, I didn't intend my previous to be a "rebuttal", more of a gentle poke in the ribs....sorry if you felt it was more than that..!!
But as you say, a 38ft cat will have loads more real estate than a 38ft mono, be more stable, and probably be quicker if you don't overload it.
The main reason most of the record-breaking boats these days are big tris is the waterline length to beam ratio of a tri enables much larger sail area and thence more speed, Vestas sail rocket notwithstanding...
So a 38ft tri *ought* to be faster than both a 38ft cat and a 38ft mono.....but it will have about the same or a bit more usable space than a 38ft mono, yet have almost three times the underwater area requiring anti-fouling
, and ditto topsides painting.
So a tri is *not* a budget
choice, unless you can get one seriously cheap
and do it up to 'offshore capability' yourself.
As cats tend to be more popular in the charter
market, especially around the 38-45ft length, you're far more likely to find a relatively cheap
, relatively modern cat than a cheap, modern tri. Older-style tris might not be the bargains they appear at first, as they may be rotten, may not be good sailors, and thus not have the advantages you hope for.
The folding tris I was referring to are primarily those of Farrier and Dragonfly. Farrier no longer supports owner builders, and Dragonfly have only ever made production boats. Folders seem to be limited to about 35ft, but the majority of those built to date are under 30ft - especially the Farrier/Corsair 27ft and the earlier Farrier 680 and 720. And they are NOT cheap, except perhaps the realy old early Farriers.
In the smaller sizes (ie: under 30ft) you DO get a lot for your money
, as the speed difference of a small mono cruiser compared to a small tri is quite marked. But you want a bigger boat.
Cats under 30ft tend to be open bridge, and not comfortable for more than a day sail, although that's not to say that open-bridge-deck cats can't cruise
long distances and offshore
, as hundreds of Wharrams have proved.
So the main disadvantages of both tris and cats is the same thing that makes them desirable, all that extra beam, as it makes it *much* more expensive to berth them in any marina. Most charge at least double the per-foot rate, and double-wide slips are not as common as you might hope, which often means cat and tri sailors are stuck with the end tie, and cop the wash of every passing vessel and the chop from the more open waters beyond.
Or you need to anchor
out in a quieter spot and then dinghy
into a wharf or beach in order to get ashore for supplies etc. This can be problematic for less physically-abled older folks, like many retirees. And is a PITA loading and unloading from a bobbing dinghy
So if the budget is *really* tight, you'd be better off looking at a 38ft mono, as it will be cheaper overall, easier to berth, cheaper to maintain and no more expensive to operate than a tri having only a single engine
. It just won't be quite as fast.
But cats normally have two engines. So two lots of mechanical headaches. Or, on the flip side, a spare engine
if one of them dies!
But also two hulls to anti-foul, huge mast
, huge sails
(ie:not cheap to repair or replace) plus the berthing costs.
So you really, really have to want a cat or a tri, mainly for the stability but primarily for the additional speed compared to a similar length mono. Faster passages, easier to dodge bad weather
, etc etc.
The extra real estate on a cat is simply a bonus but, as I said before, lots of the below decks space is corridor, so they don't make good use of all the space until you get over the 40ft mark, where the hulls become wide enough to have decent storage
and or benches built into the side of the hulls.
Personally, having been aboard a few, I wouldn't consider a cat under 45ft, but that's my personal preference. And I'd want a down-hull galley
, not a saloon galley
, as it takes up too much space and sefverely compromises entertaining areas.
But if it's speed you want, and a serious load-hauling capability, and you do want a trimaran, look more closely at the Searunner
types, especially the centre-cockpit versions. A 33ft Searunner
will probably carry more 'stuff' than a 38ft mono, and be more comfortable and faster....
Farrier also made a 33ft centre cockpit
back in the day, probably the oldest of them would be early eighties, but not that many were built, so they come on the market rarely, and were the laregest folder built until Quornings brought out a 35ft Dragonfly. A farrier Command 10 came on the market in Oz last year in excellent well-maintained condition for an asking price
of AUS$85K. You can get a lot of mono for that money in the USA.
But either teh Dragongfly or the Farrier 33s would have similar volume in the main hull
to a 38ft mono, but have a lot more usable deck
space, and the capacity to fold for either hauling out or berthing in a marina.
Certainly, an older tri, if you had the capability to restore it properly, and could live with anchoring
out, or only occasional marina berthing, and could afford the triple-hull anti-foul, then a Cross, Nicol, Brown, or even a Piver
would be a 'cheap' boat. Even some real flyers like those of Newick, Crowther and Grainger come up occasionally at a reasonable 'needs TLC' price
Personally, I'd only consider one of the older type tris if it a had a beam to negth ratio of at least 70%, and preferably more. These days, performance trimarans have a beam/length ratio often in excess of 80%.
I'd aslo avoid the ealry versions with amas noticeable shorter than the main hull
, as it's now well known that full length and full 100% buoyancy floats are required to extend the performance envelope and ensure maximum stability.
That's not to say the older boats are bad, just that newer boats are better. Practice makes perfect as the old saying goes.
Also be aware of the weight of the boat, either cat or tri. Some of the older glass boats were made using mostly matt glass and so are much heavier for a given strength than a more modern, lighter weight, woven glass fabric
built boat. Lighter is better in multis as it enables more cargo carrying cpaacity, or greater speed, or both!
But if you want the big open saloon
space of a big cat, then that's what you want, and that's what you have to find a way to afford..!!
Beware the early boats that had low side decks requring you to virtually (if not actually) crawl through into the hulls. Modern boats with full-width saloon cabins that have stairs down and decent head
height are much more user friendly.
I'm guessing the above is probably not news to you, but perhaps for others watching this thread there might be something that they hadn't yet considered.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to put you off, the more multis the better IMHO, but there is no such thing as a 'cheap' multi-hull. Even if it's cheaper to buy initially, it may cost a fortune in rebuilding costs, unless you can do it all yourself, and that requires a certain level of physicality and serious determination.
A sensible budget approach might be to hunt the ex-charter fleets in the Caribbean
for an unloved boat that needs only TLC rather than major restoration
. But unless the engines have been recently replaced or professionally rebuilt, budget for doing so and you'll get an idea of the way the costs can quickly blow out restoring a cat.
And of course, keep watching this thread, as the bargains do pop up from time to time.