight from the multihull point of view, both for crew and safety.
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Old 10-11-2007, 08:04 AM   #11
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There are a number of factors in selecting a Catamaran - the first factor is, if it is a cruising catamaran, is where will be taken , where will it sail ?

For multihulls sailing in all seas - the design feature that may be the most important is that of clearance between the under surface of the deck and the sea. Many of the early catamarans had very little of this clearance, which meant constant slamming and noise even in small seas. When heading into winds of say 20/25 knots with rising seas this deck would act like wall, often halting forward progress. My own catamaran, while having very good clearance between deck and the sea had a nacelle containing the main engine in the cockpit floor which hung down through the deck almost to the sea surface (whilst it was streamlined - it also would catch a wave coming through between the hulls). Following a long passage I removed the nacelle - which made a huge difference in noise and long distance performance.

The next design feature which made a big difference was the introduction of the vertical bow - which stopped the inclination to hobby horse typical of the early catamarans. Another feature was the maintrack which was curved to the same radius as that performed by the boom - which meant the same tension on the main on different points of sail. Oversized standing rigging and chainplates. The Mainsheet camcleat system to be easily released. The beam to length ratio improved in favour of the beam - Max about 25 ft for travel lifts. Hull design to carry the cruiser and his/her clobber - no good having a cat that sinks down 6" because you introduced a sewing machine.

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Old 10-11-2007, 07:40 PM   #12
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Another link you may wish to check out is www.katiekat.net/.

Joe and Kathy Siudzinski are a retired couple who have cruised fairly widely on a Seawind 1000 cruising catamaran (10m). Joe and Kathy have listed what they think are the strengths and weaknesses of a cat for them.
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duckie View Post
Another link you may wish to check out is www.katiekat.net/.

Joe and Kathy Siudzinski are a retired couple who have cruised fairly widely on a Seawind 1000 cruising catamaran (10m). Joe and Kathy have listed what they think are the strengths and weaknesses of a cat for them.
Hi Duckie,

Thanks so much, what a super website ! Very accurate and well supported with fact !!!

Richard
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Old 10-12-2007, 02:47 PM   #14
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Width was something I did not consider when purchasing Imagine. She is 23'3"ft wide, and is limited to where she can be hauled. Luckily near by is a lift, but I only make it by 3". It makes for a very tight squeeze. No room for bumpers here....LOL
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