Originally Posted by 2Hulls
Yes, it's sad, isn't it?
In crude terms I think one could break down new cruising cat buyers into two groups: those with quite a bit of prior sailing experience and those with little to none. I'll bet the "little to none" group is quite larger. Hence, builders build what these people say they want - or what marketers convince them they want - (based on their little experience) which results in designs which prioritize creature comforts and maximize the capabilities of a large hull footprint; which consequently places much less emphasis on sailing as sport. They want a house that they can also sail rather than a sailing machine they can also live on. Isn't this is why the term Condomaran has stuck....?
Take it from someone that has been in the business for some time, the marketers don't convince the consumer of anything. The most successful builders listen to the market and build the boats the consumer want's not the boat the builder
thinks he should have. However it is the final decision of the builder
to decide how much performance he can compromise to accomplish that.
Advancements in composites technology and hull design now enable us to build boats that are lighter, stronger and faster then ever for a given amount of accommodation.
Modern navigational electronics
enable first time owners with basic sailing skills to actually consider extensive offshore
sailing in the first year of ownership
.(I have several customers doing it successfully). Equally advancements in hardware
, winches, running and standing rigging
, offer ways to make the boat easier and safer to handle under sail and power. Advancements in electrical
systems, batteries, generators, solar
power, lower power consumption equipment
enable them to have real self sufficiency plus the creature comforts.
I can tell you the criteria in terms of what cruisers want and desire, hasn't changed in thirty years. In the 70's and 80's I was selling them center cockpit
monohulls because it did the best job of satisfying the criteria. Today it's the cruising catamaran
, more room, more stability, shallower draft
, and easier handling. Catamarans have been the fastest growing segment in the sailboat industry because for cruisers, who spend 25% of the time sailing and 75% at anchor
, they offer the best platform in terms of stability, shoal draft
and accommodation. Needless to say they are more popular in the charter
business for the same reasons
I don't think it is sad at all, a very small part of the catamaran
market is interested in racing
and frankly if you really want to demonstrate real skills and ability, I would suggest cruising cats are not a great vehicle. And where do you draw the line? I am sure there are Gunboat owners that consider the Catana
too much of a compromise, does that imply you are less of a sailor?
Frankly it isn't too difficult to create a catamaran with performance without emphasis on ease of handling and accommodation, the real challenge and accomplishment is in creating something that will not only sail well, but provide second home accomodations.
I have personally participated in a lot racing
at a pretty high level over thirty plus years, have taught it for a living as well. For me when I go cruising I don't want to work anymore than I have too, the idea of sailing double digit speeds without breaking a sweat is very appealing to me. If I want the thrill and work that comes with racing, I will jump in a Melges or J boat that is far more strategic, tactical, and responsive to superior sailing skill than most any multihull
with a lot higher level of competition.
For cruisers real PERFORMANCE in a cruising multihull
is calculated by VMG relative to energy expended by the crew!