In any cat, ultimate speed is achieved by sacrificing weight, manageability and safety
margin. Each of these item effect performance logarithmically. The first half knot
of speed costs 700 pounds, the second and third require leaving 1600 then 3800 pounds of stuff behind.
There is no hull speed
limit in cats with a narrower than 10:1 length-to-hull-beam ratio. But there is an increasing resistance that must be overcome with sail power. Cruising cats carry short masts to reduce the risk of capsize
pole. Racier cats have taller rigs, which means a reduced safety
margin, heavier and much more expensive rigging
, and a lot more sail area to hoist, reef, and trim. That requires heavier and more expensive winches, running rigging
, and ultimately, more hairy chested crew.
When a crew maintains their alertness and keen enthusiasm for speed, fatigue sets in much sooner, necessitating shorter watches, and more crew.
Bottom line: speeds over 14 knots in anything under 60' will shake AND stir boat contents, galley
stuff, and all the normal boatie effluvia into a melange of salt-spray-soaked mess. Bigger boats may not achieve this concoction until 15 knots.
Owning an Outremer does not escape any of these circumstances. If you want to hit 20 knots in the open ocean, buy a ticket on a Cruise Ship
. Then someone else will take the mid watch.
BUT: For the instantaneous gratification of sailing over another boat, take narrow hulls, daggerboards, a tall rig, one swim suit and a half a tube of toothpaste, and go for it! Some people can live off Ramen Noodles for weeks!
There are so many cats out there that one will truly hit your sweet spot, when you have worked out your priorities. What are you willing to sacrifice?
My choice is our Chris White Atlantic 42. Its quick, but still manageable by two people for cruising, four for going fast, and six for longer than a week between ports
because I don't do sacrifice very well. If we were racing
, I would take at least 4,000 pounds off the boat.
I would love to sail any Outremer for a day or two, but not for long voyages simply because I need a change of clothing
and some variety in food
, prefer to stand 3 on, 6 off watches, and drink a LOT of water.
ps there's a lot of pluses in a light boat with very simple systems in an area where there's no need to carry a load of spares and water. A watermaker
aboard adds huge complexity and headaches.