Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Multi vs Mono
I think that you would be hard pressed to find a 35 foot multihill that is suitable for a circumnavigation. Multihulls are quite intolerant of carrying a lot of weight. As you add weight to a multihull they lose their primary defense to capsize which is disbursing the energy in the form of accelleration rather than heeling. As you beef up a thirty to thirty five footer to take the beating of roughly 60 years of coastal cruising (few coastal cruisers sail more than 1000 miles a year and most sail somewhere closer to 500 miles per year) you end up a boat that is already reduced in carrying capacity to the point that they can no longer carry the tankage and supplies necessary for that kind of trip. With a lot of luck, cats this size have made it but it is a pretty high risk. If you are intent on doing the trip in a multihull, I think you will need to consider a bigger cat in order to be able to get a sufficiently seaworthy and burdensome platform for such an adventure.
Of course, well made multihulls are substantially more expensive than monohulls of the same length, so you might actually find an equally commodious, but longer, monohull for the same price range that would be required to purchase a suitable cat for the type of passages that you are considering.
"Whats better, initial stability that a 2hull gives or the righting capability of a mono?" I guess this depends on what you personally fear the most. If you are more afraid of hitting something and sinking the boat than you are of capsize buy a multihull. If you are more afraid of capsize or getting trapped on a lee shore in high winds and not being able to beat or motor off to safety, buy a monohull. If you are more comfortable with a quick motion vs a rolling motion buy a multi. If you are more afraid of running aground than not being able to find a slip or boat yard able to accomodate the beam of a cat, buy a Cat...... and so on.....There is no one right answer here.
The intitial stability but poor angle of positive stability and the strength of the hull connection issues means that you need to reef early on a multihull and in some wasys sail more athletically, especially in big waves where wind can get under the hulls and capsize the boat. On the other hand, cats often do not send ''signals'' that they are about to get into trouble until it is too late to do anything about it.
Lastly, it is also nearly impossible to ''hone'' your skills on a Multihull as there is very little feedback to help you develop a broad range of boat handling and sail handling skills.