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View Poll Results: If you won the lottery and the prize was a mono or catamaran which would you choose?
I currently own a monohull and would choose a new monohull 48 27.91%
I currently own a monohull and would choose a new cruising catamaran 38 22.09%
I currently own a catamaran and would choose a new monohull 3 1.74%
I currently own a catamaran and would choose a new catamaran 83 48.26%
Voters: 172. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 10-06-2008, 13:48   #166
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Cptnandy, in my view what it took to flip your 47 foot cat speaks to how incredibly difficult they are to capsize - in effect, it capsized only due to an unpredictable combination of incredibly unfortunate circumstances: first, from what you have said, I am assuming that the boat was not only suitably reefed for the average windspeeds, but also the gusts (triple reefed main and reefed jib in 25-35 knots of wind, assuming the latter to be the highest recorded and anticipated gusts); second, without warning you were struck by a rogue wave; third, at the precise instant you were hit by the rogue wave, you were hit by a microburst with an estimated wind speed of 60 knots.

In essence, the unexpected yet drastic change in circumstances you experienced is somewhat akin to the 'white squall' that capsized and sunk the large training vessel (a monohull) that was featured in the book and movie of the same name. In my view, neither case stands as an indictment against catamarans or monohulls generally, but rather acts as a reminder that when at sea, we can never truly predict nor control the effects of such an unpredictable and unforgiving envirionment.

Congratulations on surviving both the capsize and the subsequent Coast Guard inquiry. It sounds to me as if their conclusions (and the position taken by your employers) were reasonable in the circumstances.

Brad
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Old 11-06-2008, 03:53   #167
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Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
... In essence, the unexpected yet drastic change in circumstances you experienced is somewhat akin to the 'white squall' that capsized and sunk the large training vessel (a monohull) that was featured in the book and movie of the same name. In my view, neither case stands as an indictment against catamarans or monohulls generally, but rather acts as a reminder that when at sea, we can never truly predict nor control the effects of such an unpredictable and unforgiving envirionment... Brad
Indeed ...
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:04   #168
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... In essence, the unexpected yet drastic change in circumstances you experienced is somewhat akin to the 'white squall' that capsized and sunk the large training vessel (a monohull) that was featured in the book and movie of the same name. In my view, neither case stands as an indictment against catamarans or monohulls generally, but rather acts as a reminder that when at sea, we can never truly predict nor control the effects of such an unpredictable and unforgiving envirionment... Brad


Which is alos why it makes no sence to say that either a cat or mono is a "better" boat. Everyone has thier preference and all boats are subject to potential disaster from flipping, sinking, burning, being run down etc.
As sailor we all take risks, we just have to choose which ones feel like the best bet for us personally, which I think, was the topic of this thread.
Yet it seems that many people insist on claiming that one or the other is a "better" or safer boat. Not true.
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Old 12-06-2008, 12:22   #169
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Amen, Captain Andy, Amen!

Brad
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Old 13-06-2008, 05:23   #170
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Well, that answers that question...

We are very much in the planning stages of our cruising dream. My first thoughts were a monohull. But looking at the loyalty of cat owners to cats and the number of monohull owners who would, ummm, jump ship....I think I might need to start adjusting my thinking. AND the budget....
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Old 13-06-2008, 07:51   #171
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For me it the choice has a lot to do with the "hard on" factor. I like what monohull’s look like more than what cats do.
I like the ride on a monohull better.

Based solely on my 600+ days sailing a cat in Hawaii, I personally don’t like the pounding of waves on the bridge deck sailing to windward. Also I don’t like the fact that the two hulls are working against each other all the time. Even though they can be built stiff enough… as the multi’s hull goes through the water the wave action is not the same on both hulls, this will cause stresses between the hulls and on the cross beam connection / bridge deck. It is kinda like placing a chair on an uneven floor. Three points are always supporting the fourth. Of course, water isn’t as hard as land and will give some, however the racking forces are there; and are greater than they will be on a monohull.
I’ve seen (and repaired) the results way to many times to be convinced that they don’t exist.

Go ahead flame away…
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Old 13-06-2008, 10:43   #172
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CapnAndy, all of your points are valid. Appearance is subjective, but important nonetheless (and truth be known, I too tend to prefer the romance of a traditional monohull with a sweeping sheer, overhangs and some brightwork).

On the other hand, I find that the efforts in the design of many current monos to increase the accomodation to something close to a catamaran has resulted in some very ugly boats. High houses, no sheer, odd shaped windows, blunt bows, 'racing stripes' etc., etc.

I personally find the 'space age' look to be better suited to catamarans - to my eye, the general form has some parallels and could draw some comparisons to the small spacecraft depicted in movies such as Star Wars - a futuristic look for what is really a rather futuristic type of sailing vessel.

Bridgedeck pounding to windward is indeed annoying, but of course, the frequency and severity will vary hugely from design to design, the load carried, and the size and shape of the waves. In worst case scenarios, it can usually be eliminated (or at least significantly reduced) by bearing off to a close reach.

One should not forget, however, that extreme (and rapidly changing) angles of heel can also be both annoying and a hazard to safety. To say nothing of the fact that many 'modern' monos with wide, relatively flat underbodies also tend to 'pound' when sailing to windward in certain conditions.

As to racking, it does occur and of course, will be (or should have been) addressed at the design and construction stage. My cat was built in 1994 to Lloyd's 100 A1 unlimited offshore standards and shows absolutely no stress cracks anywhere except on two cockpit hatches. Yes, she is more heavily constructed and has a narrower beam than what is currently in vogue, but modern finite stress analysis allows the design and construction of much beamier and lighter cats that will hold up to even the most extreme conditions. The old worry about home-made cats and tris breaking apart in heavy seas is decidedly a thing of the past.

I will also acknowledge that I too prefer the motion of a monohull if she has been designed and constructed for a comfortable motion in heavy seas (typically a relatively narrow beam, especially aft; significant rocker, no flat underbody sections, some front overhang and middle to higher displacement). Of course, this type of hull form only accentuates the difference in accomodation between a cat and a monohull of comparable size.

Finally, I also tend to prefer the immediate reaction of a mono to gusts, the typically greater feel to the helm and the relative proximity to the water (at least in aft cockpit designs without large freeboard).

On the other hand and despite all of the foregoing, my latest boat is a cat as it presents the compromise that best suits my needs. Here are my top 20 reasons for preferring her over a cruising monohull, in no particular order:

1. It is significantly roomier than any comparably sized monohull, both below and on deck. The latter is extremely important for me since I will be using the boat, in part, for sunset cruises and snorkeling trips from my property on Margarita Island. It also provides a much more comfortable environment in port (where everyone spends most of their time) than any comparable sized mono and is much better for entertaining.

2. The split interior layout provides a degree of comfort and privacy for 2 or 3 couples (or when my son and wife's daughter join us) than could ever be achieved in a monohull of comparable size.

3. The lack of heeling provides a much more confortable and safe environment for maintenance, cooking, showering, using the head, getting dressed, sail changes and just moving about than could ever be achieved in a monohull.

4. Cats will not roll even in anchorages that are known to be 'rolly' in certain conditions.

5. Overall, my cat will perform at least as well as any comparably sized monohull that leans towards the comfort, rather than the performance side of the equation; in reaching and running conditions, it will typically be faster. As I have gotten older, the joy of bashing to windward in any boat has lost much of its luster and I now tend to set courses (or await weather windows) that minimize the same.

6. My cat is much more airy and bright, and has much better sightlines from below than any comparably sized monohull. While deck saloon and pilothouse monos can have similar visibility in the pilothouse or saloon, they will nevertheless revert to being caves elsewhere in the accomodation. And of course, pilothouse and DS desgins tend to have obstructed vision forward from the cockpit and unlike cats, cannot comfortably solve the problem with elevated helmsman seats due to heeling angles.

7. The increased beam forward means that I can fly a spinnaker without the use of a pole, which hugely simplifies the set, dousing and jibes of the same. Even a symmetrical chute is, as a result, a true cruising sail. This tends to further increase my speed advantage while running or broad reaching over most cruising monohulls.

8. It is not only easier, but much safer to enter and return from the interior with gear, or food and drink in hand, both while underway and at anchor: one can simply walk in and out as if entering a house and is not required to climb a set of steep companionway steps, sometimes with a significant heel.

9. There is much more space to conveniently (and attractively) mount solar panels.

10 Except in heavy conditions or when offshore, my dinghy is carried on davits with the added protection from wind and waves provided by the shelter of the aft portion of the two hulls. In addition, because the waterline extends beyond the dinghy, its weight tends to have less effect on how the boat sits on her lines.

11. Neophytes, guests and children tend to prefer the relatively flat platform while underway; there are also less concerns about their safety while moving about.

12. Having experienced a few knockdowns in monos over the years, I can say from experience that they provide huge risks to the safety of those on deck and below, They also pose a real risk to the rig and sails. While a catamaran would stay inverted in similar circumstances, the risk of actually capsizing is much, much smaller than in a monohull. In fact, based on stability curves, it is significantly less than for a complete rollover in a monohull, which I have blessedly not experienced.

13. Should the worst case scenario arise, my cat should remain afloat if capsized. This provides a safe platform on my inverted bridgedeck in which to use the liferaft for accomodation ( I have installed 18,500 lb. breaking strength ubolts with which to lash it down). It would also be much easier to spot from the air for the purpose of a rescue.

14. I will never have to worry about sinking due to a hole in the hull, failed keel bolts or rudder tubes, a faulty thru-hull or the like. I suspect that the risk of these occurences to any boat is as great as that of a capsize in a properly sailed cat, when one considers the amount of garbage and cargo containers that are now floating (or partly submerged) in the oceans of the world.

15. She is also shoal draft in comparison to virtually any monohull of comparable size - this not only opens up more anchorages, it permits safer and easier entry over bars, reefs etc.

16. She is beachable. This permits cleaning the bottom, replacing anodes and inspections without a haulout.

17. There are redundant rudders.

18. There are redundant engines.

19. She is much easier to dock and to reverse than a monohull, especially one with a a long , or full keel (which I prefer in a monohull for offshore sailing).

20. I love the sensation of being able to catch the spray while riding on the tramps forward when underway.

Yes, all boats are compromises. No design is perfect. Your priorities may not mirror mine. But in my determination to go to a cruising cat after owning a series of cruising monohulls, I made a decision that was based upon numerous factors including overall safety. And there is much more to that than this monohulls sink, multihulls capsize debate.

Brad
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Old 13-06-2008, 10:59   #173
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Brad... you just totally talked me into a cat.
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Old 13-06-2008, 11:28   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
As I have gotten older, the joy of bashing to windward in any boat has lost much of its luster and I now tend to set courses (or await weather windows) that minimize the same.
Yea, you probably drink better liquor, too.


Dave
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Old 13-06-2008, 12:32   #175
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Thanks 2hulls, you just made me laugh out loud. Although I must confess, its true. Its absolutely true.

And Isbolick, I'm not really trying to convince anyone to buy a cruising cat. Some day I hope to buy either a high performance cat (with less comfort and accomodation but the capability of bursts of speed in excess of 2o knots), OR a smaller monohull with a traditional design and a small cabin for daysails and overnight getaways.

While the former sounds like an absolute blast, I really think my heart will ultimately pull me towards the latter. I truly do love the look and the feel of a well-balanced, traditional mono. The almost instant response to the tiller and to gusts of wind. And there is something incredibly romantic about a snug cabin with bronze portlights and varnished solid joinerwork.

Having said that, for many of us the advantages of the modern cruising cat outweigh the disadvantages. To each their own (and to the lucky person, both!).

Brad
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Old 13-06-2008, 12:47   #176
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I have plenty of time to make up my mind. But I am leaning hard towards the cat. Our first forays are going to be going from Charleston to Florida to the Bahamas and points south in the Caribbean. From what I am finding out, a cat would be ideal for us. Room for the whole family, a shallow draft, a great diving/snorkeling platform and I can't get away from the idea of laying out on that trampoline thingy under a hot equatorial sun...*sigh*. I also saw one that a couple had ripped out one of the spare heads and put in a washing machine. As the person responsible for clean clothes everywhere we go, I gotta tell you that is a deal maker. I am really starting to get excited. We might be able to get into something a lot sooner than I originally planned. I am starting to think about getting something a little less expensive that needs refitting. My brother is an electrician that did all the work on his own boat, my nephew is a diesel mechanic and my husband works in construction. We aren't afraid of hard work or of a project. Our last house was 125 years old and a wreck that we completely remodeled and then sold.

This is a huge amount of fun to just daydream about!
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Old 13-06-2008, 14:06   #177
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Sounds like a cat is indeed ideal for your needs. As to buying one that needs a major refit, be careful. Replacing/rebuilding twin diesels is expensive (even if you have a nephew who is a diesel mechanic). Sails, rigging - all of that can turn out to be alarmingly expensive on a cat in the 40 plus foot range.

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Old 13-06-2008, 14:30   #178
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Regarding stresses between the two hulls from wave action:

My boat is a 1985 Catalac 34' cat. She's cruised Europe, been across the Atlantic, cruised the Caribbean and South America before I bought her this year.

In all those thousands upon thousands of miles (2k of which I put on her so far), she hasn't a single stress crack in relation to the hulls trying to sail off in different directions from each other.

Of course, she's solid glass and heavy as you can get, but still... if built well, the stresses of two hulls shouldn't be an issue.
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Old 13-06-2008, 15:08   #179
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Well said Brad to your very comprehensive precis of why you like your cat.
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Old 13-06-2008, 15:17   #180
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Brad,

Reasons I agree with.

I was convinced in the early 80s.

Thanks for the writing of them.
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