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Old 09-08-2008, 09:45   #1
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Storm Boards for a Catamaran

For those who have ventured out into the deep blue water on a catamaran.

Have you ever carried or used storm boards to protect the windows on your cat?
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Old 09-08-2008, 09:48   #2
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Nope. .
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Old 10-08-2008, 21:36   #3
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Along the same lines, I wonder about security. Seems it would be easy to grab a winch handle and bust the door in. There's a FP Bahia for sale on Yachtworld right now which as what looks like a wood door into the cockpit. I thought that might be a good idea as it also has a smaller side window.
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Old 10-08-2008, 22:59   #4
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Before we set off on our circumnavigation, I thought about having storm boards to help deal with big seas that might strike our portlights or salon windows.

In more than 33,000 miles of sailing, we never had any large boarding seas. Cats are extremely boyant, and it is distinctly unusual to have any waves come on board. We sailed downwind in the trade winds in a conservative manner most of the time, and boarding seas just were not a problem.

People who sail in higher latitudes and who drive their vessels hard into the oncoming seas might have a different experience.

The Privilege 39 catamaran has slanted salon windows much different from the vertical salon windows on most newer designs. I'm not sure how comfortable I would be with vertical salon windows in a big storm. A major wave strike could be a real problem causing damage to the salon windows or overall salon structure. Because I was sailing offshore, I went with the slanted salon windows for safety reasons.

My other concern was the big cockpit doors in following seas. I wondered if seas coming up the stern might fill the cockpit and break the doors in allowing water into the salon. I planned to put a windsurfer across the doors to protect them if survival waves ever attacked the stern. In eleven years of sailing, we never had a boarding sea come up the stern. There is massive reserve boyancy in the sterns, and when following seas approach, the sterns immediately lift like they are riding an aquatic elevator. The cockpit stays extemely dry in the presence of large following seas. When we sailed from Gibraltar to the Canaries, two of the monohulls that we were sailing with took large amounts of water in their cockpits - one even had 2 inches of water down in their galley from boarding seas - but in the same storm, our cockpit remained dry as we all ran downwind.

When I had my Westsail 32, I had storm board for my port lights and for good reasons. One of my friends sailing on an Erickson north of New Zealand made a quick movement of his body down below and his elbow struck a portlight and shattered it. Fortunately, he had a storm board to make repairs.

Cats are a different breed of animal, and their behavior in a storm is different than monohulls. I think you have too look at your yacht's vulnerabilities, and then do what you can to deal with whatever weaknesses you discover.
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Old 11-08-2008, 04:47   #5
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We have had green water over the bow of Sunspot Baby without damage.

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Old 11-08-2008, 08:04   #6
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Thanks, this confirms my own beliefs, but I wanted to see other peoples experience.

On my catalac, I have also shipped green over the lee bow while close hauled at over 9 kts, but the slanted window does make the difference. I would not have been happy with a vertical window.

I understand the benefits of the vertical windows, particularly the reduction in thermal transfer, but I would prefer what I consider to be a safer design of the sloped windows.
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Old 11-08-2008, 08:44   #7
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I share the concerns about the vertical window, even though they have big advantages in terms of the accommodations. However, this last spring in the Abacos, I saw the major disadvantage, come to life:

We pulled into a marina for a couple of nights which is the Moorings base at Marsh Harbor. We saw a Moorings/Leopard 46 there that was a wreck. It had been a crewed charter, with a local captain no less. However, they decided to take on the Whale Cay pass during a "rage". (The pass goes from the shallow Sea of Abaco to the open Atlantic. So, when there are large swells from the N to NE, it is a dangerous place to be.) Those louvers over the large fairly vertical windows were completely torn off. There wasn't a stanchion or lifeline left. The boom vang had a 90 degree bend. The water broke one of the lexan windows (we went into the boat -- those window are at least 3/8" thick) and went through the salon and broke out the "patio door" to the cockpit. 4 people were hospitalized. We later learned from one of the local yard workers that the main bulkhead was also broken. The 7 month old boat was totaled. However, having said all that -- the boat was still floating and nobody died.

I do wonder, though, if the windows were less vertical and if they didn't have those louvers that surely must have caught a lot of the water, they might have still sustained quite a bit of damage, but perhaps they wouldn't have had the wall of water go through the inside of the boat.

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Old 11-08-2008, 12:04   #8
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The Whale Cut in a rage has been known to eat ocean going freighters and is no place to take lightly.

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Old 11-08-2008, 13:53   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Intentional Drifter View Post
I do wonder, though, if the windows were less vertical and if they didn't have those louvers that surely must have caught a lot of the water, they might have still sustained quite a bit of damage, but perhaps they wouldn't have had the wall of water go through the inside of the boat.ID
I heard about this wave damage recently but I wasn't overly worried when you see the conditions the boat experienced and as you say the rest of the boat was still structurally sound and floating. I don't understand your comment above about the windows as they are already at around 45 deg? Did you mean that the vertical windows of say a Lagoon would have been better or worse?
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Old 11-08-2008, 14:35   #10
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Adaero --

I think that a Lagoon or F-P, where the windows are almost vertical, would have been even worse off in that situation. I think that perhaps even the Leopard would have been better off without the louvers, since it looks like they caught the water instead of letting it flow up and over. I wonder if a boat with even less of an angle to the windows (e.g., Privilege) would have had them broken. Of course, this is all conjecture. As George said, that pass has been known to eat far larger and tougher boats than this.

I wouldn't say that the boat was still "structurally sound" at the end, though it was floating (which is real important!). The boat was totaled, after all.

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Old 12-08-2008, 01:47   #11
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I wouldn't say that the boat was still "structurally sound" at the end, though it was floating (which is real important!). The boat was totaled, after all.ID
Thanks for the clarification. Are there any photos of the boat?
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Old 12-08-2008, 10:05   #12
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I don't have any photos of it, however I recall that the Marsh Harbor newspaper had a little write-up about it. "The Abaconian", I believe it is called. I don't know if they have online access, but I sorta doubt it.

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Old 13-08-2008, 03:45   #13
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I don't have any photos of it, however I recall that the Marsh Harbor newspaper had a little write-up about it. "The Abaconian", I believe it is called. I don't know if they have online access, but I sorta doubt it.
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Yes “The Abaconian” newspaper has an excellent website at:
The Abaconian - The Abaco's Most Complete Newspaper
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Old 13-08-2008, 04:51   #14
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I know the SF 50 boat has bulletproof photochromatic windows that you can walk over and these are intended to withstand big waves.
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Old 13-08-2008, 06:23   #15
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Quote:
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For those who have ventured out into the deep blue water on a catamaran.

Have you ever carried or used storm boards to protect the windows on your cat?
No we have never carried storm boards and never had use for them .
I have had monster waves on the deck and saloon roof but no scratch.
With My St Francis 48 I have had big waves on saloon roof trampoline and it has torn them out completely The Connection of the rails to the compression beam came loose, the tinted sandwich windows where fine.
That is the reason for us to change to a more open type of Dyneema trampoline and never to use the rubber coated trampoline again. The same has happened to us on a maxim 380 with the same type of trampoline material ,
The material cannot shed the water fast enough.
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