Author Topic: New Sun Cat  (Read 1785 times)

Offline Alex H.

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New Sun Cat
« on: February 23, 2013, 12:27:43 PM »
YAY! Just ordered a new suncat after visiting the Miami boat  how.. So excited! I have never sailed a cat/gaff rig before and looking forward to it. I live in Fort Lauderdale on a canal and the ability to lower the mast so I can go below the two fixed bridges to get access to the ICW clinched the deal for me. One question I have for experienced suncat owners is the ability of the suncat in open water. I know it is not a "blue water" cruiser but is the 90 miles to Freeport an option on a good day? Has anyone done a "crazy" sail in a suncat?

Offline cavie

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2013, 07:56:12 AM »
read this   http://bbs.trailersailor.com/forums/catboat/index.cgi/read/49460.  Sign up there also. These little boats a VERY seaworthy. Don't try to race anything other than a Suncat ;D.  Practice up and come over to the correct coast in November for the Suncat Nationals. http://www.suncatnationals.com/ Lots of fun.  Three years, Weather 2, Suncats 1.
Butch Erny
2002 Suncat Catnip
Charlotte Harbor Fl.

Offline Bob23

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2013, 08:26:38 AM »
Welcome Alex. Although I'm a 23 owner, I really do like the Suncats! Many owners here to provide help, assistance and opinions! Again, welcome!
Bob23 in NJ

Offline Joseph

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2013, 05:40:34 PM »
I am sure similar questions have been answered before. Also, others may be able to do much better than myself... but here is my take on sailing the SunCat in open waters.

For the last three season I have solo-sailed my SunCat in Lake Huron, on occasions several miles offshore, in conditions ranging from light winds of less than 5 kts to up to 25 kts in choppy and braking waves of up to 3-6 ft.  Although I have a second reef in the sail I have yet to use it, but have made frequent use of the first one.  I have found the boat surprisingly stable and dry in comparison with some of the other designs I sailed in the past. In 15-20 kts downwind it can even plane very fast and keeping her "on the groove" in 20 kt winds (actually 22 kts to be precise) while broad reaching or running has provided for some of the most exhilarating sailing times. Sailing upwind, however, she does not cut the waves but rather surfs over them and as such, in very large waves it might be prone to stalling while climbing up-wave and - possibly - capsizing. It also does not heave-to in the same safe way that full-keel larger sailboats do. On the other hand, given its hull design, the SunCat may be less prone to broaching. Therefore to answer your question, I would not hesitate to take the boat into open waters provided that the forecast is not for winds at or above 20 kts (mind you, gusts will usually double the figure in the forecast), the sea is not whitened with catpaws, the waves are not higher than the freeboard, the foam is not streaking downwind and there is hardly no spray (i.e., conditions are below Beaufort 5). Otherwise, at least for my money, the sea may be better admired from the mooring, the shore or a larger boat... I am not saying it cannot be done, just that beyond those conditions, at least aboard my SunCat, the worries seem to grow larger and more frequent than the joys... 

With respect to taking your SC for a cruise from Port Lauderdale to Freeport... well... impossible, it is not. However, my advice is to think it twice... and if you then decide to go, think it again... particularly if you have not done that crossing with larger boats before. I've made that crossing a few times in much larger boats (an Endeavour 40, a Hunter 46 and a Dufour 38 are those I remember). On one crossing the seas were as flat as a mirror. However, those are seldom the prevalent conditions. The Gulf Stream and its eddies may be too much for the SunCat to handle. Besides, if the wind meets the Gulf-Stream head-to-head, the swell and the chop can be too much even for much larger boats. Also, on the best of conditions, average speed for the SC is unlikely to average more than 4 kts, so, assuming that you compensate for the Gulf Stream appropriately (and do not miss Grand Bahama...), you'd be looking at not much less than 24 hrs underway, maybe more. And since you'd be night sailing, here is another thing to beware: freighters... bound to Miami on autopilot and with no watch on the bridge. Yes, you can call them on the VHF but you'd be lucky if they answer... and even luckier if they speak English...

Having said all that... fair winds and smooth seas!

J.

"Sassy Gaffer"
SunCat 17 #365

Offline capt_nemo

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2013, 09:46:14 PM »
Alex H,

With several crossings of the Gulf Stream to Bahamas and back under my belt, in both larger Sailboat and Trawler, I echo Joseph's comments.

Can it be done safely, certainly, IF, and it's a big IF, it is done in settled weather, by a properly prepared skipper, in a properly prepared boat, with no surprises. Just remember, there are no guarantees when it comes to weather. And, I've been SURPRISED sailing Offshore in larger boats.

Congratulations on your new Sun Cat, and welcome to the Forum.

capt_nemo

Offline steve brown

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2013, 12:14:56 PM »
Hi Alex, Congratulations on your new Sun Cat. Please allow me to offer you the following advice. When you are raising the mast, make sure the mast head and anchor light wires are tucked down safely inside  the mast foot (tabernacle) to avoid cutting them. Raising the mast under way I find to be tricky.  Good winds, Steve

Offline tmorgan

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2013, 01:38:14 PM »
Congrats on your new boat.  We love our Suncat!  We have sailed SunShower on the Chesapeake, coast of Maine and Boston Harbor.  We watch the weather and have had a lot of great sailing trips.  Going miles off shore with SunShower would be too much for this skipper to handle, but stories abound that others have done it in boats smaller than a Suncat.

Offline Alex H.

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 10:48:08 AM »
Finally took possession of the Suncat, green hull, tan Bimini and trailered and launched with no mishaps. Potteredc around on Sunday and already love it. I'll try to post some pix soon. Thanks for all the comments. I'll hus the shore for a few years yet and make the Bahama passage on a larger boat belonging to a friend.

Offline frank

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Re: New Sun Cat
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2013, 05:58:18 PM »
Congrats on getting her home and launched!  I'll bet the green and tan look super! These are fine lil trailersailors, you'll enjoy it.
 With real good weather and a few mods, the stream is doable. I've crossed it 14 or 15 times now on 20's, 23's, 25's, 26's ...never on my suncat. But ya gotta know on a good crossing...I'm thinking "it would be no problem". Watching weather pattern well ahead and a good forcast where you may have to motorsail and you're there!  Key with a small boat is patience and no schedule.
Small boats: God's gift to young boys and older men