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Old 09-11-2018, 05:28   #1
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Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

This is a tough one.

I'm drawn to the idea of sailing and possibly crossing an ocean or two under sail. I've been sailing my whole life in North and South America.

I am trying to determine if my next boat should be a powercat or a sailing cat.

I like solitude and quiet living on the hook with an occasional stay in a marina.

I want range. I want to cross oceans without needing to fill up the tanks. I also want economy. I am happy to spend money on fuel. I mean you can buy a lot of fuel for the cost of sails and a rig. However, I'd like to get there efficiently and at a good speed.

For this reason I'm leaning toward a foiling power cat.

Does anyone think it's a stupid idea to forget all about sailing and just do a foiling power cat?

What about resale value?

I'm thinking of the thread "Cruising Sailboats a dying breed". It's pretty apparent people don't really want to sail anymore and as the current sailors age out, they are being replaced with people who want to charter or want to own simple, reliable boats that are easy to take out, run and maintain.

Does this mean a power cat is more attractive at resale these days and into the future?

They sure cost a lot more new right now. Why is that?
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:09   #2
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

A foiling power cat?

If you think rigs and sails are expensive, wait until youíre maintaining lifting foils!!

Go sail, the light weight required to foil efficiently means youíre not going to carry enough fuel for the range youíre considering.
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:11   #3
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

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A foiling power cat?

If you think rigs and sails are expensive, wait until you’re maintaining lifting foils!!

Go sail, the light weight required to foil efficiently means you’re not going to carry enough fuel for the range you’re considering.
Hmm. Do the foils break a lot or is it a matter of keeping them clean?

I am not familiar with the extra expense.

Thanks for the advice
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Old 09-11-2018, 06:17   #4
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

It depends on the area where you are going and what you are doing. A power cat is great for coastal cruising, sailing up rivers and canals etc. The Med would be perfect for a MC, always changing wind directions, no wind or gale force... Under sails it is a challenge there, a MC would be easier for short distances, fuel is expensive, but available everywhere, also parts and repair services. You can cross inland Europe on the french waterways or the Danube river / Black sea to the north, explore many countries inland while using the cat as a house boat.

If you intent to cross oceans, a sailing cat is better and more reliable, also the trade winds are quite stable and strong. Fuel is expensive with some few exceptions and some times dirty in remote locations that could bring you in trouble.

Power cats have much larger engines and are more thirsty than sailing cats too, but the comfort is great.

There are only a few PC out there, most recreational Cats are sailing vessel - I guess for a good reason.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:30   #5
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

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Hmm. Do the foils break a lot or is it a matter of keeping them clean?

I am not familiar with the extra expense.

Thanks for the advice


On a foiling boat like a flying phantom catamaran the foils end up with chips and dings from small debris in the water. If something like this is installed on a boat thatís left in the water youíll also contend with fouling that ruins the foil shape requiring constant attention.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:46   #6
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

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On a foiling boat like a flying phantom catamaran the foils end up with chips and dings from small debris in the water. If something like this is installed on a boat thatís left in the water youíll also contend with fouling that ruins the foil shape requiring constant attention.
Thanks for that data point.

How do you feel about more simple foil assist? As in not true foiling but a little extra lift to push the boat higher on its waterline? Like a canard on the nose of an airplane?

Also, about the fuel. What if you carried enough fuel for an ocean crossing only when you were doing an ocean crossing, then after it was burned, you returned to light ship mode?

Or maybe the whole ocean crossing vessel idea isn't even necessary since you can ship a boat across by freighter?

I have a pretty adaptable plan here but am trying to narrow things down a bit based on what I'm looking for in boats

1) ease of use
2) comfort (both at anchor and on passages)
3) Simplicity of systems for a smaller to do list
4) Being able to take this boat to interesting places around the world.
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Old 09-11-2018, 08:52   #7
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

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It depends on the area where you are going and what you are doing. A power cat is great for coastal cruising, sailing up rivers and canals etc. The Med would be perfect for a MC, always changing wind directions, no wind or gale force... Under sails it is a challenge there, a MC would be easier for short distances, fuel is expensive, but available everywhere, also parts and repair services. You can cross inland Europe on the french waterways or the Danube river / Black sea to the north, explore many countries inland while using the cat as a house boat.

If you intent to cross oceans, a sailing cat is better and more reliable, also the trade winds are quite stable and strong. Fuel is expensive with some few exceptions and some times dirty in remote locations that could bring you in trouble.

Power cats have much larger engines and are more thirsty than sailing cats too, but the comfort is great.

There are only a few PC out there, most recreational Cats are sailing vessel - I guess for a good reason.
Regarding the waterways in Europe. They aren't good for catamarans, correct? A 25' beam is out, right?

I'd say you can have a fuel efficient power at if it's a 10-15 knot displacement boat. Look at Richard Woods Skoota for an example.

I'm wondering why power cats are so much more expensive than sail new even though the manufacturerers are making more sail. Hmm
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Old 09-11-2018, 09:50   #8
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

Here's a link to the passages of a nice power cat that is for sale. They just completed a west to east Pacific crossing.
https://www.yit.nz/yacht/domino
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:01   #9
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

You're more likely to get where you're going with sail, proven in centuries. You MAY get there quicker with augmentation. (Why are you in a hurry?).
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:02   #10
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

I made the decision to buy a 40 foot power cat about a year ago so my inputs are clearly biased. After lots of research I selected the Aspen C120 which is likely both the best handling and most fuel efficient boat on the water. There is a huge difference between cats designed for sail and then converted to power vs a cat designed for power from the outset. And ocean crossing range is clearly possible with an extra bladder. Unfortunately this is still mostly theory since my boat is still being built and I do not take possession until next March.

Highly recommend taking a look at the Aspen Power Catamaran website; in particular the blog on the 10,000 mile circumnavigation of North America.
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Old 09-11-2018, 10:50   #11
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

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I have a pretty adaptable plan here but am trying to narrow things down a bit based on what I'm looking for in boats.
Yes, you certainly do. Makes for an interesting discussion. On the other hand, you really need to narrow down what you are trying to do, in order to narrow down what you would do it with.
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:27   #12
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

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You're more likely to get where you're going with sail, proven in centuries. You MAY get there quicker with augmentation. (Why are you in a hurry?).
I'm in a hurry because I've already spent my whole life sailing. I'm not looking to waste the tail end of it at sea like I did the first half.

I'm also not retired so I need to be places, not be stuck for weeks trying to get to a destination.

After all these years living and traveling that way, I'm now ready to spend all those weeks in the actual destination, not trying to get there. You know?
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Old 09-11-2018, 11:42   #13
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

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I'm in a hurry because I've already spent my whole life sailing. I'm not looking to waste the tail end of it at sea like I did the first half.
Sounds to me like cruising in a boat may not be your thing. Cruising really does have a lot to do with the "getting there" part of the trip. IMO crossing oceans in a small boat is really not for people in a hurry. Airplanes get you "there" much faster, and charter companies provide you with a boat after you arrive, if that is your preference.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:38   #14
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

Interesting questions and answers. My PowerCat with it's 150hp John Deeres will go over 1,000NM on standard fuel tanks (315gal.) if I poke along 8 to 9 knots, about the same speed as my old sailing cat would do with its two 54hp Yanmars, or average when sailing with any wind much forward of the beam which required any tacking.

With single-engine cruising the PowerCat would still needs auxiliary tankage of another 200-300gal. to go any real distance and then fuel stops and weather windows would have to well planned to do, say, a Pacific crossing.

My PowerCat was delivered from Cape Town to Bahamas by mostly single-engine cruising, with timely fuel stops and what looked like (in the video) to be no more than 200gal. of axillary fuel on the bridge deck. And I've been told, rudder extensions were added to mitigate the asymmetric thrust somewhat. Unlike the typical trawler, the props are almost 20 feet apart. Apparently they changed out the extended rudders on delivery to the charter fleet. The key to reduced drag is to stay within 5 degrees or less of rudder offset. I've be thinking about buying or have someone build extended rudders for just such long range cruising that you are contemplating.
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Old 09-11-2018, 12:57   #15
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Re: Power Cat or Sailing Cat?

While foils are going to make a cat or any other boat faster and more fuel efficient, itís going to take some serious power and throttle to make a live aboard boat plane and cruise fast. Big diesels suck fuel like it is going out of style under those conditions. But, if fuel costs are not an issue, go for it.
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