Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 23-04-2006, 03:24   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 192
Cats - Condos or boats?

I have seen several discussions in this group on 'which cat?' comparing different makes. They all seem to focus on 'live-ability' issues, such as galley up/down, size of cabins, headroom and the like. Stuff you would look at when buying an apartment

Most similar monohull discussions focus much more on 'boat' issues - such as hull/rig design, number/location of cleats, performance (foul weather/light winds), positioning of handholds, usability of chart table, ground tackle storage and use, critical re-enforcement areas etc etc.

Hence boats which focus on the latter (Malo, HR etc) at the expense of the former still do well against those that take the opposite tack (Jeaneau, Bavaria, American Hunter etc)

Is it because most cats are bought for live-aboard rather than sailing? Or for Carribean Island pottering not North Sea sailing? Or is it a USA v. Europe thing?

When looking at boats - multi or mono - I try and look at the sailing-issue compromises before even looking at accommodation, despite the best attempts of the salesmen.

As an example: I don’t think the fact that the Manta has the interesting looking wishbone-boom self-tacking foresail, or the Broadblue has the 'Easy-rig' option has even been mentioned in the discussions!

While I respect that those going to live-aboard may want the most apartment-like boat, let's also try and look at sailing issues as well - otherwise the manufacturers will just produce Condo-cats, or Portacabins on floats.

So, for me, things like buoyancy compartments (not just crash bulkheads) with inspection hatches, ease of sail handling, cockpit protection/drainage, ground tackle deployment and access, width of hulls (narrow/moderate for light wind performance), underwater protection, visibility from the helm and cockpit under sail, load carrying ability etc are all more important than the size of the heads.
__________________

__________________
Moby Dick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2006, 05:26   #2
Senior Cruiser
 
Talbot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Brighton, UK
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 3,579
Images: 32
While I agree that their ability at sailing is a definite issue, there has been considerable discussion about bridgedeck clearance. IMHO this is probably the biggest single factor to differentiate the sailing ability of most of the multihulls that are built solid enough for longevity.

The next biggest factor is really a question of how much additional weight has been added for cruising - and this is such a variable that it is dificult to quantify.
__________________

__________________
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
Robert A Heinlein
Talbot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2006, 05:57   #3
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,590
Images: 240
Notwithstanding the primary & fundamental importance of those engineering “boat-issues” that Moby Dick cites, “livability” remains another important criterion in cruise-boat selection. Whether anchored, docked, under sail or power - our boat remains our home.

However, IMHO, one of the biggest mistakes many boaters (newbies & old hands alike) make, is to assume that the basic elements of most decent-quality production boats are suitably engineered/designed, and adequately installed. Regrettably, this is mostly untrue. Boatbuilders have an abysmal record in getting the details right.

Ie: Deck Fittings (Cleats, Bollards, & etc.):

I’ve never seen a factory production boat with adequately sized cleats.

Cleats should measure one inch in length (tip to tip) for each 1/16 inch of line diameter.

A 30 Ft. boat should use a ˝" - 5/8" dia. line on it’s working anchor/dockline (700# working load), requiring a minimum cleat length of 8-10" for a single line. Storm-rigged to withstand about 1,400# of force, the 30 footer would use up to 3/4" diameter nylon line, and 12" cleats.
A forty footer storm-rigs to about 2,400# loading, requiring 7/8" - 1" dia. ropes, and hence 14" - 16" cleats.

Should it be desirable to secure more than one line to a cleat (is this too much to ask?), additional length would be required.

My factory-installed cleats never (over several boats) “measured up” ~ do yours?

Of course, 12" cleats might have looked “oversized and clumsy”, to the uninitiated, on our C&C29 - but I’ve wished for bigger yet!
I’ve had every line on the boat deployed, in defense against 80 kt winds. Six cleats (2@ 12" + 4 @ 8"), the mast, and two primary winches didn’t provide enough strong points, leaving me to resort to additional shackles on the toe rail. A clocking wind (which I anticipated, but did not adequately allow for) still forced me to run the engine, roughly ˝ power in reverse, for several hours.

Don’t let me get started on cleat quantity, placement, mounting methods, et al.

Gord
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2006, 06:26   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 48
Market Forces

I just want to touch on one comment, I don't believe Manta or Broadblue will build condo cats. I believe both builders have purposely kept to small production runs. Talk to Broadblue and they will tell you they've done this on purpose to protect the resale values of their boats. I understand Manta prides itself and its ability to work closely with a buyer to customize.

Otherwise I agree with your comments, the biggest challenge is largely an indiscriminate market (including the mono world) who appears to not care or not know they should care.
__________________
http://www.ittykitty.com
Jeff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2006, 06:54   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Full Time Cruising
Boat: 1990 Morgan 41 Classic
Posts: 54
Hi Moby:

I am not sure if you could categorize it as a U.S. vs Europe thing but while I was spending time on the Broadblues at the shows, the BB folks pointed out that they had to modify several things (please dont ask me to list them) to make the boat more attractive to the U.S market due to the waters around the U.K. being different from the conditions around the U.S. and Caribbean. I think the two rigs factored into that. I have never sailed your waters but I get the impression that in general they are a bit more challenging than here across the pond. There might be a good deal to be said for the desires/demands of different markets.

We all take different approaches depending on what's important to us. I spent the first year after deciding to liveaboard looking at monohulls and peeking at multi's. I made the decision to go multi after doing some chartering strictly for the condo effect. When my focus was on a monohull I was still looking for a liveaboard, so I found myself starting with the layout down below as the first criteria. (I really liked the layout of the Elan) Then I went above deck and looked at sailability, layout of the deck, layout of the cockpit, etc, next was the rig and structural integrity. (I would have ruled out the Elan because the dual helms are very exposed at the two corners of the stern)

I have spend the good part of my life racing and even I am amazed how low on the priority list sailing performance is for me. It always comes down to personal priorities but I fall into the camp that even when I am sailing in my liveaboard life I plan on sacrificing performance for just going easy on the rigging and having an easy configuration to handle.

My guess is that I will be spending 90% of my time on the hook in my condo (for now it looks like a Manta or a BB so I see them as "condos" in my mind when compared to a monohull of similar size) so the liveability issue becomes a very high priority. Beyond that I want a boat that does not have any structural or design issues that will reduce its expected lifetime or get in the way of safely handling the boat in the occasional bad conditions that I might find myself in.

The reason I like to be involved in these discussions is that I dont want my personal priorities to keep me from recognizing an important issue that I might not have otherwise thought about. Thanks for starting this thread.

I do have one additional observation to add. It seems that once the discussions peel back the layers of the onion and get to the detail of sailing configuration, hull materials, rig configurations etc, it can get very technical very fast. There are some extremely knowledgable people on these boards but perhaps many of us get lost quickly in these discussions and drop off the thread. Its easy to talk about washing machines and size of the fridge but I keep quiet when the discussion dives into vacuum bagging vs osmosis vs plywood, vs balsa. Over time I will pick it all up but I just can't keep up and maybe there are others that get quiet and just listen so the discussion ends quickly.
__________________
laser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2006, 09:25   #6
cruiser

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: No longer post here
Boat: Catalac Catamaran
Posts: 2,462
The way new cats are growing in size, I wouldn't be surprised to see advertisements in the future like "700 sq ft under A/C" listed under boat features.
__________________
Tropic Cat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 23-04-2006, 10:05   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
Talbot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Brighton, UK
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 3,579
Images: 32
The prime reason for narrower cats from UK (e.g. Catalacs and Prouts up to the Snowgoose Elite) was the perceived need for these boats to be able to use the canals from UK through France to the Mediterranean. Widths stated to expand when it was recognised that the length/width ratio needed more width for performance, and that this translated into more space inside.

It was at this point that the marinas recognised they could make more money by charging us more for the berths!
__________________
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
Robert A Heinlein
Talbot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2006, 13:53   #8
Registered User
 
RandyAbernethy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Carib
Boat: Saint Francis 50 - Swingin' on a Star
Posts: 170
Post Sailing Issues

Like Laser I am interested in traveling, the boat is a means to an end. That doesn't mean I don't like sailing, I love sailing (and probably love sailing a mono hull most), but I will make substantial compromises to ensure comfort and safety for the family. In my foray into the Catamaran market I have found good options in the low output world and in the production world. I have no particular bias at this point but I have found advantages to both in not only the accommodation but also the sailing area. In the spirit of the thread I’ll throw out the issues I see and my thoughts.

Rig
When it comes to self tacking systems I don't really find these all that helpful (mono or multi). They're nice but it's not enough of a benefit IMHO to warrant the extra gear on deck. If you really want to sail you'll be flying a lot of incompatible canvas most of the time. If you just want to get there, I find most production boats are pretty flexible and easy to sail without such trickery. Just me of course, many people love the Hoyt boom and other such devices.

I have however noticed that many production cats under 45’ seem to be moving to rigging that looks a little on the light side to me. One shroud, no intermediate stay, that sort of thing. Not sure what to think about this as I am not a naval architect, but after the hull, the rig is the last thing I want to have fail at sea.

Bridge Deck Clearance/Windage
Some firms are building boats with fairly high clearance like Lagoon and Privilege. Others are fairly low, like Voyage and Leopard (same designer). I have noted that the boats with high clearance also tend to have fairly high profile as no one seems to be willing to give up the head room in the saloon. This means that if you have high bridge deck clearance you have high windage and a higher center of gravity, by definition. I have yet to try a Voyage or Leopard on the water but I hear they slam quite a bit more than boats with higher clearance. They are certainly a lot lower to the water though giving them the windage and stability edge, all else being equal (which of course it never is). The one place I am definitely concerned about windage is in the bow area. This can make high wind docking and other related maneuvers challenging.

Underbody
When it comes to sailing, what’s going on under the boat has as much to do with things as what’s aloft. Boards seem to be the way to go if you really want a sailing cat. If you want a cruising cat, I’m pretty convinced that the simplicity of mini keels is the trump. If you want simplicity and ease of maintenance you should be thinking long and hard about saildrive versus shaft drive. These days most cats have sail drives, putting weight aft, requiring rigorous zinc maintenance and a haul out to mess with the tranny. A lot messier grounding a saildrive then a prop or a shaft as well. With the growing ubiquity of saildrives you may not have much choice. Lastly the skeg hung rudder verses spade seems to polarize on the performance/cruising line.

Factory Support
Laser pointed out the broad network of global support from the factory and other owners in another thread. After spending a little time on some owners’ forums I realize how big a benefit this is. There are some very smart, informed and helpful folks out there on the Lagoon and Voyage sites, and they’re everywhere around the globe.

The smaller catamaran builders (semi-custom?) are few. They bring the benefit of personal service and allow you to tune things substantially in order to get closer to your perfect boat. The smaller shops are in a lot tougher financial position, however. They have to be priced somewhere in the same zip code as the production boats but they don’t have the economies of scale and they have the added challenge of providing the quality that will differentiate them. Unfortunately they often don’t have the marketing strength to get their key value proposition in front of folks. For instance, look at a through hull plug from a Broadblue and then compare that to a production boat plug. The obvious discrepancy is fairly astonishing but these facts don’t seem to be reaching the market (which perhaps doesn’t care). I looked at a used CNZ4500 and, other than the dagger boards, really liked what I saw. I tried to get in touch with the factory as the web site indicated that they could also make them with keels. They were in receivership. History tells a sad story of the small boat manufacturer.

Light but Strong?
One of the challenges I have had moving from the mono market to the catamaran market is getting clear perspective on the weight and construction issues associated with catamarans. In the mono hull market it’s pretty clear that heavy construction delivers strength and safety. A heavy, well built mono hull is the right choice for cruising (although going overboard is never good). With a heavy mono you get seakindly motion, good carrying capacity and with the hull speed limit you don’t suffer much on he performance front (relatively).

This is not so clear with cats. “If the cat is too heavy it doesn't sail as well, if it's too light, it's not as strong and won’t take a grounding or beaching well”. The more you focus on sailing the more you seem to find yourself considering the Switch and Outreamer contingent. The more you focus on strength and carrying capacity the more you consider heavier boats with keels. You do not want a cat that is built too lightly nor one that digs into waves and can’t get out of its own way. Finding the right compromise is challenging and not a simple science from what I can tell.

That said, the production factories don’t want to have their charter fleets costing them a bunch of money after they leave the yard. They also have the most substantial R&D budgets. On the down side I think (to Gord’s point) that the production boats are fitted with just enough strength to do the job up to the 97th percentile of conditions (which doesn’t include 80 knot winds).

Gord: What kind of backing plates are you putting on those 2 foot cleats?
__________________
Randy

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. -- HG Wells
RandyAbernethy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2006, 15:22   #9
CF Adviser
 
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,283
We also looked at the Broadblues. They have an impressive boat, very nicely done in many ways. I had one, perhaps trivial, concern and one fairly serious one. The perhaps trivial one had to do with the aft hatches that were placed above the transoms just so that everyone getting on the boat from the scoops would pretty much have to step right on the top of the hatch, which opened into the engine room. The BB rep said they carefully engineered the hatches to withstand the repeated weight and flexing, but that just seems to me to be asking for a problem where none is needed. The last place I would want a leaking or broken hatch is right above the engine.

The more serious concern, in my mind was with the electrical panel. Below, is a picture of the panel and chart table (which I also wasn't too fond of - I like 'em broad, flat and rectangular - no funny angles, please).


Now, you can't easily access the back of the panel from the inside of the salon. In order to get to it, you must go around through the back of a cabin, remove a panel from storage area, crawl through the storage area, and then go up through a cavity behind the panel. Contortionists would do fine -- normal 50 year olds would not. What I found when I got there is illustrated by the next attached photo (taken with the camera pointed upwards). Not what I expect to find in something costing this kind of money (although it did remind me of the wiring in old Jaguars). Can you imagine trying to troubleshoot an electrical problem in deteriorating conditions under these circumstances?

These things, along with my wife's observation that the galley pantry/storage area was less than she expected, pretty much killed our interest in the BBs.

As to the Leopards, for me one look under the bridgedeck caused me concern. That's the third image, this is the Leopard 43, taken from the aft. All those protrusions, angles, and not a lot of clearance, either. I can't see this being a smooth or quiet ride in choppy conditions.

ID
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	BB42 Chart Table Electrics Front.JPG
Views:	181
Size:	99.1 KB
ID:	60   Click image for larger version

Name:	BB42 Electrics Back.JPG
Views:	164
Size:	92.1 KB
ID:	61  

Click image for larger version

Name:	Leopard Deck Clearance.JPG
Views:	176
Size:	107.1 KB
ID:	62  
__________________
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 24-04-2006, 16:01   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 192
Randy, you make some good points but: the interest in multihulls is growing, as is the number being sold. The monohull market supports many smaller, specialist builders - Malo, CR, Southerly, Etap etc etc etc who compete very well with the major mass-producers by concentrating on their own niches. I would HOPE that a vigorous multihull market would support such diversity as well. It would be a dull world if we had to all settle for the same design

Hence, I guess, part of the reason for my initial post. Let's not forget there are other things to consider as well as the 'condo aspects' of a cat, just as there are for monohulls. They may be top of some peoples lists and low on others

Some people circumnavigate in a 32 ft Jennau, others would not cross the Channel in anything less than a 45ft Halberg-Rassy.
__________________
Moby Dick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2006, 04:12   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 192
Drifter

I am confused: if you are talking about the BB385, the engines are under the bunks, so there is no 'hatch above the engine room' as such, and you do not walk on it. You DO walk over the Lagoon and Leopard hatches (from memory) however.

On the electrical panel: I could be wrong, but I dont know many boats of the size that you can actually GET behind the instrument panel at ALL, never mind it being a squeeze (I am not talking about the drop down switch panel, but where the various displays and VHF etc are mounted). Often it is front access only.

moby
__________________
Moby Dick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2006, 09:12   #12
CF Adviser
 
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,283
Moby

Sorry for the confusion. The engine hatch issue was on the BB42, not the 385.

On the electrical panel, the description and picture describe the access to the back of the switch panel (the one with the breakers) -- which is why I thought it worthy of comment. Almost all of the other boats I've looked at had easy access to the back of the switch panel via either swing out panels or removing a few screws. Some of the boats (e.g., Manta) had beautiful electrical switch panels. The BB, in my opinion, had the poorest access, the poorest labeling, and the most hectic appearing routing.

Regarding getting behind the instrument panel, I agree with you. The only one I saw that seemed to anticipate that someone might want to do this was the Voyage 440. The 440 had not only an easily accessible and well labeled switch panel, but the back of the instrument panel was just as good. One could easily troubleshoot, service, or replace all of the boat's instruments from one location. Even had a built in flourescent trouble light.
__________________
Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2006, 09:34   #13
Registered User
 
RandyAbernethy's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Carib
Boat: Saint Francis 50 - Swingin' on a Star
Posts: 170
Moby: I hope the market for the semi custom cat shops develops as well!

ID: Thanks for the thought provoking input. Given your perspective on the Leopard clearance what are your thoughts about the Voyage?
__________________
Randy

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe. -- HG Wells
RandyAbernethy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2006, 10:19   #14
CF Adviser
 
Intentional Drifter's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Pac NW
Boat: Boatless, for now, Cat enthusiast
Posts: 1,283
Randy --

One of the absolutely most frustrating things about this whole enterprise has been: I see things on almost every boat that I really like! I see things on almost every boat that I don't. Will somebody please make a boat that has everything I like, and nothing I don't?

Oh, and I need to be able to afford it, too. (Darn!)

Regarding the Voyage clearance, unfortunately I don't have a picture, but I recall it as being about the same as the Leopard, but with fewer protrusions and interruptions. Simonis seems to have a different take on the bridgedeck clearance variable, but I haven't seen any actual empirical data on it. I'm not sure how one would even go about doing such a comparison.

There was an additional concern, voiced more by my wife than I, but it cropped up in a couple of boats. The concern was about small steps up and down as one moves through the boat from area to area. My wife really hates those, as she finds that she tends to trip more in boats with them. Sure, one would tend to get used to them on your own boat, but why have to get used to them (as well as guests) if you don't have to? In that regard, the Leopard has several of these steps, the Voyage had none, as I recall. I know that my wife spent, literally, one minute on the Leopard and before I could even step on, she stepped off with the comment "scratch that one."

ID
__________________
Intentional Drifter

Observations are gold; hypotheses, silver; and conclusions, bronze.

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote.--Ben Franklin

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.--Daniel Patrick Moynihan
Intentional Drifter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 25-04-2006, 10:59   #15
Senior Cruiser
 
Talbot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Brighton, UK
Boat: Privilege 37
Posts: 3,579
Images: 32
Here is a picture of the maxim 380 (which is a voyage 38 built by Maxims - S/V Makai) There looks to be quite a lot more clearance than in the Leopard.

__________________

__________________
"Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors - and miss."
Robert A Heinlein
Talbot is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Lying Ahull Stede Monohull Sailboats 46 20-06-2009 17:34
Good names in cats will n Multihull Sailboats 80 26-02-2007 01:03
Decisions, Decisions..... bajamas Monohull Sailboats 14 17-09-2004 20:24
is there a huge difference in price between... fujiwara takumi General Sailing Forum 10 26-08-2004 03:18
Top Boats Awards GordMay Monohull Sailboats 2 08-11-2003 20:00



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:27.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.