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Old 02-08-2014, 06:05   #1
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Trawler vs Catamaran

Hi
I currently own a Beneteau 393 monohull. My wife and three kids (8, 6 and 3) just completed our first trip from Tampa to Conception Island (just past Geoergetown Bahamas) and back via the Old Bahama channel - all in about 1300nm. Of those miles we purely sailed about 50 miles, the rest was half motorsailing and half just motoring.

We love the cruising lifestyle, the people you meet, the depth of friendships that spring up amazingly quick and the places you see. The worst part of cruising for us has been the travel days. We pick weather windows where the sea state is going to be as comfortable as possible, this usually means light winds and motoring. On a travel day the only thing we want is to get there as fast as possible so we can chill at the beach, visit some buddies and cook some great food.

Boiling this down we have three main issues on travel days:
1) We can't sail a monohull to its potential because we don't like heeling past 25 degrees which when you add 5 to 10 degrees of wave roll limits our speed to about 5-6 knots, 4 knots at night. This is both a comfort and a safety thing with our crew composition.
2) When motoring because there is no wind the boat rolls way too much from swell. The main just doesn't dampen the motion enough at apparent wind of 8 or less.
3) When our destination is directly upwind because we need to hide from a front or storm, we usually just pound through under power because we don't want to deal with the heel associated with sailing there. On the Beneteau this limits us to an average speed of about 4 knots, getting up to 6 before a wave slows us back to 2.
4) When passage planning we use a speed of 5 or 6 knots to determine duration and set departure time.

We are planning to switch boats to either a trawler or a catamaran to alleviate these issues:

- Both of these should complete passages faster, have better living quarters when at anchor and have the built in redundancy with two engines.
- Operating cost will be higher on a monthly basis for a trawler but big ticket items like rigging and sail repairs likely will even this out a bit.
- The catamaran will (?) be easier to sell later down the road unless we score a major deal on the purchase of our trawler and can afford to "give it away".

My questions for the forum are this:
1) What is the real world sailing performance of a 42 foot catamaran like Fontaine Pajot Venezia 42?
2) Is my assumption that a catamaran will hold its value better and be easier to sell than a trawler correct?
3) How wet is sailing a catamaran when weather gets a little nasty compared to a monohull?

Thanks

Richard
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:58   #2
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

Why not consider a "trawler" catamaran? Some years ago FP actually designated some of its power cats as trawlers.
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Old 02-08-2014, 07:55   #3
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

Check out the endeavour 44 powercat. It makes a great bahamas cruiser.
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Old 02-08-2014, 08:35   #4
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

A true trawler is pretty rolley especially at anchor.
Cats are much more stable even in a rough anchorage. Catamarans are easy to enclose. Creating a warm dry environment.
We love our cat but can definitely see the pluses of a trawler cat. Greater speed than a regular cat but also greater fuel usage. We did a 4 week bahamas, exumas trip recently and only truly sailed 2 days, motor sailed 12 days and motored the rest. Being on a schedule sucks. If we weren't on a schedule we'd sail more

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Old 02-08-2014, 09:03   #5
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

A sailing catamaran might be the best solution for you. A cat will bounce and roll (a bit) in rough water and the sail will give some stabilization unlike a pure power cat.

On most points of sail a sailing cat will be faster, maybe much faster than an equivalent length monohull. Only hard on the wind will a monohull be faster.

But I am a bit puzzled by the sailing performance of your Beneteau. Most sailboats perform best at a heel of about 15 degrees. If you are heeling 25 degrees then you are way overpowered and need to reef. Also I would expect that boat to sail at about 7 kts on a beam reach in 10 kts or more wind and about 6 when hard on the wind and maybe 6 downwind.
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Old 02-08-2014, 13:52   #6
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

Good questions. 5 years ago we were looking at trawlers, then power cats, then sailing cats. We ended up with a sailing cat & glad we did! We even had to learn to sail!

Don't want to start another mono vs. cat debate, but a high(er) performance cat will outsail most & equally point as well as most cruising monohulls (side by side comparisons in actual cruising). This means you can commonly sail 7 to 9 knots (sometimes 11+). It is also easy to motorsail 9 knots with only one engine during low winds. While you won't get power cat speeds, a sailing cat is much more economical with it's twin 29 HP engines, cruising 7 - 8 knots, or 6 - 7 knots with only one engine.

I'm only guessing that a sailing cat may hold it's value better, especially if we run into another energy crisis with surging diesel prices. A trawler or power cat won't be worth much if diesel hits $6 or $7/gallon.

Our cat is very dry, but is completely dry with it's fully enclosed cockpit. A family can spread out in it's 12' x 16' main cockpit whether it's pouring rain or cold (as long as there's a little sun), or nice & cool with all/any panels rolled up in the Bahamas heat. 3' draft gets you anywhere. Did I mention NO healing!

I've been really surprised at the percentage of sailboats who never seem to sail or only motorsail with their jib - why even have a sailboat?

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Old 02-08-2014, 14:48   #7
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

Catamarans are trawlers when they are motoring. They are some of the most efficient boats out there. Most cats will do 7.5 knots on one engine. They stay nice and flat all the time.
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Old 02-08-2014, 16:46   #8
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

Hi

What is a higher performance catarmaran. Is this defined by SA/D? The boat we are looking at is a FP Venezia 42 which has a SA/D of 27.

Richard
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Old 02-08-2014, 18:39   #9
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

Hi Richard,

My wife and I met you and your family in Bimini. We were there with a sailing instructor. I have followed your blog and have been wondering what your plans were at this point. We were especially interested in and taken by your DeFevere Fever blog entry. It really made us consider if we wanted a trawler instead of sailboat. We have been interested in sailing cats all along. Even though we were in Bimini in a monohull.

We already own a small motorhome and are quite capable of living small. If we buy a cruising boat we will intend to spend 5 or 6 months living aboard in the FL and the Bahamas. Comfort is a big priority. We are trying to buy or last boat, first. This is a big challenge.

If I purchase a sail cat it would be a Fountaine Pajot Mahe like Cotemar owns or a Maine cat like Ortolan. I am looking for a boat that sails well. If it is trawler it will probably be a single engine trawler like a Kadey-Krogen, Selene, or the like. Have you considered a Kadey-Krogen Manatee? Right now there is a guy, who post here as well, headed to the Azores in his 42' 1988 Kadey-Krogen. Another couple went from Puerto Vallarta to Nuka Hiva in their 42' Krogen this spring. Trawlers, as you know, would provide ample room for you family living.

We are having fun deciding and I hope you are enjoying you new quest as well. Looking forward to seeing what you decide. Tell your wife and kids we said hello.
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Old 02-08-2014, 18:56   #10
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ortolan View Post
Did I mention NO healing!
Sorry - actually lots of healing, but NO heeling!

(Another advantage of a sailing cat vs. power cat is the extra beam for even less rocking at anchor).

Russ
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Old 02-08-2014, 19:01   #11
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

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Originally Posted by djmarchand View Post
But I am a bit puzzled by the sailing performance of your Beneteau. Most sailboats perform best at a heel of about 15 degrees. If you are heeling 25 degrees then you are way overpowered and need to reef. Also I would expect that boat to sail at about 7 kts on a beam reach in 10 kts or more wind and about 6 when hard on the wind and maybe 6 downwind.
Kind of question what you are doing wrong in the sailing department. If you are sailing beyond 20 degrees of heel even in an old slack bilge design you are not sailing efficiently. The newer flat bottomed boats like yours really need to be sailed at no more than 15 degrees for maximum performance. My old 25' waterline center boarder will typically do 6 knots plus on a close to a beam reach at no more than 20 degrees of heel with any real wind. Have seen 7.2 knots for an extended period with less than 15 degree of heel on a broad reach. I'm not counting occasional wave induced excursions beyond 20 degrees but the boat trimmed for 15-20 degrees. Your speeds should be at least a knot faster with the waterline of your mono. FWIW, found that reefing down to the third reef made a much better steadying sail than a full main when powering. The reefed sail sheeted in hard makes the roll of the seas bearable and doesn't slat and bang nearly as much as the full sail. Might even try using the storm trysail when wind and waves are working against your.


Biggest problem with Cats is they are stupidly expensive. Definitely would be looking on the resale market as the 6 figure depeciation hit on a new boat just seems crazy. But then, owning a boat is a bit of crazy. Cats will give you a fairly flat sailing aspect and could make for faster passages in a more stable environment than either a trawler or monohull sailboat. For a family, the separation of a catamaran sure would make cruising with kids a lot more enjoyable.
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Old 02-08-2014, 19:52   #12
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

The cat makes sense in a lot of ways. with your family make up the cat allows a more sociable atmosphere as everyone can hang out on deck or in the salon.

The rolling issue goes away, somewhat and the heeling issue goes away pretty much completely. And they are very popular so while you never make money with a boat I think they are easy to sell on with minimal usage costs.

I would vote against a pure trawler. I am not a huge environmentalist but a carbon fuel only vessel doesn't make sense to me in this day and age. The sailing vessel gives you two viable forms of propulsion and the hulls are usually extremely efficient. With twin engine propulsion you really have three propulsion bases covered.

Now the cat in terms of costs is probably going to be the most expensive - you have two engines plus a sail plan to keep maintained.
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Old 02-08-2014, 20:39   #13
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

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If I purchase a sail cat it would be a Fountaine Pajot Mahe like Cotemar owns or a Maine cat like Ortolan.
FWIW The Maine Cat 41 will be an easy 100 grand more than a similar year Mahe. But it IS a bigger boat and most MCs are very well equipped.
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Old 02-08-2014, 20:44   #14
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

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FWIW The Maine Cat 41 will be an easy 100 grand more than a similar year Mahe. But it IS a bigger boat and most MCs are very well equipped.
Thanks, I should have stipulated for us it would be the Maine Cat 30.
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Old 02-08-2014, 21:40   #15
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Re: Trawler vs Catamaran

We "trawl" with our cat more than we like to admit. Very economical compared to a trawler, and it's nice to have 2 engines AND a sail compared to a one engine trawler. Also rolls less at anchor and has a shallower draft and more living space than most trawlers of the same length.
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