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Old 19-03-2007, 10:28   #1
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Trimarans and Catamarans - 37ft - 45ft

I am just starting to do my purchase homework and would like to know users experience with the various trimarans and catamarans in the 37ft - 45ft range. Specifically, with trimarans I would like to know the pros and cons of the following designers:

Brown, Cross, Horstmann, Kelsall, Piver, White.

As for catamarans, I'm willing to give up the cruising condominum models for better performance, but as I will be living aboard I don't want an all-out racer.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Gary
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Old 19-03-2007, 15:24   #2
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all of those designs, other than Kelsall, are very old designs.
A lot of improvements have been made in the last twenty years. Try and go for something more up to date.
Catamarans dont have much practical space until you get to 40 ft or more. Otherwise you have a bridge deck, usually built too close to the water and hulls which are like coffins.
I prefer Trimarans, particularly under 40 ft. The dragonfly range is excellent.
We need to know more about your application and where you intend to sail/cruise.
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Old 19-03-2007, 15:40   #3
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Older Trimarans

My primary cruising grounds will be the West Coast of both North and Central America, with the possibility of trips to Hawaii and French Polynesia.

While the trimarans I listed may be older designs, I need to seriously consider them because of my price constraints. I also believe there's alot to be said for older boats that have withstood years of use (as long as they've been taken care of) since most of the initial flaws have most likely been repaired.

While I would love to be able to buy one of the new dragonflys or farriers, their prices preclude me from purchasing anything other than their smallest models, and since I plan on living aboard for extended lengths of time, I don't want to do it a boat with the limited living space of their smaller models.
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Old 19-03-2007, 20:52   #4
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If you have to watch the pennies, then in the cat world consider an older Prout. Not a performance machine, but they will do the job and the hulls were built strong. Avoid the ones where the nacelles go all the way to the water, though -- way too much drag. Watch for leaks and headliner rot.

If you can find one (not many made), one of the original TPI built Lagoons were well made boats with a good design.

Both of these are cruisers, not performance cats. In the performance cat world, even an older Outremer/Catana won't come cheap, unless they've been beat up.

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Old 19-03-2007, 21:05   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by orsailor
I am just starting to do my purchase homework and would like to know users experience with the various trimarans and catamarans in the 37ft - 45ft range. Specifically, with trimarans I would like to know the pros and cons of the following designers:

Brown, Cross, Horstmann, Kelsall, Piver, White.

As for catamarans, I'm willing to give up the cruising condominum models for better performance, but as I will be living aboard I don't want an all-out racer.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Gary
Have you considered building? If you have the time and space you can save a lot of money, and it can be enjoyable too.
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Old 19-03-2007, 21:16   #6
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Nothing wrong with some of these old designs. It's like the monohull folks who sail gaff cutters, Westsail 32's, Alajuela 38's, Bristol Channel Cutters, etc. We have heritage in the multihull crowd too. All the boats mention have a long record of successful passagemaking so it really comes down to your budget. The Pivers are first generation designs and will generally be the least expensive. I am amazed at how many are still around. I think the cons are less refined hull shape, construction engineering, and sailing ability. I don't mean to diss these boats, someone had to be first. Many of the Pivers still out there have modifications by Norm Cross that delt with some of these issues. Brown, Cross, and Horstman refined the hull shapes, ama displacment, design engineering and construction, etc. I guess you could call these second generation boats. Third generation boats by Kelsall, Crowther, White, and Marples further refined the concept using more modern materials they were able to engineer excess weight out of the boats and these easily have the best sailing performance. I think the cons are less payload and interior space as they seem more geared to performance. These will also be at the top end of the price spectrum. IMO if you compare performance, payload, comfort, interior space, and price the Brown, Cross, and Horstman boats are tough to beat. The most bang for the buck. My favorites are the Brown Searunners and the Cross designs. The two things I do not like about the Horstman designs are the daggerboards in the amas(not very effective) and the high sided flush deck style. They are capable boats and this is just my personal taste. The Cross boats are very well engineerd, and really look great. Can't think of anything bad to say. The Brown Searunners have a big centerboard that divides the boat in two so you have to accept that. I like it because it divides the sleeping area from the galley, dinette, and nav area. One thing that may not be obvious unless you have been aboard a Searunner is the superior storage and cargo space and the way it is arranged. Deep bilges run the length of the boat and the whole area beneath the cockpit floor down to the hull bottom is heavy storage, engine, tankage, etc. Down low in the center of the boat, Brown called this natural ballast and it gives the boat a seakindly motion that it was well known for in it's day. A true cruising classic. I think the biggest con to any of these boats is the varying quality of construction as most where sold as plans and either home built(more common) or built by a custom yard. You have to do your homework but if you find a good one grab it you won't regret it. My favorites would be the Searunner 34, 37, and 40, the Cross 35, 38, 40, and 42, and the Horstman 38. For a bit more money try to find a Marples Constant Camber 40 or 44. Some less well known designs to check out would be the Marples Seaclipper 38 or 40 or the Kristofferson Kismet from 31-40 feet. For the Pivers look for the Lodestar, AA, Victress, or Stilleto for more perormance. He had many designs so there are others too.
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Old 19-03-2007, 21:22   #7
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The West coast of California for example is totally different to the Cental American, Hawaii or French polynesia. Multihulls are best suited to tropical areas where having a shallow draft is very important. The further north you go where the weather can be quite severe it is better to have a monohull. Generally monohulls are MUCH cheaper because there have been so many of them built in solid fiberglass which is a pretty sound material.
I would avoid anything built in plywood (early multihulls). And you have to be very carefull with foam sandwich. If foam sandwich is built properly it is very light and strong but there have been many horror stories when after a couple of years water does penetrate into the core.

One thing you also need to seriously consider is how do you "get back" It is all very nice to sail from the west coast to tahiti but you will have a very difficult time sailing back to the west coast unless "like you go all the way around" Another thing is in the the tropics is finding enough wind. Make sure you have a realiable motor and PLENTY of fuel, you will need it.

I have been told the best place to buy a yacht is in Langkawi Malaysia, where all the Americans have sailed to and don't want to go any further, that is go through the red sea etc (pirates) The problem is if you buy a boat there YOU have to sail through the red sea. (personally I do not see the pirate issue a real threat)
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Old 20-03-2007, 05:07   #8
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Beau,

How do you figure the Californian coast is different from Central America, or Hawaii? What's your basis for stating mono's are better in severe weather? Just curious.


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Old 20-03-2007, 10:16   #9
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Don't know that tropical vs. northern waters has much to do with it, but multihulls aren't particularly popular on the left coast. Run a yachtworld search for used multihulls at least 32' against CA, OR, and WA - you get 34. Run the same search against FL and you get 124. Regardless of where you will use your boat, you might want to shop for it beyond just California.
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Old 20-03-2007, 15:58   #10
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I have sailed the California coast in a Catalina 25 deep keel. deep water large swells, not many islands no shallow reefs but when the weather gets bad it gets BAD. Mono are well suited to that region which is why you don't see many multi's on the west coast.
I must admit I haven't sailed the westcoast of central America but I do know coral reefs and tropical waters, and that is no place for a monohull.
I now live in Brisbane Australia where we have lots of shallow sandbars and coral reefs just to the north. Multihulls are very popular here. There is always a lot of talk about the best type of boat, but I always say that it depends on where you are going to sail. I have had Mono's and Multihulls and I must admit that when you are racing at night in heavy weather in a multi and you are down in your bunk off watch (and you own the boat) and you "feel" one hull leave the water you just "hope" it is going to come down again. I always slept better on a monoin those conditions.
However, well sailed and cruising a multi is very safe, particularly when you are tucked up inside the reef at night and not "rolling your guts out" in a the mono outside the reef in deep water.
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Old 20-03-2007, 16:26   #11
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Beau,

You don't see many multi's on the North American West coast, because there are no big charter outfits there, unlike the Caribbean and the Med. They are getting more and more popular out there, for all the same reasons they're getting more popular in general. But with far fewer builders of multis on the West coast and far fewer used multi's out there, the disparity will likely continue for a long time. While I see your point about multis having an advantage in shoal waters, big seas happen everywhere and multis, sailed safely, have no disadvantage in them, compared to their mono counterparts, IMHO.
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Old 20-03-2007, 22:51   #12
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Piver started it all in San Fransisco in the late 50's and the West Coast in the 60's and 70's was the hotbed of the build a trimaran in the backyard and cruise the South Pacific movement, so I doubt the weather is the real factor.
Could it be the shortage and high cost of marina space. Most of the cats seem to be built in Europe, South Africa, Brazil, and some East Coast builders. The difficulty and expense of getting one to the Left Coast might be a factor.
And as previuosly stated the West Coast is hardly the center of the chartering universe. I can see the point that there is little benefit to having a shoal draft vessel there as opposed to say the Keys or the Bahamas.
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Old 21-03-2007, 09:02   #13
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(True Multihull history)

First of all, The revolution was started in the late 1940s by a glider pilot named Woody Brown. Manu Kai was a 38 foot catamaran and was sailed in Hawaii. Piver gets this credit often, but in reality was just a better businessman! Hobie took the hull design of Manu Kai and built a boat we call the "Hobie 14".

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...1&d=1174490022
Hawaii is often very windy! There are some surounding reefs in Hawaii, but mostly deep water sailing. California was the location of the Multihull revolution in the USA. Piver, Cross, CSK, among other built many cats and tris in Socal. Things have shifted since then, but its still a great place to sail a multi.

Despite what some will tell you multihull technology has not changed very much. (It has only been 60 years!) Most new cats sail like poo. Technological advances have been more evident in construction materials, sails, and rigs. Lets put it this way... A well built Piver can sail circles around a Lagoon.

As far as the boats you mentioned; here are my opinions...

Brown was famous for the searunner tri. Well built and nice looks but a little heavy and not that big inside. Nice tris.

Cross had some really nice looking designs. They were much more modern looking. You can get them for cheap in decent condition. Nice cabins. I think the amas are a little small for my taste.

Horstman made the tristar models and some other similar ones. When these are in the 40 or greater range they are my favorite classic tris. They are a bit stubby looking when shorter. They sail well and look great. The cool thing is all three hulls are connected by the cabin/ wingbridge.

There are tons of Pivers out there. Some great deals. For the most part I don't like their looks but some would disagree. Lots of home builders.

As far as Kelsall and White, all I know is what I've seen on the web.

I was looking at a classic multi a while back, and thinking of some of these same boats. I am in socal so the old tris are abundant if you know where to look. I too wanted performance and not a condo. I would have been happy with a cross or a horstman but I found a CSK catamaran. The performance of the CSKs exceeds all of the previously mentioned boats. The space onboard is similar. The prices are similar. However, availability of these is VERY low as they were not homebuilt.

Good luck!
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Old 21-03-2007, 14:37   #14
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Can the Mods PLEASE close this thread...........I have started looking on Yachtworld.com for Trimarans

I remember reading about the 26' Telstars in the early 1970's when I was a youngster and at the time they seemed so cool and futuristic (I guess having a "jet drive" also helped )........the hankering for a Tri has never really left me.........not sure why I never bought one over the years, probably just one more thing I never got around too.

Cats don't really do much for me..........
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Old 21-03-2007, 19:02   #15
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Tony Smith at Performance Cruising has reintroduced the Telstar, David so you have another shot at it.

I take your point tnflackbait, when I mentioned Piver I was thinking about trimarans not cats.
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