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Old 08-10-2010, 15:57   #1
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Organizing the Cats by Performance

My buddy and I were discussing the relative merits of the big production builders (almost all french) after Multihulls World mag (also french) called a big Lagoon "fast". We started to rate these major players on the general lineup. We were just tryng to stay with the big producers who have a mostly full line. What I'd like is input if my analysis is flawed. The only criteria is performance which is speed. In order from fastest to slowest is
Outremer
Catana
Fountaine Pajot
Nautitech
Lagoon
Privelege
Prout
Sunreef
The Robertson and Caine and Deans are probably in the middle. The Gunboats and Dolphins are in another category altogether. The rest of the builders are pretty small either in product range or capacity. Am I wrong. Are Lagoons "fast"?
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Old 08-10-2010, 16:27   #2
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Outremer
Spirited
St Francis
Lightwave
Seawind
Catana
Leopard
Nautitech
Fountaine Pajot
Lagoon
Privelege
Prout
Sunreef
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Old 08-10-2010, 16:59   #3
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Here's some info on catamarans of around 40 ft (Gunboat excepted). Sail Area/Displacement isn't the only thing affecting performance - there are many other factors such as windage, hull shape, etc. It does however give you a reasonable point of departure in terms of how much performance potential there might be.

Boat ........................ Square meters of sail per ton***
Gunboat 48 ............. 15.9

Lavezzi .................. 13.8
Maxim 380 ............. 13.7
Seawind 1160 ......... 13.0
Catana 42 .............. 12.0
FP Lipari ................ 11.8
Lagoon 380 ............ 11.2
Broadblue 415 ........ 11.1
Lagoon 400 ............ 8.5

*** I used metric (square meters/metric tons).

Basically if you're going to try and rank by performance you need to specify the model, and you need some objective criterion. I've only sailed on a Lavezzi, Seawind 1160 and Broadblue 380. And I've sailed past a number of other models....

For those really interested the correct Sail Area/Displacement calculation is:
.....SA/D = Sail Area in square feet / ((Displacement in pounds/64)^0.666)
But I think this was developed for ballasted racing boats and the numbers are relative. That is to say, higher numbers are faster boats.
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Old 08-10-2010, 19:05   #4
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Originally Posted by Factor View Post
Outremer 37
Spirited 0
St Francis 3
Lightwave 0
Seawind 13
Catana 79
Leopard 67
Nautitech 73
Fountaine Pajot 271
Lagoon 286
Privelege 76
Prout 70
Sunreef 15

I won't argue with your ranking but wonder what is considered production. The numbers next to your list are current listings on Yachtworld. I realize that not every owner uses this listing service but it should indicate something. I would say Lightwaves, Spiriteds, St. Francis, and really Sunreef and Seawind, are not production builders, and certainly not big ones.

Voyage, Gemini, and Corsair have ALOT more listings.
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Old 08-10-2010, 19:16   #5
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I would agree with you on Spirited, But Lightwave and Seawind are certainly production builders. seawind employ over 100 staff at two large factories in Australia and make about 50 large cats a year - in a good year

St francis - I will leave that for others but I would think they are production.

Lightwave has a large well established factory in Australia. As far as I am aware Prout isnt a builder of any sort any more.
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Old 08-10-2010, 19:20   #6
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Allinghi
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Wharram

But why not a tri?

b.
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Old 08-10-2010, 20:01   #7
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I would agree with you on Spirited, But Lightwave and Seawind are certainly production builders. seawind employ over 100 staff at two large factories in Australia and make about 50 large cats a year - in a good year

St francis - I will leave that for others but I would think they are production.

Lightwave has a large well established factory in Australia. As far as I am aware Prout isnt a builder of any sort any more.
Your knowledge is much greater then mine on this subject so I'll defer to it. St. Francis bills themselves as a custom builder in that they of course use the same hull and modify the rest to meet the owners needs. I personally think for modern BIG production cat manufactures, your looking at FP, Lagoon, and R&C. For these, I'd agree completely with your ranking. On this side of the world, we don't see to many Seawinds or Lightwaves, at least I haven't.
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Old 08-10-2010, 20:47   #8
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I love you guys. I didn't mention the large production but limited models like the Seawinds, Mantas, and Geminis because you really only have 1 to 3 models to choose from although they all are great boats. I suppose they would fall in the middle of the performance chart. My buddy went on a Sunreef which led to our initial discusssion. Prout is similar in that they only produce larger cats but do an impressive amount of business overall. Big cats equals big money. I put them on the list because they are "tugboats" as another friend calls them and someone has to be at the bottom. If I had one given to me I would sail that tug until radioactive decay of fiberglass totally disintegrated the boat. But if I was to spend 1.4 mil dollars I would want some speed instead of volume. I didn't list the fine South African or Austalian builders because they are either fairly limited production runs or with just a few models in the lineup. Alas my finances are much more limited and I will probably get an older and smaller Catana or Outremer. I have run the SA/D and Bruce numbers on boats from these big builders and it seems that the builders several production models are pretty similar. Gregor Tarjans excellent book "Catamarans" graphs the displacement to length curve. It shows that the different models from one manufacturer all seem to follow the same line. Hull fineness and all the other numbers will affect any outcome but overall I think that a builders range of boats are very similar in performance. Gunboats come from an alien planet and are powered by stardust and I want one. Come on LOTTO. BOB Thanx again
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Old 08-10-2010, 21:09   #9
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you left out corsair and drangonfly
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:49   #10
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New Logoons's are much faster than before and new Catana's are way slower than before. For this latter, it seems that they lost their naval architecht to Outremer and they are now opting for more space and comfort rather than performance and speed. Maybe this way they see more market, who knows ??

Lagoons were traditionially on conservative side when it comes to rigging. They are still heavy but better rigged.

One last note; SA to Displacement is very important when predicting the speed but is not the only parameter. Hull shape, hence, wetted surface is equally important. Therefore, a very fast catamaran can easily turn to a very slow one if they are slightly loaded. In real life, we never sail with light displacement...If we take one Lagoon or FP vs an Outremer of the same size and if we load both of them to the maximum, the gap in speed (and in overall performance) could be very tiny..

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Old 09-10-2010, 09:02   #11
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This comparison becomes pretty murky very quickly, first because the selection is limited and second because builders are all chasing the same market, for the most part. This market has solidified around a set of features that are not performance oriented. Currently a production boat shoots for high levels of interior finish, large cabins with full standing headroom, full suites of electronics and hotel services, and so on. Were performance more than a distant third level goal, cats would all look like variations on an Outremer Theme. Claims of dagger-board like performance from mini-keels would evaporate, hulls would be much narrower, displacements would plummet, and, most importantly, buyers would be fanatical about minimizing loads. No generators, no huge battery banks, no airconditioning, no ice makers no cirian countertops, and one head; tall masts and 3' bridge deck clearances would rule.

The builders would be glad to produce performance boats if they could sell them, but they can't. We buyers DON'T WANT THEM. Or at least those of us who do can't pony up enough money get their attention.

Several years ago I visited a cruising Catana with four adults living aboard. ALL their clothes could fit in a medium sized suit case. There were two tiny diesels, two group 27 batteries, and no refrigeration on board. There was one radio, no radar, and one Garmin 45 GPS. God, could that boat fly!

Yesterday I sat (reverently) on a Chris White 57 from Alwoplast at the boat show in Annapolis. I now understand that it takes 2 million dollars to have luxurious surroundings, ne plus ultra construction, and performance.

They might build three or four of these this year.

I suspect there are a lot of readers who are hoping to find a rule breaker, a cheap, high performance cruiser with lots of goodies. I predict that every single boat proposed will fall dramatically short in one regard or another. Just face the facts: if you want a Outremer or Atlantic, its just not going to be made by anyone one else. When you are asking for ultimate, good enough ain't gonna get it. If you're willing to compromise on performance, the selection goes from a handful of million dollar boats to thousands of $300K also-rans. An under $200K 15 year old Outremer or Catana will show up on YachtWorld two or three times a year, and will turn out to need some very expensive refitting.

My point (lost in the preceding torrent of negativity and elitist snobbery) is this: There isn't 10% difference between the highest and lowest performance of the absolutely largest part of the catamaran market no matter how you define the idea. The skipper's ability to lighten ship makes a far greater difference.

And if you think real performance can come from minikeels you are lucky; any number of cats will satify you.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:12   #12
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Well guys, as I freely admit, my technical competence when it comes to yachts, sailing, and performance figures is limited.

But I have owned a Lagoon 380 and a Lagoon 400.

And whatever the performance figures suggest, the 400 is a faster sailboat than the 400. In normal and light airs.

We have plenty of kit (genny, batteries, tender etc) but we only use our boats for holidays and weekends so they have never been heavily loaded (so far), so I think that we should be sailing close to the manufacturers comfort zone for loading. And in our experience, the L380 was a very comfortable and well balanced sailing boat but the L400 has maybe a 10% advantage on most points of sail (but it isn't 10% longer and the performance tables suggest it should be slower).

So, I for one would say that there may be a certain corporate performance norm for each manufacturer but it is important to try out each model because they can vary enormously in their character and performance.

There have been many discussions about the performance of the Lagoon 420 and I'm not sure what's true but many people believe that this Lagoon's performance was outside of the expected envelope for this manufacturer at this size. Just an example, and i am sure that there are others from all the manufacturers.

But if we are talking 'average' performance across the manufacturers range, then Factor's list seems representative of the view of many previous threads that I have read.

As for the discussion about who should be included in the list......... that's really tricky. It seems that your country of residence may influence your decision, or is it factory space, or do you have to be a solvent and trustworthy manufacturer to be included.

This discussion really needs a few beers to make it enjoyable!

Cheers guys

Garold
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:30   #13
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Sandy

I like my mini keels.

They don't help with the sailing much but they are a great comfort when drying out.

And I guess that's your point. Most of us have other things higher up the needs list than performance. And to achieve true performance one would have to sacrifice many comforts.

For my wife, her list went something like: heads design, saloon comfort, galley facilities, cockpit comfort, heating, etc etc. Performance never entered her head. And I guess the manufacturers have to sell to her as much to me.

Funnily, as i get older, my list is starting to look very similar to my wife's!

Cheers

Garold
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Old 10-10-2010, 00:53   #14
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Muskoka the one thing you have to be careful of is taking the stats from the manufacturer. A large number of their quoted weights are way different to the actual weight of the boat (on the wrong side!). For me what would be interesting is to see actual weights from owners who have weighed their boats and then see a comparison. It is also impacted, especially in lighter winds if you can fly a screecher, not all cats can fly one on a bowsprit due to the design of the front crossbeam.
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Old 10-10-2010, 03:15   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sand crab View Post
My buddy and I were discussing the relative merits of the big production builders (almost all french) after Multihulls World mag (also french) called a big Lagoon "fast". We started to rate these major players on the general lineup. We were just tryng to stay with the big producers who have a mostly full line. What I'd like is input if my analysis is flawed. The only criteria is performance which is speed. In order from fastest to slowest is
Outremer
Catana
Fountaine Pajot
Nautitech
Lagoon
Privelege
Prout
Sunreef
The Robertson and Caine and Deans are probably in the middle. The Gunboats and Dolphins are in another category altogether. The rest of the builders are pretty small either in product range or capacity. Am I wrong. Are Lagoons "fast"?

LOL , you left out one of the largest catamaran production builders (600 boats) with countless Atlantic crossings and some circumnavigations.. Now out of business but so are others on your list. Catalac .. and they belong somewhere along the bottom of the performance list.
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