Minimum cruising cat-size & cost

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

  1. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Tris are not that good to live on

    I have lived on tris for about 2 years. On a Twiggy mostly and a little on the Nugget. That said I personally don't think tris are anywhere near as good to live on as cats.

    You have the toilet problem on a tri and it can be worse than a mono. On our 6 metre cat we have a dedicated toilet area. The toilet is 5 metres away from the cooking bench! On the 7 metre version the toilet has a hard door. A 6 metre tri has the toilet next to the cooker. A tri will also have everyone in everyone else's way all of the time. We have done a week in the 6 metre boat, always sleeping on board with four of us. My boys had their own bed that never got used as a seat, they had their own storage area under their own bunk and they could read or do what they like in their own private space. Then of course there is the huge cockpit area that can have a tarp slung over it and voila you have a big area covered.

    I don't disagree with Tom that F boats are fabulous - they are - but for staying aboard for two weeks with teenagers I think they would drive me crazy. No real storage under the wing berths and no way to get away and into your own headspace. No time out. Cats excel at this - a 27ft cat designed as cleverly as Farrier's tris would have heaps more cruising room. All that being said if I sold our large cat I would jump at a good Searunner or Cirrostratus tri for cruising as a couple. They just come nice and cheap compared to a cat but you would have to be nuts to build one.

    Mas - you gotta be kidding. There are some fab cats under 36 ft. The only people anything like me (in terms of wages and sailing ethic) who have done or are doing circumnavigations have Crowther 10s (or sisterships - the Rogers 10 is a Crowther 10 with a different bridgedeck). These boats do a fine job and have proven themselves well. You don't have to go 40ft.

    Maybe that is it. You find someone who sails and thinks like you. To my end this would be Chris and Karyn and Alan Morris who sailed the C 10 style boats. They both sailed little boats (Seawinds and Twiggys) and really liked to sail. I am happy to have a bit more capacity than them but anything more than they have is luxury - remember Mas my boat at 38 ft is a bit big for two.

    Anyone feel like a story. I am a trimaranophile cruising on my Twiggy. I want to build the next boat - she will be a tri. A cross between a Spoon Bay 10.6 and a Searunner 37. I drew the lines and worked the accommodation every night to tweak it just so. I even worked for a great Aussie builder for free to learn strip planking for three months. I would ask him "How do I engineer a tri?" He would say I was an idiot for trying to build one "Build a cat! They are easier and you get more room and money" " They are terrible" I would say. No bloody cats for me.

    A year later I am getting close to finalising the design. I have ripped off Crowther's Kraken beams for the engineering and one night I decide to just see what a cat might look like. In half an hour I have a cat with double the room and lighter than the tri. I sheepishly tell my wife that maybe we should consider a cat. The lovely woman that she is doesn't remind me that for years I have been slamming cats. The next day I rang Robin Chamberlin - all my study has been on tris - I get a nice design and build a cat. Its a really nice boat and very easy to live on. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride.

    cheers

    Phil
     
  2. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Great story, Phil. But you're unusual. Lots of folks would have plunged ahead and built the tri, despite seeing the advantages of the cat. A long-cherished notion is very difficult to escape.
     
  3. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    9 m / 30 ft or so seems to be a point at which the choice of cat or tri can go either way. It's not easy to come up with a cat smaller than that with enough volume in the hulls for them to be usable space. Go larger, and the tri may not offer as much living space as a cat of the same weight and size. Again, this is very much a generalization and there are some boats that are exceptions.

    Phil- I'd love to hear more about the 6 m cat you reference. I've never seen a real cat this small with any sort of living space, although I have seen a couple of pontoon houseboats labelled as cats. It'd be really neat to hear more about how it worked out for you.
     
  4. dstgean
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    dstgean Senior Member

    Two versions of the same solution are inboard pods. I sailed on a stretched and otherwise modified (with the designer's consent) Tennant Tourissimo 10 that was stretched to 36' to handle the weight of an inboard pod that held a reasonably sized double & a sitting headroom salon. The other one is Bernd Kohler's 650 with an inboard pod.

    Even though the pod is not really that big, the psychological feeling of space is huge. Add to that Richard's truck bed sized salon & you have something.

    Making it all work together is pretty challenging on a short waterline though as excessive freeboard is aesthetically challenging--both in hulls and in salons.

    Dan
     
  5. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    True, that's one approach you can use if the boat is demountable, but it's a lot harder to manage with a truly trailerable boat, (trailerable in the sense that it doesn't take hours to launch and assemble.) For a 23 foot cat, such a pod would be little bigger than a pup tent.

    Richard has a clever solution for legroom in one of his pod designs-- a dropdown floor. Without some similar approach, a pod on a tiny cat would have an awful lot of windage.

    With a 23 foot tri, it's possible to have a pretty cosy little cabin, with generous sightlines. I think adding a pod to a trailerable cat would be a big improvement in comfort, but it would be an even bigger improvement if the living space in the pod could somehow be connected directly to the living space in the hulls-- the feeling of space in both would be enhanced.. Some folks have suggested a pod that fits down over openings in the hulls like a giant hatch, but I think such an arrangement would be impossible to leakproof at sea.
     
  6. ThomD
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    ThomD Senior Member

    "Essentially, this is a 16' boat that can have standing headroom inside an 8' X 8' room, at anchor."

    If you like that you will love my Jesus Boots with a tarp.

    The only thing sillier is my 23' tri with less room than either.
     
  7. dstgean
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    dstgean Senior Member

    Is that a bad thing or a good thing to have a pod the size of a pup tent? Windage is going to be a bear. Richard had managed to make the Wizzard look pleasing on a 22' waterline--but look what the commercial version did trying to add headroom!

    That said, pop bottoms are a good idea as long as the anchorage is reasomably calm or there's a bit of space above the waterline.

    A 23' tri would be workable, but I have to imagine that it would need an 8:1 waterline and a high Prismatic to get you some interior volume. I presume you've been on a Farrier? What about a very small Seaclipper style with an outboard bunk? Is that beginning to reinvent the wheel? There seem like there's quite a few of those designs out there.

    How about a 23+' cat with a 2.5' waterline beam and a pod taking that inboard beam to 4' while leaving lots of room above the waterline? you'd need to have quite a bit of freeboard in the whole hull to carry it off, but that coupled with a Salon placed in between the inboard podswould make sense. It would need to have some wave slap clearance--The Tennant cat whose salon was placed on the beams was a bit prone to slap in heavier conditions.

    A lot of this does sound like a mash up of the Woods Wizzer and the Kohler 650. I wonder if the inboard pod on one hull could be the galley with a hatch allowing the cook to stand up if desired. The other pod could be a 7x4' double? Perhaps instead it could be the head and a single in the aft part of the hull? The Salon might make the best bed if the table lowered.

    Just some thoughts. I gotta imagine it would need to have some serious bearing aft to support the weight.

    Dan
     
  8. Alex.A
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    Alex.A Senior Member

    Hi - sorry for not posting more details or sooner - have been away. 9m is my limit - licence and build space. I would prefer to build in ply because it is what iam used to... not entirely essential though. The reason for building is mainly that there are few 2ndhand cats in South Africa of this type and they are bloody EXPENSIVE for what you get!!!!! Lots of expensive condomarans but that isn't what i want. I prefer cats for many of the reasons already stated.

    I will be sailing mainly with wife and young child so handling is an issue - type of sailing will be coastal 99% of the time but the area i sail is quite hectic - hence wanting a capable cat!! Cruising from tip of Africa up East coast mainly but also atlantic side.
    Speed isn't such an issue. Doesnt have to demount though could be usefull.
    Time for building isn't an issue as self employed and work from home but cost is.... and buying materials as i need them would be better than borrowing money to buy complete boat.
    We live simply and therefor a simple boat is fine. Dont need masses of space or gadgets/luxuries.
    I am blessed with a reasonble woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    A bridgedeck isn't essential but protection from weather is!
    I sail small cats and to me 9m feels big but am confused by the mix of replies to size/saftey. What can you all tell me about the difference between transom and canoe sterns? Internal space and loading vs saftey? Want transom hung rudders and outboard - say 9hp.
    Also minimum practical sails - as with boats - sails are EXPENSIVE here - as is everything else......
    Thank you all for your knowledge and idea's.
     
  9. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    9 m LOA can be a pretty large boat (ie, the standard 3-cabin charter cat) or it can be something small and light enough for a couple of burly guys to carry around on land (most racing cats). Displacement, interior volume- this is what really tells "how big" a boat is, not length.

    There is no lower limit to size, but there are very big tradeoffs in heavy weather ability, living space and comfort as you shrink a boat. There's also that risk of turning turtle, which increases as you move to smaller/lighter craft. Where the lower limit falls depends on your needs and experience. I know I wouldn't consider going offshore in anything under 9 m and about 3 tons loaded, but one could go a fair bit smaller if the cruising will be coastal and always within reach of shelter. And there are plenty of competent, experienced seamen who have successfully taken smaller boats on long trips.

    Have you looked at Wharram cats? There are those who disparage them as outdated, clunky designs (not entirely untrue), but the fast build and low cost have won an awful lot of fans.... also have a look at Richard Woods' lineup for some more modern designs, also the small end of the Kelsall range, and- if you're willing to consider the three-hull variety- Chris White's smaller trimarans, just to name a few examples to get you thinking. There's such a wide range of options out there..... :)
     
  10. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Alex, if I can make a suggestion, try to find some of Thomas Firth Jones' books. In particular, Multihull Voyaging will give you an overview of the pros and cons of sailing in small multis. I'd also recommend New Plywood Boats, which gives a pretty good description of Dandy II, a cruising cat with offshore capability that's just under 27 feet LOA. I believe plans are still available from Jones' widow.

    Matt's mention of Wharram cats plays into this, since Jones was greatly influenced by Wharram. However, Jones, I think, added many modern elements to what he learned from Wharram, andt his boats should be faster and more comfortable than the smaller Wharrams.

    Be forewarned, though, that Jones was of the opinion that there is nothing you can put on the bridgedeck of a cat that is half as pleasant as an open deck. He believed that in a small sailboat, sitting headroom was plenty. He also had little use for the idea of trailerable boats, though he did draw a couple. He owned waterfront property, so he could haul his boats himself.

    It's probably worthwhile to point out that although Jones took his little boats on trans-Atlantic voyages lasting many months, he was not interested in living aboard.. He saw his boats as magic carpets that could take him on great adventures, but Home was always waiting at the end of the voyage. If he'd been interested in moving aboard permanently, he might have drawn larger boats.

    I'd echo Matt's recommendation of Richard Woods' designs. You can learn a lot just by exploring Richard's web site.
     
  11. Alex.A
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    Alex.A Senior Member

    I like woods and wharrams but am still looking and learning...... The simplicity of the wharrams is a plus - cost and build wise. Will check out Jones. Thanks.
    Looking for a new toy - his melanesia may be next. Want to try out steering oars and crab claw rig. Had the idea to build 2 and try it as a cat with bi rig.
    Why do so few designers use canoe sterns like Wharram?
     
  12. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Alex, you don't want to have too much symmetry between the bows and sterns of your cat, because double-ended hulls like Wharram's often have an unfortunate tendency to pitch. Pitching can be a problem with fine-hulled boats to begin with. Transoms make it easier to draw hulls that resist pitching. Anyway, that's my view as an amateur, and why I put transoms on Slider.

    .[​IMG]
     
  13. marshmat
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    marshmat Senior Member

    A pointy stern adds length without adding usable interior space or waterline. Or, to look at it another way, it takes away usable interior space without reducing cost.

    That doesn't mean it's bad to have a pointy stern, just that the boat won't be quite as compact as if it had transoms.

    edit- if one were to put canoe sterns on Ray's "Slider", it wouldn't significantly change the performance characteristics of the boat (the change would be entirely above the waterline) but it would add about two or three feet to the LOA. Possibly a good thing in a seaway, certainly not a good thing in a marina berth.
     
  14. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Matt is right, but if one were to put sterns like a Wharram cat on Slider, it would definitely change her performance, as Wharram bows and sterns, at least in his classic designs, are pretty symmetrical fore and aft-- the waterplane is as narrow aft as forward. Slider's waterplane is skinny at the bows and broadens out as it goes aft. Of course, Wharram uses deep-V hulls and Slider modified dory hulls, so it really isn't easy to compare them.

    A real world example of the difference can be seen in the cat Thomas Firth Jones built to replace his modified Wharram Hinemoa. This cat, which you could call a modified Tane, was very similar to a standard Wharram, but the sterns modified into transom sterns.
     

  15. Bruce Woods
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    Bruce Woods Senior Member

    Does this fit the bill?

    What about this?
    Minimum length bridge deck cat with potentially a far greater appeal to the masses when it comes time to sell, than a wharram type, hence better return for your time and money invested. Also meets the 9m and 3 ton parameters mentioned. Your family will thank you for the cabin.

    See Simpson sine wave 9m at....... http://boatcraft.com.au/Shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=32_33&products_id=52

    Regards
     
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