Hvordan velge seg ut en katte, det er gode katter og dårlige katter.

En catamaran har den fordelen at den er veldig stødig, enkel å seile alene, enkel å fortøye og har
god plass, ikke minst uteplass.

Hvor stor cat skal du ha? Det sies at 42` er den beste størrelsen på båt for atlanterhavskryssing. Lengden
passer atlanterhavs dønningene best (utsagn fra skippere som ofte krysser med forskjellige båter).
I forhold til en enskrogs båt, kan du legge på 10`. For å få samme plass som i en 42`cat, må du opp i 52`
med en enskrogsbåt.

Tryggeste valget er å holde seg til kjente catamaran byggere. Det finnes produsenter, som prøver å lage
og markedsføre "nye" båter, men lagd etter gamle tegninger av ubrukbare båter.
Det er en rekke av bra produsenter:
Foutaine Pajot, Lagoon, Privelege, Dean, Leopard mm

 

Hvis man ikke kan velge det siste og det beste, er det en del kriterier å holde seg til ved
valg av catamaran?

Seiler man innaskjærs og i beskyttet farvann, duger det meste. Men, skal du ut på åpent hav, er det
forskjell på båter.

Eric Smith har skrevet noen gode tips om kattevalg i "good cat / bad cat". Den er gjengitt under:

 

Good Cat? Bad Cat?

 

 

 

 

Eric Smith

What do I mean by that?
I don't mean a boat is bad quality, or doesn't sail well. What I'm talking about here is what makes
a catamaran well suited for long distance cruising with a good sized load aboard. What makes a
boat suitable for extended stays aboard. Let's take a look... 


Why it matters...

The sun doesn't always shine. The seas aren't always calm. Find out why it's important to have nets forward that let
the waves through. That are lighter and reduce pitching. And much more...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why it matters...

What are you doing for the rest of your life?
It all depends on what you're planning to do! Staying at the dock, venturing out for weekends in protected waters? More ambitious? Coastal cruising? Or are you combining coastal cruising and watching the weather, with serious offshore cruising? Your plans affect what you need and you need to plan for the most adventurous cruise you plan.
How do we know what's required? Because we arrange delivery of many boats every year--trans-Atlantic, and East Coast to the Caribbean. We talk to the captains who have sailed all kinds of boats. We've talked to the designers. Visited the plants. What I'm sharing with you here is the distillation of 100's of hours of talks based on hands on experience with some of the most knowledgeable sailors out there in all conditions.
This discussion is directed towards offshore sailing. But even if you only want the capability, here is where you'll find out about what to look for. Remember, even if you don't plan to venture into long distance cruising, the person you eventually sell to may want to so your selection now, may affect your boat's resale later. Why cut off any market potential? A "Good Cat" can sell inshore AND offshore.

Eric Smith   President 

"When taking care of our clients is our #1 priority,  all other priorities become much easier to attain."

 

 

Looking at what's important
 

Good Cat, Bad Cat?
Is it built for inshore or offshore sailing? With the advent of new technology the high tech
necessary for ocean cruising catamarans is now affordable. The appeal of comfortable sailing without healing, of privacy only attainable with good separation of living and sleeping spaces, and a panoramic view with extraordinary deck space--not to mention shoal draft... Catamarans have come of age. (If one has any doubts, he simply hasn't visited a boat show lately!)
As with any new phenomenon, there are plenty of promoters anxious to jump on the latest trend--whether they know anything about what's required or not. This paper is designed to highlight the 4 important distinctions that will help you understand the builders intent. Is he offering an inshore or offshore Cat? The 4 important criteria to consider (aside from overall quality and integrity) are:

1.     Stability. Beam to length ratio and Static stability.

2.     Pitching. The comfort factor

3.     Bridge deck clearance.

4.     Load carrying capacity.

These factors and 6 others are discussed in great detail in our 8 page brochure Compare-a-Cat. This brochure and it's complimentary computer program scientifically analyze the 10 most important factors when comparing Serious Offshore Cats.
Stability...
A catamaran generally has no ballast. It primarily depends on beam and individual hull buoyancy for stability. The wider it is, the more stability--however, at some point excessive beam becomes unmanageable. In addition a narrower hull is more easily depressed and prone to tripping in heavy seas. The same wider body hull that gives you better load carrying ability, also gives you more total stability. Of course at some point, you lose performance... Finding the balance is the key.

Virtually all of the experienced builders, especially the European builders who must sail their boats transatlantic to their bases in the Caribbean, have settled on a minimum length to beam ratio (L/B) of approximately 50%. That's a 20' beam on a 40' boat. As the boat gets larger, over 50' or so, you can back off from this ratio a bit and still have adequate stability. These same experienced builders put enough beam into the individual hulls to give more than adequate load carrying ability. One sign of an older

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

design (often resurrected these days and promoted as new) is narrow individual hulls, sometimes supplanted by (needed) extra beam because the hulls no longer have the required buoyancy. (By the way, you can often recognize these designs from inside because the berths will be high and spanning the bridge deck--the hulls don't have enough volume to carry 4 full size double berths! Watch out!)
Static stability is a measure of a boats stability. The factor was developed by sign builders (what strength wind will blow our sign over?!) A bad cat (for offshore) might have a static stability in the 25 knot range. A good Cat in the 50-60 knot range. This is a static measure. In reality, the boat would slide sideways and round up if you were foolish enough to leave all sail up and this would approximately double the figure.
Pitching...
Imagine two children on a sea-saw. If they're both near the center of rotation (A):

d broken!
Pitching is caused by too much weight in the ends of the boat. Accommodations and storage areas that extend much forward of the mast. Solid fiberglass decking forward (Fiberglass is heavy compared to netting--that's one reason you see netting on all serious cats!) Engines and storage too far aft. Not enough stern or bow hull area extending aft and forward of the nacelle. See the drawings--(B)
Pitching can make your life miserable. Tire you out so you take unnecessary chances. Dampen your appetite. However, solid decking forward does more than just contribute to pitching. In offshore conditions when you might be semi-surfing down waves; your bow can overtake the wave system ahead of you and plunge into the wave. Nets simply let the water through and allow the bows to recover. Solid decking can trip the boat and cause a catastrophic pitch pole--mid-ocean. Netting forward rather than solid decking is crucial for an offshore cat--for comfort and for safety!




 

 

 

(B) Good Cat, left...
Long overhangs fore and aft. Accommodations concentrated in center of boat (weight kept out of the ends). Beam/Length ratio 58%, Static stability about 55 knots.
Bad Cat, right...
Short overhangs. Solid decking forward. (Heavy, and doesn't let the water through--can trip in large ocean wave, surfing situations.) Accommodations spread into the ends. Beam length ratio of 46% or less, Static stability about 23 knots.


Bridge deck clearance...
This is generally referred to as the height from the water to the underside of the nacelle. If it is too low, waves will slap and bang under the living accommodations. Sometimes literally knocking the plates off the table in a poor design. The noise prevents sleeping. But I amplify this view. When I talk about bridge deck clearance I want to be sure there is adequate volume for smooth passage of seas between the hulls and also that the separation between the hulls isn't exaggerated.

Imagine pushing two pipes through the water as in example (Cross sect. A&B). The pipe with the small hole must create much more resistance; literally forcing a wall of water before it. Pipe A easily allows the water through.

You need the combination of:



A good cat, left, has a higher bridge deck clearance, with no protuberances interrupting the water flow. The wider beam between the hulls also contributes to uninhibited water flow between the hulls.
Note the difference for the bad cat on the right. We have heard this as one of the biggest negatives from owner's who owned boats like those on the right. This is also one of the biggest reasons for them selling. (This style is typical of many of the older generation of boats, and also some new ones where marketing types take over from the designers).
Why not too much beam? Have you ever observed the wake coming off the bows of a boat? (Actually if you watch a power boat, the effect of a heavier boat at higher speed exaggerates the effect I'm talking about.) The wave curves up and away at an angle about 150 degrees back from the bow. If you measured diagonally outwards from the bow, you would see that the wave increases in height as it curves away from the bow. Keep this in mind.
Now, imagine an older design catamaran with narrower hulls (The waterline beam of each hull being narrow.) The hulls don't have the buoyancy to give the stability that comes from buoyancy (see above) so the designer is forced to gain stability the only way he can--he increases the overall beam. The trade off? Several and all bad:

Why would anyone design a boat this way? The answer is that today they probably wouldn't. However some charter companies or marketing companies trying to take advantage of today's catamaran popularity, and wanting to keep costs down choose older designs whose tooling cost is already amortized (or choose inexperienced designers) primarily to reduce the cost of the boat. The problem is that a bad design will always be a bad design and the cost will long be forgotten while the discomfort will linger...
Remember, charter companies ask designers for parameters suitable for people staying on-board for short times and equipment (load carrying capacity) needs are minimal for these short times. These boats, typically only need to sail in a 50 mile circle.
Whether you're looking to use our investment program to pay your boat off early, or getting it for some serious cruising we take the long view. We represent up to date designs that feature boats with the load carrying ability you need for care free, serious cruising (This is my only advertising plug in this piece, but I feel I've given you enough information to earn the right.)


 

Load Carrying capacity...
When you sail offshore you will carry 1,000's of pounds of extra water, fuel, stores, safety equipment and amenities. (Whether you plan to or not, consider resale value--the next owner may want the option!) Here's what manufacturers do for marketing, that reduces load carrying capacity:

Summary...
Whether you actually go offshore or not, you may meet bad weather conditions. Your comfort, enjoyment and safety, (and ultimately resale value) are dependent on proper design.
Most of the criteria I have shown here, you can easily evaluate yourself. If what others tell you doesn't make sense, or if what I tell you doesn't make sense, then make your own evaluation. There's no magic here. Good design really does make sense and you can see the telltale signs.

 

A test... Putting together what you now know.

 

Frequently Asked Questions...

 

1.     How fast are they?
They do 10, 12, 15, 20 knots! Is this what you’ve heard from salesmen at the boat show? The truth is, a well designed catamaran behaves much like a light displacement mono hull. With many delivery trips under our belt, I can confidently say that, on average, on a passage with winds from a variety of points you will average passage speeds about 20% greater than a similar sized, cruising mono hull. Having said this, here are some best cases: We have averaged over 14 on a Fountaine Pajot 35 for a 6 hour period going to Newport-off-shore. The Fountaine Pajot 42, recently delivered transatlantic, rode the front edge of the most recent hurricane with 30 knot winds and averaged almost 16 for 24 hours! (Because storms normally move at 10-12 knots, a fast catamaran has the capability to run away from them-an important safety feature!)

2.     Why do the so called Ocean going cats have such high freeboard?
In the Ocean, you need bridge deck clearance. That is, the height of the center part of the boat between the hulls must be as high as possible to avoid wave pounding. Wave pounding on a lesser boat, at the least, prohibits sleeping on overnight passages (Ever try sleeping inside a drum being pounded on?), at the worst, we’ve seen lesser boats where the bulkheads have literally been knocked loose. Also, the blending shape of the underbody is important. Rounded connections and smooth transitions soften wave action much like a shock absorber.

1.     Will a Cat go to windward?
Today’s modern, well designed Cat, with fin keels, will point about as high as a comparable, good cruising, mono hull. They readily tack through 90 degrees without any need to back wind the jib. Having said this, if you point as high as a mono hull, your speed will also be about like a mono hull. The great increases, and better VMG’s are achieved by footing off a bit. Get a good set of polars. Experiment. You will gain a 20% advantage overall, and as much as 50% or more on a reach!

2.     Why won’t anyone recommend a furling mainsail?
A cat is very dependent on a large roach. A fully battened, full-shaped mainsail works best. The jib serves more as a foil to direct the air flow ( consequently you don’t need a large jib.) This makes the boat easy to sail and tack, and very powerful. This type of sail would need to be excessively flattened and compromised to make it possible to furl it in the mast boom.

3.     Why do some boats have center pods?
(An extra hull that literally dips in the water.) This is a capitulation. If overall construction is too heavy, the beam is too narrow, and/or the bows are too heavy a center pod is necessary to give adequate buoyancy and interior volume. No serious Ocean going Cat is designed with this feature. Look at the world’s best!

4.     Isn’t the load carrying capability of a Cat less than a mono hull?
Yes. If you overload a Cat performance will be reduced to that of a comparable sized monohull ( however, you still have a bright open saloon, privacy in the sleeping areas, shoal draft and all of the other advantages of a Cat.) With today’s modern equipment, however, you can keep the weight down when planning long periods aboard. Water-makers reduce the need to carry large water tanks. Light weight generators, air conditioning with air-handlers, and other types of modern equipment allow you to bring comfort along, without excess weight.

5.     What about safety?
I sail/sell both mono hulls and catamarans. Both have pros and cons, but all things considered I think the scales tip in favor of catamarans. The main reason I say this is that the most likely problem at sea for either type is not capsizing, but rather running into debris or a whale that punches a hole in a hull. A 6" gash in a monohull has been known to sink it, literally within seconds! The same gash in a Cat would limit water intrusion to one of several watertight compartments. Not only wouldn't you sink, you could continue sailing to a repair yard! More serious damage might stop you, but your unsinkable cat would be an easy find for rescuers after you set off your EPIRB.

1.     What about turning over?
An ocean going cat, well designed, with a 50% (or greater) beam to length ratio, is unlikely to turn over. These boats are designed with a static stability in excess of 60 knots.
What’s static stability? A simple measure developed by highway sign builders of what wind speed it would take (based on surface area) to blow a roadside sign over. On a Cat, this is a simple measure but gives some idea of the enormous stability. A Cat with a 60 knot static stability factor would actually have a much higher factor in a dynamic situation. A 60 knot puff would actually cause the boat to slide sideways. Some of the force would be translated into forward motion. This would probably increase the dynamic factor to over 100 knots. If you were unobservant enough to have full sail up in such conditions, the rig would probably break (like having a fuse in an electrical system) before the boat would capsize!
So why do you see pictures of upside down multi hulls? Simple. If a mono hull flips and fills with water the evidence sinks and the occupants are either never heard from again, or are located in a tiny life raft. A turtle, still floating racing Cat makes a great photo opportunity!
In the ocean with storm conditions you must slow the boat down. If you don’t, the boat will surf faster than the wave system and literally plunge into a wave front, tripping the boat and causing it to flip over-not capsize. In storm waves, a prudent skipper, on cruising cat where safety rather than speed is the priority, will reduce sail and, if necessary, employ a drogue. Racer’s, on the other hand, are pushing the limits and sometimes flip. Then, because of the unsinkable characteristic there is a great photo-opportunity when the rescuers arrive seeing a lone sailor standing in the inverted multi hull waving at them. Of course the cat racer is much better off with access (through the reentry hatches) to his food, water, stores, and safety equipment, and with a huge platform for the rescuers to find! NOTE: I like to compare this situation to your car leaving the 65mph expressway and entering a 25 mph exit ramp. Sure, you can push to maybe even 40 (depending on the ramp and your car!) but at some point, exiting at too high a speed will cause your car to lose control and possibly roll over. The same thing with cats if you're not prudent enough--just as you are in your car--to slow down!

2.     If I have mono hull experience, will I be able to handle a Cat?
The best way for me to answer, is to explain how we handle 100's of clients who have mono hull experience and want to charter a Cat. In this case, we find that if they have had experience on a similar sized mono hull, they can get the hang of it with about an hour special instruction. If their experience is on the light side, we suggest a captain for the first day.
What's the primary difference that you have to learn? Under power, handling twin engines. It's actually easier, but you have to learn to maneuver with just the throttle/shift levers and not the rudder! You can actually make the boat turn in place, and go sideways once you get the hang of it. No more panic backing or maneuvering into tight slips!
The second issue is a little better understanding of the sailing principal of VMG. That is, in a Cat, your Velocity Made Good to windward is better when you don't point up as high. You sail a little further, but a lot faster and get there faster than a comparable mono hull.
Finally on the issue of safety. With a cat, you virtually can't capsize with wind alone (See Good cat/Bad Cat for more on static stability), and because there is virtually no heel as the wind increases (you simply go faster and faster...) you eventually overpower the boat with the risk of some weak link in the rigging letting go--an expensive lesson! For our charterers, we ask that you sail by the numbers. That is, We tell you the times to put in the first reef (about 18-20K of apparent wind) the second (about 28-30K.) etc. We provide wind speed instruments which provide wind speed capability, and make sure that you know how to use them!
When you purchase a new or used Cat from us, your BYA broker or one of our captains will be happy to spend a day or more with you to make you comfortable in this new world of catamaran sailing!

3.     Isn't it hard to find dockage?
This was, perhaps, one of our biggest surprises when we started getting involved with Cats. What we found was that when you're a transient (going up and down the coast or cruising long distance) you generally are offered a berth on the outside of "T" docks--no problem with cats here. (By the way, we have also found that the prices for transient cats is the same per foot cost as for mono hulls!)
In many cases, the easiest thing to do is to take a mooring or anchor out. Your Cat is such a stable platform that it doesn't rock and roll with wakes or surge. The ventilation is excellent in a more open area (away from a closed in marina) as most serious cats are specifically targeted for sailing in tropic areas so their ventilation is extremely well thought out. Finally, dinghy davits with the dinghy nestled securely between the hulls, allows for a large, hard bottomed dinghy (water taxi) making it easy to move back and forth to shore.
If you do need to be in a marina we've found a couple of common themes. New marinas often have large slips or alongside tie ups for large power boats that also work for cats. Many marinas have space up near the bulkhead that is gradually being filled in by erosion. Often you see small power boats docked here. We have had excellent success placing catamarans, with their shoal draft, in these spaces--often for lower rates than normal slips!
Finally, (maybe this is unique to the Chesapeake) we find that many older marinas have slips designed 20 years ago when 40' mono hulls had 9' beams. Today's 12, 13, and 14' beams just won't fit. We've been able to have yards pull center pilings and create larger slips that can accommodate cats or larger mono hulls.
All and all, this just hasn't been the problem we thought it would be, and, to date, no owner that we sold a cat to has had a problem.

4.     How big a boat do I need to do a transatlantic? (Or other offshore cruise.) Generally, if the boat meets all of the best of the criteria described here, 35' is about the minimum size for a transatlantic. Why do I say this? Because every year we deliver several boats transatlantic, as well as many more from the East Coast to the Caribbean. The captains who do this all the time, tell us a well designed 35 (like the Fountaine Pajot Tobago) is the smallest boat they will even consider.
As the boat gets larger, two elements come into play. Longer waterlines make for a more comfortable motion more nearly matching the wave period of ocean waves and, the load carrying ability increases.
We've all heard of small (some under 10'!) boats, unprepared boats and even outright dangerous boats making successful crossings--but here I'm talking about comfort and safety for real world sailors who are not just performing a stunt.

1.     So can you sum up the differences with Catamarans compared to mono hulls? Sure, here they are in a nutshell...

o       Speed. Catamarans average about 20% greater passage making speeds.

o       Load Carrying. Figure approximately 10-15% less load carrying ability--size for size. Our custom computer program can help determine your new boats capability and considers each piece of equipment you add. Our engineers will design the systems to match your requirements. For instance, we might specify a water-maker for passage making, rather than increasing the size of water tanks. (A side benefit is that the water doesn't get stagnant when you're only week ending.)

o       Volume. Cats have about the volume of a 10' larger mono hull. I.E. a 38' Cat has the room and accommodations of a 48' Mono hull. (A handy fact when planning a Cat charter!)

o       Price. Price per pound is higher, 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.

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

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

o       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!)

o       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.

Monohull or Catamaran? For or a more complete discussion of this subject, go to this link.
The Bottom line...
I hope that these ideas have helped you to have a better understanding. Nothing beats getting out and experiencing the sailing first hand, and that's why we offer such a large selection in our charter fleet. If you're just out for a vacation, try one. If you're thinking of owning, our Try-Before-You-Buy program provides you an opportunity to sail for up to 3 days for free if you later decide to purchase. In either case, our club program provides equity towards the purchase when you use it to charter from our participating fleets.
A well sailed cat can make an excellent choice for a live-aboard or serious cruiser if you choose wisely and keep the ideas presented here in mind.

Catamarans—things that go bump in the night…

 

Feature: Dagger boards

Positive: At reasonable speeds with water flowing over the foil, you may achieve higher pointing ability in a relative  narrow steering groove.

What’s wrong with that?

·  Recently, a world cruising client said that, " ...(he) had talked to owners with dagger boards in several ports, and they all said that they tended to keep the board all the way down almost all of the time. When they tried to get them up, they were stuck because of the barnacles that had formed around the boards and inside the trunk where it's difficult to bottom paint, one, and difficult to clean, two. The result is that they got most of the disadvantages and none of the advantages. 

·         Vulnerability: The dagger board is easily broken by grounding, or floating debris. On grounding, with the board up, it’s subject to small stones or shells jamming the board requiring hauling or major diving correction.  Anything done to make the center bottom of the hull increase in lateral resistance (making it deeper to protect the rudder and prop) takes away from maneuverability (The boat becomes more like a long keep monohull.) In addition, assuming the rudder and drive are theoretically protected by making the hull deeper is done by adding rocker to the hull. Just as the name implies, if you try to set the boat on it’s bottom it will rock back and can still damage these aft appendages, not to mention jam debris up the dagger board trunk.

·         The lateral plane with a dagger board is generally about ½-2/3 less less. At low speeds, with cross winds, with the boards up or down there is little lateral plane and the boat will tend to blow sideways making it very difficult to control.

·         FINALLY: While the dagger board theoretically increase upwind performance slightly, the reality is that a thin foil stalls out very easily compared to the thicker foil of a typical shoal keel. Once stalled, the performance is worse. An inattentive helmsman, or an autopilot will probably, on average, under typical cruising (somewhat laid back) cruising conditions, actually experience worse, not better performance from dagger boards. If you’re racing and the race committee enjoys setting up a large proportion of windward courses, and you have 3-4 helmsmen who enjoy steering as you change helmsmen every hour—you may realize an advantage. If not, enjoy your much easier to handle shoal draft boat.

This is not to say that boats like the Fountaine Pajot aren’t good performing boats. When you consider a cruising boat, fully loaded and short handed, (not a racing crew) they do well. In a recent Arians Cup sponsored by the European Space industry, there were over 100 cruising cats entered. The race was won by a Bahia 46. Second place was an Athena 38. In fact 8 of the top 15 places were taken by FP.

  In countless cruising races where a variety of boats fun race in a fully loaded condition, boats with normal catamaran keels, and full hulls with great load carrying ability--win!

Feature: Aft, steering stations.

Positive: You may have slightly better visibility on one side or the other while going to windward.

What’s wrong with that?

·         If you’re running a crewed boat and you have a captain who you don’t mind being out of the social activities and out in the weather outside the Bimini—fine. Otherwise the more protected steering station with visibility to all 4 corners of the boat makes more sense.

·         Today’s instruments are interactive. With aft wheels, you either have to duplicate everything, or put them central somewhere where they’re harder to see, and even harder to reach. Having everything centrally located at one steering station makes sense.

·         With a catamaran, we find that the boat is on autopilot a majority of the time. With a remote on the autopilot, you can sit virtually anywhere you want and steer the boat. (The latest remotes have a screen which duplicates any read-out you want to see from depth, to position.) That being the case, you might as well enjoy a protected steering station and have the ability to sit where ever you want otherwise.

·  Recently, a world cruising client said that, "...(he) had met the plant manager of a popular model that comes only with twin aft wheels. The manager was having a one of their models customized for himself. The primary change? He got rid of the aft wheel, and put a single wheel against the forward, cockpit bulkhead!" Enough said.  

Feature: Cabin top with molded in, sloped windows

Positive: Some people like the look.

What’s wrong with that?

Everyone hates the heat build up in the main saloon. A boat with more vertical shielded windows enjoys a 10 degree temperature advantage when the sun is high. It also protects the interior from fading and sun exposure.

With the Greenhouse style windows you let the heat and light in and typically end up coving the windows most of the time, defeating one of the main advantages of cats—an open, airy main saloon with 360 degree visibility!

Feature: Aero rig

Positive: Easy to single hand and handle

What’s wrong with that?

A catamaran places huge loads on the hull. Much larger than is placed on a monohull because of the tremendous inherent stability. With a monohull, for instance, when a puff hits, the hull leans over relieving some of the loads. With a catamaran, all of the loads are not only transferred to the hull, they come as a shock load with an enormous initial impact.

  What’s great about the normal cat rig, is that you have a wide angle for the shrouds which translate much of the forces to the strongest part of the hull directly. Now you are sharing the loads on the cross beam and the hull.

  With the aero-rig, everything is transferred to the area of the cross beam, and in a catamaran, you don’t have the height between the bottom of the hull and deck as you do in a monohull to distribute the cantilever loads.  Bottom line? A catamaran is a poor candidate for the Aero rig and as the size gets larger, the loads go up exponentially so this applies in spades.

  Secondly, I’ve personally been witness to side by side comparisons and the Aero rig simply does not have the same performance or versatility as a conventional rig. Yes you can get most manufacturers to install it if you insist—check to see if they’ll still offer the same structural warranty though?

Feature: Narrow and or asymmetrical hulls.

Positive: Slightly better performance when kept light.

What’s wrong with that?

Today’s modern voyager is not going sailing light. Once you add the water, fuel, amenities and the kitchen sink—that narrower hull will be sunk below it’s waterline and will probably have less performance and, as important less maneuverability (the extra lateral plane created resists turning at slow speeds making for difficult maneuvering.

Look at load carrying first and examine what you’re planning to put aboard. If that includes Generator, A/C, and other amenities, you better make sure you have sufficient load carrying ability. Better check with the designer.

Want a short cut test? On a boat about 38’ or over, the double berths ought to fit inside the hulls and not need to be up high (where they’re hot, also) over the bridge deck because the hulls are too narrow. Check it out!!!  A second test? When loaded, we recently sailed a FP 46 with full tanks, Gen and A/C and all the amenities with 15 guests. At 10 knots, neither stern was underwater! Look at pictures or go out on the boat and see if this holds true for the boat you’re considering.  Look at our new boat web page www.bayacht.com/new.htm and click on each of our boats to find out the load carrying

  In countless cruising races where a variety of boats fun race in a fully loaded condition, boats with normal catamaran keels, and full hulls with great load carrying ability--win! The Fountaine Pajot range is a good example and has done extraordinarily well in these kinds of contests. 

Another thing you should know when you hear about performance variations--especially when people have seen the performance of charter boats: Catamarans are extremely sensitive to bottom fouling. Even a slight bit of slime can appreciably degrade performance, and I've seen boats with quite a lot of slime and a little moss lose 30-40% of their performance, and totally lose the ability to tack without using their engine! Perhaps this is why you hear such wild claims and divergent results. Be sure everyone's comparing apples with apples. When you hear these statements, perhaps a good question is: "Do you know for a fact, that the bottoms of both boats in question had absolutely clean bottoms?" Without the answer to this question, relative comparisons are meaningless--yet gleefully offered by those protecting their own prejudices.

More information: Eric Smith 410-263-2311 esmith@bayacht.com

NOTE: This information represents the personal opinion of the writer. Bay Yacht Agency and/or its agents makes no claim as to the usefulness or accuracy of this information and urges the reader to verify any facts that he desires validated with an appropriate authority. The drawings used are all original drawings and are not meant to represent any actual boats unless their name is given. The reference to Bad Cat, does not mean a bad boat, but rather bad (or at least not the best choice) for the specific purpose of offshore sailing. As you might imagine there are lots of shades of gray in-between, but some manufacturers obviously slant their boats specifically towards being good for offshore sailing. When you look at the Fountaine Pajots and Lagoon Cats that we represent, I think that you will find this to be true.

How do you get the best value in a cruising vacation?

Our family of companies includes relationships with a number of independently owned, quality charter management companies. Bay Yacht Agency sells boats into their programs and then has LetsGoCruising manage the relationships with the owners, management companies and Charterers. If you're interested in chartering, this approach offers you superior, privately owned and managed boats with the most requested luxury features at the lowest cost possible.

1.          Get the best price, guaranteed! With our LetsGoCruisng Club Program you can save on your cruising vacation, and even earn credits towards an eventual purchase. 

2.          A great price on average boats doesn't mean anything. Our boats are new and more luxuriously equipped than others and, we also broker charters anywhere.

3.          A program with Great prices and Great boats also needs to have Great service. The entire Club experience is designed to give you superb service from us and our partners. From every aspect, we treat you as though you are a partner in the business! Want to know more?