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Old 23-07-2008, 03:42   #16
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Although an experienced cruising motor boater, I am new to sailing.
I have the Cornell book you mentioned and will consider getting the other

I agree about the sailing weather in cruising - Gideon himself made that very clear and was reluctant to take the boat out because the weather was not typical sailing weather whereas I was keen to see how the boat performed in such weather.

I am learning all the time and my real question from this trip was the lack of need to reef in 28 knots of wind. I would have thought that with a light cat there would have been a need but I have no experience at all.

I put this down to the FastCat having a smaller sail area, so whilst there would have been a need to reef on say a St Francis ,which has a larger sail area, there was no need to reef on the FastCat with the smaller sail area. I am not even sure of that because I am fairly confused on the matter - more so than I was before

I would hope in my next three sea trails over the next 7 days out in Florida and the Bahamas that I will experience the same weather but that is very doubtful. I do expect to encounter light air conditions and so we will see how the cats perform in those important light airs.I am told that the St Francis will sail at 10 knots in ten knots on true wind and that this will be demonstrated.So it will be interesting.

We are not the right customers for the FastCat and so its performance is not an issue for us. We want a larger cat with more luxuries on it - I made a video of the trip with interviews with Gideon - in one interview he talks about the 100 man hours spent making the saloon table - which is carbon fibre with a veneer over it and weighs next to nothing. Clearly a lot of thought and experience has gone into the boat with huge effort and expense to reduce weight - then along comes someone like us who wants a washing machine, dishwasher etc ..... it frankly must be heart breaking for Gideon to listen to us and tot up the weight we are putting back into the cat.

Gideon has had a huge success with the boat with 19 boats sold to date. Current delivery for hull 13 which he offered to me as this was his boat, was Spring 2010. My view is that he will never be satisfied in his constant search to reduce weight and that is a good thing for those looking for a lightweight cat.

The other FastCat owner who was the one and only crew plans to travel the world in his boat that be bought in May after a training trip to Norway with Gideon.

It seems that with the remaining cats we are looking at we can expect a fair number of 200 mile days and have more of the comforts we are looking for albeit this is achieved with a larger sail area. So we have already modified our views on the cat we are looking for.

We had one more small trail in an FP 36 footer in very light winds of about 10 knots and with just the foresail and mainsail up we just about managed 50 per cent of wind speed. We were getting 3 or 4 knots at 8 knots true and topped out at 6 knots when the wind picked up just above 10 knots - that was not too bad.We were able to watch the instruments to confirm it all - as many say that such a boat should not move much in such light winds I am once again surprised that what we find is not what we expect. That trip was at a UK show with a fully loaded customers boat and was done just to show us how a cat performs.

I am keen to learn how any cat I intend to buy will perform in light winds 0 that is critical. I am also keen to know how it will perform in rough weather even though that will only be occasional when world cruising.

In UK coastal water rough weather is more the norm. My marina suffers a tidal range approaching 40 feet twice a day, currents in some places are very high and wind against tide can be interesting.

I think that a lighter boat whilst being safe in rough weather will not be as comfortable. I may be wrong and I am willing to change my mind but that is my current thinking.


Whilst we want all the luxuries we will end up with a boat 46 to 50 foot in length that only has two of us on it, so there should be room for all the luxuries.
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Old 23-07-2008, 12:30   #17
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You seem thorough and informed.
Please keep us up to date.
Thanks.
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Old 23-07-2008, 12:42   #18
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I have a huge collection of books and DVD's to help with mu conversion over to using the wind instead of diesel - I enjoy the process of learning very much but only regard myself as being on the path to informed.

We arrive in Florida this Friday to test sail the Leopard 46 and the Admiral 50 over Saturday/Sunday then onto Exuma and test sailing the St Francis 50 on Monday/Tuesday.So within a period of a few weeks we will have test sailed almost all our short list.

Reading the many reports that I do, I am still puzzled as to why so many cats which are not lightweight ones still perform so well even in light air.

Does anyone know of a Leopard Owners club?
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Old 23-07-2008, 12:44   #19
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Hi, Gludy - Keep in mind that weight really hurts catamaran performance, and that a boat test isn't normally going to be done with a boat loaded for living aboard and long distance cruising. The problem with comparing speed potential with cruising averages is that between light winds, head winds increasing sailing distance and discomfort, and gales where you slow down with drogues or come to a stop with a sea anchor, there is a big discrepancy between maximum potential and what you make good. When pounding to windward makes you wonder if you are going to lose the fillings in your teeth or crack a bulkhead, you will slow down or head off. Furthermore, you are unlikely to shake out a reef at 3 am when the wind dies down, between the desire to let your significant other sleep and caution about the wind possibly coming back. This is how boats that could sail at 20+ knots in good conditions end up sailing 8.3 knots on average.

ps. The biggest resistance factor in light winds is friction, which is proportional to wetted surface (the area of the hull surface underwater.) A well designed heavy boat may actually have less wetted surface per pound of weight than a light one, and if it has the same amount of sail area per pound of displacement, it may be faster in light winds.
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Old 23-07-2008, 13:45   #20
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I accept what you say and was getting near to viewing it that way myself.

In practice, i would be the first one to reef down for a comfortable and safe night voyage. Comfort is important to us.

From what I am hearing of the performance in real cruising terms between a fast and slow boat there is not that much in it. If i can have a boat that can often give me 200 miles in a day, then that would be fast enough and if its only 150 miles in a day then so be it. Most of the time on the boat is not spent at sea and that has to also be factored in.

I now think the only way to judge how fast a boat is is to study what it actually does on a long voyage and even that can vary a lot with the skipper and what they choose to do.

The St Francis which won the Rio race and is claimed can do 10 knots in 10 knots of true wind - in which logs show as much as 75 per cent of wind speed being maintained for long trips is not a light boat but it seems to be a decent 200 miler.

So the longer waterline length of a 50 footer may take some overcoming when it comes to performance.
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Old 23-07-2008, 14:54   #21
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So the longer waterline length of a 50 footer may take some overcoming when it comes to performance.
Yes, this is why I design 'little big' cats. It is the easiest and cheapest way of getting a fast boat. A BigCat 65 has the same accommodations, roughly, as a Privelege 585, but much better statistics - much narrower hulls, proportionally, and much lighter displacement, proportionally. Of course, in the interests of easy maintenance and cheap building, my finish will be gelcoat inside, not lovely veneered wood. On the other hand, I will also have 10 watertight compartments plus full foam floatation, and a self-tacking rig. If you have no experience sailing, you won't know just how much work and stress a self-tacking rig can save you. I remember watching my 5'8" wife get lifted a couple of feet above the foredeck when she was trying to pull down a genny. She never did foredeck work again.

Have you had sailing lessons? If not, I'd take some pronto.
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Old 23-07-2008, 14:58   #22
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I will be taking one on one sailing lessons fairly soon.

Currently I want to decide which boat to go for and when that is over and one chosen, I will start to get into more detail.

My other half is only 5 feet tall and she swears she will not be pulling any sheets or halyards.
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Old 23-07-2008, 15:26   #23
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We arrive in Florida this Friday to test sail the Leopard 46 and the Admiral 50 over Saturday/Sunday
Welcome to Florida, or Floriduh, as many here call it.
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Old 23-07-2008, 15:45   #24
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I will be taking one on one sailing lessons fairly soon.

Currently I want to decide which boat to go for and when that is over and one chosen, I will start to get into more detail.

My other half is only 5 feet tall and she swears she will not be pulling any sheets or halyards.
Experience sailing might easily influence your choice of a boat, especially if the first mate doesn't want to engage in boat handling. If you can get experience sailing a boat in waves in a strong breeze, so much the better.
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Old 23-07-2008, 16:25   #25
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I will be taking one on one sailing lessons fairly soon.

Currently I want to decide which boat to go for and when that is over and one chosen, I will start to get into more detail.

My other half is only 5 feet tall and she swears she will not be pulling any sheets or halyards.
Ok, let me start by saying I know fook all about Multihulls or sailing around the world.......but I regard these as only minor handicaps

Having read your recent posts on this thread and others, I would suggest that you might want to rephrase your questions from centering around speed into "what is the most pleasant boat?". Not exactly a very nautical term that one

IMO no point buying a "fast" sailing boat if you are going to overload it with gear (I think you have already sussed that one) but also no point buying a fast boat that to actually be fast (especially over an extended period) will require more input and effort into sailing than you are willing or able to do.

Not meant as a comment on any lack of sailing experiance, more that it is unlikely that you will want to spend your time under sail giving an Ellen Macarthur style commitment to the boat instead of putting the boat on Autopilot and settling down with a G & T to contemplate life (ok, wild exaggerations both ways, but yer see my point?). Amd after all, most of your time onboard if extended cruising will be at Anchor / the dock - so speed will not be all that defines the boat as "Pleasant" for you.

I appreciate that their is an argument that speed is a safety / comfort issue in helping to avoid bad weather, but a 50 foot cat ain't small and (all things being equal) should be able to cope with most things - and yer wouldn't really want to set sail anyway on a boat that you thought would not cope with what could happen. Even aiming for weather windows, yer will eventually get it a bit wrong.

From the sounds of things you will not be on a tight timescale (if any?). and I dunno how much of your life you have spent where timescale really does not matter (I guess if you can afford a 50 foot cat possibly less than some others!), but when you take an actual need for speed out of the equation travelling a bit slower in exchange for the experiance simply being more pleasant, then spending a bit longer enroute is no hardship, if not actually far more enjoyable. Having a walk in Fridge and plenty of cold ones enroute could contribute far more to your sailing / cruising experiance than another 20% on average hull speed. And remember that your Port of destination usually doesn't go anywhere before you arrive, so does getting there a little bit quicker really matter to you?

I recall a saying (that I will no doubt misquote badly!) "a Power boat has big engines to arrive quickly - a Yacht doesn't because it's already arrived". With a Yacht the voyage is also the reason, not simply a means to an end. (of course hard to remember when it's sh#ty weather and p#ssing down with cold rain ).

.............and not to say you should choose to buy a dog slow boat!

Not meant to be a "do it this way" type post, as I said at the beginning, I know fook all about Multis - just some (more!) things to chew over.

Would deffo also get some Charter time in (budget doesn't seem to be a great issue. Will you marry me ), fair enuf that the Charter Cats may not be what you want, but a few weeks or a month island hopping in the Carib with no time pressures to depart / arrive may help you decide what is / is not important to you.......yer may decide that speed is No.1 for you, and start looking at Tri's
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Old 23-07-2008, 16:42   #26
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What does it take to get close to averaging 10 knots average speed made good on a trip?

First, it takes a very fast boat that is capable of speeds over 20 knots.

Second, a lot of luck to maintain high winds in reasonable seas.

Third, it takes a hard working capable crew.

Boat speed numbers are tossed around on this list like a bunch of drunken sailors closing down a bar. The fact is it isn't as easy as some on this list want everyone to believe.

This is a nice average speed write up on fast 63' long narrow hulled Chris White cat capable of average speed close to 10 knots.

There is nothing like having real information on the performance of a boat.
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Old 23-07-2008, 16:50   #27
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What does it take to get close to averaging 10 knots average speed made good on a trip?

First, it takes a very fast boat that is capable of speeds over 20 knots.

Second, a lot of luck to maintain high winds in reasonable seas.

Third, it takes a hard working capable crew.

Boat speed numbers are tossed around on this list like a bunch of drunken sailors closing down a bar. The fact is it isn't as easy as some on this list want everyone to believe.

This is a nice average speed write up on fast 63' long narrow hulled Chris White cat capable of average speed close to 10 knots.

There is nothing like having real information on the performance of a boat.
We have recently discussed this in depth on this thread:
Real cruising multihull speeds
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Old 23-07-2008, 17:03   #28
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Frankly time is an issue.

I am currently without a boat and even if I order now a new boat could be a year away.I count every year of my life as pretty important and each year without a boat is not, for me, living life to the full.

I am sure as I gain sailing experience I will develop views on the best rigs, best techniques etc etc but as I see it there is really very little choice.

There is no way i want to put speed above comfort - yet if I can have a reasonable level of both that would be fine.It seems that all the boats I am now looking at can give me 150 to 200 miles a day and the occasional day over the 200 miles.

I am pretty fixed on the 45 to 50 foot range and think over that it just too much of a handful.

In that range, I rehect any fast boats which tend to lack the comfort so I am left with FP 48 footer, Lagoon 50 footer,St Francis 50, Leopard 46, Admiral 50 and privilege 495 - that is about it. For a number of reasons I have rejected other boats.

The French boats currently represent fairly poor value because of a 30 per cent change in the euro against the pound whereas the pound against the dollar is good. So compared to the Leopard and the St Francis etc Lagoon and FP do not seem to match in performance and value - nor will they vary the design whilst at least the St Francis will.

The Privilege is a long shot - its a very nice boat but I think forward visibility is not there for a nav station in the saloon and that is a killer for me.

Also as regards quality my last MoBo which cost $2m actually fell to bits - I had a full refund but ended up without a boat. On that boat we cruised at 8.5 knots with a lot of noise - I asked myself why not do almost the same speed but without the noise hence my conversion to a sailing cat. I also did not want to spend as much money on the next boat.

There is no way I can try all cats in all weathers - I will continue my selection process but will not sign until I am content that I am doing the right thing. If I have to charter some cats for a week or two to finalise the decision I shall. That may produce some heavy weather testing in the hurricane season

I am getting advice from many quarters and it is all valuable. Having been stung twice in recent deals with the boating industry I am being very careful.

I am evolving my needs to adjust with the reality of the situation I find out there. This forum had been a significant help to me and i thank all those that have offered their advice.
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Old 23-07-2008, 17:10   #29
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One thing I have learned is that there is really no cruising cat offering comfort and ease of handling that is going to give me anything like a ten knot VMG for a trip.

I have entered a world were performance figures are bandied around that were very confusing to me. Where every boat in every review is great!

However that mist of confusion is now gradually lifting.

I have slowly built up a list of important specs for me. For example we want saloon cooking, a saloon helm with good visibility, keel - not daggerboards.

We also have a wish list to tick of such as a self tacking jib etc etc.

So we are getting there and next week should be a big leap.
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Old 23-07-2008, 17:25   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gludy View Post
Frankly time is an issue.
.................................................. ........
In that range, I rehect any fast boats which tend to lack the comfort so I am left with FP 48 footer, Lagoon 50 footer,St Francis 50, Leopard 46, Admiral 50 and privilege 495 - that is about it. For a number of reasons I have rejected other boats.

The French boats currently represent fairly poor value because of a 30 per cent change in the euro against the pound whereas the pound against the dollar is good. So compared to the Leopard and the St Francis etc Lagoon and FP do not seem to match in performance and value - nor will they vary the design whilst at least the St Francis will..............................

The Privilege is a long shot - its a very nice boat but I think forward visibility is not there for a nav station in the saloon and that is a killer for me.

Also as regards quality my last MoBo which cost $2m actually fell to bits - I had a full refund but ended up without a boat. On that boat we cruised at 8.5 knots with a lot of noise - I asked myself why not do almost the same speed but without the noise hence my conversion to a sailing cat. I also did not want to spend as much money on the next boat.

.....................
It sounds like you have decided on a cat built in SA. My major concerns would be that many SA cats are designed for jumping between the islands and have very poor bridge deck clearance. If you think your last boat was loud, just sail a boat with poor bridge deck clearance in rough weather. What kinda of boat was your $2m MoBo?
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