Small trailerable cruising cats... biggest flaw?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by rayaldridge, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. dstgean
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    dstgean Senior Member

    Pacific cat

    Is that the cat you bought? Sorry, a bit dense here...the one in the catsailor classifieds?

    Dan
     
  2. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Well, except that the F-boat is not designed to be sailed at trailerable beam and the G32 is. That seems a significant difference to me. One circumstance is a boneheaded mistake that would be fairly hard to make, and the other is SOP.

    I'm wounded! Why do you think my new boat won't have a high performance potential? It will weigh only a little more than Slider, and have 220 sq. ft. of sail, compared to Slider's 140. It will have a longer waterline, and be able to carry its canvas in heavy air. It may not be a barn-burner, or as fast as the beach cat the rig came from (except in heavy air, where it should be pretty fast) but it was designed in part as an answer to those little tris that are being built to use donor rigs from beach cats. I'll be disappointed if it isn't fairly fast. (Imagine me sitting here with a sad face.)

    Re the G32, with the best will in the world, I can't believe a boat with less of a righting lever than a Hobie cat and such a massive rig is really suitable as a cruiser. It may be possible to sail the boat safely, if one is hyper-alert, and reefs very conservatively, but the nature of cruising is that unexpected things happen. What may be safe on Long Island Sound will probably be a bit anxiety-arousing in a blow out on the ocean. The fact that the boat can be righted does not reassure me. The rig is fragile, and would probably not survive a capsize in a seaway-- in fact, there's a famous story about the boat being taken out for a test sail with a writer from Sail aboard, and losing its rig. Maybe I'm just a Chicken of the Sea, but I wouldn't get out of sight of land in a Gougeon 32. To me, if cruising is not relaxing, it's not really cruising.

    The thing about Slider was that she was about the longest boat I thought suitable for fixed trailerable beam, and then only with her very modest rig. Looking at other cats, like the Jarcat, with similar beam but bigger rigs-- you start to see a lot of capsizes. I'm sure a good alert seaman can keep a Jarcat on its feet, but the Gougeon 32 is a whole other order of boat, and is that really what cruisers want? I hate to be relying on this logical chestnut, but a number of the boats were built, at least 14. That strikes me as a fair trial. If the boat were a really good one, that should have been a big enough sample to propel the boat into general acceptance. But they were not very popular and they have a fairly low resale value. There was probably a reason why the owners did not like their boats enough to keep them and use them.

    For almost any other sort of boat meant for cruising, there are logs of cruises accomplished. Do any such logs exist for a G32? They've been around for a long time.

    To be clear, I'm not saying it's a bad boat, I'll bet it would be a lot of fun to sail. I'm just saying it's not really suitable for cruising.

    In the choice between beam and water ballast, I would go for beam every time. I think it's safer and faster and gives more usable deck. The trouble with shifting water ballast from one side to the other is that the process takes some measurable amount of time, and things happen awfully fast sometimes out on the water. Beam is always there, for good or ill. If I remember correctly, the water is removed from the G32 by bailers that depend on speed to function. What happens when the boat is taken aback suddenly-- all that weight will be on the lee side and no way to quickly get rid of it. I'm wondering how they handled tacking in heavy air, with that setup.
     
  3. dstgean
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    dstgean Senior Member

    In short tacking I imagine they just had both ballast tanks filled. I'm with you on the beam thing there even though I'm going to build a 20' double Tamanu hulled cat with a Hobie 18 rig. I feel confident for two reasons: the Tamanu hulls are lighter than the smaller Hobie hulls thus helping righting, deep reefs are possible and should be used for cruising.

    As another thought on the narrow beam cat that was tried out west on at least one boat is sponsons. The boat I'm thinking of was actually a bit of a beast as it was a quad hulled thing. I'm thinking of something like a hiking seat on a H21 or H18 but bigger and buoyant like a sponson. It would only work in these 'tweener sized cats, but plugging in a pair of sponson/hiking seats seems pretty quick compared to the elaborate setups of most other folders. Once put together, the wide beam is better in every way. If the wide beam boat is such a hassle to use that it doesn't get used, then the narrow boat with its limitations becomes the better boat in my opinion.

    Dan
     
  4. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    At one stage in my nefarious multihull career I had a Lock Crowther "International 23" catamaran.
    It had oval alloy crossbeams on which the hulls slid in and out. The foam/glass sandwhich deck folded up in the middle when sliding the hulls together. It worked vey well, but as usual the firm making this design went belly up and that was the end of it. Pity as it was a fast little boat and would sleep four in single berths with a toilet in one hull and galley in the other.
     
  5. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    No Dan, mine is blue hulls and decks,not in bad shape though.
    Steve.
     
  6. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Hi Ray,

    This is how I plan to make my small(er) cats fold. There is a basic procedure you have to follow but most people can follow a logic few steps. Folding up or open should go quick, probably a minute or two only. You still have access to the hulls and the deck storage spaces. What won't work in the deck storage should go in the hulls.

    The model I drawed has hulls 800mm wide and 1200mm high, this is up to you. The deck I drawed to be 350mm deep since most things fit in that depth. The folded hulls is 2m350 wide give or take a few cm, but it can be trailed legally. Height when folded is 2m230 and how long your hulls are is up to you. When folded open the cat is about 4m200 wide. The deck is level with the hulls so you have max deck space, many girls should fit on there.

    The only drawback is you cannot fit a single outboard permanently, you will have to make a removable bracket for it, although if you fit two motors, one on each hull then you haven't a problem. Two motors on a cat is way better in any case.

    The function of the different beams are only to keep the hulls upright during folding. The support beam has to keep the hulls from hinging outward during sailing. Note there is a transport beam and a support beam. Since neither needs to work very hard if the deck support most of the structure the beams could be lighter alu pipes, 80mm dia or there abouts. You figure the thing out. The hinges are large and made from glass and SS pipe, they should be the length of the deck.

    Some advantages are you can make your cat as wide or narrow as you want. The deck can also be shallower as long as the deck support the hulls without strong enough beams, but you can of course use heavier beams if you want to. Keep in mind the cat as drawed use the deck to support and stiffen the hulls and the lighter beams support the hulls and the deck.

    The removable gin pole and removable winch hinges the cat close or open.

    That's more or less it. I'm going to attempt the first one in the near future, got to sort some other crap out before I can begin.
     

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  7. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Fanie, that's a very clever idea. Looks as if it would work well for a big daysailing cat.

    I'd steal the idea, but it wouldn't work for me, because the depth of the decks would take too much beam from the individual cabins. Edit: Although, thinking about it, maybe if the decks were open box structures, the cabins could extend into them. This is why I love this group-- makes me think.

    You might not need the gin pole. Unless the boat is very large and heavy, you could start the fold by lifting up slightly on the deck seam, and then a tackle could pull the hulls together. The decks would rise up automatically.
     
  8. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Hi Ray,

    Doesn't have to be a large daysailer. If you go any smaller than that and with a thin decks just use alu beams. The decks can simply sit on the beams.
     
  9. Alex.A
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    Alex.A Senior Member

    How about a scissor type that folds up along the central spine - but uses normal beams when flat? Slide in/out through tubes. The central spine could also be a tube/beam which could also be removeable - would mean that the hulls would need to be built with half of the bridgedeck attached.......
     
  10. elliott
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    elliott Junior Member

    Many many people have spent many many hours trying to work out the best solution to the problem of a quick-folding cat with decent accommodation.

    In the 1970's I built a 7.5metre flat flush-decked cat with a folding system as shown at top of sketch attached. The beams are each in three parts. To fold: you take bolts B and D out and one hull can then be pushed forward and round so that it ends up side by side with the other.

    There wasn't much headroom so next year I took the deck off and built cabin tops with three removable beams and prior to launching fixed the beams in as the lower sketch. After launching you get some mug to hold the end of beam (E) up slightly; the end of beam at (G) lifts in sympathy then you hold the end of beam at (F) and push. The hulls float apart effortlessly and in complete control. When they are apart drop the ends and bolt up. What takes the time is the trampoline lacing. I use the boom as a fulchrum to raise the mast which works very well. I have launched it on my own several times.

    Three photos attached 1) me having breakfast to show that it is possible in a folding cat with 1 metre wide hulls 2) another of the boat on trailer 3) another of boat on mooring. Twin hull accommodation is wonderful for those who want a peaceful nights sleep and privacy. Bridgedeck accommodation is wonderful for those who are not worried about those things.


    That playpen type folding design - was it not produced a long time ago by PDQ in Canada? Anyway not important.
     

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  11. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Elliot, thats a nice looking cat,the expanding method you settled on is the same as the Macgregor 36 i used to own except that all 3 beams were fixed on the same side,the fwd and aft beams were in troughs held down by ss straps much like many beach cats.the mid beam was slid in to closed troughs(not tubes) with2 horizontal 3/4" bolts each side through the trough and beam. While the system worked well it took a lot of time to set up. The time consuming parts were, as you say, installing the tramp and nets but also assembling the chainplates,mast base and dolphin striker on to the mid beam as you were opening it up. I made a big change in this area by accepting that,as the beam weighed 105lbs bare, it was a two person job to instal it through the cabinside without causing damage to either the boat or myself anyway,i might as well keep it fully assembled at about 140lbs so i cut away the cabintop above the mid beam trough to allow the beam to drop in from the top, this was a huge time saver, the cuttout sections of cabintop were turned into lids which were installed over the beam. Another big timesaver which i did not do would be to raise the mid beam up to the top of the cabin and make the tramp in one piece all the way from the forebeam to the aft beam passing under the dolphin striker, it could then remain fully attatched and just hang down between the hulls when on the trailer, this is the way they do it on the Reynolds 33.The tramp is made of the polypropylene shade cloth and is not attatched to the mid beam at all as it is feet below it. The only problem i see with this is that forcing the hulls apart enough to get the last bolts in against the tension of the tramp may be problematic. Oh,the other big timesaver for assembly of my Mac 36 was the telescoping trailer i built (just like the smaller cat shown early in this thread) which allowed the boat to be fully assembled ready to sail while on dry land, the Macs mast which has a fairly large mast at 44ft was fairly easy to raise using the boom as a fulcrum and the mainsheet tackle with the mainsheet removed and replaced with the anchor rode,(you need 150ft) Because it was masthead rigged with inline shrouds and the chainplates and mastbase revolving around a round beam the mast was perfectly controlled athwartships by the cap shrouds, the best settup i have ever experienced on any boat.
    So,to lower the mast the sequence was,
    1/ Replace the mainsheet with the anchor line.
    2/disconect the aft lower shrouds, swing them back and connect them to fittings near the aft end of the boom.
    3/ Connect the main halyard to the end of the boom,the mast is now well supported at the top and middle.
    4/ Connect the two fixed length cables which i made up,from the end of the boom to the cap shroud chainplate to prevent the boom centered when it is in the air.
    5/ loosen the cap shroud turnbuckles to reduce friction. The chainplates are a simple 1 1/2"x 3/16" ss strap formed to wrap around the beam,(which is a 6 5/8" round tube)
    6/ Run the spinnaker halyard fwd.
    7/ Loosen the two clamp bolts on the mast base to reduce friction as it also rotates around the beam(also based on two straps same as the chainplates)
    8/ Create some slack in the mainsheet and cleat it off.
    9/ pull on the Spinnaker halyard to start the mast going fwd.
    !0/ Put a couple of wraps around a winch drum and lower away under perfect control.
    It is very rare where you can get the cap shroud and mast base pivot points in perfect alignment resulting in the mast being perfectly supported athwartships through the whole opperation.
    You are right, PDQ did use a ladder beam folding system on a 27ft cat that they owned themselves,not a production boat though.
    Steve.
     
  12. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Elliot, that's a nice-looking boat. Makes me think I should try to work a knuckle into my design, but I'm going for simple, so maybe not.

    Alex, my idea is sort of like what you suggest, except that the folding beams are load-carrying. I just have to make sure the locking mechanisms are strong enough. One thing I'm trying to avoid is having components of the system which are not attached to the boat at all times. I still remember the struggle I had when launching my old Tane. But your idea has a lot of merit, I think -- simplicity and strength and less weight.. Might be better than the idea I was going to use, or maybe better in combination.. I'll have to cogitate.
     
  13. ThomD
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    ThomD Senior Member

    "I'm wounded! Why do you think my new boat won't have a high performance potential? It will weigh only a little more than Slider, and have 220 sq. ft. of sail, compared to Slider's 140. It will have a longer waterline, and be able to carry its canvas in heavy air. It may not be a barn-burner"

    That's my point. You can't seriously pretend it is all about the speed? The G32 won so many races in the great lakes, that they changed the rules, so they had to return to beating million dollar yachts with plywood 35 footers from the 70s.


    ", or as fast as the beach cat the rig came from (except in heavy air, where it should be pretty fast) but it was designed in part as an answer to those little tris that are being built to use donor rigs from beach cats. I'll be disappointed if it isn't fairly fast. (Imagine me sitting here with a sad face.)"

    Of course it will be fairly fast, on some point of sail, in some set of conditions, with some set of expectations. I didn't much consider my remark since I am not all about the speed...

    "Re the G32, with the best will in the world, I can't believe a boat with less of a righting lever than a Hobie cat and such a massive rig is really suitable as a cruiser. It may be possible to sail the boat safely, if one is hyper-alert, and reefs very conservatively, but the nature of cruising is that unexpected things happen. What may be safe on Long Island Sound will probably be a bit anxiety-arousing in a blow out on the ocean. The fact that the boat can be righted does not reassure me. The rig is fragile, and would probably not survive a capsize in a seaway-- in fact, there's a famous story about the boat being taken out for a test sail with a writer from Sail aboard, and losing its rig. Maybe I'm just a Chicken of the Sea, but I wouldn't get out of sight of land in a Gougeon 32. To me, if cruising is not relaxing, it's not really cruising."

    Whoa, that is so off the mark. First I never suggested you build a G32, I suggested you consider it's moving bits as an alternative to making a cat that is beam adjustable. A 20ish foot boat with 8 foot beam is within the range of normal catamaran beam without any adjustment. Adding a water ballast and self-righting capability to that boat could be criticized in a number ways, but as underly conservative, I have a hard time seeing it. The reality is that with a standard rig, the G32 in half the required beam. A 20 footer, is 80% the current conventional beam.

    Multihullers tend to be too beam fixated. Beam without weight = zero righting moment. It is a whole lot easier, up to a point to adjust weight than beam. In all likelihood the self righting capability on an 80% beam boat would never get used, so far from being a fragile string, it's overkill. The G32 can take on 1200 pounds of water ballast.

    Where the Gougeons raced the G32, you easily loose sight of the shore, and it's cold, capsized conventional multis have had hypothermia problems. Jan has raced the G32 in the ocean, and capsized it 4 times and recovered it. But that just isn't what most people seem up for, and I can't blame them, but as I say, a G21 and a G32 would be very different animals.

    I would point out that the Jarcat uses a 26 (24) foot spar on a 16 footer, with 8 foot beam. So putting a Hobie on a 21 footer, is hardly suicide. Ron Given designed a jarcat sized small cruiser that was self righting with body weight recovery.

    Another part of the G32 system is the roller reefing main. Just a part of the safety puzzle. That alone with the greater weight of a 21 would keep it fairly conservative, in Jarcat territory, without the ballast or self-righting.

    "The thing about Slider was that she was about the longest boat I thought suitable for fixed trailerable beam, and then only with her very modest rig. Looking at other cats, like the Jarcat, with similar beam but bigger rigs-- you start to see a lot of capsizes. I'm sure a good alert seaman can keep a Jarcat on its feet, but the Gougeon 32 is a whole other order of boat, and is that really what cruisers want?"

    People want what they have seen in their neighbour's driveway. No basis upon which to design a boat. Again, we are talking about the gadgets on a 32 applied to a boat that has historically reasonable beam at trailerable to start with. Where some of those doo dahs are actually useful for stuff like raising the spar.

    "I hate to be relying on this logical chestnut, but a number of the boats were built, at least 14. That strikes me as a fair trial. If the boat were a really good one, that should have been a big enough sample to propel the boat into general acceptance. But they were not very popular and they have a fairly low resale value."

    I haven't noticed that. the boat went out of production because the Gs decided they couldn't hit a price they were comfortable with. They also seem to prefer not to compete with their clients. I have yet to see a resale ask price at less than what they cost when they were first sold. Often a lot more. They brought the boat to market just prior to a recession.

    " There was probably a reason why the owners did not like their boats enough to keep them and use them."

    I haven't seen that either. We have a local one. What is it they say? The average boat gets used like 10 hours a year. No boats are getting that much use. In this area it is all about the class racing for which it is ill suited. You would basically be racing yourself, where there are similar small boat classes with a lot of boats.

    "For almost any other sort of boat meant for cruising, there are logs of cruises accomplished. Do any such logs exist for a G32? They've been around for a long time."

    Numbers have to be larger for that. There are all kinds of boats out there you cant find anything about. The Gougeons have been cruising the C out of theirs, and yet all we hear is the sailing canoe stuff. Jan wants to build a smaller one that is even handier. I wanted to do that for about 10 years, but it is a complicated boat to build solo, and at the time pre-internet. Oram built a smaller G32, and calls it the most fun boat he ever owned. No pictures of that one, so I guess it didn't even exist.

    "To be clear, I'm not saying it's a bad boat, I'll bet it would be a lot of fun to sail. I'm just saying it's not really suitable for cruising."

    I depends what part of cruising you are after. I think it would be pretty great, where a high premium is placed on mobility, exploration. But no, not for the trailer trash set who are after cheap rum etc...

    "In the choice between beam and water ballast, I would go for beam every time. I think it's safer and faster and gives more usable deck."

    Well evidently not, since you aren't building a trimaran. That is why I think it is all just conventional thinking you've given up the first 33% of beam for ballast already, but that last little bit is a big problem. As far as the deck is concerned, I am not convinced. I would trade solid deck for netty deck, everything equal, at a fairly steep ratio.


    "The trouble with shifting water ballast from one side to the other is that the process takes some measurable amount of time, and things happen awfully fast sometimes out on the water. Beam is always there, for good or ill. If I remember correctly, the water is removed from the G32 by bailers that depend on speed to function. What happens when the boat is taken aback suddenly-- all that weight will be on the lee side and no way to quickly get rid of it. I'm wondering how they handled tacking in heavy air, with that setup."

    Right, but at 24 feet with 8 foot beam, you would be at open ocean beams without anything. Sure these days we prefer 12 feet on that dimension. While you can race the boat with ballast on one side only, or even no ballast, you can take ballast on both sides if you feel more comfortable doing it. The way they kept the performance equation in there was by careful hull design, and the boat will be heavier than some other options, but you are either scared or not. What is less apparent is why people are scared of the thing they wouldn't do. It seems to be like looking over Niagara falls and being scared as some people are just at the thought of it...

    In my mind if you an come up with a revolutionary beam adjustment system, without all the usual nightmares, that would me major, and far more salable. If it really rocked, and was scalable, you will be rich. But it has been tried so many times. Failure, and I think the G style boat is a better direction,
     
  14. rberrey
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    rberrey Senior Member

    why not use alum tubeing with ears one top one bottem, 4pcs, join in the middle, three holes one for a pivit point, two to lock the beams in . 6 bolts with wing nuts sizzor open like a folding chair. rick
     

  15. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Well, I did say "usable" deck, and the side decks of tris are not as usable as the center deck of a cat. And after all, we are talking about cats, not tris. Cats, in my opinion, are much better cruising boats than tris. Folding solutions for tris are well-developed-- thus my interest in doing the same for cats.

    I've owned two cats with hard decks, and they really are a lot more comfortable, and I think safer than net. They are heavier, but the better footing makes for a safer boat to move around on.

    Thom, you make a number of interesting points, though I remain unconvinced of the value of ballast for multihulls. Most of what makes a multihull good comes from its lightness. An overloaded multi is a slow multi, and an unsafe multi, or at least that's the gospel according to most multihull designers. In the small sizes we are speaking about, there isn't as much payload available as you'd hope. For example, the Simpson cat with the folding aluminum beams had only three or four hundred kilos of payload., and it was a fair amount larger than what we're talking about.

    But I agree that there is a certain logic in the idea of compensating for narrow beam by using movable ballast, since that's how people sail beach cats without capsizing. But the displacement has to come from somewhere, and the added displacement needed to use water ballast is a design problem without an obvious answer that doesn't adversely affect speed, especially for a cruising boat.

    I'd love to see you (or someone) build a 20 foot cat with trailerable beam and water ballast, and use a good beach cat rig. It would be very interesting to compare the solutions, and see which one had the higher performance potential. My opinion is that the light boat with the greater beam would be faster, but it's only my opinion. It would certainly be more comfortable, simpler to sail, less fussing with pumping ballast, and less anxiety arousing.
     
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