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Old 26-04-2011, 09:11   #16
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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M

I've got to agree with Tropic Cat, if you're doing ocean passages and your choices are between these three, then the Catalac is by far and away the best choice. Not that the others couldn't (in the right conditions), but there were quite a few Catalacs made and they've been proven many times.


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Old 26-04-2011, 10:42   #17
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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M

Originally Posted by Tropic Cat View Post
What an interesting post. How many Catalac 12M's have you made passages on? I think you probably should google "Queen's Birthday Storm"
This has nothing to do with opinions. IN GENERAL... The characteristics that make any multihull weatherly & more seaworthy are: Wider OA, (to a point), light weight, relatively small cabins for less windage, really good wing clearence, low center of gravity, good visibility forward, some form of good lateral resistance, and a rig that is quickly & easily reefed & controlled. The "price", is far less comfort and accommodation at the dock. You can't have it all.

The characteristics that take away from a multihulls seaworthiness are: Too narrow for optimum stability, (too fit a slip), heavy for its size, HUGE cabins with lots of windage, too tall/wide a cabin & center of gravity, huge "blind spots" forward, poor lateral resistance, And/or awkward rigs. The price they pay for their considerable comfort at the dock, is FAR less seaworthiness than the other types. It is just physics.

Many people are happy with both choices, and should remain so, if they look at their designs for what they are and don't try to do what they are not good at.

No account of one particular crossing or storm is relevant. Sometimes good seamanship, knowing when to run, and luck come into play. I was not referring to what type is "better". That depends on what one wants to do with the boat.

I know people with low wing clearance condomarans, (incl a couple of Prouts), who "tried" to sail them like we sometimes do our Searunner... long passages, hard to windward, into very high wind & waves. They later turned and limped home, only to immediately haul out and deal with the months of structural repairs! That's not just pounding... it's the sound of your boat coming apart! I've spent years working in boatyards, and have firsthand experience with this.

I was trying to warn folks with these sorts of multi's, not to drive them hard to windward in 35 or 40 knots of wind & 15' + waves. You need good wing clearance, (among other things), to do this. Sail this type of boat with the level of reserve that the design characteristics dictate, and you should be fine. Sail it like it doesn't have limitations... ONLY AT YOUR OWN RISK!

May we all live well with our life choices... M.

Hard to windward in 35 to 40 knots & 15' seas...
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Old 26-04-2011, 11:41   #18
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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M

I can't speak personally for the sea worthiness of either boat the OP asked about. There is another member on occasionally that has a 30 ft Endeavourcat. He has a dock across the creek from me here in NC. When he was bringing the boat down from new england a year or so ago, he tells me that he was caught in a gale off of NJ in 26 foot seas. He said at no time did he feel in any danger or out of control. The 34 and 36 foot versions of the Endeavourcat are scaled up versions of the 30 ft designs. At least one Endeavourcat 30 has crossed the pacific. The 44 ft Endeavourcat that I have is a completely new design and any seaworthiness issues it might have would not apply to the 34/36 foot design. Comments I've heard from some of the smaller ECs would seem to indicate they have more of a problem motoring to windward in a steep chop such as found in the Pamlico and the Chesapeake rather than in the ocean. I would not hesitate to take the boats Island hopping, though I might think twice about crossing an ocean.

On my 44 my biggest concern on an ocean crossing would be the large flat windows. If a wave broke one it could swamp the boat in short order. The boat is built like a tank, so I would not be worried about the boat breaking up. I once got into a situation where I was surfing down a steep wave and the hulls started to dig in. When the bridge deck contacted the water the boat essentially surfed on the bridgedeck lifting the bow and showing no tendency to dig in and threaten to pitchpole. While the 34/36 pod is closer to the water than my bridgedeck, being a solid foredeck cat like mine it would have the same tendency, maybe even more so since you don't have to bury the bows 2.5 feet before you start getting bouancy from the bridgedeck like I do. In a tramp deck cat I've actually seen water coming over the bows before they started to lift in similar conditions.

Good Luck in your search.
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Old 27-04-2011, 22:18   #19

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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M

Originally Posted by Mark Johnson View Post
This has nothing to do with opinions. ...
Agreed. It's why I asked you what experience you had in order to make that extraordinary statement. I would suggest when you are offering opinions and have no experience, you mention that in your posts.

The Catalac 12 meter survived the worst storm on record in the Pacific, at ground zero, without losing it's mast or any of her crew receiving injuries. What makes this important, is every monohull was rolled and dismasted and lives were lost. Yet you question the Catalac's seaworthiness by offering an unsubstantiated opinion.

For the record, I sail both and feel that a trimaran is little basis of experience when it comes to cruising catamarans.
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Old 29-04-2011, 06:03   #20
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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M

If one equates seaworthiness with 'weatherliness' - performance to windward, then Mark is largely correct. However, I would suggest that his outline is far too simplistic.

For example, increased displacement actually increases resistance to capsize. Wider bridgedeck tunnels require even more bridgedeck clearance, which in turn raises both the CE of the sailplan, the CG of the boat and windage. Excessive beam also increases the risk of pitchpoling, makes tacking more difficult and increaes the tendancy of a boat to 'wander', rather than track effectively. Higher sailplans tend to be far more effective, especially to windward in light air, but they also raise the CE of the sailplan, increasing the risk of capsize. Saving weight is important, but what if it is done at the cost of reduced strength, or the elimination of safety features such as bow pulpits/lifelines, auxilliaries that are able to make headway in a blow and/or strong current, offshore quality hatches/ports, etc., etc. ? And where does hulll design fit into his equation? Fine entires improve performance, but do so at an increased risk of burying a bow/pitchpoling.

What is required, IMO, is a 'balanced' design, not one that is strongly biased in favour of performance overall, or on any particular point of sail. As a result, boats such as Catalacs and Prouts - if sailed as their designers intended, are very seaworthy vessels. It should not be surprising, therefore, they have admirable track records in terms of safety in making offshore passages.

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Old 29-04-2011, 08:02   #21
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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M

My bros 37ft Prout Cat regularly did 150 miles a day, 200 on good days, all acroos the indian ocean. A true blue water cruiser and almost unsinkable and untippable.
Great internal layout too. My own 30ft Prout was much the same, I'd have taken it anywhere I had sea room. Prout's are better than almost any sailor in bad weather.
The prices nowadays are attractive too and won't suffer with time. These boats hold their price whatever the economy is doing just because they are so well built.
Ex Prout 31 Sailor, Now it's a 22ft Jaguar called 'Arfur' here in sunny Southampton, UK.
A few places left in Quayside Marina and Kemps Marina.
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Old 29-04-2011, 14:21   #22
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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M

Snipp, I hope you might re-evaluate your criteria. I have been living and sailing on the Chesapeake Bay for 20 years. I have owned cruising cats for most of that time (but started with a tri) and I have never been without a place to tie up. For the most part I have been on the Tee Head of a pier, with no complaints and one very positive aspect. I was closer to sailing, and generally had more room to maneuver in when one engine wasn't running. Sh!t does happen. I can only guess how much money I've saved in fender-bender repairs!

Let me suggest some considerations I've found to be more important:
1. don't buy a boat too wide for the average travel lift. That would be < 20' here.
2. Do buy a boat with enough sail to move in July and August when the forecast is five knots and 90 degrees with high humidity.
3. Get a boat with lots of opening hatches and bug screens.
4. Don't get a particularly heavy boat for anywhere; strong can be light.
5. Don't get a boat that's bashful about going to weather; the Bay is long, but the winds follow it, so tacking is mandatory, and there are tidal currents. Further, all the fun places are up a river, and you would rather sail than motor to get there.
6. Get a boat that doesn't take a lot of crew to enjoy. There are more sailing newbees than experienced winch grinders available around here when the racing season gets under way.
7. Don't spend more than two thirds your budget on the boat; no matter what you get you'll spend 15% of the purchase price maintaining it, before you buy insurance and curtains to match the mildew stains....

With all that in mind, I personally would avoid older, narrow beamed cats. The Gemini is perfect for the Chesapeake Bay and for Coastal Cruising. Its even suited for the Caribbean. Better choices are PDQ's, Seawinds, and French Boats. If you can find a VERY well maintained Prout with big sails, it would work. A Packet Cat is a motor sailer, and its discontinuation is a measure of its marketability.

You get what you pay for. If you don't have the skills and enthusiasm to repair things, don't buy things that have to be repaired. You will never get to enjoy them.
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Old 29-04-2011, 16:01   #23
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Re: PacketCat v. EndeavourCat v. Catalac 12M


For what it is worth...

Sandy makes some excellent points. I also looked for a moderate beam catamaran because of limited docking and virtually no mooring in Great South Bay.

I was particularly fond of the Lagoon 35ccc because that was the first cruising catamaran I set foot on (at Atlantic City Sail Expo) and was the boat that convinced my wife to try bareboating in the BVI (she has a BAD case of monohullitis, and would rather not sail if she has to sail sideways).

When I wanted to look for a sailboat, she said as long as it was a catamaran, and galley up (a requirement for her).

Budget dictated a used boat, though we spent almost an hour each on the Gemini 105 and TomCat 9.7 in Annapolis in 2006.

35' was the starting point as we will probably limit our cruising to coastal cruising, and will probably be sailing just the two of us for most of the time. While I shopped the internet for about 6 years, we looked seriously for about 3-4.

Boats I considered in order of preference and seriousness of my pursuit:

Lagoon 35ccc*- loved it from the beginning
Fountain Pajot Tobago 35* - chartered three times, enjoyed sailing it
Victory 35 - roomy, good price, solid bridge deck, couldn't get on one
PDQ 32 - right size, right price, galley down
FP Athena 38 - if the owner would have moved a little more on the price, maybe...
FP Antiqua 37 - a little older than looking for
Packet Cat 35 - nice interior, heavy
Gemini 105 - galley down, just didn't like the idea of cranking up the centerboards. We actually thought long and hard about a new one at Annapolis though. However, we saw a used Lagoon 35ccc the day before and there was just no comparison.
TomCat 9.7 - didn't like the idea of centerboard in the middle of the boat.

*Most serious contenders

I had three surveys done before we bought our boat. Would have bought the first L35, but lost out on it. that is a long story which doesn't need to be told--mostly my naivete cost me!

FYI, I believe there are still two Lagoon 35s for sale in Florida. They were designed by Morrelli & Melvin. You don't hear too much about them as only 11 were produced before Lagoon became part of Group Beneteau and the stopped producing Lagoons in Rhode Island by TPI, Inc. I know where 9 of the 11 are and have contact with 8 of the owners.


"People sail for fun and no one has yet convinced me that it's more fun to go slow than it is to go fast." -Dick Newick
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