demountable catamaran for the caribbean and south pacific

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by cloudsrule9, Jun 10, 2016.

  1. cloudsrule9
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    cloudsrule9 Junior Member

    I'm particularly interested in this and would like to explore it further. So here is a vague idea of our plans. Our route hasnt been set in stone. It wont involve a trip to NZ (like bumfuzzle) and will happen over one or two seasons. So the vague plan at the moment is to ship the boat to papeete, as it looks like one of the biggest ports in that area of the world. Head along the society island chain and then head south to the cook islands. We make this less than 1000 miles with the longest offshore passage of about 300 miles. We, somewhat arbitrarily, define a passage as going between any two bits of land which we consider interesting, and that's pretty much any island, islet, atoll or reef. Time scale is around 20 days from leaving the last place that sells food in the society islands to the first place in cook islands that sells food. Water is far to heavy to carry and will need to be made. Limited fuel (50l) will be carried for the outboard which will also act as a generator giving enough power to run our watermaker if the sun doesnt shine or we break part of our solar charging system. Get more food and sail on to Palmerston atoll and into american samoa, ideally via Suwarrow Atoll (which might have food). Another 20 days is planned for this ~1,200 mile journey main limited by food. Then its on to fiji which should also have food and could act as a place to hang out to avoid the hurricanes. Its about 450 miles from fiji into vanuatu and then into new caledonia. From here we hope of cross to Oz via the collection of interesting reefs and islands (lles chesterfield ect) before making landfall at around yeppon and head to where we can clear in.

    Its a rough plan that might get expanded upon but i don't think i would be disappointed if this was we managed. it should keep shipping cost down (just once to papeete) and save a considerable amount of wear on the boat in crossing from central america. If shipping a boat or sailing is cheaper depends on how much breaks as a result each option.

    Strong breezes (force 6) should be okay, we are aiming to have a boat seaworthy enough to handle these type of conditions. Its heavier winds that worry me as i risk getting pushed toward a lee shore unable to make ground to windward. Our old boat (a 19 ft mirror offshore) was really a motor sailor was fitted with a powerful inboard (atleast for the boats size) so we never found ourselves being blown to shore. Hopefully an 8-10 hp outboard and a reefed jib will allow us to make ground.

    Anchoring is always going to be a risk in an unknown place. Heavy modern ground tackle will be used (i.e. oversized rocna or spade anchor) along with a large scope. I think my greatest problems might be where there are lots of boats and i have to reduce the scope. Chain all the way to the anchor will be too heavy so it will have to be chain and then rope. Holding in a blow with a scope of 3:1 will be interesting even with a oversized tackle. Not sure as to how to solve, other than set an dragging anchor alarm and having the outboard ready to start.

    So i have done some more thinking and one thing i want is a boat design which is proven to work, and one where its weakness are well understood. While you might consider a harryproa proven and understand its weakness I'm not sure i do. For me, more sea miles are needed in harryproas before i consider them a proven design. However you are probably best placed to understand what the boats weaknesses are. The pros and cons of cats and monos have been widely discussed as have the advantages of harryproas, but what are the downsides (there must be some)? I guess the same lack of balance seems to be present about intelligent infusion. What downsides does that have compared to other building techniques? Also what techniques are used to minimize the effect of these downsides? For example bermuda rigs are slow dead downwind, so people haul up massive spinnakers to compensate or travel further but at increased speed or plywood can rot so its best to coat it with epoxy

    The lack of uptake of the design in the racing world is also slightly concerning. There are no limits classless races out there, like the R2AK, and some people throwing good money around trying to win them. Why hasn't anyone taken a punt of harryproa? The plans are available and there where purpose built and even purpose designed craft entered into the race.

    Also I'm not totally sure a harryproa does fulfill my requirements better than a small cat. Ill give some examples: small cats have small sails which makes the sails easy to raise, drop and repair. Harryproa sails look larger, more difficult to raise and more expensive to make and repair. Richards woods eagle has built in "guard rails" formed by the accommodation in each hull. A harry has little on one side except two sails. While you can, in theory, never go near the sails while sailing, its nice to walk around the cockpit. Lifeline are easy to install on a cat possibly because the sail in in the middle, many designs are fitted with them. Rare bird, ono and blind date appear to have large areas without lifelines. Lack of lifelife lines may make people more likely to fall overboard and reduces places to mount things like fishing rods, throwlines and lifebelts. It may also make it harder to get overboard people back aboard as there are less places to cling onto.

    Like i have said though-out really like the harryproas designs. I'm waiting to see how fast bucketlist will sail.
  2. DennisRB
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    DennisRB Senior Member

    Imo, your plan to ship your boat to the south pacific starting from the society islands means you miss by far the best and most original areas of the south pacific. The Toamotus and the Marquesas were my favorite and most people that did the same trip we met agreed. But the rest is awesome too, so if you never go you wont know what you are missing out on anyway. Especially if you are into marine biology. Its interesting to notice the difference in the amount of fish in the less populated areas.
  3. cloudsrule9
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    cloudsrule9 Junior Member

    I would like to start in the Marquesas, if i can get the boat there. But like you say if i don't go i wont know what i have missed. Plus better to have seen some of the south pacific than none. I also feel that if i did start from the Marquesas then i would spend 6 months just getting to the society islands. There are too many reefs along the way to see. Although i guess i could keep the boat in Tahiti for hurricane season.
  4. rberrey
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    rberrey Senior Member

    You should be able to find a cat to fit your needs in the older micro class cats , like the Bora Bora 28 at Yacht Designs , or Ed Horstmans 27PC .
  5. cloudsrule9
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    cloudsrule9 Junior Member

    The 27PC looks good on paper. I really like the sleeping pod. I'm guessing there isn't much like it as a production boat. Looks like it has close to standing headroom. Might be worth emailed the designer about this one.

    The bora bora is a little lacking in headroom at 4' which is bit small even for a 5'2" girl.
  6. rberrey
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    rberrey Senior Member

    If you went to Alabama you should be able to build it yourself . If I were an Auburn grad I would keep looking for a production boat .
  7. cloudsrule9
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    cloudsrule9 Junior Member

    When to college (uni) in the UK, but glad to hear that the 'bama state vs Auburn rivalry is still going strong.
  8. rob denney
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    rob denney Senior Member

    This could be a magic trip. It is quite possible to sail that route and have fine weather and calm seas all the way. But it would be prudent to assume that this is not a guarantee. The boat, crew and gear should be suitable for serious conditions, not daysailing. This should include the possibility of sitting out a F8 and that you will have to sail upwind in a F6 in waves that will render your outboard useless. There are also strong currents in that area.

    Seems you've made up your mind it won't be a harry, so I will stop beating my head against the wall, except to say that, to me, your reasons for not doing so get less relevant with each post. Reminds me of a similar discussion a few years ago with Richard which he dropped out of when asked to justify his statement that a carbon mast struck by lightning would "shower the decks with razor sharp shards".

    Re the latest reasons:
    Hoisting sails is not the problem. Lowering them in a squall is. You either risk capsize by luffing and flogging/damaging the sails or, more sensibly, run downwind, if there is sea room. The jib drops easily, but someone has to go on the foredeck to do it. This person has probably just been woken up. The main jams against the shrouds and needs to be pulled down and stowed or reefed.

    On the harryproa, regardless of point of sail, the sheets are released, the boat drifts and you either reef at leisure, sheet on as much as you need to or just leave it and wait for the squall to pass. The sail is self vanging so doesn''t flog.

    The 40F sail area is 60 sqm, the eagle 21, but the eagle also needs a spinnaker, a small jib and the paraphernalia these require. The total sails, ropes and fittings cost would be similar.

    Given the boats are near enough the same weight, you could use the same size sails and rig on the harry. Trade off the costs of all those sail repairs and the effort required to raise them. Kid yourself that light air performance is unimportant and reduce the harry performance to only a little better than the cat's, instead of a lot.

    Sails which flog (jibs and unsheeted, unvanged mainsails) and rub against shrouds (stayed rig mainsails) wear out far faster than mains on unstayed rigs. Sails on stayed rigs also see higher shock loads than those on unstayed rigs, so are more prone to damage.

    The cat hull "guard rails" are less than a third of the boat length and not much help when you are on the foredeck in big waves wrestling with the jib, spinnaker or anchor. The hulls on the harry serve the same purpose, but there is no need to go on them, or outside the beams. The bridgedeck is larger than the little cat cockpit and at the same level as the bottom of the beams, which make a better barrier than flimsy staunchions and lifelines. You can put lifelines on them if you like.

    It is not always the anchor dragging that is the problem. It is the fear that it might if conditions worsen, so you sensibly leave before it does. The difference between short tacking out of a choppy bay at midnight with only a jib up and the outboard screaming as it ventilates vs controlled shunting with 2 very deep reefed mains is chalk and cheese. Fear and white knuckles while standing in the rain squinting at the sail, moving around to see the shore and other boats hidden by the jib vs calm, relaxed sailing from a sheltered position with all round visibility and just enough sail to maintain steerage way. The cat scenario sounds dramatic because it is. The difference is even starker when it is time to tack or shunt.

    Going from anchor to grounded on a lee shore is a major cause of boat loss and one which heavily influenced the harry setup. As did the unreliability of outboards generally, and their uselessness in waves unless they are on a very long sled/tender.

    Harryproas don't motor sail on both tacks, have less space for their length than equivalent sized cats, shunt in calm/moderate weather (shunting in heavy weather is a huge benefit compared to tacking and gybing), cannot sail alongside walls or other boats without the boom being on the centreline and the tender is too big for crowded dinghy wharves (this was another of Richard's).

    Intelligent Infusion shapes are limited and there is a bit of plastic waste though less than the epoxy waste in a hand lay up.

    You might want to list the downsides of ply builds and small catamarans for offshore voyaging for comparison.

    Make the boat sail and motor well enough not to have to motor sail, don't sail near walls, travel light(ish) and if you go ashore in crowded anchorages, take a long painter for the tender or use your packraft.
    For Int Inf: build a harry, or use the same techniques for other shapes but miss out on some of the benefits.

    Solutions which are worse than the problems (spinnakers for shorthanded downwind cruising) are not solutions at all as you will find out in the first squall, wind change or cross sea.

    Suitability for ocean passages based on ocean miles sailed.
    As far as I know, few or no 26' cats have enjoyably cruised from Fiji to Aus, fewer again from Tahiti to Aus via the atolls and reefs. I'm not saying it can't be done, just asking whether it would be safer and more pleasant in a 40'ter than a 26.
  9. cloudsrule9
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    cloudsrule9 Junior Member

    If you feel like that then its probably time to stop, after all its a forum not a form of selfharm. The thread did open start asking for a cat so it shouldn't come as a great shock that im looking for a cat... The reasons get less relevant because i discussed the most relevant ones first. You have replied and i have been very interested in your point of view, hence me taking the time to post back. I know see things differently than i did when starting the post, which was the idea. At the moment im not totally sold but different people have different idea, its very possible im wrong. After all you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

    Also, like i said, the plan is just a plan. Its open to refinement and change. Its the first trip i have used the magic of forums to help plan so I'm going to be a little cautious. As it stands there is really only you saying a harry is the right boat and you cautioned me against reviews from people that want to sell a given boat. If i dont think it will work then i wont go, or ill ship the boat to tahiti, day sail around there for a season and ship it home. On the bright side there seems to be little to indicate that the Caribbean is a bad place for a smallish cat.

    I guess it depends on what you call enjoyable but in short we are not currently after enjoyable in the traditional sense. We are after reasonably safe (less dangerous than driving my motorbike to work), moderately comfortable (generally defined as having a bed to sleep in and food and water), and adventurous (outcome unknown/uncertain) .

    As a counterpoint, as far as I know, few harryproas have made the same trip. True there are few harryproas out there. In general few yachts have made the trip, at least relative to the number of yachts in world. All this shows is that its a slightly odd thing to do.

    It would be safer and more pleasant on INDIGO III ( Donations towards buy her welcome.

    It can always be safer and more pleasant, the grass is always greener... The same argument was used against living in a mitsubishi starwagon in Aus for a year. No AC you'll die, haven't you seen wolf creek you'll die, it isn't 4-wd you will get stuck (and die), it doesn't have a toilet or shower ( managed to convince most people that this was not likely to be fatal)." Get a land cruiser or RV, you will have a much better time" normally followed by "just don't get a Ford/Holden" depending on which camp they where in.

    Maybe i would have, maybe not. However, I'm interested in safe enough and pleasant enough. Real and perceived risk are hard to judge and inter-relate as scared people (even if there fear is unfounded) tend to make poor choices. Equally over-confidence leads to poor choices. So my marker for safety enough used to be driving to work in a car, then i started to drive a bike and decided if i was willing to take that risk just to get to work i was will to take that risk for a bit of fun. Which leads to the million dollar question. Is sailing the south pacific in a elf 26/eagle 24/harryproa 40/aventura 28 more or less safe the driving a motorbike to work. Maybe ill start another thread somewhere on that, could be interesting. Unfortunately risks are person specific and the real question is: Is me sailing the south pacific in my elf 26/eagle 24/harryproa 40/aventura 28 more or less safe than me driving my motorbike to work, but that question cant really be answered.

    On another note and based on past experience, other peoples past trips tend to be poor indicators of if we are going to like something or be safe for us. There are examples of people doing similar: Cookie (that famous tiki 21) made it around the world and did Gambier Islands to Aus admittedly via NZ, and the slightly mad swiss man that took a (modified) hobie around the world. Pushing things a bit further there is the (probably total mad) rosie swale with her trip around cape horn in a reasonably stock 30' cat. Generally the problem is that not enough people have done the things I want to do to get meaningful data about the trips. They are still around to tell the tale so are they the exceptions that happen to live? Where they just lucky? Are they just very skilled? (Rosie swale could be considered a no at least to start off, Yvan Bourgnon should be considered skilled) Are these just the people that happen to write about what they do and really many others are doing it without reporting it?. Like i said too few trips, too many variables, not enough similarity (temporally or spatially) to really compare. What is interesting is what they found hard, the problems they had and how they solved them.

    In the past i have used the availability of commercial trips as a guide as to what is safe and fun, which works quite well but does limit your options unnecessarily. I lowered the threshold to commercial infrastructure being present and a recent ski mountaineering trip in Romanian suggests that this might be a better guide. By this yardstick the idea is probably okay, but this theory has really only be tested, by me at least, in terrestrial environments. The sea could be considered different enough to make transfer of the concept to the sea, without further testing, inappropriate. It is hard to drown while standing on land and that seems to be what gets most sailors.

    So far the posts on this thread have been rather interesting regarding what has, as well as what has not been posted. There is a lack of your going to die which i assume is a good thing as i dont want to die. Some boats have been suggested, some i like (harryproa and Ed Horstmans 27PC) some i don't (Crowther Super Shockwave). Hopefully more ideas are to come.
  10. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    The container is the killer

    Getting a cat into the small range is a bit of a killer for offshore seaworthiness. Apart from Wharrams and similar style boats going smaller than about 33ft in a cat seems to be pretty tricky in the stability stakes.

    The problem is the old square cube rule. That is a 16ft cat is 16 time less stable than a 38ft cat. The 38ft cat is twice the length, twice the beam and twice the height so it is 8 times heavier. Stability is beam multiplied by weight so this is 8 x 2 = 16 times greater. So getting big on a cat is really good for safety.

    Rory McDougall took Cookie Fat all around the world and the Atlantic. I think a Wharram style cat - Richard Woods has a few similar style cats - gets better stability by keeping the weight low. Then you also run into the weight carrying problem - small cats have small payloads.

    I haven't done much serious offshore sailing, only a lot of coastal so my thoughts are just that. That being said, size and weight do seems to help an awful lot out at sea. Still, a Seawind 24 did the Pacific trip back in the late 90s. The articles were published in Multihulls. They got around the payload problem by towing a big dinghy filled with stuff.


  11. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    I am curious as to why you have ruled out trimarans as in the sub 30' range they usually do better with accomodations, apart from the obvious foldables there are probably some demountables that might work for you ?
  12. cloudsrule9
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    cloudsrule9 Junior Member

    Is the container really the killer?

    The container does allow for boats up to 40'. Even side by side you could easily have two 38 foot hulls as long as they are less than 3'9'' or so wide. Stacking the hulls vertically 1 above another in a high-cube container would allow 4'6" wide and still allow for an 8 foot depth. This would take some packing but nothing a week or so in a dock with a bit of supporting woodwork. Getting a cuddy in with this length of hulls will be hard but a folding design must be possible. I think its not really the container that is killing the idea. Its more that every few people want a boat that is 38' long, demounts in a few days, has long thin hulls and is designs for cruising. Also until rather recently (maybe last 25 years) the costs of shipping the boat and flying would have been prohibitive. Very few people (other then myself) really want a boat like this when they could just have a bridgedeck cat of similar length (like a prout snowgoose) with all the extra accommodation that gives.

    Masts are a bit of a problem its true as they are often longer than hull length but can be solved, to some extent, by having at shorter masts and more of them (i.e a ketch rig etc) or by having masts that come apart into two sections.

    Payload is an issue. We are working to keep it below 600 kg. we haven't managed yet and we are at 730kg made up of (all in kg). We don't really want to cut to much more stuff but better to go with less than not to go at all.

    fuel 50
    water 60
    clothes 40
    shoes 10
    toiletries 10
    medical 10
    gas for cooking 30
    food 160
    ground tackle 55
    liftraft 15
    ditch kit 10
    people 150
    batteries 60
    solar panels50
    cooking stuff 20

    Sails mast etc not counted i dont really think they are payload. You could argue that an engine and ground tackle and people aren't really payload either but i have included it. Either way weight is weight and we are trying to minimize this. Water will probably be kept lower than 60kg while making passages but water makers also have weight so this is included here. we are aiming to have enough on-board for 30 days (2.5kg food per person per day) of eating well before we start to use our 10kg of high energy dehydrated "emergency" food which should be able to be stretched for another 15 days maybe more.

    On a practical level is have no desire to build a 38' cat as it will take me ages and I'm even reluctant to go for a open deck gypsy or Saturn (richard woods designs) due to build time. I was pointed to richard woods by another forum and we have had a discussion about the best boat for me as well as boats that aren't the best but will do. However, at the moment nothing is really off the table, providing we are comfortable and safe enough.
  13. cloudsrule9
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    cloudsrule9 Junior Member

    I haven't ruled out trimarans. I just wanted to keep the scope of this thread limited as to avoid the tri vs cat debate. However, your point is well received and so i started
  14. lucdekeyser
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    lucdekeyser Senior Member

    only three things are important: safety, safety and safety

    These paragraphs should be chiseled in stone for all newbie cruisers to read. The safety consciousness in the cruisers' community is only a fraction of that typical in the aviation industry. Why is that? Is it because the number of landings has to equal the number of take-offs? If only 10% of that safety consciousness would rub off onto the cruisers community.

    Probably it is fortunate that cruisers spend most of their time on anker. It is fortunate for the OP that he at least cannot claim nobody told him. May he have enough insight to understand this in time when needed. Too bad he has so few good examples to go by. Assessing risks is heavily biased cognitively. That is why it takes so much sustained attention and more than the headsup in a forum can provide.

  15. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Click my handle for my Gallery for my dismountable, modular, containerable, towable multi-hull concept.

    The main mast is the trailer-frame. Is designed to be able to be pulled out of a container, towed to the water, launched THEN spread apart and assembled, using the deck bolts as pivot points for the beams....all without "normal boatyard operations" with massive special sling gantry vehicles, etc.

    It should even be able to carry its own tow vehicle, such as Ford F-350, so it could land on distant shore and transform as a single all inclusive package.

    Use the sails shown as a triangular tent on deck around the main mast (carry an extra set) for large open shaded area.
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