Micro Cruising Multihulls

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Skint For Life, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    Scale issues

    Skint, why are you so set against a small mono? The problem I see with "miss cindy" ( I really respect Tony as a builder/designer/seaman), and other really small cats is the lack of real world performance. "Cindy" could not have turned around and re-traced her footsteps- unless the seasons and prevailing wind changed. Very small boats of any type or design are prone to being driven end over end in even modest waves, the difference is that a properly ballasted mono should roll back up and keep going. Mast based righting systems don't count, often the mast is broken off in a pitch pole, so the hull/cabin/ ballast have to be able to self-right. I suspect "cindy" and a few other high bridge deck/cabin designs might be close to self righting, but any decent offshore mono is. I have raced a 19' lifting keelmono that could make decent headway against 30 knot winds and 6' seas- and it was about 1400 lbs, had four ok bunks, storage and enough space for positive flotation. It was also very easy to trailer and could float in 14" with the keel up. Most of the small (under 20') cats or tris couldn't go to weather in those conditions, and I think a real, safe, cruiser should be able to get upwind in a blow. I really like multis, I enjoy my Buc 24 (all 19' beam of it) but I don't have any illusions of its ultimate design limitations. My experience with small cats under 8.5' beam is that they can't carry enough rig to sail with out being prone to capsizing. I have enjoyed the many different designs being submitted, but I haven't seen any that would work as well as a simple, mini-transat style mono- and the mono would out sail all of the multis when loaded like a typical cruiser. B
  2. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Bruce, I have to disagree with your assessment of the windward ability of small cats compared to small monos. Slider is 16 X 8.5, has a modest rig, and yet was faster to windward than all but one of the monohulls in the 25 knot conditions during the first couple of days of the Florida 120 last year. I've had her out in 30 knot winds, and she still made adequate progress to windward under a scandalized main, which surprised me.

    The fastest boat to windward was an owner designed and built 23 footer, based on a Bolger peapod, I was told. That thing was built for windward sailing, and she went very very well. I can't think of a non-planing monohull of Slider's length that would be much faster than she has proven to be, at least to windward.

    For comparison purposes, we went past a Precision 18 like she was dragging an anchor.

    Still Skint says he needs to keep the boat to about 5 meters in length, so he isn't going to build a mini-transat. I agree that the weight-carrying capacity of monos is superior, but if you can pare down the stuff you take cruising, you'll be more comfortable in a small cat than in a small mono.
  3. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    point taken

    Ray, I think you are missing my point- I didn't state it very well:( I respect Slider's abilities and I am sure you or I can make it go in most conditions- but will it self-right when! (not if) the wrong combination of wind and waves knocks it down or pitch-poles it? There are thunderstorms that will knock down ANY boat, and they are common in the eastern USA where we sail. I have bent the mast head fly on a couple of occasions on my small cruisers by hitting waves with the masthead, and I would not want to try that with a boat that would not right its self. Rough inlets, steep waves over shallow water, windy days in the Gulf Stream are all potential conditions where self-righting is almost mandatory for safety. Small boats are too slow to avoid the weather fronts so you have to be ready to endure them. In my experience, most of these boats can only make 2-3kts distance made good when it is blowing, and with a current, none at all. Running off is not always an option. You just have to sit there and take it, and the boat better be seaworthy- any design that won't is really just a "day sailor", and shouldn't be represented as anything else. A small boat, a dark night and a building weather system will really make you re-think your choice of "fun" sports. :rolleyes: B
  4. peterchech
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    peterchech Senior Member

    Haha Ray sometimes I think from the way you talk about slider that one of these days you are gonna attempt to enter her in a mini transat and break the speed record across the pond, while sipping tea and munching on biscuits ;):D:D:D:D

    That is a sweet setup on that slider in Malta though, how much headroom is that? I feel like about 24" is minimum for a bunk without feeling claustrophobic... Do you have any more pictures of that boat, especially of the cuddy?

    Bruce that means alot coming from a guy with what seems to be some pretty extensive multihull experience. Not to bring up the whole multi vs mono debate AGAIN, but honestly, do you think your buc 24 could realistically be capsized in a squall? Obviously, a storm big enough will capsize anything, but within reason don't you think that multihulls (over X feet) are fairly safe offshore? I'm thinking about that guy who circumnavigated in a Tiki 21 for example...

    As someone who's owned both, are you saying that you would prefer a slower monohull that is self righting to a comparable multi, for offshore use?
  5. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Naw, I have to be realistic. As Bruce says, any boat can be capsized. Slider is too small to take out on big water except in very settled weather, and even then it's possible to get into trouble.

    But I have to say that I don't buy the idea that only boats that are self-righting should be taken offshore. While it's nice to know that your boat will come back up if capsized, it's better to know that it will be a lot harder to capsize that boat in the first place. When a monohull capsizes violently, bad things can happen. People can be injured, hatches and superstructure can be torn off, and if the wind hold the boat down and there are any openings, the boat can fill and sink. Even if the cat capsizes, you still have a large and stable raft, and if you've prepared well for the possibility of capsize, you still have your supplies. When a multihull capsizes, it's not the end of the world. When a monohull sinks, all too often, it is the end of the world for her crew. At any rate, I'm no longer brave enough to try to go offshore in a ballasted monohull. That's why I'm building the new 24 footer. It will be a much bigger boat than the Tiki 21 Cooking Fat, which has done so well in her circumnavigation, and in the recent Jester Challenge.

    I know I've talked about this before, but a perfect example is the events that Thomas Firth Jones and his wife Carol endured on their return from Bermuda in Two Rabbits, a Wharram Hinemoa. This is a boat just 19 feet on the waterline, and was typical of Wharram's early narrow beam designs, but modified by Jones for more internal volume-- bigger houses and raised decks.. They were caught in a hurricane. A new fiberglass Dutch yacht named Banjo sighted them just before the height of the storm. Later that night, Banjo fell off a large wave and split open. her crew were rescued, fortunately, but Banjo went to the bottom. After the storm, Jones raised sail and went home, without damage.

    Jones himself says that he was lucky. Banjo wasn't. But I think the story illustrates the choice most sailors have to make. Frankly, when I've been offshore in a ballasted monohull, I can't stop thinking about those tons of lead just waiting to drag me into the black depths, if something goes wrong..

    I do have some more pictures of the Maltese Slider's cabin. Looks like he's dropped the floor a little to keep the bunks from being claustrophobic. If I had to guess, I would say that the great beam of the boat allows two people to sleep athwartship in the cabin, though separated by the mast beam. The owner sent me a little video of the boat sailing on just the jib. I'll put some photos up in a week or two-- Several builders have recently sent me pics, including one of my Italian builders, who's come up with a really clever sliding beam idea for his Slider.
  6. peterchech
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    peterchech Senior Member

    I look forward to seeing those pictures Ray.

    I have been following your new 24' build thread on woodenboat forum. I really like what you're doing with the 24 footer and can't wait to see it wet.

    I was at a juncture recently where I had to decide what to do about my next boat. I was very tempted to just pick up an old keelboat, and I nearly bought a J-24 for only $3,000. But when I was researching the boat, I began seeing stories about J-24's sinking. Granted, most sinkings occurred during racing, when the skippers were really pushing the boats, but always on inshore waters. One capsized, flooded and sank in the Hudson river by NYC (not exactly a rough river in my limited experience), and another did the same off of Sandy Hook Bay, where I typically sail. This really got me thinking about keelboats differently, and it makes me shiver to think how hard I was sailing a rented J-22 out of Chicago last year in strong winds and steep choppy seas, with the companionway wide open...
  7. Manfred.pech
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    Manfred.pech Senior Member

    Ray, I like the way you write about Thomas Firth Jones. I was lucky to read his books and to get his study plans. He was a great sailor, writer and boatbuilder and I think he has crossed the Atlantic six times (?) with small boats (Multihulls).
  8. bruceb
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    bruceb Senior Member

    the "best" boat?

    Peter and Ray, I think you both have the right ideas- safety is a combination of seamanship, boat, and luck. From my experience, multis are most at risk being pushed backwards down a steep/breaking wave and going over backwards while small monos are more at risk of getting "rolled". I once was racing in a fleet of J22s and 24s when one of our thunderstorms hit- less than 10 mins warning and only about 2mins from actually seeing the rain coming. One 24 sunk, two 22s filled and I watched one 22 get rolled 360 twice! A really tough way to do a "720":D About 60kts in the leading gusts and didn't settle down for about 20 mins. Our club boston whaler chase boat also flipped. (I just managed to get my sails down as it hit) When I suggest a mono, I mean a very well set up boat on the basic minitransat style, with full built-in flotation and a de-powered rig. When equally loaded, the speed distance made good is very similar to a multi and IMO! is a "safer" boat. I have "met" some really ugly waves in the gulf stream:mad: that would make me very nervous in my Buc. I also once saw a light 54 mono almost go over backward in the channel out of Fort Lauderdale Fla. It stood on end for several seconds before it fell sideways and righted. The ocean always has a new trick. B
  9. Wavewacker
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    I thought I wasgoing to get to see a race there for awhile! :D

    I'm interested in the small cats as well and was hoping for a motorsailor, a little more motor than sail with ease of construction with more river cruising. That big Slider is interesting.

    I understand the 2:1 ratio for cats, but wonder what would it be like at say 2.50: 1, stretching the 8' beam to 20'? For a longer cockpit.
    Ilikeboats likes this.
  10. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Peter, the J24 is well known for sinking but it is usually from flooding thru the cockpit lockers which could be prevented by duct taping them if the weather looked threatening,or of course a more permenant solution,i think a bigger issue is that they,along with a lot of small racers such as the Wavelength 24 and Ultimate 20 dont self right from a mast in the water situation without crew help,ie,jumping over onto the keel. If the J24 would just pop back up on its own those cockpit locker lids would not be underwater long enough to fllod the boat. I have been in situations like Bruce mentions in a 24ft uldb of my own design several times when we along with the above mentioned boats as well as heavier boats in the same size range have been knocked down and pinned for the short duration of the squall, we pop right back up with no water down below even without a bridgedeck or hatchboards in due to a deep bulb keel and open transom,the heavier boats pop right up but with plenty of water below because of the usual inadequate cockpit drains and no bridgedeck and the above mentioned boats dont seem to right without crew help.
  11. dstgean
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    dstgean Senior Member

    If you keep the rig conservative, it'll be fine. It's when you try to stick a rig meant for the typical 24x12 cat that you'll run into trouble quickly.

    Lots of early cats were narrow and while slow, had a reasonable safety record.

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  12. Skint For Life
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    Skint For Life Junior Member

    bruceb I find the points you bring up in post 31 very interesting. Can you please clariry this comment: "Skint, why are you so set against a small mono? The problem I see with "miss cindy" ( I really respect Tony as a builder/designer/seaman), and other really small cats is the lack of real world performance. "Cindy" could not have turned around and re-traced her footsteps- unless the seasons and prevailing wind changed." Are you saying that miss cindy was bascially sailing downwind most of the journey and that she would not be able to sail to windward anywhere near as well?

    This may sound stupid, but I don't know too much about small monos, are there any small mono boats with cabins that don't use ballast? Or if they do are there any small mono boats that use ballast but even with the boat full of water they still float? i.e. built in bouyancy is enough to overcome the boat weight, crew, gear and ballast.

    As a side note I got the hobie 14 turbo out for the first time :) Learnt a bit, found some faults.
  13. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    Skint for Life, don't rule out the 16' Jarcat.
    Back in the mid 90s I was "Between boats". My wife and my #2 son clubbed together and bought me one for my birthday. My two younger children looked at it and said- "What! It's just a little shoebox". So that became it's name.
    A racer it was not.
    But as a comfortable little sailer it was fine. With a big double and two quarter berths it was ideal for "Gunkholing" on Pittwater and up the Hawksbury river.
    Easily trailed, the mast could be raised by one person. It had a chemical toilet, table, cutlery drawer,two burner stove, 27meg radio, speedo, 6hp outboard motor and a big self bailing cockpit ideal for wet children. It was bought for $8000 and sold after three years for $9000. I look back on that little boat with great affection. :D
  14. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    More to the point, are there any CAR TOPPABLE monohull cruisers that could do the trip Miss Cindy did, even downwind??

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs (who has done pretty much the reverse of the Miss Cindy trip in a catamaran)


  15. ImaginaryNumber
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    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    Yes. MingMing, a 20'-9" bilge-keeled Corribee. Junk rigged. Added floatation to make unsinkable. Made a number of North Atlantic voyages from the UK, including to the edge of the Arctic ice pack, north of Jan Mayen island.

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