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post #96 of Old 03-12-2014
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

Originally Posted by MikeJohns View Post
All boats are fun in the right time and place

I crewed on a well setup 50 foot Crowther to and around parts of NZ.

In retrospect it really wasn’t a great high latitude passage vessel, we got there but it was much harder on us than a monohull would have been as we had a bit of 'weather'. It was also great for the sheltered coastal trip. But not a great experience for much of the exposed coast and we abandoned many of our intended destinations with much more stringent weather windows than we’d look for in our monohull. And gave up on some destinations trying to motor sail into the teeth of a typical south westerly. It went at 15 knots at 90 degrees and you could sail at 15 knots all day and go nowhere

In boisterous seas the cat was also slower by necessity. The motion was surprisingly uncomfortable from cross seas, exhibiting a violent lurching corkscrew ride that was very uncomfortable and impossible to predict. You never get used to it as in subconsciously predicting where to put your hand or foot as you move around.
It's also very hard to get rest, incredibly noisy, banging, slamming and vibrating is a bit unnerving. I’d say almost an order of magnitude noisier than a displacement monohull in heavy weather the bridge deck slamming in particular is always alarming.

We also had the boat picked up under the bridge deck and surfed sideways a few times completely out of all control. That's an interesting experience

In heavy weather, the cat really shouldn’t continue because it has a pitchpole induced inversion vulnerability. Then its hould lie to a drogue. That’s very frustrating if you are used to running off taking the sea on the quarter when it suits the course.

We also found that you can't do that if you have a lee shore ! Also the props are too small and too close to the surface and continually ventilate in steep to seas . The best we got was about 85 degrees into the teeth of the gale with storm sails and engines screaming but it was the sea that was the killer not the wind. We also couldn't tack the boat even under power and Gybed it and lost a lot of ground.

I'd take issue with any claim that an inverted cat is a safe platform in any conditions where the weather could overturn it you would be very lucky to survive. I think the survival rate is about 10% from the statistics so far.

As cats get lighter and more performance oriented they are becoming prone to calm water inversions even with sails down from gusts and downbursts. It's even happened at anchor and while motoring at night, both in sheltered waters.
Just goes to show different strokes for different folks.
There's a guy that sailed the Pacific in a KP for years. He then bought a Crowther 46, sailed the same waters and said he would never go back to his old monohull.
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