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Old 02-03-2006, 16:50   #1
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Location: St. Augustine, FL
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Help out a newbie?

Let me introduce myself on my first post here. My wife, our 9yr old daughter and myself live in St. Augustine, and are strongly leaning towards the liveaboard lifestyle. Not liveaboard at a marina but full time cruisers. I have never sailed on a catamaran before but have always been interested in them for their roominess. So I'm hoping you can give a novice some answers.
I would imagine they handle differently than a monohull, but it is much different? And in what ways?
How do they handle in following seas, beam seas, etc. Basically when do they sail their best?
Are their any different considerations needed when anchoring?
After looking at some boats in person and in pics, is it hard to navigate sitting behind your cabin? By that I mean do you have good forward visuals from a cat hull set up?

Sorry for the newbie questions, but I really like cats, and kind of hope one will work for us.

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Old 02-03-2006, 16:56   #2
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Welcome "vilanomark". I am a monohull guy so I can't help with the specifics. You will find threads discussing your issues under the multihull catagory and you should also use the SEARCH button on the main page. Just type in mulithull or other key words and you will find much debate on the tradeoffs. Keep posting. You will get answers.



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Old 02-03-2006, 19:48   #3
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Welcome aboard fellow cat-cruiser wannabe. Wife, 2 sons (4&2) and I are doing preliminary research/planning to sell up and sail away in 5 years give or take, aboard a cat. I can only give second hand advice on cats, so take it with a pinch of salt. If you have a particular cat in mind, you might wish to state that here, then you can get specific advice. As with any boat, different cats have different strengths and weaknesses. As for generalities - cats won't sail as close to the wind as monohulls; but their greater speed means a better speed over ground compared to the close-tacking mono's. Cats don't tell you to reduce sail by leaning like a mono, so to avoid oversailing the boat or overstressing the rig, you sail by the numbers (ie. shorten sail at X knots windspeed). Anchor with a bridle suspended between the hulls. As for handling, different boat characteristics give different rides. This is where you need to read up and decide what you want - daggerboards or skegs, canoe stern or sugar scoop, minimum bridgedeck clearance, etc. Better yet, try to get out on some cats and experience it. Like you, I'm not a fan of having the cockpit at the stern - some designers and manufacturers have addressed this with forward or centre cockpits. Look up Chris White designs, and one of the new production models has a forward cockpit - my memory is foggy, but I think it might be the new Lagoon 500 (?). Anyway, good hunting and hopefully we can compare notes.

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Old 03-03-2006, 06:49   #4
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cat sailing

I switched to Cat sailing a few years ago and am a happy convert.
For the most part catamarans are probably easier to sail than monohulls. It is certainly easier to move about when you are on a flat suface.
With following seas you will generally find cats track better and require less wheel action than a mono. You don't normally sail dead down wind as you will go faster with a little angle to the wind. Wind / waves on the beam in most conditions will not be that different from sailing a mono but you will probably be going faster. When headed upwind cats can be a little bumpier as you have two hulls meeting the waves.
Anchoring is probably easier because you have that nice big forward area to work from and with two engines the boat can be controlled much better at slow speeds.
Visibility from the helm varies with the boat design but I have not found it to be an issue. I would stay away from boats with helms on the back corners. I am also not a fan of boats that require you to look forward thru fixed windshields or double windows.
I would caution you that if you take your wife sailing on a catamaran you will probably no longer have the option of going with a monohull.

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