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Old 25-02-2012, 13:25   #1
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Question Blue Water Experience or Info for Cats ?

Anyone have any good articles on the blue water safety of modern cruising cats? I had a conversation with a monohuller who was talking about being worried about capsizing and that he just couldn't trust cats. I read an article or two, but I would love some more info to discuss it with him. Anyone know of a good test, article, or personal info they can share?
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Old 25-02-2012, 13:34   #2
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

I was one of those mono-hullers, if I was starting out today, I would choose life on the patio instead of life in the cellar. Cats have come of age. AFAIK the most dangerous thing is having too much sail up while running, NEVER round up to reef. Cats are wonderful, I am envious. In 2000 I anchored in Tobago Cays, There were 40 odd boats, 4 cats. In 2010 I was there again, this time 30 odd boats, 23 of them cats...
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Old 25-02-2012, 13:37   #3
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Has this guy ever been on a cat? A lot of cat 'experts', including many on this forum, haven't. Not ever. But they still talk about them all the time, still give us all their 'knowledge' about their safety, performance etc etc etc....

Post after post giving us their 'expert' insight into boats they have never sailed on.

In truth, cat's have sailed all over the world safely. They survived storms mono's didn't. (And no doubt sometimes the reverse has happened) http://www.multihulldynamics.com/news_article.asp?articleID=11

Like everything, there are pro's and con's. Cats are generally more expensive to buy and to own, for instance. But for the vast majority of people who own them, it's well worth it.
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Old 26-02-2012, 09:30   #4
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Thanks for the info on the article. I can never be sure what to believe on old stories, but if that one is faithfully reported, it's nice to hear. It's certainly comforting, and that's 18 years ago! I imagine now safety would be a great deal better.
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Old 26-02-2012, 09:57   #5
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Gregor Tarjans book Catamarans, The Complete Guide To Cruising Sailors has a segment about the safety aspect. The key items were unsinkability, speed and shallow draft in no particular order. The unsinkability issue has been beat to death here but I still havn't seen proof that a modern cored cat has sunk all the way to the ocean floor. Has one? If holed they will float really low but they are still floating as opposed to a mono which probably will be on the bottom.
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Old 26-02-2012, 11:06   #6
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Probably beating a dead horse here, but my 2c anyway (based upon many miles aboard many different makes/models of cats...and monos too!).

Unsinkability: nothing is unsinkable. Cats can and do sink -- seen it myself -- depends much on the design, build specifics, and loading of the boat. However, "catastrophic" sinking of a cat is not a practical possibility. "Catastrophic" being defined as very rapid sinking. Aboard monos (of any size from dinghy to super tanker) this typically occurs due to "down flooding". For example, an open hatch admitting massive amounts of water very quickly (imagine the typical mid-size mono lazarette hatch opening up during a broach -- I watched this happen to a 30 foot mono once -- amazingly fast -- literally on the bottom in seconds -- fortunately it was just during a round-the-bouys race and the chase boat was nearby).

Capsize: Capsizing a typical modern mid-sized cruising cat is highly unlikely (note: "cruising cat" not "racing cat"). Just see how many actual events you can find versus the number of cruising cats out there sailing. It is an irrational bias based upon emotionalized fear not fact. The only capsizes I know of personally (versus those I have just looked up on the net) were in effectively hurricane conditions (also quite a few cats that have ridden out these same conditions). Can you capsize a cruising cat in hurricane conditions -- absolutely. In lesser conditions: highly unlikely. I've sailed cruising cats in conditions up to just under Category I hurricane wind conditions and never been anywhere near capsizing or even lifting a hull for that matter (a few dramatic surfs though!). Simple strategy to avoid cat capsize: don't go sailing in hurricanes -- with today's forecasting technology that is easy to do. (I've also sailed monos in full-on Cat 1 conditions --- don't ever want to do that again on any number of hulls !).

Also be aware that many people who cling to these tired old multihull biases have never actually sailed a multihull.
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Old 27-02-2012, 10:32   #7
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Camp Director G View Post
Anyone know of a good test, article, or personal info they can share?
Insurance companies are in the business of evaluating risk. It's what they do for a living, all day, every day. If there were any hard evidence that multihulls were less safe than monohulls they would be aware of it and this would be reflected in our premiums. Insurance companies seem far more interested in the number and experience of crew than in the number of hulls, which to my mind speaks volumes.
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Old 27-02-2012, 15:06   #8
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Dang, you guys covered it all!
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Old 27-02-2012, 15:30   #9
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

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Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post
Insurance companies are in the business of evaluating risk. It's what they do for a living, all day, every day. If there were any hard evidence that multihulls were less safe than monohulls they would be aware of it and this would be reflected in our premiums. Insurance companies seem far more interested in the number and experience of crew than in the number of hulls, which to my mind speaks volumes.
Yes, it would be very interesting to get the numbers from an underwriter.

For example: what percentage of insured monohulls sink per year, what percentage of catamarans capsize per year, ...

This would reduce it down to good hard numbers not emotional/subjective biases.
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Old 27-02-2012, 16:12   #10
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Yes, it would be very interesting to get the numbers from an underwriter.

For example: what percentage of insured monohulls sink per year, what percentage of catamarans capsize per year, ...

This would reduce it down to good hard numbers not emotional/subjective biases.
One of the CF members worked for the NTSC and compiled informal numbers

NTSC Data
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Old 27-02-2012, 17:56   #11
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

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Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
One of the CF members worked for the NTSC and compiled informal numbers

NTSC Data

Thanks much for posting the link. Good objective treatment of the subject. Even given the less than ideal state of the data he had to work with, it appears safe to say this debate is "much ado about nothing" with incidents of capsizing/sinking weighing in about the same for cats/monos.

Good enough for me!
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Old 27-02-2012, 18:27   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tropic Cat

One of the CF members worked for the NTSC and compiled informal numbers

NTSC Data
Tropic Cat, that is an absolute gem of info. Hold onto that tightly as I think it may be needed in future mono-multi debates. That's basically what Lloyds of London told us 20 years ago.
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Old 28-02-2012, 11:16   #13
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

That should be NTSB, not NTSC. The NTSB had to be a lot more fun, at least for me!

If you cite my article, you might mention that the data is now 12 years old, and there have been five cat capsizes since then, all in hurricane force winds; two of those accidents were fatal. In that time there have been 93 monohulls lost in "high" winds, which statistically works out to a wash. No fuel for either side of the argument, except that there was a disproportionately higher rate of non-fatal injuries, which could be used to claim that monohulls are more dangerous. That won't stand up in court for technical reasons, but nobody here is going to stand still long enough to argue technicalities!

You might also note that none of those cats sank, and provided shelter and more visible targets for searchers.
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Old 28-02-2012, 12:01   #14
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

Sandy,

Thanks much for the work and for chiming in!

I assume when you say that the cat vs mono losses work out to a wash statistically that is because of the higher number of monos on the water?


Thanks!
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Old 28-02-2012, 13:28   #15
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Re: Blue Water experience or info for Cats?

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
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