Are old catamarans designs still a viable option today?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Sippe, Jun 21, 2009.

  1. Sippe
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Sippe New Member

    I want to start this off by explaining that I have in no way any experience with boat building or sailing at all basically.

    However my late grandfather was a huge catamaran enthusiast that both built and sailed catamarans in his lifetime. When he died he left behind some old catamaran molds and schematics and I have recently started to take interest in these things.

    The stuff he left behind are all based on Hugo myers designs, since he and my grandfather were old friends.

    The question I guess I want to ask is IF one were to decide to try and learn how to build a multihull would these old designs still be a viable choice or is it better to just try to start with more modern designs?
     
  2. Richard Woods
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Nearly 30 years ago I was sailing in Norway and saw a Myers catamaran called Sunbird. Was that your grandfathers??

    The Tornado was designed in 1965 and is still considered the boat to beat. However its rig has been updated and I would suggest that if you keep the Myers hulls you also change the rig.

    In part because, as always, design is based on available technology. Big roached fully battened sails really only became feasible once the sail cloth and sail hardware (slides, battens etc) could cope with the big leech loads. So older designs were forced to use triangular sails and often were masthead rigs to keep sail area high on a short mast.

    Myers cats tended to be lightweight and have open decks. Also they were designed for rolling Pacific Ocean swells, not North Sea chop.

    So in brief, if you want a fast, deep ocean, seaworthy boat with limited accommodation that you plan to keep light then the Myers designs may still suit. But if you want to sail in Sweden and/or carry lots of gear then a different design philosphy would probably be better.

    Hope this helps, and I'm curious about Sunbird

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  3. Sippe
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    Sippe New Member

    Thanks for the reply Richard, in answer to your question I just recently started digging in this part of my family history and all the old seafaring tales I heard as a young boy are quite muddy by now.

    What I do know is that the Sunbird design is what my grandfather brought with him from the states and he finished building one while I was still a young boy. This is after you saw the Sunbird though. However I am not entirely certain that this was the only Sunbird catamaran my grandfather built so it might be possible he had a hand in the boat you saw. I doubt it was him sailing it at that time though.

    I will make some inquiries about it since this was slightly before my time. Who knows it's a small world after all.

    Was the sunbird you saw a cruising catamaran or a racer? I think my father said that the sunbird design was more of an ocean cruiser rather than a racer like the seabird but I am not entirely sure about this.

    Anyway I appreciate your input.
     
  4. Iul
    Joined: Oct 2014
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    Iul New Member

    Myer Sunbird 393

    Hey! The Myer Sunbird 393 is still in use. In the 199X years the skipper Lothar bougth her from a Swedish photograph in Malmö. A lot of years he took part at the northern International Multihull Meetings for example in Sandefjord, Ebeltoft an Frederikstad. The Sunbird was located in Lelystadt in the Netherlands and the last years she´s anchored in Wismar. It´s a great ship with extremly spare comfort - you only life and sleep in the hulls. Between the hulls there are only nets. The Sunbird is a very fast ship and I sailed her with 25 knots (no Latinium - on the GPS!) but this ship has something like parallel bars for an athlete. A very powerful ship but with the need of 100% concentrating to the sailors job - otherwise - no doubt about your experience - a unconcentraded skipper will be turned 180 degrees. Every Knot of wind will be converted into speed. The skipper is thinking about to sell her these days. If you want I can give you some contact details. Regards Iul
     
  5. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    If I remember correctly Hugo Myers' Sunbird was around 28 feet, 8.5 metres and it predated the Tennant Great Barrier Express from here, so we took great notice of the design - and it was open wing deck, canoe hulls, a smaller version of 44 foot Seabird, which was the real breakthrough pioneer. Now Sea Bird was also designed to take a small cuddy between the hulls but was sailed/raced without this attachment ... and guessing, the same thing could have applied to Sunbird. Seabird had a 3/4 rig, rotating mast and guessing again, Sunbird would have had similar rig ... so what I'm saying, the design is still very modern although it came from the 1960's.
    Kind of interesting that New Zealand multihull designers were thinking very much the same thing as Myers and Skip Dashew from the US, also there was a Hawaiian connection here too; David Barker even named his 40 foot open wing deck 40 foot cat, Sundancer, then later his 57 foot version Sundreamer.
    So new sails and that Myers' design would be right up with the play today. Good stuff always lasts.
     
  6. Iul
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    Iul New Member


  7. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    Okay, Sunbird 393 looks very much a 40 foot version of 44 foot Seabird (I had the name wrong thinking it was the 8.5 metre) with open wing deck and fine canoe hulls. Here is the 44, also an earlier fast cruiser version 39 foot named Eunike
     

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