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post #9 of Old 01-06-2005
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Cruising Catamarans Offshore

Hi thorj30

I have already said that I know very little about cats.

Basically I can distinguish 4 types, the odd ones (home built) the big fat ones, the racing ones and the ones that look like cruiser/racers.

I like the ones that look like cruiser/ racers and it was one of those (around 40ft) that capsized that night.

That Cat was the only boat that had an accident.

It was not a storm, just a little bit rough, like 3 to 4 meters waves and 25 to 35 knots of wind.

I don''t know why they have capsized.

I found it strange that you think that cats are almost impossible to capsize.

I remember that in the 2002 "Route du Rhum" (transatlantic race) four 60ft cats capsized, (I know that they were race cats, but ocean going big race cats and by the way, none of the monohull capsized ) and they were skippered by some of the best sailors around. In fact could it be me or you, it made no difference, without sails , 60/70 knots of wind on the mast was all that was necessary to capsize them.

I remember to have read a story, some years ago in a French magazine, about one of the big fat ones that was lost near Crete (Med).
I remember it well because the sea conditions didn''t seem too severe to me (something like 40 to 60 knots winds with 5 to 6 meters waves). The crew was saved by a Cargo ship, and the story was told by a crew member.

In the August 2003 edition of "Yachting Monthly" you can read this story about the delivery trip of a 32ft Iroquois cat by two sailor instructors the owner of the boat and another crewman.

It was a coastal passage in somewhat protected waters, from Portsmouth to Cork.
The story is told by the head sailing instructor at an international Sailing school, the skipper of the boat:

"I''d undertaken delivery trips between the Solent and Cork before....The forecast was a force 6, possibly increasing to 7 during the night and then decreasing next morning.
...we made sure we were undercanvassed...we had 2 reefs in the main, two rools on the head sail and half centerboards down.
The wind was 22 but the waves were not more than 2 to 2ft6in in high. We were pointing apx. 55 to the breeze with a slightly free sheet...Sailing about 6 knots we were really enjoying ourselves.
...I was at the nav. station when I felt the hull lift. I stuck my head out of the hatchway and looked up - tom the helmsman was about 8ft above my head with the crew to leeward, virtually in the water. The boat went straight onto her side and inverted immediately ...
The helmsman told us he''d seen a "wall of water" under the windward hull just before the capsize...We were certainly not over-canvassed and the breeze was no more than 22 knots".

Thorj30, can you tell me why do you think that it is almost impossible to capsize a cruising cat?

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