Heath, to choose a catamaran
is a lot like choosing a wife. Their nature, their looks, their hobbies, their work ethic, education....man, it is just over the top.
I don't know if I am full of mud...but one of the things I know about big cats is this...weight is a real issue. Don't let the salesman give you the line that it sails well. The more palatial the cat...the heavier the cat...the more wind speed you will need to get that cat moving. Some of the big French cats put enormous rigs ( mast
height with huge roached mains) to move their cats. I should say not just the French...sorry for spearing them.
Let me give you an example. At the Miami boat show
I hitched a ride in Biscayne Bay on a mid 40 foot Privilege
. When I walked into the saloon
my nipples were hard. It was like nothing I had ever seen. Then we set sail with about 10 other people and the crew. We motored away from the dock
facility and hoisted the main with power wench. We hoisted the genny and the captain
immediately headed off for a broad reach. We were doing between 2-3 knots and really just wallowing along. Came back within an hour severely disillusioned with the experience. The wind speed was 10-12 knots. Hopped on board an F27 Farrier tri next with 6 other guys. Minimalistic cabin
and opened my eyes to multihull
sailing. I had raced for years on Santa Cruz
in Long Beach harbor. Pablo took us on every point of sail and we were just screaming. I was all hot and bothered after that sail. We had hit 15 knots. Beating we were doing 8 knots and broad reaching a consistent 10+ knots.
The formula I use is this. Take the tonnage of the boat and multiply by 2000 to get weight in pounds. Then divide that total weight by the length of the boat. For example an Outremer
light that weighs 7.42 tons and is 49.88 feet long will equal
297. [ (7.42 X2000) ./. by49.88=297] Outremer
lights are very fast cats. Now take some of the more palatial cats that weight 9.8 tons with same length...same formula (9.8 x 2000 divided by 49 foot = 400. This cat is a much heavier cat and will not perform as well as the Outremer light....unless the manufacture places a huge rig...huge sails...etc.
That is why other posters have stated it correctly about the size of a boat and what you can handle. Couple of years ago we were in the Sporades islands on the east coast
. We were on a Sunsail charter
with 4 couples. We were stern moored with dozens of boats on the Quay. We were all experienced sailors with our wives. The boat was a 50 footer. I am not sure of the manufacturer. But it was a good boat for charters. In the middle of the night we got a tempest. The area became chaotic with boats slamming against each other, stern lines popping cleats
, anchors dragging and fouling other anchors...it sucked. Obviously it was weather
related phenomenon. We had been warned about the winds and had taken extra precautions...but just too many boats in such a small space. I guess what I can take away from this...and I share with you...is that big boats...even with four experienced sailors who raced for many years together....we could nothing in this carnage. I wish I could have gotten a picture of the wife's faces. If you were throwing them into a pit full of lions I don't think it could have been scarier for them.
So, it all comes down to compromises in the end...always does and always will. You are doing the right thing in talking to experienced people and getting rides on boats. But trust me....weight is not only important on multihulls....it is in my opinion...the number one thing I use to judge whether I am interested in this boat or not. Gun boats base their whole selling point on extravagance with good sailing ability. They are beautiful machines and way out of the way of normal people's pocket books
The one piece of advice I would also like to propose to you is not to buy a new boat. Buy a boat that is less than 5 years old or so that has been sorted out and well taken care of. There are many very nice cats all over this planet that deserve a good man and woman to enjoy them. You will be a hundred thousand dollars ahead of the game
and have much less headaches. You can use that money
saved to do many nice things with. It is very good advice.