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Old 14-04-2011, 19:38   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 127
BVI Catana 50 Charter, just finished - any questions?

Just got back from a week on a 2009 Catana 50 in the BVI with Dream Yacht Charters. Since there aren't too many Catanas in Charter, thought I'd offer to answer any questions folks had on that boat while it's fresh in my mind.

I didn't do extensive "analysis" and test sailing as I had 8 other folks on board and all but one had never been to the BVI, so it was a busy week, we covered a lot of ground and spent a lot of time on the islands, snorkeling, etc.

I chose that boat since I wanted a bit more performance than the normal Lagoon/FP that I've chartered in the past. Top speed was 13.5 knots in 22 knots apparent on a beam reach with a screecher. It was short lived as the wind built we shortened sail. Two days later we had a 15-17knots apparent on a broad reach with full main and ~130% jib. Sailing 8-10, surfing in the 11-12 with one to 12 knots. Seas were on the aft port quarter and moved around to the beam, so not perfect surfing conditions, but got a dozen or more good surfs in.

All in all, very very happy with the performance. With a more seasoned crew and a bit more time to just sail, would have liked to take advantage of the stronger winds we had the first few days that faded later in the week. Of course you never know that the wind will fade, so should have taken advantage while the breeze was there. It's hard to compare boat for boat to the other cats I've chartered since they were all at a different time, place, and size...but I don't remember seeing 9 much less 10 knots in any of the 6 other 38-46' cats I've sailed.

With that size boat and rig you've got serious loads on the sheets and gear, so ya gotta be careful. 20 years ago I'd done a passage on a big 65' offshore race boat (mono), some buoy racing on the SC-70's, and a couple big boat series in SF bay; that experience dealing with big gear/wind was helpful. My crew has been on a handful of charters with me, but aren't necessarily sailors, so had to keep an eye on how they handled the winches and lines when loaded. I always like bigger and faster boats, but when you get to gear this size a bit more training and prep is required.

No issues at all with steering, handled nicely in all conditions. Of course cats don't turn like mono's (at least the ones I've driven) so you can't really pivot them down the front of swells as easily as a your one design mono. We spent almost no time going upwind, so can't comment on pointing. The few times we needed to go upwind, we had to go straight upwind on a deadline, so just motored into it instead of trying to tack.

One feature I really liked, maybe this is common place nowadays, but hadn't seen it before and thought it was a cool innovation. The back rest of the cockpit seat flips up into a large lounger that is a very nice spot at anchor. The strap is adjustable to tweak the back angle. Doesn't take a lot of room and is an easy way to make a nice lounging spot. I'll try to attach photos below.

As other have said, there are tradeoffs in the helm position, it's well discussed territory with the pros and cons. I'm curious to try the forward cockpit next.
Hopefully my next charter will be either a Maine Cat or an Atlantic so we'll see how those helm positions (and sailing performance) compare. Anyone know where there are Chis White Atlantic Cats for charter?

Mark


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