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Old 12-03-2006, 11:48   #46
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I don't know why some from each camp beat each other with sticks on this topic. I don't know why there are two camps. Talbot hits on the most important issue when comparing mono and cat - skill of the captain and crew. It is my lack of experience on cats that makes me less qualified to take one offshore. I have been a leaner all my life.
I am a newbie when it comes to big cats.
Remember when disaster strikes, and serious injury or even death occurs, usually the boat is found still floating - mono or cat. We would do better to look at our own skills and level of preparedness before we decide if any boat is good enough or better than another.

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Old 12-03-2006, 13:07   #47
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Talbot and Larry hit the nail on the head,.... what makes going offshore safe or not is 95% due to the abilities and preparedness of the crew and captain and 5%, the vessel.
Talbot also brings up another important issue about capsize. Most multihulls you see upside down in photos were likely pitchpoled, not capsized! They tripped over themselves. The argument will be ,"so what's the difference?" The difference is, the crew did not slow down enough when they should have, it's avoidable. To capsize requires a lot of energy, pitchpoling is just the boat speeding along and slamming into a wave....totally avoidable...
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Old 12-03-2006, 13:40   #48
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It always seems that this topic always begins with someone who is unfamilar or new to multihulls posts what is their biggest concern. Nothing wrong with that but the key is to listen to the people who actually sail these boats. My biggest concerns are falling overboard, lightning strikes, hitting debris at sea, running aground, all circumstances where a multi is better IMO. Capsize is way down the list. Amoung the people who own and cruise multhills this subject is not that much of an issue because we understand the rarity of it. On the monohull threads are there big dicussion about their boats sinking out from underneath them. No, because they understand the rarity of it.
It seems that the ones throwing all the "mud" do not own, have little or no experience sailing a multi, and know no one who has extensive experience sailing one. Their opinions carry no weight and is all just piss in the wind. If you were to buy a motorcycle would you value the opinion of someome who has spent his life driving a car and never owned, ridden or driven a bike? What the beef with these guys is I don't know, maybe they are tired of always looking at the sterns of multis as they wallow in their wake. Maybe it is because, as a previous post states, that the guys on the cats get all the hot young babes. Us trimaran guys seem to get the alternative lifestyle, vegitarian, hippy chicks.

fhrussell
Have never spoken to Jim myself but he is held in high reguard by those of us who sail his boats. They may be old and outdated by his own admission but they truely are wonderfull cruisers. How is he doing these days? Pass along my reguards when you speak to him.
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Old 12-03-2006, 14:34   #49
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I've never seen the stern of a multi - just their side down to leeward ! Gotcha....
(that's humor - for you sensitive types)

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Old 12-03-2006, 17:10   #50
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Why is it that everytime we start a discussion about benefits of a multihull versus mono for long distance work, somebody comes out of the woodwork and resurrects that hoary old pack of lies about multihull capsizes.
I read somewhere that it is because a capsized catamaran floats upside-down, making a fascinating picture to put on the news or email to everybody you know, but a capsized monohull either pops back up and (having been dismasted) motors away or sinks without a trace (in either case, leaving behind no photo op).

Of course, I've seen pictures of inverted monohulls that remained that way long enough for rescue crews to arrive...

It isn't clear to me that the whole capsize issue really matters that much. Yes, it is interesting to see just how screwed you are after a series of things go wrong, but it is just as interesting to consider how likely that sequence is.

In other words, the question is not just how bad a capsize can be, but also what kinds of things have to go wrong to get you in a position to capsize in the first place and how you can prevent them.


I'm surprised there isn't much discussion of the higher speeds. The faster you can go, the more able you are able to avoid conditions where you are at risk of capsize.

Also, remember that most of your cruising time is either near land or at anchor. A low draft boat like a catamaran can get in to a LOT of places that my boat can not.

Unfortunately, I found the purchase price for a cat is enough higher than a monohull that I never had to choose. Of course, the bigger boat also has higher maintenance and dockage costs.


b.t.w. If you don't like heeling 30 degrees in a mono, a little sail trim can fix that.
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Old 12-03-2006, 17:43   #51
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Good one cap lar. Though not all of us suffer from less than stellar windward preformance. My Searunner has a big centerboard that draws about 6.5 ft so I can hang in there with your average cruising mono. I won't point as high as a real performance type but you can't win them all I guess.
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Old 12-03-2006, 20:00   #52
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Can anyone explain to me why a cat doesn't point to windward as well as a mono (generally speaking)? I've heard two things that I assume to be factors and want to know if I'm on the right track. First, cat's make a lot of leeway; this is a factor of the shallow draft and light weight. I assume daggerboards and design can minimize this. The second factor is that cat's are so fast that the apparent wind is further ahead, therefore the cat has to fall off from the heading a slower mono could take.

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Old 12-03-2006, 20:00   #53
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Only fair you should pay some small price for all that comfort.
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Old 13-03-2006, 08:28   #54
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cat pointing

The apparent wind is a more significant factor with a cat pointing to windward. You will find that when you toggle instrument readings between true and apparent wind the angle differences tend to be quite a bit greater than you have on a mono. Accordingly while you may be pointing nicely based on apparent wind angles you will find true wind angles to be less impressive.
Most cruising cats also present a much larger forward surface to the wind so that when going to windward you have the windage fighting the sail effort. This becomes more noticeable in higher winds.
In moderate winds I find I can point quite well however if I want to point like a mono I have to accept that my speed will drop to mono levels which is not usually going to get me where I want to go any faster so I will drop off and speed up.
It is important to keep the pointing issue in context as well in that while you may have some limitations going to windward you should have significant speed advantages on all other points of sail.
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Old 13-03-2006, 08:59   #55
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I'm surprised there isn't much discussion of the higher speeds. The faster you can go, the more able you are able to avoid conditions where you are at risk of capsize.
Not all cats are significantly faster than monos. Of course there are lightweight speed machines, and the FJs are acknowledged to be fast, but that light build can sneak up and bite you in the arse.

Speed is also a difficult one, yes it does allow you to get out of the way of a lot of bad weather, and also minimise the transit time to perhaps allow you to complete a journey within a forecast window. However, light build in bad weather is not such a good idea, also speed contributes to the biggest danger to a multihull, the pitchpole, and in bad weather, you are not worrying about how to go faster, but how to slow down! some boats (e.g. Prout, privelidge, Lagoon) are not that much faster than their mono equivalents, and some will be even slower to windward (my catalac being one of those!)

Leeway is much better in multis these days due to design improvements. Dagger boards are used by some, but not liked by a lot of others - they do minimise the leeway and drag so are favoured by the racing fraternity, but design of low aspect ratio keels (I think originally a Prout idea, but now on a lot of cats) is nearly as effective, and a lot easier to use, they will also provide less danger in bad weather, when a dagger board can trip a capsize.
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Old 14-03-2006, 06:02   #56
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Jim Brown is just fine....

Hi Steve,
I will send your regards to Jim! We chat about every other week. He's doing well, still sailing and writing very actively. He sails his Windrider 16 (which he designed) very regularly near his home in VA, and still gets out with friends on larger boats. He was recently in Hawaii and went for a rollicking ride on an old Woody Brown beach cat (ala ManuKai) with Woody(!!) who is 93 yrs old.
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Old 18-03-2006, 22:57   #57
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cats and trimarans

a cat can anchor just a few feet from shore. never seen a mono do that. I have frieghted cows and even a jeep on my cat. oh by the way if you ruin a hull just stich and glue a new one on a beach. and its a fact cat owners get more sex! there is just more places to hide
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Old 19-03-2006, 09:23   #58
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My Bristol 35.5 draws 3'9" board up. I don't own a cow. I don't hide. Each to their own.

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Old 26-03-2006, 02:07   #59
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I've done lots of miles in monos and now have about 15,000 in multis, I would choose the multi, largely because the standard of living is so much higher. Mid Atlantic in weather that would have had me in full wet weather gear slurping cold soup out of a bowl in a mono, we were sitting down to dinner with placemats and wineglasses.
Oh, and doing 16kn.
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:22   #60
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Gotta' love em'

Well, I'm no boat builder, but I can say without fear of reprisal that the multihull is a fine and seaworthy vessel. Sailed an old 42' Wharram Cat down the west coast of Central America and the sail was great and stable...sailed another old trimaran from San Diego to Costa Rica...great sail! Now, I have my own multihull and she's 37 years old and as strong and brave as any boat can be and we're planning a cruise next year.
While my 'new' Searunner can be sluggish on a low wind tack she tracks well and if she is off a couple of degrees to wind, she makes up for it in overall speed. (The Wharram rode very close to the wind...) We've never had structural problems and the ride is worth it...it's bad enough to get caught out there in heavy seas with rain pouring down while standing watch freezing and wet...give me the multihull that is cooking my hot chocolate safely down in the galley with big ol' seas and an easy rest in the bunks between watches! The only down side I can think of is finding a slip to fit her and that she will sail a little at anchor...monohull people should consider that when anchoring next to one! The low draft is awesome and once you get used to that you can't go back to a deeper draft boat. We can go right up on shore if need be and check the hulls and whatever! The deck space alone is worth the purchase...privacy is not easy to come by on a sailboat...nice to be able to wander around and hang off the tramps and watch the dolphin or just cool off. I give em' all a thumbs up!
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