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Old 06-08-2016, 04:14   #226
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
I think we are looking at the whole thread incorrectly...
Quite possibly .

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Originally Posted by hoppy View Post
We should be advising the OP that both mono's and cats of all different shapes, sizes, designs and manufacturers are quite happily circumnavigating and handling the conditions, but I think that the OP already knows this. Unless the OP has any specialist requirements in their cruising requirements (high latitudes and even the poles), then the OP should look at boats that satisfy their needs in normal conditions which is 95% of the conditions encountered in a coconut run.
People have crossed oceans in all sorts of highly unsuitable vessels. I don't think we should extropolate these experiences and conclude this is therefore sensible.

We are a forum of cruising sailors so I think we naturally tend to underestimate and dismiss the risks we take. There is a perception that we can make it "safe" by purchasing say a Cat A certified vessel (the government tells us this is safe) and equipping it with all the necessary legal safety equipment.

The ARC is perhaps a good indication of the risks. The ARC is a relatively easy ocean crossing with stringent safety requirements, inspections and backups. Despite this, there have been a number of fatalities and boats lost. I suspect an analysis of the statistics in serious incidents per boat or per nautical mile would be rather sober reading. However, I don't think we are going to seperate out differences between various vessels, only get some idea of the overall risk.

But remember, you only live once. Sitting on the couch at home is perhaps the safest activity, but you are still going to die one day.
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:16   #227
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Others with I suspect more experience in both types of boats disagree with you
Don McIntyre sailed the world solo in the BOC challenge, spent a year in Antarctica, amongst many other adventures, now sails a cat; has this to say
You will always be able to post an opinion that supports your view which is why I was asking for facts.

I'm illustrating that cats are unsafe when inverted in heavy weather. No matter what the likelihood which I know is rare but the risk is extreme.

Of the 6 boats I listed that we know of that inverted offshore in heavy weather away from support and rescue that of 25 people aboard 21 of them drowned.

Ask Don what he thinks about that !

Epirbs and life rafts should be on the stern where they are visible and easily accessible, as should throw ropes flares radios. Best of all a hatch and a dry compartment.

A lot of people imagine they will be some sort of superhero in adversity when in reality after inversion they are in shock wet and bewildered and incapable of doing much proactive at all. In high latitudes the water and often the air are also cold.

Another cat in Australia inverted after hitting and tripping over some floating junk south of Kangaroo island last year. It was not in heavy seas and the upturned hull was safe to be on. But even then it took the fit young men aboard 6 hours of repeated diving attempts before they finally got the Epirb out of the inverted bridge deck.
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Old 06-08-2016, 04:23   #228
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by Souther Wombat View Post
You will always be able to post an opinion that supports your view which is why I was asking for facts.

I'm illustrating that cats are unsafe when inverted in heavy weather. No matter what the likelihood which I know is rare but the risk is extreme.

Of the 6 boats I listed that we know of that inverted offshore in heavy weather away from support and rescue that of 25 people aboard 21 of them drowned.

Ask Don what he thinks about that !

Epirbs and life rafts should be on the stern where they are visible and easily accessible, as should throw ropes flares radios. Best of all a hatch and a dry compartment.

A lot of people imagine they will be some sort of superhero in adversity when in reality after inversion they are in shock wet and bewildered and incapable of doing much proactive at all. In high latitudes the water and often the air are also cold.

Another cat in Australia inverted after hitting and tripping over some floating junk south of Kangaroo island last year. It was not in heavy seas and the upturned hull was safe to be on. But even then it took the fit young men aboard 6 hours of repeated diving attempts before they finally got the Epirb out of the inverted bridge deck.

Cats have about the same chance of flipping as a mono does sinking, in either of these scenarios which do you think is more unsafe?


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Old 06-08-2016, 07:11   #229
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Cats have about the same chance of flipping as a mono does sinking, in either of these scenarios which do you think is more unsafe?


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The one still on the surface is the safest one, Whether upside down or not,

Modern Multi's have had the sail area reduced so the possibility of flipping or Pitch poling over is remote,
Cruising cats, Near impossible, As the sails have been reduced or bare poles in bad weather,

Any racing vessel has a better chance of rolling over or pitch poling for the simple reason they are racing and dont reduce sail area,

I see the Sydney Hobart race mentioned, The only reason they reduced sail area was the wind blew their sails out,
Most still had full sails up and were still racing, Even as boats around them were sinking,

You cant compare a cruising yacht to a racing yacht, whether Mono or Multihull,
A racing yacht is stripped to the bare minimum and usually is over powered with sail area,
A cruising Yacht is stacked to the roof with the comforts of home, And sails could be in any state of repair, Old or new, More than likely old sails,
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Old 06-08-2016, 07:44   #230
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by Souther Wombat View Post
Lets recap

The question is : IS a catamaran suitable for conditions in an expected 50 knot storm ?
That's what we are discussing. I think it's a completely usuitable type for those sort of conditions. I also contend that there's enough risk of the boat being blown over bare poles in the gusts that occur in a storm since it occurs even in calm water at those wind speeds to both light and heavy cats.
I usually try to stay out of these discussions as they have been done to death and rarely offer any useful insight, but I have to respectfully disagree with the above as it relates directly to the OP's original question.

We have been in 50 knots under bare poles and the boat did fine. At no time was I the least bit concerned that it would blow over. We were sailing comfortably at 9-10 knots under autopilot. Making dinner, reading, looking out the windows and enjoying the spectacle. As night fell and the boat started surfing into the mid-teens we put out the series drogue and the ride became even more sedate.

We have anchored in 50 knots of wind several times and again, the thought of blowing over never crossed my mind. The static (not dynamic) stability of our boat with no sail up is something like 100 knots. Dynamic stability would be higher, but I have no plans to test it.

In short, a typical cruising cat is perfectly safe in 50 knots as long as it is sailed conservatively.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:19   #231
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Are we perhaps verging on ridiculous here?

I think cruising catamaran builders will flock to this thread for usable information not available elsewhere.

And NSA owes us a million or two for finding another zero day too.

Meanwhile hundreds of cats do serious cruising and thousands ply the charter waters of the world.

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Old 06-08-2016, 16:41   #232
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by mikereed100 View Post
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We have been in 50 knots under bare poles and the boat did fine. At no time was I the least bit concerned that it would blow over. We were sailing comfortably at 9-10 knots under autopilot. Making dinner, reading, looking out the windows and enjoying the spectacle. As night fell and the boat started surfing into the mid-teens we put out the series drogue and the ride became even more sedate.
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In the thankfully Few times so far that we have been in conditions building to 50 knots, we sure weren't reading and enjoying the spectacle...

Bob
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Old 06-08-2016, 17:14   #233
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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You notice how the Cat is level and flat, Even in those high winds and seas,

You can put your coffee cup down and it stays where you put it,

None of the crew is hanging on for dear life, They are just casually walking around, Enjoying the trip,
No stress from any one, Thats a good time to get the video camera out for some good sailing footage,
Don't imagine for a second that short clip shows storm conditions. That's not 50 to 60 knots. There's a lot of disinformation.

I'd estimate not much over 20 knots. Where did the video originate ? Someones telling whoppers.
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Old 06-08-2016, 17:26   #234
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Thank you.
Do they have trampolines? The displacement and the matter of being tethered could explain what happened. I dont know why so many people have a bee in their bonnet. No one is making them buy a cat over a mono-hull.
I know my choice, have experienced said conditions and will opt for the cat every time.


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From memory it was a Snell Easy 37, lightish at ~4-5t, ply construction.
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Old 06-08-2016, 17:43   #235
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

I also think someone is forgetting that many of us can also research monohull craft that have sunk - including in fair weather. This proves / establishes nothing beyond that mans creation can be bested by nature. I should like to understand S.Wombats experience with sailing and the basis of reaching the 'I think' conclusions that are being projected. A number of cat cruisers have given their opinions / experience and that apears to be ignored as Wombat 'thinks' he knows best? Really? What is the rationale for thinking these statements? What has been read or what has been experienced? Read the postings by those have done it and been there. Understand those experiences and learn from them, or perhaps sit under an inland tree and tell those doing the sailing how unsafe it really is. Ridiculous statements.



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Originally Posted by Souther Wombat View Post
Lets recap

The question is : IS a catamaran suitable for conditions in an expected 50 knot storm ?
That's what we are discussing. I think it's a completely usuitable type for those sort of conditions. I also contend that there's enough risk of the boat being blown over bare poles in the gusts that occur in a storm since it occurs even in calm water at those wind speeds to both light and heavy cats.

The next question is whether that's survivable in those conditions and the evidence suggests it's unlikely even for fit young men the way the boats are currently designed.


There was a good summary on sailnet that I'll copy rather than typing all the material again.

These are all cases where the official coroners reports are either available or pending there are apparently several others which are not verified because information isn't available from those countries.

The Officially investigated cases are a good enough example of what happens if you are inverted in heavy weather.

Start the examples with the South African Leopard in the Indian ocean that inverted last year in heavy seas . All 3 men aboard were lost, the inverted intact hull was found months later.

These are boats inverted in heavy weather, gales and above.
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Old 06-08-2016, 18:00   #236
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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I usually try to stay out of these discussions as they have been done to death and rarely offer any useful insight, but I have to respectfully disagree with the above as it relates directly to the OP's original question.

We have been in 50 knots under bare poles and the boat did fine. At no time was I the least bit concerned that it would blow over. We were sailing comfortably at 9-10 knots under autopilot. Making dinner, reading, looking out the windows and enjoying the spectacle. As night fell and the boat started surfing into the mid-teens we put out the series drogue and the ride became even more sedate.

We have anchored in 50 knots of wind several times and again, the thought of blowing over never crossed my mind. The static (not dynamic) stability of our boat with no sail up is something like 100 knots. Dynamic stability would be higher, but I have no plans to test it.

In short, a typical cruising cat is perfectly safe in 50 knots as long as it is sailed conservatively.

Which is the same feeling every skipper has. Cats are so big and feel so massive and invulnerable. Then suddenly after over 50 thousand miles over 15 years #hit happens.

But running in a storm puts the cat into high risk for a diagonal pitchpole. Crowther sent us detailed information on this and drogues which we had aboard but never used. The one time we really could have done with it we had a lee shore too close. No other designers I know of have given their clients survival info. Although it's probably in the operators manuals of the European cats now ?

It is apparently a higher risk course for a cat to run in large seas towing a drogue . The major risk is pitchpole induced inversion. Taht info was based on the British MCA a decade ago when setting standards for commercial sail cats paid for a detailed study, tank tests and real world data looking at close to 70 cruising cat inversions and the tactics that lead to them.

Importantly several cats inverted towing drogues and running in big seas. Others damaged their rudders after getting the drogue lines tangled.
The recommended tactic was that the best survival technique was to stream a large drag device from the bow early on.

Even if the odds are in your favor it doesn't help your anxiety when you know what could happen. Nearly all current cats if you invert in heavy weather offshore you will very likely die. Survival rate is abysmal.

Can you post some pictures of your storm ? Was it semi sheltered water? In a seaway the sea is not usually so well ordered to be able to run so easily in such heavy weather, in the QB storm the two cats were repeatedly at close to 90 degrees with the people even standing on the side windows at times . What you experience depends on a combination of weather factors and sometimes we are lucky and it's quite benign.
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Old 06-08-2016, 18:03   #237
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

What utter drivel. Not worth responding to. This posting clearly has zero personal experience but has been reading some novels. If you want to learn about cats and bad weather dont come to the forum with such critical preconceived idea's and statements.
Both mono's and cats have their advantages / disadvantages and both can founder regardless of weather. Similarly, both types can and do survive poor weather but additional factors come into play. Meanwhile go and read the information provided on the JSD website including the report by the US coastguard (or was it the US Navy? I cannot be bothered to check as the poster is clearly an arm chair expert) on the use of drogues. A different perspective, but one that is supportable.



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Which is the same feeling every skipper has. Cats are so big and feel so massive and invulnerable. Then suddenly after over 50 thousand miles over 15 years #hit happens.

But running in a storm puts the cat into high risk for a diagonal pitchpole. Crowther sent us detailed information on this and drogues which we had aboard but never used. The one time we really could have done with it we had a lee shore too close. No other designers I know of have given their clients survival info. Although it's probably in the operators manuals of the European cats now ?

It is apparently a higher risk course for a cat to run in large seas towing a drogue . The major risk is pitchpole induced inversion. Taht info was based on the British MCA a decade ago when setting standards for commercial sail cats paid for a detailed study, tank tests and real world data looking at close to 70 cruising cat inversions and the tactics that lead to them.

Importantly several cats inverted towing drogues and running in big seas. Others damaged their rudders after getting the drogue lines tangled.
The recommended tactic was that the best survival technique was to stream a large drag device from the bow early on.

Even if the odds are in your favor it doesn't help your anxiety when you know what could happen. Nearly all current cats if you invert in heavy weather offshore you will very likely die. Survival rate is abysmal.

Can you post some pictures of your storm ? Was it semi sheltered water? In a seaway the sea is not usually so well ordered to be able to run so easily in such heavy weather, in the QB storm the two cats were repeatedly at close to 90 degrees with the people even standing on the side windows at times . What you experience depends on a combination of weather factors and sometimes we are lucky and it's quite benign.
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Old 06-08-2016, 18:44   #238
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Did a quick look and Alpha catamarans have 6 water tight bulkhead that keep you afloat if you flip. Along with escape hatch. (mono) Amel supermaramu 53 has 5 watertight bulkheads. There's many other brands I would think. Just an idea to get the sinking out of the equation.
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Old 06-08-2016, 19:51   #239
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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I also think someone is forgetting that many of us can also research monohull craft that have sunk - including in fair weather. .....
I've had great runs in heavy weather in cats too where there was no risk and fantastic days runs. I had one bad experience in one gale when conditions really didn't suit the cat. It was from that and talking to a NA in detail about our requirements that we ended up with a monohull. One of the requirements was being able to motor into a storm. The other was absolute intrinsic safety in the hull.

I made the statement that cats were not good survival platforms in heavy weather. That's all. It was asked that that be validated. So I posted those examples. They are all modern more recent designs, not that I didn't mention any of the early multihull losses of the 70's and 80's as I think they were still in development then and SAR was not as advanced. But there were a lot of deaths offshore.

I cannot find any other examples of modern cats inverting in heavy weather on passage far from land and I know the rate is low. If we put a figure on it it would be in the order of 1/1000 and ironically the risk seems to go up with experience. The point was that the risk is extreme even in the unlikely event. So for most people it's insignificant I accept that and I still sail on Cats.

What's pertinent to where I'm being driven in this thread is cats inverted in storms offshore and the survival rates which are abysmal and horrific.

So if you want to compare look for stats from state of the art ISO certified offshore current production models in monohulls and compare. You don't get the losses you get with a Cat I'm not even aware of a total loss at all from heavy weather alone.

A lot of people just believe an inverted cat makes a great platform to await rescue even in heavy weather. For marketers and designers to suggest so is malfeasant.
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Old 07-08-2016, 01:30   #240
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Frankly, I have difficulty accepting you have any meaningful experience. You've had a bad experience on a cat in a gale? A gale is less significant in comparison to a storm which is the subject matter. I'ld much rather have mid 30's knots to mid 50's. Mid 30's is not that uncommon but mid -50's is much less so on traditional cruising routes. When conditions didnt suit the cat..... just what were these supposed conditions? Where and when? Lets have a look at the weather on that occassion. On what cat specifically? Passage from where to where? Perhaps we can then analyse. Bashing into 35 knots is not fun on any boat but is not particulary dramatic or unusual in some area's. In particular, I do not enjoy the passage north from Port Sudan to Hurghada as every time I have made that trip (and its around 8 times now) we have had similar conditions; the lower end of gale force. We have done that trip on several cats from an Island Spirit 35ft to a 54ft one off cat. I would not attempt to do that trip in 50knts.
The statements made suggest you have very little experience but would like to assume the mantle of someone that does. Yes, people perish whilst sailing - perhaps doing something they enjoy. People also die everyday doing other things, from walking, driving etc etc, also due to external influences. If you do own a monohull (no mention in your profile?) then dont be so critical of other peoples choices, and experiences, by writing such biased statements. We can all troll up historical events to support a particular view. If cats were so dangerous as you allege, then its pretty amazing anyone ever survives going to sea in one. Its even more amazing that they are the choice of so many experienced sailors and that insurance companies continue to provide cover. I recall reading about 'Manx Cat' a 35ft cat returning to Cape Town from the Rio race in the 90's that assisted a monohull that was foundering. This particular events sticks with me because I knew Manx Cats owner and I had exactly the same cat at the time. I also remember the report quoting the skipper of the sunk monohull stating that he was in survival mode on the monohull but once aboard the little cat that he felt conditions had improved dramatically whereas nothing had changed in reality. Perceptions.
Both cats and mono's have their dicipales.....and my own choice is a cat. I believe it is safer than a monohull but that is my believe and I will not attempt to prove that a monohulls in general are inherently less safe. Under heavy conditions there are many factors that come into the equation that influence the outcome and in my experience the cat is more forgiving. Repeat; I said in my opinion. I have no doubt that there shall be monohull skippers out there that have better tactics than mine and that might provide a quicker passage to weather (esp. in 50 kts) than on my multi. I am equally sure that my passenger would be better fed, better rested and feel more secure whilst being more comfortable.
We took part in the Dar-es-Salaam to Tanga yacht race a number of years ago and the first night brought gales. Bearing in mind we were on a little cat, outfitted for cruising, had 3x visiting friends on board and its an upwind race. We were second placed. We were not an official entrant but were challenged to enter by a biggoted monohull sailor. We had only arrived that evening but took up the mantle to start the race the following morning. At that time we had not even heard of Tanga. We did have charts though. There will be many people that recall us doing this. Our reward was a magnum of champagne and many new friends and our boat became the party location after the Tanga Yacht bar closed.
The point is, cats can go to weather and can be as safe as anything else that is floating.
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I've had great runs in heavy weather in cats too where there was no risk and fantastic days runs. I had one bad experience in one gale when conditions really didn't suit the cat. It was from that and talking to a NA in detail about our requirements that we ended up with a monohull. One of the requirements was being able to motor into a storm. The other was absolute intrinsic safety in the hull.

I made the statement that cats were not good survival platforms in heavy weather. That's all. It was asked that that be validated. So I posted those examples. They are all modern more recent designs, not that I didn't mention any of the early multihull losses of the 70's and 80's as I think they were still in development then and SAR was not as advanced. But there were a lot of deaths offshore.

I cannot find any other examples of modern cats inverting in heavy weather on passage far from land and I know the rate is low. If we put a figure on it it would be in the order of 1/1000 and ironically the risk seems to go up with experience. The point was that the risk is extreme even in the unlikely event. So for most people it's insignificant I accept that and I still sail on Cats.

What's pertinent to where I'm being driven in this thread is cats inverted in storms offshore and the survival rates which are abysmal and horrific.

So if you want to compare look for stats from state of the art ISO certified offshore current production models in monohulls and compare. You don't get the losses you get with a Cat I'm not even aware of a total loss at all from heavy weather alone.

A lot of people just believe an inverted cat makes a great platform to await rescue even in heavy weather. For marketers and designers to suggest so is malfeasant.
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