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Old 24-01-2008, 20:32   #1
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Trampoline Vs. Solid Foredeck

Sean's topics around converting to the dark side (LOL) got me thinking about this question I have had about Cat configurations.

What specific sailing advantages are had by a solid vs. trampoline foredeck? I suspect the solid deck makes a stiffer boat? However the trampoline might make it lighter?

I am attracted to the solid deck, but I am not sure why. I think it is because I see an opportunity to deploy deck chairs and drink beer when on the hook. :cubalibre


Thoughts? Comments?
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Old 25-01-2008, 00:39   #2
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Old 25-01-2008, 00:50   #3
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It needs to be done right. Waves on top of a solid foredeck should end up in the cockpit so it needs reasonable height and shape. Most of the water runs off the sides depending on apparent wind so a worst you get a wet face.
Playing with the forestay, sail, anchors and bridle should be easier on a deck than on a tramp.
Ladies of a certain age have an in built aversion to a tramp. Is that a plus?
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Old 25-01-2008, 06:27   #4
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Ladies of a certain age have an in built aversion to a tramp. Is that a plus?
Ha ha ha! Funny.

I picked up through all of my reading on cats lately that the tramp is also less likely to pound/slam given equal bridge deck clearances. I read this was the case because often waves tend to be less "broken" by the hulls as they are entering the bow area. So, if you have a solid foredeck, you can get some interaction there between it and the waves, wheras the tramp just lets the water splash on through.

Just something I read. I'm only learning on this stuff, so don't take this as gospel.
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Old 25-01-2008, 06:30   #5
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Solid foredecks have proven to be completely unnecessary in terms of strength in a properly designed/built catamaran. Further, any reduction in spray forward is more than made up for by underhull slap.

Solid foredecks were much more common in the early days of production cats than they are today, and that is due to one significant drawback: they put significant weight in precisely the area it should not be! Weight forward increases the risk of burying the bows and pitchpoling while surfing down waves in a storm. Even in normal conditions it increases the tendancy of the boat to 'hobbyhorse', a very uncomfortable motion and one which leads to an increased incidence of bridgedeck pounding.

Most of the boats that fit your parameters will likely have a solid foredeck - ie, early Prouts, Catalacs, Fishercats, Geminis etc. Certainly the Prouts have proven quite capable of circumnavigating, although they too are rather notorious for bridgedeck slamming. Please understand, however, that there is really no longer even a debate concerning the relative merits of solid foredecks: I believe even Prout went away form solid foredecks in their last production model.

Another boat that has been commended to you is the Cherokee 35 - these do have netting forward and excellent bouyancy in the bows (overhang plus 'knuckles' on both sides of the hulls forward). The difficulty, of course, will be finding one.

In the final analysis, you can live with a solid foredeck in a Catamaran if it otherwise meets your parameters, but it would not be a design feature of choice.

Brad
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Old 25-01-2008, 06:53   #6
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If you a re going to be out there really sailing your boat in prime as well as sub-prime condition the solid foredeck will result in more slamming. I quite often bury the bows on my Manta 40 and am glad to have the tramps up front. Having said that if you avoid going through cuts (like in the Exumas) during opposing winds/currents or other subprime conditions it isn't much of an issue. I looked at a Victory cat and was impressed with additional space inside and out it provided and it is in the size range you are looking at.
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Old 25-01-2008, 09:01   #7
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My cat has kinda in between tramp and solid. There are aluminum slats between the hulls that have teak mounted on top. There is approx 1.5 inches between the slats, plenty of support, all very stable. I get no slap, the water comes through, and I can set up the chairs and stuff forward for relaxing.
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Old 25-01-2008, 10:33   #8
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I think Brad nails it right here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southern Star View Post
they put significant weight in precisely the area it should not be! Weight forward increases the risk of burying the bows and pitchpoling while surfing down waves in a storm.
Ever stuff the bow on a Hobie 16? Just the flat tops of the bows on an H16 - with no forward tramp or deck whatsoever - can send it cartwheeling.

But the deck chairs and beer argument is compelling..........

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Old 25-01-2008, 13:39   #9
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The arrangement on Caribnsol's Solaris (and my sister ship, although it has an frp walkway from the front of the bridgedeck to the front cross-beam rather than teak slats) is a decent, if somewhat rare alternative. You receive the benefit of reduced weight forward through the use of trampolines, the ability to get better tension on the two smaller tramps than on a single one that runs the full distance between the hulls, plus you have a narrow platform for maintenance on the furling/dolphin striker should such be necessary.

A really nice arrangement (generally only seen on larger cats with more length forward of the bridgedeck) is a set of fold-down boarding steps in the same location. So yes, there are a number of possibilities. But in terms of performance/safety, reducing weight forward is still the primary concern.
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Old 25-01-2008, 13:48   #10
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You want long hulls with no weight in the extremities, all the weight carried in the centre of the boat. That's why modern boats almost universally have tramps, and the better designs have a lot of hull length behind the cockpit too.
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Old 25-01-2008, 14:53   #11
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The initial post inquired soley about the relative merits of solid foredecks versus trampolines, but of course 44'Cruisingcat is correct - in order to improve performance and reduce 'hobbyhorsing', you need to keep weight out of both ends.
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Old 25-01-2008, 17:51   #12
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Thanks for the insights so far. The weight and weight distribution stuff makes sense as does the hull slap potential.

So it's "worse" sailing, solid foredeck, deck chairs, beer and old ladies - or
Better, sailing, trampoline, no deck chairs, jello-shots and bikini babes.

Hmmm....

Tough choice...
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Old 25-01-2008, 17:54   #13
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AFAIK you can still drink beer lying on trampolines.
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Old 25-01-2008, 17:59   #14
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Hey Dan - not only can you drink and lounge on the tramp, most cats with long bows and tramps nonetheless have enough room behind the tramp for deck chairs. We've got two teak deck chairs we can sit just forward of the saloon adjacent to the mast. When we motor in light air we sit up there with the remote AP. A great place to ride.

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Old 25-01-2008, 23:01   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Thanks for the insights so far. The weight and weight distribution stuff makes sense as does the hull slap potential.

So it's "worse" sailing, solid foredeck, deck chairs, beer and old ladies - or
Better, sailing, trampoline, no deck chairs, jello-shots and bikini babes.

Hmmm....

Tough choice...
I have an older British cat with a solid foredeck. I've never slammed my bridgedeck. Then again, at my age I make sure that I'm never out in rough stuff. The older boats have a hard chine and a flare at the bow of each hull which increases their buoyancy. My boat also has decent bridgedeck clearance. I sail on my boat lines and those lines emphasize a somewhat raised bow, by design. It must be safe, my boat crossed the Atlantic on it's own bottom, and Catalacs have weathered some of the more recent worst storms on record.

On the other hand, what % of a boats life is at sea vs anchor? I have two camper chairs that immediately go on the foredeck at anchor. Now...If I can just find a way to build in a refer/cooler....
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