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Old 24-06-2008, 18:42   #1
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Question Best 38' Hull Design - Least Pounding?

Hello cruisers, I am about to purchase a 38/39 foot catamaran and the one piece of useful advice that is not published anywhere is an opinion on the best Hull Design. I know to expect a little slamming and bow bouncing in bad conditions but I do not know which manufacturer has designed the best hull shape to limit these effects. Some have good bridge deck height, some don't. I am looking at boats in the 38 or 39 foot range from the 1998-2004 model years. Anything larger is out of my budget and desire.

I am focusing in on the Lagoon and Admiril 38 and Privilege 39 for many reasons, but how do they do in this regard? Can anyone help with this often touchy subject please? Many thanks in advance.
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Old 24-06-2008, 19:31   #2
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Gee, what a can of worms you are going to open! Personally, I would go for the hull with the best bridgedeck clearance, best volume to wieght carrying ratio, the best usable internal hull width and one with good looks and speed to boot!
Being an Aussie I am biased to our designers down under, Grainger, Chamberlin, Schionning, Tennant just to mention a few.
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Old 24-06-2008, 19:39   #3
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The July/August edition of Multihulls World has boat tests on the Mahe 36 and Lagoon 380. They have comparisons against some of the boats you mentioned also. If you can't find the article let me know and I'll try to scan it and send it to you.
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Old 26-06-2008, 20:22   #4
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Hi Rigamarole, thank you for the helpful reply. Unfortunately that issue is no longer for sale by me here in San Francisco - or I can't find it anyway. Would you have the ability to scan it in? It would be much appreciated!
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Old 26-06-2008, 22:36   #5
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Lightwave 38 would be my pick in that range/class
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Old 26-06-2008, 22:55   #6
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none of the modern boats you've mentioned really has poor bridgedeck clearance, if you really want to see low bridgedeck clearances you have to go a bit older model boats (norseman for instance). I think what you'll find is that the lagoon 380 has a relatively small galley, perhaps 1/5th the counter space of the privilege 39s galley down arrangement. The nacelle area of the privilege 39 also helps provide extremely nice cabins for such a smaller boat and the 39 is very well made, quality materials, well thought out. This is not a light boat (same empty weight as my st francis 44), and it won't be a performance sailor, but it will be safe, luxurious appointments inside and very sturdy. She is a proven circumnavigator. I'd personally avoid the latest year models as the euro appreciation has simply made them not a good value, but anything earlier than say 2002 and you should be still able to work a decent deal.

The admiral 38 is a foot wider, and that really appears in the settee area. For a galley up version she has the galley space of a 41 to 42 footer, extremely nice with good visibility from the settee area (better than the privilege). In fact going into the settee area will remind you very much of a 42 ft boat. The fit and finish will be simpler than the privilege or the lagoon, but that can be a benefit when it comes to actually cleaning it and repairing it. The Admiral weights in at several thousand lbs less than the lagoon or privilege, with roughly the same sail area she would be the better performer of the group, probably by a substantial amount. I've heard good things about admiral in terms of reliability and strength, so I wouldn't hesitate and getting one for transoceanic passages (all of them were delivered going 5000 miles plus deliveries from south africa in the first place, so any argument that it can't do blue water miles would be ridiculous). Some of the 38 ft boats were purchased when the dollar was extremely strong and therefore are still incredible bargains, especially used.

My free assessment, and worth every penny of it!
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Old 26-06-2008, 23:15   #7
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Sorry, my long winded reply really didn't focus on hull design. You'll find the lavranos hull/width ration more slender, more easily driven than the fatter lagoon and privilege as these are far heavier boats. Lagoon tends to have a more knuckle bow but it does keep the weight out of the bows and lifts up well on the waves. However they really seem to get far fatter toward the aft ends and this will tend to slow them down a bit, partly because they are all engine aft models. The privilege will tend to not ride as quickly on the waves, have a bit slower of a motion, which actually can be more comfortable, it's a bit more of a monohull type ride in that sense. The lavranos designs (st francis, admiral, african cats) typically are fairly concerned about good balance weight distribution, so you'll probably find it the most fun to sail, especially in light air. For bridgedeck clearance, the french boats have an edge, but in any sailing beam to or aft of beam it won't make one iota of difference and the admirals clearance is just fine, not exceptional, but perfectly fine.
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Old 27-06-2008, 02:24   #8
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Thumbs up

I have to agree with factor:
Lightwave 38
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Old 16-11-2008, 03:52   #9
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hi, can you clarify for me why some cats send a huge bow wave spraying over the cockpit, whilst others don't !!
is this a design fault or overweight
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Old 16-11-2008, 04:34   #10
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Which catamaran have you see with a bow wave large enough to get folks wet? I'm thinking you saw a video of a Gunboat doing 30 knots?
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Old 21-11-2008, 19:35   #11
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Hi,

As a Lagoon 380 owner with 15,000 miles, and many of them far offshore, it has been my experience that the boat has very good bridegdeck clearance.

A friend with an Admiral 38 (and much lower South African-style bridgedeck peformance) sustained pounding more often. At anchor, though, the salon and cockpit of the Admiral are very nice indeed!

Hull designs have evolved. Skinny, allegedly faster hulls are not able to carry much load, not to mention it results in skinny, smaller aft cabins. The "cat's can't be loaded down" retort finds its roots in the skinny-hulled older designs.

Newer, wider hulls have advantages. For example, the aft cabins in L380's are bigger than those in L410's. And they are MUCH bigger than cabins the Admiral 38 and Manta 42's. And, considering the engines are NOT under the bunks on the L380, the storage space is downright obscene and significantly exceeds the storage space on L410's, Manta 42's and Admirals.

Now, for the GREAT part. Our L380 LOADED down matches Manta 42's speeds exactly. I've buddy boated with Mantas for multiple day offshore passages and we have to keep a sharp lookout out because performances are so close. . . I finally took to leaving a couple of hours later so we could spread out.

I have also buddy boated extensively with L410's and we have been very comparable speed wise.

A Lagoon 440, however, will disappear very quickly!

The worst slamming complaints I ever heard from any cat owner came from a St. Francis 43 owner. That boat is the predecessor to the 44.

Anyway, the 43 owner said a full cup of coffee would bounce a foot off the salon table when they slammed, and they slammed all the time it seemed to him.

I have never had anything leave the table in bad seas. ALL cats will slam in wicked stuff. The French designs have higher clearance as a rule, but there are no "slam proof" cats if you get my drift.

All things considered we have been EXTREMELY happy living and cruising on our L380 for the last four years. It has been a fabulous boat for the money and has never lost its composure offshore.

There are lots of good choices and great cats, though . . . the trick is to buy one that suits your needs and that you like the looks and layout on. You might hate the L380, so look at a lot of different cats and get something that turns you on.

My Manta friends love their boats (with the coolest bimini going), as do Admiral owners (with a great salon and cockpit) and Lagoons with their fabulous visibility out of the salon windows. . . and. . . . . on and on.

Just remember that good weather windows and being patient reduces the slam factor significantly. The "main event" is being happy with the boat on the hook, etc.

All the best,

Buddy
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Old 22-11-2008, 23:36   #12
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Hi Buddy/mudbug

Thanks for the lengthy (and very helpful) remarks. I am a lifetime monohull sailor only converted to cats in the past two years. Now with a partner, we spent all the past two years researching, chartering (including last year in the Caribbean following the Australian Cricket Team!) and test sailing cats in search of THE boat in the 36-40' range to suit our lplans for engthy Australian coastal cruising in retirement, BUT we feel we are still with very little 'blue water' time on cats...and we are trying to assess the relative importance of the various claims to do with blue water performance by each cat vendor.

We were impressed with the Lagoon 380's comforts and sailing set-up, but we were troubled by the suggestion (by other vendors, of course!) that the L380 would feel over-weight and under-powered at sea, giving up too much sail area (boom height) in favour of living area. Our only sailing time on the L380 was on Sydney Harbour. Conditions were light and the L380 sailed very well, although it was my impression that she was brand new and pretty well empty other than the basic factory 'kit'. The bare weight for the L380 is well above (+~2T) the others (Lightwave 38, Grainger 38, Mahe 36) that we looked at closely...and the others also seem to carry more sail area; all of that seems to confirm the negative comments above. On the other hand, our one sail was very good...but we just don't feel we are experienced enough to extrapolate to blue water conditions.

How would you react to that over-weight and under-powered at sea comment? We're certainly surprised (and impressed) by your perfomance comparison to the Manta 42...although we know nothing about the Manta 42! :~)
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Old 23-11-2008, 05:19   #13
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D&D,

My pleasure! Glad to help.

My reaction to 380 detractors?

As Jimmy Buffett says: "Don't try to decribe a KISS concert if you've never seen one."

How about 1130 miles, from Fort Lauderdale to the Virgin Islands in 2 hours less than seven days?

We are LOADED DOWN and live on the boat and routinely sail between five and nine knots, right with all the other 38 to 42 foot cats.

Ask yourself this: am I going cruising or going racing? The L380 is not a racing boat at all. It is, however an A Ocean rated cat that has a fabulous layout. It has enjoyed the most successful production run in cruising cat production of any other make and model in the 38 foot class by far.

There must be a reason for that.

Anyway, we have NO legitimate complaints about the boat. If it were lost today we would go looking for one EXACTLY like her and that is after living aboard and sailing 15,000 miles in four years.

In short, all things considered, I have never looked across the anchorage and said "gee, I wish we had that boat instead." On the contrary, it's always been "boy, we lucked out when we picked our boat."

Again, people like different things. So, of course, the L380 is not everybody's favorite, but you can't argue with the success of the model and it's popularity with many, including me.

All the best and I wish you great success in finding "your" cat,

Buddy
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Old 23-11-2008, 09:15   #14
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Mud,

There are those that say that having the engines in separate compartments aft make it dangerous if one has to work on them while at sea and thus should not have been built that way. I seem to think that the number of times one must do something like that are pretty slim unless one is prone to ignore regular inspection/maintenance.
The ability to have the storage/space in the aft cabins would far outweigh that. Does one tend to "over store" in the aft cabins given the ability to "pile it in"?
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Old 23-11-2008, 13:27   #15
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[quote=D&D;226063]
We were impressed with the Lagoon 380's comforts and sailing set-up, but we were troubled by the suggestion (by other vendors, of course!) that the L380 would feel over-weight and under-powered at sea,


The bare weight for the L380 is well above (+~2T) the others (Lightwave 38, Grainger 38, Mahe 36) that we looked at closely...and the others also seem to carry more sail area; all of that seems to confirm the negative comments above. On the other hand, our one sail was very good...but we just don't feel we are experienced enough to extrapolate to blue water conditions.

quote]


D&D,

You need to take wind speed into consideration when looking at all these speed claims.

Also, never believe the weight claims on the sales brochure, they are often on the low side, and very unclear. (lightship? full load? with/without fuel+water+)

Most of the French charter style cats will do around 50-60% of true wind speed on a reach up to their "hull speed", then the curve starts flattening.

So a 38 footer with 38 ft Lwl will probably do around 9 knots in 20 knots true on a broad reach, coming on to the wind the speed will drop a bit.

What you need to look at is the Sail Area/Displacement numbers for the boat with the load you expect to carry.

More SA and longer waterline length for the same displacement means higher speed.

Sailing in the Caribbean with a good strong wind most of the time then you will be fine. But, many places in the Pacific you will not be seeing 15-20 knots of wind. So at 50% TWS you will using your engines alot when the wind drops to 6 knots. There are some Oz design that will perform better in those conditions, but maybe not have the same space...

Good Luck in your search

Alan
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