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Old 22-08-2016, 22:12   #16
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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What was the first catamaran you chartered and were you happy with it?
The first was the Moorings 4800 in the BVIs, and honestly I'd JUST gotten my license (4 years ago) and probably wasn't aware yet of things like 'performance'. Instead focused on things like 'surviving'.

Since then, I've day-sailed in the Channel Islands in monos quite a lot and while I'm far from claiming to be any kind of expert, I do think I'm not FAR off when it comes to understanding sail trim. Anyway, I'm certainly more successful in monos from 24-50' in all sorts of conditions here.

I think the idea of renting a captain is a good one, also to charter a boat more like what I'm aiming for. I've noticed a Saba available in the USVIs... maybe that'll be the next trip!

Great feedback. Thanks all. Such a good forum here!
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Old 22-08-2016, 22:28   #17
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

I cannot answer for the Moorings 39 but our Fountain Pajot Athena in 15kts apparent will sail at 5.5 kts at apparent wind angle of 38 degrees. It does take quite a long time to work out the best sail trim and wind angles in varying wind and sea conditions. A week on a charter boat is not enough. After 6 years, I am still learning.
The Moorings 39 is a much heavier boat than the Athena, with I think smaller sail area so it will take lot more wind to get going. The sail area to weight ratio will indicate the sailing potential for any particular design.
Our Raymarine ST6002+ autopilot will steer within +/- 5 degrees in most conditions, usually a lot less. A quartering wind and swell is probably the worst for any boat to oscillate off course, but 40 degrees in those conditions is much too much and points to setup and sail trim problems. I think the consensus on this forum is that Raymarine autopilots are up with the best there are.
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Old 23-08-2016, 06:23   #18
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Agree with others, somethings not right. Dont think Ive sailed the 3900 specifically, but as a charter captain, Ive sailed a lot of Moorings models.

The downwind issue sounds like an AP issue to me too. Modern APs are VERY good. Raymarine for example has adaptive software that learns when conditions change. After a few minutes of "learning", where you may get yaw/seeking, they become amazingly accurate...way better than all but the best of humans.

Most mini keel cats, like these, will sail 45-50d apparent easily. But, upwind against any siginificant sea state is not any multihull's strong point. Was there any oppossing current?

Upwind, how was your main trimmed? Was boom to center line (not traveller car, but boom)? Jib cars properly positioned? These basic details can make a significant diff in upwind performance. Ive watched a lot of poorly trimmed charter boats sailing...bet they complained about boat performance.
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Old 23-08-2016, 06:58   #19
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Charter a Catana, and see the difference
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:16   #20
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Look for an older L40. You won't have to run jacklines through the salon in heavy weather, and the boat sails really well.

Maje
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:42   #21
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

I would suspect like others the autopilot sensitivity problem. Real easy fix there read the manual. I sail a Leopard 40 and it does way better than that even fully loaded. That said you are often better to bear off and reach than to haul because any type of head sea impacts performance greatly just due to the relatively short waterline length and the cats inability to pierce the waves as well as a mono will. Longer waterline length will improve this markedly but cats are built for reaching and running so plan your routes accordingly! Leopards are great boats I don't think a brand change to a similar boat would make that much difference unless you go for a more performance hull or something much lighter IMO anyway.
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Old 23-08-2016, 10:38   #22
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Sailing anything in a following sea with rollers can be interesting. We just sailed with 6' rollers dead behind us on our honeymoon trip and it took a ton of effort on the tiller - I chose not to use the AP, as I didn't want to over tax it, nor be without instant control of the boat as we hit 14 knots of boat speed on a few of the larger waves.

If you were heading upwind at 60 degrees you should have done better. I've chartered the FP Athena 38, Venezia 42 and last year the Mahe 36, and they were all a fair bit better than that, although the 36 was a tad bit "bulkier."

To reiterate though, those are "charter equipped," not performance oriented.
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Old 23-08-2016, 11:38   #23
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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Originally Posted by Gunnadoit View Post
Hey all, I'm relatively new to all this, but have a solid 3 year plan in place to bug out and circumnavigate.

As part of the plan, I'm learning to sail. As part of that step, I've twice chartered cats from Moorings. Most recently, we just finished a week on a 3900 in Tahiti.

So, can I ask a question?

We were sailing West from Bora Bora to Maupiti on a port broad reach (with wind at maybe 120 degrees off the bow) and maybe 1 or 1.5m swell from the SE (same as the wind).

And I'll swear we might as well have been sailing a bathtub.

Seriously, on autopilot (Raymarine ST-something) the boat was swinging back and forth through 40 degrees or more. I half-expected us to pull a 360 between waves.

Then, on our way from Maupiti to Raiatea, which was unfortunately directly upwind and waves, we literally could make NO progress. I mean, with 15kts of wind and 60deg of angle to it, we were making 3kts. I figured it would take us something like 20 hours to make the 40 miles, so we put the sails away and motored.

I know very clearly that I'm not the best sailor and I'm sure there was some improvements I could have made to trim things up a bit or whatever. But I'm a sharp guy, and...

Well, I guess my question is:

Really?!

There's no way I'm selling my wife on doing this trip in a monohull. We have some means, and were planning on the FP Saba 50 or something similar. But man, I'm not sure I can take heading around the whole planet in a glorified bucket-with-a-sail.

Is the Moorings 3900 particularly terrible? Am I doing it wrong? Or is this just how catamarans are?

And, no.. I'm not buying a Gunboat, or really even an Outreamer or Antares. It's going to have to be comfy as hell to get the girl excited.

Am I doomed? Or will the Saba 50 (or similiar) be MUCH better?


Remember Gentlemen only sail downwind
A circumnavigation should be downwind- when the wind is dead ahead you should heave to.
Well Cats and specially cruising cats are not the best for upwind sailing, but as i said a circumnavigation should be done all the way down wind (trade winds)
40 degrees swinging with the autopilot downwind means the autopilot has a problem, my raytheon tiler 4000 sails perfectly downwind
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Old 23-08-2016, 11:51   #24
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Did the same thing from Bora to the pass at Tahaa once in a Moorings 4700 which I owned with a partner. Tacked about a dozen times and remained abeam the light on Bora. Rolled um up and started the motors.
They tell me that sailing a cat is more about sailing the sails, not necessarily sailing the boat as with a mono, of which I have a 50 years of experience. I never got very good at the cat even after a dozen or so charters on ours and other 4000’s and 4700’s. What the heck, Moorings is paying for the fuel, light um up. That’s what all the Europeans do in French Polynesia.
As for your autopilot issue, was it slaved to a track on your chart plotter or in heading hold? If the autopilot compass hasn’t been swung for a while both of these modes might not work too well. Just pointing the boat and engaging it, it should track straight ahead well enough subject to the sensitivity settings.
Get a good cat teacher. My partner is an excellent cat sailor.
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Old 23-08-2016, 13:27   #25
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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Remember Gentlemen only sail downwind
Hahaha.. I'll keep that in mind!
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Old 23-08-2016, 13:33   #26
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Yeah, sounds like the consensus here is an autopilot issue (which, incidentally, was slaved to a heading on the raymarine compass.) I suspected/hoped that was likely.

Honestly, not sure if the main was directly over the centerline or just close-enough. Tbh, the traveler had a problem so I didn't dare use it much (the end-cap was missing it's screw, so the first time I ran the traveller far to port, the whole thing blew out, leaving the carriage flapping in the wind and bearings bouncing everywhere/into the sea. I had to put it all back together in 15kts of wind bouncing around in chest-high seas. Adventure!)

Also, fwiw, it didn't have a paddle wheel so no speed-through-the-water, and thus no idea about current... though I suspect it was minor. Also no true windspeed or direction on the boat.

All in all, not a terribly 'fresh' ride...
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Old 23-08-2016, 14:18   #27
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

good days bad days some days you lose distance on the rum line /get use to losing against nature /stay off the auto helm till you learn to sail/look for a solution to every thing the bugs are well sorted in that boat design/ must be boat handling skill
the auto helm cant think the wind will shift and chop /current will swirl most cruisers only learn to sail efficiently when they are out of fuel.


turn off the instruments and learn to sail
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Old 23-08-2016, 14:33   #28
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

You are looking at speed over water, right?
Cos tides and current will mess with your SOG
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Old 23-08-2016, 16:58   #29
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Not certain if this applies but no one in this thread has mentioned currents. I have on occasions been slowed by current, even swimming yesterday.. f
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Old 23-08-2016, 20:38   #30
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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Originally Posted by Gunnadoit View Post
The first was the Moorings 4800 in the BVIs, and honestly I'd JUST gotten my license (4 years ago) and probably wasn't aware yet of things like 'performance'. Instead focused on things like 'surviving'.



Since then, I've day-sailed in the Channel Islands in monos quite a lot and while I'm far from claiming to be any kind of expert, I do think I'm not FAR off when it comes to understanding sail trim. Anyway, I'm certainly more successful in monos from 24-50' in all sorts of conditions here.



I think the idea of renting a captain is a good one, also to charter a boat more like what I'm aiming for. I've noticed a Saba available in the USVIs... maybe that'll be the next trip!



Great feedback. Thanks all. Such a good forum here!

Well I took out hull #2 for probably the first charter on a Saba in North America on Cuvée in December of 2014. The owner pops in here from time to time. Cuvée was at the Annapolis boat show introducing the new model to this side of the Atlantic. Hull #1 went to Europe. The charter company I work at has a variety of FP cats from 36' Mahe to the 50' Saba. I've sailed many miles on all of them including 41' Lipari and 44' Helia models. In decent winds the Saba is substantially faster on all points of sail. In very light winds, with newer sails, the Mahe will do better than wind speed in flat conditions which I can't get the other cats to do. I've spoken with charter guests that said they couldn't get cat X over 7 knots even in 20 knots of wind on any point of sail. I can do that very easily on a reach in any of the FPs in the fleet. It comes down to sail trim and tactics (local knowledge). You mentioned sailing in the BVI. I've raced the BVI Spring Regatta many times and because of that I've learned how to efficiently sail up the Sir Francis Drake Channel. Sail trim is part of the equation, understanding the current is part, not getting into the wind shadow of the Islands is part, sailing in flatter seas is a part as well. My point is that not being able to trim any boat well will not result in efficient upwind sailing. Trimming a boat perfectly but sailing it into stronger adverse current, larger seas or lighter winds won't get you upwind efficiently either. Out in the open ocean there are fewer variables over short distances but weather routing is important.

A couple of final thoughts. How dirty was the hull? Did the 3900 have folding props? All these little pieces add up. When I hear numbers tossed about I always wonder about the other zillion variables....

If you do end up coming my way to charter a Saba, drop me a note and we can meet up if you'd like.


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