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Old 21-05-2014, 23:00   #1
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Question Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Hi,
I'm trying to identify a cat for my wife and I to sail, world wide. To be comfortable, I'd like to get a big boat. I have read that bigger is more stable in heavy seas and also able to carry more convenience stuff, like a (all be it a bit silly example) washer drier, without over loading the cat.... I'm thinking in the 50 ~ 60ft range FPajot. Most people react to this size of boat as "thats a lot of boat to handle" and "hmmm are you sure you can handle that size of boat?" ... this is a common reaction, but I'm not getting a lot of real expert opinion related to specifics. what doe sit mean, when they say Handle.. when i push further, i never seem get a specific answer.... ?
so..
Why can a couple not handle a 60ft boat.. or a 70-ft boat for that matter.. 80ft.. etc etc. ? (Cost aside for this discussion..)

If you have experience with these specific things, could you list them? What goes wrong and why can two people not address them? What is difficult? Why is it dangerous?

I'd really appreciate guidance here for people who know far far more than me... (which constitutes the majority of this forum I suspect)..
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Old 22-05-2014, 00:43   #2
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

I'll take a stab - But I know not much about multi-hulls and less about 50'+ multi's.

Just speaking in general though:

The crux of the issue is the larger the boat, the more power-assist you'll need. Winches, windlass, in-mast (or boom) furling perhaps, thrusters maybe, davits for the RIB, crane for the dinghy outboard etc...

The problem isn't what can you handle when things function properly, but what can you handle when they don't?

Something as simple as the weight of the sails for example, may be overwhelming if they need to be man-handled in relative calm, much less in a bit of a blow -
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Old 22-05-2014, 01:16   #3
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

In addition to all the valid points Sondor mentioned, consider the requirements when docking a big windage cat - line handling, just moving from stem to stern etc.

As Max Bygraves sang: "You need hands'
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Old 22-05-2014, 01:35   #4
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Just another quick thought - it sounds like you lack experience in boats of that size (as most of us here do I believe) and that may make insurance impossible to obtain should you wish to insure a large cat.
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Old 22-05-2014, 01:49   #5
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Google "Steen Rally Sailblogs" and email them.
They are on their way round in a lagoon 560, no better information than someone actually doing it
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Old 22-05-2014, 02:38   #6
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

There are plenty of 45 - 50ft Cats that can easily handled by a couple.

With plenty of solar (750 - 1.5kw) most items except for AC can be covered. There are several CF members with Lagoons 450's with up to 1.7 KW solar.

Lagoon 450 Modifications

With lines led to the helm and electric winches should not be a issue. Just a matter of setting the vessel up for short handling. With plenty of money these days possibly on-station controls would help although too high tech for me.

60ft is starting to get to the upper end although with a bow thruster it would be manageable.

CF member Lagoon4US has a L440 with bow thruster.

Cheers
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Old 22-05-2014, 02:53   #7
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by StuM View Post

As Max Bygraves sang: "You need hands'
Good Lord Stu!

that dated you!

er.. my mom told me about Max Bygraves
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Old 22-05-2014, 03:40   #8
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Sure, sure weavis, mine did too. peteh007, there are several different things to consider. I am not speaking to the cat question directly only + or - s of a larger vessel. The initial perception of size sometimes proves to be overwhelming to the individual. Once you get familiar with the vessel then it will come to fit you. Larger vessels don't jump around as much and they change direction more slowly (inertia) if the vessel is going the way you want it to, like docking then that is a good thing, if you are about to slam into something and you are changing your direction then it is a bad thing. You have to think further ahead and plan your moves, if you are just reacting then you are behind the curve and bad things can happen. In the case of a cat, there is more windage that can affect you. If you are in the 60' range for a 2 hander a bow thruster might be advised, it is a useful tool, but you should learn to handle your boat in the event that it should fail at some time. I started out on a 32' commercial fishing boat about 1000 years ago, and moved my way up to a 86' longliner, and each step up the new vessel seemed huge, until I grew into it. Eventually I went to the merchant side of things and eventually was a mate on a 893' cargo ship, and it seemed huge for awhile, but the Master handled that ship like it was a 32' fishing boat, he had 20 years on that vessel. I went back to the oilfield and run a 220' tug, and due to different break downs, I've had to maneuver with only a single engine and I haven't had a working bow thruster for 2 years. Now I can moor that vessel by myself, but I would probably die of a heart attack running from bitt to bitt. I went with a 53' sailing commercial fishing, mono, and now that seems tiny, while most would say it is big. I have no problem sailing or mooring it single handed. I do have roller furling, now if something goes wrong with the furling offshore, I might be in trouble, or blow a mainsail out. What I do in response to that danger is while in port, I make sure that everything is 100% on that system and that it is well maintained, that doesn't mean there isn't a risk of failure, it just minimizes it. In most cases when I get underway, I will attempt to have another person aboard to help in case of problems, if I can find someone that doesn't rub me the wrong way in the first 3 days, but hey that's a personal problem. So the short answer is yes, you can do it 2 handed, but you need to plan ahead and keep your equipment in the best condition you are able. You really need to know your vessel very well.
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Old 22-05-2014, 03:44   #9
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by captain58sailin View Post
Sure, sure weavis, mine did too.
I started out on a 32' commercial fishing boat about 1000 years ago,
ah.. that would make it Maximus Bygravius............


As a single hander, I can handle comfortably up to 36 foot. After that, I need lots of experience and help.
For two people.......PERSONALLY......... 44 is about as comfortable as it gets if one is not experienced.

Others have 100 footers and say its easy......

I dont have the experience some folk do on here... the thought of handling a skookum 53 on my own.,,,,,, no, I wouldnt do it. It CAN and IS being done with ease by the cap but he has a lot more experience and is used to the biggies. However that ability of his is tempered by honesty that in certain situations he could be in trouble.

Now, Im not yellow, but I do like cheese, and for that reason I stay within the capabilities of WHATEVER happens, the vessel has to be small enough for me to sort out. I too suffer from the need to be alone and find sailing with others an easy way to piss me off if its my boat.....
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Old 22-05-2014, 04:15   #10
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by peteh007 View Post
Hi,
I'm trying to identify a cat for my wife and I to sail, world wide. To be comfortable, I'd like to get a big boat. I have read that bigger is more stable in heavy seas and also able to carry more convenience stuff, like a (all be it a bit silly example) washer drier, without over loading the cat.... I'm thinking in the 50 ~ 60ft range FPajot. Most people react to this size of boat as "thats a lot of boat to handle" and "hmmm are you sure you can handle that size of boat?" ...

Well, it is a lot of boat to handle if you are not experienced. You need to be fit and agile to run from the stern to the bow in an emergency and deal with LARGE sails.

this is a common reaction, but I'm not getting a lot of real expert opinion related to specifics. what doe sit mean, when they say Handle.. when i push further, i never seem get a specific answer.... ?
so..
Why can a couple not handle a 60ft boat.. or a 70-ft boat for that matter.. 80ft.. etc etc. ? (Cost aside for this discussion..)

A couple can handle anything when sailing in a straight line with power this and power that. As others pointed out.... docking, close quarter manouvering, windage, putting out fenders, visual sighting, fueling, taking on water, etc etc all are upscaled in problematic logistics with only 2 people on a large boat. the most COMPELLING reason for me to not go large is that if one of the couple is incapacitated........ can the other handle the boat?

Why is it dangerous?

Its not dangerous until your in a dangerous situation...... then you will wish you had downsized or had 2 more crew.

I'd really appreciate guidance here for people who know far far more than me... (which constitutes the majority of this forum I suspect)..
thanks.
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Old 22-05-2014, 04:21   #11
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by peteh007 View Post
Hi,
what does it mean, when they say Handle.. when i push further, i never seem get a specific answer.... ?

If you have experience with these specific things, could you list them? What goes wrong and why can two people not address them? What is difficult? Why is it dangerous?
Don't you always get this sort of answer when wanting something coveted by the pundits? It's the story of my life. As a kid I wanted the 10 speed race bike. "No, (just restrain your greedy desire for fun) and get used to the nice 3 speed upright until you know how to ride properly". Should I get a dry suit to go scuba diving? "No that's for experts, learn with a wet suit (and freeze yourself miserable) until you know what you are doing. You need to suffer first, it's a right of passage". Is the Kawasaki GPZ900 motorbike a good choice? "It's too bit big for a beginner, get a nice 150 and waste time and money until you know what you are doing. (Suffer the frustration and experience lack of power first) before you get such a coveted machine." And so on, life long...

Some of the advice is not good and may assume greater incompetence than there might be. Sometimes jealousy is at play. A lot of the advice is well meant and comes from people facing the step from say a 30ft boat with mechanical winches going up to a 50ft with mechanical winches. That will be too big for many as you can pull up the sail on a 30ft boat by hand and sheet in easily and kick off the dock with your feet, but at 50ft it is heavy for most .

This doesn't apply with your prospective boat as every control needs to be powered. That's what makes it OK. When the equipment fails, as it will, then you will have to use some muscle or improvise a back up until it you fix it.

A test of this is to look at a modern 150ft boat. Why might you not cope there? Paperwork and bureaucracy is a huge problem, not really relevant to your question though as that doesn't kick in at your size. Cleaning and maintenance chores become impossible for a couple due to scale. Dealing with a major breakage such as getting a torn sail down at sea will be beyond what a couple can do. Finding berthing will be very hard as few marinas are large enough and you will need help on the dock. So the bigger you go the more of these sort of things you have to deal with. I think berthing, helming and sailing it will be fine if it is set up and equiped correctly. I wouldn't and couldn't sail a square rigger short handed.

There must be a size limit for a couple you would think, but really I don't think there is one. It's just the disadvantages slowly overtake the advantages with increasing size such that it is pointless and becomes more hassle than it is worth beyond a certain size without crew, and I don't want that. I don't want a bigger boat than mine, a 66' mono (say equal to a 50' cat). Anything in the 53' to 73' range (mono) would suit me just as well and be easy enough to manage. In your size range proposed it should be doable.
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Old 22-05-2014, 05:01   #12
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

My partner about has a heart attack every time we dock our twin engine, 36' long, 15' wide cat. I am more agile, so I have to handle the lines. We just moved the boat to its summer dockage (after a winter on the hard, so we were out of practice). When we left the winter boatyard, winds were diminishing, down to almost nothing. They clocked around and picked up, so when we got to the YC, it was a tricky docking and we were fortunate our neighbors were around on a weekday afternoon to help us tie up after a bit of fending off. Non harm, no foul, but the next day we were on the dock and my partner said, you know, I thought I wanted a bigger boat one day, but I think this one is plenty big enough!
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Old 22-05-2014, 05:27   #13
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

I always say: " If you don't bend no iron or scratch the paint, a miss is as good as a mile". That doesn't mean your heart rate doesn't go up in a tight spot.
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Old 22-05-2014, 05:51   #14
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pirate Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

Personally I think your ability to handle a big boat depends a lot on the boats layout on deck.. I'll give a couple of examples.. yes I know they are smaller than your stated size but they will serve as an illustration..
L380.. good sheltered con for the skipper/watchkeeper.. coming alongside with your 1 crew up front with the bow line.. its just a couple of steps to the stern line or centre line if you use that system.. all the controls lead to the helm so you can operate them sitting down... without having to move from one side of the boat to the other..
In my experience a pretty well set up boat..

L440.. exposed con, wet and scary for the less experienced in a blow and can be dodgy moving to and from.. also if just 2 people when coming alongside.. 1 crew up front tending the bow line means you have to clamber down from up there to tend the stern line.. and if an swift adjustment with motor is needed its climb back up.. time wasted which could lead to a bump.. the winches are too spread out for ease of handling.. its a mini obstacle course up there.
The boat itself is nice enough but.. in my opinion the helm layout is ****..
To be honest.. if you've the cash for a 50+ft I'd opt for a smaller boat around 40-44ft and get the interior custom built to your needs/specs.. nothing to stop you having the stbd side as an owners suite and the port side fore cabin set up for a laundry/freezer/etc room..
Use your cash to buy an easier to manage but near perfect boat..
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Old 22-05-2014, 05:56   #15
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Re: Problems that can arise from Single/Dual handling a large Cat

One thing to keep in mind is that it isn't strictly the size.
You may find that you can easily handle "Brand A" of 60 feet, but with "Brand B" even the 50 footer is a handful.
So you really have to try each boat you are considering. Once you narrow your search to a few boats go and charter one and feel it out. Oh, and I'd recommend a crewed charter in case the boat you pick is beyond your comfort level. Arrange ahead of time that the crew are to be passengers as you want to do everything. Then if things get beyond your comfort level, just let the crew take over.
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