The magic number for judging a boat as a performance cruising catamaran is the ability to average 200 miles a day on a long trip. No engines. Upwind. Downwind. Average speed….
Doesn’t sound that hard, right? But let’s look at this.
- To go 200 miles in 24 hours, your average boat speed has to be 8.34 knots.
That means that your boat needs to sail at 10 knots, easily, a lot, and in 12-15 knots of wind. It should periodically sail better than 12 knots, and not just surfing.
Many cruising cats can do this on a pure beam reach in a lot of wind. But what about downwind? Heavy cruising cats are very slow when deep off the wind. And, let’s not even discuss upwind work. Without daggerboards, no chance. Even with them, the boat needs to be designed very well.
So, what design criteria do we need to see to have any chance of making these numbers?
2. rig size and tune
4. great sails
The likelihood of averaging 200 miles a day on a cruising cat less than 40 feet is almost zero. Between 40 and 47 feet, some really well designed boats might do it. Over that, and with a bit of attention paid to carrying less stuff, keeping it light, yes, good chance. Trimarans, generally yes.
It is an interesting and sobering discussion. Also, consider this same discussion with a monohull? Hmm…