Friday, January 29, 2021

Some more on the multihull subject...

An interesting ongoing story, a TED talk about coffee, and the word of the day is A-N-O-C-R-A-C-Y...

Back in the early 80s when I was building a Wharram Tiki 31 in Port Marly France, magazines like Cruising World were running editorials proclaiming that catamarans were both unfit and unsafe as cruising boats. Just about everyone I knew counseled me on the dangers that catamarans represented and pointed out that cruising a cat would end in tears or death which made for some very short conversations on boatbuilding and design.

Not to toot my own horn but I knew better. A decade before, as a starving art student living on a boat in Sausalito and working part time putting interiors in ferrocement boats, I'd seen a couple of Piver trimarans sailing in all kinds of weather and showing their transoms to many of the "HOT" Bay racing boats. They were light, easy to build, cheap, and could get by with less sail area and still sustain higher speeds. To put it mildly they caught my attention.

Of course, at the same time over in the UK, catamarans were already an established part of the sailing scene with the Prouts, Lacks, Pat Patterson, Wharram, and MacAlpine-Downie building a multihull niche for normal folks. As a result there was ample information that multihulls were actually safe and sane as opposed to the entrenched opinion in the US of A that multihulls were a death trap and a possible killer of profits for US boat builders.

How the US sailing industry came to make a 180 degree shift to embrace multihulls is based more on the fact that the various companies selling bareboat and term charters realized that cats were a pretty optimum craft for chartering and, as they could sell a lot more charters with them, it was time to jump on the multihull bandwagon. Confronted with huge wads of advertising cash from the charter companies it seemed like an excellent time for the yachting whores press to do an about face.

The downside of all this is that what makes a good boat for chartering doesn't necessarily make a good cruising boat. As someone who has a charter company (by the way, even in these times of Covid, people can still charter in the Caribbean), and a couple of decades of experience within the charter business there is some basis to my opinion. Which is not to say that multihulls can't be great cruising boats but the design brief for a good cruising multihull is a whole lot different than for a charter multihull.

Next up we'll talk about those differences.

Listening to Kid Congo & The Pink Monkey Birds

So it goes...

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