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Old 27-06-2011, 12:04   #1
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Catamaran Fears

Ok, so I need to give a little background here. I have about 10 years of sailing experience with my last boat being a 55' Beneteau in San Francisco. I have always been a mono sailer, with the exception of a hobie. I lived on my 55 for 2 years until I got married. (I should have stayed with the boat, cause I sure couldn't have stayed with the x-wife! ) Recently I had a friend who had to move and had nowhere to keep his little 24' Hunter. I recently took my brother and his wife out on the boat for a day and they fell in love with it, and sailing overall. My brother has now decided that he wants to charter a barebones Lagoon 440 out of Tortola for a few weeks with me and another avid sailor as the Captains. (We are both former US Coast Guard guys with tons of piloting and navigation experience, we both have 150T Capt. Lisc.) My questions are related to the key differences between the Cat and a mono. With my Bene I used the heel of the boat as my indicator of how I should be sailing. I overpowered the boat many times in calm water to get adjusted to how it would react and so fourth. What clues should I be looking for on a Cat? What happens if the boat becomes overpowered and how much time do I have to react? What are the feedback clues for efficiency when under sail? I also understand that Jibing/Tacking are different on the Cat. What are the tricks for those and are there any dangers I should be aware of? Also, any other advice would be greatly appreciated. I am not nervous about the boat, but I want to make sure I have some sound advice from the old salts before getting underway.

Thanks in advance!
Matt
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Old 27-06-2011, 13:38   #2
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Re: Catamaran Fears

Its not that much different. The signs of being overpowered on a cat are masked a little differently..... but generally speed is a good indication.... Also asking the charter company about what wind speeds the boat should be r reefed at and use that as a guideline. Tacking and gybing, at least on my boat are no different than sailing a mono..... You have plenty of time to de power the boat if you do get overpowered... but cats tend to generate big loads quickly when it does get windy so be a little more alert to wind and squalls. Theres really not too much to look out for additionally to mono hulls.... If it gets scary point the thing downwind and reduce sail..... The nice thing about the BVIs... theres always a nice anchorage just around the corner!

My boat sails anything over 15 knots with 1 reef... 20 knots with 2, and 30 knots and up with 3. I have a big headsail and reduce it at the same time as reefing. You can feel the boat happy when you have the correct amount of sail and it feels like it is fighting when it is overpowered.
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Old 27-06-2011, 14:53   #3
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Re: Catamaran Fears

The mono will dump wind by healing if a gust suddenly over powers you. The cat won't. You have to react. The feel is more subtle than a mono, but be attentive and she will give you clues. Just dump wind, usually that means sheeting out just like you used to do on the Hobie. If conditions persist, reduce sail. My cat's prime driver is the foresail, and just furling it part way to reduce sail area works, pretty well. This is often called a cruiser's reef.

The comfort of a cat and the maneuverability of two engines mounted 20' apart are great. You will love it.

George
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Old 27-06-2011, 14:58   #4
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Re: Catamaran Fears

You sailed a Hobie. Same warning signs, but more time and a lot more wind is required. However, you need more time, since you aren't sitting there with the sheet in your hand. I wonder how many have capsized cruising cats that spent enough time on a beach cat? Too many try to sail by the numbers, staring at the wind instruments. With cats the signs are more subtle, but they scream to experienced cat sailors.

Always keep someone at the helm that knows what to do. In a breeze or when thunderstorms are around, take the sheet out of the self-tailer and put it in a cam cleat.

In reality, if you reef when boat speed hits a bit over hull speed, things stay calm. When folks try to really make time, they need to pay attention. When I'm sailing my PDQ at 8-9 knots driving is simple, and when I push over 12 knots, I drive like I'm on a beach cat, watching the puffs and with the sail controls ready to run. Keep in mind what a 32-foot cruising mono is like at 8-12 knots; cats can lull you into a false sense of security. But there's no free lunch.

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Old 27-06-2011, 15:54   #5
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Re: Catamaran Fears

If you're scared, just have one more reef in than you usually would at all times. You'll soon grow more confident.
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Old 27-06-2011, 15:57   #6
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Re: Catamaran Fears

With your sailing experience you will be fine. I take it you are used to looking at telltales and sail shape - draft/camber etc. If so they all work the same on a multi. The reality is that most charter cats are so conservatively rigged that you are unlikely to get into too much trouble. - But just sail the boat efficiently and you will soon know if you have too much power.
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Old 27-06-2011, 22:51   #7
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You will love the lagoon 440 very easy to sail.
Send me your email address and i will forward you the users manual which covers reefing etc
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Old 28-06-2011, 18:35   #8
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Re: Catamaran Fears

Thanks to everyone for the comments/advice. I was not too worried from the get go, but a few words from the wise twin hull salts always helps to ease my mind. And thanks for the offer for the manual. That was the first thing I found when I started looking at the boat. Hope to see some of you down there in December.
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Old 30-06-2011, 05:05   #9
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Re: Catamaran Fears

Just don't forget to backwind your jib when tacking or you'll be sailing on the same tack the whole trip
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Old 30-06-2011, 05:45   #10
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Re: Catamaran Fears

Some cats backwind to push the bow around. My experience is that it stalls the boat and I end up in irons. Of course, I am cutter rigged and the staysail makes it very hard to bring the genoa across with any load on it. I tack using the same technique I used on a monohull and have no problem.

I suggest trying tacking without back winding the genoa first. If you have a problem, then try the back wind technique.

George
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Old 30-06-2011, 05:47   #11
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Re: Catamaran Fears

Unless in very light air, there should be no need to backwind the jib on the 440. You may want to let off on the main a bit before a tack (to avoid 'weathercocking'), but you should not need to backwind the jib. Clipper4730, while you obviously like to criticize how modern cruising cats sail, am I correct to assume that you don't actually sail one?


Brad
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Old 30-06-2011, 06:08   #12
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Re: Catamaran Fears

If you have sailed S.F. Bay for ten years. You should be able to read the wind on the water by now. The BVI is pretty similiar in it's water surface. Just reef a wee bit earlier than usual. You're on vacation not in a race, so take it easy, and enjoy..........i2f
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Old 30-06-2011, 07:53   #13
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Re: Catamaran Fears

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clipper4730 View Post
Just don't forget to backwind your jib when tacking or you'll be sailing on the same tack the whole trip
Thats me buggered then - self tacking jib - so I cant backwind it so I will have to sail on one tack for the rest o my life. Up until you told me that I have been joyfully tacking by turning the wheel - nothing more. Never been caught in irons ever. Tacked reliably in 3 knots of true doing 2 knots of boat speed.

The reality is of course that Clipper doesn't speak the truth. Some monos wont tack well and some cats wont. The key is ALWAYS release the main if you are concerned about making it.
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Old 30-06-2011, 07:56   #14
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Re: Catamaran Fears

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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
Unless in very light air, there should be no need to backwind the jib on the 440. You may want to let off on the main a bit before a tack (to avoid 'weathercocking'), but you should not need to backwind the jib. Clipper4730, while you obviously like to criticize how modern cruising cats sail, am I correct to assume that you don't actually sail one?


Brad
Whoa there Hoss
Not criticizing a bit. And yes I do sail cats. My most recent experiences being a Prout as well as a lagoon 380. The lagoon even in 20 plus knots was very slow to tack and I even had to start one the motors to help it through. I have since learned a bit more and recognized my mistakes. Easing the main more and backwinding the jib just helps it around a bit quicker. The Prout would absolutely not tack unless you backwinded the jib. Keep in mind we had pretty light winds and the boat was very heavy with a large heavily roached main. I am a cats biggest fan just trying to offer some advice. I sailed a lagoon 44 at strictly sail in Miami this year and it performed about the same as the 380.
Anyway you will love the Lagoon 44 super stable and space space space.

Cheerio
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Old 30-06-2011, 07:58   #15
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Re: Catamaran Fears

Haha. A race would not even be considered with the folks that are going to be on this trip. I have a feeling I would end up with quite a few seasick beach hounds if we were on a monohull that I wanted push for some speed. I think this weekend I will go out and get some additional practice backwinding as I rarely ever have to do that. I figure an ounce of prevention will pay off in the event that I do have to do it.
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