Minimum cruising cat-size & cost

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Alex.A, Feb 24, 2010.

  1. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Alex - if you're interested in cruising in a ~10m cat, have a look on Richard Woods' website ( and in particular stuff about his Eclipse (9.9m LOA).

    He writes quite candidly about his trips up to, and including, choosing to abandon it in the Pacific. There's also stuff on subsequently discovering the boat quite happily looking after itself some months later.

    There's few people with as much multihull sailing experience as Richard plus he's a thoroughly decent, no ******** type bloke who combines practical skills with a very distinguished formal design education.
  2. sandy daugherty
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    sandy daugherty Senior Member

    As I have said elsewhere ( see #36 ) the size of the cat is not that important. Your skills are. Where you decide to go, and when is probably the most relevant consideration.

    Lets not get bogged down in discussions of ultimate stability in the high latitudes; lets talk about who would go there and why. Then lets have him committed.
  3. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Matt, i could not agree more,what you describe is exactly the type of cat that i would design and build for myself,say 45-50ft,12 or 14:1 hull beam ratio, 2:1 overall beam ratio,small rig light weight, only enough freeboard to achieve 2m headroom in the hulls, i would have a bridgedeck cabin though with lots of clearance,at least 3ft,full headroom in the center cabin is less important to me than bridgedeck clearance,two outboards mounted in wells that can be retracted and plugged when sailing,and in the words of Roger Simpson "restrained accomodations" and built with "appropriate technology" ,How does that sound to you? Trouble is they dont build production boats like this and i could not afford it anyway without building it myself, i am designing something like this for my son around 41ft. However smaller boats are still practical and are available used and the reality is they are the only multihulls available for under 100k that can take you places.
  4. aussiebushman
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    aussiebushman Innovator

    CT249 - yes it was Ramtha to which I referred in the earlier post - read Roger's book for details. Whoosh - I may have been exaggerating somewhat re the 45 degree heel, but I have sailed with the boating equivalent of petrol heads who seem not to be happy unless the lee rail is underwater. I do not find this fun.

    Pretty much everthing in life is a compromise of sorts and my last comment on this subject is that Steve W and I seem to be in agreement on most of these matters. Matt, I have no problem with having a 40+ foot Cat if you can afford it. I simply never had that kind of money and for me, the safety, space and structural integrity of a 30'Cat meets my needs.

  5. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    :D :D :D
    Guilty as charged... btw 70° to 71° N :rolleyes:
  6. david@boatsmith
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    david@boatsmith Senior Member

    Here is one of Wharram's small cats. There is not a lot of interior space without a tent enclosure at anchor. It does sail well and is very seaworthy. It is also very inexpensive. Beachable, Sails in less than 30" of water. Huge cockpit and enough storage for two people to cross oceans in comfort. For colder weather and more interior space you can add a central pod which also provides shelter while sailing, albeit at the cost of cockpit space. This is not designed as a long term liveaboard but is quite comfortable for cruising for weeks/months at a time and then can be trucked .and/or containered any where in the world. David

  7. Roger L
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    Roger L oldengineer

    Other Multihull Advantages

    Well, I agree with the other advantages. I like the speed of our F-28, but that isn't why I bought the boat. It was basically a mixture of trailerability, accomodations, and "the ride". Since there are other boats with about the same trailerability and accomodations it probably comes down to the ride. Monohulls are out for me. I can't relax if the world is always on one angle or another. Catamarans have to be designed very carefully to avoid the snappy motion which doesn't seem to afflict tris.
    Roger L
  8. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    I don't want to keep repeating myself, so will keep this short

    I don't see any need to have a boat over 40ft for ocean cruising.

    My minimum is about 30ft. Less than that and you cannot take the gear you want to have a civilised life when not actually sailing

    Remember that the first catamaran to sail round Cape Horn was the 30ft Oceanic, sailed by Rosie and Colin Swale and their two children (one born on board)

    If you don't want to sail round the Horn maybe you want to go the wrong way through the Magellan Straits, as Pat Patterson did in his 33ft Ocean Twins

    Or if you don't mind missing out on some comfort you could always sail a beach cat across the Atlantic (as people seem to do every year)

    So size doesn't matter - comfort does.

    (Thank you Crag Cay)

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    currently cruising on his 34ft catamaran
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  9. bill broome
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    bill broome Senior Member

    it comes down to comfort, as rw and others point out: safety has more to do with skill and design than size. a tiki 26 is probably safer than many executive gin palaces, not least because they are sailed by people who like sailing, not entertaining at the marina.
  10. Bruce Woods
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    Bruce Woods Senior Member

    Getting back to the original question

    Yep, it boils down to skill and comfort.

    Having completed a 7000NM coastal passage on a GBE in my younger days the only advice I can offer is, make sure that the cat you end up with has a bridge deck cabin. Sitting in the sun or being dried to a crisp under an awning by the wind, has got knobs on it. Even wharram finally realized this and has started putting central covered command pods on his boats.
    He still hasn't quite gone far enough in my opinion , but I'm sure you'll work it out after a while.

    As far as size go's, wasn't "cooking fat" a 21 foot wharram? Didn't that do a circumnavigation.? I wonder how his salt water boils have heeled?
  11. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Pretty pictures, David!
  12. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    One thing that often seems to be left out of the equation are the forces involved in large cats. I get the idea of building a long 45 footer but you still get a bloody big boat with lots of waterline, windage and loads.

    A friend of mine launched his fab 13.2 metre boat for his wife and himself but she can't sail it on her own - the loads are too great and it is a really low volume bridgedeck boat -it goes really fast but they don't need the speed often.

    Unless you have a crew of gorillas you need to factor the ability of the crew to safely use the boat - this pulls the safety continuum back to the smaller size - getting hit by a flailing jib sheet hurts on a 35 footer but could be serious in a 45 footer. Can your wife pull down the kite on her own with you in the water on your large boat? For the vast majority of cruisers having a boat that can be singlehandled by a woman aged over 40-50 is a critical part of the safety equation but usually ignored. This is why my vote goes for the light 35 to 38 footer with a bridgedeck. I tried the non bridgedeck and have almost finished the refit of my boat with one now. It is much nicer.


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  13. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Sound advice for people looking at monohulls as well.
  14. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Phil, re the loads on a bigger cat you are right,they can be huge but they dont need to be,if i were to do a 45 ft cat for myself it would essentially have the same freeboard, beam and only a little more rig than a 38 ft cat.A 38ft cat has plenty of freeboard to achieve good headroom in the hulls so no need for more in a longer cat,freeboard is weight,20ft beam is enough if the rig is kept smallish,the rig would only need to increase enough to make up for the extra weight and wetted surface and would be small by most standards.
    In general i dont like big cats,i spent a couple of weeks on a Catana 48 and it was way to big and complicated to be practical for me,a typical modern 40ft cat is enormous.

  15. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Some years ago i visited the Annapolis boat show,it was the year that the Young designed Earthling was there and walking down the docks was overwhelmed by the endless rows of giant cats from Lagoon,FP,Privilege,Manta etc,there were big lines of people waiting to go aboard, i looked over some and was unimpressed but then i came to the Maine Cat 30 and my heart began to flutter,no line to go aboard,the actual designer/builder was there to show me around,what a perfect little cruising cat,well conceived,well designed,beautifully built,far and away the best small (production)cat that i have ever seen,no it doesn't have a bridge deck cabin but does have a permanent hardtop with side curtains so it can have decent bridge deck clearance, this boat is rarely mentioned when these forums turn to small,capable cats but should be considered.
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