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Old 26-06-2022, 09:41   #1
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When--exactly--are cats faster?

Before my questions, a bit of background. I have never owned a cat. But I did spend years teaching catamaran cruising in a major sailing school so I have a LOT of hours on them. I know what they do well, and where they struggle. I know monohulls, and what they do well and where they struggle. There are only a few people here who have more hours on both kinds of boats than I do. I know that neither type of boat is perfect for everybody. So I am not approaching this from a “us vs them” approach.

My current boat is an Amel 53, the “Super Maramu.” Although is is the quintessential cruising boat, It is much lighter than uninformed people think, and a faster sailor than people expect it to be. It has a SA/Disp ratio of 19.45, which puts it close to race-boat-light category. Ours is loaded for full time cruising, so probably comes in more like 18.9. We sail it well and fast.

It is not often that we get the chance to compare cruising boats head to head on the same course in the same conditions, instead we prefer to "armchair" it. Yesterday was one of those rare cases generating data. Granted, just ONE lnely data point, but still...

We sailed from Bequia to Grenada. It was a fast trip. According to MarineTraffic our average SOG port to port was 7.3 knot, and top speed 10.3. Winds were 18 to 25 at 133TWA. Sea condition was ideal, no swell and no more than 2 foot of chop. We were, of course, quartering through the equatorial current, so our STW averaged close to 8.9 knots. We had all plain sail up, unreefed, except we were using our working jib instead of our big genny. This was tradewind sailing at its best.

When we were less than hour out of Bequia another boat got underway from Admiralty Bay. Once they settled on course behind us, they were 4.5 miles behind. Over the next 8 hours they varied between 5 and 6.5 miles behind us. Marinetraffic reported their average SOG from port to port as 7.3 knots with a top speed of 10.2 knots. They basically followed our course line within a fraction of a mile the whole way. So basically, a dead heat, except they DID start their engine in the light and fluky winds in the lee of Grenada which we sailed through.

This was a Lagoon 450S. I know! I know! We are not talking a Catana or an HH here, but WTF??? I am not sailing a Swan or a J-Boat either. With 20+ knots of wind at 130 TWA, shouldn’t this boat have been doing close to 13 knots??? This is as close to perfect conditions for this boat as it is possible to get. I fully expected to get smoked on this trip , and would have been happy at the beginning to finish within SIGHT of the catamaran. Having them struggle just to keep the pace was a total surprise.

Are there really people out there who so bad at making their boats go they leave 50% of their speed potential on the table? all day?
Maybe 13 knots is just too scary for some people?
Or maybe the published polars from Lagoon are just marketing hogwash?
Or both?
Or something else?
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Old 26-06-2022, 14:51   #2
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Lots of reasons why the Lagoon was not sailing as fast as you expect them to.

All published polars need to be taken with a large grain of salt, but that said:

Other than "too scary":
Overloaded
Inexperience and poor sail trim.
Skipper not in a hurry and didn't want to stress his rigging
Wanted best speed for fishing

...
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Old 26-06-2022, 15:13   #3
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Your Amel is kinda an extra ordinary boat. Quit picking on cats. Maybe a baby Oyster will show up and smack yah.
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Old 26-06-2022, 15:39   #4
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Two reasons come to mind trim and sail condition.

With a 130 TWA, the jib on a cat needs to be out hauled to get the hook out of it. You could run a snatch-block off the beam cleat. And pick up 1/4-1/2 knot. Most folks don’t do that. Since there is no vang, I normally run the traveler to leeward to keep some downward force on the main. That is good for about 1/4-1/8 knot.

Of course if it was a charter boat the main was probably blown out also.
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Old 26-06-2022, 16:22   #5
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

maybe they didn't put their mainsail up
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Old 26-06-2022, 16:25   #6
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Obviously there is at least one reason we can guess it, however, if you think your boat is faster, that’s adorable.
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Old 26-06-2022, 16:54   #7
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

When--exactly--are cats faster?

Well, one time is when their owners are seated at the YC bar...

Jim
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Old 26-06-2022, 17:11   #8
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Obviously there is at least one reason we can guess it, however, if you think your boat is faster, that’s adorable.
If you read what I wrote, I do not think my boat is faster in a drag race on this point of sail. That was kind of the point... I have had cruising cats a LOT smaller than this on going a LOT faster than my current boat boat will ever go.

I will, however, race into the wind any Lagoon on any day of the week and bet half my beer money on the outcome. In fact, I'd probably change that, and make the race course 50 miles straight into the wind, and 50 miles straight back just to make it more interesting. I am not at all sure who would win, but it would be very close.
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Old 26-06-2022, 17:14   #9
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snore View Post
Two reasons come to mind trim and sail condition.

With a 130 TWA, the jib on a cat needs to be out hauled to get the hook out of it. You could run a snatch-block off the beam cleat. And pick up 1/4-1/2 knot. Most folks don’t do that. Since there is no vang, I normally run the traveler to leeward to keep some downward force on the main. That is good for about 1/4-1/8 knot.

Of course if it was a charter boat the main was probably blown out also.
It was not a charter boat, and we are certainly not talking fractions of a knot here. If we were, this wouldn't even be interesting...

In these speeds I was sailing at ~110 AWA. Since the 450S was doing the same speed so was she.
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Old 26-06-2022, 17:23   #10
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Doesn’t the Amel 53 have two masts and great in low winds while the Cat is after winds higher up. Am I confusing Amels?
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Old 26-06-2022, 18:07   #11
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
When--exactly--are cats faster?



Well, one time is when their owners are seated at the YC bar...



Jim


Wow Jim that was really funny............
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Old 26-06-2022, 18:22   #12
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ItDepends View Post
If you read what I wrote, I do not think my boat is faster in a drag race on this point of sail. That was kind of the point... I have had cruising cats a LOT smaller than this on going a LOT faster than my current boat boat will ever go.

I will, however, race into the wind any Lagoon on any day of the week and bet half my beer money on the outcome. In fact, I'd probably change that, and make the race course 50 miles straight into the wind, and 50 miles straight back just to make it more interesting. I am not at all sure who would win, but it would be very close.
Every year we have a three day race (among other races).

Day one a 12 mile round the buoy race with mostly reaching (but with a 2 mile beat).

Day 2 a 10 mile upwind race to a destination.

Day 3 a 12 mile downwind to another destination.

Usually the wind is 10-15 knots and flat water.

There are mostly full time cruising monohulls and a few cruising Cats, including well sailed Lagoons with new sails.

The cats never do well in race 1 or 2. Some years (rarely) they win day 3 and even on those years, if the race was a bit longer, they'd lose every time. (they get a head start but the monohulls are catching up, but run out of runway.)
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Old 26-06-2022, 18:44   #13
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

For up wind work, the question is:

Do these cats have dagger boards or do they have mini keels? Big difference.
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Old 26-06-2022, 19:57   #14
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

To answer the OP’s question. I think “It Depends”
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Old 26-06-2022, 20:18   #15
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Re: When--exactly--are cats faster?

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Originally Posted by Sam Woodbridge View Post
To answer the OP’s question. I think “It Depends”
LOL, I love it…. Best comment yet!
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