Light with lots of sail is definitely fast. Length is the third main factor for speed. Tall masts are good in light air, not so good in heavy air.
Screechers, spinnakers etc are not as effective (can't be used on all points of sail) nor as easy to handle as equivalent mainsail
area on an unstayed mast.
Hence the Cruiser is a ~5 ton 60'ter with a 120 sq m/1,300 sq' no extras schooner rig with plenty of room, both inside and out. This is not magic, it is a function of smaller surface areas/less materials, lower overall loads (apart from the concentrated ones between the rudders on the lee hull) and an improved building system.
Shunting off a lee shore in a strong breeze is not quite as easy as shunt/gybing, but a lot less stressful than tacking.
On most cats, the person watching/retrieving the anchor
is perched on the bows trying to avoid the flogging jib
and either hand signalling or yelling so the helmsman can hear. When the anchor
is up, the boat is head
to wind and sails
must be backed to get it sailing.
To tack, choose a spot where the sea is flat, and if it is not, or the speed is too low, you get caught in irons and are driven backwards, perhaps damaging the rudders.
For these reasons, most cats and (monos) avoid any possibility of anchoring
on a lee shore and if caught on one, start their motors. Which is good seamanship, until a prop finds a crab pot, a mooring
line or a sheet over the side.
On the schooner rigged proa, the anchor winch
is next to the helmsman, the watcher is a couple of meters away and no where near the sails. When the anchor is up, the sails are sheeted on, the boat luffed and it is on course.
To shunt, you release the sheets
, then pull in the forward sail which gets the boat moving, and helps blow the aft sail into place. Trim the aft one and steer onto the new course. Pulling in the sails is much easier on a wishbone or other self vanging (Ballestron, etc) rig as you are only pulling the sail in, not down. The sheet loads are the same as traveller loads, but without all the friction.
The sail area required is much smaller as you do not have to attain enough speed to get you through the eye of the wind. There are no flogging sails or sheets
, everything can be done at a stately pace, without the need for raised voices or co ordinated crew work. An altogether less stressful situation than the catamaran
Assuming a beach to leeward, the worst case harryproa scenario is to sail/drift/let out enough anchor line and land on the beach. The rudders kick up (or can be lifted) and the boat draws about 200mm/8" so it sits far enough out of the surf to not suffer a pounding and is moved gently up the beach by a rising tide.
Shunting while motor
sailing requires either running motor(s) in reverse or starting one and stopping the other. We solved
this on the Cruiser with an electric
with an efficient, large diameter fixed prop mounted on a rotating leg. Not just for shunting, it is also good for moving the boat sideways, and can be raised to remove fouled lines and when sailing.
Comparing individual aspects of low cost proas with unstayed masts, no daggerboards and easily handled rigs to conventional catamarans is not apples to oranges, it is the entire fruit shop.
The apples-apples comparison is the suitability of the boats for fast, safe, low cost cruising. I'm interested in your (and others') opinions of the boat for this purpose.
An advantage of not having the rig and rudders in the windward hull
is that there are many more layout options. There is no reason why the saloon can't be extended at one end or both, if you can live with the added weight (not much, depending on what you put in the new space), windage (considerable) and looks (pretty sure Steinar could make it look acceptable).