Catamaran experience - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-09-2014 Thread Starter
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Catamaran experience

Hi Everyone,

I am looking for experience with Catamaran's for cruising (esp with kids). It is one of the options we are considering. I like the potential for each of the kids to have their own berths (heck, even their own hull!!) and the potential for higher rates of speed, but I am also curious about the real world negatives of them. For instance:

The banging on the bridge. It drove us crazy the last time we were on a Cat. Did it/does it drive you crazy or did you get used to it?

What real world speeds did you experience and at what kind of winds? When you planned passages, what was your estimated VMG/SOG that you would use for planning?

How did she handle heavy weather? Is her lack of pointing a big problem and prevent you from bowing into waves, especially breakers?

How did you handle the loading of the vessel? I have not lived on a cat, but have always been amazed at the large amount of space. Is that a farce though? Do you have to worry about over-loading it?

How did you handle the dockage? I have always cautioned others about multihulls and getting dockage. For example, down in the keys, it is $22/foot for a monohull. FOr a multi that can double if they have a slip at all. Did you have difficulties finding dockage and feel you really got hosed on the price/ft?

DId you have a problem with bridge clearances and find your ports were spaced far apart due to you inability to transit the ICW?

Any other issues? Positives? Negatives?

Thanks.

Brian

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post #2 of 11 Old 02-09-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

Smaller cats do not sail well in cruiser mode. Sub 40 ft and you are often motor sailing when on the wind and in a sea that is not flat.

45 ft and they start to make sense.

As to the banging a lot depends on the bridgedeck clearance.
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post #3 of 11 Old 02-09-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

They dont sail well? That would only matter to a sailor!

Other than the fact that theyre butt ugly, theyre great boats!
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-09-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

Brian - had I been able to afford it I would have bought one in a heartbeat. A cat will probably be my next boat.

It really sucked that the Alpha 42 had the problems it did. I thought that was a very cool, very affordable cat.

Anyway, this thread will be interesting to watch.


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post #5 of 11 Old 02-09-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

Be interesting to follow this thread. There is much about cats that I admire especially when I think about various parts of Australia inaccessible to anything with more than a metre draft. I'm not overly concerned about the problem of docking cos we do that so rarely and it seems to me that cats can carry a rib fairly easily and conveniently, at least more so than most monos.

Lack of windward ability may well be an issue but I'm thinking that the extra speed when you drop of a few degrees would make up for extra miles sailed.

Bridge deck noise is an altogether different issue as is that seeming propensity for (some ?) cats to crab walk in a following sea.

Funnily enough one of my biggest criticisms of cats is the accomodation layout. I am not a fan of curved seating and odd shaped dining tables yet this does seem to be something of a common element shared by many cats. I guess you just have to be careful you don't load too much crap and its a shame that in reality sub 40'ers are not really viable.

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Last edited by tdw; 02-09-2014 at 06:36 PM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-09-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

The banging on the bridge. It drove us crazy the last time we were on a Cat. Did it/does it drive you crazy or did you get used to it?

All cats will bridgedeck slam under certain conditions. The higher the bridge, the less they'll slam. I've always been in multihulls, so I think it's normal.



What real world speeds did you experience and at what kind of winds? When you planned passages, what was your estimated VMG/SOG that you would use for planning?

This is going to vary greatly, depending on the brand of cat you get. Performance cats will probably average 8kt and point higher, midrange cats 7 and foot more, tubs will be more in the 5-6 range and barely sail above the beam.



How did she handle heavy weather? Is her lack of pointing a big problem and prevent you from bowing into waves, especially breakers?

Again, this varies greatly depending on which catamaran you get, and mostly depends on how good you are at sailing. I've observed quite a few people who don't get everything they can out of their catamarans. Daggerboard/performance cats point right up with monohulls. Trimarans also point pretty high. I don't know what 'bowing into waves' means.



How did you handle the loading of the vessel? I have not lived on a cat, but have always been amazed at the large amount of space. Is that a farce though? Do you have to worry about over-loading it?

DO.NOT.OVERLOAD.YOUR.CATAMARAN. It will compromise handling and safety, and your performance will suffer greatly. The grand space will tempt you, but don't pile it on.



How did you handle the dockage? I have always cautioned others about multihulls and getting dockage.

I've never had trouble with dockage, and it's been quite seldom (like once) I've paid more. I think that depends greatly on where one is. If you don't know about it, how can you 'caution others?'



DId you have a problem with bridge clearances and find your ports were spaced far apart due to you inability to transit the ICW?

My stick is exactly 61' off the water, including the antenna, and I have no problems. Again, you are asking a question that will vary greatly not only with brand, but especially size, of boat.




If you do a bit of Googling you will find that every question you've asked has been asked, far more than once. Take some time and search around.

You also want to charter as many different brands of catamaran as possible, which will answer your questions far better than an Internet forum will.

Good luck with your search.
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Last edited by Multihullgirl; 02-09-2014 at 07:43 PM.
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

Brian, did you see the Bumfuzzle's article in Sail magazine regarding mono's and cats?

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post #8 of 11 Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

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Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
Brian, did you see the Bumfuzzle's article in Sail magazine regarding mono's and cats?
I did. It was a great article. It appeared on their blog as well - so it's probably still available there.


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post #9 of 11 Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

I thought it was an interesting comparison. They did a good job (at least to me, as a mono owner) of comparing/contrasting the two styles. I thought their comments regarding the galley and "living room" in the mono were especially interesting and likely to be of interest to Brian.

Bumfuzzle » Cat vs. Mono ? The Great Debate

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post #10 of 11 Old 02-10-2014
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Re: Catamaran experience

Having had both I'd have stuck with a cat if it had been larger.

Slamming is only an issue when close hauled in tight chop and how often does that happen on a) a cat, and b) a liveaboard.

Lessons learned are opportunities earned.
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