Mike Waller yacht design opinions?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by PeculiarBob, Dec 16, 2021.

  1. PeculiarBob
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    PeculiarBob Junior Member

    Anyone have an opinion on Mike Waller? He says he studied yacht design at Westlawn and has been professionally designing boats since 1987, but beyond that there is not much information.

    I'm interested in his TC750 (see here), which is essentially a modern knockoff of the Hirondell. There are some nice things about the design, like the amazing interior space/packaging and monohull cockpit type seating. Waller says there is 1.5m sitting headroom on the bridgedeck and 2m headroom in the hulls. But I can also see some bad things, eg the 1350kg "trailer weight" seems heavy, the windage, it's not very wide relative to it's length (7.5 x 3.45m), and it looks like one would need to go over the top of the cabin to get to the foredeck. Have I become interested in a "boat show" boat? That is a boat with a giant interior that is no fun to sail?

    I've also looked at Richard Woods' Eagle 24. That looks like a much lighter, better sailing boat, however the accomodations are obviously far more spartan even with a deck pod added. Also I much prefer the idea of sitting on a cockpit seat rather than a flat deck. I get to go sailing much more often if I can take the wife and kids along, and I imagine they will protest much less on something like a TC750.
     
  2. oldmulti
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    oldmulti Senior Member

    Bob. Mike Waller designs are good to very good sailing cats depending on the design. The Waller TC 670 is the closest cat that I know about and is a good sailor that is narrow at 8.2 foot. Result the TC 670 provides good performance but requires constant vigilance by the crew when sailed hard. The TC 750 extra beam at 11.3 foot increase stability and should be an easier cat to sail. Mike Waller designs strong boats, result is you have 9 mm (3/8) plywood skins where as, Richard Woods uses mainly 6 mm ply skins and less surface area at 25 foot lengths. The 1350 KG may appear to be heavy but is a realistic weight for the design and the concept of a fast trailable cruiser. The hull length to beam is 10 to 1 which good for a higher performance cat.

    There is some thin side decks but over the cabin top is more likely an access path forward. I have seen a TC 670 with a hatch over the double berth that allowed access to the mast base for adjustments. I suggest you will get a good design from Mike if its really suits your purpose. An Eagle 24 will be faster but have less cabin space. Do you want double berths and room for the kids with some sailing performance, or do you want speed with some accommodation? As a starting point my simple performance calculator says the Eagle 24 will capsize in 22.5 knots of wind and has a Bruce number of 1.31 (about 8.8 knots average speed, peaks a lot higher). The Waller 750 will capsize in 19.5 knots of wind and has a Bruce number of 1.29 (about 8.6 average speed with higher peaks). Translation the TC 750 has more weight and a bigger rig to drive it which results in less stability to get similar performance to a Eagle 24. Hope this helps.
     
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  3. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    Bear in mind I am blind so I will address your post as best I can. I may muck up the formatting and get some of the response wrong. I'm answering because I think the questions are important.


    What do you want to do with the boat ? Why are you looking at that particular boat ?

    I ask because MW designed that thing specifically to be trailerable under certain regulations, which incidentally don't apply here in Queensland where he and I live.

    I have had something to do with mini bridgedeck cats and I have my own strong opinions on what works and what doesn't. I don't like his 2, but some of his other boats have a lot of potential IMO. Trouble is he is only interested in building in wood. Apart from the strip 29' bridgedeck boat they are all ply. You could of course re-engineer them but that's a major redesign when you could just buy a design that suits you to start.

    Toe rails on cats that size are a menace. My Jarcat had them and if I didn't think I'd go round the side. Half way I'd always catch my mistake and climb on the cabin. They are a disaster waiting to happen. Go over the top.

    So if the boat suits you as is you will end up with a good boat. There are quite a few of his bigger designs here in Queensland and they work.

    Edit: The Hirondell was 10' x 25' they were a masterful package with enclosed heads standing headroom and a superb interior. They even sail well. I don't know how the 750 would compare. I don't like the layout but that's me...

    The Eagle is a massively smaller boat. Sure it's 1' shorter but it is much quicker to build and has much less of everything. Do you need to trailer the boat ?

    Gypsy or Saturn are closer matches to the TC750, or at the very least Sango. Gypsy and Saturn are transportable but by no means casual trailer sailers. Sango won't take much longer than the TC to launch and is legal to tow anywhere. It's fast, much faster than you would expect and a good open water boat. Very safe.

    But it depends on what you want. Day sailing ? coastal cruising ? racing ? Will it always be with the family ? How long will the boat stay in the water ? a day ? a week ?
     
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  4. PeculiarBob
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    PeculiarBob Junior Member

    Oldmulti, thanks for the vote of confidence and the helpful data. I just realized the sa/disp of the TC750 is actually pretty high, just not as high as Eagle. How did you calculate the capsize windspeed? It seems like it would be diffcult to calculate this accurately without a cad model. Intuitively Eagle seems more stable with it's wider beam and lower centre of gravity.

    Guzzis3, like everyone else I mostly just daysail and rarely overnight. No racing, no offshore sailing. Boat stays in the water. I definitely want cockpit seating, a dedicated enclosed head, and a dinette. Sleeping accomodation/kitchen are less important. Building in plywood sounds perfect to me, so I dont care that Waller doesn't offer other methods. We do have a 12ft limit for towing here with a permit. More than that and I believe you need signs and escorts, and presumably a lot of money. So in that context it makes sense to have a boat that is 12ft wide or less or is demountable.

    If I built Eagle it would have a deck pod with a dinette, and I would scrap one of the forward bunks for an enclosed head. The lack of cockpit seating on Eagle is definitely an issue, as is the lack of space in the deck pod thingy. Skoota 28 is probably closer to what I want, but that's powerboat only. Obviously boats can be modified to meet ones needs but that sounds like a headache.

    I did compare the hirondelle more carefully to the TC750. TC750 has a 3ft longer waterline, is 1.3ft wider and about a foot taller. That works out to about 50% more volume, so not really comparable.
     
  5. oldmulti
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    oldmulti Senior Member

    Bob. Like all simple calculations capsize is only an indicator not precisely accurate. The calculation does not take into account the weight centre of gravity position and is a maximum wind speed, not the wind speed that a person would carry full sail in. EG most sailor would start to reef at say 20 knots wind speed for a boat that would capsize at 25 knots. The calculation is half the distance between the hull centerlines x displacement to give foot/lbs righting moment. Then the height of the center of effort of the sails is multiplied by the wind pressure on the sails to get the overturning moment of the rig. When the rig overturning moment is higher than the righting moment of the hulls you capsize. PS the wind speed calculation involves a more complex calculation than the description above but can be found on the web. PS talk to Richard Woods, he is approachable, and may have an idea about a sailing Skoota 28 or a variation.
     
  6. PeculiarBob
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    PeculiarBob Junior Member

    Thanks Oldmulti. That seems like a reasonable metric. Obviously the added height and narrow beam adversly affect the stability of the TC750 relative to something like the Eagle. Still, I am surprised how close they are using your formula.

    I just watched a whole bunch of videos of Hirondelles, Jarcats, Apache 30s and TC670s (there is a TC670 in russia with a nice series of videos). This video in particular makes me really uncomfortable. Obviously the TC750 is wider than a jarcat, but the relatively narrow beam and high bridgedeck do give me pause.

     
  7. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    If trailering is not a consideration I would consider building eagle with the sango pod cabin. Sango has a pop botton and top which gives standing headroon at anchor. You get a dinette/kitchenette at anchor, 5'6" headroom and space in the hull for a head and even a hand shower. The boat would be a pleasure to sail and very safe. The thing with bridgedeck cabins is you lose the seperation of accomodations you get in cats. If you are all sitting around having lunch and someone needs to go... with a pod deck they are in another "room". It might be a tad more work to build that hull over the Waller but everything else will be the same.

    Have a look at the Sango cockpit. I personally am not a fan of the eagle bridgedeck but the hulls are nice and would accept a sango middle with no problems. I think the beam spacing on eagle is a greater proportion of the LOA as I recall so no problems with length. Also if you regularly take down the mast the Sango system is really good.

    IMO the eagle hard chine hulls are much nicer than the hard chine sango hulls but everyone has an opinion.
     
  8. jamez
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    jamez Senior Member

    Richard Woods has recently added pics of a recently launched (extended) Eagle. It looks like the builder has raised the aft decks, which would give the bunks more headroom, but also increases the drop from the side deck to cockpit tray for more comfortable seating. The Eagle is a nice design IMO - If it had been around when I was looking it would certain have made the consideration list (built a 25' tri). Many mods are easy to incorporate in a build if thought about early enough. Ply and epoxy make most things possible, but I do agree, its easier to build a design that meets your needs and doesn't require thought put into mods.

    I've got study prints for the Waller 750. It certainly packs a lot into a small LOA. These small bridgedeck cats have a lot of material in them in comparison to an open wing deck type. I would be surprised if you couldn't build a Gypsy or a KD 860 with a similar amount of materials. Having been on a Gypsy I think it would feel less cramped, with standing headroom throughout and no cabin to climb over going forward.

    eaglebuild11.jpg eaglesail450.jpg
     
  9. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    I am shocked that the Waller compares to gypsy in materials. If that is true I would expect Gypsy to be built in similar time and is a MUCH bigger boat not to mention more seaworthy.

    As I say you can build Eagle as a sort of mini gypsy. There would be compromises, headroom, the pop bottom, but if the OP wants a daysailer rather than a cruiser that boat should be a lot less work and money.

    It's good to have options.
     
  10. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    Why ? It's a 16' boat in chop and the cameraman is standing up. The Jarcat rig has a reasonable low center of area and most people put a furler on the foresail. They are easily driven so if you reef often and early.. They have been around for 40 years and the number of known capsizes you could count on your thumbs.

    A 24' boat is 50% longer and presumably wider but anything under say 30' is going to be bouncy. MW and RW both have formal yacht design qualifications. Ian Farrier was a mech eng as is Ray Kendrick. Personally I'd favour a designer with formal training in a related technical area. Mech eng is my background and while I don't claim to know everything pertinent I do have enough understanding to realise you need to know some stuff to design a good boat. Ross Turner built one of the early Farriers and when he drew his boats he built and sailed prototypes before offering plans. Jarcats are good boats. Having a LOT of long term owners is always a good sign. They are somewhat undercover now but there is an active, very active, owners group.

    All these options are good. You really just need to decide what suits you best. Maybe there are examples near you that you can visit and get some feel.
     
  11. oldmulti
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    oldmulti Senior Member

    Bob. The following design is 13 foot wide but could be built 12 foot wide without to many issues. I do not know if it is in the size weight range but it has near full headroom and a good layout. A short discussion with the designer explaining the need will help. Its much easier to reduce the beam by cutting 1 foot out of the wingdeck width as there are generally no structural issues. The design is Spirit designs STOW-AWAY 8.5 at: https://www.spiriteddesigns.com.au/stowaway8_5

    Also Bob, a more detailed explanation of capsize calculation is on page 73 of multihull structure thoughts item 1084. Multihull Structure Thoughts https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/multihull-structure-thoughts.62361/page-73
     

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  12. PeculiarBob
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    PeculiarBob Junior Member

    Guzzi, eagle hulls with sango pod makes sense. Again, I'm not sure how much space is in the pod, seems like not enough. The dinette of the TC750 is about 5x5 with headroom of 4.6ft. That probably means adding a nacelle on the bottom to get the same amount of room in the sango pod. Raising the rear hull decks makes a lot of sense as suggested by Jamez.

    Gypsy and TC750 seem to be comparable in materials. I find this surprising. Both call for 60 cubic feet of plywood, although the utilization may differ. TC750 calls for twice as much epoxy. Gypsy seems like a better boat in every way, except maybe for slip fees. Kohler doesn't publish the materials list of the KD860, but I wouldn't build anything of his anyway.

    Regarding the stability, I guess it's just a matter of reefing appropriately. If I were sailing that jarcat the people on the foredeck would have been in the cockpit with a hand on the jib sheet. Maybe I'm just paranoid. I should have mentioned I have no experience with catamarans beyond beach cats.

    Oldmulti. Thanks for sharing stowaway, that's a nice looking boat with a really nice layout. Unfortunately it also looks like a motorsailer, I want a sailboat. Also, building a 3000lb boat in wood sounds more manageable than a 5500lb boat in foam and glass.
     
  13. PeculiarBob
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    PeculiarBob Junior Member

    Guzzi, unrelated to this thread I found videos of a 29ft jarcat, something I didn't know existed. Ever seem one of these in Australia?

     
  14. guzzis3
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    guzzis3 Senior Member

    I got the stow away study plans and was almost physically sick when I saw it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion but that is one of the last boats on earth I would build.

    RT designed a 24' (?) and 29' jarcat. I believe only one 24' version was built but it was a masterclass in a small bridgedeck cabin catamaran. You picture the bigger one. Several were built. Both these bigger boats are regarded by those who have sailed and owned them as accommodation focused rather than rewarding sail boats. Depends on what you want.

    I have said many times here I'd not build in ply for many reasons, not least of which I can get foam glass and bagging supplies from china for less than I can buy quality plywood. Your circumstances are probably different and your preference is your business.

    The sango cuddy/pod whatever is about 7'x7' or maybe 8'. I'll have to check. It has over 3' headroom. The pop bottom drops 18" at anchor and the top pops to give 6' in the galley area. The dinette becomes a small double as I recall 4'x 6'6" or something. Again I'd have to check. I was never going to build the cuddy to plan. I wanted a 5'x6'6" queen in the cuddy lengthwise and that's it. Starboard hull for head shower etc port stows kitchen fridge nav gear etc. Cooking and eating in the cockpit. But I also want to trailer. My requirements are different.

    Email Mr Woods or buy study plans for more precise answers.

    How are your slip fees calculated ? Is there a break point for beam ? In a pinch you could possibly build a permanent footwell into a sango size bridgedeck if you don't like the pop bottom, just keep it narrow. Sango is 4.5m wide, wizzer (same hulls) is 5m from memory. Eagle is what ? 4.2m or something. Maybe fiddling the beam or lifting the freeboard a bit could accommodate a permanent cuddy.

    As always my opinion is worth what you paid for it but I really like the idea of being able to run forward to deploy fenders dock lines, untangle a headsail or rigging, club a crocodile, fend off backpackers...but clearly I am wrong given the popularity of full width bridgedeck cabins.
     

  15. PeculiarBob
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    PeculiarBob Junior Member

    Yes, I also want a giant flat deck that makes it easy to run forward, however that means compromising interior space. What's the right tradeoff? I have no idea. I don't have access to anything similar to the boats we're talking about. I might be able to score a ride on a hirondelle or Gemini catamaran, but that's as close as it gets.

    I'd love to see the Jarcat 24, alas I see no pictures online. If it's such a great boat I wonder why are the plans no longer available?

    Slip fees are by the foot plus a 20%+ premium for a catamaran or an end tie. There are many marinas and the rules are all different. TC750 might be able to fit in a monohull slip or other oddball slip that is cheaper than an end tie, but in many cases will be the same price as a wider boat.

    I don't see being happy with a sango pod on an eagle. Mostly I was wondering if Waller is competent designer and it sounds like the answer is yes. Jarcat owners seem to be very enthusiastic about their boats which bodes well for the TC750. I did but the study plans for the TC750 and they look very nice. I will mull it over for a while, maybe buy plans, then mull it over for a good while longer.
     
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