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Old 13-09-2022, 13:03   #1
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Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

Hi, struggling with a major decision we need to make as we consider buying a new ~50-foot cat for family of 4.
(a) Option A: Performance cat - Outremer 55 or HH52
(b) Option B: Comfort Cruiser cat - Privilege 510

Our choices in both options are top-tier cats with premium build qualities, great safety features (compared to production cats), excellent finish, etc. Pls do not suggest other brands - we looked them all and these are our choices in terms of design, interior, features etc.

The Privilege 510 has substantially more storage space, bigger cabins, more luxurious beds, feels like a proper "home" on the ocean, fits all the toys and gadgets and some more.

Outremer and HH are top Performance cats but still with great attention to detail and both very spacious saloon but with smaller cabins and significantly less storage.

Since most of the time is spent in anchor at various islands and coastlines and much less actually doing long crossings, I wonder how much really does one benefit from a performance cat in the long-run by sacrificing a significant amount of comfort?

An important criterion for me was to be able to sail at light winds already (6-8 knots). While performance cats can do this easily, it seems to me with a good sail plan (adding a screecher etc) one could do decent sailing even with a more comfort cruising cat?

Although I know ultimately this is personal preference, we've been back-and-forth on this topic my mind is hurting so some extra thoughts or opinions would be very welcome to get some additional perspectives / angles.

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 13-09-2022, 13:27   #2
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

If we could afford one of those, it would definitely be the HH. I think you get comfort, but can still sail at a good clip. You can only do so much with sails. The hull shape is going to impact speed. Being able to sail at a comfortable fast speed 8-9 knots is worth a lot. What are your plans? It will help people make recommendations.
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Old 13-09-2022, 13:48   #3
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

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If we could afford one of those, it would definitely be the HH. I think you get comfort, but can still sail at a good clip. You can only do so much with sails. The hull shape is going to impact speed. Being able to sail at a comfortable fast speed 8-9 knots is worth a lot. What are your plans? It will help people make recommendations.
The HH is also my wife's preference

Plan is to enjoy 6-9 months at sea per year over many years, taking time to explore the worlds many beautiful places...
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Old 13-09-2022, 13:57   #4
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

I think this choice must depend on the underlying reasons for buying a boat.

Are you simply wishing to live on the water? With all the conveniences of home? Or having the closest luxury you can get on the water to your home ashore? So then your comfort afloat could be your highest priority? Buy a luxurious cat.

Or are you buying the boat because you love the thrill of the sailing? When you feel the wind in your face and the boat is speeding along and each little change you make to the helm or sail trim instantly results in the change in the boat's feel? And maybe since you have sailed for many years you know you just can't get enough of it? Buy a high performance cat.

But be careful of choosing based on what you imagine it to be like. For example, if you are not an enthusiastic sailor you may not get the full benefit of the higher potential speeds of a high performance cat. Don't make a choice because you think it will cut time from your passages. You are not likely to get to your next port any sooner unless you are actively working the boat. So many cruisers motor everywhere anyhow (for a variety of reasons) that the extra sailing speed is rarely a benefit.

And then there is the risk which comes from a powered up performance cat. You may be fine with that and even thrilled by it, sailing on the edge, but a heavier, less powerful cat may be less likely to wind up with the mast down and the rudders up.

What is your background? What is your main interest? And what is the reason for wanting a boat? The answers to these questions will lead you to make the right decision.
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Old 13-09-2022, 15:26   #5
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

Well, as the saying goes, happy wife happy life! As for sailing, you can choose to travel at comfortable, but not pokey speeds as I mentioned before. You can go at slower speeds on a performance cat, but going faster on a slow boat is much harder. The O'Kellys on YouTube tried everything to increase speed on their boat, but ended up selling it.

We are following the same sail plan of 6-9 months aboard and the rest at home. I want to spend winter holidays with my grandsons at home and summers with them on board. My brother has made this agreement with his wife. Our 4th member will possibly be on year round. He will decide at the time. Good luck on your decision. Hope to see you out there.
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Old 13-09-2022, 15:44   #6
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
I think this choice must depend on the underlying reasons for buying a boat.



Are you simply wishing to live on the water? With all the conveniences of home? Or having the closest luxury you can get on the water to your home ashore? So then your comfort afloat could be your highest priority? Buy a luxurious cat.



Or are you buying the boat because you love the thrill of the sailing? When you feel the wind in your face and the boat is speeding along and each little change you make to the helm or sail trim instantly results in the change in the boat's feel? And maybe since you have sailed for many years you know you just can't get enough of it? Buy a high performance cat.



But be careful of choosing based on what you imagine it to be like. For example, if you are not an enthusiastic sailor you may not get the full benefit of the higher potential speeds of a high performance cat. Don't make a choice because you think it will cut time from your passages. You are not likely to get to your next port any sooner unless you are actively working the boat. So many cruisers motor everywhere anyhow (for a variety of reasons) that the extra sailing speed is rarely a benefit.



And then there is the risk which comes from a powered up performance cat. You may be fine with that and even thrilled by it, sailing on the edge, but a heavier, less powerful cat may be less likely to wind up with the mast down and the rudders up.



What is your background? What is your main interest? And what is the reason for wanting a boat? The answers to these questions will lead you to make the right decision.


Excellent post!
Though weve disagreed many times on various subjects on this forum, I do believe we share the same enjoyment of a sailboat, whether catamaran or monohull sailing well. And we both are likely to give up on some of the creature comforts to attain this enjoyment.
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Old 13-09-2022, 18:49   #7
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

A well sailing cat provides pleasure not just on long ocean passages but also coastal day sailing. The performance cat means you can sail when theres only 5 knots of wind (albeit not as fast as motoring unless you have a close reach) and that you can plan 100-120 mile daily hops. A slower boat limits you in light winds and much shorter daily distances.

In moderate winds a performance boat comes alive and yields champagne sailing. The heavier boat will plod along. On our boat 10-12 knots is only noticeable by looking at the speedo; the sailing is smooth and lovely. 20 knots happens when we push a bit (or surf), but the action is still smooth and little effort is needed. The heavier boat needs to be really pushed to get to double digits and the power required means it can be unnerving and difficult to go faster.

The other factor is in heavier winds. The more performance oriented boat allows you to reef down early and deep while still maintaining decent speeds and comfort. A heavier boat will require more sail area to keep moving and that higher power makes sailing feel less secure. However the heavier boat will plow through the water rather than dancing on top, which may be more comfortable for you.

Finally, Im always confused about the perceived lack of comfort. How much space does one really need? Is an island bed really that important? A full u-shaped galley? A full standing room engine room? A centre console dinghy with 50hp engine?

Load carrying capacity determines the toys etc that you can carry and I notice new generation performance boats have got 3.5-5 ton capacity (HH more than O), while the 510 has 8 ton capacity.

The 90/10 ratio of berthing vs sailing is often used, but that 10% of time really does affect the rest.
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Old 14-09-2022, 05:58   #8
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

If you download the Salty Dawg newsletter, issue 42 you'll find a review from Jeff Marks about his HH 50. All in all he seems happy with his choice but outlines some of the negatives when owning such a boat. Good luck with your search.
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Old 14-09-2022, 06:11   #9
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

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If you download the Salty Dawg newsletter, issue 42 you'll find a review from Jeff Marks about his HH 50. All in all he seems happy with his choice but outlines some of the negatives when owning such a boat. Good luck with your search.
Can you share the link please? I checked the Salwy Dawg (https://sdsa.memberclicks.net/read-the-newsletter) but the latest newsletter there is #38 from last year.
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Old 14-09-2022, 06:26   #10
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

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Can you share the link please? I checked the Salwy Dawg (https://sdsa.memberclicks.net/read-the-newsletter) but the latest newsletter there is #38 from last year.
Send me a pm with your email and I'll forward the file. It's a pdf download, we're members of the salty dawgs so have access to it
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Old 14-09-2022, 07:39   #11
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

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Send me a pm with your email and I'll forward the file. It's a pdf download, we're members of the salty dawgs so have access to it
Many thanks Joli for the kind offer. PM sent. I look forward to reading the review.
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Old 14-09-2022, 09:43   #12
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

I'm not a cat person and I don't know what you want to do but if I was going to live aboard and cruise a cat as a family of 4 I would choose the comfort one that will have the space and payload for a family of 4.
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Old 14-09-2022, 10:48   #13
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

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Many thanks Joli for the kind offer. PM sent. I look forward to reading the review.
Sent, let me know if you don't receive it.
All the best,
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Old 14-09-2022, 11:59   #14
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

Outremer has a new 52 coming to consider too. Would you do the OC or carbon HH 52?
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Old 14-09-2022, 12:12   #15
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Re: Performance vs Comfort 50-foot Cats - real difference

I agree with fxykty.

An under-appreciated quality of "fast cats" is their ability to make miles in flat water. Going a hundred miles or more from sunup to sundown is very nice. The heavier the cat, the larger the sails required to make similar mileage.

If we're not making 8 knots, I'm looking around to see why not! Wind near the beam means near windspeed for the boat, up to 12 knots or so. This using a full main and code zero. Making miles in 6-8 knots of wind, when the water is flat, and everyone else is motoring is a real pleasure.

Under working sails, we usually make between 60% and 80% of windspeed. Dead downwind, without a spinnaker, we're closer to 50%.

If the Outremer and HH have enough room/storage for you, then I'd certainly suggest you get one, instead of the Privelege.

Cheers, and good luck.
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