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Old 01-08-2016, 22:16   #1
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Catamarans in 50kt winds

I'm thinking of my next purchase now. It seems to me that a Catamaran is more comfortable, quicker, and doesn't heel. It's negatives are price and pointing.

Monohulls seem to have an advantage in potential safety.

If you are caught in the middle of an ocean crossing in 50 kt winds and 30-35ft breaking waves, would you feel safe in a Catamaran like a Privilege, Lagoon, Leopard, or Catana?

I feel I might enjoy a Cat better, but over the years for the rare times when in a really bad storm, I suspect for 10 hours or so of misery, I might wish I had gone for the monohull.

I like the idea that some multihulls are positively bouyant, but they can also potentially flip if tripping down a wave.

In my mind, the Delos' boat, a 53' Amel Super Maramu (2000), seems safer in the worst of conditions than the Gone With The Wynn's 43' Leopard (2008?).

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.)
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Old 01-08-2016, 23:05   #2
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Quote:
Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
I'm thinking of my next purchase now. It seems to me that a Catamaran is more comfortable, quicker, and doesn't heel. It's negatives are price and pointing.

Monohulls seem to have an advantage in potential safety.

If you are caught in the middle of an ocean crossing in 50 kt winds and 30-35ft breaking waves, would you feel safe in a Catamaran like a Privilege, Lagoon, Leopard, or Catana?

I feel I might enjoy a Cat better, but over the years for the rare times when in a really bad storm, I suspect for 10 hours or so of misery, I might wish I had gone for the monohull.

I like the idea that some multihulls are positively bouyant, but they can also potentially flip if tripping down a wave.

In my mind, the Delos' boat, a 53' Amel Super Maramu (2000), seems safer in the worst of conditions than the Gone With The Wynn's 43' Leopard (2008?).

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.)
So you watch Gone with the Wynn's as well. I have read a great deal and seen many videos and have come to the conclusion rightly or wrongly that I would feel safer in a cat in the conditions you are describing.

50 knot winds is not a squall. It is a storm that you will see on radar before it hits. Immediately drop all sheets. Raise a storm jib and have your drogue ready for deployment on the stern. I would then follow the waves and to heck with your course bearings. Ride it out with following the waves with your drogue deployed if high seas and in need of slowing down. There is an argument if following this course of action to sail completely bare polls.

What I fear the most is multi directional wave turbulance leading to be smacked from the side or sliding sideways down a giant wall of water. Mono or twin your saying your prayers.

By the way I heard of some cats in the right sea state doing really well in 50 knot winds.
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Old 01-08-2016, 23:08   #3
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Going to start a storm of arguments here, offshore In large seas, cats will have much easier time avoiding broaching. Autopilots have an easy time keeping up and I have spoke to several that their monos had a tough time handling a large 5-10 meter, following sea. On a recent crossing our acquaintances amel, rolled a constant 20degrees to 20 degrees side to side. Sure in a survival storm you might feel somewhat better in a mono laid to a sea anchor etc, but monos will broach much easier and if rolled sure they can self right, but you can lose he rig, sails, antennas etc so may be 1000 Miles from nowhere. In a broke boat. cats are more comfortable in most crossings as most crossings are following seas or broad reaches / trade wind routes. It's very easy to circumnavigate and avoid bad weather.
We've been in severe storms in several different cats, even 67knots in a small 30' cat offshore (did 12 knots under bare poles) never felt unsafe . On our recent crossing we did it was the slower boats that got hammered by the bad weather and 10-15 meter seas. That 1 knot of avg speed difference can make the difference between heaven and hell out there.

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Old 01-08-2016, 23:10   #4
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

No, there is no consensus. The multi promoters will tell you that cat's are safe in F10, and the mono promoters will tell you they are not as safe as monos, and the blue water promoters will tell you that you really need a crab crusher (with the engine running).

One of the reasons that there is no consensus is that two boats within a mile of each other may not experience the same sea conditions. It is largely a matter of luck whether you get hit by a rogue wave that flips the cat or knocks down the mono.

That being said, if both boats get hit by exactly the same conditions, physics does favor the mono as being more forgiving. The mono righting force increases with heel (up to the point where the mast hits the water), and the boat is not very stable upside down. The cat righting force decreases with heel angle until the mast hits the water, then increases to where the boat is very stable upside down. While most cats are positively buoyant, its becoming more evident that the heavier ones are not livable when inverted

I did get an interesting data point on the mono side from someone in the YC bar last month. He had just returned from a NZ-Fiji passage in a 50 ft cat. He volunteered the information that it was his last passage in a cat. They went through a front, and he was seriously concerned about his safety. This is not a novice sailor--he has raced his Hobie 33 double-handed to Hawaii.

On the multi side, I talked to Lowell North (founder of North Sails) after he finished his circumnavigation in a Tayana 52. He said that next time he would take a cat, because he never saw F10 conditions.
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Old 01-08-2016, 23:49   #5
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

The Gone With The Wynns is interesting. When they were boat shopping, the only thing they seemed interested in was the layout and look. They didn't seem to care about safety. She looks weak and he looks weaker. I'll watch to see whether they are going to bail out of their project or not. She is already talking about it being difficult and they haven't left port yet!

I'm not sure if it is a great or horrible idea to think about boat shopping when watching the 1998 Sydney-Hobart race disaster when 6 people were killed. The previous 5 years, the race started with the same storm warning, but this one was literally the perfect storm with winds gusting up to 80 kts and some of the boats doing 180 and 360 degree rolls.

If you are on a 3-week ocean crossing, one of these storms could pop up unexpectedly even with the best planning, so then what?

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.
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Old 01-08-2016, 23:52   #6
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

weather formations travel at a certain speed.
if your hullspeed exceeds that, it doesn't matter how many hulls you have.
your safety depends on your planning.
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Old 02-08-2016, 00:25   #7
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by Simonsays View Post
weather formations travel at a certain speed.
if your hullspeed exceeds that, it doesn't matter how many hulls you have.
your safety depends on your planning.
Oh hell no.

Some storms move too fast. Also, storms can change directions. I was living on a sailboat in Virginia waiting for Hurricane Joachim. We were watching every news channel and even the experts couldn't predict its path.

My question specifically pertains to that one time or maybe twice in a lifetime that even with the safest planning, you get caught.
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Old 02-08-2016, 00:52   #8
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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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Old 02-08-2016, 02:02   #9
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

I've been in 50 knot plus winds on a few occasions in my Privilege 435. Once in the middle of an ocean crossing and a couple of times close to land. Middle of the ocean was easy to deal with... all sails down in advance (big winds don't just come out of nowhere so there is time to prepare), started motors and headed downwind. I've never seen breaking waves out in really deep water.


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.


Another occasion was trying to get into Hout Bay near Cape Town, South Africa. On that occasion we were again fully reefed for the 25-30 knot downwind run from the direction of Durban. Turned onto a beam reach heading into Hout Bay and we were flying along. Then the wind started to head us and build so we started the motors and rolled away the genoa so we were motor sailing. The wind continued to come further forward and rise until again we had 50 knots showing. By now Hout Bay was almost dead to windward and up to 55 knots so we dropped the main and tried to motor in but we just couldn't make any way. So discretion being the better part of valour, we abandoned Hout Bay turned downwind, unrolled a few square feet of genoa and headed rapidly towards Cape Town. At no time during the attempted entry did we feel in any danger but, a couple of days later, friends of ours had to have their Super Maramu towed in to Hout Bay after being more stubborn than us and trying to go in when conditions were similar (even worse once they got close in) and ending up breaking something, can't remember what.


So, in conclusion, a cat is probably as safe as a mono in bad conditions and it is better to be 1000 miles from land in 10000 ft of water than within a couple of miles of land and apparent 'safety'.
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Old 02-08-2016, 03:39   #10
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
If you are on a 3-week ocean crossing, one of these storms could pop up unexpectedly even with the best planning, so then what?
So how many three week ocean crossings are you going to make in your cruising life? And what are the chances of the perfect storm during one of them? Weather forecadting has improved in the last 30 years, and hopefully you will not be keeping to a schedule.

You're much more likely to have a wreck driving to the mall. Do you wear a helmet in your car?

It is human nature to over estimate the probability of unlikely events, and to worry more about what you can't control. But it's not rational.

But if you insist on doing so, worry about lightning, and hitting whales. Both seem more likely than encountering unexpected hurricanes.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:00   #11
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

I wouldn't judge Gone With The Wynn or rely on their experience either - they're honest non-sailors trying to get started without knowing what they don't know.

If you're plotting initial stability, of a "generic" 40ft cat and 40ft monohull, heel angle at x-axis and right arm (GZ) on the y-axis, you'll probably find the multihull having 2-3x the righting force from 10 to 50 degrees heel, then a steady and eventually fatal drop to 0. A monohull was have a more steady and constant curve that doesn't have the steep dropoff. How real is that in practical terms? In sail boats you'll most likely lose your mast, in the cat - designers typically design for the mast to severe prior to the hull reaching the fatal 70/80 degree (whatever the hulls limitations are). In the monohull, its the same story - except sometimes its the ocean that de-masts you, or you've taken on so much water the bilge/electrical system is overwhelmed.

My personal opinion? There are good seaworthy boats and not seaworthy boats - monohull and multihull. And they're all capable of being lifeboats while you await rescue. In the freak conditions like the fastnet disaster - your boat is not going to escape unharmed without a bit of luck, but with all the modern weather information that we have, unless you're really adamant on keeping a schedule, it seems avoidance is so much more prudent than getting a boat you're less happy living.

If you're going to get a cat, get the lightest cat with the most reserve buoyancy and keep it light. Don't check the option for the extra head that you won't use, get a watermaker and take advantage of the solar real estate instead of full water tanks.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:02   #12
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Catamarans in 50kt winds

Ive been in storm conditions a number of times in both a mono and cat. Most recently twice in the last two years on our cat, last time in east Thailand with sustained two days of 45-55kts and 6m+ seas with bare poles and 3rd reef. Never have felt unsafe, controlled, prepared for worse. IMHO, other than the deep north or south, Id prefer a strong cat over a mono knowing that should it go over, it will stay afloat while a mono will sink like the lead in its keel.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:04   #13
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Catamarans in 50kt winds

I would suggest having some good informed chats with circumnavigating cruisers of cats to help in your decision. We crossed the angry Indian Ocean last year that included other cats and these are long term livaboards who have sustained a lot or high seas all over the globe. They are well prepared, cautious, some with families, experienced and are an excellent source of info. Met cat designers and owners in South Africa who design for their local conditions. Catamaran design has matured and improved considerably in the last 20 years, standards of safety have improved, customers are smarter and more demanding, knowledge base understanding is available for better decision making.

Best of luck in your choice.
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Old 02-08-2016, 04:25   #14
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

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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Old 02-08-2016, 04:32   #15
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Re: Catamarans in 50kt winds

Surely there are both seaworthy monos and cats. Lots of details comprise seaworthy - hatches, port glazing, bilge pumps, hull-deck join, keels, rudders, rig, weatherboards, size of windows - the list is long. I am sure you will know most of this stuff as well as I.

What is most suitable depends on your plans, your abilities, your probable location. If 90% dock queen then who cares whereas the cross Atlantic demands more. I reckon only you can make the choice. Unlikely to find a consensus in a diverse group like this.

What would I choose? Really not relevant to your lifestyle.💕😃


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