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Old 16-05-2016, 14:53   #1
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Cat Versus Mono - Single Handling

I know the cat versus mono thing is old and worn out, but I used the search engine and didn't find any reference between the two for single handling. OK, it is probably there ten times, but I couldn't get anything to come up. Will only buy 1 boat when we retire, not gradually work up. We dive and have basic sailing (initial certifications and small lake sailing). The question is -- can you sail by yourself, alone, on the small catamarans. If one of us should pass, we wouldn't want a boat that the one remaining could not handle by themselves. That way they would have a choice to stay on the boat or get off, whatever they wanted to do -- not be forced to sell.

Aside from all the other discussions of cats vs. mono's, strickly on being able to sail single handed once they are set up for that, will it make much difference?
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Old 16-05-2016, 15:11   #2
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

Probably more than any other cat vs monohull question this depends on the size of the boat. I think a small cat would be far easier to single hand but a large one would be far harder. This has to do with sail size and weight, loads, and issues docking.
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Old 16-05-2016, 15:19   #3
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

It really depends on how the boat is set up. I sailed a 40ft racing mono that needed 6 people minimum to sail. Other even bigger boats can be easily single handed.


There are guys racing 100ft trimarans round the world single handed.


I can single hand our 44 foot cat easily enough. Would be tiring to short tack my way up a river though. Some other boats (cat's and mono's) have self tacking headsails, so on them it would be a piece of cake.


Either way, a good autopilot will be a very useful piece of gear.
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Old 16-05-2016, 15:26   #4
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

Sure why not. It is all about your skills, not about the number of her hulls.

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Old 16-05-2016, 16:37   #5
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

I did touch on this topic briefly in my singlehanded tips book. The question for you is this: are you speaking of a real catamaran that will lift up with one hull flying? Or are you talking about a cruising catamaran that is in reality a raft with two hulls, and won't tilt more than 5 degrees no matter how strong the wind?

If you are thinking of a real cat, then only an expert can singlehand it, and even experts get flipped over in the middle of the ocean. If you are talking about a cruising cat, then go ahead - you won't even spill your drink in a blow.
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Old 16-05-2016, 17:32   #6
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Re: Cat Versus Mono - Single Handling

I singlehand my PDQ 32 most of the time. My impression is that...

During the day a cat is easier because the sails are smaller and the loads are less. A 32' cat is equivalent in most ways (space, speed, cost) to about ~ 36-40' mono with half the canvas.

At night a cat requires a bit more vigilance if sleeping underway is a consideration. Specifically, you have to reduce canvas more. If you are not sleeping, a level deck is probably easier to navigate in the dark.

That said, the cat has a different learning curve and skill set. Barely sailing it is easier and sailing it well is probably harder (less feel). Depends.

So long as you keep the boat to a reasonable size for 2 you'll be fine.
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Old 16-05-2016, 18:04   #7
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
I did touch on this topic briefly in my singlehanded tips book. The question for you is this: are you speaking of a real catamaran that will lift up with one hull flying? Or are you talking about a cruising catamaran that is in reality a raft with two hulls, and won't tilt more than 5 degrees no matter how strong the wind?

If you are thinking of a real cat, then only an expert can singlehand it, and even experts get flipped over in the middle of the ocean. If you are talking about a cruising cat, then go ahead - you won't even spill your drink in a blow.
What I find funny is you wrote book on sailing but obviously didn't read or comprehend the OPs question. How many people are liveaboard cruising a beach cat, or an open deck race cat? Most offshore performance Cats that have flip don't always or even usually flip from flying a hull, you should research it then get back with us.

For the OP,it all comes down to preference a cat is usually easier to steer and handle docking., and has greater stability for anchoring etc. But plenty of people still single hand monos and control them with the best of us. I think it's only a question you and your partner can answer.

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Old 16-05-2016, 18:21   #8
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Re: Cat Versus Mono - Single Handling

Double post.. sorry! see below
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Old 16-05-2016, 18:22   #9
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Re: Cat Versus Mono - Single Handling

The only part about sailing a cat singlehanded is the going to sleep bit. It just would worry me slightly, should a squall come through while asleep. This is easily solved by reefing sensibly, and having a conservative design, not a highly strung racing cat, pushing hard in a race. But still I feel more comfortable sleeping alone at sea in my mono. In your case this isnt an issue as you are normally two handed.

I dont see any real issue singlehanding a cat vs a mono in normal use. Its all about the setup of the individual boat and skills of the people sailing it.




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Old 16-05-2016, 18:26   #10
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Re: Cat Versus Mono - Single Handling

Did you see this one? The Google Custom search is much better than the standard search.

Largest Single-Hand Cat
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Old 16-05-2016, 18:33   #11
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

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Originally Posted by Dulcesuenos View Post
What I find funny is you wrote book on sailing but obviously didn't read or comprehend the OPs question. How many people are liveaboard cruising a beach cat, or an open deck race cat? Most offshore performance Cats that have flip don't always or even usually flip from flying a hull, you should research it then get back with us.

For the OP,it all comes down to preference a cat is usually easier to steer and handle docking., and has greater stability for anchoring etc. But plenty of people still single hand monos and control them with the best of us. I think it's only a question you and your partner can answer.

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He wrote a book but obviously doesn't know the difference between a catamaran and trimaran.
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Old 16-05-2016, 18:39   #12
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Re: Cat Versus Mono - Single Handling

I sailed my 33 foot monohull almost exclusively singlehandedly for over twenty years of living aboard. I now sail my 45 foot cat singlehandedly and have lived aboard it for close to twelve years. Singlehanding is a great practice because it forces you to get used to thinking things through in advance. It also requires you to figure out the sequence of actions that makes them "easy". And when you have done this, you can singlehand either type of boat. I do think the lack of heeling is a great advantage when singlehanding. Someone mentioned the size of the sails.....my cat has an 880 sq. foot mainsail. With the correct size winches, I don't find this a problem and you can always get electric winches. On the other hand, there is something to be said for being able to manhandle your way through any emergency or equipment failure but that is more a function of size than the number of hulls.

Based upon my two boats, anchoring was easier on the mono. Picking up a mooring is easier on the cat. Maneuvering under power is much easier in the cat. Under sail, maybe a tiny bit easier on the mono, but she was much smaller. Each had its challenges when docking. My cat is vastly easier to dock on the starboard side due to the helm position. The mono had no such bias, but docking on the portside was easier due to considerable propwalk, sometimes welcome, sometimes not. Docking a flybridge cat singlehanded can be a bear since you are too far away from where you need to be, if the helm is amidship, and restricted in your access to the opposite side, if it's not. You need to be able to dock or leave a dock without shoreside assistance. The ads don't mention that, preferring to concentrate on lines being all led to the helm; to my way of thinking, that's irrelevant, at best, and is also frequently an unnecessary complication. YMMV.

Dealing with a dinghy, particularly singlehanded, is easier if you have good davits. Most cats do. Not many mono's do, until you get up there in size. This is a major consideration if you are going to cruise.

It is generally, though not always, easier to sleep comfortably on deck on a cat. Again, size also matters.

To consider a boat truly suitable for singlehanding, I think you need to be able to dock or undock without shoreside assistance, anchor or moor without assistance, and raise sails and trim them by yourself. I would not consider a many flybridge cats to be truly suitable for singlehanding. You are just too far away from where you need to be when you dock without assistance, and maybe at other times, too, depending upon the boat.

Living on the cat is much easier. I think the cat is safer, not because of any perceived tedencies of either type to capsize or sink or not. Either boat can do either thing, but neither thing happens very often in any boat. The causes of most peoples' injuries on a boat have much more to do with the boat's motion and its propensity to heel. That's how you get boiling water on you, or slip, or go overboard. In these regards, the cat is much safer. Personally, and on my two boats, I am much better rested on the cat, and that translates to safety. I used to regularly lose one pound a day when underway on the mono, no matter how much I ate. My body was always bracing itself, even when asleep. I don't lose weight on the cat because it doesn't require as much athleticism.

I loved and still love sailing my mono, but I love sailing the cat even more.

Good luck. Love the one your with!
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Old 16-05-2016, 18:40   #13
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

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He wrote a book but obviously doesn't know the difference between a catamaran and trimaran.
A very good book it is too, one of the best (actually probably the very best!) primers on singlehanded sailing I have read. Its kindly availible as a free download.

Athough it focuses more on singlehanded Monohull racing, I suggest anybody, Cat, Mono or Tri that plans to sail shorthanded gets and reads this book.
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Old 16-05-2016, 22:31   #14
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Re: cat versus mono - single handling

Quote:
Originally Posted by Foolish View Post
I did touch on this topic briefly in my singlehanded tips book. The question for you is this: are you speaking of a real catamaran that will lift up with one hull flying? Or are you talking about a cruising catamaran that is in reality a raft with two hulls, and won't tilt more than 5 degrees no matter how strong the wind?

If you are thinking of a real cat, then only an expert can singlehand it, and even experts get flipped over in the middle of the ocean. If you are talking about a cruising cat, then go ahead - you won't even spill your drink in a blow.
Living up to your forum name I see.

"real cat", "raft with two hulls" - Sheesh!

The OP is obviously talking about a live-aboard vessel:
"That way they would have a choice to stay on the boat or get off, whatever they wanted to do -- not be forced to sell."




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Old 16-05-2016, 22:46   #15
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Re: Cat Versus Mono - Single Handling

Single handing my Privilege 39 is easy in terms of running the systems on board. When I am on watch, I am effectively single handing anyway.

I always put a couple of reefs in the mainsail at night, and I don't worry about a reduction in speed.

With two engines and an autopilot, single handing is easy.

As a single hander, I like having two engines, two steering wheels, two rudders, and two fuel systems. Redundancy is good offshore, and a single failure in an important system will not put the voyage at risk.

It's the lack of sleep faced by a single hander that would be my main concern.
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