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Monohull vs cat on extended passage?
I have been sailing for over 40 years on many kinds of boats both mono and cat.(USCG Master for 20+ years) I have owned a Tartan 34, Stiletto 27, Edel 35, and my current boat is an Ericson 38. FWIW the Edel is a French built cruising cat. Mine was used in charter service in the Caribbean and had crossed the Atlantic on her own bottom.
My wife and I cruised our Edel 35 catamaran in the Bahamas for 3 months in 2002 in company with a Gemini 3400 catamaran. Both cats also did a week together in 2001 in the Berrys.
The Edel was generally an hour faster than the Gemini on any given passage of 6 or 7 hours (our typical daily jog) unless we were hard on the wind then the Edel was 2 hours faster. We often sailed on main alone to slow enough to stay in touch. Typical speeds were 6.5 to 9 knots... we route planned at 7.5k.
Downwind or broad reaching the cats motion is very gentle even in very large seas. No rolling. Upwind both cats pound (waves slap the bottom of the bridgedeck) severely. To the point of distraction... you''d think the boat was coming apart. (which it probably was over time)
Both cats are outboard powered (retract the motor for sailing) neither cat can manuever well in strong cross winds despite steerable motors. Both cats suffer from overloading.
Although my Edel was lightly equipped (every system was selected based on weight) the overloading comes mainly from water, fuel, and supplies (tools, spares, food, gear).
We sold the boat after this trip.
My wife and I decided after this trip that the Edel was simply too small to carry the stuff we felt we needed without overloading.
It was limited to 60 gallons of water, 25 gallons of fuel, 2 cases of beer, small dinghy, 3hp dink motor),etc, etc.
IMHO the minimum size for a serious offshore capable cruising catamaran is about 43ft. Bigger is better.
We replaced the cat with an Ericson 38 monohull which we cruised over this past winter in the Exumas and down to Provo. We left Florida after Thanksgiving and returned in April.
3000lbs of gear, water, fuel etc lowered the Ericson''s waterline about an inch. 1500lbs of stuff would lower the Edel by 6 inches.
We carried 135 gallons of water, 75 gallons of fuel, 2-10lb propane tanks (the Edel carried 1 6lb) a real 10.5ft hard bottom/inflatable dinghy with 15hp motor. Three big anchors, chain, rodes, etc. (Edel carried one Bruce on short chain and rope and one Fortress also short chain and nylon rode) and more canned goods than we needed.
The boat''s motion in a seaway is much slower and more rythmic than the Edel (which tends to choppy, quick and unpredictable). Boat speed is slower too. We now plan based on 5.5K. We draw 5 ft compared to the Edel''s 3ft. (on this trip it was not an issue). We feel much more secure on this boat and confident that we can handle offshore conditions given that we''re chicken sailors and watch the weather windows carefully. (true for either boat). The Ericson will power into pretty large head seas and wind. The Edel wouldn''t.
The Ericson heels, the Edel didn''t. Not an issue for me but my wife would prefer not to heel.
I can carry the dinghy on stern davits without impacting trim. The Edel''s dink had to be stowed on the tramp.
We anchored in anchorages with the Ericson that would have been very uncomfortable for the Edel (pounding). True the Edel could tuck in closer to shore but I don''t think that would matter much in the Exumas or say French Wells or Abrahams Bay, Mayaguana. If the anchorage was rough, it was rough everywhere.
People often ask why we went back to a mono after having cats. The answer is "cost". We couldn''t afford a catamaran big enough to do this kind of cruising. The Ericson is an affordable compromise. Given a winning lottery ticket I''d buy a large cat. Given building our kitty more or crusiing now, we chose cruising now.
FWIW the Gemini is a fine boat provided you watch the weather carefully and have options for ducking inside when it gets rough. The newer diesel powered ones probably motor ok.
I''d be happy to try to answer specific questions if you email me at email@example.com.