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garyp 01-02-2005 11:22 AM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
In my search for a shoal draft boat with some offshore abilities (East Coast, possibly as far as Bermuda or Yucatan) I just realized I have been totally ignoring catamarans.
This is a type of craft about which I know absolutely nothing; I have never even sailed a cat.
So I am looking for any input. Boats I have looked at in my size/price range include older Gemini 30-32, Iroquois 30 (one of the better looking cats to my mind} Prout 31 and Catalac 30.
As I said, any response is appreciated, but I am most interested in a discussion of small cruising cats offshore.
Thanks all, Gary

henryvand 01-03-2005 05:07 AM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
you should try posting at

Mike_S 01-03-2005 08:39 PM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
While it may not be small (or innexpensive) you might have fun reading about Pat and Ali Schulte who are in the middle of a circumnavigation aboard their 2002 Wildcat 35MKII named Bumfuzzle ( One of the nice things about their site is that they include their month by month budget.

I wonder what most people will think about them ... two 30-somethings that had never sailed before travel to Florida, buy a cat and learn to sail as they start their circumnavigation. Crazy? Or simply not "experienced" enough to be worried about all the bad things that could happen?


WHOOSH 01-04-2005 12:19 AM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
Mike, I''ve read a fair bit of BUMFUZZLE''s logs and even corresponded with them to praise their diligence in posting "unedited" monthly expenses for others to see, since this is always something other new cruising sailors wonder about.

However, I sure wouldn''t recommend BUMFUZZLE as a role model for how to approach cruising. My conclusions about their experiences to date are:
1. Youth really is wasted on the young.
2. To cruise with little apparent knowledge of or interest in geography, history and culture is a waste of good money and boat.
3. They have yet to learn much about sailing.

Best example of clueless introspection I can remember: They went from island to island in the SoPac, complaining that no islanders knew how to splice double-braid line. There was just no comprehension that THEY needed to bring some skills along with them, or that they looked like the dumbest of the folks on any island they visited since they had the line, they had the need, and they lacked the skills.


thorJ30 01-04-2005 06:33 PM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
do yourself a big favour.
go to the BVI''s rent a cat for a week and find out for yourself ... You gonna spen a couple thousand but you will thank me for it ...


garyp 01-04-2005 09:28 PM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
Thanks for the replies. is a good lead and I''m just starting to explore the forum.
Thorsten, renting a cat was a real forehead-slapper, I''m going to follow up. However, BVI is a bit out of the question for awhile. We''re relocating from Alaska to Pamlico Sound in March. Any catamaran charters in North Carolina you know of?
Pax, Gary

PCP 01-05-2005 08:47 AM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
I confess my total ignorance about catamarans but...

Last summer I was cruising the West Coast of Spain, the weather was kind of ugly, for summertime, nothing special, 25 to 35 knots of wind and 3 or 4 meters waves. I entered the sheltered waters of a "Ria" to spend the night and finished grounded. My family (two of them badly seasick all day) wanted very badly a marina, to stay for some time, till the sea calmed dawn.
At dinner time, we have seen a cat sailing out of the marina. It was a nice cat, not one of those fat ugly things, but a 40ft (or more) sleek thing, with a full crew. I have made some comments, something like :"see, those guys don''t get seasick nor scared...They are going at night and you don''t want to go in the daylight".

Bad move...They capsized during the night...They were all rescued, but the boat was lost.

It took me almost one week to take my family out of that marina....

Garyp, have you considered the Southerly boats? They have a very good reserve stability, something that is not usual in that kind of boats, and can sit on a beach.


thorJ30 01-05-2005 03:39 PM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
capsized ? wow that is almost impossible to do. Forget the racing cats or tri''s for a moment.

That post needs a little more info, what kind of boat was it. What was the reason they capsized ? How many monhulls were lost in the same storm and sunk


PCP 01-06-2005 11:34 AM

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?


thorJ30 01-06-2005 07:21 PM

Cruising Catamarans Offshore
yes i can
you take as example racing cats, 3 of them who capsized.. without any sails on them ???? who in the right mind would sail without ANY sails ..anyway.

than the story of the english fellow in a cat. with centerboards halfways down ... in a real blow you do not have the CB down as you cannot slip down the side of the waves, but dig in, the wave crest flipped them over.... Anyhow there are a lot of cats out there and I dont hear a lot of them capsizing .....

have you looked at an Iroquois ? That british design is way old and certainly not what the original poster would consider.

Usually modern Cruisng cats are super safe, and being faster than monohulls they can take advantage of smaller weather windows and make safer long trips.

Of course some idiots will be able to do almost anything and even capsize a catamarane, you wrote that nobody else was going out.

Your examples go back atil 02 ( racing cats ) how many mono hulls have sunk in the last 3 years ? And how many of the unfortunate sailors on them did not have the chance to get picked up on the upside down but floating hull ?

I stay to my word that multis are safe.

wo sails a

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