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post #29 of Old 05-16-2018
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Re: Catamaran or Monohull- which is best?

Originally Posted by SeaStar58 View Post
The time I have spent working at the sailing center has been an eye opener on this topic. Many different types of boats are sailed from the sailing center mono, cats and tri-hulls. Weather that may make for a scary heavy lean, self righting knockdown or roundabout in a mono and an exciting tale to tell can result in a knock over/turtle and salvage in a multi-hull. Yes technically its harder to knock over a multi-hull boat yet those are the ones we are most often called out to rescue. On a small multi-hull its an inconvenience to send out a rib or skiff to right them however on a larger one its a salvage operation.

One may note that for severely disabled sailors who are paraplegics a self righting mono-hull is the sailing vessel of choice and not a multi-hull. We have a number of handicapped sailors who are paraplegics or double amputees who single handed race and about all of them race the heavily ballasted self righting mono's.

Then we have events such as the gents from Michigan who sailed into a squall on their multi-hull out in the Gulf of Mexico without dropping sail/reefing soon enough and ended up pitch pooling the boat having a total loss. Big error in judgement there however with a much more dramatic end result.

I am no expert however have seen enough watching the rescue boats go out to give serious consideration to the pluses and minuses of both types of boats. Currently I would be inclined to go with a mono-hull for a live aboard vessel that can deal with worst case scenarios with a much greater chance of returning to upright after a knockdown and get you more boat for lower cost both on the initial purchase and in marina fees.
Every choice has its pros and cons, but it all comes down to priorities in the end. I’m with Seastar58 on the self-righting issue, based—if nothing else—on an event 20 or so years ago.

We were in cruising class in the Race Rock Regatta, out of Stonington. As we rounded the western end of Fishers Island, the winds picked up to 45+ kts out of the NE, as we struggled with a sail malfunction. (Our brand new sail could not be reefed properly and we had lost 2 battens—all resolved later under the North warranty). We were beating into it with a single reef and could not flatten the sail as we got the lower lifelines in the water on the roll. We were not enjoying the sailing that day, but we and the boat were fine. However, that was not true of several boats.

When we got back to Stonington Harbor, we saw an overturned 24’ catamaran. That boat had pitchpoled—inside the breakwater—5 minutes after our cruising class start. Maybe they were lucky that they didn’t get caught on the ocean side of Fishers Island and had rescue close at hand.

My vote goes to monohull for obvious reasons.
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