Where are the catamaran innovations?

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by simon, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Hi Fanie,

    Yeah, those thoughts did roll through my head when I first hit the clean sheet of paper. The boat is limited in LOA by the size of the build site... the owner's garage. He also has the donor Hobie 18 in hand and wanted to make the best use of the stuff he does not have to go out and buy.

    An 8m version of this cat would begin to demand that he get himself another rig, bigger rudders... you know, the whole thing would go up in cost. He's a teacher with a wife and small child and there needs to be a bit of prudent behavior on my part in order to remain responsible to his design brief.
     
  2. champ0815
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    champ0815 Senior Member

    Very nice design!
    As the hulls look sufficient voluminous to me, are they used for storage purposes, at least when the boat is trailered?
    This option would allow for the storage of the voluminous lightweight camping gear when cruising and of the voluminous not so lightweight sailing stuff when trailering the boat with a not so big family car... .
    Just a thought...
     
  3. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Big difference

    Gday Fanie

    I think there would be a really large difference between the boat you are talking about and Chris's design. My little 6 metre trailer cat weighs about 600kg. The 7 metre one will weigh about 1200kg loaded with all gear because of the square cube rule and the much greater volume - that is a lot of weight. I think Chris is staying minimal because once you start adding gear you may end up with a bridgdeck cat 50ft long.

    Trailer boats have very important limits. The obvious one is width - about 2.5 metres most places but there is also length. An 8 metre cat will probably be about 9.5metres long on the trailer including rudders. The trailer will probably need brakes and be much heavier and harder to register. My 6 metre cat has no rego checks on the trailer. The 7 metre version needs trailer rego inspection and the cost is 3 times greater. Just because it is slightly heavier.

    I am at the end of my increasing boat length stage. I spent 22 years getting bigger - now I am on the reverse trajectory -smaller, simpler, easier, cheaper, lighter, fun!

    cheers

    Phil Thompson
     
  4. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    Very nice Chris, congrats.


    How difficult would it be to build those hulls bearing in mind I am a retard?
     
  5. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    I am frustrated by 'advances' in design being translated into bigger, more voluminous designs. The yacht you show is substantial, has a massive exposed profile and no doubt costs a fortune.

    The world seemed to get by very nicely with 30 foot cats and 35 foot monohulls until 20 years ago. Are people so much bigger now or is it just their egos?
     
  6. grob
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    grob www.windknife.com

  7. RHP
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    RHP Senior Member

    Very nice, but the crew very high on those perches!
     
  8. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    I like that Virus 8 meter cat, but I see it as an example of a deeply embedded cultural meme-- that small cats must be fast or they're no good. I'd guess that's a fast boat, but by using those massive keels, it throws away a major cat advantage-- very shallow draft. The "cabins" are claustrophobic tunnels.

    Here's an interesting mental exercise: Divide all the catamaran offerings into large and small boats. Then further divide each of those categories into comfortable boats and non-comfortable boats. You then have only three major divisions-- large fast boats, large comfortable boats, small fast boats, and then... there are almost no small comfortable cats. There are, of course, a few large, comfortable, and fast cats, but these are less common than boats in the other two major categories, and are quite expensive-- another example of Newick's Law (Fast , comfortable, or cheap. Choose two.). And big boats have much more scope for being fast and comfortable, because they have so much more interior volume.

    Designers and builders have done very well selling large comfortable cats that aren't very fast-- this is probably the segment of the building industry that's survived the hard times the best. It strikes me as very odd that they have not explored the possibility of small comfortable cats-- boats that, like the condomarans, are only a little faster than a monohull of similar length, but are vastly more comfortable.

    I like Chris's sliding beam approach-- reminds me a lot of Mike Leneman's L7 trimaran setup, which is highly ingenious. The difficulty I've noticed with this approach, at least for a cruising cat, is that the central structure takes up a fair amount of the available trailerable beam. Say it's 2 feet wide. This means that the remaining hulls can only be 3 feet 3 inches wide at the gunwales-- tunnel hull syndrome again. Of course, Chris's boat is a big ride-on-top beach cat, so it doesn't matter that the hulls are narrow.

    The approach is more useful for cruising tris, because the central structure (the main hull) can be 6 feet wide, as long as the floats are narrow.

    Beam is one of the most perplexing elements of designing small trailerable cruising cats. Most current approaches to having a wide sailing beam (and thus the capacity to safely carry a lot of sail) are time-consuming at the launch ramp or have other disadvantages. Maybe this is why in the smaller sizes, cruising tris vastly outnumber cruising cats.

    Anyway, interesting stuff.
     
  9. PortTacker
    Joined: Nov 2008
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    PortTacker Junior Member

    Indeed.
    Recently seeing some cat designs with that center pod, I kept thinking why in the world add that weight and complexity etc.
    But the idea a sliding beam system - like the L-7 - but with the "center hull" merely a pod to hold the beam boxes and the "amas" more full - you could do a cat with 17' open beam and yet trailering width.
    But the sketchy accomodations is still an issue that for many will always rule out small open bridgedeck cats.
     
  10. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    I think that Phil Thompson's (Catsketcher) folding cats are brilliant work.

    Phil, would you bring your design ideas before the gang here so that they can get an idea of where you have explored with the genre? I'm sure that there are a whole bunch of fresh faces who may not be aware of your work.

    Besides, it's always good for those who have seen your cats to get a refresher on the boats along with your current thinking on design and cruising applications.
     
  11. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    I know a lot of people does this, they want to get away (too) cheaply at the expense of the real issue, a nice enjoyable boat. Now he limits himself to discomfort and what he can do with the boat. If it was me I'd rather save up another year and get something worth while, usable and enjoyable. The boat always looks big in the garage, but on the water the size quickly dwindles away.

    Catsketcher, I guess if you want to the 6m boat can reach the same weight if you keep on putting stuff in it :D I doubt the extra meter would double the bare boat's weight. The extra 2 meters added (and I would extend my garage for that) has so many advantages.

    If this guy and his buddy wants to rough it out there once in a while I would say the 6m is fine. This guy wants to take his family out on this cat. I can tell you now his outings with his family is going to be few and far between. I saw the same with my wife on my little 5m5 tri. We're out for a few hours and she needs a break, keep in mind the little tri is 4m wide. The space and little extra comfort just does not exist on these small boats. In my opinion 8m is about where the limit is between going too small and discomfort and some comfy and the wife agreeing to go with.

    The small boat is going to be used three or four times and then it's going to sit in the garage untill the wife wants to throw the white elephant out. All the time and troubles and expense for this frustration. Just my opinion.

    What I would do is use two 1m hulls that can be expandable to full width. The deck can fold down like the cat2fold, or the whole cat can even hinge right in the centre through the length. You can open and close it using a winch, and I'm sure there are more ways to do it.

    One can make a list of the pro's and a list of the con's. Decide what you can live without. If you want the wife to go with, then you better let her in on things.
     
  12. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    I think this depends on the wife and on the boat. Slider, my little 16 foot cat, is far more comfortable than any other boat I've owned, at least as long as you're actually sailing. My wife enjoys it a great deal more than she enjoyed going out on our other (larger) boats, because everything on the boat is subordinated to the goals of comfort and safety.

    Just as an indication of how the seating works, here's a shot of my wife sitting in a partly decked hull, during construction.

    [​IMG]

    Of course, once you drop the hook, you have to pitch a tent to be comfortable, but even then, you get a double air mattress on the center deck, which is fairly luxurious compared to a lot of 16 foot boats.

    On the other hand, Slider is really a boat for two people. Last summer my two teenage sons and I went for a short cruise, and with our shore-camping gear, we were a little overloaded. Still comfortable, at least for me and whichever boy got to sit in the hull, but we took a little spray crossing the bay in choppy conditions, something that just doesn't happen with only two aboard.

    I have to say that several of the guys who've bought Slider plans have mentioned to me that their wives encouraged them to get building after watching video of my wife sailing the boat in fresh conditions. Her comfort and her relaxed attitude are that obvious.
     
  13. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    Thanks for your opinions in the matter, Fanie.

    My client sails a Hobie 18 that is, as you know, right down on the water and a very wet ride at anything over 6 knots. When he and his wife and child are on vacation, they go to her parent's home in Florida where they sail a Hobie Getaway, or Wave (I can't remember which right now) but, whatever.... it's either 13' or 16'.

    The new design is 21' , much higher out of the water, is enormously more stable and will be decently quick with the H18 rig. It's like going from a Honda Civic hatchback to a sporty minivan for these guys.

    These folks will have a wonderful new platform for the kind of sailing they want to do, which is coastal, adventure beach camping. These guys like to camp-out regularly, the husband and wife are very much of the lifestyle and are bringing up their daughter in the same fashion.

    They are not inconvenienced by "roughing it" and look forward to the interesting coastal trips they can plan with their new, larger beach cruiser.

    The boat fits their pocketbooks as well. This allows them to be out sailing in the fashion they prefer, much earlier than if they saved for another year to build a boat that is bigger and considerably more expensive to build, as well as own.

    Yes, the build site is a determinant for a lot of people who have limited resources. Being able to build their boat in their own garage, keeping it secure and accessible, is one of the major points in favor of this design. A bigger boat would have to be built at a rented facility which not only costs more than a garage that is already paid for, but is also a journey in order to get there.

    You know the magic thing about their project? As their daughter grows older and larger, they can always decide to build a bigger design... if they want to. I'm of the opinion that there's no such thing as the perfect boat, anyway. I completely understand it when someone wants to enjoy their current craft to the max and then move on to something else in several years if their needs change.

    I see pretty much upside for this young family and I'm looking forward to hearing the stories and looking at the pictures of their adventures on the water.
     
  14. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Lucky guy to have a wife like that. I think every man would like to have a wife that would wrestle with him eh :D

    I'm getting extraction symptoms again and it's two sleepies before I can go on the water again :(
     

  15. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member

    Performance in a small cat

    Thanks for the kind words about my cat Chris and Fanie you will have to excuse my directness about size but we are so heavily ingrained into bigger is better that it takes a shock to get one snapped out of it.

    Take me for instance - I have a wonderful wife who has cruised with me for 5 years in total starting on a tiny trimaran. Due to my obsession with cats we now have 2 and a half cats. One 11.6 metres long, one almost finished 7 metre long folder, and the little 6 metre folder concept prototype.

    The big one is almost killing me. I am either at work or working on it. It was our wonderful home for 3 years but now, here in a house, going to work, getting a couple of kids through school it is a big trial to keep up to. I still have not got it back in the water even though I worked on it solidly for a two month holdiday - it now has a new cabin, new cockpit, steering and paint job but I have had about 7 days off to see my family since mid November. I hope to get her back in the water soon. My wife likes the boat a lot but she can't sail it herself and she feels the loads are high.

    Contrast this with the little 6 metre folder. She sits on the lawn out the front - utterly disregarded until I hook her up and take her out. She sleeps four comfortably for a week and is the most intoxicating day boat to sail. My wife loves her and I find it hard to get on the helm with her around. My friends and kids took her out when I was working on the big boat and I would come home to see them whizzing around.

    The 7 metre version must get finished this year (Deborah has given the ultimatum) it will be a great boat with more room but not much more loading. It is more painful to drive (I already have it on the trailer) as it is max beam and I can't see around it easily but the extra room should be useful.

    None of these boats is perfect. To live on I would chosse the 11.6 metre one. To play on the 6 metre one. The 7 will do very nicely as a compromise. Some days I could get rid of all of them and just get down to kayaks - we have two beautiful kayaks that are absolutely fabulous for what they do. Whenever I or my family change our perfect boat does as well. For a suburban bloke with a mortgage like me a big boat is a shackle - it ties me down to cruising my local area. A folder or a light trailerable boat gets me further than the liveaboard because I can drive it there instead of spending weeks. I drove the 6 to Fraser Island in 1 and a half days. It usually took us two weeks in Kankama.

    So my take on it is that a designer has to carefully listen to his client and then draw a boat that will get them out on the water. There will not be a one boat that will do all just as we are all different.

    As to my take on fast small cats - I don't go this way. The way I see it most blokes want to go sailing and if they want to take their partner along will be happy in a boat the partner is happy in. So I say design a cat with as much comfort as possible and give away top speed but not low end speed or manouvrability. Top end speed is useless if your kids are yelling at you to slow down (The LEGO towers fall over) so compromising a cruising cat for it is silly. Design in comfort, safety, manouvrability, ease of use on beach, tacking ability, dryness or whatever else before worrying about whether it will go 15 knots max instead of twenty.

    cheers

    Phil Thompson

    I am off to do more sanding on the big one - long live smaller boats!
     
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