Forward Cockpit.

I can’t believe I never posted this but the search shows nothing. One of the best articles was in Lat. 38 back in ’03. I quote. December ‘03

 Ian – If you were to put Chris White, Peter Johnstone, Gino Morrelli, Pete Melvin, Kurt Hughes, and us together in the same room to design a performance cruising catamaran, we think there would be a considerable consensus on the basic issues. The hulls would be longer rather than shorter for inherent speed, and they would have something like a 12 to 1 length to beam ratio so they could still carry a decent load. The cat would have relatively high freeboard so the bridgedeck didn’t repeatedly get ‘bombed’ by waves. Within reason, it would be as light as possible, and what weight there was would be centrally located to reduce pitching. The cat would be a fractionally-rigged sloop with a self-tending Solent jib and a bigger headsail on a sprit on a furler. Beyond these considerations, there would be the usual differences in the amount of beam, the rocker, the shape of the rudders, the look, and the general layout – many of them dictated by the owner’s needs and desires.

Speaking of catamaran layouts, and since you made a big deal of it, we must once again proclaim our total befuddlement with the concept of a ‘front cockpit’. We have the greatest respect for Chris, Peter, Gino, and Pete – all of whom have at least somewhat subscribed to the concept – but we think the idea is as bizarre as if Cher had gone ahead with her threat to relocate her boobs on her back. What’s to recommend either idea?

We’d humbly like to suggest there is only one place for helms on catamarans, that being on each side of the back bulkhead of the salon as – how surprising! – found on Profligate. We feel as certain of this as of anything in life. That way it’s easy to adjust all sail controls without – as in the case of the front cockpit – having to open a door at the front of the salon to go out and get blown about and drenched, in order to do something as minor as adjusting the tension on the main halyard. It might even require putting on foul weather gear!

To show we have no hard feelings toward Peter, Gino, and Pete, one of the most appealing performance cat designs we’ve seen can be found at the Morrelli & Melvin website under Gunboat 52. It’s just a basic sketch, and it’s our understanding that the boat isn’t going into production, but it has all the features we’d be looking for in a custom performance cruising cat. If only somebody could figure out how to build them for an affordable price. Kurt Hughes and Chris White also have extensive websites that are worth visiting to see their designs.

There is an easy explanation for the first Gunboat 62 and the first Atlantic 55 being both named Spirit – it’s a popular boat name. End of story. Unless, of course, you’re into conspiracies.


April ‘03

Profligate is based on a 60-ft by 30-ft stock design by Kurt Hughes of Seattle, but was stretched three feet and the bridgedeck clearance was increased by six inches. Such a catamaran in the Caribbean would carry about 65 passengers on daytrips, but we never sail with much over 35 people. Adventure Cat, another Kurt Hughes design that is frequently seen on San Francisco Bay, is 55 feet by 30 feet, and she’s Coast Guard licensed to carry 49 passengers. One of the really cool things about cats such as Profligate and Adventure Cat is that, although they can easily carry many people, they are very easy to sail by just one or two people.


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