How do you tell how a boat sails
by looking at it at a Boat Show? You can’t. However, keep in mind that there are few serious performance-handling complaints about production Cats launched in the last 5 years.
Most, if not all of the Cruising Cats mentioned in this thread are bluewater seaworthy
. But, I wouldn’t take any of them into the roaring Southern Ocean in the winter.
Most of the complaints revolve around helm
visibility and line-winch placement.
I agree with SVNeko and Lambretta … “livability” & “almost like buying
a house” sum-up the major considerations.
Almost every aspect of boat design is a trade-off. Production-Cruising Cat designers lean toward livability, handling, and form rather than function. A few design trends …
volume by widening the hulls towards the centerline without increasing the width of the vessel. The sacrifice: speed & performance … but who really cares.
>Moving and enlarging the main saloon
forward increasing saloon
volume. The sacrifice: The mast
is also moved forward sacrificing speed & performance … but who really cares. (Lagoon received allot of criticism for moving the L-52’s mast
back into the central part of the cabin
sacrificing livability for performance. The mast-in-the-middle makes saloon design tough.)
>Putting flying bridges and decks atop the main saloon. The sacrifice: The boom must be moved higher above the waterline creating a dilemma: either shrink mainsail
square footage, or increase the height of the mast above the waterline. For the European market, mast height was increased requiring stronger rigging
. For the US market, some offered 64 ft. Intercostal Waterway friendly masts decreasing performance.
>Installing home creature comforts adding significant weight to vessels. The sacrifice: performance … but who cares.
In no particular order, a few of the things I look for in cruising cats includes:
>Engines located in a separate compartment and not under an aft bunk. This virtually eliminates fuel
smell and carbon monoxide in the cabins.
>Dinghy friendly stairs for easy and safe tender
>Good saloon visibility & headroom
. Larger heads-showers. Easy bunk accessibility.
& control-winch placement. For visibility, I prefer flying bridges and decks atop the main saloon with the helm on the forward portion of the deck
. Flying bridge-decks are beginning to be found on cats under 50ft. I think what I call “pop-up” helms are not well placed and not very social. One of my favorite builders has added flying bridges and decks without raising the boom much limiting the livability of the deck
. Being hit in the head
even by a sailing dinghy
can be fatal. Duel aft deck and aft hull
helms have limited visibility, increase weather
exposure and are usually too far from winch-line controls.
PS I sailed my L500 accross in a January. It still cost $25K in crew airfare, food
and a hired Captain
. Would do it again.
>Clean decks with as few trip-me hazards as practical. Easy system access. Power winches including power dinghy davits