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View Poll Results: Multi- or Mono-hull for circumnavigating
Monohull 50 35.46%
Multihull 91 64.54%
Voters: 141. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-04-2007, 04:00   #1
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Multi- or Mono-hull for a Circumnavigation?

I know there already exists a poll for virtually the same topic, but I want to narrow it down to a sailboat for Circumnavigating.

I had up until a week ago been planning to order an Ovni 395 for delivery in 2009 with the circumnavigation starting in 2010. Instead of "2010 - A Space Odyssey" it will be "2010 - A Sea Odyssey". The point is that I was very sure about my boat choice before my girlfriend and I had a chance to spend a few hours on board a Fountain Pajot Athena 38. It wasn't necessarily the actual Athena 38 that attracted us, but the space, the lack of rolling under anchor, not sailing at an angle, the redundancy and the prospect of faster passages. I immediately started reading about catamarans and have been through a lot of sites, reading stories, reviews and the like, but in many ways I'm not wiser from it.

In essence I've sailed and I know monohulls, but I'm not familiar with multihulls. I see a lot of appealing elements and features in them, but the big question for me when looking at the range of catamarans is: Which one?

I'd like a boat with 3-4 cabins (where I could convert one to an office), 2 heads, a good functional galley, a nice and comfortable saloon where I can entertain 8 people that can sit comfortably and cockpit where I can do the same.

It would also be nice to have a boat that I can sail to Norway without having the boat turn into an unheatable monster. For some reason I have the impression that cats are only "suitable" for tropical sailing.

I'd like it to have a shallow draft and be beachable if necessary. I'd like it to be fast under sail and easy for one person to manage.

I've read a lot about the diesel electric or hybrid solutions. What's the take on those for circumnavigations? I'm worried about finding people that can service them in odd places, where failure usually happens.

Lastly I want it to be safe. I've read and heard a lot of different things about catamarans and I would really like to know which cats are better suited than others for sailing to the far corners of the globe.

Lastly I need to do it on a budget where the boat "ready -to-set-sail" with the horizon as my destination doesn't cost more than $400,000.

Since there appears to be a lot of very knowledgeable sailors on this site, I was hoping some of you could share some thoughts and experience. Good and bad things about specific makes and models would be a most welcome help.
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Old 03-04-2007, 05:00   #2
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ill get in on the ground floor and weigh in for the cats, it sounds like you are actually describing a forty ft cat, as for heating its a piece of cake to place styrene in a ply stringer cat and cheathe with 3mm ply, i know of one cat like this cruising the bottom of the south island nz and thats pretty cold
sean
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Old 03-04-2007, 14:34   #3
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I like dogs better than cats!

I promise not to digress into the mono vs. multi debate here. It sounds to me like you've already decided on a multi given the requirements, or desires you described. I have only owned mono's, but did go on a couple of charters with friends on Cats in the Carib. and it was a completely different form of sailing. It was alot of what you describe, no heeling, however, I couldn't figure out how to turn the darn thing Makes you thankful for the charter companies with more than one location.

I like the mono in terms of space for stuff during passages and by space I mean space that won't let things go bump in the night. The other thing I noticed while sailing in the med was that virtually every big cat we saw was anchored out, while we enjoyed our med mooring at each port.

But, if the things you listed in your post are "your" requirements, then you sound like a cat person. What the heck we're all still sailors

That's my 41 cents... just in case you needed to buy postage

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Old 03-04-2007, 17:51   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by northerncat
As for heating its a piece of cake to place styrene in a ply stringer cat and cheathe with 3mm ply, i know of one cat like this cruising the bottom of the south island nz and thats pretty cold
sean
Thanks. Insulating the cat shouldn't be too difficult, though I'm sure it's not as easy as it actually sounds. On boats anything rarely is.
My thoughts were more along the lines of a cat having a large interior volume, so that actually heating it will be hard. Even a monohull can be tough to heat with a Dickinson or a Webasto when the temperature drops too far and snow piles on your deck.

- Andreas
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Old 03-04-2007, 17:57   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Mark
It sounds to me like you've already decided on a multi given the requirements, or desires you described.
Actually I'm far from decided on multi vs. mono, but I was hoping to get some useful information from cat people on which cats they think are suitable for a circumnavigation. The requirements I wrote in the post are aimed at a cat, because I know much less about them.
Up until a week ago I would never have contemplated a multi, but after being on board one and doing a lot of reading, I want to see which cats come out as good circumnavigators. Then I plan to weight them up against my favorite monohull choice for the trip. Whichever comes out as most favorable is what I'll set sail in.

- Andreas
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Old 03-04-2007, 20:56   #6
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I can't vote for both, so I won't vote for either. Like I've stated earlier in another post" they both have their place.

As for heating a cat a pair of diesel Airtronics for each hull or a single larger one with the vents going to both hulls would work OK.

But taking a Cat in to Northern waters does seem a bit rare "to me". Surely not the North Pacific. Why? Donno! Maybe because most of them are built for the charter bussiness in the tropics OR it seems most of them are built in the warm climates. I can only recall seeing around 6 cats here in the Pacific NW.

The one thing that IS important is that one has to be trained for fowl weather on Cats. They are not as forgiving as a monohull. I wouldn't trust practical experience for operation of a Cat. I use to race them back in the 70's and one little mistake and your over. I know offshore Cats are much more stable BUT one still needs to learn how they handle in seas. I surely wouldn't go off shore on one without training from a seasoned Cat Captain.

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Old 04-04-2007, 00:26   #7
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The correct answer is that it doesn't matter a flying eff at a rolling doughnut. There are advantages and disadvantages to both monos and cats (not to even mention trimarans). Neither the advantages nor the disadvatages of either is sufficiently compelling to indicate a clear winner. Go with whatever makes you happy. It. Doesn't. Matter.
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Old 04-04-2007, 06:41   #8
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With your budget, you will have an easier time getting a "ready to go" mono than a multi, especially if you want to go with a new boat. From what I've read, the Ovni is an excellent boat and the aluminum hull has some definite advantages. However, aluminum hulls also have some definite cautions with them, too, and you should be well versed in how to deal with those.

In the cruising cat world, for $400K you should be able to find a number of used boats with good outfitting, although you will probably have to do some refit and updating. Boats that were in charter will likely be well worn and require more preparation. Boats like the Wauquiez Kronos (not many were built, but they were an excellent boat), the Lagoon 42 (built by TPI), the Privilege 39, the Manta 42 (there's an excellent one for sale in Bellingham WA, see YachtWorld -- I know this boat and it is in like-new condition, well outfitted), could all fit your needs and be within, or close, to your budget target.

Be sure and get a good survey, regardless.

ID
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Old 04-04-2007, 18:26   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
I know there already exists a poll for virtually the same topic, but I want to narrow it down to a sailboat for Circumnavigating.
I don't think that circumnavigating narrows it down much. As far as I can tell,
the diference between circumnavigating and ordinary cruising is going to come
down to a few long passages. A long passage on a cat is just somewhat less
long than a long passage on a fast mono. But funamentally, 15 days isn't that
much different from 18 days. The big step happens at 5 days when you sail
out of the weather forcast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
In essence I've sailed and I know monohulls, but I'm not familiar with multihulls. I see a lot of appealing elements and features in them, but the big question for me when looking at the range of catamarans is: Which one?
Basically, you're looking at two classes of boats:

1. Production catamarans built for the charter market
2. Everything else

Production cats will be heavy, roomy, and perform just a bit better than an average "performance crusing" monohull off the wind and a bit worse upwind. As with any production boat, it usually isn't "ready to circumnavigate" right out of the box, but such boats are (relatively) easy to buy and sell. Any number of such boats would probably work quite well for the usual downwind circumnavigation routes. The March Lattitude 38 has an article about the Moorings/Leopard Voyage 4400, probably one of the better choices in this class of boat.

That second category covers a huge amount of ground: plywood homebuilts to the Gunboat. Even if you restrict yourself to high-performance boats (light weight, daggerboards) buying is going to take a lot more effort becaue every boat is an individual case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
It would also be nice to have a boat that I can sail to Norway without having the boat turn into an unheatable monster. For some reason I have the impression that cats are only "suitable" for tropical sailing.
I dunno about wintering over, but a foam/glass sandwich is a decent insulator which is nice for both tropical and temperate conditions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
I'd like it to have a shallow draft and be beachable if necessary. I'd like it to be fast under sail and easy for one person to manage.
With keels this might be interesting, but for a boat with daggerboards where you're going to be resting on the hulls I don't think that beaching is going to be a casual operation. One rock can do a lot of damage. And what if the weather turns your beach into a lee shore while the tide is out...

Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
I've read a lot about the diesel electric or hybrid solutions. What's the take on those for circumnavigations? I'm worried about finding people that can service them in odd places, where failure usually happens.
Those "people" are you. Simplicity is the hallmark of a good cruising boat. If you can't fix it, it shouldn't be on the boat. Unfortunately, market pressure from the vast majority of boat buyers who basically never use their boats, pushes in exactly the opposite direction: complex, failure-prone, integrated gadgets which look neat at the boat show...
Gadgetyness tends to be the weak spot of production boats.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
Lastly I need to do it on a budget where the boat "ready -to-set-sail" with the horizon as my destination doesn't cost more than $400,000.
Well, since you ask, my boat is for sale.

Endless Summer is for Sale

You can read the details on the web site, but if you want faster than a production cat, with proven cruising ability, she might be the boat for you.

Regards,

-Scott
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Old 04-04-2007, 19:07   #10
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You could buy Endless Summer and go, no problems, or buy this which would definitely go around, and have some money for food as well.

YachtWorld.com Boats and Yachts for Sale
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Old 04-04-2007, 21:20   #11
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We did our circumnavigation in a catamaran, and I was extremely happy with the catamran during our voyage. We always felt safe, even in storms with winds to fifty knots. That being said, most of our circumnagivation was in the tradewinds, which means we were doing low lattitude sailing, We never sailed in any really high lattitudes like those found in Scandanavia.

In low lattitude tradewind sailing, catamarans are really in their element. You run downwind clicking the miles off in relative comfort. But when you venture into the high lattitudes, you say goodbye to the tradewinds and if I was going to spend large amounts of time in the higher lattitudes, I would do it in a monohull. You are going to be doing a lot of beating into rough seas in the far north, and you will need a large catamaran with a very high bridgedeck clearance to be able to sail comfortably in the more challenging seas found in higher lattitudes.

I couldn't afford a fifty foot catamaran with an exceptionally high bridgedeck clearance, and so I sailed primarily in the tradewinds. I did sail to New Zealand, but was never higher than lattitude 35 degrees South.

As far as I am concerned, where you are going to sail is an important part of the decision you make regarding whether to go the monohull or multihull route. Both types of yachts can take you where you want to go, but some are better suited for your particular journey than others.

I like warm weather sailing and tradewind sailing, and so I do it in a catamaran.
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Old 04-04-2007, 22:23   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout
In low latitude tradewind sailing, catamarans are really in their element. You run downwind clicking the miles off in relative comfort. But when you venture into the high latitudes, you say goodbye to the tradewinds and if I was going to spend large amounts of time in the higher latitudes, I would do it in a monohull.
If I want to sail up the Norwegian coast which basically starts at 58 degrees North, I agree a multihull would not be in its right element, which is why very few multi's venture up there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout
As far as I am concerned, where you are going to sail is an important part of the decision you make regarding whether to go the monohull or multihull route. Both types of yachts can take you where you want to go, but some are better suited for your particular journey than others.
For my circumnavigation I'm not planning to brave Cape Horn or do Arctic sailing. Like you I will also be spending almost all of my time in the tropics (with a trip down to NZ).
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout
I like warm weather sailing and tradewind sailing, and so I do it in a catamaran.
So do I. At least for the first circumnavigation I want to explore the warm parts of the globe. When I feel I've explored the heat and I feel like getting cold again, then I'll start thinking about a high latitude boat. I guess my questions about bringing a cat to colder climates are more out of sentimental reasons: I'd like to start and end the trip in Norway. Though that does add an unnecessary level of complexity. So I might end up scrapping that part of the plan altogether.

This is why I really enjoy talking to and getting feed-back from people on the Forum, because they make you realize shortcomings in your plans and they open your eyes to new possibilities.

What it boils down to now is that I want a cat that I can leave the coasts line behind with and sail safely across the oceans. So far on my short list I have Manta 42 and Dean catamarans (though I fear that they will be too expensive for my budget).

Thoughts on either of them or similar catamarans would be most welcome.

---------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by smm
With keels this might be interesting, but for a boat with daggerboards where you're going to be resting on the hulls I don't think that beaching is going to be a casual operation. One rock can do a lot of damage. And what if the weather turns your beach into a lee shore while the tide is out.
Point taken.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smm
Simplicity is the hallmark of a good cruising boat. If you can't fix it, it shouldn't be on the boat.
I definitely agree with you on this point. There will naturally be a learning curve, but I totally agree. Simple is good.
Quote:
Originally Posted by smm
Well, since you ask, my boat is for sale.

Endless Summer is for Sale

You can read the details on the web site, but if you want faster than a production cat, with proven cruising ability, she might be the boat for you.
Thank you Steve. Your boat looks and sounds very impressive. There are only two things I'm a bit reluctant about: Daggerboards and how the F41 performs in heavy weather. I say this because on your site you say you haven't been out in stronger than 25 knot winds. When I buy a boat I really want one that I know has been tested in tough conditions. Do you know of other people that have experience in heavy weather or with circumnavigating with the F41?

I know you'll probably point out that with a fast cat you can sail away from the weather, but sometimes nature surprises you or you have other failures that puts you in harms way and you have to bear the brunt of what nature can throw against you.

-------------------

Quote:
Originally Posted by dana-tenacity
You could buy Endless Summer and go, no problems, or buy this which would definitely go around, and have some money for food as well.

YachtWorld.com Boats and Yachts for Sale
Thanks, but I don't think a tri is for me. Interesting to look at, but I find it too large on the outside and too little on the inside. This tri did have a very nice finish on the inside though.
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Old 05-04-2007, 04:39   #13
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Site with info on cats in cold weather

Hi

Have a look at Welcome to Siudzinski KatieKat.

Joe Siudzinski has gone a lot of places in his 33ft Seawind 1000 (Aussie production cat - same as mine), including the Arctic. Check out his site for a huge anount of information, including cats in cold weather.

As for my thoughts, I'd go just about anywhere in a cat if it was well designed and a good sea boat (my backyard is Bass Strait and I've been very impressed with my Seawind 1000, "Serrano", offshore), but then again, if I was going to spend a lot of time in the Southern Ocean, I'd like a big, strong (steel?) keelboat. But it doesn't sound like you're planning to circumnavigate in the Roaring Forties!

In the end, the trip is what is important, not the boat. I'd be proud to circumnavigate in any well-found yacht, no matter how many hulls it had.

Charles (Serrano)
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Old 05-04-2007, 05:26   #14
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Originally Posted by Serrano
Hi Charles.

Thank you. There seems to be a ton of information on the site. It'll take me some time to get through it. From the sounds of it Joe is also very happy to answer questions, so I'll be sure to send him an email, once I've read through what's on his site.

I have to admit that the Seawind Cats also look very nice (I had a look at the homepage). I'm happy that I have some time to make a proper short-list of the cat I want to sail with.

And yes, you're right ... the roaring 40's won't be at the top of my wish-list this time.
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Old 05-04-2007, 17:21   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
If I want to sail up the Norwegian coast which basically starts at 58 degrees North, I agree a multihull would not be in its right element, which is why very few multi's venture up there
Why do you think that "very few multis venture up there?" I don't have any statistics to the contrary, but I don't see any particular problem with multihulls at high latitudes:

Icecat - Excess Crew Project

I think that speed is a huge advantage for coastal cruising because it allows you to take maximum advantage of good weather (often light airs, seabreeze) and daysail harbor to harbor instead of overnighting. Most people find overnight coastal sailing far more stressful than passage making. You have no sleep rhythm, lots of traffic to avoid, and navigation is really important because there's hard stuff to bump into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SettingSail2009
There are only two things I'm a bit reluctant about: Daggerboards and how the F41 performs in heavy weather. I say this because on your site you say you haven't been out in stronger than 25 knot winds. When I buy a boat I really want one that I know has been tested in tough conditions. Do you know of other people that have experience in heavy weather or with circumnavigating with the F41?
Basically, daggerboards equate to windward performance. While there's nothing to prevent someone from putting deep keels on a cat, no one does this.

I don't know of any F41 storm stories, nor any reason to suspect that they'd be any different than any other lightweight cat. Since I wrote the review we've seen a bit more wind, 30 knots for a few hours going through the ITCZ, and lots of 25+ in the Hawaiian channels. The boat always behaved predictably.

Not all testing in heavy weather is successful, or instructive:

December 18, 2006

-Scott
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