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Old 27-07-2012, 12:03   #61
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Post Re: Characteristics of the perfect cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Of course, the "perfect" boat is a subjective thing and depends much on intended use, but here are some of my thoughts:

I've run a lot of different makes and models of cats as a charter captain/delivery skipper/instructor/cruiser and developed some definite opinions from this experience.

First, most modern cats share several common design flaws (IMHO).

1. Helm placement. Almost all product cats have helms in less than ideal places (like the cockpit bulkhead). Those that I think have it right: Chris White, Gun Boat, Maine Cat, Wharram (see new larger models like the Pahi and Islander). For the worst ever helm placement see the Nautitec 44.

2. Bridge deck clearance. Most South African cats have relatively low bridge deck clearance or at least taper to low clearance aft -- more is better.

3. Deck House. Huge deck house structures to maximize accommodation spaces create more windage, reduce visibility, and add weight. I prefer more minimal deck house structures, like Chris Whites, or none like Wharram designs (see Pahi & Islander models)

4. Sail Plan. The typical huge main sail driven sloop rig is not the ideal cruising sail plan. That big main can become a liability for cruising and takes more muscle to handle. More, smaller sails is a better cruising sail plan (true of mono or cat). A cutter rig or schooner (like some Wharram's) is a more practical cruising/offshore rig.

5. Engine Placement. The stern of the boat is the wrong place to put more weight (better than the bow I suppose, but midships is better). Stuffing lots of space in the stern also necessitates wider profile of the stern hull sections which reduces performance -- a narrow smooth profile -- both bow and stern is better. See Wharram and Gunboat for better engine placement ideas.

6. Exposed Rudder & Drive. Try running over a fishing net in almost any production cat at night -- it's not pretty. Better to have an under body design that will slide right over things that go bump in night...more like a traditional full keeled mono. Again, see Wharram (no I don't like ALL of his design ideas, but he does have some very good ones).

A few other things to consider.

Heads. Mid-ship heads (like on some FP's), accessible by all guests, is a good practical consideration. I think that boats with in-suite heads in every cabin are ridiculous -- who needs that many heads? And of course you have to maintain them all.

Sail Drives. I've had good luck with my Volvo sail drives, but they do increase maintenance concerns and costs. If you ever have to do major repairs to one then you will need someone with training, experience, and the long list of specialized tools and parts to fix them. The parts are wildly expensive -- I had to replace a damaged prop shaft on one -- this shaft is less than 1' in length and was $450 from Volvo! My preference is a good old simple shaft draft which can be repaired easily anywhere in the world you can find basic machine shop services and materials. Even better: some Wharram designs use lifting shafts which not only eliminate the fouling issue when under sail, but also eliminate drive related through hulls -- I have not sailed with these, but sure do like the idea.

Engine Access. Most cats have quite good engine access -- especially if compared to older monohulls, but some better than others: Some FP's for example have a bulkhead just inches from the front of the engine which makes even simple routine work a huge pain. Engine placement where you don't have to remove a bunk, and all the crap inevitably stacked up on it, is much more convenient.

Visibility from Helm. Stand at the helm station. Can you see all 4 corners of the boat -- not on most production cats. Twin helms can help with this issue, but many production cats designed with twin helms in mind don't have full helm control (steering and engine controls) actually installed at both helms (see this on Privileges a lot).

Deck Security. All that deck space sure is nice for fair weather sailing, but think about how you will move about the deck in heavy weather. Where are hand holds/padeyes built in and where will you need to add them.

Ventilation. A monohull with a couple of big deck hatches is easy to turn into one long wind tunnel. Some cats, especially many FP's, are more challenging to ventilate well (the french apparently don't believe in ventilation...even newer FP designs have minimal ventilation in some cabins...especially aft cabins...those silly little round hatches sure are stylish though!).


....and the list goes on...
Great Post! Thanks.
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Old 27-07-2012, 12:20   #62
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Re: Characteristics of the perfect cat

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Originally Posted by Mitch8101 View Post
Great Post! Thanks.
You're welcome.
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Old 28-07-2012, 06:51   #63
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Re: Characteristics of the perfect cat

Quote:
Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
Of course, the "perfect" boat is a subjective thing and depends much on intended use, but here are some of my thoughts:

I've run a lot of different makes and models of cats as a charter captain/delivery skipper/instructor/cruiser and developed some definite opinions from this experience.

First, most modern cats share several common design flaws (IMHO).

1. Helm placement. Almost all product cats have helms in less than ideal places (like the cockpit bulkhead). Those that I think have it right: Chris White, Gun Boat, Maine Cat, Wharram (see new larger models like the Pahi and Islander). For the worst ever helm placement see the Nautitec 44.

2. Bridge deck clearance. Most South African cats have relatively low bridge deck clearance or at least taper to low clearance aft -- more is better.

3. Deck House. Huge deck house structures to maximize accommodation spaces create more windage, reduce visibility, and add weight. I prefer more minimal deck house structures, like Chris Whites, or none like Wharram designs (see Pahi & Islander models)

4. Sail Plan. The typical huge main sail driven sloop rig is not the ideal cruising sail plan. That big main can become a liability for cruising and takes more muscle to handle. More, smaller sails is a better cruising sail plan (true of mono or cat). A cutter rig or schooner (like some Wharram's) is a more practical cruising/offshore rig.

5. Engine Placement. The stern of the boat is the wrong place to put more weight (better than the bow I suppose, but midships is better). Stuffing lots of space in the stern also necessitates wider profile of the stern hull sections which reduces performance -- a narrow smooth profile -- both bow and stern is better. See Wharram and Gunboat for better engine placement ideas.

6. Exposed Rudder & Drive. Try running over a fishing net in almost any production cat at night -- it's not pretty. Better to have an under body design that will slide right over things that go bump in night...more like a traditional full keeled mono. Again, see Wharram (no I don't like ALL of his design ideas, but he does have some very good ones).

A few other things to consider.

Heads. Mid-ship heads (like on some FP's), accessible by all guests, is a good practical consideration. I think that boats with in-suite heads in every cabin are ridiculous -- who needs that many heads? And of course you have to maintain them all.

Sail Drives. I've had good luck with my Volvo sail drives, but they do increase maintenance concerns and costs. If you ever have to do major repairs to one then you will need someone with training, experience, and the long list of specialized tools and parts to fix them. The parts are wildly expensive -- I had to replace a damaged prop shaft on one -- this shaft is less than 1' in length and was $450 from Volvo! My preference is a good old simple shaft draft which can be repaired easily anywhere in the world you can find basic machine shop services and materials. Even better: some Wharram designs use lifting shafts which not only eliminate the fouling issue when under sail, but also eliminate drive related through hulls -- I have not sailed with these, but sure do like the idea.

Engine Access. Most cats have quite good engine access -- especially if compared to older monohulls, but some better than others: Some FP's for example have a bulkhead just inches from the front of the engine which makes even simple routine work a huge pain. Engine placement where you don't have to remove a bunk, and all the crap inevitably stacked up on it, is much more convenient.

Visibility from Helm. Stand at the helm station. Can you see all 4 corners of the boat -- not on most production cats. Twin helms can help with this issue, but many production cats designed with twin helms in mind don't have full helm control (steering and engine controls) actually installed at both helms (see this on Privileges a lot).

Deck Security. All that deck space sure is nice for fair weather sailing, but think about how you will move about the deck in heavy weather. Where are hand holds/padeyes built in and where will you need to add them.

Ventilation. A monohull with a couple of big deck hatches is easy to turn into one long wind tunnel. Some cats, especially many FP's, are more challenging to ventilate well (the french apparently don't believe in ventilation...even newer FP designs have minimal ventilation in some cabins...especially aft cabins...those silly little round hatches sure are stylish though!).


....and the list goes on...
Great list! but you forgot noise generated by the hulls and insulation/condensation...
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Old 28-07-2012, 07:15   #64
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Re: Characteristics of the Perfect Cat

It's the one on my lap.
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Old 28-07-2012, 09:52   #65
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Re: Characteristics of the perfect cat

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Originally Posted by georgetheleo View Post
Great list! but you forgot noise generated by the hulls and insulation/condensation...
With good bridge deck clearance and no awkward protrusions near the water line (usually done to optimize accommodation spaces) most hull noise is eliminated.

As for insulation/condensation, my cruising ground parameters practically eliminate that issue. Tropical climes only for me.
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Old 28-07-2012, 11:52   #66
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Re: Characteristics of the perfect cat

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Originally Posted by belizesailor View Post
With good bridge deck clearance and no awkward protrusions near the water line (usually done to optimize accommodation spaces) most hull noise is eliminated.

As for insulation/condensation, my cruising ground parameters practically eliminate that issue. Tropical climes only for me.
Exactly and also very much agree on your comment regarding heads, we have three = 1 too many.... Cheers Frank
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