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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 03-07-2008
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Cat vs Mono

At the risk of sounding stupid (too late I guess), Are there any particular differences in handling a catamaran (38 ft), than a monohull of the same length? We are chartering an Admiral 38 for 10 days in BVI next week, and it suddenly occurs to me that I have not handled a cat of that size. Any particular tricks or worries as pertains to mooring on a ball or gettting to and from the dock? Thanks,

Freeman
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Old 03-07-2008
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Monohull guy here, so I'm not objective: Monohulls are better upwind, and way way better in tacking. Multis are better on a reach or downwind, because less wetted surface, so in a way it depends on where your destination is.


I'll leave multihull handling and tips to the multi sailors, they know it, I don't.
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Old 03-07-2008
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Most cats that size have dual engines and props... so you can turn them almost on axis, making maneuvering in the harbor and docking it much simpler, once you get the hang of it.

Reef a cat for the strength of the gusts, not the average wind speeds... it can't bleed off the energy of the gusts by heeling, the way a monohull does.

The cat probably has a lot more windage than a comparable LOA monohull, so it will be affected by the wind at low speeds far more. The two engines can make up for a lot of that though, at least under power.
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Old 03-07-2008
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The Admiral 38 is a nice Catamaran. Heavily built as most fully ocean capable cat's are.
Admirals don't have real keels so point to about 45 degrees at best but you'll be pinching to get there - best point at 50 or so.

My Gemini has boards, I can point to 35 and pinch to 30.

On the motor - having two will be different. You can turn them in their own length, slide it sideways to a pier etc. Full sized Cat's are wide too - depending on the helm arrangement seeing the off side can be hard - I for one have never had a problem.
Generally, you will not see the mooring ball, a crew member will have to direct to as to distance and angle. A good catamaran able trick is to use only one motor (the off side) and back up to a ball's pennant so the helmsman can both see and then if single handing pick up the pennant him/her self.
Because the boat weighs in at around 20k pounds it will coast pretty much like a mono - the weight of the boat keeps it moving forward.
By comparison my Gemini weighs 10k pounds at 34 feet.
On the sails - it will tack slower than you are used to. I've never sailed on the Admiral but have on the Maxim 38 (aka Voyage 38). Backwinding the jib on a tack might be needed, especially in low wind; don't let it bother you just hold the active sheet on tacking, watch the jib backwind, count to four or so and release the active sheet. Or course that's only in light wind which you won't find in the BVI much this time of year.

Too bad it's next week - I'd take you out for a demo ride/sail and show you the differences.

Enjoy - let us know what you thought when you get back

Chuck
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Old 03-07-2008
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Thanks for the gouge, guys. I had not even thought about the arrangements of the engine(s). That should be fun. Apparently the trades have been ferocious this year (30-40 kts) so far, but they say it has calmed down this month. lets hope for a happy medium. Maybe I will come back a convert!
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Old 03-07-2008
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I have an older Gemini 3000 catamaran. I love to hand the wheel over when I have guests aboard. Singlehanding as much as I do, I'm pretty tired of being at the helm, but it's a thrill to guests. I have a hard time prying them from the wheel.

One thing I've noticed is that people tend to over-steer my cat. I know that if I have the sails set right, not much steering is necessary. On a broad reach she'll steer herself for as much as an hour at a time. She'll drift a few degrees back and forth, but pretty much stay on course.

New helmsmen always seem to be furiously turning the wheel back and forth to stay on a constant course. I try to assure them that isn't necessary. But it's hard to convince them of this. And unfortunately, the wheel doesn't give feedback like the tiller on my old Pearson Ariel.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by NautiG View Post
I have an older Gemini 3000 catamaran. I love to hand the wheel over when I have guests aboard. Singlehanding as much as I do, I'm pretty tired of being at the helm, but it's a thrill to guests. I have a hard time prying them from the wheel.

One thing I've noticed is that people tend to over-steer my cat. I know that if I have the sails set right, not much steering is necessary. On a broad reach she'll steer herself for as much as an hour at a time. She'll drift a few degrees back and forth, but pretty much stay on course.

New helmsmen always seem to be furiously turning the wheel back and forth to stay on a constant course. I try to assure them that isn't necessary. But it's hard to convince them of this. And unfortunately, the wheel doesn't give feedback like the tiller on my old Pearson Ariel.

Scott
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Tony Smith made them right Scott, mine tracks like a train on the rails on pretty much any point of sail.
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Old 03-07-2008
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Multihulls track better because they don't heel. The heeling moment on a monohull puts the center of effort out over the water and makes them want to turn. The center of effort stays over the boat (most of the time) in a multi. Balancing a multi is no effort. (point in their favour)
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Old 03-07-2008
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feeling the slot on a cat takes some time at the helm. also, when you're going to weather in a seaway, the rapid movement of the two hulls can be a little uneasy and "quick" in motion compared to a mono. they are great for privacy and space.
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Also, I've only taken a mooring a few times. Singlehanding, I've either motored along side the mooring and picked it up with a boat hook from the helm; I then tie it off on the stern cleat until settled and then transfer it to the bow. Or, if the weather is blowing or tide flowing, I've also put out an anchor near the mooring, dinghied over to it, attached a line and then pulled myself in.

I don't get seasick easily, but I've done so more often at anchor on my cat, than underway. If the wind is blowing in one direction, and the tide in another, the cat will spin at anchor. Add to that a chop or gentle swell, and it's a recipe for disaster.

Scott
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