Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 12-04-2007, 22:19   #1
Registered User
 
Limpet's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 154
Only Cat passage makers need reply

I have a question for you Catamaran owners/sailors that have actually made passages on a Cat. I'm trying to get a sense for the level of fear and/or concern you felt for capsizing, especially in bad weather. Is it the sort of thing where it is always on your mind and hence your entire trip plan is governed by it. For example, you might stay at a given safe harbor longer or change your plans more quickly in the face of potential bad weather more so than you might otherwise if you were aboard a mono-hull?
Weather forecasting has come a long way, but it would not be surprising to be caught by a weather system far from a safe port. With all the various actual capsize events dicussed on this forum, I've become concerned, especially given that I might take my family on a passage. Yes, the odds are still low, but I suspect there are a lot fewer cats making passages than mono-hulls, hence fewer such events can happen, perhaps providing a misleading view of the potential.
__________________

__________________
Limpet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 03:12   #2
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Whangaparaoa,NZ
Boat: 63 ft John Spencer Schooner
Posts: 956
I have done a trans atlantic on a cat, saw high 40's, not a worry. I think a decent offshore cat should stroll through 50 kn . Conditions above that are pretty rare in most parts of the world. I wouldn't worry about being in a cat unless I was heading back to the southern ocean or similar.
As always the experience and capability of the skipper is paramount. And there are cats and there are cats, some are not as suited for offshore as others, just like monos.
__________________

__________________
dana-tenacity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 03:50   #3
Registered User
 
Sunspot Baby's Avatar

Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Bern, NC
Boat: Prout Manta 38' Catamaran - Sunspot Baby
Posts: 1,521
Images: 14
We were caught in a sudden squall off the US East Coast. 50kn winds. It came on us unexpected. We were watching squalls on the radar, but this one popped up right on top of us.

My main is tricky to lower and/or reef so it stayed up. We doused foresails and rode it out. Remember that Prouts are conservatively rigged and the main is small as compared to foresails Granted, it was only a couple of hours of hairy stuff before the wind was back in the 30's but our sturdy little Prout gave no indication of capsizing.

We were much more worried about a lightning strike than capsizing.

George
__________________
She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
Bob Seger
Sunspot Baby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 05:14   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 223
I'm generally more worried at anchor then at sea. At sea a bad blow is easily ridden out. At anchor and at night you're scared of dragging and not being able to see to get out. That said...I nearly flipped the boat sailing last year, in conditions that weren't that bad!

25 knots on the beam, lumpy sea's, west coast of Nomuka Iki, Tonga. Sitting in the cockpit I watched a huge wave grow, maybe 50 yards off the beam, then come steaming in to lay me on my side, mast parallel to the ocean. It takes longer to read this then it took to happen. Everything in the cockpit fell overboard...cushions, containers, etc. The galley stove broke it's hold down bolts and jumped into the aisle. Everything was a mess inside. Just as quick as it happened it was over and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Didn't really have time to be scared, but it sure woke me up!
__________________
Kapena is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 05:33   #5
Ram
Registered User
 
Ram's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2005
Location: Cruising Greece
Boat: Cat in the med & Trawler in Florida
Posts: 2,298
Images: 27
I have not been out there in anything more than 43 knots & 15 ft seas and that was no problum, the thought of capsize never crossed my mind.
If your in weather that is bad enough to capsize you , it would not matter if you were in a mono or cat , both boats would likly be at risk, one could capsize the other could sink, take your pick
Ram
__________________
Ram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 05:56   #6
Registered User
 
sv_makai's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Currently, cruise is over and back in Solomons MD, USA
Boat: Voyage/Maxim 380 - Makai
Posts: 543
Images: 10
Send a message via Skype™ to sv_makai
Though we generally sit and wait for weather, no need to beat oneself up if it can be avoided, we have found that we have made the decsion to head out when other mono of elected to sit. We find that the cat is more stable in rough weather when sailing across at angle to the waves. I don't think I would move if the I had to motor dead into them.

We did find that we needed to keep our reefs deeper and keep an eye on the speed. It is easy to go fast and stuff a bow. We were not in any danger as the speeds we were moving (25-30 knots, 8-12 footers if i remember the period was 6-8 seconds???), wasn't excessive, it just brought more green water over. So we slowed down. Compared to our mono friends we were smoking along, but it was a safe and managable speed.

In controlled weather we still like to go out and sail in higher wind waves for the experince and practice helps us gauge future events.
__________________
Captain Bil formerly of sv Makai -- KI4TMM
The hunt for the next boat begins.
http://www.sv-makai.com
sv_makai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 09:01   #7
Registered User
 
Limpet's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 154
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kapena
...I nearly flipped the boat sailing last year, in conditions that weren't that bad!
25 knots on the beam, lumpy sea's, west coast of Nomuka Iki, Tonga. Sitting in the cockpit I watched a huge wave grow, maybe 50 yards off the beam, then come steaming in to lay me on my side, mast parallel to the ocean.
Was it the wave lifting the hull or was it the wave catching the sail that almost got you?
__________________
Limpet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 09:07   #8
Senior Cruiser
 
maxingout's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Fort Pierce, Phoenix
Boat: Privilege 39 Catamaran, Exit Only
Posts: 2,606
Three times I have been in wind to fifty knots offshore, and each time the catamaran has done extremely well as long as we controlled the speed of the yacht. We never had a problem with boarding seas even when running downwind.

In our experience, winds to 50 knots haven't generated seriously breaking seas, and when seas broke while running downwind, they simply ran under the bridgedeck rather than climbing the stern and going into the cockpit. I have never been afraid in a storm in my catamaran, and the reason is two fold. 1. I keep speeds at a safe level. 2. I haven't been in storms with wind over fifty knots.

If the winds got substantially higher than fifty knots, it could be an entirely different story. If that happened, I would be on my parachute sea anchor almost for sure. I would have been listening to the offshore forecasts and reading the weather faxes, and if it looked like the winds were going to be significantly higher than fifty knots, I would have my parachute in the water before the wind even reached fifty knots so that it would be easier to deploy the chute and hunker down and let the storm blow by.

I don't worry about capsize offshore because I sail conservatively, not so much because I am scared, but because breaking things is expensive and it takes a lot of time to fix broken stuff. I don't like spending my time and money fixing things that should never have broken in the first place. The second time I sailed to New Zealand, I saw bridgedeck damage to two cataramarans that had been sailed too fast for too long in big seas on the way to New Zealand. They were in the boatyard in Whangarei getting repairs made.

Since I worship at the altar of safety and comfort rather than at the altar of speed, I never had any close calls in my circumnavigation. The only time I have been canght with too much sail up was in wind acceleration zones and I wasn't paying attention. Off the north cost of Bali, sailing next to a large black shield volcano and heading into the Java Sea, I had 1000 square feet of headsail up (twin headsails with no main) and had at least 40 knots of wind pushing us to the north bashing our way through large overfalls that happen on the north end of the island. It was a massive struggle to get the sails down and restore normalcy on board Exit Only. Things like that happen when you're not paying attention. Dumb. Shame on me.

I am not too worried by winds up to fifty knots because I usually have a reasonable amount of sail up taking into account the prevailing conditions.

What really concerns me is sea state. When the seas are confused and coming at me from many different directions, that's when the going really gets tough and the boat takes a beating. It's not that I'm worried about a capsize. It's the demolition derby that can happen when waves are coming at us from every direction and we run into walls of water. Again, the answer to this problem is to simply slow the boat down so that we aren't charging full speed ahead into walls of water.

I'll tell you what really scares me is rogue waves that come seemingly out of nowhere. These ESWs - Extreme Storm Waves - giant walls of water that are 50 or 100 feet high like that shown in the front of the book, "Drag Device Data Base", are almost guaranteed to capsize a yacht. That's one of the reasons I enjoyed sailing around the world in the tradewinds when it wasn't hurricane season. I have never heard of ESWs in low lattitude trade wind sailing unless you happen to be riding out a hurricane offshore.

When I'm sailing offshore, I'm afraid of propane explosions and electrical fires on board. I don't sail offshore during the times of year and in locations where ESWs or hurricanes are likely.

Unless you are racing, it really doesn't make much sense to be sailing like a bat out of hell in high winds and rough seas. It's uncomfortable, hard on the yacht and crew, you break things, and is an unnecessary risk. One of my highest priorities offshore is to be nice to my autopilot. If my Autohelm 7000 gets stripped gears, it's time to handsteer the yacht. That doesn't sound like fun to me when it's blowing 40 to 50 knots running downwind.

When you stop and think about it, it's pretty awesome to have a yacht that can handle fifty knot winds without too much difficulty. That means you can sail thousands of places around the world in safety and relative comfort. After all, you are sailing in a catamaran, and it's no worries mate.

Cheers,
__________________
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only

http://SailingUNI.com
http://maxingout.com
http://PositiveThinkingSailor.com
maxingout is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 09:25   #9
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
 
TaoJones's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Montrose, Colorado
Posts: 9,850
Well said, maxingout . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout
I don't worry about capsize offshore because I sail conservatively, not so much because I am scared, but because breaking things is expensive and it takes a lot of time to fix broken stuff. I don't like spending my time and money fixing things that should never have broken in the first place.
Exemplary, maxingout! I salute you, sir!
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxingout
Since I worship at the altar of safety rather than at the altar of speed, I never had any close calls in my circumnavigation. The only time I have been canght with too much sail up was in wind acceleration zones and I wasn't paying attention. Off the north cost of Bali, heading into the Java Sea, I had 1000 square feet of headsail up (twin headsails with no main) and had at least 40 knots of wind pushing us to the north bashing our way through large overfalls that happen on the north end of the island. It was a massive struggle to get the sails down and restore normalcy on board Exit Only. Things like that happen when you're not paying attention. Dumb. Shame on me.
I've read elsewhere on the Forum your explanation of your downwind, dual-headsail system, but would you provide some detail on how you handled the above situation specifically? Had you been short- or single-handed, how would you have handled it?

I greatly enjoy your website, maxingout. It is informative, inspiring and a real pleasure to read.

TaoJones
__________________
"Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakens."
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
TaoJones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 10:05   #10
Senior Cruiser
 
maxingout's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Fort Pierce, Phoenix
Boat: Privilege 39 Catamaran, Exit Only
Posts: 2,606
Tao Jones,

You have now uncovered one of my sailing disasters of non-monumental proportions. And by the way, we were traveling with a South African monhull sailing through the overfalls when we both got into trouble. They experienced similar misery, except they had their mainsail up, and couldn't get it down.

So here is what happened. We were using twin headsails with both spinnaker poles out and sails pulling downwind in 40 knots of wind. It was a bit scary. At first we thought we might be able to ride it out. Just keep on trucking, but unfortunately, after about ten miles of flogging along downwind, things weren't letting up, and so we decided we had to do something constructive before something destructive happened. That's when I had an attack of stupidity. I decided to do a takedown of the sail, but I didn't want it to go ahead of the yacht into the water where I would run over it at high speed. So I joined the genius club, and I changed the heading of the yacht so I was on a very broad reach and the out of control sail was on the leeward side of the boat. I had one of my crew members release the halyard while another crew member pulled the sail in. That was a mistake. When the halyard was released, the sail instantly came straight aft where it hit my port side wind generator. In the twinkling of any eye, the wind generator tried to send a blade into orbit after it cut a twelve inch rip in the sail. I was standing a couple of feet away from the wind generator when the blade came off, and it was impressive to see the blade hit the water at about 100 miles an hour about ten feet from where I was perched at the helm. We dragged the sail on board, feathered the unbalanced wind generator, and everyone was unscathed. I should mention that the flogging of the sheet detached the shackle on a $250 snatch block and set it into orbit as well - at least it didn't hit anyone. If it had, it might have killed them. Very scary. Now you can see why I keep my speed under control. That little incident cost me a fifty dollar sail repair, a $250 snatch block, and $250 for wind generator blades. Dang Wangi!

That taught us a lesson. 1. Pay attention to what's going on around you, especially in wind acceleration zones and when you are sailing through miles of overfalls that are five or six feet high. 2. Get the double headsail rig down when the apparent wind gets above twenty-five knots.

The way we take the double headsail rig down is now quite simple. We roll up our roller furling genoa, and then unfurl it on the side that has the sail we want to take down. The roller furling genoa then blankets the free standing sail, and it is easy to take it down when the winds get to be too much for the double headsail rig.

Now you know the aweful truth.

Cheers,
__________________
Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only

http://SailingUNI.com
http://maxingout.com
http://PositiveThinkingSailor.com
maxingout is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 12:42   #11
Registered User
 
Limpet's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Texas
Posts: 154
Although I have not done a passage, I have been in situations were the sails had to be reefed or taken down in strong sudden winds. From these experiences, I have decided I would only do a passage if I had a auto-furling system, both on the Jib and Main Sail. I just can't risk one of my family (all girls) attempting to take in a sail in 40 Knot winds. Yes, I may loose some sail shape with a boom furler, but assuming they retract well, the safety aspect is worth it to me.
__________________
Limpet is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 12:51   #12
CF Adviser
Moderator Emeritus
 
TaoJones's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Montrose, Colorado
Posts: 9,850
I don't know your girls ages, Limpet . . .

. . . but in my experience, some of the smartest, toughest sailors I've ever seen were female, and most of them were young, or started sailing from a young age.

TaoJones
__________________
"Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakens."
Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1961)
TaoJones is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13-04-2007, 15:09   #13
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Whangaparaoa,NZ
Boat: 63 ft John Spencer Schooner
Posts: 956
True, any decent offshore sailboat should have no problems with 50kn, worth noting that 60 kn is twice as bad and above 70 kn it's downright surreal. But max is right, with a little common sense you can go a long way before you ever see that.
__________________
dana-tenacity is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-04-2007, 03:07   #14
Moderator Emeritus
 
GordMay's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario - 48-29N x 89-20W
Boat: (Cruiser Living On Dirt)
Posts: 31,577
Images: 240
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana-tenacity
True, any decent offshore sailboat should have no problems with 50kn, worth noting that 60 kn is twice as bad and above 70 kn it's downright surreal. ..
FWIW: Because wind force varies as the square of the velocity, an accelerating wind-speed from 50 knots will:
be 50% stronger at about 61 kts, and twice as strong at about 71 kts.
__________________
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"



GordMay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14-04-2007, 15:09   #15
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Whangaparaoa,NZ
Boat: 63 ft John Spencer Schooner
Posts: 956
I knew it was something like that but was too lazy to look it up, I just went by the remembered trembling in my knees.
__________________

__________________
dana-tenacity is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Characteristics of a Circumnavigating Cat Stella Polaris Multihull Sailboats 562 07-12-2015 13:56
BUILD A CAT?? Bob Norson Multihull Sailboats 105 22-02-2007 17:45
Quick Reply Box ssullivan Forum Tech Support & Site Help 11 10-08-2006 23:33
Passage to Turks and Cacos from West Palm vesselescape Atlantic & the Caribbean 1 21-10-2003 09:54



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:51.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.