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Old 08-04-2008, 05:15   #1
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Why Can't a Cat Sail High Lattitudes??

Ok, here it is! A new thread on this topic.

Over and over and over again I read from some of the most knowledeable cat owners on here about cats being the greatest thing ever invented.

BUT... there is always this one caveat: Unless I wanted to go to high lattitudes.

Recently, one of those posts mentioned Halifax, NS. Well, I'm brining my cat up to a place just west of Halifax for its home cruising grounds.

Why does everyone keep saying that cats are not good in high lattitudes?

Can anyone explain this to me?

Every time I read this statement, my heart sinks and I can't figure out why. Sailing a boat in FL or the Caribbean feels no different to me than sailing in my home cruising grounds. (except we have a harder rock bottom and more currents than the other places)


So can anyone please tell me why cats are so great, EXCEPT for high lattitudes?

I just can't figure this out.

So far, the only thing I can see that makes a cat bad for high lattitudes is the difficulty involved in heating two hulls with a raised saloon.

Please... tell me what I'm doing wrong by having a cat in high lattitudes, or ease my fears... Every time I read these posts, my heart sinks and I think I'm making a huge mistake or something.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:46   #2
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I have heard that also, but I thought they were refering to the Southern Oceans.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:49   #3
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Maybe Ice ?
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:53   #4
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I have heard that also, but I thought they were refering to the Southern Oceans.
Sometimes they do... other times they do not.

See this thread:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...e-13955-6.html

Mark lists Halifax (practically my destination) as a place he'd like to visit and it sounds like something of a feat to do it in a cat.

This isn't the first time I've heard this stuff. I hope someone can explain this to me. The assumption is there, but I still don't quite understand it and am hoping to have not made some big mistake.
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Old 08-04-2008, 05:59   #5
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Here I thought this was going to be about sailing high as in pointing high. On another front, no reason why the crew can't sail "high".

As for sailing in high latitudes, there is no reason whatsoever that a cat can't go where any other sailing vessel can. This doesn't mean that all cats, nor all sailing vessels, are properly constructed for very high latitudes.

See Catamarans CATANA and navigate to the page about Brumas Patagonia in the link, "Catana Live."

The previous owner of my boat took her around Cape Horn the hard way, east to west.

Dave
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Old 08-04-2008, 06:54   #6
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I agree that sailing the Southern Ocean is what was meant. It is not that it can't be done. That is not what is meant at all. After all a properly equiped bath tob can go just about anywhere. lol

Everybody knows that cats slam, but not everybody admits it. The steeper the wave, and faster the cat the more slamming. It would be a matter of controlling speed, or stopping the boat.

Me being a prudent sailor would stop my cat while a mono may sail on in high winds? This is one of the disadvantages to sailing a cat. 2hull's Catana did the Southern Ocean, and maybe he has information on the P.O's. experience sailing there such as sea state etc.etc. etc?

I read about a lady who prepared her boat for 5 years to round the Horn. When she got there she needed to motor around. Conditions are what count in rounding.

I have no experience in high latitudes, so I don't have the answers. I do know how my cat behaves in 30-40knt conditions close hulled, on a beam, and a following sea. I don't think that you will encounter many problems where you will be sailing.
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:33   #7
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I wouldn't consider Halifax 'high latitudes' for the sake of this discussion. For me, the issue is that 'high latitude' areas, let's say Cape Horn, Chilean Channels, Gulf of Alaska, have strong, unpredictable, or shall we say 'short prediction' weather windows. Winds of 70 kts or greater can occur with little to no notice. Gusts can be higher.

Since cats must reef for the gusts whereas monohulls reef for the lulls, extreme wx conditions significantly inhibit the ability to make progress. A sudden squall or williwaw of up to 100 kts would likely overwhelm even a triple reefed cat for instance. Summer coastwise high latitude conditions would probably be do-able but you're looking at potential worst case conditions arising 'suddenly'. To me, it's this 'sudden' factor of high winds that present the issues.

However, since I've seen 100 kt downbursts between Trinidad and the US East coast in springtime, perhaps the issue is not as location dependent. I'd sure not have wanted to be caught out in the downburst I experienced while on a cat. (I was on a ship) However, tropical squalls give some warning and have short duration, high latitude areas have longer periods of higher winds wherein a cat might face a greater window of hazard.
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Old 08-04-2008, 07:55   #8
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Hi Sean,

You saw Fallado's Circumnavigation on another thread

There is Robin Chamberlain and Terry Travers who went south in a 38 ft OPEN BRIDGEDECK cat Icecat - Excess Crew Project

I even read a story recently in Multihull world about a couple of danger freaks who went south in a hobie 18 (with support) but sailed it none the less from Cape Horn (pategonia) I think to the ice.

If you feel the boat is strong, the crew inc. Skipper are up to it, have bulletproof rig and sails and you have good ground tackle and contingency plan, why not?

I'd have to ask why though?

No Crayfish or mudcrabs in the ice, cold beer would not be pleasant drinking and I prefer my woman in various stages of undress compared to rugged up like an eskimo.


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Old 08-04-2008, 08:12   #9
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cat man do,

Great read on Fallado.....THANKS
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Old 08-04-2008, 08:37   #10
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Cats can sail high lats.
But, here are some reasons not to:
-Problems efficiently heating the entire boat (too spread out)
-You really dont want to get stuck in the ice. (the boat will be crushed)

On the other hand looking out of the main cabins windows while its cold outside is a nice escape from the weather.

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Old 08-04-2008, 10:56   #11
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Isn't this once again about traditional thinking like we multihullers should be used to confronting by now?

Tradionally, boats for high latitude cruising have been metal hulled (well at least for the past 50 years or so) due to the worry of running into floating ice. As cruisers, I don't think many would consider getting involved with spending a winter in the pack ice, so let's rule that out.

Running into ice would probably be something like hitting a container I would think, not a nice prospect but if your boat is sensibly designed, it should survive and be able to continue sailing without having to man the pumps around the clock.

Given this scenario, I don't see any reason why a cat would be a worse option than any other composite boat, in fact I would rather be on a cat!

Plenty of "plastic" boats visit the Falklands.

The issue of heavy weather, is always present to some degree wherever we chose to sail. Good seamanship and and a well found boat should deal with that aspect, even though it can be uncomfortable.

Several boats make the trip up past Norway up to Lofoten etc. every year. This is in fact an area of relative light winds in the summer season.
I remember reading about a french guy who went from France, Ireland, Norway, Lofoten, then down to Iceland, Faroes, Shetland and back home in 2-3 months on a 40-something Catana I think it was.

In fact, this is a trip I dream of doing, all those wonderful Norwegian fjords, would love to sail up to Lofoten or even further North, back down and across to Iceland and maybe Greenland.

I didn't get my cat out of the water here fast enough one winter, we ended up with about 40-50 cms of ice in the harbour here. The ice pressure actually pushed the boat up and further out of the water by about 5-10 cms. No problem for the boat at all. I could sit in the cockpit and watch the DN iceboats zooming past at incredible speeds.

So, YES, cats can be used for high latitude cruising!

Regards

Alan
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:41   #12
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I guess it depends what you define as high latitude. What springs to my mind when I read the phrase 'high latitude sailing' is that a high proportion of the time will be spent going to windward. If I really have to spend a lot of my time bashing to windward I think I'd rather do it in a mono. As I'm leaving the end of this month to go Tradewind sailing I chose a cat.
On the subject of heating, sitting in Beaucette marina in Guernsey, I've been using about 15 litres of diesel a week to keep warm. If I want to be really warm & just wear jeans and T shirt that goes up to about 20 + litres a week, glad the weather is finally on the turn! Incidentally, that's just for heating, hot water is provided by an immersion heater. The problem is there's a lot of boat to keep warm (Broadblue 385).
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Old 08-04-2008, 12:47   #13
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I guess it depends what you define as high latitude. What springs to my mind when I read the phrase 'high latitude sailing' is that a high proportion of the time will be spent going to windward. If I really have to spend a lot of my time bashing to windward I think I'd rather do it in a mono. As I'm leaving the end of this month to go Tradewind sailing I chose a cat.
On the subject of heating, sitting in Beaucette marina in Guernsey, I've been using about 15 litres of diesel a week to keep warm. If I want to be really warm & just wear jeans and T shirt that goes up to about 20 + litres a week, glad the weather is finally on the turn! Incidentally, that's just for heating, hot water is provided by an immersion heater. The problem is there's a lot of boat to keep warm (Broadblue 385).
What kind of heater do you have?

What is the temperature outside?

Is your boat insulated?
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Old 08-04-2008, 14:48   #14
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Originally Posted by ssullivan View Post
Sometimes they do... other times they do not.

See this thread:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...e-13955-6.html

Mark lists Halifax (practically my destination) as a place he'd like to visit and it sounds like something of a feat to do it in a cat.

This isn't the first time I've heard this stuff. I hope someone can explain this to me. The assumption is there, but I still don't quite understand it and am hoping to have not made some big mistake.
But if you have a look at some of the links in that thread you'll see cats sailing round Cape Horn etc.

Or howabout Alaska in a Seawind 1000? http://www.katiekat.net/KKHomePageSupport/P7080034.jpg

You think YOU have heating problems?
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Old 08-04-2008, 15:18   #15
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"Adventures under arctic sun"

Another interesting book "Adventures under arctic sun" about sailing in high lats was written by Burkhard Pieske. He's German who sailed with his 12 m catamaran Shangri-La at the end of his 10 year circumnavigation after 90 000 sm the American Eastcoast high to Newfoundland, Labrador and from Greenland back over Faröer Islands and Norway to Travemünde.
But I think it is only available in German.
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