Author Topic: Light Air Sailing  (Read 350 times)

Offline njones

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Light Air Sailing
« on: April 11, 2017, 01:32:39 PM »
As a new member of this site I am trying to learn more about the HC.  I am firm believer in cat-rigged boats having cruised and raced our Nonsuch 33 for a number of years in Florida and the Bahamas. We are looking to buy a sail boat to be used on the lakes near our home in Arkansas. The HC seems to be a well-made versatile sailboat.

My question is how does the boat perform in light air?  It is good to know the HC is capable of sailing in windy conditions, but most of our sailing will be done on lakes and rivers in light to moderate wind under 10 kts.  With the diesel option, I figure the fully loaded boat with crew may be pushing 3,000 #.  With 205 sq. ft. of sail is the HC underpowered to perform in these conditions? 

Any thoughts or experience in sailing the HC in light airs would be helpful.

Offline Potcake boy

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Re: Light Air Sailing
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2017, 10:23:36 PM »
Considering the history of cat rigs as work/fishing boats suggests that speed was of little concern in this design. I have seen a Marshall cat using a spinnaker, but beyond that I wouldn't by a cat boat for sailing performance. I owned a PicnicCat and a SunCat, which were both fun boats to sail, but not light air wizards. These boats have other endearing qualities which in many cases overrides their inherent lack of speed and pointing ability. Keep in mind, the faster the boat the shorter the journey and isn't that what it is all about?

If your primary requirement is speed then you might consider a trimaran. I owned two of those and they are truly sailing magic in any kind of wind. I loved them for what they were, and I love my current 23 PH for what it is. There aren't many boats that perform well in all ranges of wind. Every successful and popular design has it's own distinction which brings it's owners the joy of sailing.

If you love cat boats then you will be happy going at any speed. You might start with a PicnicCat to see how that works out in your conditions. Low cost investment that you will probably recoup when you sell. With out having researched this, I would imagine the SAD would be similar for the two, with proportionate crew load. ComPac cat boats are their answer to true trailer sailing with easy and quick rigging at the ramp. They are in my opinion exceptional in this respect, and I enjoyed trailing mine to new sailing grounds.
Pilot House 23 - GladRags
Punta Gorda Florida

A mouse around the house - but much hotter on the water

Offline Catawampus

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Re: Light Air Sailing
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2017, 03:22:45 PM »
If you are used to the performance of the Nonsuch 33, perhaps you should look for a Nonsuch 22.
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Catawampus - 2002 Sun Cat

Offline jdklaser

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Re: Light Air Sailing
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2017, 04:11:56 PM »
Nonsuch 22    I'd go for the Freedom 21, keel for performance, centerboard for gunkholing   

Offline rbh1515

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Re: Light Air Sailing
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2017, 10:33:23 PM »
Here's a drone vid a friend of mine shot of my Horizon Day Cat in light wind.  The HDC must be a lot lighter than the HC, and a small outboard works well....I use an electric Torqeedo.  The HDC has a huge cockpit compared to the HC.  I would highly recommend it.
2015 Horizon Day Cat, Waters End

Offline njones

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Re: Light Air Sailing
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2017, 12:42:45 PM »
The Nonsuch is a well-made boat that performs well in a good breeze, but is not known for light air performance. If I lived in a coastal area or on the Great Lakes, I would still be sailing one.  However, it may not be the best choice for smaller inland lakes. I would think the weight of a Nonsuch 22 would be well over 5000#.  It can be trailered, but you would need access to a crane or be able to recruit some beefy friends to help pull the mast.

I am impressed with Horizon Cat. It is a good looking boat and the innovative design has addressed what I would consider some of the draw backs of a traditional catboat boat such as the space dominating centerboard trunk and the ability to raise the rudder in very shallow water. It would be interesting to see how the boat would perform with an additional 50-80 square foot of sail as seen with many catboats of similar size. My idea is that it could be beneficial to have the additional sail area to power the boat in light air conditions or when the boat is carrying a heaver than normal load (more people or more stuff). When the wind increases you would always have the option to reef sooner or use your sailing skills to depower the boat.  My comment is more of an armchair observation. Experienced HC sailors are in a better position to comment and probably have found ways to get the most from their boats based on their individual needs.