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Old 26-09-2006, 19:34   #1
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Catamaran Safety

Some serious drift in the thread "Maintenance - Cat VS Mono" included a great deal of discussion of catamaran safety. To avoid further drift in that thread, I am starting this new one.

I did not see any mention of Fountaine-Pajots having been lost in that other thread. Has anyone heard of any serious incidents in FP cats such as sinking or other nasty happening that caused the crew to abandon ship?

The lower half of the forward compartments on our 43 footer are filled with foam to protect watertight integrity in case of striking something hard (e.g. reef, coral head, awash container box).

John
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Old 26-09-2006, 20:15   #2
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Yeah, that thread drift was wandering into other threads as well. The forward compartments on my small cat are foam filled as well.

Rick in Florida
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Old 27-09-2006, 09:21   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Bickford
I did not see any mention of Fountaine-Pajots having been lost in that other thread. Has anyone heard of any serious incidents in FP cats such as sinking or other nasty happening that caused the crew to abandon ship?
There was a thread abt 6 months ago linking to a site with a long story about a cat shipwreck which I believe was also done in Readers digest.

I cant remember now if it was a Lagoon or a FP

quick search http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/features/20051218-9999-lz1c18wreck.html##

it was a big Lagoon.
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Old 01-10-2006, 18:37   #4
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Cats can sink? Well the materials for mine UNASSEMBLED occupied 4.5m3, and weighed 2.5 tonnes. Including 44 gallon drums of epoxy and pallets. So even as just a pile of building material it was bouyant, it's hard to see how building it into a boat would make it any LESS bouyant.
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Old 01-10-2006, 19:30   #5
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I don't think you need to worry about them sinking,it' breaking up into small peices that can be an issue.Gavi Le'suirre in Australia had an instance in his cat D'Flawless a crowther shockwave, hit a whale at speed. His vessel had possible structual weakening earlier after weathering the end of a cyclone,but she broke up after the whale collision. They had to abandon ship and everone was fine,and bits of boat were found wased up on beaches.
The other concern is fire. modern composites burn well.

Not having a multi bash,have owned 2 and building my third and these problems are equal in monos as well.

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Old 01-10-2006, 19:31   #6
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sorry guys just saw your comment on thread drift
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Old 01-10-2006, 21:12   #7
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One reason for the foam in cats is to help them float higher in the case of a serious leak or capsize(lets not get off on that thread again). Without it they would float very low in the water or possibly sink because they don't have what I call "airlock" in the hulls. A tri with it's three separate hulls relies on airlock in the floats and wing to retain considerable bouyancy in case of holing or capsize. Foam does the same for cats.
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Old 01-10-2006, 21:20   #8
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Gee mate, my last cat was made of western red cedar composite and she floated 150mm high on her lines at launch, she also had 3 watertight compartments in the bow and 2 in the stern

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Old 01-10-2006, 21:50   #9
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Thats the point, the watertight compartments and or foam. Without it a cat will float low in the water if capsized or full of water from a leak. Your wood construction would provide more bouyancy than a glass boat but you still need the watertight compartments and or foam to make the boat habitable in these conditions.
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Old 01-10-2006, 22:12   #10
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foam is an interesting substance, they just hauled a composite cat out in cairrns that was made of foam 45ft and it had scratched a reef. they got 2 44 gallon drums of water out of it, when i say scratched i mean a scratch about 4cm long and 2 mm wide just enough to puncture the glass, it made me decide to never build a cat out of foam
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Old 02-10-2006, 03:10   #11
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G,day northerncat. have seen simmilar things. Usualy it's not water in the foam but it is water in bad joints and water in the voids in contour foam. Thats the stuff cut up into 1 inch squares on a cloth scrim.
If not filled during construction it lets water migrate all over the place if holed. As the hull "pants" it sucks and pumps water around the voids.

A 45 ft cat down here recently had a step job done and took it out to 55ft and it went back in the piss 2000kg lighter because of the water sucked out over 30 days or so.

They were happy [no ****]

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Old 02-10-2006, 03:23   #12
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i did wonder about this as i had heard that foam had closed cell structure theoretically making it harder for water to saturate, so i had wondered how the water was sitting inside it, youd think that this would cause a few other problems lkike breaking the laminate from the core?
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Old 02-10-2006, 09:14   #13
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sorry, I posted this in the maintence thread and made it drift away. I'm reposting it here because it's a much better fit, thanks John for making a new thread!
I had a friend who is a marine architect (formerly with Farr and now up in Canada) and also building his own multihull go through the specs for our boat two weeks ago and tell us for our boat when we would start to lift a hull. The numbers he came up with I thought might be of interest to other multihull sailors.

With our full main up and Genoa (around 1200 sq ft of sail area) were we on a beam reach in 25 knots of steady wind we would be in danger of starting to lift a hull. Think of what that looks like, it's not a subtle wind, white horses are everywhere, moderate waves have been building up, it's painful to look into the wind. To be conservative, we reef when winds have built up to a steady 20 knots (25 knots is 1.6 times the force of 20 knots). By the way, we'd be sailing then at 14 knots. At 25 to 30 knots of wind we'd reef again.

I've personally been in 70 knots of winds, not by choice, and we were bare poles motoring into the wind which was a very strong thunderstorm. I was very white knuckled and very happy that I had two engines instead of one. Fortunately I wasn't in the open ocean and it lasted only for around 15 minutes. For open water the most wind I've seen is 30-35 knots and reefing conservatively.

This is also not to say that if you are on a multihull and you are in those winds you will always flip. Last weekend a friend of mine on his PDQ 42 was sailing with his spinnaker and full main in 30 to 35 knots of wind. He was sailing at 120 degrees off the wind and was foolishly seeing how fast he could go (called me on his cell phone screaming about how fast he was going (15 knots). Anyway, he got through it without incident because at least he realized he shouldn't go beam to with his sails. At the same time, 20 miles away another multihull was in the same wind and in the lower chesapeake flipped because they were beam to.

So there are two example of the math and the experience of showing how our rules of thumb to reef at 20 actually make sense and should be followed. (I've never been able to personally point at two catamarans I know about in similar winds where one made it and the other flipped). By the way, the flipped boat was towed within hours to a nearby marina to be righted.
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Old 02-10-2006, 14:09   #14
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In reference to foam filled compartments for flotation, another option I have heard proposed (I believe it was Chuck Kantor) is to fill the compartment with plastic water bottles. The idea is that they will provide flotation if the boat is holed (as long as they can't make it out through the hole!) and in the course of preparing for a hurricane at anchor could be filled with water to keep the bows from lifting and provide drinking water after the event in case local supplies are contaminated. An additional benefit would be that they would not soak up and retain water like urethane foam can.
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Old 02-10-2006, 23:37   #15
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Schoonerdog; Interesting point about the two cats. One 42' that did not flip, and one that did. You failed to note that the one that flipped, appears to be an open Hobie type. It flipped once, then it was righted by the operator, then it flipped a second time in very rough conditions.
What were you trying to compare with this long winded example? That a cat, is a cat, is a cat?
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