I'm looking for plans for self-building a 26-31-foot catamaran...

Red Chair

New member
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1
USA
I'm looking for plans for building a 26-31-foot catamaran. The following criteria are on my wishlist, but many things don't appear to be simultaneously possible in this small cat size. They are:

1) MastFoils (or double masts): we'd like to do part of the Great Loop in this boat, and we'd love to have both easier sail handling AND shorter masts with increased performance;
2) 1 outboard engine (very open to electric motors, and if battery weight and electrification cost were not a partial factor, we'd do this in a heartbeat)
3) we'd like masts that are demountable by us ourselves in rare situations (the 19' clearance downtown Chicago bridge comes to mind);
4) the highest bridge deck clearance possible on this tiny boat (we know ideal clearance isn't possible on such a small boat);
5) at least 6' 5" hulls headroom due to height (sitting clearance is fine for the bridge deck itself);
6) 2 daggerboards or 1 massive board (some claim that the one single, massive board is even more effective than 2 smaller daggerboards: opinions?);
7) kick-up rudders
8) galley kitchen in one of the hulls (can be either just mid-hull OR mid-hull plus aft hull)
9) two beds/cabins athwartship forward of the saloon
10) trampoline (even just a wee bit)

I have probably looked into/looked at 15+ companies that produce home-buildingplans, and either they don't have cats this small, or they haven't answered emails asking questions about their small builds, etc.

Opinions? Thoughts? Experiences? Suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

 

Steve

Anarchist
563
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duluth, mn
I can't think of any existing design that fits your SOR off the top of my head but have you considered existing production boats such as the Gemini and Prouts? The early Gemini are probably the most available and for the shortest money and check a few of your requirements such as retractable centerboards and rudders, single outboard, galley down, and have the most bridgedeck clearance of all Gemini models if kept light. No trampoline but a glorious foredeck. The beauty of the older models is that they are stick built so lend themselves well to modification to get closer to your ideal.  I doubt that 

 

mundt

Anarchist
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The scissoring biplane, not sure what it's called now or where to find pics but it comes very close.  I've been aboard and it's excellent.  26-31 feet is extremely small for your wishlist and I'm pretty sure you would be very disappointed in the performance if you smash that much into something that short.  If "15+" designers don't offer anything close that should be your first clue that what you're trying to accomplish is not realistic.  

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,726
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Canada
Except the headroom. Richard Woods isn't very tall and his hulls and cabins aren't either. But he knows how to design for home builders as I had one of his boats.

I think if you are doing the Great Loop you are a powerboat. Forget raising and lowering the masts all the time. You just won't do it. So that means you'll have a Travelift help you.

The scissoring biplane, not sure what it's called now or where to find pics but it comes very close
Cat2Fold. A Kurt Hughes design. I've actually sailed on her. Clever idea, somewhat compromised hull width (4') to keep within the trailerable limits. If trailering is not required, then not that great for liveaboard.

I agree that a Prout/Gemini is easy to find and fulfills most of your list. Modify the mast base with a tabernacle and pivoting butt and you'll be able to raise and lower the mast yourself if you rig yourself a gin pole or A-frame with a couple of 2.5" diameter aluminum tubes. They will need to be about 15' long so have telescoping tubes that stow within themselves and bolt them bother when needed. 

 

Red Chair

New member
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USA
I appreciate all this feedback. Yes, we are also seriously considering the Gemini for the reasons already mentioned. The reason I have been a little confused by why this list seems like too much to pack into a little boat is because I have been aboard several Heavenly Twins cat iterations, and they essentially pack all of this in already except it’s rearranged due to the center cockpit.

The KD860, the Waller 880, and a few different Richard Woods designs all seem to fit the bill as well.

Feedback?

 

mundt

Anarchist
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If you are actually going to build it why not go a little bigger so you can have most, if not all of the features you want.  Won't cost much more to build.  

 

Zonker

Super Anarchist
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Heavenly Twins are 5 knot shitboxes as catamarans. At least the Gemini's can sail if not overloaded. The Prouts are about between the Gemini and HT.

 

Red Chair

New member
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1
USA
Yes, the Heavenly Twins have very low bridge deck clearance and are unfortunately legendary for their slapping. So that’s why I was pretty excited to see that there are a few similar models but with much higher bridge decks…

As for going bigger, yes: I think a 34-foot Gemini would be very livable. However, the advice is usually to figure out everything you think you need/want in a boat size, and then always go smaller than that again (I think that’s a Richard Woods quote, but I’m not sure).

We are also aware that as inexperienced boat builders? The smaller the project, the more likely we will be able to finish it (people understandably say there’s a BIG difference between completing a 27-ft versus a 35-ft boat, for instance).

 

mundt

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Just my opinion but I disagree with both of your premises.  A 31 foot boat is extremely small to really fit your wish list and I think building a 27 foot v 35 foot boat is a very similar process.  Someone who has built both should certainly correct me if I'm out of line.  My guess is that building the hulls is about the same and I've certainly seen many cases where people finished building the hulls and then gave up.  All the stuff that has to get done after the hulls are built is the most difficult and time-consuming.  If you really want to sail you are probably better off buying a well-researched boat that comes close to fitting your needs.  Building often takes decades and is almost never really cheaper.  

 

mundt

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Serious question Mr. Chair, how long do you suppose it would take you to start from plans, build and be out sailing your proposed vessel?  

 

Red Chair

New member
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USA
Good question, Mundt: we believe it would be about 5 years to build a 27-29 ft cat, but we could be wrong. We would like to take a sabbatical with the boat 5 years from now. Would finding a used boat be cheaper? I definitely think so. Do I know that we are interested in the challenges and learning opportunities that come with amateur boatbuilding? Yes. So we are continuing to weigh options and reaching out to the sailing community to hear more insights from those both for and against building our own vessel.

 

Autonomous

Turgid Member
4,264
1,431
PNW
What is your boat building experience?

Classic, time tested advice is to first build a dinghy using the materials of your destination build.

This will help you make a decision and if you do go ahead with a bigger build you will do a better, more efficient job of it.

 

cyclone

Super Anarchist
1,441
676
Maine
A nonfolding catamaran will require  considerable real estate during construction. John Marples (Searunner) has a 32’ Constant Camber cat where the hull panels can be built in less space then assembled into hulls on site. I suspect some of the accommodations can be redesigned closer to your wishes. Best decision I made with a much smaller build was to get a professional Awlgrip paint job. You may wish to include that in your budget. Enjoy the build adventure. Maintain momentum.

 

eastern motors

Anarchist
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I appreciate all this feedback. Yes, we are also seriously considering the Gemini for the reasons already mentioned. The reason I have been a little confused by why this list seems like too much to pack into a little boat is because I have been aboard several Heavenly Twins cat iterations, and they essentially pack all of this in already except it’s rearranged due to the center cockpit.

The KD860, the Waller 880, and a few different Richard Woods designs all seem to fit the bill as well.

Feedback?
Never heard of Heavenly Twins.  I googled it.  You might as well get a powerboat.  That boat is not going to sail anywhere except downwind in decent breeze.

If you really want to do the great loop, I would get a power boat or larger monohull.  Either should save you a ton of money if you account for your time and resale.  The boat you want to build is going to have very low resale value because it is so unique.

 




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