February 03, 2012
Well, due to several factors, we must abandon the boat we were going to modify and go with a brand new boat made custom. This means a few good things (and more money spent). With a new boat we won’t have to modify what was already built, and so we will get a boat even closer to what we want. It also means we can go back to the drawing board and entertain some of the ideas we tossed because it would have taken too much to modify the other hull to achive those results. It also means it will take longer to get to the water (I hate that part, even worse than more money). Argh.
I have spoken to Kurt Hughes in the past, and we are likely going to go with one of his hull designs, with several major modifications. I like wood/epoxy boats, and Kurt designs some nice sea worthy, light, strong and fast boats, which are all things we like. It will be fun to work through some of our design requests with Kurt and see what he thinks. Things like our rotating dagger/center boards.
We are also considering going back to a biplane rig. We know all of the good and bad sides of this concept, but everything is a compromise. There is more than one way to do everything, you just have to make sure the positives outweigh negatives (for you).
We want a large cat, at least 58’, if not a bit bigger. This is for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is carrying capacity, comfort of ride, number of passengers, etc. However, with a 60’ cat comes a need for more sail, and that raises the mast up, which puts us over the 65’ height I’d like to stay below for intercoastal waterway travel.
In previous posts you will note that we were looking into a mast lowering system to get us under bridges (and other obsticales, power lines, etc.). However, it may be possible to keep the 60’ cat masts under 65’ off the water, if we go with a biplane rig, which allows for slightly lower masts. It’s a thought.
It would also allow us to build a forward, enclosed, pilothouse in front of the saloon, a great place to steer from in bad weather, lines from the masts would be a short run right to the pilothouse. This is odd for a cat, but not odd for a biplane rigged cat (there are so few). Once you have a biplane rig, there is no mast in the center of the boat, right where you could put that pilothouse (which is why you don’t see them there). The closest thing out there would be a Gunboat or Chris White boat, which both have an open cockpit right behind the mast, in front of the saloon.
I like this for steering and sail handling, but hate them for green water coming over the front and occasionally into the saloon or just dousing you in bad weather. My idea is to do the same (with the masts to the sides, out in the hulls) and then make it into a pilot house instead of open air (though we would make it so that you can open the top in nice weather). This gives me all the advantages, and none of the disadvantages of a forward steering station. We get:
1) Good visibility up front, on a big cat it can be difficult to see from the stern.
2) Easy sail handling, without having to go forward down the sides of the boat in bad weather.
3) Protected position, no green water in the saloon (and yes, that happens on those boats now and then, you can read about this in some accounts from Gunboats on the net).
4) Lower profile, since I don’t have to have a raised steering station in the rear to see over the long saloon roof, we can keep the profile lower.
5) Single steering station. While sailing you can control the entire boat from one centerally located position with good visibility. For motoring, especially while docking, we will use a remote control for the motors so we can stand on any part of the boat to see perfectly, in all other cases we are in the cockpit while sailing: safe, warm, dry.
So, it’s back to the 3D design program for us, and we will be adding a few hundred boat bucks more (for those unfamiliar, a boat buck is $1,000). I’ll post renders of some of the design possibilities on here as we work them out.
We will need a yard to build her, I’m thinking of Gil’s Catamarans, since they already built some Kurt Hughes boats, and Wayne is great guy, and they are close to my home town.