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Old 28-02-2012, 13:44   #16
smj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Highland Fling
well someone managed to capsize a Chris White Atlantic 57 that is a big cat to flip over

read (almost) all here

Press Chris White Designs High Performance Cruising Catamarans
And your point?
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Old 28-02-2012, 14:08   #17
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highland Fling View Post
well someone managed to capsize a Chris White Atlantic 57 that is a big cat to flip over

read (almost) all here

Press Chris White Designs High Performance Cruising Catamarans
Yeah old news and one of the five extras cats and 93 monohulls Sandy mentioned. To be balanced perhaps you could also a a link to a monohull sunk.

I thing one of the reasons for so many monohulls sinkings is the lack of proper bilge pumps. Cannot understand why so many go to sea on a vessel that sinks without proper pumps. Not referring to a Sundeer here.
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Old 29-02-2012, 18:50   #18
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highland Fling View Post
well someone managed to capsize a Chris White Atlantic 57 that is a big cat to flip over

read (almost) all here

Press Chris White Designs High Performance Cruising Catamarans

Also see the owner's account and epilogue at LossOfAnna. Very relevant reading and he is painfully honest about the mistakes he believes he made. Given that the last wind speed they recall seeing was 62 knots, and they believe the highest winds were significantly stronger, they were probably in hurricane strength winds (or close enough) at the moment of capsize.

I don't want to engage in second guessing the captain and crew of s/v Anna, I was not there so I don't know all the details first hand, but her loss does point out that sudden extreme gusty winds are a potential danger for catamaras. After reading about the loss, I started thinking about my experiences in similar conditions (Chris White also published one of his in response). Big dramatic gusts are certainly a concern for cats, but there are techniques, which if used immediately, can be successful in dealing with such conditions. I thought it might be worthwhile for the forum, and on-topic, to post my experiences and opinions here.

I've done a lot of multihull sailing in the Gulf of Mexico and Western Carib where strong squalls are common. Below is a discussion of the techniques I have used successfully to handle these conditions.

When wind speed increase is dramatic and almost instantaneous you must act immediately to change the wind loads on the boat. Any action that takes more than a few seconds to initiate is a waste of precious time and just increases your risk. You don't have time to reef, drop sails, deploy sea anchor, etc. You must act and change something right now. This essentially only leaves you with quick adjustments to sheets and/or helm. Actions that fall into this category are:

- Dump the main. Anyone who has done a lot of sailing on small high-performanace cats like Hobies has almost certainly learned from experience to never let the main sheet leave your hand -- especially in gusty conditions. This is your most immediate saftey valve. That big mainsail, so common on modern cruising cats, can become a liability very quickly (IMHO it is not the ideal sail plan for a cruising multihull, but that's another subject...). In a big gust you can depower very quickly by simply dumping the main (careful though on big cats the main sheet can be extremely heavily loaded). Never leave the main sheet on a winch -- keep it close at hand and ready to run -- ideally on in a cam cleat or something which can be quickly released.

- Pinch/Luff. Head-up, ease sails, bleed off the force of the wind. Control the luffing as much as possible to minimize damage to sails, rigging, and crew. This was Chris White's choice in similar conditions to those of S/V Anna (which he discusses on the originally posted link). Not my favorite due to the flogging rigging, but it works.

- Run with it. If you have sea room and the seas are not too large (which they typically are not in sudden squall winds because they do not have time to build), then turn and run with it. The change in apparent wind, especially on a faster boat, is dramatic and greatly reduces healing forces. In a similar situation to S/V Anna's, in the Gulf of Mexico once we had squall winds explode from 5 knots to 50 instantaneously. We had an advantage though -- I suspected it was coming -- I was
watching this beast visually and on radar -- expected it to get ugly and we were arleady deeply reefed when it hit. Seas were relatively calm, so I chose to turn and run with it, we went from 50+ knots apparent to 38...way big difference in wind loads and a nice easy controlled ride till it blew itself out about 30 minutes later (made great time too, but in the wrong direction).

- Heave-to. Quickly heave-to and ease the main way out till it luffs. This reduces effective sail area, there's minimal flogging of the main and rigging (assuming a typical fully batten main on a catamaran), and the boat is in a nice stable attitude (more so than heading up and luffing). Stay hove-to and let it roll over you. I have also done "pre-emptive" heave-to's before -- If you see it coming, and expect it to be ugly, then heave-to before it even gets to you. One other potential advantage of this tactic is that the squall may pass over you more quickly since you are staying put. It is also easier on the crew than running with it and can be used even in big seas. While in a hove-to attitude it is also much easier to make other heavy weather preparations if necessary (pull another reef in the main, rig a drogue, etc). Or, just sit down, have a cup of coffee and let it blow.

The final call of course depends upon the circumstances, boat, and crew, but the choice must be made very fast.
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Old 01-03-2012, 03:14   #19
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

I'm on the other side of Florida, and suggest that when you see that squall line approaching you drop your sails, start the diesels and head into the wind.

60 knot winds aren't unusual in squalls around these parts, not to mention lightning.
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Old 01-03-2012, 04:15   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tropic Cat
I'm on the other side of Florida, and suggest that when you see that squall line approaching you drop your sails, start the diesels and head into the wind.

60 knot winds aren't unusual in squalls around these parts, not to mention lightning.
Agree w squalls and high winds are common. What alot of people forget is that squall may be moving at over a mile a minute. It can catch you quite unprepared. You see it and it is on you.
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:48   #21
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
I'm on the other side of Florida, and suggest that when you see that squall line approaching you drop your sails, start the diesels and head into the wind.

60 knot winds aren't unusual in squalls around these parts, not to mention lightning.
Yup, that works too, but you must have a little time to prepare (which emphasizes the fact that you need to pay very close attention to these squalls...one of S/V Anna's mistakes was not being sufficiently aware of what was going on around them).

My personal preference is to have some sail to work with, as most sailing vessels (mono or cat) handle heavy weather better under sail, or a combination of motor and sail, than under power alone.
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Old 06-03-2012, 02:24   #22
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Here is a 2-minute video of a Jan 2012 trip from Colombia to San Blas, running in a 40ī Kelsall Suncat. Most of the video has the wind 20 - 30 knots, seas 2 - 4 m.

2 -

As always, videos and photos do not show sea conditions too well but you can see how we adjusted the sails to suit the increasing conditions. Maybe with twin GoPros, we can do a 3-D video that shows the sea conditions better.

Note the lack of main and spinnaker. When you drive a high powered car on loose gravel, you want front wheel drive not rear wheel drive. In katabatic winds off Dominica, I always had the sheet in my hand and dumped the main everytime we got hit.

As seen in the video, we had a 200 m rope ready to deploy with attachments as a drogue, but it wasnīt necessary once all the sails were down and we got the boatspeed under 8 knots.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:11   #23
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Awesome video and I love the butterfly rig
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:28   #24
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Thanks, Tropic Cat. Yes, we have a spinnaker, but there is more sail area in the two jibs and they can both be furled easily from the cockpit. The spinnaker can stay up until 25 knots of apparent wind but it is always an incredible experience trying to douse it with the sock on the foredeck with 35+ knots of true wind.

So the kite is up for sale since we just donīt use it anymore. Anyone want it? 40ī luff, 24ī foot, assymetrical, sock, 1.25 o 1.5 oz. $900. Pick up in Panama or pay the freight.
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:33   #25
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Wonderful video. Did you find you'd wished you had a pole(s) to pole out one (or both) sails?

Oh, and any damage from the log?
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Old 06-03-2012, 03:49   #26
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

No poles needed with a 24ī beam, although it might have looked that way in the first few seconds of the video. The jib sheet gets taken off the track and run thru a snatch block on the toe rail and the gennaker sheet is always run outside between the daggerboard case and toe rail. If needed, I guess we could run the windward sheet thru another block on the main boom in order to open it up another metre.

The log was 1 m in diameter and gave three awful smashes as it crashed its way into the bow, daggerboard and then the rudder. I expected damage, checked the bilges and then dove under when anchored, but it seems we got off lightly with just a little lost paint.
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:09   #27
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Any chance you can make this video available to mobile devices? We looked at your Kelsall before we bought our Solaris Sunstar.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:30   #28
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Re: Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Hi SMJ, It is on youtube but I am not sure how to adjust it for a mobile device. Sorry.

Coincidentally, we looked at your Solaris in Galveston and 11 other cats in Florida, Bahamas, France, Spain and Guatemala before we bought the Kelsall. You were cruising up the coast of Florida in your Seawind at the time (June 2010?), so we didnīt meet personally.
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Old 06-03-2012, 11:40   #29
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Hi SMJ, It is on youtube but I am not sure how to adjust it for a mobile device. Sorry.

Coincidentally, we looked at your Solaris in Galveston and 11 other cats in Florida, Bahamas, France, Spain and Guatemala before we bought the Kelsall. You were cruising up the coast of Florida in your Seawind at the time (June 2010?), so we didnīt meet personally.
I will have to check it out when we get our laptop repaired.
I think I remember talking to you on the phone. Congrats on the Kelsall, a really nice boat.
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