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Old 03-04-2012, 11:52   #1
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Problem Coming About on Maine Cat 30

Iím interested in buying a Maine Cat 30 for use on a long inland lake and got to sail on one recently to see what I thought. It was a very old one and we had trouble coming about without motor assist. This was on a coastal bay with a moderate chop but I would have expected the cat to make it around without using the engine. Hereís what I think the problem was. Iíd like know what others think because in my reading about this brand of boat I have not heard this complaint.
The outboard engines on this boat (reportedly extensively refitted because of age) could not be raised in their compartments so they stayed in the water creating drag. The sails on this old gal were the baggiest Iíve seen and we were only using the working self-tending jib. So we were only getting 6 or 7 knots when we started to come about. As soon as we would depower the sails when coming across the wind our speed would drop to under 2 knots immediately. My theory is that the drag from having the engines still in the water is what put us in irons before completing the ďcome about.Ē I have a friend who says wrong cut and baggy sails can do the same thing. Also, because of the self-tending jib arrangement, it is not really feasible to backwind the jib to assist around.
I really love the design and layout of the Maine Cat 30 because, like a Lagoon 440, it has an open bridge deck. 360 view and everyone can be involved and see too. No main salon in the way with just one or two people in the raised chair where all the action is.
So I really like the boat but must resolve the coming about question for the one we eventually buy. My questions include:
Anyone have trouble coming about on the Maine Cat 30?
Anyone have trouble getting the engines to raise when not being used?
Do you think the problem is the drag from the engines on speed generally and particularly coming around?
Does anyone have a Maine Cat 30 for sale?
Thanks in advance!
P.S
We had no trouble coming around on the Lagoon 440 charter barge with baggy sails.
Clubfooted Jib
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:04   #2
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

Don't know spisificly about the Maine cat, but I have a lot of experence on Lagoons, PDQs, Geminis etc. You will usually need to backwind your jib to get a cat to come about. The self tenting jib is most likley your problem. Try it with a sail that you can hold to weather and see if you don't do better.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:41   #3
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

You can be happy to join the elite club that includes square riggers and wear ship or jibe instead of tacking
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Old 03-04-2012, 14:39   #4
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

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Originally Posted by capt.bobfm View Post
Don't know spisificly about the Maine cat, but I have a lot of experence on Lagoons, PDQs, Geminis etc. You will usually need to backwind your jib to get a cat to come about. The self tenting jib is most likley your problem. Try it with a sail that you can hold to weather and see if you don't do better.
Ah - No. I have a self tacking jib, never ever ever had to back wind to come about, she tacks reliably every single time.

On many boats a failure to tack is usually the result of centre of effort being to far back, i.e. a main weathercocking, and releasing the main sheet a bit will fix that, but it appears that that is not the problem here.

I have put a tweaker on my self tacking jib, mainly for our social racing but that might help your situation, no need for anything fancy just a line tide to the traveller car and lead back each side of the cockpit through some fair leads.

Because I enjoy using it I have made mine a little more upmarket and with a 2 to 1 purchase. See Photos.

But I reiterate, there are plenty of cats out there that will tack without backwind the jib, when we are cruising I just leave the tweaker loose and let the jib do what it likes.
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Old 03-04-2012, 14:40   #5
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

I've got an MC30, they are all built pretty equal so the age of the boat itself shouldn't have much to do with it. I can leave both my engines down and in 8Knts of wind or above, I just need to let out the main sheet a bit to depower and she comes right around. I have had to use the engine before, but only when its really light wind, or I stall it by not keeping the rudder hard over. I'd say 80% of the time she comes around without issue. Its possible that the old sails would stall the boat early.
The other thing is that these boats have a dagger board on only one side (which I rarely use anyway) but if its down, the boat will react differently going to port than to starboard. Just a thought!

You can PM me if your interested in coming to take a look, my boats are always for sale!

-Jeff
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Old 03-04-2012, 14:45   #6
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

We dont have a maine cut but ours has self tacking jib, and comes about no problem, One thing I have noticed is if I crank the wheel hard over while sailing slower it can stall the cat versus bringing her about nice and easy, she coasts right through the tack.
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Old 03-04-2012, 15:31   #7
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

The problems are contributory, but you might get help if you drop the main down a bit as you come across the eye of the wind.

The foresails push the bows, the main pushes the sterns.

edit: and what dulcesuenos said. Make a big U-turn, don't throw hard over.
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Old 03-04-2012, 15:41   #8
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

Just to clarify that a Maine Cat 30 is open bridgedeck but an L440 is not. It has a flybridge. Other open bridgedeck designs are the MacGregor 36, Cat2Fold, Woods Scylla just about all racing cats and others. They are not very popular because of the total lack of protection from the elements. It's like you are in a big Hobie. Maine Cat has solved this issue rather well.
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Old 03-04-2012, 15:41   #9
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My friend has a MC 30 and Ive sailed on her quite a bit. We've never had a problem tacking. I would say the drag of the motors and possibly a fouled bottom may be the problem. Anything that slows the boat will help to kill a tack. We also never had to back wind the jib on his boat. I don't think you can go wrong with the Maine Cat 30.
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Old 03-04-2012, 16:20   #10
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

To All;
Thanks for your ideas, several of which I had not considered. I think having the main too tight (or just easing it for coming about) could make a big difference and I had not considered it. Or the need for a bottom job, which could be true given this boat is in charter.
And please keep the thread alive for I really need all the advice I can get. E.g has anyone had trouble with the hoists that raise the outboards in their compartments?
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Old 03-04-2012, 16:32   #11
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

Whatever other problems you encounter because of them those motors should come out of the water no matter what--they will kill your speed in light airs, and that can contribute to making a cat hard to tack. I have not owned a Maine Cat but I used to own a 32-foot French cat with long keels and she did not tack like a typical monohull. Cats do not carry their way into and through the wind, hence you need to sail them at a good clip and then make a more gradual turn sailing at good speed through the wind onto the other tack. On a mono you just put the helm down and momentum carries your around, but not on many cats.Sail a more gradual arc through the tack, rather than a sudden change of course. In rougher seas sometimes a sea will knock the bow back at just the wrong moment, killing the tack, and then you may need to back the jib momentarily--really more a matter of holding the jib on the previous tack briefly until the bow is through the wind before releasing.
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Old 03-04-2012, 17:31   #12
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

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Originally Posted by Clubfooted Jib View Post
To All;
Thanks for your ideas, several of which I had not considered. I think having the main too tight (or just easing it for coming about) could make a big difference and I had not considered it. Or the need for a bottom job, which could be true given this boat is in charter.
And please keep the thread alive for I really need all the advice I can get. E.g has anyone had trouble with the hoists that raise the outboards in their compartments?
Clubfooted Jib
I was a little lead astray on your first post - I thought you were sailing with just headsail. If you were using main as well, before you do anything else just try easing the main sheet - just as you start the tack. The baggier the main the further aft the centre of effort will be contributing more to your issue.

See how you go, I don't need to sail an arc as some suggest, its helm hard over and round she goes, on any of the hundreds of cats I have sailed the majority of the tacking issues were able to be cured or reduced by simply easing the main.

But yeah - get those motors out of the water, the drag from two 9.9s on my boat is worth about 1.5 knots, and you must be getting horrible electrolysis. Fix your motor problem and then try the main and I think you may be very suprised.
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Old 03-04-2012, 17:56   #13
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

Good answers above. What I do on any boat that comes about "iffy" (including the HC 38 in the pic at left) is to bear down a bit just before tacking to gain speed, round up slowly, backwind the jib to pull her around.....
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:30   #14
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

We have chartered a MC30 a couple of times in the Abacos. First time soloing on a big cat, but had experience on Hobies. Never had much of a problem, but engines were up. A couple of times we resorted to slacking mainsheet to prevent "weathervaning", but that was it. It does take a little bit of practice for most cats.

Have since built Wood Skua (9m) open bridgedeck and she tacks fine too, on a regular basis. Although at one point last fall with the bottoms a bit grungy and going slowly to windward in short steep chop (Nantucket Sound), we got stuck in irons, but slacked the main, backwinded it, threw the helm over the other way and swung around ok. (brought back memeories of the old Hobie 14!)

I can't imagine tacking well with the outboards down, way too much drag for my boat, I'm sure.

FWIW, I say you can't go wrong with a MC30. Scrub 'er down and lift those engines and you'll have a blast!

Lincoln
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Old 04-04-2012, 15:46   #15
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Re: Problem coming about on Maine Cat 30

To All;
Again, thank you very much for your time and thoughts which have been very, very helpful. To clarify, I do not currently own a Maine Cat 30. We chartered an old one for and afternoon with a skipper to pursue our interest in this brand and model of boat. We had a wonderful afternoon of the water, bonded with some of our crew for a bareboat charter in the BVI this summer, and confirmed our wish to own a Maine Cat 30 for a long inland lake near our home. The issues I initially raised in the thread, difficulty coming about perhaps because the outboards do not raise, seem to be associated with the situation of this boat. Great! So we want to buy one with outboards that appropriately pull up in their compartments and with newer sails and a fresh bottom. The technic of easing the main as an aid around is a cool tool in my bag now always. Plus all the other thoughts which helped a lot as we shop for a boat. I'm still sold on the Maine Cat 30 for our purposes, and thank the board for your help, and encourage all to share more thoughts if you have them. I'm researching truck transport to our inland lake and that will be the subject of a different threat.
Fair winds,
Clubfooted Jib
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