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Old 16-09-2015, 21:08   #1
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38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

I've got a trip schedule to meet with a very well established boat broker in fort lauderdale in a couple weeks.

I will be there to sniff out cats I might consider purchasing in the 38 to 45 foot range.

My question to the kind, experienced and thoughtful CF audience is this:

Is a 38 too small to take on atlantic and/or pacific crossings? Would you have a minimum length you would consider more generally suitable?

I have never done this so I wonder if your degree of comfort in a smaller vessel, say 38 verses 44, varies by orders of magnitude, a wee bit, or not so much.

What are the differences physically for the crew? Does it take a lot more work to cope with rougher seas in a 38 vs 45?

I really like the smaller size jump (to a 38 footer) from the MacGregor 26m I used as a training boat for learning to sail. So this would be my first cruising size boat and I think I'm more comfortable jumping to a 38, just from the pics as I'm guessing.

I have learned so much and value the views of the readers and their detractors and their detractors.

I'm so jazzed to press my plan to circumnavigate. damn, lucky kid!
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Old 17-09-2015, 06:22   #2
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

It goes clear that in general a bigger cat is always better for the bigger seas, but many Buyers are often linited with funds to get that big lady the others can afford.

In general again, above said means that trans-ocean passage decisions should be based on the knowledgeable Owner TRUST in his boat.

38' strong built cat can sail blue after she is duly prepared for that.

38' poor built cat not prepared for a blue seas can also start trans-ocean, but I may suspect a very bad end of that sort enterprise.
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Old 17-09-2015, 06:28   #3
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

When I crossed the Atlantic in my 44ft boat, there was a Privilege 37 crewed by a couple with two kids under five. They just took one more day than me to reach St Lucia and were planning a circumnavigation so, yes, certainly possible in the right boat. I'll bet there are lots of Lagoon 38s that have crossed oceans as well.
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Old 17-09-2015, 06:34   #4
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by psychfeld View Post
I've got a trip schedule to meet with a very well established boat broker in fort lauderdale in a couple weeks.

I will be there to sniff out cats I might consider purchasing in the 38 to 45 foot range.

My question to the kind, experienced and thoughtful CF audience is this:

Is a 38 too small to take on atlantic and/or pacific crossings? Would you have a minimum length you would consider more generally suitable?

I have never done this so I wonder if your degree of comfort in a smaller vessel, say 38 verses 44, varies by orders of magnitude, a wee bit, or not so much.

What are the differences physically for the crew? Does it take a lot more work to cope with rougher seas in a 38 vs 45?

I really like the smaller size jump (to a 38 footer) from the MacGregor 26m I used as a training boat for learning to sail. So this would be my first cruising size boat and I think I'm more comfortable jumping to a 38, just from the pics as I'm guessing.

I have learned so much and value the views of the readers and their detractors and their detractors.

I'm so jazzed to press my plan to circumnavigate. damn, lucky kid!

Worth watching all of Seths video on his lagoon 38, lots of real world incites on the capability of a 38 foot cat,

http://youtu.be/vzJu17GiN9E
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Old 17-09-2015, 06:44   #5
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

Its common for new sailors, and non-sailors, to make the assumption that there is a correlation between LOA and seaworthyness. This has been substantially debunked by the multitude of small craft, both cats and monos, which have circumnavigated and/or done major crossings.

Case in point, a friend of mine circumnavigated on a Tiki 21. See www.roryandcookie.com.

A bigger boat will of course have more room and creature comforts, more boat speed potential, more storage, and likely handle some sea states better, but a small seaworthy boat can still do it just fine.

Ive been cruising on a 35' cat for over a decade now. It started its journey from Durban, SA to Florida, took a leisurely meandering route around the Gulf of Mexico, thru the Caribbean, and is now in Panama. At this pace, I probably wont live long enough to complete a circumnavigation, but the boat is certainly capable of it.
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Old 17-09-2015, 06:54   #6
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pirate Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

I have done deliveries on 3 Lagoon 380's.. Bari, Italy to the Canaries in Oct.. similar from Les Sables, France to the Canaries..
Spring delivery La Rochelle to Mallorca..
Also did a West to East on a Lagoon 420.. Ft Lauderdale to Almerimar, Spain in Feb..
All just me + 1..
The 420 is nice.. however the fly bridge steering position is the deal breaker.. full exposure in heavy weather, lethal for any sail work.. and clambering up and down from the cockpit in a sea sucks.
The 380 however is great.. sheltered helm.. more than enough space and a safer platform for sail work..
If you get the owners version you'll still have two decent double cabins for guests.. go 380..
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Old 17-09-2015, 07:04   #7
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

Quote:
Originally Posted by psychfeld View Post
Is a 38 too small to take on atlantic and/or pacific crossings? Would you have a minimum length you would consider more generally suitable?
For Trans Ocean and Circumnavigations this size is risky. Why ?




Small multihull boats of light weight have a tremendously accelleration surfing down the big waves... not only big catamarans. It is very risky for capsizing by the anti-rotation of the waves. which comes from the rotation effect of single water particles...




This wave rotation has a specific effect onto the two hulls negatively...








Let it compare with "narrow (smaller) catamarans" having less beam/width:







(Source of pictures: Multihull Design Blog by Kurt Hughes (one of the world best known multihull designer.)

Do you want stay on a 38 footer in such conditions of Pacific ? For me the answer is a clear "no".


Another aspect: Nose diving is a risky thing for Multihulls... for sportive Cats it already can happen in flat waters just because of the speed/overpowering and trimming mistakes done by the crew.


Cruising cats might do nose diving during surfing down big waves.

You need a very good routing planning and to knowthe details about weather routing. As it is something positive, that the higher speed of multihulls gives you the chance to sail away from very bad weather, by time...

So the boat should not be too small for speed (I'd count it safely at an average cruising speed of at least 12-14 knots which requires a maximum speed of 18-20 knots).

If it goes very bad: with bigger Catamarans > 40 feet you still have enough mast size to use it as sail and keep control. Here it would be of benefit to take a rig with "wing mast" (e.g. 4-6 square meters alone)...

... and such a bigger Catamaran can handle the techniques more easily to surf in big waves and heavy wind.

I never heard of Catamarans using drogues or parachut anchors... thats mostly theory...




A very rare video showing how to lay front sea anchor with a catamaran... personally I'd never would like to use this technique as I'd felt too passively. Depends on the personality of the skipper and crew.


It's more typically to use heavy lines, and if it is going the worst the boat overruns the max. speed... a catamaran sailor starts to pray asking the all mighty for help... then still is an option to connect these ropes with the heavy anchor chain which needs strong winches on board to fix them as cleats are not strong enough... to slow down the boat to 9-10 knots. So another argument to use a bigger boat with stronger deck and bigger fittings.


(These Images are from the Sail Magazine in 2014: Heavy Weather Strategies When Sailing a Catamaran)

As you can see in following video, a 39 Footer in the Southern Oceans (with "0 Sails set") urgently needs such lines. Still we can see the tremendous speed this boat is going (with a maximum surf speed of 34 knots !!!). - Very risky this situation... which needs a crew to keep up concentration over many hours/day to go through such bad weather safely !

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Old 17-09-2015, 07:20   #8
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Its common for new sailors, and non-sailors, to make the assumption that there is a correlation between LOA and seaworthyness. This has been substantially debunked by the multitude of small craft, both cats and monos, which have circumnavigated and/or done major crossings.
Belizesailor, it seems you have not understood the concept of a catamaran and its righting moments. For such multihull boats its not the length, its the width relevant. See my posting before this with the graphics by the effect of wave rotation...

... and the rolling effect with risk for capsitzing (as shown in this graph). Only bigger width makes a catamaran more safely, e.g. here compared to monohulls:



But for getting enough width you need a minimum length... as in the world of cruising catamarans, the methods is not Length = width (as we know it from the Formula 40 Trimarans, or Multi 50s which are bult like squares).
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Old 17-09-2015, 07:22   #9
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

Interesting post Jay, but one significant oversight though...not all smaller cats have narrower beams. My cat for example has a 22' beam. Many have done major crossings, some circumnavigated, never heard of a capsize or pitchpole, nor ever come close myself after thousands of miles on this boat.

And, how do you reef a wing mast? Very bad idea for a cruising boat.

Narrow beam cats, like shoal draft monos, are an abomination to the laws of physics.

Lots of interestimg theory in your post, but what about practical experience?
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Old 17-09-2015, 07:32   #10
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

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Originally Posted by Skip JayR View Post
Belizesailor, it seems you have not understood the concept of a catamaran and its righting moments. For such multihull boats its not the length, its the width relevant. See my posting before this with the graphics by the effect of wave rotation...

... ...
Yeah, I'm a slow learner, after a couple of decades, and many thousands of miles on cats of many makes/models (and monos too)...I'm still struggling to get a grasp of the basics.

You?
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Old 17-09-2015, 07:45   #11
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

HeHe - for safety, one must have average cruising speeds of at least 12-14kts.

Never heard of catamarans using drogues or sea anchors - that's mostly theory.

Belizesailor, you have a lot to learn from this guy - it is obvious he is full of practical hands-on experience with catamarans.

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Old 17-09-2015, 07:58   #12
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

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HeHe - for safety, one must have average cruising speeds of at least 12-14kts.

Never heard of catamarans using drogues or sea anchors - that's mostly theory.

Belizesailor, you have a lot to learn from this guy - it is obvious he is full of practical hands-on experience with catamarans.

Mark

I do indeed, I do plan to go back and read the posted theory...looks like interesting stuff, just needs tempering with some experiential data.

So do you apparently...set off cruising on a 38' cat that won't average 12-14 knots...insanity! Its a mircale you are still alive! Just blind luck I'm sure. ; )
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Old 17-09-2015, 08:01   #13
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

Jordan series drogue looks like a winner to me.

I would never want to use a parachute from the bow.

Neither of these are based on experience, just on the descriptions of how they work.
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Old 17-09-2015, 08:02   #14
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

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My cat for example has a 22' beam.
Lucky man you survived trans oceans sailing with such a "small boat". :-)

6.7 meters width sounds big =compared to ~4.5 meters width of a monohulls. But its nothing for the big waves. Same one could argument its nothing for big waves to have a width of 10 meters. Right !

Yes, it can work to sail trans oceans with small boats... if you have good weather conditions. But its purely luck if you are on a trip over many weeks or months during a circumnavigation.
We steadily learn from the extreme round the world sailors sailors ( dont mean the professional racing sailors) that mostly they only survived by luck. Capsized with their monohulls different times, dismasted etc. ... as we know a multihull only can capsize one time and then works as a life raft :-) . End of the journey.

So it is more the question: How to minimize the risks which always will exist ? - Isnt ? - Under bad circumstances I'd see it as too risky to decide actively for a small boat. Or are some others here like an Yvan Bourgnon does ?



Kind of "Swiss madness" reporting that he capsized roughly 30 times in one night ???? - I don't call this smart seamanship. Here one want challenge Mr. Death going over the limits... and just had luck to survive. Kind of stupidity.

So lets go back to the more reasonable aspects of "cruising sailing on a multihull", e.g. picking out one example: A Lagoon 38 has a beam of 21 feet. A Lagoon 440 has a beam of 25.26 Feet. That's a plus of 20.23 %.

Naturally most sailors have to decide for smaller sizes because of their budgets and financial limitations. In this case as psychfeld describes his own situation it seems, he is free of this limitation. Right ?

If one can afford a bigger catamaran, I generally would know what decision I need to make to come to the safe(r) side: Take the bigger one.
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Old 17-09-2015, 08:07   #15
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Re: 38' cat OK to circumnavigate?

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So do you apparently...set off cruising on a 38' cat that won't average 12-14 knots...insanity! Its a mircale you are still alive! Just blind luck I'm sure. ; )
I skippered professionally for a private owner a 50 foot Cruising catamaran over two seasons (and live on it). So at least I know about boats of that size... and with max. speed >20 knots.

If you take the log books of long distance sailors on catamarans, 95% come to the conclusion: Average cruising speed is 10 knots (with max. speed of 16 roughly). While cruising sailors on monohulls have an average speed of 5-6 knots.

If you then compare it with the more sportive boats, e.g. trimarans which can go up to 25 knots max. and sail at higher average speed it gives more options for safe routing plannings. Logically, simple maths.
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