Friday, December 26, 2008


Bob Oram is at it again with another of his "Slim" cat designs this time in a forty foot version. Like the fifty footer I've been drooling over for the last couple of months or so. Like the "50" this design is not your normal same old same old catamaran/multihull. and to say I like the way Mr Oram's mind works would be a gross understatement, but...

That is often the problem with things boaty there is always a lurking "BUT" or compromise somewhere in the mix and with multiulls too often a whole lot of "BUT factor" or "BF " comes into play. Monohulls on the other hand seem to do a lot better if you ignore the "BF"...well at least to a certain degree.

Cats and Tris work best when sailed with IN a given payload envelope which is why so many cruising multihulls out and about are only sailing with slightly better than monohull performance which kind of defeats the whole multihull gig...Plus a slow multihull is seldom a comfortable multihull overladen and with a too low bridgedeck clearance anything to windward is the sort of ride that tends to shake loose those back teeth fillings. Oops I forgot to mention that multihulls sail a lot better to weather if they are going fast so that is just a whole lot of pain with not a lot of gain! Then again you can do what most of the cats in the Caribbean seem to do when a passage to windward is called for and just leave the sail covers on turn on the engine, point directly into the wind and go for it.

I'm not against multihulls and if someone wants to sail a boat way below it's performance level by overloading it that is certainly OK ( as a matter of fact I always sail my boats WAY below their performance levels as I'm just never in any hurry to get someplace) but they should at least understand the concept that a certain boat does best at a certain weight and trim no matter how many berths a designer draws in so as to know what they are getting for their money. It would of course be much easier if yacht designers were to include an optimum payload in their study plans but I'm not going to be holding my breath.

Now getting back to the Slim 40...You'll notice that it has pretty much the same interior as the Slim 50 but the difference to a couple cruising is huge as the Slim 50 could just about be a great cruising boat for a couple while the Slim 40 becomes an awesome day sailer and weekender/vacation boat. Both are great boats but those ten feet and the accompanying payload makes a HUGE difference! Of course you could build the 40 and overload it for extended cruising but then what would be the fun of having Westsail 32's ( which is a wonderful boat though not known for its fleetness) give you cheery waves as they pass you by?

More about the Slim 40 and 50 (as well as some other excellent Cats) over at Bob's website...