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Old 02-08-2016, 06:19   #16
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by Jeannius View Post
Close to land in the BVI was much harder... there'd been steady 25-30 knot winds so I was reefed down appropriately for those conditions. Then about a mile away upwind and just in the lee of Salt Island the sea turned white and within a few seconds I had 55 knots with reefed main and genoa still set. I immediately turned downwind - mistake, should have turned into the wind! - started the motors and got the genoa rolled away but the main wouldn't come down. So there I was headed towards Tortola just a mile or two away doing around 12-14 knots so I was going to arrive pretty quickly. Fortunately there was a brief 'lull' when the wind dropped to 35-40 knots and as soon as that happened I turned dead upwind and the main came down. The wind then got up to 50-55 again but I was able to just sit head to wind until it dropped again to 25-30 when we continued on our way.
Just another reason that I would go mainless, mainsail-less, no mainsail

Perhaps google those three terms?
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Old 02-08-2016, 06:36   #17
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

To answer the original question, I have an Island Packet, they are sort of known as decently seaworthy mono hull boats, and NO I would not feel safe in 30 to 35 foot breaking seas, I believe that I would likely be terrified.
I can't imagine anyone in anything less than a ship that would feel safe
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Old 02-08-2016, 07:44   #18
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Just another reason that I would go mainless, mainsail-less, no mainsail

Perhaps google those three terms?
Hi Brian

Totally agree with you about not using the main. The photo below shows the rig we used on 99% of a circumnavigation. Two genoas hoisted on one furling gear. Although the conditions here look idyllic, we had a lot of the sails rolled away because a mile ahead, outside the reef, things were much livelier!

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Old 02-08-2016, 08:39   #19
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
Not to get into the tired argument of mono vs multi, but is there a general consensus when Force 10 winds come that mono's are less prone to de-masting or broaching/capsizing monos are less prevalent than flipping Cats?

(I've been watching videos about the 1998 Sydney-Hobart race. That low pressure system was really intense. Additionally, I think a cruiser would take more precautions than competitive racers pushing the limits.)
You should read about the "Queen's Birthday" race of '94, which featured monos and cats caught in a weather bomb between NZ and Fiji. A lot of your answers are found there.

Never driven a cat in big air, but I would say you have a handle on the basics. Cats are very stable until they aren't, to put it bluntly. You'll never "right" one once it goes over, so the idea is to slow it with drogues so that it can't fall off a wave and pitchpole.

The cats that seems to me to be most attuned to heavy weather don't look like the cats of the Caribbean much. Cats from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand (and the few made in Britain) seem to exhibit less windage, glass walls and other unfit for ocean aspects. South African cats in particular seem (for me) to make a good case that a cat can deal effectively and in terms of survivability with heavy weather. The escape hatch on the underside of the hulls is a tacit acknowledgement that the worse can happen.

For me, the heel of a mono is not an issue. The storage space for provisions and spares, kept low and out of the ends to increase stability, is. Monos "give" to the ocean and naturally spill air as the mast goes over, even if you can't release the main sheet. Cats, less so. That said, of course, a circ in a 40 footer without extensive engine use in a mono is likely to be done between 4 and 5 knots, whereas a cat can literally outrun the weather. But sometimes you can't do that, and I would infinitely prefer to lie to a sea anchor or to be hove to in a mono than a cat.

So, not knowing your goals in terms of creature comforts, independence from shore, willingness to cross oceans on passages exceeding weather windows and so on, it's hard to have a comprehensive discussion. One thing for sure, however: not all marinas can take cats, especially the bigger ones, and renting the slips are always double the price of a mono!
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:46   #20
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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The Maryland School of Sailing has a video about sailing in storm conditions. They have a stat on the 1979 Fastnet disaster that says all of the boats that hove-to were safe, but the deaths, capsizes, sinkings, disabled, and knockdowns lay-ahull.
The Fastnet results have to be taken with a grain of salt these days as so many of the designs were IOR, meaning pinched ends and little rudders and massive J measurements (great to windward, squirrelly downwind and can't always heave to easily). The boats that "did well" were largely "good and old" (this is '79, remember) like Camper & Nicholson 35s and other fuller keel, low-profile cruisers.

The decision to heave to or run off is factored by crew size and competency, fatigue, equipment, the presence of a drogue, the presence of properly sized fittings for the drogue, sea state and sail plan. There's no one answer, save that a boat that CAN heave to safely (early stages of a developing sea, for instance, with the storm movement in a safe quadrant) has a far more comfortable, rested crew than a boat that is actively sailed in deteriorating conditions by short-handers. Cat or mono, the crew is the weakest link. Preserve the crew and you have a shot at preserving the boat.
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Old 02-08-2016, 08:54   #21
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

I've layed to a 24' sea anchor in rough conditions when I had a steering problem in my 57' Kurt Hughes cat off of the Bahamas and couldn't believe how well that worked, wouldn't hesitate to use it anytime it got real nasty
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:16   #22
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Excuse the stupid question, but flying double headsails like that, why don't you need to pole them out?
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:22   #23
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Nice video, plenty of wind, southern ocean, 37' cat

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Old 02-08-2016, 09:22   #24
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Use to be a guy who was a deck officer on a big container ship or oil tanker, the ones that are 900 or 1,000 feet long. He made a comment that discussions like this are along the lines of who is the biggest midget in the circus. There are sea conditions that no boat can stand up to; even the big ones. I remember bringing my Seawind into the mooring field at BKH in 20, maybe 25, knots of wind singlehanded and picking up the ball. One of the other cruisers in the harbor said I did a good job. Instantly another cruiser commented he did not think I could do it in 30 knots of wind.

Conventional wisdom is that almost all boats are able to handle more than the skipper and crew; be they monohulls or multihulls. One thing I have posted about several times is that folks often get boats for what they think they are going to do; not what they actually do. Another topic dear to my heart is the old saying "I would rather be in port and wish I was at sea than be at sea and wish I was in port". Several other posters have mentioned how easy it is to get good weather reports and avoid storms; either by running away or staying in port.

If you intend to sail the Southern Ocean and round the three great capes a well founded steel monohull would be an obvious choice, probably the same for something like the Northwest Passage. For almost any other use a boat with more creature comforts would be a better choice. One of the biggest advantages of cats is how comfortable they are at anchor, how much more room they have. Given that most folks spend much more time at anchor than rounding the great capes and that most folks are able to get accurate weather reports to avoid the bad stuff a cat seems like a better choice. Especially given that if the spaghetti hits the fan being the tallest midget in the circus probably won't be much help.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:24   #25
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Good video discussing sailing cats in heavy weather

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Old 02-08-2016, 09:24   #26
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by dirkdig View Post
Been on my Lagoon 440 in 55-60 knot winds.
Dropped the main,had a little bit of headsail out and never felt for our safety.
The conditions in the 1998 Sydney to Hobart have not really been seen since at any time of year,let alone in the race.
Would not hesitate getting a cat.



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I would like you to tell that to the two guys sitting in their rubber ducky in between the hulls of there cat with the mast pointing to the bottom.as they were being rescued by a small ship six or so months ago somewhere north of NZ. the boat looked in top condition except being upside down (it was maybe no older than year or two) It looked like they were very glad to get off it.
I'll stick to my steel mono with straps over the lee cloths to tie myself and crew to the bunks after battening down. And in a different cabin from the crew as I don't like the vomit between the praying.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:30   #27
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Excuse the stupid question, but flying double headsails like that, why don't you need to pole them out?
24 ft beam works as well as a couple of poles. To be honest we could have done with one pole for when running at around 140 degrees off the wind. Once we got that far away from dead down wind the windward sail would collapse in lighter winds.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:30   #28
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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I have had 55 kts on a 43 Jeanneau (monohull). Conditions were not good with 30 degrees heeled (w/out) and getting wet whole night.. We simply ran. Impossible to eat or drink something or take shelter below and had to steer for 12 hours....
I also had regular 48 kts (gusting 52 kts) on catamaran and we sailed 36 hours upwind from (averaging above 9 kts of speed) Ion sea to Sicilly in December, 3rd reef on the main and tiny piece of gib with a FP 43 cat. The situation wasn't too good either with 6-7 meters short waves, sometimes going over the mast and banging like hell under the bridge..
I don't want to trigger again a mono/cat debate but there have been many events that proved cats to be safer than monos. The biggest problem of mono IMO is that they don't have a positive buoyancy; the moment you hit something and had 3 inches of hole in the hull, you will barely have enough time to deploy yr life raft and leave the boat.. That scares me .. I am not saying that all cats will remain afloat once flipped over but even if not, it will take much longer to sink.
At worst scenario on the cat, you just stay inside the boat dry and do nothing. There have been cats that were flipped over like many monos being knocked down.(mostly dismasted with big holes on the deck and occasionally on the hulls) Unlike the monos, almost all of the cats that flipped over was as a result of serious skipper mistakes (carrying too much sails in 60 kts of gusts, trying to deploy sea anchors that they are not familiar with, sailing in strong winds and high seas on autopilote , etc.)
In 1994 Queen's birthday race, there have been couple of racing monos lost, almost all of them dismasted, while cats , (not racing, occasionally in the region) with old and unexperience people on board had no problem with their catamarans. Meanwhile, one of these catamarans was rather low beam Catalac 10 which is not ideal at all for these conditions. The navy ship captain who went to rescue has reported huge waves and 45 degrees heeling and couple of casuality on his 4.500 tons ship..And yet, none of these cats have capsized althought they came close to it several times.

In terms of make and models, any cat with CE certificate (or equivalent)
are OK, bigger and lighter being better.



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You really missed it on this one. First it was not the 1994 Queens Birthday Race, it was simply a group of cruisers leaving New Zealand and sailing to the tropics. It was later coined as the 1994 Queens Birthday Storm. There were not 2 mono race boats that sunk but one mono cruise boat that looked like a lake sail boat that was lost. Both monos and Cats needed rescuing in the worst of it.
There was a documentary done and it is excellent, with many films of the actual rescue and interviews with the sailors. someone might still find it on the internet. If anything it will cause you to question buying marginally built boats.
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Old 02-08-2016, 09:33   #29
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

This is less of a cat vs mono debate than a debate on heavy weather storm tactics.

Some form of drogue, para anchor, warps definitely provides a stabilizing force.

Would be good to hear from cat owners experiences in heavy weather sailing.

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Old 02-08-2016, 09:51   #30
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
You really missed it on this one. First it was not the 1994 Queens Birthday Race, it was simply a group of cruisers leaving New Zealand and sailing to the tropics. It was later coined as the 1994 Queens Birthday Storm. There were not 2 mono race boats that sunk but one mono cruise boat that looked like a lake sail boat that was lost. Both monos and Cats needed rescuing in the worst of it.
There was a documentary done and it is excellent, with many films of the actual rescue and interviews with the sailors. someone might still find it on the internet. If anything it will cause you to question buying marginally built boats.
Two Cats were abandoned during the storm, which is a lot.considering it was 1994. Both monos and cats had major issues. Boats with long waterlines missed the worst of it and tended to do well.
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