FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
 
What are the types of catamarans available?

 
What length Multihull is suitable for coastal cruising?
The coasts of the World have an abundance of safe anchorages, often not more than 50 miles apart. Even very small multihulls can be cruised safely, providing due consideration is given to avoiding heavy weather. We have even seen coastal sailors cruising on 16ft Hobie Cats and Escape 17s, not that we say these are craft that can provide the load capacity or accommodation required. We have also seen some quite extraordinary cruises undertaken on the Windrider 17 tris, since they have a reasonable carrying capacity.
 
What size multihull do we need for Ocean Cruising?
After sailing on almost 100 different types of multihull craft. I would say the biggest issue here is seaworthiness, structural integrity and the experience of the skipper. An obvious requirement is the ability of the vessel to carry stores for the journey to be undertaken. In this sailors opinion I would say 30' would be the entry level, with a vessel in excess of 35 being preferable. Different designs are more suitable than others for ocean work. We are happy to offer an opinion on the suitability of the craft you are considering.
 
Why are Multihulls becoming so popular?
Multihulls have become the boat to have; this is simply because of the huge advantages they offer over their monohull brothers. The main benefits will include:
* Shallow draft (one of multihulls best assets). When you consider the worlds's best cruising grounds, encompass shallow bays, backwaters, bars, rivers and reefs - some of these ideal anchorage's are inaccessible to deep drafted vessels.
* Multihulls sail and rest on the level, no more being thrown out of bed whilst at anchor, or leaning over at ridiculous angles while sailing.
* Multihulls make faster passages, which increases saftey as it is easier to outrun bad weather.
* Modern bridgedeck cruising cats have volumes of usable living space, large comfortable double beds, spacious galleys, party size cockpits and acres of deck space, plus that wonderful feeling of living on top of the water
* They are simply just a more fun boat to sail, by sailing fast and on the level you and your family will have a more enjoyable time afloat.
 
Why are there so many new Multihulls under construction?

Modern composite materials such as those developed for the Fusion 40are making multi's easier to build and therefore more affordable. With labour costs usually accounting for half of the overall boat cost, building your own can often mean a much larger craft may be affordable.

Obvious too are the inherent advantages of multihulls, such as low angles of heel, liveability, shallow draught, superior performance, low crew fatigue factors, unsinkability, usable deck space.... I could go on and on but I think you get the picture

 
Why do some boats have solid foredecks?
Solid foredecks are reasonably common on charter vessels which have been designed to maximise all available space. For true open ocean work I am not enthusiastic about solid decks forward or heaving webbing. Boarding seas can dump tonnes of water on a catamaran foredeck and the less resistance provided the safer you will be. Despite this somewhat negative comment, I also believe that for coastal work the solid decking forward is not usually a problem and ex charter boats can be bought at very attractive prices.
 
What equipment do I need to cross oceans?
All Ocean going Multihulls should be fitted out to "category 1".  Liferafts are a preferred accessory in case of fire and parachute & drogue anchors I would consider a necessity. A 406 Epirb and HF radio I would also consider essential on all craft. Coastal sailing Multihulls that only make short passages may suffice with a good inflatable, 121 Epirb and VHF fixed and hand held radios but the boy scout saying of "be prepared" is a wonderful motto for sailors.
 
What's the best anchor for multihulls?

In our extensive collective experience we feel the Rocna anchor is the best anchor technology available. Not even the very excellent Spade anchor comes close and that is saying something. Both these anchors provide high holding power in a variety of situations and design rather then weight alone is the reason for their high performance. Obviously high power to weight in any application on board a multi is important. Check out www.rocna.com .

We also recommend the use of a bridle from the bows to the warp to keep your multi from sailing around her anchor while moored. Easy to do and spreads the loads when things get tough.

 
What are the best Outboards or Diesels?
Over the last 2 decades diesels have been the preferred engine power for cruising multihulls. However with the advent of 4 stroke outboards the decision is becoming more difficult. The diesels benefit of safety and reliability are well known. I am happy to offer the reader an alternative. Outboards are very inexpensive by comparison and certainly have a much higher power to weight ratio. There is no propeller to drag around whilst sailing and any rope snags can be easily cleared. To service an outboard it can simply be dropped in the car boot and whisked off to the mechanic. Another option, electric or diesel over electric propulsion seems to offer extraordinary efficiencies in both fuel consumption savings and lower maintainance as well as greater torque and control. Watch this site for more on this.
 
Do I have to worry about capsize?
If you follow the old catch cry "reef early and reef often" then you will avoid any risk of capsize. It is extremely rare for a cruising multihull to flounder, with modern multihulls being infinitely safer than their "gone in 30 seconds" lead bellied brothers.
 
How fast do Multihulls sail?
To generalize the modern multihull will outsail nearly all but racing multihulls. The racing multihull will scream past all monohulls.
 
Do all cats slam when pushing into head seas?
When working to weather many of the lower wing deck cats will slam disconcertingly as they rush along the wave crests. Most multi's have been built to withstand this punishment and usually this problem is more distracting than dangerous. Most sailors both mono & multi will try hard to sail with the trade winds rather than push against them.
 
Which is better minikeels or centreboards?
Both these features have their own advantages and disadvantages. Centreboard vessels will be approximately 10% faster in velocity made good whilst sailing into the wind and approximately 5% faster because of reduced drag whilst running with the breeze. They are the ultimate in shallow draft often allowing the craft to float in only 600mm of water. Their mini keel brothers are quiet often favoured by the genuine cruisers as it allows them to take to the hard with little fearof damaging the hull bottoms. Nearly all charter cats have been built with mini Keels to allow easy beaching and reduce potential hull damage.
 
What should I look for when buying a boat?
The old saying of "shop around" is good advice. Familiarize yourself with what's available. Multihulls are a big investment and it's important you get good advice. Rely on the services of qualified surveyor and make sure your new dreamboat will fulfill your requirements. Be wary of the monohull broker who will try and sell you his one and only multihull by trying to tell you it's the best he's seen. It may be the only one he's seen. Use the services of a multihull specialist as you will get a wide choice and advise based on experience, our brokerage specializes in being able to match a client to a multihull which will fulfill their expectations.
 
Multihull / Monohull stability comparison?
 
 
 
 
Phone: +64 21 2363 014 - Fax: +64 9 424 0842 - Skype Username: tiopirata - Email: mike@marinescene.co.nz