Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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Things that can make a cat less seaworthy:
High windage—look for boats with lower cabin profiles, etc.
Deeper keels—if the boat has fixed keels, they should be as shallow as possible to minimize the risk of tripping the boat in heavy seas. The better designs will have a retractable board—either a centerboard or daggerboard to give decent windward performance without sacrificing shallow water capabilities.
A full bridgedeck—the better boats generally have less weight forward and an open partial bridgedeck with netting forward, rather than a solid bridgedeck.
Good reserve buoyancy in the hulls forward—this can help prevent the bows from burying themselves, which is often the triggering event to the boat pitchpoling. For the same reason, it is generally a good idea to leave a catamaran or trimaran a bit heavy aft, especially if the boat is overloaded.
One reason the Wharram Polynesian-derived catamarans tend to be very seaworthy is that they have very low windage, since they tend to have a very spartan bridgedeck. They also have netting between the hulls for a good portion of the foreward part of the bridgedeck. However, they do give up considerable living space in doing so.
Be aware that the scantlings for multihulls are quite different from those of monohulls, as they do not have to support the weight of a massive keel. This means that the hulls are often lighter in design and materials than a similar LOA monohull.
The better multihulls IMHO will have cored hulls and decks. Airex is an excellent choice for hulls and end-grain balsa or divinylcell is a good choice for the deck, cabin top and topsides. The use of kevlar in the hull laminates can make for a very damage resistant laminate that can resist holing in even severe impact situations. The better multihulls will actually be buoyant and effectively unsinkable, even if severely holed, since the materials they are made of are overall lighter than water.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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