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Old 05-09-2015, 18:54   #1
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Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

First, Disclosure: I have never owned a large Cat sailboat, but I have owned large power boats, and Medium size Cats. I will be looking for a cat in the 42-48' range for my wife & I to take extended 3-6 month cruises on in the Caribbean. Dreams of around the world have pretty much been deep sixed with the state of chaos existing out there.

I have always loved Cat Sailboats, and have come close to purchasing one a few times, but the stars never aligned. I have kept up with the manufacturers, and studied them for about the last 10 years. I have been to many boat shows, sailed on a few, and been on too many to count. I even considered designing my own and having it built by Alwoplast in Chili.

Maybe the fine folks and owners on this site can tell me why the things at the top of my pet peeve list, aren't on almost every boat.

#1 (The most important) Inside Helm with steering & controls for the motors, and a complete nav setup. This is common on almost all medium to large power boats. It is great to be up top in the wind when the sun is out. There is nothing better than a fine day at sea in good weather, and nothing worse than a bad day at sea in crappy weather. I know dealers sometimes talk about enclosing helms with isenglass or similar, but you are still out in the elements, and the seam tear & give way in the high winds right when you least expect or need it. (experience talking here) Simply lower & secure all sails at the approach of bad weather, get inside and secure the hatches. You are dry & warm and not in any danger out on deck.

#2 Flush hatches. Every boater/sailor has stubbed a toe on a hatch. Lagoon 500 was one of the first I know of to have them, followed by the 450 & the Leopard 4800. But they will still have a standard raised hatch at the most forward position.

#3 Bridge Deck clearance Does anyone like the booming sound on the bridgedeck? Most boats seem to only have 2-3' I like 4-5' like on the gun boat.

#4 I know size plays a roll here, but better access to the engines can be designed. Under the bed? Really? Bleed over heat and fumes when you have to check it? While we're at it, a storage area for dive compressor & tanks. I have seen this done on larger power cats.
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Old 05-09-2015, 19:07   #2
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

I agree. Esp unprotected helms...it will rain and blow.
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Old 06-09-2015, 01:54   #3
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Firstly, inside steering stations on SAILING catamarans are probably one of the most dangerous inovations on modern multihulls. Being out of the elements puts one at a disadvantage when negotiating sudden unforseen squalls such as those that occur during thunderstorms.

Feeling that initial temperature drop is very important.



As examples , maybe ANNA or the recent GB55 would have had different outcomes with an outside steering stations only.



All the techo wizzo electronics on these 2 boats don't appear to have saved their bacon.

Also ever tried keeping watch through rain splattered glass at night.

Prosecuting ones captaining duties in a seamanlike manner can be very cold wet and uncomfortable on a small sailing vessel. (ie under 20 M LOA)

Take a spoonfull of cement and toughen up petal, or sail with P&O.
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Old 06-09-2015, 05:59   #4
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaslug Caravan View Post
Firstly, inside steering stations on SAILING catamarans are probably one of the most dangerous inovations on modern multihulls. Being out of the elements puts one at a disadvantage when negotiating sudden unforeseen squalls such as those that occur during thunderstorms.

Feeling that initial temperature drop is very important.
Seaslug, I am unsure if this changes your mind, but If you read my post carefully, I am not talking about SAILING from inside during bad weather. As I stated, drop & secure all sails. THEN get out of the weather.
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Old 06-09-2015, 06:19   #5
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

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Originally Posted by sheldon957 View Post
Seaslug, I am unsure if this changes your mind, but If you read my post carefully, I am not talking about SAILING from inside during bad weather. As I stated, drop & secure all sails. THEN get out of the weather.
Yes, i admire your resolve to strike all sails before high tailing inside to your warm ,dry, climate controlled helmstation, even if motor sailing gives a much more comfortable ride.

Ever heard the term " steadying sail"?

Your a stronger man than most.
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:12   #6
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheldon957 View Post
#1 (The most important) Inside Helm with steering & controls for the motors, and a complete nav setup.

#2 Flush hatches.

#3 Bridge Deck clearance

#4 I know size plays a roll here, but better access to the engines can be designed. Storage area for dive compressor & tanks.
Hi Sheldon - My boat has almost all these features:

1. Other than inside engine controls, I have everything else you specified if you're OK with AP helm control. Electronic motor controls are available if you really want the extra complication. I'll add that most cats can have this type set up.

2. There are no "protruding" topside hatches on my boat except for the far forward sail lockers. Nothing whatsoever to trip over on the side decks. No hatches there at all or on the saloon roof. Anchor lockers and fuel lockers forward adjacent to the mast are flush with nothing to trip over.

3. Ample bridge deck clearance. I think your 4-5 feet on a GB is actually more than actual on the bigger ones and far more on some of their models.

4. My boat has isolated engine rooms, as is fairly common on cats, especially those with sail drives. I have acquaintances with cat owners who are active divers and self sufficient with compressors, etc. You just have to give up room used for something else.

But to get a boat without compromises, you need to design (and have built) your own. Good luck!

Dave
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Old 06-09-2015, 08:40   #7
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Take a look at the old Leopard 40. That's what we have. It has a high bridge deck clearance. The hatches come up a little bit, but we've never stubbed our toes on them. Also, when it comes to hauling, dockage, and other costs, it's much less than a larger cat.

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Old 06-09-2015, 10:23   #8
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaslug Caravan View Post
Firstly, inside steering stations on SAILING catamarans are probably one of the most dangerous inovations on modern multihulls.
Sorry, can't let this one pass. This is a common, almost universal, misconception amongst those who have never sailed with an inside helm, including some very experienced sailors for whom I have great respect. Having had an inside helm for the past 5 years and some 12K ocean miles I can offer a different perspective.

1. Not being 'in tune' with the elements. While sailing, we almost always have the front hatch and door open unless it is too cold out. In squally conditions in the tropics we feel a change in temperature in the cabin as quickly as we do in the cockpit. In reality though, we have never had to rely on temperature change to sense a squall, we usually see them miles away, even at night, and are either deeply reefed or have the main down long before we feel a temperature change.
In cold, rainy weather the inside helm is a godsend. We found this to be particularly true in Alaska. Visibility through the vertical door and hatch is usually very good even when they are closed. How many sailors with outside helms are actually standing in the rain when sailing? Most are nicely tucked away in the cabin with the AP doing the work, as they should be.

2. Getting to the sheets in a hurry. This is a very common concern expressed by experienced cat sailors. On our boat the mast is 2 steps away from the helm. I have timed myself and it takes me 2 seconds to leave the helm, open the door and release the main sheets. It takes another 2 seconds to release the outhaul and halyard. Anna got into trouble because they were focused on rolling up the jib that was flogging itself to death, rather than attending to the main, not because they were sitting unawares in the cabin when the squall hit.

3. Waves in the cockpit. When beating to weather in anything over 25 knots apparent we will get spray in the cockpit and will keep the door shut. The spray is very intermittent and it is not difficult to time entry and exit from the cabin to keep spray out of the saloon. The most water we have ever seen in the cockpit was less than 5 gallons and that only once. We regularly sail at 40 degrees AWA in 20 to 25 knots apparent with the door open. Part of the reason we get away with this is that we have fat hulls that like to ride above the waves rather than slice into them. Also, we have a lip about halfway up the hulls which deflects a surprising amount of water.

As everything on a boat involves compromise, there are downsides to an inside helm, but safety is not one of them.
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Old 06-09-2015, 13:35   #9
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

I think you're overthinking it mate. You're talking 3-6 months I. The Caribbean, not Antartica..
Most helms will keep you shaded and warm and dry in the occasional squall. Most designs can be helmed from inside the saloon using iPads or autopilot repeaters. When the weather turns crappy it's always best to be sailing rather than motoring, flush hatches are on most modern cats, fp, lagoon etc. we have one raised hatch at the bows but I've never kicked it and we're always in bare feet. We have sailed the Caribbean for the last year and never worn more than boardies and tshirts, and Europe before that and all of your peeves seem insignificant. Also most newer cats will have saildrives in separate compartments so no issues there.
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Old 06-09-2015, 14:06   #10
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Looking at this again, I think Monte's right. I overlooked your statement of 3-6 months in the Carib. Unless you're there in storm season, there are no "bad days at sea in crappy weather", and it's always warm. If a wave is coming thru you sit still until it's past. Have you spent any time cruising there?

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Old 08-09-2015, 22:45   #11
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

I agree with Mikereed100 have been sailing our inside helm boat for 10 years...and over 20k miles. It's the inexperienced coment about not having a feel of the surroundings or approaching weather. All my halyards and main and jib are inside right at the helm, I will have my sails down before he gets to his mast.

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Old 08-09-2015, 23:17   #12
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Another thing I haven't seen mentioned is the fact there are tradeoffs for a high bridgedeck.

Boats are a compromise and not everyone wants the same compromises. I don't mind the occasional slam for the reduced windage.
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Old 09-09-2015, 00:05   #13
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Where do you want to put access to the engines--from outside the boat?? That's a REALLY bad idea.
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Old 09-09-2015, 05:28   #14
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaslug Caravan View Post
Firstly, inside steering stations on SAILING catamarans are probably one of the most dangerous inovations on modern multihulls. Being out of the elements puts one at a disadvantage when negotiating sudden unforseen squalls such as those that occur during thunderstorms.

Feeling that initial temperature drop is very important.



As examples , maybe ANNA or the recent GB55 would have had different outcomes with an outside steering stations only.



All the techo wizzo electronics on these 2 boats don't appear to have saved their bacon.

Also ever tried keeping watch through rain splattered glass at night.

Prosecuting ones captaining duties in a seamanlike manner can be very cold wet and uncomfortable on a small sailing vessel. (ie under 20 M LOA)

Take a spoonfull of cement and toughen up petal, or sail with P&O.
Oh yeah it's much easier to see with a face full of rain and wind and waves, must be what sunk the Andrea Gail. If only they had an exterior exposed helm..... 😝

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Old 09-09-2015, 09:08   #15
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Re: Cruising Cat Design Pet Peeves - What am I missing

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Originally Posted by Sailingcouple13 View Post
All my halyards and main and jib are inside right at the helm, I will have my sails down before he gets to his mast.
I like it. What design is your boat? Photos? Recently Gunboat and another builder have done this but I am not aware of any older designs.
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