Long, very, very long !!!!!
Hi….. I'm going to send you some responses to other posts and a response to an email about the Maine Cat 30. If you have questions after reading these please fill free to either e-mail me or post them here. I don't think living aboard was addressed in any of the below information. The Admiral and I have personally spent two or three months at a time on our boat. And two other owners have lived aboard for years at a time. So as to whether it can be done or not , it certainly can be done . The question is: how much land side creature comforts do you need? My wife and I lived aboard a 44 foot monohull for two years. And even on a boat of that size compromises are made over the typical house, apartment, condo.
Here are the posts they may be a little difficult to read initially because some are responses to particular questions but , I think you will get the idea.
Three replys to cat or MC info
Hi… IMHO the replies that you have gotten have pretty much covered the +++’s of Catamarans. When we (the Admiral and I) decided to switch from monohulls to catamaran's it was to fit the boat to our expected use, cruising. These are some of the criteria that we used, or as you put it “ what makes a Bluewater Cat.” First and most importantly is construction if you're planning on Bluewater cruising I would avoid buying by price. This is your life that were talking about. For us this did not mean that we had to buy the most expensive catamaran out there, but cost does relate to quality building and materials. I don't think that bridg deck clearance can be overemphasize either. Not only from a comfort standpoint, but the constant slamming against the bottom of the boat cannot be good for it. As to the dagger board/fixed keels debate I would lean towards the beggar board side of the question. However, and this is a big however it would not be a primary criteria. In the catamaran community there is as you might guess a constant debate over dagger boards versus fixed keels. I have heard the issue of sliding down a wave as opposed to tripping over the keels mentioned more than once. But, I think that the jury is still out on that one. If all other things are equal I do believe that a dagger board boat will perform better up wind. As to the capsizing question. I believe that if you purchase a catamaran that is built (not air pockets) with positive buoyant material that you will have a floating wreak to help you survive. For Bluewater cruising I would still recommend a life raft but would hope to either not use it or perhaps tie it to the wreaked mothership. Remember that boat will be full of items that will help you survive. Water , food , clothing and so forth. To make this point remember that the Coast Guard advises that to improve your chances of being spotted that you stay with your boat. But plan your escape from the boat, thinking upside down. You will need either a hatch or an axe. One of the things that I don't think was covered and other posts is comfort. From talking to many Bluewater cruisers over the years I think one of the impressions that is stuck with me the strongest is that a lot of the mistakes that are made during a passage are due to fatigue. On this score I'll take a catamaran for its comfort, and safe stable platform to work from every time. One of the things that you mentioned in your post was out running a storm . Even with all the modern technology, plan on the worst. Plan on not being able to out run the storm but survive it is comfortably and safely as possible.
I would have to agree with the other comments regarding your broker.
It sounds like you may have some if not a lot of monohull sailing experience. If this is true then I would strongly suggest that you charter a catamaran and see how it fits both your criteria for cruising, and your sensibilities. The one thing that I don't think anyone can debate is that a beautifully crafted monohull will make you feel very salty and like singing Yo ho ho. But, maybe not after 30 or 40 hours of getting bashed around on a 45° angle in a storm. ONE last thought (this is become a little long-winded) is that any time I have been caught in a sticky situation out at sea, I have felt that the quality of the boat was as much , if not more responsible for getting me home, as was my seamanship…..
live slow & sail fast
Hi…. Let's See If I Can Help to Point You in the right direction to find the information you're looking for. I don't have the transatlantic or around the world experience the you're looking for, but I have been kicking around the multihull world for 20 years. I can't quite tell whether your interest is because you might want to switch to a multihull or if it simply curiosity. I guess that it doesn't matter other than what your motivation might be . Comfort? The huge amount of space? Speed? Safety? In my experience I have not seen many perfectly happy monos sailors switch to cats without some serious motivation. I would have to admit that nothing gives you that YO HO HO salty feeling quite like a beautifully designed and crafted monohull does. But in today's fiberglass hi production world how many of those are there?
First of all, unlike you, I am new to this board. So, here's who I am sailing wise. Like a lot of folks I started out messing around in small monos. I/ we worked our way up to a 44 foot CSY. Our motivation for buying the CSY was that we were going to live board and cruise. We lived on the boat and did the Chesapeake, to Florida, the Bahamas, and Mexico”s East Coast. We sold that boat and returned to the workaday world, and were without a boat for a couple of years. During that period of time the Admiral developed knee problems and we were not sure that sailing was going to be a possibility. But, in 1989 I decided to buy a very small cruising catamaran (a Hirondelle 24 foot ). We found that being on a flat plane made sailing a possibility for us again. So since then we've been committed multihullers. We lovingly sailed that slug of a boat for 11 years. In 2000 we bought what we hope would be our last boat and our criteria at that time was a modern coastal cruising catamaran. We chose the Maine Cat 30.
We currently have about 6000 miles on our Maine Cat, but this does not answer your around the world capability criteria. And I'm certainly not advocating the MC 30 for circumnavigation, although she may be capable of it. If I were you I would get a subscription to Multihull Magazine and research the back issues for articles specifically pertaining to transatlantic and circumnavigation. The people at Multihull are pretty helpful about helping you find articles. I would also find out where your local multihull association meets, and attend some of those meetings. There we'll probably be people in the club who meet your criteria, or at least can introduce you to others who do. There have been many cats with many many ocean miles under their keels. If I'm not mistaken catamaran's currently hold most of the ocean speed records. But, we are talking about cruising catamaran's not raceing . I have sailed a number of miles on 40 foot plus catamaran's and here are some of my impressions and some of the areas in which I disagree with some of the responses that you have received. Tacking : I will admit that catamaran's do not tack the same as monos. But, a modern well-designed catamaran should tack for you, without a problem, if properly handled. Windage can be a problem and it is one of the reasons we chose the Maine Cat. I should probably say here that I am not a principal in or work for Maine Cat. Also I believe that catamaran's with dagger boards handle better than once without. This is a huge debate in the multihull world. The slamming question:, bridge deck clearance is very important both in handling large seas and the slamming problem. I can't tell you whether a large catamaran with proper bridge deck clearance will slam in the conditions that you are talking about or not, but my guess would be yes. I will say that the most slamming I ever experienced was not in a multihull but in a mono. We got caught in a fairly serious blow in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico and every time are boat came off a wave it not only slam but completely showed the boat from end to end. Our CSY simply shook this off, and started climbing up the next wave. The point being no boat is very quiet in adverse conditions, but if well-built and well-designed it will get you through the storm. We have had our MC30 in 10 foot Atlantic waves and although it is not comfortable she had no trouble handling it. In conditions up to 5 or 6 foot we get no bridge deck slaming, although our motor protection will occasionally catch a wave. Marina costs have not been a problem for us for two reasons. One is the area in which we sail is not as crowded as some of the Metropolitan areas are. I will say that when we sailed are boat from Maine to Florida we did not encounter any up charges, we were charged strictly for our 30 feet. Although with our bow pole we run more like 35 feet. You do find that you are more likely to have a alongside berth rather than a slip. Second reason we do not encounter many Marina problems is we designed are boat to anchor out. We much prefer this over being in a Marina, you can always dinghy in for your land fix. On this point I think that catamaran's have it all over monos. Due to the amount of space and open area it is easy to find room for solar panels, water makers, and other creature comforts. As to the weight sensitivity question, Catamaran's even very large ones do have a finite weight carrying capacity. But a well-designed cat should be able to carry all of the cruising equipment most sailors commonly use. I do agree with one of the comments regarding water capacity. A Watermaker would probably be high on my wish list, for a large transatlantic capable catamaran. However we carry 60 gallons of potable water have cruised for two months at a time and although we have had to purchase water at as much as $.50 a gallon if you divide this end to the cost of a water makers it comes out to a lot of gallons. Showering with gallons and gallons of freshwater however is not an option for us. But, remember are boat is a 30 feetor, how much water does say 30 foot mono carry? This is gotten kind of long-winded so I would suggest that if I can be of any help to you either e-mail me or feel free to ask any specific questions. One last thing that I'll mention is safety , given that you are going to do lots of research and buy a very well constructed in designed catamaran I would say that safety becomes a very subjective question. I will say from talking to many Bluewater cruisers over the years I think one of the impressions that is stuck with me the strongest is that a lot of the mistakes that are made during a passage are due to fatigue. On this score I'll take a catamaran for its comfort, and safe stable platform to work from every time.
Gosh, where to start? I'll try and answer your questions but if I miss something don't hesitate to write back with more specific questions. First let me ask you a question. You said that you had become more interested in checking out catamaran's, why is that?
Can you tell me the pros and cons, in your opinion, of the Maine Cat 30? Versus monohulls and other cats?
OK, let's start with versus mono’s
comfort, comfort, comfort I don't think that I can overemphasize the difference in the comfort of any catamaran versus a monohull, especially the Maine cat. Comfort translates into many things, let's start with safety. If you are doing a long passage you stay more alert and better rested. In rough seas you don't get thrown around in bashed against things. Like most other sailors we started with small monohull's and worked our way up to a 44 foot CSY. In the Maine cat you are much more protected in the cockpit that in any other boat that I have had. The line handling and reefing systems are extremely well designed , and safe and easy-to-use. Redundancy is oh is a great safety measure, and in the Maine cat you have two engines!!!! Construction… this falls into comparisons with other cats as well as monos, but of course is a safety factor as well. The construction of the Maine cat is superior to most, and as good as the very best. We have about 6000 miles on our Maine cat and had sailed the from Maine to Florida and to the Abaco’s and the Exhuma’s. I think the heaviest air we've actually sailed in would be about 30 to 35 knots of wind. The boat had no problem handling this, and other than being in huge seas, I think that the boat will handle most anything you encounter. Although I consider the Maine cat to be a capable offshore boat, it is not a trans-Atlantic cruiser. In my opinion She's a little too short for extended offshore use.
>>>”And some specific questions: since you don't heel, what is your indicator for when to reef?”<<<<
This certainly falls into the safety area, in two ways. First of all the comfort aspect, healing over his very sporty and can be fun but, if you're doing a long passage it also can be very tiring. As to when to reef you can start out with some wind velocity indications. But, as you sail the boat more you will find that you can feel the WinWard hall lightening up, and your other bow will start to bury itself. If we are doing a long-distancepassage we simply use wind velocity, but on a day sail we might, wait until we feel like the boat is telling us, enough!! As in any boat you're better off to reef sooner than later. We feel like she is good with a full main and jib up to about 20 knots of wind. This of course varies depending on sea conditions, and sailing direction.
Getting away from the safety aspects of the Maine cat has as much usable room as our 44 foot monohull, although not the carrying capacity. With the enclosed cockpit you have huge living space both at sea and at anchor. When we are in a anchorage everyone always winds up on our boat because of the room and the wide open spaces. Due to design the below deck area is for a well ventilated when anchor.
Last but not least the question that everybody asks is how fast it she? Off the wind and downwind the Maine cat is faster than most monohull's up to 35 feet or so. This does not include all -out racing monohull's, but then again the Maine cat is not a racing catamaran. Her upwind performance is fair , she will do about 40° apparent.. But, remember when you're comparing the Maine cat with a monohull's use a cruising monohull not a go fast J. boat or something. In our multihull club we have a Corsair 33 Trimaran that wins every race that it's in including ones that are against monohull's. In this is with its -33 handicap. The problem is that it's completely stripped out and is not all that comfortable, and is a very wet ride. But it sure is fun.
>>>>Versus other cats? <<<<
This is a very tough question, because the reasons that people choose a particular boat differ so much, but here are some of the reasons we chose the Maine cat.
1. Superior construction, lots of boats are built to a price point. I really believe that Dick built his boat and then decided how much he needed to get for it.
2. The open bridge deck design and the hardtop… there are so many things that this enhances that it's hard to name them all … safety.. visibility and the ability to move around easily. In many catamaran's it is almost impossible to get forward to dock or for other reasons. On The Maine cat you simply walk out of the cockpit and you're on the front of the boat. Ventilation, at anchor with the windows rolled up its the coolest boat around. And if I didn't mention this before the cockpit is huge.
3. Simplicity….. the hull gel coat finish , both inside and out is a huge plus. The little places for mold to grow just don't exist. You can actually keep the boat clean both inside and out. Although the boat appears and Dick stresses simplicity that does not mean that the boats systems are not sophisticated, they are deceptively so.
4. Performance… as it pointed out the Maine cat is a cruising catamaran however she does have respectable speed. I was initially impressed, and still am at her light here performance. She will do about 75% of wind speed up to about five knots of wind. We are often out sailing when everyone else is motoring.
5. This is a very personal opinion , but I think that do to the Maine cat not having the huge center obstruction of the condo catamaran's makes her a much better looking boat. Sleek and graceful.
6. >>>” Is it as much fun to sail as a monohull?”<<<< I've never enjoyed a boat more than our Maine cat. We sail it more than any other boat we ever owned, and we are always looking for an excuse to go out sailing. So if you would care to test sail the Maine cat just let me know.
If you have an picked up on this yet I'm a just little bit prejudiced to words the Maine cat. But, of course that's why we bought it. It's much easier to answer specific questions so if you have a continuing interest feel free to contact me with specific questions. I would also encourage you to go to the Maine cat site and read the comments by other owners.