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Old 10-03-2012, 15:46   #1
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The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

For the past several months, I have been reading everything I could find on how to select the ideal boat for me. I want a liveaboard that is also bluewater seaworthy.
Up until a few days ago, my efforts were focused exclusively on monohulls but after reading a book or two on multihulls, the light came on.
At first I just did not see a multihull as an option - it is not Kool, a real sailer would not be caught dead on a multihull, it really is not sailing, is it? Close minded thinking caught me.
When the light came on, so did a clear list of all the benefits. Less heel, faster boat speed, much, much more storage and comfort, much more resistant to knock-downs and capsizing, and stability when at anchor or mooring.
So, what are the downfalls? What am I missing that now make a Catamaran the obvious choice for me?
Alright, I know that a knock-down or capsize is really bad news, The boat obviously will not right itself as a monohull would but knock-downs or capsizing a Catamaran has to be a rare thing, right?
And secondly, I can see greater costs for haul-outs and bottom jobs.
What else? Do spars cost way more? Do things break more often?
The benefits I plainly see now makes me wonder why everyone does not sail a multihull.
And oh, one more question, I know very little about catamarans but the brand I am looking to buy is a Gemini and the model is a 105Mc. Anyone have any experience or opinions on this boat?
Thanks for the courtesy of your input.
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:02   #2
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Re: The cons of owning a Catamaran

The Gemini's are well-known and many of them are out there. I got the impression that due to their narrow beam, they were not considered real blue water boats. They are a great deal less expensive than other cats, and that is part of the reason. They are thin enough to fit in regular monohull slips. Most I have spoken with do not consider them blue water worthy at all. I'm no expert, but that's the word I've heard.
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:08   #3
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Re: The cons of owning a Catamaran

I just spent a couple of months living on a gemini 3000 in a yard in Florida,there were about a half dozen assorted Gemini in the yard and i was supprised to see that the older ones have more bridgedeck clearance, the 3200 has less and the 105 looks like it only has about 4" of clearance which is pathetic. Just an observation.
Steve.
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:17   #4
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

More storage, sure, but don't overlook the impact of the storage weight. No heel, well ok, but don't imagine that multihulls are a stable platform without active movement. I like catamarans, but don't choose one without the knowledge that, like all other boat choices, there are compromises to be made. You'll be buying two boats and maintaining two boats, but you'll have all the advantages of two boats.....well, no...they will be cruising together! They can be a great choice!
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:25   #5
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

Hey Notpopeye, WHO DAT!!

Cats are not quite like buying two boats. Like every tool there is the right one for the job. If you want satbility and lots of room Cats are it. If you want to live in a cave, Monos can do it. I know you are looking at the Geminis and cost is probably the reason. Look at the Maxim 38,, there are some of those out there or a PDQ 36, they do pretty well, quite a few of them are crusing the Bahamas and Caribbean.
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:25   #6
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

theslapdash.com

These folks just finished a 4 year circumnavigation in a Gemini, actually theirs with all their stuff is currently for sale. At any rate Seth and Jamie seem pretty approachable so you could probably drop them an email and get some of their thoughts.

As the Aythya crew said, more boat, more maintenance, more costs for haul out and slips (multi are often charged 1.5 to 2x the rate monos) and sometimes it is difficult to find slips to accomodate them (although with the narrower beam on the Gem it isn't a big issue). I've heard the steering visibility on the Gems is poor and perhaps they aren't as ruggedly constructed as other cats, also the low bridge deck slap issue... all things to check out. But shallow draft is awesome and living on a patio vs. a cellar (as I read on here sometime ago) is a definite plus in my books.
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:42   #7
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

Welcome to the club, as I too am on the fence for a multi. My first offshore passage capable boat was an old Cal 40, $16K plus $16K in upgrades for cruising, some 20 years back. My brother 10 years ago picked up an F-26, then later an F-28 tri. The speed issue is a bit flawed IMHO. I would consider speed as to what the boat will do for a passage in an open sea state. For the money spent, monos are much faster. My Cal 40 did a downhill run from Long Beach to Cabo, then a mild upwind beat to Mulege, averaged close to 10 kt for the entire non-stop run of 151 1/2 hours. Once there, for fun day sails I was spanked on every point of sail by a family in their Santa Cruz 50. There are so many advantages to a multi, but comfortable, open ocean speed is not one of them. However, when the Cal 40's, SC 50's, and Sundeer's arrive at the next anchorage ahead of you, your reward, if a crowded anchorage, is to be able to take an inside position due to your shallow draft, and host the party in your spacious salon. If it is a rolling anchorage, you won't suffer the motion as much.

But on the speed scale,

Boats under $40K Cal 40 / no multis
Boats $125~$150K SC 50 mono / Gemini and PDQ 36 multi but 50% slower
Boats $400~$800K, now your talking fast multi's but again for a long passage not any where near as fast as a Sundeer 64.

For my money, and not needing the speed, the PDQ 36 is looking good.
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:55   #8
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

Haven't had much experince on Cats, but have had on a bunch of tris over the years, and most of them would make more miles a day at sea, then my 42ft Mono ever would and I sailed that boat over 50,000 miles!and knew it well !but then tris are another animal LOL can't see why the cats are slower, but as I said I know little of them ! and would bow to Bobs knowlage on that ! I just wish I could find a GOOD TRI for !! LOL Just my thoughts
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Old 10-03-2012, 16:58   #9
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

Please don't bow, I'm like the OP, looking for input on cats. I just know the monos in my life were fast.

Nick complains if he can't pull a 300 nm day on S/V Jedi.
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Old 10-03-2012, 17:01   #10
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

Simply put a multihull will cost a lot more than a mono, so if money is limited a mono would be the way to go. a 35' multihull would not make a good blue water boat unless you have enough bridge deck clearance and really limit what you put on it. Of course it can be done though. A good used 40' to 50' monohull you can get for say $200,000 and can carry a lot more weight in stores. Also safer than a 35' low bridgedeck mulit. The multi will hobbie horse a lot as well making it uncomfortable. A 40' mono is a comfortable size to live off of and points to wind better.

Now if you have the cash and want a bluewater multi, that will have good motion at sea less hobbie horsing, thin hull shape and at least 2.5 feet minimum bridgedeck clearance, and a design that can take a hit by waves and built with good materials. 45' to 50' would really be needed, and the longer the better. Designs that come t mind as fitting this criteria are, Catana, Outremer, Chris white, Schionnings Waterline 1480, ST Francis, Switch, Privilege to name a few. All around $500,000 plus used. Bluewater well built boats thus the price. You get what you pay for. Most of these boats will do 200nm a day besides the Privilege perhaps all around the 50' mark hulls on the thinner side and have bridgedeck clearance and built well.

Obvious downside to cats are more to clean, more expensive to moor, and pull out of the water. Safer? Both are safe, if you hole a mono you are done, also easier to ground. I can't couldn't how many monos here have grounded. But for heavy weather I would feel safer in a Mono, just because I know I would never flip it or T bone it and be screwed in bad weather.

That being said if the Sh#t hit the fan on a Multi the probability of flipping it is extremely rare, it's more phycological and if it did I would have to claim the boat as a right off and sit inside my boat till help came. This is really not something that you should even be considering anyways as in has happened like 3 time in the world up to now.

So really the downside is costs a lot more for an equally quality built multi vs a well built mono. You got the cash get the multi if not mono.
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Old 10-03-2012, 17:01   #11
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

Notpopeye,

Gemini 105Mc is a great boat for the money. With 1,200 made so far and 18" of draft they are by far the most popular Catamaran on the planet at this time.
A few have crossed oceans so they are considered blue water boats.

The slip & haul fees for the Gemini will be the same as a mono of the same length.

My Mahe 36 cat. cost us less to slip and haul than my Catalina 380 mono did.

A 34 foot Gemini is = to a 44 foot mono for inside space.
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Old 10-03-2012, 17:06   #12
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

I'm so tired of rescuing all those mono sailors from their sunk boats.
Oh crap. I think i put my foot in it.
Just kiddding.
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Old 10-03-2012, 17:11   #13
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

Never seen the Gemini. The bean is just 14' wide, right? Seems rather narrow. Bridgedeck clearance? Has anyone been through rough weather in one? Seems like a popular boat so maybe it's good. I guess if you are not sailing through any rough weather it would be fine.
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Old 10-03-2012, 17:12   #14
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran

I've owned and cruised several GRP monos including FL to OZ in 04-06. On a 35' Wauquiez Pretorien and later had a 43' Amphitrite 43 ketch.

I think cats are way better with kids as well as in Pacific anchorages which tend to be rolly. I'm currently building the first Richard Woods Vardo cat. Will be a similar boat to the PDQ but with roughly 50% more cruising payload. It is 34' long with a 20' beam. With LAR keels it can be dried and bottom painted between tides. Will be launched from the local launch ramp from my own trailer when completed sometime next year.

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Old 10-03-2012, 17:14   #15
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Re: The Cons of Owning a Catamaran




I do suppose multihulls enjoy time on the mudflats.
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