SailNet Community banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi all,

As I continue to dig around looking for details on boats and cruising and safety etc etc., I have asked a fair number of people I know as well as some industry types what counts as an ideal cruising boat. I have even started reading 'The cruising multihull' by Chris White.

Now interestingly, I asked a professional builder their thoughts and they came back with the following...

"If you’re planning on real cruising, 48 is really the minimum for load carrying, safety, and sailing. Load up a smaller boat and it will simply not sail"

and

"Chris White’s book is horribly dated, and gives some very off input on that threshold. If you go for a cat much under 48’ you will be very disappointed with its sailing character."

The 'threshold' here in the second quote refers to me mentioning that the CW book mentions that above 37 feet there wasn't statistical data to justify needing bigger for a 'safe' blue water cruiser ie: no boats larger than 37 feet had sunk/wrecked/had people die.

They further mentioned, contrary to what I have heard around here that 'singlehanding a 48 foot is no problem'. Not only that, they mentioned that their daughter could singlehand the families 62 and that 'sail handling is no problem'!

This is vastly different information than I have seen here that at 48 feet on a catamaran people have not felt their wife could singlehand should they become incapacitated. They did mention that electric winches are mandatory at these sizes but also that "electric winches are bomb proof and we have not seen a single issue with them over a million miles of sailing" and that "stick with lewmar" was the best course of action.

So, from what I read here 40 foot cats are as big as can be single handed yet from a builder/racer I am hearing 48 no problem on up to 62! Why this discrepancy? I have a hunch here that is ultra conservatism at the forum but am curious if something is missing. I do see a fair amount of conservative advice which is good but is it being too conservative?

Thoughts, comments?

just a quick edit - I think what this guy was trying to say was that for him real cruising means having some speed at your disposal and not being on a overloaded boat which would not feel like it sailed well. Also, I gather that in order to have a boat large enough to accomdate sufficient supplies for long range cruising and maintaining safety bigger is better.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,543 Posts
I guess it really depends on what you call real cruising and how many ar going with you. For my wife and I, we felt that the Gemini 105Mc was the perfect thing for east coasting and an occasional hop to the keys or islands. Around the world...maybe not.

If you are taking 4 with you (total 6) on an extended trip, the Gemini may get tight unless you are all very friendly.

Then you get to the $$$, a used but serviceable 48' is going to be half mill or better, and will still likely need some things to be a world cruiser.

As to sail handling, our 42' mono is as much as the two of us want to handle, not saying it couldn't be single handed, she can and we do, but not for extended cruises. Remember too, that every gadget you add or order is going to need care and feeding, more so than the manual option.

All the best no matter what you decide or who you agree with.

dave
 

·
Telstar 28
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Dee Caffari sailed Aviva, an Open 60 sailboat, singlehandedly. She sailed a larger one singlehanded in her previous wrong-way round the world record setting voyage. Both those boats were heavily modified and upgraded to be single-handed by Dee. Most sailors aren't going to be capable of doing what she did, and it doesn't mean that your wife or you would be able to do it.

The main thing that decides how big a catamaran is big enough is how much crap you have to have with you.
A person with spartan needs and modest means can cruise around the world in a 30' boat... if you need to have the large screen HDTV, the satellite phone, the stereo system, running hot and cold water, a big refrigerator, etc., maybe you should re-think what you're doing and stick to land.

Unless you're very wealthy.... a 48' catamaran is going to be a very expensive boat to own, operate and maintain. The costs on a boat go up geometrically, rather than linearly... a 48' boat does not cost 25% more to maintain/own/operate than a 37' boat.

One point on Chris White's book: yes, it is getting a bit long in tooth, and is in need of an update. However, if you look around, the average length of the cruising boat has steadily creeped upward. Tania Aebi's Varuna, which was a Contessa 26, was not all that unusual a boat to see out cruising back when she did her voyage in it.

The sailing press has slowly, but inexorably, pushed larger and larger boats as being necessary for cruising safely. Much of this probably has a lot more to do with the fact that most boat manufacturers are making larger and larger boats as a whole, since the profit margins on the larger boats is considerably greater than that on the smaller boats—the effort it takes to build a Pacific Seacraft Dana is not much less than it takes to build a Catalina 380... but one is easily sold for a lot more money than the other.

When cruising, I would highly recommend sizing the boat to what can be handled by the smallest crew person without the "powered" assistance of electric or hydraulic winches—since that is what might be the case in a worst case scenario. If you don't size the boat to this standard, and you end up in a situation where the smaller crew has to effect a MOB recovery or move the sailboat while the larger is incapacitated and can't... what do you think will happen?

As for the daughter being able to handle the 62' boat... is that with the electrical system failing, during a storm blowing 40+ knots, 30' seas, and trying to claw off a lee shore, with a dead engine, or is that in 75˚, sunny weather with light winds and calm seas. I'm pretty sure I know which it is... and if they needed her to do it in the other conditions, they might be in for a really rude awakening.

IMHO, you really have to look at cruising as a couple as two people single-handing the boat at different times, most of the time.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Joesaila

·
Registered
Joined
·
196 Posts
There is a simple way to see if your catamaran is sufficient for cruising. There is a weight limit placard on it. We have several catamarans from 32' to 41' and all have a maximum load capacity placed on them. The newest being a '09 Lagoon 40. Usually the larger boats are rated for a maximum of 8 people and so many pounds of gear. This includes fuel, water and food. Catamarans aren't considered a displacement vessel so they have limits. Another thing to consider is they don't have ballast and your mono hull may have 1/3 it's weight in ballast My boat weighs 26,000 lbs with 9,500 lbs in ballast). So the biggest worry is overloading. Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Beware Divorce and Despair

You are in a minefield if you have a partner.

It is good to feel the fever coming through your posts. There are so many things to learn and here you can talk to people who have actually cruised as a lifestyle, instead of industry types who want your money eventually.

My recommendation is to get lessons for you and your partner, who needs to be just as confident as you are, without having the fever you have. Then get certified. Then go charter in exotic places, hopefully with a gentle, experienced couple for a good example.

Enjoy this research and training phase. Eventually you will know it all. But you may not have a partner to enjoy it with.

Dan
 

·
Telstar 28
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
Funsail-

That won't work as he's looking to buy a boat... and doesn't have one yet AFAIK.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
This weekend we will be going down to sign up to be port/starboard side 'ballast' at the local club for anyone needing crew for weekend races. I figure we can learn a lot from that. But no Cats around here so much.

Part of reason I am thinking on the boat and its 'issues' is just that safety is top of the list for the SO. Thats why I liked finding those wireless MOB things; something to point out safety features to the SO will help put her mind at ease. Likewise on the boat front, I figure more opinion here can't hurt. I was just suprised to see a builder think 48 was his version of a minimum for cruising safely - plenty have sailed around in much smaller.

I do think bigger is safer just intuitively of course, but just don't like the incremental huge steps in cost that entails. At the moment, I would think 40 is an ideal minimum while 48 would be a best case but expensive maximum. Larger than that I think just gets ridiculous, especially for a couple.
 

·
I don't discuss my member
Joined
·
2,557 Posts
I've been on a 42' cat, and with hydraulics, auto pilot, and all the bells and whistles, it is WAY more boat than I would ever want. Even if cost wasn't an issue. Finding places to dock a much smaller boat is difficult, much less than that monstrosity. You could easily get away with something in the 35' range for 2 people. All the money you save wouldn't have you worrying about what repairs need to be made. Cats have a lot of room down below, and 2 people will use the other 2 to 3 berths as storage and nothing more. No sense in loading up the boat with that much dead weight. Doesn't do a lot for the sailing characteristics of the boat.

The people who have been around the world in boats that are sub 30' in length were sailors. Not perma-vacationers. No reason why you can't incorporate both into your cruising, but take the comments above to heart. I'm 6' and 175, and work out 3-4 times a week. I have a spot on a competitive boat I race on every weekend. I would still not want to grind in a headsail in a blow of a boat 40+ feet. For you safety and that of the boat, make sure that you, and your SO is up to the physical demands of cruising a boat that size. When the wind hits gale force in the ocean, can you trust your crew with your life? B/c honestly, that's all you've got.

In case I didn't make it clear, I think 40+ feet is a huge boat to handle when crossing oceans. I personally wouldn't feel all that great about busting through a storm with a person that was 120# and struggles to carry a gallon of milk up a flight of stairs. I don't mean to piss in your cornflakes, but just something to ponder. I must say, I'm a little jealous. :)
 

·
Telstar 28
Joined
·
1,000 Posts
zz-

well said
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top