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Old 24-11-2010, 12:40   #1
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Transitioning from Mono to Multi Sailing

The suggestion was made that this might be a good topic. Here is a link to the original post:

Large Cat Flipped off Niue
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Old 24-11-2010, 14:51   #2
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I pretty much agree with Southern Star.

I do realize that in a mono the conditions will warn you with heeling and things falling etc and one does not get those messages in a cat as dramatically.

So far I reef early and watch my heel angle closely. 7.5 deg is the limit from the manufacturer. But what does that mean? Not sure really because I was into the second reef in 15kts of wind (2nd reef is called for at 22) with beam seas left over from that 22kts and when on the side of a wave was way over the 7.5deg. EEK! So I kept at that and averaged the heel in my head - after putting on life jacket and moving the egg timer that actually fell off of an "un-fiddled" shelf.

I think I have to pay a little more attention than most because the Gemini is light, has a fair amount of canvas and a narrow beam.

The problem with learning this stuff in a cat is that unlike a mono one cannot (at least I won't) leave some sail up and "test it" to see when the rail buries and sort of stays there. If you do that in a cat you will be upside down saying "Yep, that was the point that should not be crossed." Maybe use a charter for the test? That is the standard advice on picking a boat anyway right?
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Old 24-11-2010, 15:23   #3
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That the manufacters tell you when to reef seems significant (and important). Honeysuckle has a high ballast to displacement ratio and a lot of freeboard. I've been in some pretty stiff winds when I should have been reefed but the worst that happens is stuff starts to fly and in a head wind she becomes weatherly.

I mostly solo and so most of the time err on the side of caution. I'm guessing with a cat a solo sailor needs to be even more cautious. That old canard "reef early" comes into play.

One other observation is that on my home waters weather forecasts usually predict stronger winds then what occur and with an internet connection I can read the wind speed from various bouys and stations around to aid in making a decision. In a long crossing where you only have your own senses do you reef for a storm at night and when visual feedback is not available?
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Old 24-11-2010, 15:24   #4
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I wouldn't think that using heel angle is the proper way to determine safety in a cat. If the apparent wind angle changes your margin of safety may suddenly disappear. I would sail by the numbers: reef appropriate for the true wind speed and sea conditions as either specified by the manufacturer or learned by experience.
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Old 24-11-2010, 16:26   #5
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As we don't have a wind speed instrument we reef according to the feel of the boat, hopefully before we fly a hull. Cats don't heel like a mono but if you known your boat you can tell when she is being pressed to hard.
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Old 24-11-2010, 16:59   #6
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As someone who has crossed to the "Dark Side", I use the pucker factor.
First reef seems to be around 21 knots apparent going to wx for my boat when the seas aren't too much of a factor.

Another interesting factor is when it's really cold. I reef earlier. Is that because of more dense air?
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Old 24-11-2010, 18:40   #7
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I, too, rely on pucker factor. I prefer boat speed less than 17 knts above which the ride is wet. When pressed hard things make strange noises which I find unsettling. Multis generate tremendous loads and catastrofic failure is always looming, I worry more about dismasting than capsize. Dave
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Old 24-11-2010, 18:46   #8
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the same rule applies to monohulls and multihulls: by the time it occurs to you that it's time to reef, you should have reefed half an hour ago.
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Old 25-11-2010, 11:14   #9
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As counter-intuitive as it may sound, all of the above posts are pretty good advice.

Sailing by the numbers, especially when first starting out is a great way to begin to learn how to sail by the "feel" of the boat. We have found the "pucker factor" to be a reliable, if sometimes hard to quantify, measure of when to reef/head for safe harbor, etc.

RE: Pucker factor. For you monohullers, remember the first time your keel boat heeled "violently" in a gust? As a cat sailor, the equivalent might be a huge acceleration. Understanding "why" these things happen helped me develop some of the "feel" required.

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 25-11-2010, 11:36   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YOGAO View Post

RE: Pucker factor. For you monohullers, remember the first time your keel boat heeled "violently" in a gust?
hmmm. that's quite a dim memory. I'm sure it must have happened at some point.
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Old 25-11-2010, 12:36   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bash View Post
the same rule applies to monohulls and multihulls: by the time it occurs to you that it's time to reef, you should have reefed half an hour ago.
Yes, but on a deep draft mono it's not the end of the world if you get caught out with too much canvas up. The boat heels over, and by the time the rail gets in the water the effective sail area has been reduced dramatically. The boat gets more stable the further over it goes and the righting moment of the keel increases. The worst thing about such a situation -- without exaggeration -- is that things fly around and get smashed in the cabin.

Heeling on a long passage is a pain in the b*tt, as I recently found out on a long beat upwind across the Channel, and here of course one might long for a cat. But as uncomfortable as it can be, heeling is a tremendously valuable self-regulating automatic safety system.
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Old 25-11-2010, 14:09   #12
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Let's try and stay focused on the intent of this thread and use it to create something other than another cat v. mono thread.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Mike
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Old 25-11-2010, 14:52   #13
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When we made the transition from our monohulls to a cruising cat the new boat was larger and had far more systems on it than our previous boats and we did our learning in waters that were new to us. The experience was pretty intense all told but when I discount the stuff that we'd have been dealing with if we'd just upgraded to a similarly sized and complex monohull (commissioning and learning to use lots of new systems and learning to maneuver a bigger boat in tight quarters) I think most of the challenge was not multi-specific.

Early on I recall that most of the adrenaline rushes came from docking. We did our commissioning in a marina with strong currents running more or less across the fairways and managed to time our first landing for max stream... So, the experience might well have been burned into my memory in any boat. Still, lining up on a narrow fairway with a 24' wide boat and contemplating crabbing down it and then making a quick downstream turn into a slip with fingers shorter than the boat provided about the same palm sweat as hanging out the door of an airplane just before leaping out. I remember the moment of lining it up and the moment that I arrived in the slip and discovering that it's a long way down to a floating dock when the stern steps are sticking way out in the fairway... IME, docking my multihull is different from monos I have lived with. The extra beam means that in places where there is limited room to go sideways I have less time and space to work with. And while not much less effected by current we are more effected by wind than typical keel yachts. This can be daunting. On the other hand, our cat with widely spaced twin engines does the skid steerer thing wonderfully well (far better than any of the twin engined motor boats I've steered). That means that pointing the boat any direction I want going forward, reverse or stationary is a breeze so long as I have the room and time to do it in. The twins also give nice control of the boat when hanging on a single spring so putting the bow or stern on the dock or working off a cross wind/current slip is usually superlatively simple. For me the differences between docking my current boat and my previous (a 36' fin keel monohull) are hard to summarize on a better-worse scale. On the one hand, I routinely docked the monohull by myself but with the multi I usually need an extra set of hands. On the other hand very positive steering in reverse and the ability to rotate without backing and filling and a substantially reduced prop wash effect sometimes make putting the cat on the dock or getting it off kinda fun...

Under sail my experience is that most monohull skills are directly transferable. Perhaps the biggest change for me wasn't a hulls issue at all but the hydraulic steering system. My first sailboat experience with hydraulic steering was on my new cat... In time, I have come to accept the system... The performance envelope of my boat is different from that of monohulls and even small cats that I have known. Top speeds are similar to sport boat speeds but they come with less drama and work. The boat has much more inertia than the racing boats but more power than cruising boats. It really pays to work on keeping the boat speed up. Upwind I've learned to sail a bit more bow down that I would habitually with the monos but our VMG upwind seems quite good. Otherwise, upwind sailing characteristics are quite similar to the monos. The boat gives plenty of feedback when she's overpowered -- the noise and feel of the apparent wind, spray and so on; it isn't subtle and I think you'd have to be unusually oblivious to miss the signs. I did install a couple of 10-0-10 clinometers and I think that's a good idea but I seldom use them now.

When the wind is aft of the beam it seems to me there are more differences. Our mainsail is constrained by the aft shroud position. Reefing downwind takes some thought and practice. While on a keel yacht one always has the option of rounding up and dropping in a reef that's not always the case with a multihull. We have gone through a few different reefing systems and are currently using a very simple single line system. It works on all points of sail but has a bit more friction than is ideal. At any rate, for us the keys to a functional off the wind reefing (and even more so unreefing) system has been to maintain control over the twist of the sail as it goes up and down and to have the ability to pull the sail down the mast. There are lots of options here but, IMO, the new to multihull sailor should take some time to understand this task. Tactically, off the wind we make a practice of reefing the main first and early. We often set the spinnaker along with a reefed main and are working on getting a screacher set up as well. Well off the wind the handling characteristics of the cat are wonderful -- roll stability really pays off when sailing deep. The nice ride may make an awareness of the true wind speed even harder on the cat than on the monos. So, we work on staying aware of it more than we did on the monos.

On the whole I think mono skills are very transferable to the multihull world at any level and to cruising multihulls in particular. An awareness of the possibility of wind induced capsize and some thought to and practice of strategies to minimize the risk being the critical difference. Docking and anchoring may also be a touch different.

Tom
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Old 25-11-2010, 15:05   #14
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PS -- Happy Thanksgiving to all! (even if you also celebrate it on a different day ).

And, am I the only person who finds the automatic keyword hyperlinking REALLY annoying?

T
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Old 25-11-2010, 21:34   #15
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No, you are NOT!

BTW, great post - thanks! Happy Thanksgiving (now belated for the US)
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