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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 07-02-2004
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Catamarans

Thinking about purchasing a 37ft cat. Are multihulls safe for off shore trips? I mostly sail the east coast.
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Old 07-02-2004
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Catamarans

Try asking Bruno Peyron or Olivier de Kersauson about multihull seakeeping abilities. They''ve each won the Jules Verne trophy for ''round the world trips in them. It took each of them less tthan 65 days. As a class, multihulls are fine for off-shore trips. So are ping-pong balls, but tthat doesn''t mean I''d go to sea on a ping-pong ball, or the first Hobie that came along, either. Ask this question in the "buying a boat" section, and specify exactly the design and condition of the boat and what your expected use will be.
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Old 07-12-2004
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Catamarans

Yea, but to be fair, the multi-hulls you are talking about do not resemble, in the slightest, what regular production multi-hulls are built like.

There are lots of people out there world cruising in cats and trimarans... multi-hulls don''t heel much, and a lot of people like that, however, it means that they bounce around a lot in a swell, and are famous for making people puke... I''d just suggest that you wrangle your way out on something similar to what you''re considering to see how the motion agrees with you...

I, personally, prefer a good ol'' monohull.

You can charter cats in St. Lucia and sail some good ocean stretches around the islands there.

Here is a link to a couple cruising in a trimaran...

http://www.nativeblend.net/adventures/

Good Luck
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Old 07-13-2004
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Catamarans

I am a confirmed monohull sailor but yes multihulls can be safe offshore just like monohulls. Both can be dangerous too it depends on the boat.

You will get better quality answers if you tell the people on the forum more about the boat.

Good luck
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Old 07-14-2004
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Catamarans

It really comes down to the boat and what you fear the most. Monohulls sink and Multihulls capsize but float (although there are much more frequent reports of the bigger cruising cats sinking as of late). Monohulls are more likely to run aground, multihulls are nearly imposible to free when they do run aground. Multihulls are more likely to find a shallow corner of the harbor in which to anchor, while monohulls are more likely to find a slip and a boat yard that can haul them out for repairs. Monohulls are likely to be faster in light to moderate winds especially upwind and downwind, than most cruising multihulls, but cruising multihulls are likely to be faster reaching in a breeze. Monohulls are likely to require less maintainence (fewer engines, less surface area, and simplier lower stressed rigs). Multihulls are likely to have physically more space for a given sailing length, monohulls are likely to have more usuable space and carrying capacity for a given build quality, age and budget. Monohulls heel more and roll more, multihulls are likely to have a quicker snappier motion. Monhulls do better in a chop. Multihulls do better surfing. Monohulls are blown around less when docking, multihulls have two engines allowing them to turn in a tight radius.

So it all comes down to what you really want out of a boat and the specifics of the boat in question.

Jeff

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Old 07-14-2004
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Catamarans

To add to the excellent points above, I''ve sailed cats in the caribbean on charters, but only sail monohulls here at home in the SF bay. My wife, of course, loves the cats--says she likes the extra room and lack of heeling. Something to consider, though, is the lack of heeling--often touted as one of the advantages of a cruising cat--can mask a potential flaw. When a monohull heels, it''s dumping energy out of the rig into the water. A cat can''t do that very well. Imagine you''re going to weather and a big gust hits. In a monohull, the boat will heel, and likely try to head up--shedding the load from the rig. The cat will not heel, nor will it tend to head up automatically. In fact, in this situation in a cat the best thing to do is to fall off and let the cat accellerate, heading up when the gust clears.

One of the local tourist cats <A href=''http://www.adventurecat.com'' target=''_new''>www.adventurecat.com</A> has lost its rig twice in the past year and a half, and speculation now is that this has been caused by her wide beam stopping her from being able to heel at all in a gust, and being too big to quickly turn downwind to run away. See <A href=''http://www.latitude38.com/LectronicLat/2004/0604/Jun18/June18.html'' target=''new''>www.latitude38.com</A> for a report on this and some discussion.

I guess the moral of the story is, whatever you ultimately buy, make sure you''re well-trained on handling it in heavy weather, especially if you''re planning on making extended passages.

bw
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