Like every other sailor out there, I'm watching bits and pieces of the America's Cup (because that is all they are showing...but that is another complaint blog entry). The boats are incredible. And I sit here thinking "If I win the lottery...No, if I win 3 lotteries, I could have one of those myself."
So I started searching the net for something a bit more affordable.
Let's start with some criteria. My boat has to be able to be parked at my cottage and sailed on Keuka Lake. So that means no solid wing. I don't have an airplane hanger on the tip of the Bluff. I'm old and fat, so it has to be able to be stopped in the middle of the lake while I empty my tiny bladder over the side. So nothing tiny like a foiling Moth. And I have to be able to get it to the lake, and not with a helicopter lifting it over the alps.
So let's start with production cats, say 40 feet? Marstrom X40, aka Extreme 40 catamarans. They pack up nicely into a container and ship anywhere! The sail is soft, drops nicely onto a wide comfortable trampoline. So to get this I'd need a few friends to sail it, and maybe a third ball to have the guts to bear off in a blow. I'd also need a crane to assemble it. Oh, and $200,000 for the cheapest used one on the market, delivery not included. Ouch.
Okay, step back one level, maybe something in the 25-30 foot length range. And here I found a big hole in the market. Probably there is no market for it. You would still need lots of mechanical help getting the damn thing assembled on site.
Fine. We'll go smaller. But let's add the criteria of a foiling catamaran. The C Class catamarans are foiling now. They are not that big. Ah but they are using solid wing sails. Not to mention the hot shots are spending $1 million per boat these days. Next!
A Class catamarans are dabbling with foils. It's a soft sail too. Not that big a boat though. No room for my honey bunny (barf). But they too are pricey. And shipping from Europe is a bit much.
So let's get out of the specialty racing market and into the mass market sailboats since I can probably afford one of those. PSA has built a foiling assembly for the Laser sailboat. Yes, the silly Laser I bought in 1972 and sailed as an 8-year-old can foil and fly like the super cool Moth class. But the kit to retrofit the boat will cost more than the boat itself, maybe $20,000 all up. For that I can do better, something that I can enjoy as much in light air and with my wife. Yeah I know that last bit is a stretch but I have to try.
Tornado's are great catamarans. This Olympic class bred some of our best multihull sailors out there. They are wide, generally wider than trailerable limits unless they are at an angle. That's good! But the hull design is from the 1970's. And I really couldn't find a good used market. Of course Marstrom would sell me a nice new one. But I don't want to race. I just want to go fast.
So now I'm into production catamarans, the ones you see everywhere. They trailer, they sit on beaches and rot, and there are a bazillion on the market. They are the Nacra F20, Nacra 5.8, Nacra 6.0, Nacra 20 OD, Marstrom 20, Nacra F18, Hobie Tiger F18, etc.
I could get up to 15 whole MPH with one of those!
Really? Where is the 24-foot speed freak's production catamaran? Someone please give me some idea of what I want to look for!
Or do I even want to go this route. It would mean selling the MC-Scow, getting out of racing, only sailing when the mood and weather combine for great conditions, setting my own schedule, stop doing regattas, sleep in on weekends.... Why would I not want to do this?
It's the whole racing thing. I've been sailing since I was 8, racing regattas since I was 12. Can I stop? Is that even possible? When Dick Turner is sailing E-Scows at 89, 49 is not really quitting age in sailing.
Okay. So I need to buy a fun catamaran on TOP of my racing package I have now. When would I sail? How can I afford it?
Yup. I guess I'm just dreaming. But what a dream. I can see myself with a 30-foot long high performance cat on a custom made boat lift at my cottage. On nice windy days 3 or 4 friends suit up in helmets, spray suits, and life jackets and we hoist the square top main onto the 70-foot carbon mast. We sail out into the 15-18 mph wind from the West, sail upwind for a time, find a killer puff and bear off hard. The bows dig in spraying us hard. With 4 guys on wires and a kite flying we accelerate through 20 knots, the foils slowly lift the hulls out of the water as we scream across the lake at 25 knots. Oh wait. Math. 3/4 mile at 25 knots...yup, less than 2 minutes and we have to think about going back upwind for another downhill sledding run.
Yeah I could handle that.
But I can't afford that.
So if I get any part of my dream cat, it looks like it will be some $5000 used 18-20 foot beach cat. Yeah okay. Maybe I can work with that.