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Old 26-06-2020, 19:53   #1
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Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Looking to start a thread that covers features on cats that have single hand friendly features not that I'm planning on single handing long term more of a just incase.
Do Cat's even benefit from bow thrusters for single hand docking?
Does anyone have camera's setup where the bow lights would be so you could see dockside?
Are there any forward facing sonar devices yet to alert you of floating objects?
Thermal imaging forward facing alarms for night time engines?
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Old 26-06-2020, 20:00   #2
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pirate Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Bow thrusters on a large cat.???
Invest in a boat handling course.. with twin engines you should be able to spin on a dime or crab into a gap 8ft longer than your LOA.
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Old 26-06-2020, 20:16   #3
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimgrak View Post
Looking to start a thread that covers features on cats that have single hand friendly features not that I'm planning on single handing long term more of a just incase.
Do Cat's even benefit from bow thrusters for single hand docking?
Does anyone have camera's setup where the bow lights would be so you could see dockside?
Are there any forward facing sonar devices yet to alert you of floating objects?
Thermal imaging forward facing alarms for night time engines?
Based on the questions you ask, you need a lot more experience before you consider single handing...

While big cats are sometimes equipped with bow thrusters they are a silly crutch for people who donít know how to drive a twin engine boat. With a little skill, instruction, and practice you should be able to make a twin engine catamaran dance Swan Lake.

Docking a large boat in close quarters, especially a cat, by yourself can be virtually impossible in any except very gentle conditions. The helm is just too far from the line handling. Sometimes you canít run back and forth fast enough.

Cameras can be a help docking on some boats, but the place for the camera in almost all cases is at the top of the mast, so you can see ALL corners of the boat.

Nothing warns you of floating objects, except your EYES.

Thermal imaging alarms to look for engines in front of the boat??? Sigh. Eyeballs. Use your eyeballs. Why isnít radar isnít good enough for you? What about us poor boats that sail without engine heat signatures? Youíre just going to run us down? What about the boat coming up behind you?

Technology is NOT the solution to every problem in boat handling.
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Old 26-06-2020, 20:26   #4
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Also are certain makes/models better for single handing?
Radar is only as good as the radar reflector if it's put up.
Unless your talking metal hulls.
Technology is what this thread is about if you want to rely on eyeballs and a compass get rid of your autopilot and engines then it's not the intent of the thread.
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Old 26-06-2020, 23:10   #5
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grimgrak View Post
Also are certain makes/models better for single handing?
Radar is only as good as the radar reflector if it's put up.
Unless your talking metal hulls.
Technology is what this thread is about if you want to rely on eyeballs and a compass get rid of your autopilot and engines then it's not the intent of the thread.
I agree with some of the answers already given but thats not to say technology doesnt help. If you are being pushed off a dock by wind then i think (altho i have no direct experience of this) a bow thruster would keep you on it whilst sorting out the lines.

We personally like the thermal imaging idea.. maybe not for a smaller boat but as you are talking about a bigger cat then i think everything helps when entering a busy lit area at night where it can be hard to see.

I like technology.. I don't think people should rely on it at all but every little helps keep you safe, and thats no bad thing.
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Old 26-06-2020, 23:36   #6
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

[QUOTE=Grimgrak;3172961].
Quote:
Do Cat's even benefit from bow thrusters for single hand docking?
Should never need a thruster. Ever and it would be a bad design that did so, adds weight to the ends of the boat and a turbulent area.
Quote:
Does anyone have camera's setup where the bow lights would be so you could see dockside?
On a well designed boat you should be able to see all corners without a camera.
Quote:
Are there any forward facing sonar devices yet to alert you of floating objects?
Thermal imaging forward facing alarms for night time engines?
yes but I have never used one that trusted.

I have single handed plenty of 13 - 15 metre cats. Its all about design, boats with helms up ladders and single helms raised up etc will be painful and not easy, a well designed boat with a helm each side and good visibility will be a doddle.
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Old 26-06-2020, 23:38   #7
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Are you talking about single-handing in general, for example while sailing, or specifically when docking? From my experience with our Catana 48 I'd suggest:

In general single handing:
- a good autopilot
- reliable VHF at the helm
- easy access to all controls - sail, engine, helm
- a chart plotter at the helm with decent charts and radar
- we tried a forward facing sonar and it wasn't useful - not enough range forward in shallow water
- we had a camera on the spreaders looking down at the bow which made it easier picking up moorings when double-handed, but it wasn't good enough for pilotage single-handed

Docking:
- learn to use two engines - I never felt any need for a bow thruster
- I really liked the Catana helm position outboard as I could drop a line over a cleat on the dock from the helm. Critical if single-handed and useful double-handed with crew dropping the bow line over a cleat
- on a catamaran learn to use the engines against a bow line to pivot the boat onto or off the dock
- learn how to talk to any helpers on the dock so they take said bow line and tie it off and leave the rest to you and the engines
- if you're not comfortable, wait for conditions to come down to your current skill level

And docking a big catamaran (or for me any boat over about 25ft) you should never ever expect crew to move the boat for you. They put on lines, take in slack, ease them, or secure them, but never pull them. That's what the engines are for. If you don't know how to make the boat do what you want it too, wait for better conditions and get some training.
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Old 27-06-2020, 01:51   #8
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_morwood View Post
Are you talking about single-handing in general, for example while sailing, or specifically when docking? From my experience with our Catana 48 I'd suggest:

In general single handing:
- a good autopilot
- reliable VHF at the helm
- easy access to all controls - sail, engine, helm
- a chart plotter at the helm with decent charts and radar
- we tried a forward facing sonar and it wasn't useful - not enough range forward in shallow water
- we had a camera on the spreaders looking down at the bow which made it easier picking up moorings when double-handed, but it wasn't good enough for pilotage single-handed

Docking:
- learn to use two engines - I never felt any need for a bow thruster
- I really liked the Catana helm position outboard as I could drop a line over a cleat on the dock from the helm. Critical if single-handed and useful double-handed with crew dropping the bow line over a cleat
- on a catamaran learn to use the engines against a bow line to pivot the boat onto or off the dock
- learn how to talk to any helpers on the dock so they take said bow line and tie it off and leave the rest to you and the engines
- if you're not comfortable, wait for conditions to come down to your current skill level

And docking a big catamaran (or for me any boat over about 25ft) you should never ever expect crew to move the boat for you. They put on lines, take in slack, ease them, or secure them, but never pull them. That's what the engines are for. If you don't know how to make the boat do what you want it too, wait for better conditions and get some training.

Excellent analysis. I would add that having a dedicated wind speed, direction display at the helm. A flybridge is not what you want.
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Old 27-06-2020, 05:33   #9
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

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Originally Posted by SVHarmonie View Post
Based on the questions you ask, you need a lot more experience before you consider single handing...

SNIP
So true, sometimes asking a question also provides the answer.

As boaty said any cat with twin screws should be able to spin in it's own length and crab side ways into a space not much bigger than the boat itself. Maybe not the first time you are at the helm but my first thought after maybe five minutes of playing around in open water doing this was 'this is cheating, it is too easy'. There are plenty of medium size cats that can be single handed by a skipper with average skill. Docking can be a problem in adverse conditions, but that is true even if you have a crew on the boat.

I agree with factor about bow thrusters. They should not be needed and have a big down side with weight, power requirements, and something that will need to be maintained. Same for what he said about being able to see all four corners of the boat; if you can't do that it is a problem with the cat design.
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Old 27-06-2020, 06:02   #10
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

I’ve had some trouble with my cat and docks. I’ll be honest here.

I was thinking bow thrusters too, but there isn’t even enough hull in the water to fit a bow thruster on my cat. I have like a max 6” draft by the bows. The tips of the bows are actually free of the water entirely. It’s a light boat.

I still was running like a monohull because my other heavy cats worked just fine that way, relying on the keels and rudders to move in close quarters, only occasionally pivoting in a circle with the engines.

I had 2 big wake up calls.

1) in a lock on an incredibly windy day, I released the lines to motor out of the lock and did a nice strong push of the bows away from the wall. I was tied on my starboard side to the wall. A huge gust came up directly from my starboard side and pushed me a lot father away from the wall I started on. I gave her everything she had with my port engine in forward and my starboard engine in reverse. The wind STILL manages to slam my port bow into the other wall of the lock on the port side.

How could I have done this differently??

2) I got pinned on a dock starboard side tie up with huge winds on my port beam. Released all the lines, got a huge push to get the bows out and started to make a turn to port. Winds threw my bows right back at the dock even though I was executing a “one in forward, one in reverse” pivot. A bystander actually helped me. He had me tie the starboard stern line to the dock and put the port engine in reverse. That turned the boat around to face nearly directly away from the dock. Brilliant move. Then I was able to motor away directly into the wind.

I’m not great with this stuff because I don’t often go to docks, other than fuel docks.

Is there a single online resource or thread to consult anyone knows off the top of their heads to study up on this?

My cat weighs next to nothing and the wind can definitely take it no matter what you’re doing on the throttles. Especially if the boards are up. I’m thinking I should have them partially down when docking now.
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Old 27-06-2020, 09:36   #11
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

I have had to dock my cat in wind with one motor working and wished that I had a thruster. Also, several times in high winds, I have been pinned against a dock. A thruster would have been nice. Without one, I am very careful to pick my days to go into marinas. In addition, I have been single handing my Dolphin 46 for 13 summer. Great cat.
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Old 27-06-2020, 09:51   #12
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

What makes a cat easy to singlehand, has little to do with winch position, lines led aft, and all those things that salesmen talk about. All of those issues are pretty easily dealt with, assuming some seamanship, skill and agility. Without some seamanship, skill and agility, maybe one should not be singlehanding.


But what really makes a difference is how it is set up for singlehanded anchoring, mooring and docking. Good points have been made. A fly-bridge makes life really tough as does not being able to see four corners. A helm from which it is easy to get to the side of the boat, even if it is only one side, and low enough freeboard to easily get onto the dock, are what I look for. Unless you have dual helms, you may well end up mostly docking on one side, but with twin engines, that's OK, even going down wind. Those are the things I would look for. My cat is 46 feet and yes, I do singlehand her.
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Old 27-06-2020, 09:56   #13
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

I was taught how to dock on monohulls, so when I decided to buy a cat I took this class https://charter-catamaran.com/clinic...ocking-clinic/

It really helped get me going with docking my cat. I would highly recommend something similar if you can find it near where you live.

Otherwise, features I appreciate when single-handing (many mentioned above by Mark) my boat are:
1. Helm position with good visibility to all four corners. I donít have the benefit of being close to the transom like a Catana, but I think I would give that up for the visibility
2. Good autopilot. I make a short entry/exit route to get into and out of harbours etc which allows me to let the boat steer it self when I need to step away from the helm briefly. I also set the boat into wind with the autopilot when raising/lowering the main which allows me to go to the mast.
3. I got a wireless handset for my VHF which allows me to stay at the helm when talking with marina office etc
4. All lines for headsail and mainsail come to the helm which makes life easy and you definitely want an chart plotter at the helm.
5. Windlass control at the helm allows me to control the boat while dropping the anchor. When picking it up I stand at the bows and use the remote or footswitches so I can watch the chain. In this case, you have to be patient and let the boat settle as you pull in the chain so that youíre not trying to move the boat with the windlass.

As for controlling the bows in windy conditions, itís true that you have limited control, so I find that itís best to reverse, you have much better control of the stern and just drag the bows behind you. If they get blown around a bit itís not such a big issue.

Hope this helps.
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Old 27-06-2020, 10:51   #14
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

To me some of these comments just seem silly. I am reminded of a story that happened in the tiki hut at BKH. I went out for a single handed day sail and a cold front arrived before I got back to my mooring ball. I approached the ball as it was dead upwind slowly, ran forward and picked up the tether on the ball, ran a line through it and secured it; then ran my two bridle lines through the pendant and cleated them off; all in 20kn+ of brisk wind. Took the inflatable to shore and sat down under the tiki hut for the normal BS session at sunset.

One guy commented I had done a nice job picking up the mooring ball. Then someone said could I do it in 30 knots, then some guy said could I do it in 40 knots and four foot seas, then some guy said could I do it in fifty knots and eight foot seas. By now you can see where I am going with this. At some point it really does not matter how much skill you have or how well the boat is set up there are simply things you can not do.

On the other hand if you have a cat with twin screws well forward and good visibility from the steering station and unobstructed decks to quickly traverse it should be a piece of cake to dock in conditions where you should be trying to dock. If the wind and current are so strong it is risky to dock you should wait for better conditions. I do understand sometimes this is not possible; but to me a big part of seamanship is not doing hard things; rather it is not being in a position where you have to do hard things.
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Old 27-06-2020, 11:15   #15
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Re: Big catamaran 45+ single hand friendly

Having owned a 44 and a 45' cat I agree with most of the posts. I can't see the need for a bow thruster when you can turn on a dime. The problem arises when you are trying to dock in a narrow slit and you have a cross wind. Cats have much more windage than sloops and will move sideways in a cross wind. You need to judge the approach whether wind is from leeward or windward and come in according. If you are pulling into a lee slip it will be much easier. Just give yourself plenty of space approaching and the wind will pin you to the dock when you are in. Approaching with the wind coming off the dock is much more difficult as you will be pushed off the dock and into the boat next to you. You will definitely need help on the dock. As for single handed sailing. All the newer cats over 38 feet seem to have electric wenches and all lines leading to the cockpit. If you don't have much experience sailing a cat I wholeheartedly agree with the other posts that suggest taking a cat course. You will learn so much that will save you miles of grief down the road.
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