Handling a 65' cat compared to a 50' cat

tp#12

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Please, talk to me I'm a three year old (because that's the level of my intellect) and explain why, when talking about stupidly light, performance cats there's a huge difference in handling, in close quarters and at sea.

I have my own ideas but I want to hear from you lot who are infinitely more experienced, better looking and possibly more drunk than I am

Arigatoo

 

us7070

Super Anarchist
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I've crewed on gunboats 60' and over

you better know what you are doing when you try to dock one in any kind of big breeze.., not that I was ever near the wheel when that was happening: it is scary enough just to watch - especially when the docks are concrete.

the bows can blow around a bit

have someone ready with a spare fender- it's not always obvious where it is going  to be needed

 
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tp#12

Member
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On the water
I've crewed on gunboats 60' and over

you better know what you are doing when you try to dock one in any kind of big breeze.., not that I was ever near the wheel when that was happening: it is scary enough just to watch - especially when the docks are concrete.

the bows can blow around a bit

have someone ready with a spare fender- it's not always obvious where it is going  to be needed
So prep around docking. That's a good call. I think it will take a good appreciation of how much she blows off and a good understanding of wind and tide and very good spatial awareness.

What else though. I'm sure I'm missing something that more experienced people can help me with. I'm your standard male - I think I'm smarter than I am.

 

MultiThom

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also - depending on where the helm is.., you might want a spotter on each end of the boat, with some sort of radio communication device
Nothing to contribute about actual handling, but the thread about winning the boom height seems something also to visit, that's a lot of sail area high up, so docking upwind on those high bridgedeck boats will be "fun".  Seems bow thrusters would be a necessity.  Of course, could stand off and send dingy with docklines.  

 
When moving around in tight areas always use the wind to your advantage, don't fight the wind or you'll simply start banging into things.

It's much easier to control a twin-screw cat with the bows pointed into the wind, and much easier to bail out under control if things go wrong.

 

tp#12

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On the water
soma said:
I think it really depends on the windage of the platform. Not all lightweight performance cats are the same. A GB62 has very tall bows and the bow knuckle isn’t in the water up front. She’s like a leaf on the water. A GB57, only 5’ shorter, has very low bows and a deep forefoot and handles completely differently.
 

There are lots of things you can do to minimize the difficulties. Some crews sail around with 3 furled headsails up, all the time. Ditch ‘em. That’s a sh**ton of windage. Put the max dboard down that the situation allows. Drive it hot. Don’t follow the old “don’t drive faster than you’re willing to hit something” rule. That’ll screw you. Drive or like you stole it. High aspect rudders and boards stall at low speed so you need flow to maintain traction. 
 

Its 100% doable for the layperson. But...a paint job on a nice 60’ cat is $150k. Mistakes are $$$. 
Great post, thank you.

I would attempt to design a low windage platform but I guess you can get lazy and leave furled sails up.

I guess I'm really asking is what is doable with a pair of experienced sailors?

 

tp#12

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On the water
With two experienced sailors, how big could you go for a circumnavigation? What about with three?

Not would ... how big COULD you go. Your max boat you'd feel comfy with.

 
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Zonker

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Background and short digression: my wife  gets seasick more at night. So our night shifts on passage were me - Sunset to midnight. Her - midnight to 3 am. Me - 3am to dawn. That made her comfortable and minimized night time on watch. So lots of time she stayed in bed if things got interesting unless I called her.

None of this bullshit "wake the other person if you are going on deck". That just makes the crew tired all the time, or they avoid doing required tasks (like moving our little genoa whisker pole after a gybe) for fear of waking the other person. If they are awake while you do something on deck and you fall in at night, you've got a _slightly_ better chance of finding them. I just treaded carefully on deck at night and was always clipped in. So...
 

I felt super comfortable on our 40' cat single handing it at night during a squall. I think that's a "worst case". OK, with the spinnaker up, at night, in a squall I needed one person to do a big ease while I snuffed it on the forward nets.

45' performance cat?  Sure

50' performance cat?  uhhh maybe.  I'd invest a lot more in ball bearing sail tracks and winches to handle the big loads.

55' cat?   way too big for me in terms of maintenance.  If you can afford to pay people to sand the bottom before painting, sure go ahead.

Soma has a lot more experience sailing big powered up cats. It's what you're used to that makes you comfortable.

I'd say for 95% of us an IMOCA 60 would scare us silly. But for people that have grown into them, it's what you're used to.

 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
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San Diego
I'm halfway between Soma & Zonker. Yes, two could handle a big cat: at sea with lots of room to plan & execute maneuvers. Close to shore, in a harbor, things can escalate beyond your control. Some other boat boat can do something that wasn't figured into your plans, a squall could blow in, harbor too full to allow you to moor, ect. And you would spend as much time fixing as sailing. You can electrify/automate a lot of equipment, but that just increases repairs & risk.

What would you do with all that space??

 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
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I recently delivered "KINETIC" from Ensenada to SD. Three people. At sea, no problems. Docking at the shipyard, without the bow thruster (not working) was a bit of a worry as I needed one crew on each hull to call out distances & stand by with fenders. Made it OK, but stress levels were raised. We had dockside help to secure lines, without which it would have been a LOT harder. The only place to disembark off these big cats is the stern extensions - the topsides need rappelling gear to get down. Bringing the stern in tight risks loosing the bows downwind. Having a spring to motor against helped a lot, but in a big breeze I would not have attempted to dock there.

 

SSolo

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England
another trck in a high windage cat is use reverse and manouvre backwards - gives better steerage reaction at slow speed (all this high speed stuff in close proximity invariably leads to crashes and tears)
you need to spend time to learn how to tide and wind walk the boat - practicing in a  large open space your  slow manouvering and see what way the boat blows off, and when not, how to use wind and or tide to glide sideways
really it is about understanding that you need water flow over the rudders and daggerboards for them to 'grip'   IMHO a twin engined cat be best be manouvered on the engines in confines

 

smj

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soma said:
Yup. Invaluable. I like 3 cameras - bow, stern, and anchor/mooring. 
Doesn’t that stray from super simple systems? How often would you have to clean the salt build up of the camera lenses?

in my opinion, any boat that needs cameras to be safely operated is a badly designed boat.

 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
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Doesn’t that stray from super simple systems? How often would you have to clean the salt build up of the camera lenses?

in my opinion, any boat that needs cameras to be safely operated is a badly designed boat.
Camera systems have come a long way, and many chartplotters can accept input. Having properly sited cam's xcan eliminate having crew yell out distances to helm or use of talkies.

 

ProaSailor

dreaming my life away...
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Doesn’t that stray from super simple systems? How often would you have to clean the salt build up of the camera lenses?

in my opinion, any boat that needs cameras to be safely operated is a badly designed boat.
I hear what you're saying but a rear view camera has been available on cars and trucks for a long time.  Weatherproof and quite handy.

In theory (but quite low tech these days), cameras on board could be accessed remotely to keep an eye on your boat from home.

 
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KC375

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Doesn’t that stray from super simple systems? How often would you have to clean the salt build up of the camera lenses?

in my opinion, any boat that needs cameras to be safely operated is a badly designed boat.
I safely parallel parked family loaded minivans for years with no camera. However, I very pleased when our Sienna came with a camera. So far 8 years of flawless operation in a harsh environment of wet, freezing, salt etc.  

 
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