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Old 09-09-2016, 00:32   #1
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Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

I know my 40' monohull is far more comfortable than my old 27' monohull. I have also seen boat length recommendations for joining the various ARC rallies, implying longer boats are safer.

How does this translate to Catarmarans (Leopard, Lagoon, Privilege)? Is there a noticeable difference in safety or comfort between a 38, 40, or 42 foot Cat?
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Old 09-09-2016, 00:42   #2
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

38-42 foot in the brands you mention would make little difference.

Moving up to 45-47 would make a difference.

Year of build is also important as they have varied their designers particually Leopard. For instance I prefer the models by Morelli and Melville.

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Old 09-09-2016, 01:42   #3
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

If you're thinking in terms of capsize, much of what you're referring to has to do with righting moment. A good percentage of which comes from a boat's beam, as well as her size (weight). Though there are definitely other factors. Like low center's of gravity. Or being able to retract a boat's foils & slip sideways (or in any direction) in large waves.
As boats with daggerboards commonly will only put down the weather one, when pushing things. So that when the windward hull lifts too far, the boat then slips to leeward instead of flipping.

The theory's pretty valid. And not just for multi's. As the Dashew's speak of similar things as well, in terms of design factors in mono's that are very assistive in heavy weather. Specifically that high topsides, along with rounded deck edges, & shallower keels, allow boats to slide off to leeward when subjected to big knockdowns. And to do so at much shallower angles of heel than boats with deep keels, low freeboard, or sharp deck edges.

Also, if you look at Wharram's safety records, & think about their lack of much as far as foils go. Coupled with their lower centers of gravity. Then the sliding sideways thing again makes sense.
Plus more than enough multihull sailors have written about it that it can't be discounted. Including a good number of named yachtsmen. And I've done it enough on mono's to be a believer. In the "handling differences" between the various design features that is.

John Shuttleworth has written some good articles on the safety at sea in multi's, & also about various design features that help with this. Many of which are posted on his website. Shuttleworth Design - Articles
Chris White's written on such as well, & is definitely worth a read too.

While mini-keels are more popular, for a number of reasons, boards aren't necessarily anywhere nearly so fragile or damage prone as commonly thought. And from my studying on the topic, I'd go for boards any day vs. keels, given the choice. Not that I'd pass on a boat with keels if it's a good deal. I'd just prefer the enhanced windward ability, & it being easy to fix my "navigational goofs" myself.

One other item, especially with regards to cost vs. size, is that it's fairly inexpensive to build a cat's hulls several feet longer for relatively little $ increase. Assuming that most of her other features are left the same. Which definitely aids in her seakeeping. Plus the enhanced speed helps a boat's safety from the perspective of being able to better take advantage of weather systems, or weather windows... If they're kept light.

And of course adding sugar scoops/several feet to the ends of hulls is pretty simple & easy to do. Which has the perk of also helping with handling on cats which either were built heavy, or are a bit overloaded with toys. Thus letting them sail far better, speed wise, & in not being so ponderous. So yeah, a safety thing.
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Old 11-09-2016, 01:41   #4
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

It seems capsizing would mostly be human error. What about length of catamaran as it relates to tripping when sliding down 20-30 foot waves? Does length of the cat contribute to safety?
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Old 11-09-2016, 02:16   #5
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

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Originally Posted by lindabarzini View Post
It seems capsizing would mostly be human error. What about length of catamaran as it relates to tripping when sliding down 20-30 foot waves? Does length of the cat contribute to safety?
Its mainly a function of hull design, but yes of course longer is always better, and faster and more comfortable, all other things being equal.
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Old 11-09-2016, 03:15   #6
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

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Its mainly a function of hull design, but yes of course longer is always better, and faster and more comfortable, all other things being equal.
Yes, all this is definitely true, but resistance to pitch-poling -- which I think is what the OP was asking about -- is also very much influenced by the form of the bows and their buoyancy. I am very much concerned by some of the fashionable new bow designs, in this regard.
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Old 11-09-2016, 03:23   #7
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

It is my experience that Catamarans do not respond in the same way that monohulls do to sea conditions. Many hull designs that would be suspect on a single hull, are not a problem on Catamarans.

Weird that..
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Old 11-09-2016, 04:28   #8
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

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It is my experience that Catamarans do not respond in the same way that monohulls do to sea conditions. Many hull designs that would be suspect on a single hull, are not a problem on Catamarans.

Weird that..
Definitely true, but pitchpoling is not less of a problem on cats, than it is on monos. Sharps bows with no reserve buoyancy, and especially those "wave-piercing" reverse ones, increase the risk of pitchpoling no matter how many hulls you have.

Non-performance type cruising cats are probably relatively safe from this due to their short rigs, and of course length will mitigate the risk also (the OP's original question).
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:03   #9
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

So many other factors too. Weight for one and balance for another. Of those three, Priv, Leop, Lag, the Privilege will be the more heavier and could be a good thing in bad weather.. but could be a bad thing when trying to avoid the bad weather.
Another thought is, no matter what, if God wants to sink your boat, he's gonna sink your boat no matter how big it is.
As far as comfort, of course bigger, wider, longer will usually be better. From 38 to 42 ft. there may be more times when the extra few feet can avoid the hobby horsing while going into the waves. My experience as far as waves pounding the hulls is, again, like God sinking your boat, if he wants to pound waves against your undersides or hulls, he will, no matter what size or how high your cat is.
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:10   #10
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

Same for same, bigger is more comfortable.

But this must be same for same.

I have sailed a Schionning 54 that was way less comfortable than a Privilege 37. They are vastly different and cannot be compared 'for size'.

Etc.
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:15   #11
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

Ahwwww, the Privilege 37, that was my first boat of choice but I just couldn't swing the $$ back then, even for a used one. Still like 'em though.
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:18   #12
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

I have NO experience with racing Cats. I only know sub 42 foot production Cats with a smaller mast set. Pitch poling is something that everyone is aware of but not overly concerned with on these vessels.
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Old 11-09-2016, 14:12   #13
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post


And of course adding sugar scoops/several feet to the ends of hulls is pretty simple & easy to do. Which has the perk of also helping with handling on cats which either were built heavy, or are a bit overloaded with toys. Thus letting them sail far better, speed wise, & in not being so ponderous. So yeah, a safety thing.
Sorry for the quick detour, what is a sugar scoop.

Thanks
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Old 11-09-2016, 14:16   #14
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

NO NO NO . Length of a catamaran does not necessarily relate to safety in the size range one would consider for cruising.

We have recently finished discussing the 14 meter catamarans BIG WAVE RIDER that blew over on a harbour day sail.

One would never expect , say, the smaller, heavy, under canvassed SEAWIND 1000 to blow over on a daysail for instance.

No one would consider a ORMA 60 safe.

The capsize ratio of the generally smaller under canvassed Wharrams is very low. As are the Prouts.


Safety is intrinsically tied up in many factors. Weight, Mast height and Sail area are probably the three most important to consider.

Remember Chris Whites reaction to the capsize of the 17M Anna, was to come up with a small ineffectual schooner rigged wing sail arrangement, with a low CofE, in the hope it wouldn't happen again.

Now , Comfort, thats a whole different kettle of fish. Long is Comfortable.

Now, wheres my stalkers?
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Old 11-09-2016, 14:17   #15
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Re: Length of Cat vs comfort/safety

Drivel.
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