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Old 17-08-2010, 18:06   #1
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Advice on Extended Caribbean Cruising in Monohull vs Cat

I am hoping to get some good thoughts on boat purchase from those that have spent an extended amount of time in the Caribbean cruising. If comparing a 37ft cat v monohull, how much of an effect does this have on actual day to day living? I can obviously get a much nicer monohull for the same price than I can a cat of equal length. I am going to be single-handling the boat. I know the benefits people give for cats, the lack of heeling, shallower draft in many cases, etc., but don't know how much this truly affects day to day life and convenience. If you were to have a year in the caribbean, would you rather be on something like a Privilege 37 or a 150k monohull?
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Old 17-08-2010, 18:21   #2
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It really depends on what you like more than anything. For example, the cat will be more spacious and comfortable in harbor, which is where most people spend 95% of their time. On the other hand, a big cat is a real handful for a singlehander. In my experience they need more handling then a monohull. You must reef frequently when the wind shifts, and they can't really be left to themselves in heavy weather. Of course we all try to avoid heavy weather. The shallow draft of a cat is particularly great in the Bahamas, but most of the rest of the Caribbean it is of lesser value. One big disadvantage to some people is that a lot of marinas charge a lot more to berth a big cat, so if you plan on spending time there it will be more expensive and berths are a bit harder to come by. It is also harder to find places for haulouts, so that takes a bit more planning and cost. Some things, like twin engines and the rig (they are tough on your rigging) tend to take more maintenance on a cat. In general, I would say the biggest advantage is harbor comfort for the multi, while the mono excels in ease of sailing and being more forgiving.
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Old 17-08-2010, 18:28   #3
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Kettlewell,
Thank you for your thoughts. I don't plan on spending time at the marina slips, so that isn't a big concern. However, unlike a week at a time, this will be an extended visit and so I guess I really am thinking more about the harbor time. While I realize the stability of a cat will inevitably be a plus, I guess I'm trying to get a feel for how much of a long term difference it makes. I know the old adage 'get the best boat you can afford' - trying to figure out how to interpret this I guess you could say. Is it better to get the best of the type of boat you can afford, or get the best overall. The quality of the mono would be much greater for the same price. Hope that makes some sense, it was a long day at work.
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Old 17-08-2010, 18:46   #4
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I would go with quality over quantity any day. I doubt you will need all the space of a cat as a singlehander. Cats are just more boat to maintain and run, and you are by yourself. Day to day cats are very comfy in harbor, and offshore they can be more comfortable a lot of the time, but in heavy weather they can be a bear to handle. Just for example, take a look at the mainsail and boom on a lot of cats. You can't even reach the darn thing from the cabin top, so how are you supposed to reef or fix something when it goes wrong in the middle of the night? However, the single most underrated thing about cats is the shallow draft--I love it, and miss it dearly now that I am back on a mono. Makes all the difference in coastal exploration. Not just more places to anchor, but much easier to get there too. So, for the Bahamas, it would be a tough call. Maybe a shallow-draft mono? Cats, in general, are just a lot more hassle. Hard to maneuver in harbors due to the size, some areas have no haulout facilities, two engines to maintain and saildrives are failure prone, dockage can be difficult when you want to tie up someplace, etc. Compare the dimensions of a cat and think about handling that area. A 39-foot cat is about the size of one side of a tennis court inside the singles lines.
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Old 18-08-2010, 16:28   #5
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If you don't mind me asking, with all the benefits you found in cats, what made you decide to go back to a monohull?
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Old 18-08-2010, 17:33   #6
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I know a lot of single hander's on cats and they have no problems other than it is more expensive to maintain two engines versus one. They are very happy that they have a cat in the Caribbean which is known to have constant swells rolling into most all anchorages. Since most of your time will be at anchor, comfort at anchor is a primary concern and cat's are the answer. Time underway is minimal as the islands are not very far from each other. Overnight passages are rare unless you want to skip over some islands.
- - And for young single-handers look at some "trimarans" - they are fast, fun and sexy.
- - Bottom line - for the Caribbean, if you can afford a cat - that is the way to go. Don't even think about a mono unless you cannot afford a cat.
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Old 18-08-2010, 19:45   #7
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The big reason is that multihull motion makes my wife seasick and miserable. Too quick and jerky. Plus, I couldn't afford a big enough cat to be reasonably comfortable and carry a large load, which is what you must do when cruising with a family. Cruising boats are basically cargo ships with accommodations and monohulls below 40 feet do that better for a lot less money. Bottom line for me is that I could get a well-constructed boat big enough for a family of four that could carry several tons of water, fuel, and stores for about 1/3 to 1/4 the cost of a multi that could do the same thing. By the way, I cruised in company with some cats around my same length and we almost always arrived in harbor about the same time as they did on short passages of 1-3 days. It takes a really big cat to carry a big load and go fast, and that costs a lot of money, is a lot of boat to handle, and a lot to maintain.
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Old 18-08-2010, 19:57   #8
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I have had a cat in the Caribbean for two years... I wouldn't swap it for the world. Love it! Spent time on a 110 foot mono and couldn't wait to get back to my 43 foot cat! I single hand my boat easily. If you ask me coming from a mono hull background before this boat and by the number of converts I have created... I would 100% say if you can afford it a cat is a sure nice way to see the Caribbean!
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Old 18-08-2010, 20:04   #9
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I have had the opposite experience, as regards seasickness. We sailed our cat from SA to the Caribbean and I experienced a lot fewer seasickness symptoms than I have ever felt on a mono passage. Cooking, dishes, etc and not sailing rolling downwind or heeled over made for a great passage. And then at anchor, WOW! Such comfort and space.

We come from owning a long list of monos and can not see ourselves going back.

But as they say , "your mileage may vary".

Perhaps a week charter on a multihull might be in order?
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Old 18-08-2010, 21:03   #10
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monos are for people who cant afford cats from what i gather..
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Old 18-08-2010, 21:15   #11
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You nailed it. But for open ocean work like in the Pacific mono's do come back into competition and are sometimes a lot better than cat's
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