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Old 23-08-2012, 09:25   #1
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Living At Anchor On A Monohull

I keep hearing one of the main arguments for buying a CAT is it is so much better living on than a monohull while at anchor. As I have only been on multihulls, how bad is really living on a mono?

We would consider a 40+ monohull because the prices are so much cheaper but is it worth the difference to get a Cat?

Before you say go charter one, we are in the process of doing that. But if we are going to be miserable I don't want to continue with the charter.

All of the monohull sailors at anchor surely can’t be miserable in their ships, can they?
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Old 23-08-2012, 09:30   #2
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Re: Living at anchor on a monohull

There are really only two issues. One is rolling and the other is space. In most anchorages in most places you will anchor where there is no swell, so rolling isn't a big issue. In some places the anchorages often have a small swell that gets through and that can be uncomfortable. Ways around it include putting out a stern anchor to keep the bow pointed into the swell. As far as space is concerned , if you are a gregarious type that likes to entertain often while in the tropics, then the space on a cat is really nice for this.
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Old 23-08-2012, 09:40   #3
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Re: Living at anchor on a monohull

I prefer monos, don't like sailing cats but that's mainly because I'm used to the motion of monos. But most of your time will be spent at anchor, cat's are great party boats. My main complaint is that on most of them you can only see what's astern of you, the high cabin blocks anyone except the person steering from seeing what's ahead.
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Old 23-08-2012, 09:53   #4
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

Well if anchoring out on a monohull was that unpleasant I've spent a lot of time torturing myself over the years.

Previous posts pretty well sum it up. Cats will be more stable in a rolly anchorage and, depending on the layout/design a lot more deck and main salon for hanging out, guests, etc. Another aspect that is sometimes overlooked, on a cat it is a lot easier to find a space to get away from the rest of the crew when you want a little quiet time. More difficult on most monos which is one reason why I like a center cockpit, aft cabin layout.

They are generally a lot more expensive at least per linear foot but maybe a more valid comparison is price per square foot of living space. That does ignore waterline length which is a comfort factor even on a cat, especially at sea.
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Old 23-08-2012, 10:48   #5
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Re: Living at anchor on a monohull

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I prefer monos, don't like sailing cats but that's mainly because I'm used to the motion of monos. But most of your time will be spent at anchor, cat's are great party boats. My main complaint is that on most of them you can only see what's astern of you, the high cabin blocks anyone except the person steering from seeing what's ahead.
I too perfer monos, but that might be because I grew up sailing them. With a mono, the boat tells me when I have too much sail up, and generally gives me a chance to correct my error. Monos generally cost less per foot, go to windward better and it is easier to find a place that can hual your boat, should you need to.

That said, cats have better speed, more stability in most cases, cook hot meals when many on monos are eating PB&J, and more room.

As said above, personal choice.
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Old 23-08-2012, 11:34   #6
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

I think the OP is trying to figure out what it feels like on each boat at anchor, not underway. I have lived on both, and my take is that they both have their pluses and minuses. A mono puts you down low in the water, often completely below the waterline, whereas a cat you can be up in the salon, above everything. Lots of cats have huge sweeps of window giving a great view of what's around you, but less privacy. However, you have to keep the curtains drawn if you are in a sunny place or else it is like a greenhouse. Even with all the curtains in place and hatches open I have found cat salons tend to be pretty stuffy in the tropics, but then everyone migrates to the huge cockpit where the cats all have the monos beat. Some cats can be quite noisy down below because of the generally lighter construction, most of the boat above the water, and water sometimes slapping up under the bridge deck on some boats, even at anchor. Some people enjoy the darker, cave-like or womb-like atmosphere going down below on a mono (I do), especially in the tropics where you can get tired of the bright sun and heat. However, other people find it claustrophobic to go down below on a mono, and love the open airy feeling of being in a cat. Though some parts of a cat can be rather claustrophobic too--like some aft berths in the hulls that are like torpedo tubes. As someone pointed out, having shallower draft is a tremendous advantage--I would say the single thing I miss the most having gone back to a mono. You can often anchor in some quieter and more protected part of the harbor. On the other hand, trying to find a marina berth can often be a big problem, depending on where you are.
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Old 23-08-2012, 11:36   #7
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

Regarding the comfort at anchor, it's not like an unbearable swell for a mono won't rattle the teacups in a catamaran. There is a difference, but it's not night and day. Additionally, pitch and yaw still act similar although a bit muted.
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Old 23-08-2012, 11:45   #8
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

Though I can recall one time in the VI when I was able to stay anchored in my cat in a secret little cove that had a good 10-foot swell running. Monos that tried to come in just rolled their guts out, but the swells were so huge that we just went up and down like on an elevator--but we had to keep the curtains closed because the sensation was hugely seasickness inducing if you looked out. Stayed that way for several days. Then in other harbors we found occasionally if the waves were just so far apart we would get a horrible snap roll on the cat as one hull was in a trough while the other was on a wave top, and then vice versa.
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Old 23-08-2012, 12:40   #9
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

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Though I can recall one time in the VI when I was able to stay anchored in my cat in a secret little cove that had a good 10-foot swell running. Monos that tried to come in just rolled their guts out, but the swells were so huge that we just went up and down like on an elevator--but we had to keep the curtains closed because the sensation was hugely seasickness inducing if you looked out. Stayed that way for several days. Then in other harbors we found occasionally if the waves were just so far apart we would get a horrible snap roll on the cat as one hull was in a trough while the other was on a wave top, and then vice versa.
Good illustration. In my experience cat vs mono, at anchor or at sea, one is not always better than the other. It will depend on the size of the cat or mono, the size and frequency of the waves or swells and to a large degree, one's personal preference.

In the right (or wrong conditions) a cat can have a quick, jerky motion that I hate. In a mono, roll at anchor or sailing heeled over for days can get old but while the motion may be greater it tends to be slower and smoother than a similar cat.
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Old 23-08-2012, 12:40   #10
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

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Though I can recall one time in the VI when I was able to stay anchored in my cat in a secret little cove that had a good 10-foot swell running. Monos that tried to come in just rolled their guts out, but the swells were so huge that we just went up and down like on an elevator--but we had to keep the curtains closed because the sensation was hugely seasickness inducing if you looked out. Stayed that way for several days. Then in other harbors we found occasionally if the waves were just so far apart we would get a horrible snap roll on the cat as one hull was in a trough while the other was on a wave top, and then vice versa.
I just mean categorically catamarans are not a panacea for bumpy water. The frequency and height of wave action affects boats in different ways. Some boats will hobby-horse, pitching and yawing all over the place while another (like yours) will just ride up and down.
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Old 23-08-2012, 13:00   #11
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This is a timely thread for me. You see, I had my heart set on a Gemini 105mc cat for all the reasons people like cats. Based on the Chesapeake but headed for Bahamas and Carribean like many. But Finances are an issue so I am looking back at a mono. Am looking at a IP27 which is less than half the price of the Gemini. But I was concerned about comfort at anchor. Does the shorter waterline of an IP27 (24 LWL) make it roll more at anchor than the longer Gemini? (30 LWL)
Also, another reason for the cat was I figured my wife would go with me on it but now she seems hesitant about longer sailing trips so I figure maybe if I'm gonna be doing more single-handed might as well get a mono and just get out there and go already.
Any input regarding how size of a mono affects comfort at anchor would be greatly appreciated. I am used to being on bigger monos like a 50 foot Pearson that sat like a tank at anchor- was awesome. I really don't like tender boats.
Thanks in advance
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Old 23-08-2012, 13:47   #12
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

It really depends a lot on the anchorage. Most of us try to anchor in sheltered spots where wave action is relatively rare. However, there are places in the Bahamas and the Caribbean, in particular, where anchorages are more exposed, and there is generally no substitute for length and weight. All else being equal I would say that a cat is usually the more comfortable platform in an uneasy anchorage, though see some of my comments above. You will notice the difference in motion comfort much more when offshore on the larger boats, both cat and mono. On a smaller boat you can often tuck inside a more sheltered part of a harbor, therefore riding much more comfortably than the big boats. And then there are some harbors where nobody is comfortable, like the supposed "harbor" at Swan Island where the wind holds you one way and the swells roll around the point to hit you right on the beam.
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Old 23-08-2012, 14:04   #13
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

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This is a timely thread for me. You see, I had my heart set on a Gemini 105mc cat for all the reasons people like cats. Based on the Chesapeake but headed for Bahamas and Carribean like many.
I was anchored in Little Bay in the Bahamas, it's just south of Black Point. Neither Black Point nor Little Bay offer protection from the west but if a front is going through we usually scoot from Black Point to Little Bay the moment the wind goes north of west as the protection is better at Little Bay. Once the wind goes east of north it's safe to trundle back to Black Point.

A Gemini was anchored about 100 yards from me. I could not believe anyone could stay on that boat. The slamming was so bad it kept me up and I was a hundred yards from them. The bank had not settled down from the little blow yet so the waves were two or three feet. I think the IP 27 would have been much quieter and more comfortable.

Anchorage in Georgetown with a front going through.

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Old 23-08-2012, 16:40   #14
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

At anchor cat vs mono. A couple of things I have not noticed posted yet

- Ventilation: Its easy to turn a mono, with a nice big forward deck hatch or two, into a wind tunnel, some cats are not so well ventilated.

- Keeping it cool. Most modern cats have big deck houses -- which can make very effective green houses. But, these are typically the best ventilated parts of the boat. A big awning over the deck house and windows helps a lot.

- Cockpit air flow. That big honking deck house can also block air flow to the cockpit...especially noticeable on light air days.

- Sailing at anchor. Most cats will sit bow to wind like they are in park. Some monos tend to sail at anchor quite a bit...normally not a big deal, but can become a problem when the conditions get heavier and they start thrashing side to side at anchor.

- When the water goes away....I've been in bays, in a cat, when there has been an unusually low tide and/or strong weather which has mostly dried it out. Granted this does not happen often to cruisers, but it sure is nice to wait for the water to return in an upright position.

- Rain catchment. This is very dependent upon the specific model of boat but, some cats are a bit more of a challenge to set-up for rain catchment. A mono I used to own had high gunnels and the deck drained aft, water tank fills located near the stern....way easy to turn the entire deck into a water catchment.


Suggestion to OP: If a cat is stretching the budget, then find a good old monohull that does not. There are lots of them out there at great prices now. The number of hulls you have under you really does not matter (despite the raging debates you read here on CF). What really matters is that you can actually afford to go sailing.
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Old 23-08-2012, 16:50   #15
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Re: Living At Anchor On A Monohull

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The number of hulls you have under you really does not matter (despite the raging debates you read here on CF). What really matters is that you can actually afford to go sailing.
Best statement in the thread! For once, so far, this thread seems to have a bunch of great balanced answers, and I agree with most of what was said, but the bottom line is that it is better to be out there than stuck on land some place.
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