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Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

I’m looking for anyone with first hand experience on both type of boats here. I’ve sailed on Catamarans over the years and I do appreciate sailing and it’s many benefits. However, I’ve recently started looking at several Power Cats that are very efficient at slow cruise (7 to 10 kts). I figure there is some wash in expenses from loosing the cost of maintaining sail and rigging? However, my main question is about my concern of the potential loss of the stabilizing of the ride/boat that comes with sails while underway. My plan is to cruise from the east coast to Grenada and basically run Grenada to .... maybe the Bahamas (maybe just stay south of PR?) for several years or longer depending, when I retire. I read so many times about everyone doing a lot of motoring heading down that I started considering the power cat thing. I’m one of those people who likes power boats and sail boats, lol. I’m power boater in Beaufort, NC in my regular life so to speak but for example, I’ll be sailing a 45 Lagoon in the BVI in July. I’ve just never been on a power cat, except a ferry, to be able to compare. Thanks in advance for any feedback.

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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

Lots of folks with experience on both power and sail boats. Sort of a narrow field, if they both need to be multi-hulls.

I think how much one chooses to sail in the Caribbean is a matter of time and patience. Itís not a certainty that youíll motor often, unless you choose to. If youíre retired, you can always choose a better sailing window.

I think this is just going to come down to personal preference for mode of travel. Personally, beyond preferring to sail, I do like the redundancy of propulsion. I suppose most power cats have two motors. I guess one other thought is the aggravation/limitation associated with needing fuel. Especially in the islands, where supplies can be highly variable in cost and quality.


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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

Since most of the roomarans are rather poor sailboats and often need at least one engine running most of the time, I can see no problem with your idea of purchasing a power cat instead. Very few of the bareboat cats we see down here actually sail between anchorages.
As most crossings in the eastern Caribbean are 80 miles or less (a day trip for a power cat) the comfort of the trip should not be much of a consideration. The only long trip (offshore) you might have would be from the T&C to the Virgins or PR. If you found the ride too uncomfortable, you could add a small steadying sail like some of the smaller trawlers have.
However, you should consider that fuel prices can be many times more than they are in the US, in some places. Also, finding capable and reliable engine repair personnel can be quite difficult, even in the US these days, never mind a small island in the EC.
Given that you have the finances to fill your tanks at any price, you are a capable engineer with adequate spares, and you have no desire to cross oceans, I think a power car would be a great way to cruise the Bahamas and eastern Caribbean.

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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

Thanks for your response. Being able to sail if fuel is unavailable is certainly a plus for sail boat option.
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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

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Originally Posted by capta View Post
Since most of the roomarans are rather poor sailboats and often need at least one engine running most of the time, I can see no problem with your idea of purchasing a power cat instead. Very few of the bareboat cats we see down here actually sail between anchorages.
As most crossings in the eastern Caribbean are 80 miles or less (a day trip for a power cat) the comfort of the trip should not be much of a consideration. The only long trip (offshore) you might have would be from the T&C to the Virgins or PR. If you found the ride too uncomfortable, you could add a small steadying sail like some of the smaller trawlers have.
However, you should consider that fuel prices can be many times more than they are in the US, in some places. Also, finding capable and reliable engine repair personnel can be quite difficult, even in the US these days, never mind a small island in the EC.
Given that you have the finances to fill your tanks at any price, you are a capable engineer with adequate spares, and you have no desire to cross oceans, I think a power car would be a great way to cruise the Bahamas and eastern Caribbean.

Thanks for your reply Capta. You brought up some good points to consider. I will say that if I do end up going with a sail boat, it will be a Cat. Either way, you still have 2 engines to maintain. However, you canít beat the fact that you can sail if the engines both fail, unlikely as a double failure is. My list of acceptable power Cats is very short as I canít justify it unless they can cruise at sail boat speed...7 to 10 kts, at around 2 to 2.5 gph. Iím not going to be in the super wealthy category. I donít agree that Cats are poor sailing craft. They donít point upwind as well without dagger boards and you could argue under very rough conditions they may be at a disadvantage, but other than that and the price, you canít beat them for living on board. They are faster and more comfortable to ride on under sail too in most conditions. Most of the time you are at mooring or dock and then the extra space pays off. Like you said, retired with weather windows, you can pick your days. JMO.

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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

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......unlikely as a double failure is.
I suppose a bad load of fuel could take them both down. Just thinking.


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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

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I suppose a bad load of fuel could take them both down. Just thinking.
I agree, one of the few scenarios that would do that. I should probably just charter a power cat one time but honestly, when in that part of the world I do like sailing. I think Iím more of the mind to buy the sail boat but trying to talk myself into the power cat, lol.
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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

I would imagine fewer complexities with power cat
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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

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Originally Posted by Jonathan Smith View Post
I donít agree that Cats are poor sailing craft. They donít point upwind as well without dagger boards and you could argue under very rough conditions they may be at a disadvantage, but other than that and the price, you canít beat them for living on board. They are faster and more comfortable to ride on under sail too in most conditions. Most of the time you are at mooring or dock and then the extra space pays off. Like you said, retired with weather windows, you can pick your days. JMO.
Capta lives and sails in charter boat central. Those people are on vacation, in weather and conditions they usually aren't familiar with, in cruising grounds they aren't familiar with, with a boat full of people who often don't do much sailing outside of chartering, who all want to make the next anchorage in time for happy hour and dinner ashore.

Most of them would be better off chartering a power cat, but they motor the sail cat around for the above reasons.

This is a reflection of the above more than of the boats themselves. You are correct in your description.

BTW, most "condocats" are no worse sailing performance than many popular cruising boats. I'd bet on a Lagoon 440 over a Morgan Out Island 51 or Island Packet 440 any day - no contest at all from 50* AWA back. Pick any other "proper" cruising popular monohull - Tayana, Hans Christian, etc - and compare sailing performance to the condo cats.

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Re: Sail Cat vs. Power/Trawler Cat

Good synopsis
Those folks are banging out a $vacay$..quite a different thing
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