Author Topic: One year on, and loving it.  (Read 813 times)

Offline Aldebaran_III

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One year on, and loving it.
« on: June 19, 2014, 08:01:30 PM »
1 year on, and loving it

It's now almost exactly one year since my new Horizon cat arrived here in St.Maarten by ship on a flat bed.
We sail all year round down here (with the small exception of hurricanes!). I've been able to go out twice a week with the exception of a short air trip to Europe. I've probably had as much use out of the boat as some northern sailors might get in 2 or 3 seasons. I'm lucky to have the boat on a lift so that launching is quick and easy (the swing keel makes this possible). I do have the problem of negotiating 1 or 2 bridges each time I go out, so the Mastendr system gets a lot of use!
I'd like to share some thoughts.

I ordered the boat with a tiller. It was well worth the extra cash. The wind here is very gusty with very rapid wind shifts. The tiller makes it so easy to respond to these. I think there are times when I would have been in trouble with a wheel. Cockpit space has never been an issue, and at anchor pull one quickpin and the tiller comes off.

The winds here mean that I need to reef 50% of the time. A simple loop through the clew reef cringle, under the boom and back to the same cringle helped reefed sail shape enormously. The outhaul alone doesn't keep the reefed leach down close enough to the boom. I think the outhaul block and strap are a little too far out towards the end of the boom. (one day I'll get around to moving them).

The Mastender hinge bolts were overly long and left excess thread pointing outboard on both sides of the mast. Unless you were exactly head to wind the luff would snag when raising sail and even rip the sail. I hacksawed the excess off and dressed the ends smooth down to the nyloc nuts, problem solved.

I ordered a boomkicker, but then worried that I would have to keep disconnecting it every time I lowered the mast (a frequent occurrence). Then I saw Captain Nemo's simple lazy jacks. I fitted these using non-stretch line (Dyneema) on the port side. I cut another piece of Dyneema to go from the loop on the end of the port lazy jack to the reef strap near the end of the boom. I just fit this in seconds whenever I want to hold the boom up for the bimini at anchor. Now I have an unused boomkicker for sale!

The plastic block on top of the rudder stock that keeps the rudder down was a bit weak and snapped off. I made a new one from aluminium and this has worked fine.

My day job is in marine electronics, and my last boat (Tayana 37) bristled with the stuff, plus fridge, freezer, electric windlass etc. etc. The HC came with electrics including a nicely fitted switch panel and nav lights. I haven't even bothered to install a battery! I'm loving the freedom from all these gadgets. Sailing the way it used to be, it's really refreshing for me. Our waters are clear enough to read the bottom by water colour, so I don't even have a depth sounder. Navlights are the excellent Navisafe, magnetically attached, battery operated LEDs. Interior lighting for overnights is by LED lanterns (the batteries last for ages). I do keep a handheld VHF and portable GPS on board just in case.

The boat is engined with a Tohatsu 6hp 4-stoke extra long shaft outboard. It hasn't missed a beat in 12 months (touch wood), I really don't miss the weight of a diesel. We ride high on our marks, and I'm sure there is a speed gain. Fuel consumption is low, we really have to remember to check the 3-gallon tank because we don't fill it often. Slight niggle, the outboard bracket is not the best grade S/S, it tends to bleed rust.

Really, in a year I haven't had to change much at all. The one real dislike is the factory boarding ladder. The treads are round and much too narrow. We swim off the boat a lot and find the ladder a bit dangerous. In fact we always leave deck shoes on the stern and put these on in the water before re-boarding. I'd like to either change the ladder, or fit wooden treads over the stainless tubes.

All in all we love our HC and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone in the market for this kind of boat.

Cheers to all at CPYOA,
Derek and Marilyn

Offline Catnip

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Re: One year on, and loving it.
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2014, 10:43:27 AM »
Sounds like you are living a dream!

Offline Craig

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Re: One year on, and loving it.
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 11:56:22 AM »
Glad you love her! We are really happy with Kailani two years on. HCs are just great boats. Compac took the Herreschoff America and perfected it to brilliantly create the HC! I can understand your reluctance to install the boomkicker if you drop the mast every time you go out. Simple is usually better! We don't raise and lower the mast much since Kailani is in a slip most of the time and I like  not having to mess with a topping lift. I have grown to like the wheel(after a serious period of adjustment!) but you are right that the tiller is more responsive and a real plus where you live.I like being able to leave the wheel and move around the cockpit and backing out of the slip is easier than with the ob & tiller I had on the Suncat. There are some of us who think the HC is ultimate development of the "traditional" catboat. By the way did see an article on the internet on adding wood steps to the boarding ladder. If I can find it i'll post the link. Fair winds & following seas!
Craig, Horizon Cat "Kailani"  Punta Gorda, FL

Offline Aldebaran_III

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Re: One year on, and loving it.
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2014, 10:08:36 PM »
This is one of the three bridges we pass regularly. The others are real low, about 12 ft clearance. This is a brand new bridge but it's about 2 ft too low for us with the mast up. All the bridges open, but on a fixed schedule and only 3 or 4 times a day. We're no good at timing the openings so the Mastendr is in use a lot!



I push the mast up and down manually, haven't used the gin pole yet. We've got it down to a fine art. One early problem, one or other of the toggles at the base of the shrouds often managed to capsize, in such a way that it wouldn't straighten, just as the shrouds came tight. This usually meant lowering the mast and starting over. Some electrical tape around the toggles to stiffen them a little solved this completely.

The HC has a long boom and a big sail, so in our shifty conditions, I try not to run dead down wind. in fact, if the wind is other than light, I tend to wear ship rather than gybe. A lot safer, and what's the rush anyway.
We've had some great sails, broadreaching downwind in the Anguilla channel (mostly with a reef in), and surfing down the waves. We're so glad this boat chose us!

Cheers,
Derek

Offline Subsailor637

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Re: One year on, and loving it.
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2014, 09:48:43 PM »
Derek,
It's my second season with my HC as well.  Purchased mine out of the Chicago Strictly Sail show in Feb 2013.  Mine did have the diesel option and in my case I'm glad I have it as we sail on the Illinois River at Peoria.  I have to contend with sailing a fairly narrow channel loaded with every type of power boat from cigarette to aft cabin cruisers and the addition of barges that are 1/2 as wide as the channel.  The diesel can get me out of the way when I need it and I know the prop is low enough when the power boaters are turning the river into a tempest. My wife the Admiral enjoys sailing the relatively flat catboat so much better than our 34 Catalina that we had on Lake Michigan so I almost always have a crew member to take out (between my wife & daughter).  I have a wheel on mine (opted for traditional wood versus new SS) and it's funny that sometimes I turn it the wrong way since I am reaching back and my mind reverts to handling a tiller!  I do sometimes miss having a sloop rig when "racing" to windward some of the 20 to 25 ft Catalina's, O'Days, Glaston's etc that are on the river but I almost always have some sailboat come alongside to complement the look of the HC.  Fair Winds and Following Seas to you and joy in your new boat!
Subsailor637 ComPac Horizon Cat

Offline Aldebaran_III

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Re: One year on, and loving it.
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2014, 06:35:27 PM »
Thanks Craig, Subsailor637. We're obviously preaching to the converted here, but if anyone stops by who is thinking of an HC, I think we all agree they are fantastic.
There is definitely a boat to suit your local conditions with the choice of inboard/outboard, tiller/wheel plus the built in features of Mastendr folding mast and swing keel.
Happy sailing,
Derek

Offline capt_nemo

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Re: One year on, and loving it.
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2014, 09:45:20 PM »
Aldebaran_III,

Glad you like the simple low cost Lazy Jacks idea.

Fair winds,

capt_nemo