Mono vs Cat for purposes of learning/teaching... - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 05-10-2011
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Mono vs Cat for purposes of learning/teaching...

Firstly, I'm not trying to start the well-worn (if often jovial) debate about monohulls vs multihulls. I already have my preference there (monos) and a reasonable (in my mind) reason for it - the fact I plan to blue-water cruise with my wife in one.

With that out of the way, I am taking my time learning the ropes (literally and figuratively) alongside my second eldest son. We are looking now at purchasing a small boat to continue said learning in the upcoming "off-season" as sailing clubs are winding down for five months or so here in Oz. While I would love to get myself a small Corsair to keep to with the "mono" learning I started on, there doesn't seem to be one available for sale anywhere I've looked at the moment.

Patience being a sailing virtue, that wasn't bothering me until I was offered a Surfcat with the bits & bobs for a very reasonable sum. Before taking up the offer, I was wondering what people thought of the Surfcats for learning the ropes with a young lad. We're still going to move to a mono later when the skills are up and we can take others out with us, but I'm hoping someone can let me know if they are bad for learning in, too difficult to handle on one season's sailing experience, or other snippet of info I might be better off knowing BEFORE I buy the thing.

Thanks in advance for anything offered up.
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Old 05-10-2011
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I'm not familiar with that particular cat, but in general I'd say that it doesn't matter whether one learns on a mono or a cat.

The important thing is that he doesn't learn on a jetski.
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Old 05-10-2011
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I'm biased in favor of monohulls for learning on. They have a central pivot point and tack quickly. A cat has 'railroad tracks' and tacks about as quickly as a railroad train too.

Monos first will give you a more precise feel for sailing, especially upwind. Then go multi if you must.

Did I mention I'm biased?
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Old 05-10-2011
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While nolatom makes some good points about the differences between mono and multi hulls for learning on I'll offer a different perspective.
I've sailed a few beach cats and I can say for certain that getting one for learning would be a really bad idea. The reason this is a TERRIBLE idea is that your son will probably LOVE the thrill a beach catamaran offers with it's speed and wetness. After sailing on one of these he'll be really bored on any mono keel boat that can't get up on a plane making 10 knots.
Your son might even take up board sailing or surfing - heaven forbid!

If the price is cheap enough then go for it.
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Old 05-10-2011
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CalebD has a good point; get a teenage on a beach cat and you'll end up with a teenager explaining to you why you're all wrong... again.

More seriously, while you can learn on either, chose a jib+main monohull daysailor and go bash in all sorts of weather. If you chose a solid used locally popular brand--not the cheapest but something popular and respected--you will resell it for what you paid for it. That has been my experience.

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Old 05-11-2011
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Much appreciated on the views guys. I think we'll get the boat, even if it's not perfect. It's a choice of that or none at the moment (given current market, monetary considerations, and the looming end of the season), and I'd much rather the ability to sail a multi with my son than to spend the next five months without a boat!

Some minor things to mention, in case there are more commenters waiting in the wings
  • The son I am sailing with & who will share the boat with me is not yet ten. I have a few years yet before he starts mouthing off to me (about sailing or other subjects)
  • That said, I have an older son coming close on his teens who I would really like to get excited. Him sailing a catamaran is much better than him sitting at home playing computer games. I have (some) hope he'll get involved and would classify the fact he is sailing a catamaran as an unfortunate, yet acceptable, side-effect of getting him sailing!
  • I've looked for a day sailor of the style used in the area, but there doesn't seem to be any around that I'd really like (Corsair) and the other type (16' skiffs sailed on Lake Macquarie) seem a bit more athletic and "tricky" to sail than I'm comfortable with at my current skill level.
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Old 05-11-2011
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Some thoughts on 'beach cats'.
If you are sailing it right then it is going to tip over and even turtle (go upside down) on you. Wearing a life vest should be part of the program even if you are a good swimmer. Learning how to right the boat after a capsize should be lesson #1.
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Old 05-11-2011
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Just from experience, I've been an cat sailor long before sailing a mono hull. While the thrill of a fast cat is quite something, the feel of a mono hull is quite different. The two biggest differences I had to get used to were how fast a mono hull tacks as compared to a beach cat and the the difference in feel of heeling. Where the cat gives you a lifting motion the mono hull gives you a rolling motion. Quite a different feel.
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Old 05-11-2011
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A lot depends on what you want to accomplish with the learning. If you want to learn to sail, learn on a small monohull. I think that those skills will best translate to any other type of sailing you do. If the goal is to just learn to sail a beach cat, then learn on one.

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Old 05-11-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BentSailor View Post
Much appreciated on the views guys. I think we'll get the boat, even if it's not perfect. It's a choice of that or none at the moment (given current market, monetary considerations, and the looming end of the season), and I'd much rather the ability to sail a multi with my son than to spend the next five months without a boat!

Some minor things to mention, in case there are more commenters waiting in the wings
  • The son I am sailing with & who will share the boat with me is not yet ten. I have a few years yet before he starts mouthing off to me (about sailing or other subjects)
  • That said, I have an older son coming close on his teens who I would really like to get excited. Him sailing a catamaran is much better than him sitting at home playing computer games. I have (some) hope he'll get involved and would classify the fact he is sailing a catamaran as an unfortunate, yet acceptable, side-effect of getting him sailing!
  • I've looked for a day sailor of the style used in the area, but there doesn't seem to be any around that I'd really like (Corsair) and the other type (16' skiffs sailed on Lake Macquarie) seem a bit more athletic and "tricky" to sail than I'm comfortable with at my current skill level.
Cripes Bent, have you checked the temperature outside this morning ? Fookin' cold out there mate. You might need a wetsuit. (We sailed down from Port Stephens last weekend, chilly to say the least.)

Anywho, if it floats and you can afford then its the right boat. Get out there and enjoy yourself. Worry about the right boat later on.

Oh yeah, and you need to practice cos a certain Womboat is planning on doing the Heaven Can Wait 24 hour on the Lake later in the year. Thought you might be interested in a crew position ?
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