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Old 22-08-2016, 17:58   #1
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Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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?

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Old 22-08-2016, 18:21   #2
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

It's a boat built for charter not its sailing characteristics.


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Old 22-08-2016, 18:29   #3
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

I cant answer your questions regarding the SABA however I can tell you that the Leopard 44 we chartered from Grenada sailed much better than that. We usually ran at 40-50% speed of the winds.
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Old 22-08-2016, 18:39   #4
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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We usually ran at 40-50% speed of the winds.
Upwind?
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Old 22-08-2016, 18:41   #5
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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It's a boat built for charter not its sailing characteristics.
I'm aware of that. And I'm aware that gunboats will sail better.

But what I'm asking is whether the 3900 is PARTICULARLY bad and whether it takes buying a gunboat to get something resembling 'sailing' to happen in a catamaran?

Or can I expect better performance out of a well made but not 'performance first' cat, like the FPs.

Anyone?
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Old 22-08-2016, 18:56   #6
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Your downwind problem seems like an auto pilot issue.

For upwind performance I'd expect the Saba to do better than the Leopard 39. Still, sailboats typically don't scream along bashing to weather. I suggest charter the Saba or similar boats that you are considering. Really helps to determine what you like and don't. In general larger boats are faster and more stable.

Cheers!


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Old 22-08-2016, 19:11   #7
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

I can certainly do a lot better than that in those conditions in my FP Belize, even full "liveaboard" loaded.
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Old 22-08-2016, 19:20   #8
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

I'd say you need to learn to set the sensitivity of the auto pilot and how to set the sails. Maybe you could do better with a bathtub.
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Old 22-08-2016, 19:42   #9
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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Originally Posted by Gunnadoit View Post
I'm aware of that. And I'm aware that gunboats will sail better.



But what I'm asking is whether the 3900 is PARTICULARLY bad and whether it takes buying a gunboat to get something resembling 'sailing' to happen in a catamaran?



Or can I expect better performance out of a well made but not 'performance first' cat, like the FPs.



Anyone?

Two things in your initial post are, just learning to sail and this is the second catamaran you've chartered. What was the first catamaran you chartered and were you happy with it? And if your just learning to sail, I'm sure the problem was more you and less the boat. The 3900 will be nowhere near a performance cat but hopefully under competent hands it should do better than 40-50% of wind speed.


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Old 22-08-2016, 19:51   #10
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

Why not rent a skipper for the day and see what he and you achieve in the same boat ?
And perhaps calibrate the autopilot before you start, everybody prior to you has probably had a fiddle.


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Old 22-08-2016, 19:56   #11
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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Upwind?
We were able to sail to 40 off the wind if you trust the gauges... Probably More like 50 degrees accourding to our instructor , but yes I remember sailing 7+ in 15 knot winds.
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Old 22-08-2016, 20:07   #12
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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We were able to sail to 40 off the wind if you trust the gauges... Probably More like 50 degrees accourding to our instructor , but yes I remember sailing 7+ in 15 knot winds.
Is that apparent or true wind angle and apparent or true wind speed?
I do wish people would specify, it makes a huge difference.

40 and 15 knots apparent would be 65 true and 11 knots true.

40 apparent and 15 knots true would be 58 true and 19 knots apparent.

If it was 50 apparent in 15 knots true, that would be more like 70 true.
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Old 22-08-2016, 23:04   #13
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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Your downwind problem seems like an auto pilot issue.
Yeah, I did think that was likely.. but the auto worked great on other points of sail and certainly in the lagoons.

Fiddling with the autopilot is definitely beyond my experience at this point, but I'll figure it out.

Thanks!
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Old 22-08-2016, 23:06   #14
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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Is that apparent or true wind angle and apparent or true wind speed?
I do wish people would specify, it makes a huge difference.

40 and 15 knots apparent would be 65 true and 11 knots true.

40 apparent and 15 knots true would be 58 true and 19 knots apparent.

If it was 50 apparent in 15 knots true, that would be more like 70 true.
Great point. It was 60deg apparent, 15 knots true wind (about 18 apparent). Like I said, almost NO progress upwind.
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Old 22-08-2016, 23:07   #15
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Re: Moorings 3900: is this as good as it gets?

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I'm sure the problem was more you and less the boat.
I'm hoping that's true. Expect that's likely.

Thanks!
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