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Andrew Warner 02-22-2002 04:07 PM

Cat bridgedeck hieght
I am in the market for a catamaran of 38 to 50 feet. I have recently started my research and come across a disturbing discovering that may limit my cat manufacturers.

I have heard that South African cats have a low bridgedeck height and tend to weigh more than French cats. This tends to make the South African cats slam into the waves. I''ve talked with a person who was in 6 foot seas and said the pounding was unbearable on the SA cat.

Would you consider this to be valid or
am I getting caught in a he-said-she-said battle between cat sailors?

Thanks to all who can point me in the right direction.

Jeff_H 02-22-2002 05:00 PM

Cat bridgedeck hieght
That is the most absurb thing that I have ever heard. First of all there are a fairly large number of builder in both country of cat''s and their designs vary so widely that there is no standard comment that you can make about boats from either country. Second, if either country built cat''s designed to deal with rough weather it would be South Africa where they routinely sail in some of the roughest waters that the world has to offer. (If you have any questions about that pull out an atlas and look at where Capetown is located.) On the other hand the Bay of Biscay no walk in the park.

As to weight, both countries offer both high performance lighter weight cats and also heavy weight cruiser. If I had to guess in a broad general sense, the South African boat would be better engineered but that could easily vary on a model by model basis.

Lastly in 6 foot short seas, the pounding on almost any cruising cat can be unbearable.


Constantin 03-19-2002 03:00 AM

Cat bridgedeck hieght
Slamming, et al. is a function of the heading, how overloaded the cat is, etc. Find the right seas and any boat is uncomfortable.

Having said that, Cats are very sensitive to weight distribution and weight in general. Make them too heavy and they''ll bury the hulls instead of floating over the waves. Having said that, if the intervall between waves is just right, some interesting things can happen.

Many years ago we were motoring up to Swans island in a flat sea on our Prout Snowgoose (37'' cat with a ~16'' beam). A stinkpot (i.e. huge motorboat) came the other way. Mum was below making breakfast when we discovered the that wake of the stinkpot was perfectly out of phase with our hulls - that is, a through was swallowing one hull while a crest was lifting the other.

The net result was a very violent shaking motion that got everyone woken up in a hurry... Naturally, this never happened again for as long as we owned the boat. Did we slam in steep short seas? Yes, but the questions are: were we safe (yes) and was it necessary to stay on such a heading (no). Similarly, a particular heading on a Waquiez 43 monohull made me so ill that I had to stay on deck, could not even look below, while I would have been fine on our Prout Escale.

So, the evidence of slamming is not what I would question but how easy it is to get the boat to slam in the first place. When we sold our Prout Snowgoose and took our gear off, we were amazed how much more responsive and easygoing our catamaran became - evidently she was very sensitive to being overloaded. Lesson learned, we keep as much junk off the Prout Escale we own today as possible. That makes the boat as much fun to sail as it is.


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