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Old 04-09-2007, 13:32   #1
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Multihull on Strait of Georgia

There have been quite a few posts of how multihulls perform compared to monohulls, but, I confess, I am still confused. It would help me if some of our BC posters (or visitors to BC) could tell me if they have had experience crossing the Strait of Georgia from Nanaimo to Secret Cove in say 20 knot winds, with 4 to 6 ft. chop and small craft warnings in both mono and multis. I spent some time there this summer in a mono and first got wind and especially short steep waves out of the SE directly on the beam and on another time NW waves and wind almost on the nose. My boat is a 35 ft. sloop. I have been wondering about a multi in the 32-38 ft range. How would it do in the same conditions?

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Old 04-09-2007, 15:37   #2
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Do all mono's perform the same in the same conditions? Just like monohulls, multihulls are not all created equal. I have recent experience of sailing a 38 foot Bob Oram cat in 20 - 30 knot winds on the nose, with the wind against a strong tidal flow (@ 2 - 3 knots) producing a very unpleasant short steep chop of around 1.5 - 2 metres.

The boat did fine, but it wasn't what you would call smooth or dry by any means. We were pinching the boat up to keep speeds down to around 6 - 7 knots for comfort's sake - holding apparent wind angles of 25 - 30 degrees, where the best angle for that boat was closer to 35 degrees apparent, but sailing that angle would have seen speeds of over 10 knots, and quite a rough ride. I don't think many mono's of similar size would have done any better - that day the only mono's we saw going the same way were motoring.

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Old 04-09-2007, 19:35   #3
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We were in the Straits, N. Gulf Island, Comox area, Nanaimo, etc. in mid-July (you may recall when the unseasonally windy/rainy weather came through - that was the tail end of a typhoon) in a Lagoon 380. Went through the difficult passes up there, etc. A couple days of 25 to 30 kt winds, some of it on the nose, some on the beam.

We've done this in both monos and cats. I'll take a cat, thank you. Much more comfortable. Most cats won't tack all that well and if they have minikeels rather than daggerboards, they'll make more leeway than a mono. So, it is always more pleasant to avoid going to windward. However, you also learn in a cat to cope with it -- you just do things a bit differently, that's all. E.G., we were coming SW through Portier and into the relatively narrow channel going SE. We were beating into the wind, making many tacks in about 25 knts. A 35-ish foot mono came through at about the same time, heading the same direction. The mono was definitely making tighter tacks, and therefore fewer of them, but when we let off just a bit instead of pinching, we gained a good 2.5 knts of speed. When we backed the jib in the tacks, we could bring our hulls around a bit quicker and not lose so much speed. By the end of the channel when the water opened up a lot more, we were still at about the same places, relative to each other, as when we started. So, at least on this boat (which was chartered, so we weren't very familiar with her), although it took more effort when going to windward, we ended up getting to the same place at pretty much the same time. Oh, but we were dry, my friend's niece was sunbathing on the tramp, and the cokes didn't move in the salon.

Of course, just like monos, cats are different. If the 32 to 38 range, there are a number of possibilities, it depends on what you want the most, performance or comfort.

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Old 04-09-2007, 20:23   #4
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I've sailed our 40' catamaran from Hornby I to Lasqueti in a typical 25 knot SE Georgia Strait conditions, with 4 to 6' waves. Sailed at 7 - 8 knots and I was pinching a bit too to keep speed down. If I let it fall off a bit it would take off FAST. I sat in the doghouse (it was an open bridgedeck cat) and read, while wife and 3 year old daughter mostly napped below. Bit bumpy but no real drama. We anchored and talked to a C&C 28 that got in before us and had done the same trip. They said they were beat up and were just tired. We went for a walk in the woods ashore for an hour or so. It was no sweat for us, and if sailing a mono, we would have been in the same condition as the couple on the C&C....
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georgia, multihull

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