I will try to answer your questions one by one below in CAPS so that you can see the answers clearly. I hope this helps with your concerns.
I am 67 years old and have had seven knee surgeries. My knees are pretty much shot and barely function. A flat sailing and living platform with no stairs in the day to day life sounds like a good idea. I AM 71 AND OPERATE A LAGOON 500 WITH THE HELP OF MY WIFE AND HER PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITY IS TO DRIVE
- We want more on-deck living space open to the “outside” since we are currently in San Diego
and plan on never living anywhere colder than here. THE CATS ARE PERFECT FOR THIS. WE HAVE SAILED 6 OR 7 DIFFERENT ONES OVER THE PAST 10 YEARS AND LOVE THE OPEN FEELIING
- We want more “separate” space so each of us can have our own space (me to read and play on the computer, her to watch TV and cook) but still be together. TRY TO GE AN OWNERS VERSION AS THE SINGLE STATEROOM ALLOWS FOR LOTS OF SEPERATION. IF YOU NEED MORE GO OUTSIDE TO THE BOW SEAT OR INTO THE OTHER HULL
- My wife, who had a 15-degree heel rule
while cruising, wants a flat and stable platform for our cruising life. She is tired of night-time watches in a cockpit
rolling 20 degrees side-to-side. MY WIFE HAS THE SAME RULE. WE NEVER HEAL MORE THAN 5 DEGREES ON OUR LAGOON 500
We are fortunate in having a close friend who runs a catamaran charter
and sailing business. He has a lot of experience with inshore and offshore
catamaran sailing and is leading us along the catamaran path. HAVE HIM TAKE YOU OUT. ONE TRIP AND YOU WILL BE SOLD
My brother, who is an experienced mono-hull sailor, has chartered several 40-foot cats in the Virgin Islands
. He too praises the cruising virtues of cats.
I do not need to hear about catamaran motion, noise
, or safety
. I am only interested in boat handling and management from the perspective of the helm
station being remote
from the main cockpit
I want to hear from those of you who have “been there – done that.”
My wife is currently in-lust with a Lagoon
440/450. Personally, I think it ugly, but can see the practicality of the boat for a live aboard situation. YOU GET USE TO THE LOOK. I AGREE THAT THERE ARE LOTS OF OTHER MORE "RACEY" CATS OUT THERE BUT THE 45 WITH THE FLYBRIDGE IS HARD TO BEAT. THE LIVING SPACE IS WONDERFUL THINK OF IT LIKE A WINNABEGO. TAKES A WHILE TO GET ANYWHERE BUT WHEN YOU ARRIVE YOU SURE ARE COMFORTABLE
I have several fundamental (at least they are to me!) questions about 40’+ cats and the operation of those boats.
1) How does a two-person crew manage a 45’ boat with 6’ of freeboard when the helm
is ten-feet above the dock
and five feet above the aft cockpit? NOT A PROBLEM. THE VISABILITY FROM THE FLYBRIDGE ON THE 45 IS SUPER. YOU CAN SEE EVERYTHING. JUST PLAN YOUR MOVES A LITTLE EARLIER TO ALLOW FOR THE HEIGHT AND DISTANCE DIFFERENCES. WE SAIL WITH ONHY THE TWO OF US ON A 50' LAGOON WITH NO PROBLEM
WE HAVE DONE THUSANDS OF MILES WITHOUT ANY DIFFICULTY
2) How does a two-person crew dock
in a cross-wind when one person is so far from the boat corners and so high in the air? How do you get off a 6’ freeboard hull
quickly and safely while docking
? I SOLVED
THIS BY PURCHASING
REALLY LARGE FENDERS AND EVEN GOT A FEW EXTRA FOR EXTRA PROTECTION. THIS ALLOWS SOME BOUNCE IF YOU GET A LITTLE CLOSE TO THE DOCK AT TIMES. CROSS WINDS ARE AN ISSUE BUT WITH TWO MOTORS THAT ARE 25 TO 28' APART YOU HAVE SUPER CONTROL JUST USING THE MOTORS. LOCK THE STEARING IN PLACE AND STEAR WITH THE ENGINE
CONTROLS. IT IS EASY ONCE YOU GET A LITTLE PRACTICE. IF YOU CAN GET A BOAT WITH A BOW THRUSTER EVEN BETTER. MY NEXT ONE WILL HAVE THAT FOR SURE.
3) While underway does the helmsman have to stay perched up in the air? That seems strange to me. I am used to having the autopilot/windvane steer the boat but I am always within a couple feet of the wheel
and winches / sheet stoppers no matter where I am in the cockpit or even in the galley
. WE USE THE RAYMARINE
PORTABLE REMOTE THAT IS WIRELESS. IT ALLOWS YOU TO STEAR USING THE AUTOPILOT
FROM ANYWHERE IN THE BOAT. I HAVE NO EXPERIENCE WITH WINDVANES ON A CAT. I AM NOT SURE I HAVE EVER SEEN ONE IN USE OR EVEN SHOWN AS AVAILABLE/
4) If the helmsman has to stay on their perch – can that ONE person manage the main and jib/genoa from the perch? WE DO NOT HAVE ANY TROUBLE WITH THIS ALTHOUGH IT IS MOSTLY MY JOB. MY WIFE CALLS THAT A "BLUE" (FOR A BOY) JOB. SHE CAN DO IT WHEN CALLED FOR BUT NOT HERE PREFERNCE AS IT IS HARD ON HER FINGERNAILS.
5) We have done quite a few sea-miles and our normal practice is for only one person to be on deck
. Is that practice possible in a bigger cat with an elevated helm station? FROM THE UPPER HELM STATION EVERYONE IS "ON DECK" ALL THE TIME. THERE IS NO NEED TO CRAWL FORWARD. KEEP IN MIND THE EXTRA STABILILTY WITH A CAT MAKES IT MUCH EASIER AND MUCH SAFER TO GO FORWARD WHEN NECESSARY, NOT THAT WE FIND IT NECESSARY VERY OFTEN.
6) When out cruising on multi-day passages – doesn’t it get lonely for the helmsman up their on their perch? How do they interact with folks in the aft deck
area? NO ONE WE SAIL WITH SEEMS TO USE THE BACK DECK UNDERWAY UNLESS THE WEATHER
IS CRAPPY. EVERYONE WANTS TO BE ON THE FLYBRIDGE
IT HAS NEVER BEEN AN ISSUE IN TEH 10 YEARS THAT I HAVE OWNED CATS WITH FLYBRIDGES./ I GOT MY FIRST FLYBRIDGE CAT 10 YEARS AGO.
7) Am I missing something fundamental here? NOT REALLY. YOU NEED TO TAKE A 44 OR PREFERABLY A 45 LAGOON OUT FOR A TEST SAIL FOR A FEW DAYS. ALSO LOOK AT THE LEOPARD 46
,47 SERIES. THE CATANA
47 IS A BEAUTY ALSO BUT THE STEARING STATTIONS ARE OUT ON THE HULLS WIHICH IS A NON-STARTEER IN MY HOUSE. THEY ARE ALL GOOD CRUSING BOATS AND AVAILALBE AT VERY GOOD PRICES IN THE USED MARKET.
We have looked at a Seawind 1160
and a Lagoon 380
. I am puzzled how the helmsman operates those boats for long term passage
making. I am used to being in a cockpit where I can see thru or over the dodger
from any position. On both of the Seawind
and the Lagoon
I can not see forward from anywhere except the helmsman seat.
8) When operating on day long or multi-day trips – does the helmsman have to be sitting in the helm seat all the time. If not – how do you keep watch forward? NOPE JUST USE THE AUTO CONTROL AS MENTINED ABOVE AND TAKE A WALK AROUND THE BOAT
9) Can someone explain how one operates / manages a 38’ cat for extended periods with limited visibility from the aft cockpit area. REAR HELM STATIONS ARE NO LONGER NECESSARY. THIS IS OLD TECHNOLIGY AS DEMONSTRATED BY A NUMBER OF MODELS ON THE MARKET THAT PROVIDE EXCELLENT FORWARD VISABILITY FROM A FULL OR PARTIAL FLYBRIDGE