Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Close out and Thoughts for 2014

Not much has happened this summer from a sailing perspective.  We only took day trips on the boat as Bonnie's dog is having severe hip problems in old age and we are hesitant to leave him at a kennel (aka doggie spa). Also the business is way off, with the CR and Sequestration driving project profits into the dirt. So much for the semi-retired life - at least for now.

When last we left the boating project list, we had one new engine and one on its last legs.  I was hesitant to buy replace the old one, as it was still working and we had no plans for summer adventures.

We planned to replace it this winter, and by coincidence, Honda has come out with an extra long shaft sailboat outboard that is 15 hp.  Compared to our 9.9's the difference is huge.  It not really speed that would increase, as the hull speed is limited due to the length and hull type.  But it gives us much more power when going against a current or wind.  We can't use regular outboards on the boat, as the shaft length, transmission gear ratio, and prop size don't work for big boats. They are meant for the small, light , planning hulls of little boats.

Potential new engine
Of course, we already have one new engine, so I will need to decide if its worth selling it or trading it in, or just giving up on the idea and staying with the proven Yamahas.

I have yet to measure the engine compartment to see if it can actually fit.  I'll also need to change wiring harnesses and throttle cable positions. So the jury is still out...

I was reading a great article in Good Old Boat magazine about D/L and SA/D ratios.  It reminded me that; 1) weight is critical on a catamaran, and 2) our catamaran has varied in weight by as much as 3500 pounds depending on what we are doing with it.

Here is a chart I made up of the variations in these ratios based on our weight.

Variations in D/L and SA/D Ratios for our PDQ 36
For those of you who are boaters, you know these numbers and have possibly purchased your boat based in part on them.  For PDQ 36s the advertised empty weight, no engines, no nothing, just the hull is 8800 lbs.  Of course that is not the number that will hit the water.

When we purchased the boat, the weight on the lift was 10,500 lbs. Not too heavy for the boat type.  I know many mono-hull owners with 36 foot boats that have hull weights at least double or 2.5 times our weight.

Once we got all our spare parts and basic stuff on the boat, the weight went up to 11,500 and by the end of the third season we collected enough stuff (full fridge, freezer, water leaking into water-tight compartments, etc.) to add another 1000 lbs.

Last November when we prepped to go south, and I watched the waterline disappear beneath the Bay, we were a whopping 14,000 lbs.  Jeez.  But we sure didn't starve.  A friend of ours with a PDQ 36 in the Bahamas said they were 15,000 lbs one year when they hauled it out to paint the bottom.  It was fully loaded with their 'normal' cruising gear.

We certainly see performance differences above12,000 lbs.  She gets to be quite a dog.  Another reason bigger outboards would be a nice addition.

For a comparison to the ratios of other types of boats, a light boat typically has a D/L of 200, and a heavy boat a D/L of 350 to 400.  So we are still light on that scale.

A Gemini 35 has a D/L of 133.  Of course that is the advertised ratio, and probably not at its cruising weight.  So we are a bit better than they are.  But their SA/D is 21.6 which is a lot better than ours.   That might be because they have a bow sprit and a taller mast.  The Tom Cat has "cruising" D/L of 108 and SA/D of 19.5.  Its shorter than our boat, but has outboards and is very light. It does have significantly less sail area than us.

Here is some real humor - the advertised rations for a Fountaine Pajot, Mahe 36, is D/L 104, SA/D 25.3.  I have no idea how they got those numbers, as the Mahe 36 has a huge Bridge deck that must weight hundreds, of not a couple thousand pounds more than our bridge deck (and theirs has a full kitchen in it too).  Then add two large diesel engines. They say the total weight is 11,500 lbs.  I think they forgot part of the boat. I certainly am not seeing that D/L as accurate. And they have the SA/D of a very fast racing boat, with a mast 13 feet taller than ours.  Hmmm, 13 feet more mast is a huge amount of weight and pressure up pretty high for a short catamaran.

We will haul the boat at the end of October and see how the winter goes for dogs, kids (oh yeah, we are going to be grandparents in late Feb/early March), and for the business.  Hopefully next year will allow us more adventure time.

That said, I do plan to go somewhere this winter that has clear blue water and white sand beaches.  So stay tuned.


  1. Hull extensions. Or learn to live out of a backpack.

    In all seriousness, more water line and some lift will make as much difference as bigger engines, with better fuel consumption and less noise. Money? Probably not that different if the engines are OK for a few more years, more if they are dead now.

    1. No backpack - my wife likes to cook and do crafts on board. Where would I get hull extensions made? They would be worth the investment - I think. I did splurge and order the Hondas. I needed one new engine anyway, and the price was almost the same. I believe I have a buyer for the new 9.9 I got on the way north. Almost what I paid for it. So it might all come together at a reasonable cost. As my friend with a Passagemaker 47 likes to remind me, his one folding prop cost the same as my two outboards. Thanks for the comment.