16'-18' Catamaran help - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 11-07-2012 Thread Starter
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Lightbulb 16'-18' Catamaran help

I am looking for a used 16’ – 18’ catamaran. Here in southern California there are lots of them for sale, but which should I get?

1. The boat will be used mostly in sheltered coastal (Pacific) waters. However, when the weather is good, I will sometimes take it out into the ocean (which means some waves & swells.)

2. The most important criterion is good single-handed sailing characteristics. It will be sailed solo about 80% of the time. (Because the water is deep, daggerboards are not a problem, especially if they improve upwind pointing.)

3. Lastly (only IF the first two requirements are well met) is the boat big/buoyant enough to carry a second crewman (or two children) on occasion?

Recently I have seen the following catamarans for sale: A Class, Hobie 16/17/18/18 Magnum, NACRA 5.0/5.2/5.5/5.7, Prindle 15/16/ 18/18-2, Trac 16, Sol Cat 18, SuperCat 17. I have not seen any G-Cats or Mysteres. Are they worth looking for?

Which of these (or any other Cats) will work the best for the purposes noted above?

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post #2 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

Rich, u really want to ask this question on sailing anarchy or else the beach cats forum.

My personal preference would be a hobie getaway with the wings, not as light an fast as the others, but plenty of space for friends/fam and those wings make sailing a beach cat so much more comfy

As for seaworthiness, I saw a YouTube video about a bunch of sailors in key west who took their hobbies 16's to Cuba every year. People have done the northwest passage, and crossed the Atlantic on these things, though its extremely uncomfortable...
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post #3 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

A Hobie 16 is easy to setup and sail by yourself, but can also take 4 people without a problem. That would be my choice.
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post #4 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

Sailing Anarchy would be a good place for this, sailnet tends to be more monoslugs and cruising cats. I've got a monoslug along with a beach cat now, I enjoy it but it's a very different kind of enjoyment.

Is this your first cat? Some are a lot easier to sail and to right than others. I sail double-handed but sometimes my skipper takes ours out solo. We started with a Hobie Getaway which was fabulous for learning on but being fairly aggressive we grew out of it in a few years. It was fantastic for taking a few people along (even 4 adults) and we didn't have the wings. Things happened relatively slowly so we had time to think and make the appropriate corrections to avoid going for a swim.

When we decided to move up to a faster boat, the skipper decided he wanted an F18 (Hobie Tiger but Nacra makes a lot of them). It's a lot faster and not nearly as forgiving. One of our first times out he commented how it wasn't all that much more difficult to handle and react to than the Getaway. We were in the water less than 15 seconds later. Flying a spinnaker is great fun though. The 18 is a bit much even for him to right and solo. If I were buying again I'd look for an F16: designed to single-hand but still fun for 2. We avoid taking 3 people out on the F18 since they just get in the way and there are lines everywhere. So even if you want to take out an extra person or two, I'd focus on getting a boat that you can sail and right yourself, even in swells.

I like the Hobies, a lot of people love their Nacras and Prindles. It depends to some extent what people use in your area. Even if you don't want to race, it's a lot easier to get parts for common boats. The a cats will be a lot to handle if you don't have a lot of cat sailing under your belt. I love the F18 but there's no way we could've started on it and it still scares us frequently. Stuff just happens to fast to learn. Hobie 16's are highly popular but I really like having buoyant bows.

For the most part, cats will take swell nicely. The first guys who crossed the Atlantic did say they'd never do it again and they strongly advise against anyone else doing it.

If you're singlehanding, think about how it's going to get in and out of the water and how much it weighs.
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post #5 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

Hobie 16 gets my vote also. No daggerboards to mess with. I launched mine a few times through the (Atlantic) surf and it did fine in the ocean. I singlehanded quite a bit (get a trapeze harness if it doesn't have one) but also had as many as four aboard.
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post #6 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

the bigger ? is how are you going to launch and where? How much do you weigh, do you weigh enough to right anything bigger then a 16 single handed. Single handed launching/ raising the mast anything bigger then a 16 is hard to do. the 18's sail better and are better for the weight of two people. most 16 are designed to sail with a max of 300# combined crew weight. the Prindle 16 can handle more weight then the Hobie and is a better sailing boat over all. if you have easy lanching and are not worried about righting the boat then go with an 18. Hobie, Prindle and Nacra are your choices in the 18' range. do not get a Sol cat or Trac 16 no matter how cheap. if you are fun sailing/launching single handed then I would get a Prindle 16. single handed sailing you do not need a boat with dagger boards, in a 16 the difference in pointing ability is not measurable. if you are in orange county the best place to sail and launch is Long Beach. Newport is ok but has a speed limit in the bay of 5 MPH and they love to give the cat sailors a ticket and the launch is a 3 mile sail from the ocean. Dana Point is ocean sailing, not much harbor to sail a cat. San Diego and Mission Bay is good sailing in a cat but a long drive.

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post #7 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

Nacra 18 square is the boat for you if you aren't going to trailer. It has great tacking due to it's large daggerboards, and it's extended width will make for hours of great solo sailing. A Hobie 17 has wings and a furling jib for single or multi sailor fun. No matter what you buy, check for soft hulls, as even the best preserved beach cats are starting to get soft.

"cause the fast ones always ride for free." -Mother Love Bone-
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post #8 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

I loved my Prindle 16. Easy to single-hand which was most of the time, good performer, and would beach launch in surf with little problem.
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post #9 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

SA for multis? Ha!!! Have you guys not seen how I have singlehandedly transformed SN into the go-to forum for old beach cats??? PLEASE!

rll - welcome to SN dude. Here is a thread detailing my endless toil in restoring a 1975 Spirit 17 beach cat:

Beach Cats in Rehab!

It's complete with the number of hours it took, the amount of money - and the lessons learned thus far...including how I completely destroyed it on its inaugural sail!

Here's what I'd offer:

1. Don't buy a basket case. It's not worth the money to fix it up. Spend more on a boat that's used but in good shape and ready to sail the moment you buy it. You'll spend that money either way.

2. Make sure the boat comes with a trailer.

3. If you're going used and cheap, and you just want family fun, get a Hobie or a Prindle (skip the others). I'd recommend a Hobie. TONS of parts out there (which you'll need) and either will serve you well in most all sailing conditions you want to hit. And it will easily handle two adults - and even a couple of kids (see my story in the BFS thread).

4. If you want technical and fast, get a Nacra. But be ready for much higher buy-in, a longer learning curve, and more expensive replacement parts.

At the end of the day - I'd say go with a Hobie 16.

Last edited by smackdaddy; 11-08-2012 at 03:02 PM.
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post #10 of 14 Old 11-08-2012
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Re: 16'-18' Catamaran help

Get a Hobie 18 with wings if you want more work to do solo, but more space with a crew... or a Prindle 18 without daggerboards if you want it easier solo and more bouyant with crew.

You asked this on beachcats and I think you got the same (good) answers then, too.

Really, whatever boat you buy you will be stuck with, so just get one and make it work.

If you're going to have more than 1 other person, then get at least an 18 footer. So then, if you're going to solo and don't have a lot of cat experience, don't get larger than an 18 footer. So get an 18 footer.
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