Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate
Maybe the cat people can tell us how it is for them.
I sailed monohulls for most of my life and only bought a cat recently. I had done lots of research
and tried to get an understanding of the difference between what I will call normal cats and high performance cats. Even something like a Gunboat (which I consider more of a fast cruising cat as opposed to a high performance cat) has very limited healing and seldom gets the windward hull
out of the water
more than a couple of feet. An AC boat or similar race
their windward hull
a lot higher and more frequently. I have sailed small beach cats which are similar to the race
cats in terms of lifting hulls. But the rest of this post is about cats that should never, or very seldom at best, lift
The first thing most sailors notice about a well designed cruising cat is there is almost no heeling, instead the boat accelerates and the apparent wind shifts forward. If you think you are being overpowered you fall off instead of heading up which reduces the apparent wind speed, the opposite of what most monohull
sailors do. There is really no sensation of danger
, just going faster. You need to understand the concept
of reefing based on apparent wind speed, not heeling. If you start lifting a hull on all but the most performance oriented cruising cats almost for sure it is past time to reef.
One of my biggest shocks was how light the rudder
feels when sailing at ten knots. On a monohull
always seemed to get heavier and there was an increase in the weather helm
. This is a double edged sword. It is great to have a light responsive helm
, but the downside is that there is no physical clue that you are getting close to the danger
I tend to be a gentleman sailor and I am sure there are other cat owners who push the envelope more than I do that may have different ideas about cats sailing close to the edge. But I try and keep far away from the edge.