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Suggestions for a "first" catamaran #87697
11/01/06 08:51 PM
11/01/06 08:51 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 116
41.32 N, 81.35 W
Stuart_Douglas Offline OP
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Stuart_Douglas  Offline OP
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41.32 N, 81.35 W
Hello all,

My wife and I are looking at catamarans for our new boat. We just sold the Sunfish I grew up sailing and a Mirage 236 (23.5' sloop-rig keelboat) in preparation. We found both boats fell outside of what we wanted, and weren't sailing enough because of it. We're thinking catamaran for the sailing performance and trailer-ability. My wife had a Hobie years ago in a previous marriage, but I've never sailed a cat. I don't want something that's blisteringly fast, but so incredibly technical that we would become frustrated with it. Similarly, I don't want something that's easy to learn, but becomes boring quickly. My wife's 5'3", so she can fit on anything easily; however, I'm 6'5" so I'm leaning towards 18-20 foot boats. Together we probably weigh about 320 lbs. Boat can be new or used. Suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

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Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87698
11/01/06 09:17 PM
11/01/06 09:17 PM
Joined: May 2002
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MauganN20 Offline
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Does racing matter to you?

The H16 will work for you if you want simple yet engaging. After 3535125 years, people are still learning how to sail them better than before.

Oh and coming from a sunfish and a 23.5' monoslug, every cat is going to be "blisteringly fast" <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: MauganN20] #87699
11/01/06 09:31 PM
11/01/06 09:31 PM
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Norman,OK
gree2056 Offline
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I am no expert but I would suggest the 16. Like Maugan said, after all this time people are still making them go better than ever before. You will not get tired of it!
No Cat is going to seem slow, I know that most of the guys on here aren't to crazy about them but you might try one of Hobie's Rotomold boats. You can't hurt them, they still offer some performance and they can float alot of people and weight.
That is just my input.


Once you go cat you never go back! Nacra 5.2 (Elsies)#1499, running an inter17 spin!
Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: gree2056] #87700
11/01/06 09:39 PM
11/01/06 09:39 PM
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MauganN20 Offline
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Quote
know that most of the guys on here aren't to crazy about them but you might try one of Hobie's Rotomold boats. You can't hurt them, they still offer some performance and they can float alot of people and weight.


The roto boats are great if you're never ever going to even think about racing! At your size though, the getaway is the best roto boat for you.

If you want a full-bore racer with a steeper learning curve but the best of speed and fun, then you can go F18 (spinnaker).

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: MauganN20] #87701
11/01/06 09:55 PM
11/01/06 09:55 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 116
41.32 N, 81.35 W
Stuart_Douglas Offline OP
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41.32 N, 81.35 W
I can't recall if my wife's old Hobie was a 16 or an 18, I'll have to ask her but I think it was an 18. That's kind of where her head is at for another cat (H16 of TheMightyHobie18). I'm leaning towards a spinnaker boat...you can always go with just the main and jib, but the spi's there when you want to run. The F18's sound impressive from what I've read. Does anyone sail Tornado's in the US? They too seem very impressive, but almost everything I read about them comes from Europe, and I've yet to find a dealer in the US that actually sells them.

I'll read-up on the Rotomold boats, never heard of 'em.

Thanks guys!

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87702
11/01/06 10:07 PM
11/01/06 10:07 PM
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MauganN20 Offline
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TOrnado's are highly technical. You may get fustrated with it trying to get it in the water. I know it takes me a long time to get my I20 in the water from the trailer and a Tornado would only be more work due to the wide beam.

If you want a spin boat, then you two are pretty good weight-wise for the F18. The sheet/halyard loads are light enough for a small-framed female crew (or you could let her drive and you pull all the strings) but be warned, the F18 is also technical. Its not just a "stick the mast up and go" boat like the aforementioned Hobies which are significantly simpler.

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87703
11/01/06 10:17 PM
11/01/06 10:17 PM
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Victoria, Australia
C2 Mike Offline
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You can't go wrong with a TheMightyHobie18. Fast and fun but still quite forgiving and not as flighty as the F16/F18 (more margin for error before you go swimming). They are also very strong and take a lot of abuse.

If you want more performance the F18 is a great choice. As far as F18 manufacturer - choose whatever is being sailed most in your area. I am onto my 2nd Tiger and have found them to be an excellent all round boat. They can be a handful but are also very forgiving if you back off and take it easy in a blow. Any spinnaker boat will cost more to run than a non spi boat if you are racing seriously.

Tiger Mike

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: MauganN20] #87704
11/01/06 10:25 PM
11/01/06 10:25 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 116
41.32 N, 81.35 W
Stuart_Douglas Offline OP
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Stuart_Douglas  Offline OP
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41.32 N, 81.35 W
Thanks MauganN20.

I need to do more F18 research. That's where I see us going. Although my wife would be perfectly content with a standard Hobie, I think I'd get bored over time. I should probably try and hook-up with some F18 owners in my area this winter to learn as much as I can about rigging and sailing one before deciding and buying something in the Spring.

How much difference do the F18 rules allow for in terms of boat design? In other words, how different are the various F18 makes (Tiger, Nacra, etc.)?

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87705
11/01/06 10:32 PM
11/01/06 10:32 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 116
41.32 N, 81.35 W
Stuart_Douglas Offline OP
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Thanks TigerMike.

Hobies are plentiful in the US, so a used on could be had easily and might make a good (and inexpensive) starter boat to get us up to speed before upgrading to an F18 or such.

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87706
11/01/06 11:04 PM
11/01/06 11:04 PM
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Posts: 806
Toronto, Ontario
pitchpoledave Offline
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If you are on a limited budget I would go for something like a Nacra 5.5, Prindle 18-2 or a Hobie 18..or if you want something more high performance and want to race, then a used F18.. I would not recommend a H16 to anybody just getting into the sport..Simple yes, easy to learn the sport..NO. You may want to stick to a non-spinnaker boat just for a year or two to learn.

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87707
11/02/06 05:15 AM
11/02/06 05:15 AM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 3,348
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fin. Offline
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Quote
Together we probably weigh about 320 lbs.


That's a little heavy, for the H16, if you should decide to race. As I recall, min. weight is 285. Also, the H16 is prone to "pitch pole"! <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87708
11/02/06 06:26 AM
11/02/06 06:26 AM
Joined: Nov 2005
Posts: 337
Victoria, Australia
C2 Mike Offline
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C2 Mike  Offline
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Quote
Thanks TigerMike.

Hobies are plentiful in the US, so a used on could be had easily and might make a good (and inexpensive) starter boat to get us up to speed before upgrading to an F18 or such.


Sailing a TheMightyHobie18 (or similar) for a season or so and then moving onto a F18 is a great strategy. If you haven't sailed cats much before you can get the boat handling under control and get used to balancing it on one hull without feeling like you are on a never ending lift bouncing from the top floor to the basement.

For F18, there are quite a few choices with the most popular being the Tiger www.hobiecat.com. Capricorns have a great reputation and are starting to get established in the USA www.ahpc.com.au. (AHPC are about 100miles from me). NACRA have recently launched their latest creation http://nacra.us/F18/F18_I.html which looks promising but is too new to know for sure how good/bad it is. Their previous model F18's are going for bargain basement prices right now and represent great value for money.

Tiger Mike

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: C2 Mike] #87709
11/02/06 07:09 AM
11/02/06 07:09 AM
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Sebring, Florida.
Timbo Offline
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Stuart, you have the right idea, find some cat racers near you and pick their brains, and since the season is about over up there, you have some time to do some research. The bad part is you won't be able to get a test drive until spring, but you should take a test drive before buying anything. There are a couple considerations you need to think about . 1. Do you intend to race? 2. How much money do you want to spend?

The answers to these questions will lead you in different directions. A clean, used Hobie 18 (or Nacra 5.5 sloop) would be a great place to start ($2-4,000) because the learning curve is steep and you will make mistakes but they are more fogiving than a new spinnaker boat, they will also be much cheaper than a brand new racing F18 ($15,000+) or even a used racing F18 ($10,000+) and for about $1,000 you can add a spinnaker to the Hobie 18 or Nacra 5.5. Click on the "Classifieds" section above.

You will want a spinnaker boat eventually, if you stick with it but at first you just want to get a feel for sailing cats without the hassels (and expense) of setting up the spinnaker.

Sailing cats is a whole lot more exciting than mono's but some people don't like all that excitement and spray...

Last edited by Timbo; 11/02/06 08:44 AM.

Blade F16
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Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Timbo] #87710
11/02/06 08:22 AM
11/02/06 08:22 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,459
Annapolis,MD
Keith Offline
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Keith  Offline
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Annapolis,MD
As they say on another forum, welcome to the "dark side"!

In addition to those boats already mentioned (I'm a big fan of the H-18) I'll add a couple to the list of boats to try before "stepping up". These boats are little more in horsepower and weight carrying ability.

Nacra 5.8 - these have acted as a great stepping stone boat in our fleet in the past. More hull volume and a better all around performer than the H-18, can be as tame or as wild as you sail it. Boom-less rig.

Prindle-19 - same comments as above, has centerboards instead of daggers, Tornado-ish in looks.

Hobie-20 - a little faster and more responsive than the boats listed above, but still a good option. You may still find pockets of Hobie-Fleet racing for it.

These three boats offer more performance than the other boats being mentioned, but are available affordably in the used market, with the H-20 perhaps the easiest to find. The H-20 is still available new from Hobie (last I heard, not roto-molded yet). As they offer more performance up front, they may be a little daunting at first, but there's more room for learning and you won't get bored as quickly. Spin rigs can be added to any of those, with the Hobie there is most likely a kit from the factory while the others would need to be "engineered".

Myself, I would look for the 5.8 first, but they can be hard to find. Next I would look for the H-20.

As with any cat starting out for the first time, pick your conditions right. Try to stay in about 8-12 knots of wind speed. Less than that and you might be frustrated, more than that and you might be scared. Get familiar with the boat and then start expanding your range. You'll be addicted soon....

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Stuart_Douglas] #87711
11/02/06 08:23 AM
11/02/06 08:23 AM
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Posts: 371
Michigan, USA
sparky Offline
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Stewart,

I agree with your thoughts that F18 is the right way to go. From Ohio, the Nacra dealer that will give you the best information is here in Michigan and sells many boats to the Ohio fleet. He also has a wide variety of used Nacra F18s. I just looked at his website (www.cathouse1.com) for pre-owned F18 and he has one boat that I think would be an exceptional package, a 2005 Nacra F18 with the correct sails for your crew weight and available with trailex trailer, beach wheels, sail box...everything you are going to want for a spinnaker cat.

He has several pre-owned F18 at a variety of price points from 2003 Inter 18, 2002 F18 and even a demo 2006 Infusion (I think this is the boat that won the 2006 F18 North American Championships in September. It was assembled about a week before the regatta.). I have found the dealer very helpful to people new to catamarans and often steers people away from cats if it is not the right boat for them. It is always worth it to chat with him before you decide what to do. Just wait until after 10 AM to call him! He takes calls late into the night!

If Hobie is the choice for you, then I think the dealer in Rochester, NY is probably the right person to talk to about the Tiger. They seem to have a very strong Hobie-only racing program in that area which draws Hobie sailors from Michigan to their regattas.

Ohio Catamaran Racing Association (OCRA) might be another place to check out. You might be able to find some people to talk to in your area before you put your money down. Also, Catamaran Racing Association of Michigan (CRAM) might be near enough for you and your wife to come to some of their events. I think there are Links to both OCRA and CRAM in the Links section of the website. There are many in that club who will be delighted to show you the ins and outs of sailing spinnaker cats (or any other cat, for that matter). In any case, whatever you do, have fun with it!

This post is focused on where the racing sailor might go from your area, but even if you don't want to race, these are the people that know the most about the F18s. I have dealt with these clubs and the Nacra dealer for more than 20 years and they will not steer you wrong.


Les Gallagher
Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: sparky] #87712
11/02/06 11:09 AM
11/02/06 11:09 AM
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Posts: 121
Hollister CA, Plano TX
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avalondarlyn Offline
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Oh so many to choose from. In my opinion the hobie 18. That was my first boat and i wish i still had it. the hobie 16 and pridle 18 escape/classic are slightly simpler boats. H16's are great because there are so many people who sail them. I would definatly get a boat that parts/upgrades are easy to find.(hobie,prindle,nacra etc..) Talk to lots of people.

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: avalondarlyn] #87713
11/02/06 11:35 AM
11/02/06 11:35 AM
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canibul Offline
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I have been back and forth between the Hobie Getaway and the H16, FRP vs. rotomolded, etc. I am not worried about a few dollars one way or another, but since its a major PITA to get a boat shipped here, I want to get it right. With a combined weight of the two of us just under 400 lbs and wanting to be able to take a couple guests from time to time, it seems the Getaway is in the lead. We have LOTS of wind, all the time. I dont plan to race the 20 and 30 year olds on their sleek 16's, and it doesnt sound like the H16 would move much with four adults my size on it, so its getting easier to choose.

but, dammit, I sure like the 16s.


We ran away to a life in the tropics: For real.
http://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: canibul] #87714
11/02/06 11:41 AM
11/02/06 11:41 AM
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Posts: 1,459
Annapolis,MD
Keith Offline
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At 400 lbs and wanting to take other people for rides, and not worrying about racing, I'd look for:

Nacra 6.0
Hobie-21

For your stated use, I'd gravitate towards the 21, either in its original setup or the Sport Cruiser, but I'd probably prefer the original. Good speed, great ability to handle a crowd. The only downside is that it is heavy.

Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: Keith] #87715
11/02/06 11:54 AM
11/02/06 11:54 AM
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canibul Offline
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Thanks, I will look at 21s. A used boat helps me out, in a country with a 33% import duty on boats...

And the upside of being 220 lbs is that I can lift a bit of weight. I plan on a trailer, anyhow.


We ran away to a life in the tropics: For real.
http://2gringos.blogspot.com/
Re: Suggestions for a "first" catamaran [Re: pitchpoledave] #87716
11/02/06 12:29 PM
11/02/06 12:29 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 116
41.32 N, 81.35 W
Stuart_Douglas Offline OP
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Stuart_Douglas  Offline OP
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41.32 N, 81.35 W
"Welcome to the dark side"...classic!

Once we finally decide what we're going with, and get it out on the water, I'm sure we'll be kicking ourselves for ever sailing anything else.

Stay tuned... <img src="http://www.catsailor.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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