Category Archives: Design Questions

this Blog gets Noticed

I always have the notion that I am the only person who ever reads this blog. Matthew tells me however that it is gaining about 20% every month. And it just got a nice write-up in the French Multihulls World magazine! Thanks everybody. I have a list of interesting upcoming topics that I will do.

Net Systems

One of the rules of plastics is that they all degrade in sunlight. The nets on my 40′ x 36′  trimaran seem to be the exception to that rule. My Net Systems knotless black polyethelene nets have been flawless for some 15 years. They do need to be tightened every season.
I give them the leap-off-of-the-hull onto them every so often to impress the crew. I recall the failure point some years ago during the Shaw Island Classic when Mark Evans leaped into the net. The cast padeye holding the net exploded.  Many thumbs up on this product.

Alex’s Unstayed Mast

Its kind of a mini Sarabi.
We just got the bids in on the new carbon fiber unstayed mast for Alex’s KHSD 45 catamaran being built in Blaine, WA. It is what we call an aeroesque mast. Same general idea as the aerorig, but updated.
I’m sure the safety of these masts will make them the future of USCG certified sailing cats. The Coasties just need to see the FEA study to accept them.

aeroesque mast on 45 cat

“Magical” Catamaran Beams

Every couple of years I have someone ask me why my cat designs need to have aft beams. This occured again last month. They seem to have the tone that there must be a structural secret I just have not figured out yet. I did just get this picture. “Why can’t you do a beam like this? Ask them how they did it.”

"why can't you do a beam like this?"

People. Remember where I always say “with enough carbon and enough money, you can probably do anything you want to.”? There are limits. They probably think a sleek cat beam looks like this.

they think the beam looks like this

It actually looks more like this.  The boat salesmen hide a beam like this so it will look thin or even gone.

what the beam really looks like

That is compared to a standard beam. Like this…

the standard beam

So why don’t I catch up and do the flat beam? Remember how I always talk about efficient cats? Look at this.

The tools we designers use to compare beams are the moment of inertia “I” and section modulus “SM”.  (assuming shear is satisfied) Suppose the regular beam is 12″ x 36″ by 0.1″ thick laminate.  That regular beam has a SM of 99 in^3 (inches to third power) and a moment of inertia I of 2104 in^4.

In the horizontal mode beam, it only has a SM of 44 and the I is only 272 in^4. To get more strength and stiffness it must be made thicker and heavier.  Even if the horizontal beam laminate is made 7 times thicker and 7 times heavier, it only has the same strength as the regular beam  and still only a third of the regular beam’s stiffness. The flat beam boat vendors hope you don’t know or care enough to appreciate the difference.  They can’t claim efficiency and still have horizontal beams.