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Old 07-08-2007, 19:45   #1
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Some ammunition please

My brother and I raced small monohulls and catamrans in NJ growing up and he currently has a 27 Catalina that is definitely a lot of fun. So we have some decent day sailing experience. We are taking some classes, getting some water time on larger vessels, and planning to purchase a boat that will allow voyages up to several months.

There is one big problem. He is totally anti-catamaran, and I can't see why I wouldn't get a boat that is more manueverable, faster, has more space etc.

His main concerns are, an obviously deck stepped mast, the slapping of the bridge in high seas, a danger of unrecoverable capsizing, and no real choices for steel hulls.

So could someone give me some arguments I could use with regards to these concerns and possibly recommend some bulletproof cats I can use as examples. I already pointed out the Prouts. Under 40 ft so 1 person has a chance at handling it if the other is incapacitated, and something thats at least a few years old so I don't have to borrow (too much) money.

Thanks for your time and consideration for what must be the 5000000000th post by some newbie asking general questions
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Old 07-08-2007, 19:52   #2
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Take a bit of a look around the forums and you will find your question answered 100 different times (and 100 different ways)
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Old 07-08-2007, 20:00   #3
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Also I forgot ,overloading is a real concern for him, where can i find some ratings on cargo capcity of cats
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Old 07-08-2007, 22:55   #4
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Most modern boats have deck stepped masts. I started a thread asking what the advantages of a keel-stepped mast were, but got few responses in favour of them. There were some owners of keel-stepped masts who had a few things to say AGAINST them though.

If you are intending cruising, there are many advantages to a cat. Most have been well covered before, like, the space, shallow draught, performance (in most cases) comfort - lack of heeling, but even more important - lack of ROLLING.

Safety - Properly built modern cats can't sink, and the reality is that capsize is about as likely to happen to a cruising cat as sinking is to a cruising mono, but the survivability of a capsise is far better. A far more important safety issue is the likelyhood of falling overboard - much less likely to happen from a cat. For instance, my mast will be about 3 1/2 metres from the nearest edge of the deck - I could fall full length and still be well inside the lifelines.

Most of the time spent cruising you will be at anchor. Cats reign supreme here - the shallow draught means you can get further into bays, away from the swell, and even if the swell does get into where you are, you will hardly feel it. We've been anchored close to cats in our old mono, and the rolling has been unbearable on our boat, but the cats were barely moving.

If he is worried about overloading that's good - he probably wont do it. Cats take a much bigger performance hit from overloading - but you would need to seriously overload to end up with similar performance to a comparable mono.

The fact is, most argruments made against multihulls centre around severe weather, and the idea (very much outdated now) that multihulls will either break up, or capsise. If you are sensible you very likely will never see this kind of weather anyway. IIRC Eric Hitchcock had sailed dround the world a couple of times before he even saw 40 knots of wind at sea!

I can give you the reasons I am building a cat. One of the main ones is - it will sail in 5 knots of wind. Our current boat doesn't get going until there is about 15 kts - and by the time it's much over 25 kts, certainly 30kts, it's not really pleasant sailing anymore. The new boat will open up a much wider window - if it's blowing anywhere from 5 - 25 kts (which would cover around 80% of the time IMHO) I can sail enjoyably, and at worthwhile speeds.
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Old 08-08-2007, 00:02   #5
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Welcome to the Forum, rdb. You stated in your thread-opening post that you and your brother have somewhat limited sailing experience, but that you are building time on vessels larger than his Catalina 27.

Might I suggest that you do that on catamarans as well as monohulls. I think that if your brother actually sails aboard a cruising cat, he will be won over. I suspect that the time he spent racing a small beach cat has warped his perception of what a catamaran is.

In my reading of your post, I have the impression that while you might be aboard for months at a time, you don't really intend to sail it around the world. If your intended usage, at least for the first few years, is cruising the east coast, the Bahamas, and possibly down-island, then I don't see why you would ever need to stow more than a couple of week's stores.

From the Canadian Maritimes to South America, you should never be more than a day's sail from adequate provisions, so let them store it for you on land and replenish as the need arises. In this way, you should be able to keep from over-loading a cruising cat, a real no-no.

By not sinking such a vessel well-below her lines, you will retain her performance, and (marginally) reduce slapping.

Of course, if your brother has his heart set on a monohull, it may be that you each will have to buy the vessel you want. You can always buddy-boat. But be prepared - the party will always be aboard your boat!

"Your vision becomes clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks within, awakens."
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Old 08-08-2007, 02:00   #6
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If you had to choose...

If you had to choose between cruising with your brother on a seaworthy jointly owned mono, or of cruising by yourself on a low cost multi what would be your choice?
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Old 08-08-2007, 03:20   #7

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It's too early in the morning for me to fully appreciate the Cat/mono debate. I do believe enough has been written on this subject to fill a book and it can be found on this forum. As for some uncontested advantages of catamarans, how about these.

Speed. Cruising Catamarans average about 10% greater passage making speeds than the monohull equivalent.

Trans-oceanic voyages have became commonplace for multihulls despite predictions of grave disasters that would beset them. Currently the fastest circumnavigation, the longest 24-hour distance, and most line honors belong to multihulls. Even if one disregards "speed" as one of the virtues, comfort, space and safety are dramatic.

Heeling. This is a biggie! Cats sail flat. No heeling!

Load Carrying. Figure approximately 10-15% less load carrying ability than a monohull--size for size.

Volume. Roughly 30% increase in interior room of the same LWL mono hull. (30 ft Cat= 39 ft mono)

Price. Price per pound is higher with a Catamaran, but the price per Cubic Foot is lower. (The construction is higher tech, and the vessel's surface area is greater contributing to higher cost per foot.

Appearance. I'll leave that to you. They eventually grow on you.

Comfort. The Cat wins hands down. Lighter, airier, more upright sailing. The motion is different and takes some getting used to. I've heard that people that get queasy below on a mono hull under way, are perfectly fine on a Cat after a few hours of adjustment.

Cats dont roll. Tradewind sailing is more comfortable in a catamaran as is Anchoring.

Maneuverability. A cat is much better under power. Under sail, they handle similarly to a light displacement mono hull. That is, you need to carve your way through a turn, rather than throw the helm over. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be able to tack as easily with a cat as a mono hull right on down to the lightest of air. (You do have another decision to make though. To take crab/lobster pots to port, starboard or between the hulls!)

Safety. Similar but different. Most owners really like the invincibility aspect. Both types are safe when they are good representatives of the designers/builders art, and when handled by prudent, experienced skippers. Catamarans turn over about as often as mono hulls sink. However, in almost every case the cats that turned over (and whose crew(s) were picked up) were racing and pushing the envelope where the mono hull cruisers might have just as well been cruising.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:00   #8
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Cat vs Mono

I think well be spending most of our time on the East Coast/Caribbean, but late at night were talking Hawaii, NZ, Africa. These are the places we're working our way up to and self-sufficiency is one reason we want a cruiser. So a larger capacity would be great. I'd hate to have to turn over a good boat in 10 yrs for that reason alone.

I'm splitting the boat with my brother because because because. I'd rather be sailing with him. Safety, Cost, etc

I am looking at Prout Quest 33. There are a lot of them out there. Prout's a good name. BUT...I've read on this forum that under 40' the slapping of the bridge at sea is a serious concern. Is this just people talking or is it the truth. And does any one have experience with these in light air (5-10knts) and/or to windward. Or in any other situation. You can just point me to the Prout 33 thread if I missed it.

Thanks for the 10-15% capacity loss. That's exactly the kind of numbers we need for the planning stages that I didn't find in my searching.
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:14   #9
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I guess one of my other main questions is this. People have been know to charge the open ocean in smaller monohulls, Ficka, Spray etc. Does anyone takeoff for the edge of the world in smaller catamarans or does the seaworthyness decrease dramatically below a certain size because beam is the source of stability instead of a heavy keel?
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Old 08-08-2007, 05:25   #10

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People have crossed the Atlantic in glorified rowboats, so if you're asking if it can be done, the answer would have to be yes. If it should be done??? Probably not.

If circumnavigating is in the cards, I would imagine that you'll need a bigger boat than a Prout 33 to carry the stuff you'll need as well as for safety. I know a guy who circumnavigated with a 37' Snowgoose. It was just him and his wife. The boat made it fine, the marriage only made it 3/4 of the way around.

I believe a bigger boat might have helped that situation.
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Old 08-08-2007, 06:17   #11
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There is one part of my question that no one has answered. STEEL.

Clearly the best option for a monohull becasue of strength and integrity, and you can wled stuff to it instead of drilling holes. Do catamarans come in steel? Too Heavy? I can only find giant trimarans in my yachtworld searches. Thanks
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:08   #12
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Aluminum, yes. Steel, especially for smaller catamarans, no. If you want something which you can smash into things, go for steel. You'll need it when going through a rock or concrete jetties and you loose your engine, especially in high current and low wind days. And a good contract with Sea Tow. And a good credit card because you're going to have to get it fixed at the closest marina while paying $2 a ft for transient dockage and Sea Tows bill isn't just a tow, it's salvage so be prepared to shell out a LOT of money. And of course hope that your nice steel hull doesn't go through a very expensive fiberglass hull on the way to the rock wall. And the anchor really doesn't help to much in the middle of a shipping lane with a boat 5 times the size of most small towns descending on you at 20 knots with ITS steel hull that's 10 times thicker than yours.

Of course, with a cat you'd have two engines and the loss of one means you keep going on the other and you pick the spot to repair it. Seriously, biggest point for catamarans, redundant engines. Many times I've lost an engine in a very tough spot and kept going. Most of the time you use an engine in a sailboat you are kicking it on just before turning into an entrance or a tight water way with no room to maneuver and many times I've lost an engine in just those situation and been very very grateful to have that redundancy.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:15   #13
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Why don't you simply charter a cat for a weekend? Whatever the cost, it will be cheaper, in the long run, than indecision, empty fears, and baseless argument. Give both of you some ammunition to discuss, rationally and experiencially, what you discovered about multihulls, and each other.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:31   #14
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I was under the impression that chartering was a way of looking into a particular model of boat so I wasn't really interested in doing that until I had some definite models I was interested in. So i've been thinking about it that way, but you're probably right any cruise would give us a lot to think about.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:11   #15
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I'll answer your steel question - only because I asked the same question. There are some older steel cats out there, but were generally not designed around the material (ie. too narrow, too short). You may find a good one, but it's unlikely. That said, there are at least two designers that have plans for steel cats - Boden has the 11m (37ft) Catrina, and Bruce Roberts has a new design; I think it's about 60 ft. Both are classed "motor-sailers" which I think is indicative that you'll need to spark up the iron-genny in winds less than 10-15 kts. If I was to build, I'd go for a high-strength (corten or similar) steel alloy for the frame and plate with a copper-nickel alloy (some have similar strength to corten).

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