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Old 24-06-2010, 22:05   #1
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Windward Cat for the Caribbean ?

For Florida to the Bahamas down the coconut run to S. America arent you bucking the trade winds almost the whole way? Don't you realistically need daggerboards unless you plan on motoring most of the way? What can you get, so equipped, for $200K-ish that you could stand having 6 people on a couple weeks per year - i.e. guests from the States in danger of claustrophobia...

Really appreciate the help!
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Old 25-06-2010, 04:24   #2
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Fl-South America

Just motor. Everyone else does. Get Bruce Van Sant's "Gentleman's Guide to Passages South." His best advice is that you're going to motor at the most opportune times (lightest winds) and that the trip will test your engine and systems on the way. We sailed very little that first season from FL to Venezuela. If I did it again, I'd have better weather info and know what to do with it, but essentially I'd still motor most of the way.

We did short hops on the way down and generally had a good trip and a fun time getting down. Motoring gets old, but then the sailing you do after you hit St. Maarten makes up for it.

Don't fret too long about windward performance. The typical 4-6' seas in the E Caribbean don't make sailing to windward that much fun anyway.
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Old 25-06-2010, 10:14   #3
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From FL to St. Maarten/Martin, you are generally beating as you head to the east. For any passage to the S, the SSE or the SE you should be able to sail, although a SE passage is going to be a beat without tacking. Once in St. Maarten/Martin most of your passages are a reach to beam reach and relatively short hops - easy.

In the 4 - 6' swells, you will also have a lot of chop that makes going to windward in any boat less than pleasant. The only benefit to motoring over beating to windward is that you get there sooner, but you still end up bashing your way there. We prefer to sail and so we take longer, tack more, but we still get there.

Most modern cats sail to windward whether daggerboard or mini-keels. Almost any 38 - 44 cat should be able to withstand 2 - 4 guests for a week. Obviously bigger will be better. There should be any number coming out of charter that would accept a $200K offer.

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 25-06-2010, 12:49   #4
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Thanks guys! Its easy to be a purist and save that gas money from my living room couch! It is actually the Van Sant book that prompted my question. Refreshing to have a daggerboard owner credit the modern minikeels with reasonable windward performance(!) Alas, I should never of let the fianc'e onto the Lagoon 420 in Miami - I think my rotating mast and daggerboards are being traded for a good cook and companion...
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Old 25-06-2010, 14:09   #5
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I'm not sure one should use "rotating mast" and "companion" in the same sentence

Fair Winds,
Mike
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Old 26-06-2010, 05:10   #6
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Bashing

I'll sail every chance I get, but when the passage is dead to windward, endless tacking would have cost me my companion, a price I wouldn't even consider.

By motorsailing, we made better speed, had better stability, and put less stress on the engine and rig. There were occasions when the wind was light and we took full advantage by purely motoring, as Bruce says, "hell for leather." For example, I finished the Mona Passage in the early morning hours and pulled into Boqueron, Peurto Rico with nearly flat seas and 5 knots of wind. The engine was parked at 2500 rpm and I was happy to be making good progress at over six knots. While I certainly prefer to sail, the practical nature of getting my house, companion, and new-to-me boat to windward won over the need to sail.

In a cat, one with little mini-keels, how much leeway do you make and what kind of angles can you sail? The reason I ask is that I had lots of friends with them (Lagoons, Mantas, etc.) and don't know any of them that tacked and sailed to windward. We left an offshore reef in Honduras with a set of cats all pulling to windward. My shoal draft Island Packet was out-pointing all of them and with better speed, and I consider that the IP had unimpressive windward performance.
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Old 26-06-2010, 17:20   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thenaz007 View Post
..... - I think my rotating mast and daggerboards are being traded for a good cook and companion...
Sounds like a pretty good trade to me.
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