Where are the catamaran innovations?

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

  1. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    Would those be foiling Photon torpedoes or the lesser variety with simpler related issues? ;-)

    Finding a solution to the vulnerability of the foils is a real problem. If it weren't, then folks like yourself would not be trying so hard to effect a solution. You may want to look at the fact that most of the suggestions ever put forward on this topic have added yet another layer of complexity to a boat where complexity seems to be the word of the day.

    Simplicate and add lightness.
  2. sigurd
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    sigurd Pompuous Pangolin

    One of the simplest sailboats I can think of is a kite proa. Masts and tacking complexiticitates and adds heavyness. For upward lifting foils, the simplest and safest may be something like those described in proa.pdf, Robert Biegler's paper in the files section here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/proa_file

    Attached Files:

  3. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

    Yes, before Dave died, he and I were corresponding about a design for a successor to Williwaw. I still hope to create that successor some day.
  4. tspeer
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    tspeer Senior Member

  5. ThomD
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    ThomD Senior Member

    "... I think you are haranguing a bit much on the subject of foils."

    The thing is the OP asks a question about cat innovation, from the perspective of layout in a 52 footer. Most of us are under the hood kind of guys, so even though that's a major aspect of design, the thread gets hijacked by the usually providers of small boat plans, and then by page three it's over to the foil wars. You have to figure if the question had been on sails or rudders, someone would have got around to the small boat plans, or jumped in with "speaking of foils...

    Just to give equal time, I am not sure that the idea of a seat in a canoe hull lashed to another canoe hull is an original idea, he says reaching for a copy of Canoes of Oceania...
  6. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member


    Didn't Simon originally use the 52' as an example? Truly, I don't see that as a form limitation for the discussion. With a thread title like "Where are the cat innovations", isn't the floor kinda wide open for whatever comes along that has to do with fresh thinking in cat design, whatever that may look like to you?

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I see the beauty of this site as a vast assemblage of individual ideas. Hopefully, this interchange will let us see what someone like Alik is doing in his shop and just maybe, someone else will see some small bit of an idea and expand upon it in a whole new direction.

    I get your point that it typically wanders in some fairly predictable directions. I'll do what I can to reduce that tendency when the topic is entirely of a general heading, like this one.

    So, what brings you here? Building, drawing, maintaining one of these lovelies yourself?
  7. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    Yeah, with a history that ancient, you'd think by now it would have occurred to lots of people to try that idea out in a medium other than the good old dependable hollow log.

    I'm mystified.
  8. catsketcher
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    catsketcher Senior Member


    Cat innovationthat are needed as I see them

    - less lazy design - vastly reducing the number of hours required to build cats including the interior fairing
    - easier rigs - I am not a fan of twin masts or crab claws etc but many cats have huge sheet loads in their mainsheets and genoas. Plus there are very serious concerns with the main track running just next to a seat back on most designs. Designers again can do things like pusher vangs ( or wishbones) and cutter rigs to reduce loads
    - Looking forward - How do cat sailors see? We need better solutions to this really fatal flaw with bridgedeck cats. It is possible to get around with new approaches to the bridgedeck cabin and maybe even the use of technology.
    - cheaper motor installations - the twin diesel set up can cost $30 000 by the time you also get folding props, sound insulation, cables and tanks. A single steerable outboard costs about $7000 on a pod on a good sailing cat
    - different build techniques - build bridgedeck on floor, hulls with rounded hull pan and sheet sides
    - smaller boats - even boats of the same length can be vastly different in cost. A lighter displacement/volume cat can be much cheaper than a roomaran of the same length

    These are a few problems as I see them. I have my own views on them.


  9. Fanie
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    Fanie Fanie

    Not many do try out new stuff. Most will just as you say tie the old logs together and be content.

    Nice idea on those foils Tom Speer uploaded.
  10. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    This is kind of a meta-level concept , but what I'd like to see designers work on are some inexpensive entry-level designs-- boats that could introduce sailors to multihulls.

    To put it another way, where is the Jim Michalak of multihull design? He draws simple safe designs that can be built for little money by unskilled people. Often these boats are built by those with little experience in sailing as well, and these little monohulls become the basis for a life-long preference for that kind of design. Why are there so few multihull designs aimed at the same niche? About the only serious designer who seems to be working in that genre is Gary Dierking.

    At some point, I realized that as much as I love my little beachcruiser Slider, she's a big complicated boat for her size. So I'm currently building a little cartop cat. I'm less than 30 hours into the build, but the boat is already looking like a boat. I hope to complete it for under 500 bucks, not counting the sail.


    There are lots of beach cat designs, but that's not what I'm talking about. Even a home-made beach cat will be fairly expensive, because of the rig and sails (unless scavenged from a derelict beach cat) and in any case, what's the motivation to build one? Second hand beach cats in good condition can be found for much less than it would cost to build one from scratch. Of course, if you like boatbuilding for its own sake, you may have a different attitude.

    What I'd like to see more of are little cats like the one I'm working on, cats that are only a little faster than a low-tech monohull of similar size, but which could serve to introduce folks to all the other advantages of cats besides speed-- flat stable sailing, shallow draft, room on deck, and so forth.
  11. captainsideburn
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    captainsideburn Junior Member

    I want to see more beach cats, in the 20-23 ft range for camp cruising, and i want to see them in tortured ply. the racing beach cats are doing this in 16 and 18ft lengths. These produce light strong and very fair hull shapes and quick to put together, see the blade 16 for example. why none a little larger?
  12. rayaldridge
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    rayaldridge Senior Member

    My impression-- and I could be completely wrong-- is that tortured ply is a chancy thing for a designer to work with, and that there's a risk the hulls will not shape up as the designer intends. Prototypes would always be necessary, and it seems as if a lot of designers don't want to build a prototype as part of the design process..

    But clearly the technique can produce wonderful hulls. Look at the Tornado.
  13. ThomD
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    ThomD Senior Member

    Ray, I had no problem finding similar examples in C of O. That doesn't take away from your boat in any way. I guess one could argue the early lashed together boats were trailerable, that hardly makes the Farrier system irrelevant. If anything it is more of an oddity that multis are bonded together from end to end. There is a big difference between an original idea, never thought of before, and a great design (I guess the Farrier was both).

    I agree that a thread has a right to go were it wants to. It's not always a heathy sign for a forum if every thread takes off in the same direction no mater what the point of origin. It's like magnetic north leads irrevocably to plans sales and foil boosterism. I'm not even sure the foil stuff really belongs here at all. It's like if this was a tire forum and every discusion were to lead to a shill on flying. I mean most planes do start down the runway on wheels... I admire foils, but it's is about as relevant as if this place was colonized by people interested in flying float planes or seaplanes. Those are just airborn cats and tris. So who wants to chat about the Osprey amphibean aircraft?
  14. john28
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    john28 New Member



    There have been some innovations in the world of Catamarans. I just bought a saturn inflatable speed catamaran. The company calls them X-Cats. I've done a few test runs and the thing performs great. So, I guess that inflatable catamarans could be considered a new innovation.


  15. Nordic Cat
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    Nordic Cat Senior Member

    I think a lot of innovations are out there and proven, but not many combined in the same boat.

    I think that boat buyers are inherently conservative - just look at how long it has taken multihulls to be even partly accepted. So taking the next step for a builder or designer is always a bit risky, as the number of potential buyers drops off sharply with anything out of the ordinary.
    The step from evolution to revolution is very small in the minds of most buyers, even if they are willing to take the step, they then think of re-sale value, and the whole process grinds to a halt.

    I think I have addressed a number of the issues you have mentioned in the design of the Nordic cat, see here: http://www.multihulls4us.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4352#post4352 see post 3.

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