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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Sailboat Design and Construction > Multihull
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  #101  
Old 03-13-2014
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

I grew up sailing lasers, hobies, and prindles. I have lived aboard since 2000 and currently cruise full time on a 50 monohull.

I would love to get a cat if I didn't sail open ocean. The speed of some catamarans is good but really that's about it. Many I've sailed on weren't really THAT much faster than a well sailed mono. They aren't really that much more roomy either. I'd rather have a large salon area in a mono. The motion of a monohull is better. Only one engine to maintain.

Ultimately I just prefer a monohull. To each their own though. But I'd think twice about a boat that has an escape hatch on the bottom.
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

How many boats, as a percentage of the whole, will ever sail above 45 north or south of the equator at all? I suspect, even including Oz, we're in single digits. Why would I want my boat to be optimized for conditions that I--quite sensibly--would move heaven and earth to avoid?

To me this is like driving a Humvee in the city (obviously there are more comfortable rides), or riding a draft horse; there are better tools for the job. If the other job came up (rounding the horn) I would get a tool for that job. But it won't. And I'm willing to bet that 90% of the "blue water" boats never see any at all.
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  #103  
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Multihullgirl View Post
I never hear about cats delivered on freighters. Beam makes that cost-prohibitive.
do you really think that all the new european catamarans sold in the US are sailed across?
"Sevenstar Yacht Transport transports new-build yachts manufactured by Azimut, Atlantis, Ferretti, Sunseeker, Princess, Lagoon, Contest and others to dealers and owners worldwide."
from:
Sevenstar transports new built yachts all over the world.
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  #104  
Old 03-13-2014
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
As for people on this thread being "touchy", "opinionated" and "spouting off without first hand knowledge" -- you do realize this is the Internet right?
Quote:
Originally Posted by TropicCat View Post
Ummmm no.

Sailnet occupies a unique position on the internet. Young sailors and new sailors pop on here daily, and depend on Sailnet for expert advice and/or instruction. Or haven't read any of the threads?

This my be your "internet" where you feel free to spout off inaccurate information ... but thousands of new sailors depend on this site. If you can't be accurate, why don't you play on your internet somewhere else?
Seriously?

Before YOU spout off I'd suggest you re-read the post you pulled that from (my first on this thread #74). I said I can see the attraction of a cruising cat and that I'd consider one if/when we upgrade from our current boat. I also asked some specific questions about a cat for the kind of coastal cruising we do and got back some good information that answered my questions/concerns (thanks PDQAltair and MultihullGirl).

On the other hand your posts on this thread have all been pretty defensive. Save your flames for someone who deserves them.


As for SailNet having some "unique" place on the Internet you've got to be kidding. On any forum there are trolls (just drop into SailNet's off topic for a while) and there are those who provide good, useful feedback and information. The Mods do a great job here, but not every post is unique or even useful.
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  #105  
Old 03-13-2014
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
How many boats, as a percentage of the whole, will ever sail above 45 north or south of the equator at all? I suspect, even including Oz, we're in single digits. Why would I want my boat to be optimized for conditions that I--quite sensibly--would move heaven and earth to avoid?
i'd say a 100% of all the boats in ireland, england, scotland, norway, sweden, germany, netherlands, belgium, etc bb - just to name a few...
and most of the french boaters located at the atlantic coast...

all of those are sailing not only well north 45° but also in the northern atlantic which could really turn into a nasty affair...

holy crap - just looked at the map...
i had no idea, that the US is that far south... i mean - 45° N is right at the canadian/US border on the east coast... wow
no wonder you get the impression that 45° N only a minority of boaters are actually sailing...
45° N here in europe is at the height of bordeaux in france...
even the northern part of the adriatic reaches further north - rovinj in istria, croatia is further north...

Last edited by capt vimes; 03-13-2014 at 11:16 AM.
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TropicCat View Post
Ummmm no.

Sailnet occupies a unique position on the internet. Young sailors and new sailors pop on here daily, and depend on Sailnet for expert advice and/or instruction. Or haven't read any of the threads?

This my be your "internet" where you feel free to spout off inaccurate information ... but thousands of new sailors depend on this site. If you can't be accurate, why don't you play on your internet somewhere else?
Perhaps this thread needs to be forked into two:

"Why I [ hate|love ] catamarans", and

"Experienced catamaran sailors speak".

Maybe cat owners could start a thread in the Boat Design/Review forum to which we could point aspiring cat owners looking for sound advice.

There are many pages of cat threads on sailnet; seekers can copy & paste this into their search window to find them:

"cruising catamaran" site:http://www.sailnet.com/forums/
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  #107  
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

As many of you know, we are seriously in the market for a new boat with a Cat at the top of our list. I have spent a lot of time chatting with owners and crawling through them and doing a lot of other research. I do take exception to many comments in this thread, which I will try and point out. So, I will give my perspectives here. Again, I have not owned a cat (yet) but have been trying to make a very informed decision as they are no small sum of money (at least for us). Truth be told, I think we will end up going with a cat... but some of their negatives have given us real pause and make a trawler or even a much larger mono more appealing. SO, here goes:

Pitch Polling. I don't buy the whole "cat is going to flip" business. I am not saying that is not possible, but come on! We are talking a very rare occurrence. I would love to compare that to the number of monos that hole themselves on a reef due to their draft or the number of broken ribs or serious sea sickness that a mono can give. I think I will take my chances.

Motion. While I do not mind the motion of a mono, as a full-time liveaboard with kids, the thought of a boat sitting flat while at sea and not having legos flying around down below is very appealing. In fact, I could see some real safety benefits from this too as I have seen ribs bruised (thought they were broken) on a violent roll in a storm. SO there is another big positive.

Draft. Don't underestimate the huge benefits of shallow draft. At least where we cruise, that opens up a whole other set of options for us. It opens up more anchorages and in my opinion, the ability to get more protection.

Speed. Sorry, I suspect that the typical cat will outrun the typical mono... even those which are loaded down for cruising. Our friend on her Leopard 47 just averaged 8-9 knots to the virgins and often did more than that. Can a performance mono do that? Yep... or more. But performance monos have some tradeoffs too.

Pounding. Most of the Cat owners get used to it, some do not. But you only pound to weather. Frankly, I think this one would take us a while.

Pointing. Common complaint. THey don't point well. There are performance cats that point a lot better than the fat cruisers, but in general, that is a good rule of thumb.

Slippage... ahh, now we come to a real issue with cats and one that has given us a lot of pause. Depending on the size of your cat, this may be a real issue. For example, my price at Marathon Marina for a Leopard 44 was out of sight. Due to the beam, they would charge me for a 60' slip AND add a $1/foot. My other favorite marina, Snook Bight, had only two cat slips (both taken) and would not put me on the wall due to my beam. In fact, they were not sure I would fit into their cat slips. In St Pete, I am sure we would have to take a double slip or T Head. I have no doubt they would charge us appropriately... but I have yet to call them. So before purchasing your cat, do your homework on where you are going to put her. As a friend of mine said, who owns a Leopard 47 (and she participates here... but I will let her chime in if she wants), be prepared for 1.5 times a mono of similar length. That comment pretty much agrees with my research... if you can get in at all.

Mast Height. THe larger cats have real mast height issues. We are considering two boats right now: Leopard 44 and 48. They were our favorite of all the cats we went on (except for the Antares... which was fantastic but way too expensive for us). THe 44 comes with a mast height around 68ish but you can have it cut down to 63ish. We would do that if we bought that boat to make it ICW compatible. The 48... aint even an option. I forget, but I think its mast height is 78 or so? No matter, it ain't going down the ICW and I don't care for that.

Power. Many cats are woefully underpowered. THat was another comment I heard from owners. I noticed on the Leopards and Antares especially, they put larger engines in than their predecessors.

Yards. I had not thought of this one, but it was brought up to me by a couple of Cat owners. Finding a travel lift to haul these cats can be difficult... but doable. However, you will nee to research your yards and may be forced into more expensive yards.

Look at the boom height. I think it was the Fountain or the Lagoon, I cannot remember now, but I am convinced you would need a step ladder to get to that boom. Even the other cats (except the Leopard and Antares) had somewhat similar issues... though not as bad as the Lagoon I think it was. THis is not an issue unique to Cats (many Hunters come to mind), but it is something worth considering as you begin narrowing down between cats.

Lines and sheets. The Leopard did a great job of running their lines centrally to make for easier single handling. The Leopard and Antares also did a good job of visibility (think parking that monster). The others, like the Lagoon, not so much. THe Antares actually ran their lines through conduits which is something you will either love or hate. My wife's first comment was, "I don't care for that because I want to see my lines and if there is a chaffing issue." Cant disagree with her on that point, but keeping the lines out of the sun has a huge benefit too.

Space is incredible... Wow. Lots and lots of space. But except for the Antares, take a look at the cabinets. First off, many are open without fiddleboards. THere are also open cabinets where they could have (and should have) put doors. WHile the Lagoon felt the most open and airy of all the cats, it was also the biggest offender for not having doors over the cabinets. These are the types of things that make a boat more open for the boat show or maybe the charter business, but aren't practical for fulltime living aboard. And here is another HUGE gripe: except for the Antares (and in all fairness, the Leopard), all the cabinets are that press board Ikea looking stuff with stickers for wood grain. Given the incredible costs of these boats, it shocks me they would not put a little more money into higher end cabinetry. They could use to learn something from Catalina... though given the price, Hinkley, Hylas or Oyster may be more appropro. The Antares really did a good job here with honeycombed cabinet doors and cabinets, tabbed into bulkheads, that were both light, good looking, and robust.

Costs. The costs of these boats are high compared to a Mono... much higher. THese prices are all available over the internet or published, so I will list them here to give others an idea as they consider cats compared to monos. The Leopard 44 is about a half million. In reality, you would end up putting some more money past that to get her up to cruising ready. The 48' is about 100k more, which given the small increase, may be worth it... but look at the mast height! THe Lagoon and Fountain (and the other one... I forget the make but got Boat of the Year with CW) were all about the same price. THe Antares: A cool million, takes about two years to get it, requires you to come pick it up in S AMerica, and you have about zero options to choose from... they choose everything for you like it or not (even your electronics). In all fairness to the Antares, she comes out of the factory cruise ready from screechers, trysail, spin, water maker, electronics, etc. But still!!!! Ask yourself what kind of a mono you could buy for those prices??? Or a trawler. Or a really nice waterfront house to park your mono behind...

Delivery costs. These boats can come across on their own hulls, but often do not. Too much wear and tear on the boat. Fountain, as I recall though it may have been Lagoon, were offering free freighter delivery as a boat show incentive. Regardless, make sure you plan ahead how you are going to get the boat to the US (assuming you are not a European) and factor those costs in too.

Lifeline heights. I have been critical of many manufacturers (BeneHuntalina) for years over their lifeline heights. Does it really cost that much more not to have knee trippers? The Antares was great about this, The Leopard was ok, and the Lagoon and Fountain took their designs from Beneteau.

Visibility from helm. Stand there and make sure you can see all the way around the boat. Think about parking that monster and seeing all four corners. One manufacturer, (the boat of the year which I cannot remember the name), actually had twin helms at the stern. I did not care for that at all. IN a large following sea, a poop could be really bad.

So there you have it. That is my rundown on cats with what we have learned and researched. The bottom line is that they can be fantastic options, but there are some real tradeoffs that will require research and consideration. The smaller cats may not have some of the same tradeoffs but quite frankly, I did not find many of their positives overwhelmingly better than that of a mono of similar cost. For us personally, if it were just the two of us, I would probably stay with a mono due to the cost, ease of handling/docking, and our familiarity with them. For families... man, it is hard to beat a Cat if you can deal with the tradeoffs (cost maybe the biggest one).

Brian
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  #108  
Old 03-13-2014
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

As I see it, my opinion, y'all's may vary:

In regards seaworthiness, I believe that the newer (last 7-10 years) catamaran designs are frankly giving up the concept, and that is the main reason why I went through a lot of time and trouble to buy a 20 year old boat.

Older catamarans also have very different fit and finishes, much better quality, than the newer designs.

There are of course variances, but the above are trends that I have observed.
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Old 03-13-2014
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

Cruisingdad. Great post and it seems you have a pretty realistic idea on cats and their positives and negatives.
You probably have about the same chance of flipping a cruising cat as you would sinking a monohull. The flipped catamaran always gets a lot of press compared to the sunk mono as there is usually something to photograph.
Definitely a different motion between monos and cats. Some people prefer the motion of the cat, others don't. One of the main reasons we bought our first cat was I wasn't able to handle the slow roll of a mono in an exposed anchorage.
I wouldn't think there is a big speed difference between one of the modern cats built for charter and a monohull built for cruising.
In our 23 years of cat ownership we have never paid more than a mono for a slip.
Costs are definitely higher for a cat foot to foot but there is also a lot more boat.
Visibility is a big one. The fly bridge cats probably have great visibility until they put up the screecher or jib, then.......this to me is something to really check out before buying.
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Re: How do you feel about catamarans?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smj View Post
Cruisingdad. Great post and it seems you have a pretty realistic idea on cats and their positives and negatives.
You probably have about the same chance of flipping a cruising cat as you would sinking a monohull. The flipped catamaran always gets a lot of press compared to the sunk mono as there is usually something to photograph.
Definitely a different motion between monos and cats. Some people prefer the motion of the cat, others don't. One of the main reasons we bought our first cat was I wasn't able to handle the slow roll of a mono in an exposed anchorage.
I wouldn't think there is a big speed difference between one of the modern cats built for charter and a monohull built for cruising.
In our 23 years of cat ownership we have never paid more than a mono for a slip.
Costs are definitely higher for a cat foot to foot but there is also a lot more boat.
Visibility is a big one. The fly bridge cats probably have great visibility until they put up the screecher or jib, then.......this to me is something to really check out before buying.
I suspect the slip costs depend on where you cruise and what your beam is. Snook Bight, for example, did not charge more per foot for the cat, but only had two slips. Marathon charged through the nose because they could... there were really no other options!! I have not checked with Key West yet but I suspect similar prices as Marathon.

Lots of good info on this thread. I have enjoyed reading it.

Brian
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