Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 21-08-2009, 23:01   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: CA
Boat: Cal 34
Posts: 127
Bluewater Cats with 'Sliding Doors' and Hard Bimini

I'm looking/dreaming about cruising and have been researching boats.

First let me give you a little background.

I grew up sailing cats, such as the Hobie 14, 16 and Tiger as well as a Prindle 18. I also did a bunch of monohull charter sailing on some 30-34 footers when I was a kid. I even singlehanded a 32 for a few days after my father was injured offshore when I was 13. However, since I was a teen, I haven't done any sailing other than my Hobie.

As you might expect, I'm very interested in a multihull boat, (other than the price). I am actually in the market for a liveaboard in the next few months and will probably end up on a small project monohull for a few months or years until I have budget for full time cruising.

In my research, I've run into a number of less expensive cats that appear to basically have a beefed up kitchen sliding door for an aft hatch. I think the Lagoon boats are set up this way, as well as several others I've seen.

This seems positively insane to me as a bluewater design. Am I underestimating the strength of this setup? Having faced a few small squalls before, I can't IMAGINE having a hatch that's basically 7 foot tall, 10 foot wide sheet of GLASS keeping ocean waves from swamping the boat. Am I crazy?

I've seem to recall hearing stories about little teak hatches being crushed by freak waves over the stern.

So... what's the consensus? My goal for the boat is to be really safe for a circumnavigation.

i've also seen some more conservative, buts still "big door" designs like the Gemini and a Solaris Sunstar I've been looking at. They still have a flat wall with a door and windows aft of the bridgedeck. hmmm.

Any thoughts on the safety of these designs? Sure, it's great to feel like the cockpit is the "back porch" but it would make me very uneasy if my back porch was underwater. :-)

One of my favorite bits of safety gear for open-water storms is the sea drogue, but they're usually run off the back of a monohull to keep from ripping the rudder off when sliding down the waves. No way I would do while putting a kitchen window to the storm..... hmmmm...


Oh yeah... and how do you navigate a marina from underneath a hard bimini, when standing behind a 6' wall that is the aft of the bridgedeck??? I can't imagine you have much visibility from there...

Thanks!
HobieFan
__________________

__________________
HobieFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21-08-2009, 23:09   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: CA
Boat: Cal 34
Posts: 127
Let me mention that I'm not made of money and "upgrading" to a $300k boat probably wouldn't cut it. If it's insane to go passage making with one of the cheaper cats, I'd end up in a 45 foot center cockpit mono, but I never liked the rolling of the monos at anchor, or sleeping on a 15 degree angle under sail. :-)

I've been looking at boats such as a 1992 Solaris Sunstar 36 and the Gemini 105.
__________________

__________________
HobieFan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 03:56   #3
Registered User
 
Octopus's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Isle of Arran, UK
Boat: Lagoon 420 - Hull 52
Posts: 208
Benefits of Sliding Glass Doors and Rigid Biminis

Quote:
Originally Posted by HobieFan View Post
...
In my research, I've run into a number of less expensive cats that appear to basically have a beefed up kitchen sliding door for an aft hatch. I think the Lagoon boats are set up this way, as well as several others I've seen.

This seems positively insane to me as a bluewater design. Am I underestimating the strength of this setup? Having faced a few small squalls before, I can't IMAGINE having a hatch that's basically 7 foot tall, 10 foot wide sheet of GLASS keeping ocean waves from swamping the boat. Am I crazy?

I've seem to recall hearing stories about little teak hatches being crushed by freak waves over the stern.

So... what's the consensus? My goal for the boat is to be really safe for a circumnavigation.
.....
Oh yeah... and how do you navigate a marina from underneath a hard bimini, when standing behind a 6' wall that is the aft of the bridgedeck??? I can't imagine you have much visibility from there...

Thanks!
HobieFan
Hi HobieFan,

My Lagoon 420 has sliding glass doors and rigid bimini and I think both features make a positive contribution to boat safety and a huge contribution to improved livability. I, perhaps, wouldn't choose to take Octopus on a Southern Ocean circumnavigation, but for a trade winds circumnavigation I would have no qualms.

We completed a traditional Atlantic circuit last year with our six children aboard and, despite encountering five F8 gales on our return passage, we never had any concerns about the safety of the boat. High freeboard and the wide beam meant that we took very little water over the deck and hardly any in the cockpit. The conditions were never severe, but then we had planned our route to take advantage of benign seasonal weather.

Despite their vertical windows and sliding glass doors Lagoon have an excellent safety record. A huge number of new Lagoons are delivered across oceans at all times of the year in safety. True, a Lagoon 380 was lost on delivery in February 2007 and the delivery skipper lost his life due to exposure, but that was owing to a capsize and there was no mention of the saloon door causing problems, despite being broached at least twice.

I have no scientific knowledge of the forces involved, but intuitively I believe that horizontal or near-horizontal hatches and windows are more vulnerable to damage than vertical ones, because when a wave comes crashing down on the boat it is the weight of the water carried by gravity moving it downwards that contains most of force. The movement of the wave laterally, I would have thought, is relatively slow and weak, unless you are travelling at 20 knots into the wave. If this were not so, then why would commercial fishing vessels, which are designed to regularly endure severe weather, have vertical or near vertical windows and doors?

Then you have to consider the positive safety aspects of these vertical windows and sliding glass doors. Good visibility is of paramount importance, so you can spot dangers from wherever you happen to be. The vertical windows and sliding glass doors of the Lagoon designs give you unmatched, near 360, visibility, whether relaxing in the cockpit or sheltering from a storm in the saloon. The sense of light and space, together with a good view of nearly 360 contributes to crew morale and well-being, which makes them better able to deal with emergencies when they arrive.

Similar arguments apply to rigid biminis. They provide shelter from sun and rain, which contribute immensely to crew well-being. The provide a strong and stable platform for mainsail handling, e.g. when wrestling the mainsail down in a storm. They carry the mainsail traveller and associated sheets, keeping the cockpit clear of the danger and inconvenience of all that gear. They protect the crew from the the dangers of the boom during accidental gybes.

In survival conditions in a severe storm, the boat may be a bit more exposed to damage as a result of sliding glass doors and rigid biminis, but the crew will be in a better state to handle the boat and make good decisions.

Chris
Octopus, Lagoon 420 Hybrid,
Isle of Arran, Scotland
__________________
Octopus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 05:40   #4
Long Range Cruiser
 
MarkJ's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Australian living on "Sea Life" currently in England.
Boat: Beneteau 393 "Sea Life"
Posts: 12,828
Images: 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Octopus View Post
A huge number of new Lagoons are delivered across oceans at all times of the year in safety.
One must remember that ALL cats delivered to Sunsail/Moorings world wide are sailed on their own bottom by delivery skippers not much more experienced than circumnavigating skippers.

And thats plenty of boats! Plenty of safe passages. Often outside the optimum cruising months.

Some people might think that production cats look like a hideous brick at sea, but I have seen custom cats being built on 3rd world country beaches and I sure as hell would prefer to sail in a 'hideous brick' from a company with a multi-billion dollar reputation to uphold.

Mark
__________________
Notes on a Circumnavigation.
OurLifeAtSea.com

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
MarkJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 07:05   #5
Senior Cruiser
 
Therapy's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: W Florida
Boat: The Jon boat still, plus a 2007 SeaCat.
Posts: 6,894
Images: 4
There just aren't many reports (maybe none) of green water entering a cat cockpit, much less hammering at the door.
__________________
Therapy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 08:35   #6
CF Adviser
 
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,283
I agree that the "patio doors" seem like they would be vulnerable to an overtaking sea. But the reality, as far as I can tell, is that it rarely, if ever, happens. I know in our boat we've never had any water come into the cockpit except in the form of rain or spray. The boat simply rises with the wave. Dave, on Exit Only, has a nice video on his website of trailing warps that illustrates this nicely. Look at the one called "Warp Speed" Video

I know on our St. Francis that the doors (two of them that meet in the middle) are much more robust than a patio door. They are thick, shatterproof, and have heavy mountings. I'm not saying it would be impossible to break them, but it wouldn't be easy. There are also two large scuppers right underneath.

I have seen a cat with a broken aft door, but it didn't happen in the way you suspect. The boat was a Leopard 46 charter boat, with a hired (local) captain and crew. With passengers aboard, the captain decided to go through the Whale Cay cut (in the Abacos) during what the locals call a "rage". (The cut faces NE, from the ocean into the shallow Sea of Abaco. When you get large ocean waves/swells meeting the cut, the result is high, steep waves with short periods. The conditions get so bad that Disney closed their resort there became the cruise ships (and passengers) got beat up so bad. It is really stupid to take it on in a rage, but that captain did. The Leopard, which has front windows that are about 65 degrees, had the front louvers torn off, all stanchions and lifelines gone. The vang was bent 90 degrees. One front window (which is about 1/2" Lexan) was broken. The water went through the salon and tore out the aft door, from the inside. The boat was a wreck and people got hurt. Having said though, the boat survived and nobody was lost. And, of course, the whole incident was captain error.

So, I won't say that your concern is groundless, but it is far less a concern than it might seem on the face.

ID
__________________
Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 08:35   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
Talbot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Brighton, UK
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 3,579
Images: 32
The biggest problem with the patio doors is that it is not really feasible to use a series drogue in a survival storm. You would be forced to use a parachute anchor.

As for water into the cockpit. I suggest you read this story of a leopard 46 delivery to Okinawa
__________________
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
Robert A Heinlein
Talbot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 08:48   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
Therapy's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: W Florida
Boat: The Jon boat still, plus a 2007 SeaCat.
Posts: 6,894
Images: 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talbot View Post
The biggest problem with the patio doors is that it is not really feasible to use a series drogue in a survival storm. You would be forced to use a parachute anchor.

As for water into the cockpit. I suggest you read this story of a leopard 46 delivery to Okinawa
Yea,

Sailing up to 17 knots in those waves is fast! We had both hulls out of the water a couple of times. Crazy ass stuff. After he said 3 reefs and some Jib and he said it could handle 50 knots!

Crazy stuff indeed.
__________________
Therapy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 08:59   #9
CF Adviser
 
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,283
Wow -- just read the Okinawa story. Insane, crazy, stupid -- the adjectives are simply pitiful. Words from a Grateful Dead song come to mind -- "Driving that train, high on cocaine. Casey Jones is ready, watch your speed. Trouble ahead, trouble behind..."

Talbot, I'm curious, why would it not be possible to use a drogue?

ID
__________________
Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-08-2009, 14:12   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: BVIs
Boat: Lagoon 440, Sea Of Love
Posts: 60
I have heard 2nd hand info that the British small commercial vessel code for cats requires the ability to put up a companionway type hatch board across the patio doors to the height of the surrounding sidedecks so that in the event of a poop and doors failing, the water would as likely drain 3/4 over the sides and only 1/4 through the failed doors down to the level of the sidedecks and the remaining water through the scuppers.
__________________
sail4evr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-08-2009, 12:26   #11
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Wherever our boat is; Playa Zaragoza, Isla Margarita
Boat: 1994 Solaris Sunstream 40
Posts: 2,439
Talbot, I don't really agree with you concerning the series drogue. The back end of a cat tends to lift with waves even more than on a monohull; many delivery skippers simply leave the boat on autopilot and go below, running before storms. In bad enough conditions, the series drogue would slow, but not stop you and hence you would still be able to avoid taking breaking waves, full force over the transoms.

I also believe the Jordan site had some testimonials from the owners of cats which also tends to undermine your suggestion.

Brad
__________________
Southern Star is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-08-2009, 12:42   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
Talbot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Brighton, UK
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 3,579
Images: 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Talbot, I don't really agree with you concerning the series drogue.
Brad
Thats fine, quite happy for people to have different opinions, that after all is what makes the world turn.

However, the series drogue will slow you down to about 1 - 2 kts, this increases as a breaking wave approaches, and then slows down as the boat climbs the wave. Thus significantly reducing the kinetic impact of the wave, whilst preventing the broach. I engaged in quite a long correspondence with the australian company associated with the Jordan drogue trials and he was very concerned about this vulnerability.

Cat design varies, and some have hulls that project aft of the bridgedeck by some distance, others do not. The first would probably have a lot more buoyancy to lift the stern up than the other. (Generalisation I know, and a lot of other factors are also involved).

Having been in bad storms during my time at sea, I want a boat that can cope with the bad, and am willing to accept that this will have ramifications that will be of less value in good weather. I believe that other blue water cruisers should also be aware of these factors so that they can make their own value judgements.
__________________
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
Robert A Heinlein
Talbot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-08-2009, 12:49   #13
Eternal Member
 
imagine2frolic's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
Posts: 4,508
Images: 123
I have to admit I too worried about those big glass doors. To date I have never heard anything negative happening with them. If I was to build a boat I would still go with a small companionway door. I also have to admit I like the way those doors open up the salon......i2f
__________________
SAILING is not always a slick magazine cover!
BORROWED..No single one of is as smart as all of us!
http://sailingwithcancer.blogspot.com/
imagine2frolic is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-08-2009, 13:40   #14
CF Adviser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Wherever our boat is; Playa Zaragoza, Isla Margarita
Boat: 1994 Solaris Sunstream 40
Posts: 2,439
Talbot, I agree with you totally concerning our right to disagree; indeed, I did not say that you were wrong. I also agree with your suggestion that the design of the cat would tend to influence how well they responded to use of a series drogue: indeed, I suspect that it is not merely a matter of the protrusion of the hulls behind the bridgedeck (which itself, especially if curved, will create additional lift), but also whether the cockpit is at the back end of the bridgedeck, or whether it is more centrally located and/or has a raised coachouse aft of the cockpit to accomodate the rear staterooms (such as in my boat).

You are quite correct that when fully deployed, the series drogue was designed to slow the vessel's forward progress to about 1.5 to 2 knots; that being said, one could still slow the progress to a lesser degree by deploying it less than fully. In that way you would get the benefits of a non-series drogue (slowing the boats forward speed and reducing the tendancy to broach), with the added benefits of elasticity and less strain on deck fittings that is associated with the series-drogue (albeit without getting the full benefits for which the design was intended).

My boat was built to Lloyd's unlimited offshore standards and has a single, tempered glass door that is about 24" wide. I suspect that it is at least as strong as the companionway drop-boards used in most monohulls. Further, due to the aforementioned added bouyancy aft in a cat, the gentle curve of the bridgdeck aft and the somewhat more forward location for my cockpit (in front of the aft coachouse), I have every confidence that my series drogue, even when fully deployed, will function as well, or better than it does on a monohull. Admittedly I have not had to test it in survival conditions (and hope never to), but I see no reason to doubt its efficacy when called upon.

As to cats with big, sliding, tempered glass doors - I would still tend to deploy a series drogue unless the cockpit did become overwhelmed, at which time I would cut it loose and deploy a para-tech sea-anchor (or equivalent) in a bridle from the bow. Regardless, I still believe that the benefits of a series drogue would justify their inclusion in your storm kit, even if you also felt compellled to carry a sea-anchor.

Brad
__________________
Southern Star is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-08-2009, 13:57   #15
Registered User
 
Eleven's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Southampton UK
Boat: Jaguar 22 mono called Arfur.
Posts: 1,220
Images: 3
From all I've read on this site and serious books a Cat in a storm is best 'sailed' with braking by para-drogue on a bridle over the stern allowing steerage way to choose the best path to suit the swell. The bridle can be used for some directional stability and I gather Sailing may be under bare poles. In extremes the bridled para system off the bows will hold the boat at it's best angle to the wind and waves for survival and best! ride but you have to choose beforehand based on weather forecast.
In severe weather boards across the lower part of ALL doorways will limit flooding and the effects on boat contents of water levels above floor level.
Once the boat has been rigged for the approaching storm it's a matter of leave well alone and monitor for changes. Things like chafing of the bridle, securing things that come loose, and trying to eat and drink enough.
There is no reason why big doors are more likely to fail if they are supported by cross bars within. A central post vertically as a pillar (or horizontal) strengthens the door by more than ten times based on area and span under load (if properly mounted). A central pillar will also allow normal access to the cockpit without obstructing the view too much. Could even be a permanent fixture but beware of structural flexing.
__________________

__________________
Ex Prout 31 Sailor, Now it's a 22ft Jaguar called 'Arfur' here in sunny Southampton, UK.
A few places left in Quayside Marina and Kemps Marina.
Eleven is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
bimini

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Are Cats truly bluewater/long passage capable? sundowner Multihull Sailboats 102 20-01-2017 13:04
How to Build Your Own Hard Bimini lagoon100 Construction, Maintenance & Refit 13 07-09-2016 22:13
Bluewater Sail Cats Under $250k? slippery kitty Multihull Sailboats 32 11-05-2009 16:41
sliding door tolly Multihull Sailboats 19 14-12-2008 22:52
Watertight doors on cats. David M Multihull Sailboats 15 10-03-2008 18:55



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 20:02.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.