I think the title is a little bit misleading, but it is the only way I can broach the subject and come out of the closet.
From my teens on I have been involved in boating
in one form or another. I started with 17 foot outboard
boats then move to a 24 foot sailing boat
, then to a 19 foot Seawych which was used on an inland lake for a number of years. Then a variety of boats, both motor
and sail leading to a sailing vessel which I sailed from the UK to Majorca in the 80s.
When I moved to America, I again had a series of boats, a couple of sailboats that were unsuitable in the main for the area I lived in. As a keen fisherman I work
my way up from flats boats to a 42 foot offshore power
cruiser for fishing
Along the way I fell in love with sailing catamarans, and have pulled the trigger on three but in each case for different reasons the sale
did not progress.
At the moment, I have a small Westerly Centaur for piddling around in the Bristol Channel and further if I desire. It's a lovely boat
. It was well cared for before I got it and has been cleaned and polished and all the little details have been taking care of that makes it a reliable safe and able coastal cruiser.
Recently I took the time to evaluate my interest in in boating
, and why I would pick a sailboat over a motor
cruiser. First there is the cost in operating the vessel, then there is the absolute delight in sitting in a vessel powered only by the wind
. On a beautiful warm day I don't believe there is anything finer to experience on the water
However boating is not made up of continuous beautiful warm days. I also am not keen on the continuous heeling of a sailing vessel. I find the chore of having to put everything away before commencing sailing a drag. Yes I know it is something that you get used to doing, but you only have to forget one cup somewhere and you will find liquid spilled all over the place. For this reason and several others I turned to catamarans as the answer. The differences in sailing action and stability in the vessels were enough to persuade me to look for my next sailing vessel to be a catamaran
. I have had the pleasure of test sailing and spending days aboard different catamarans with friends who own catamarans.
As an amateur sailor who likes the ease of operation of a powered vessel, along with the main operations and steering
centre inside the cabin
or wheelhouse, and not keen on sailing for miles on a sharp angle, I look for catamarans that would fulfil this purpose. I never did see the point of having a fixed steering
position open to all the elements and being the only place to steer the vessel regardless of the weather
. I also did not see the point in having to go forward to work
on the sails
instead of having everything running to the cockpit
I believe, I am one of a growing number of boaters who love sailing but are looking for a crossover experience with some of the advantages from motorboats incorporated into a sailing vessel. I readily admit to not being a sailing purist. It would seem that Broadblue
and Tag have recognised us as being the new market for sailing vessels. Broadblue
more especially as they have designed the vessel with everything in the cockpit
including all the lines and winches. (Broadblue have still retained a movable steering tiller at the rear of the vessel for those nice days or for people who prefer traditional methods of sailing). Tag have made a complete dedicated sailing area in front of the cockpit windows, usually wasted space on a catamaran
.) and this area they have made only lacks a steering wheel
, but one can control the vessel using the autopilot
. A lot of catamarans on the market can control the vessel from a portable handheld autopilot
device, but I prefer the motor vessel like steering position as adopted by Broadblue.
I don't believe it makes a person desiring this less of a sailor. People like what they like and as long as it is safe, practical, and allows the captain
to fulfil the purpose of sailing the vessel in a variety of conditions in comfort, then I don't see why it should be the province of Motor vessels only.
Unfortunately as with all new innovations the cost is way beyond my pocket. The Tag 60 is around $3 million and the Broadblue goes up to $2 million. However the concept
has been adopted and in time I see it going into production for smaller vessels.
I recently placed a video of the Broadblue on CF and a lot of the traditional sailors did not like it. I can understand this, but as someone who loves sailing and boats, I also do not like the necessity of handling sails
in the traditional manner which has seen little improvement over hundreds of years, this is not to say that sails themselves, the masts the operation of the actual mechanics of raising and lowering sails have not improved, but the methodology involved has not changed. Broadblue as a company did not try to reinvent the wheel
, but they did consolidate the entire steering and sail operations into one location internally and as such have simplified the whole process and obviated the need for anybody to be on deck
for sail handling except for zipping the mainsail
into the bag when it is no longer required.
People have different reasons for going sailing. Some like being out in all weathers and running forward trimming, adjusting and generally playing with the rig. I don't mind doing this for an hour or two, but if on a long passage
I would prefer to have the convenience that I found in my motorised offshore
cruiser and be warm and dry and stable. I believe the new breed of catamarans fulfil this criteria for me and I eagerly await each new development in the future.