Rough Seas

No, we are not out sailing right now. In fact, we have been holed up in rainy Sydney for over a month and we are itching to get moving again. When we meet up with other folks who are not sailors, and tell them about how we sailed here, the most frequent question we are asked is how the boat handles in rough weather. This is the same question we are asked by people interested in Tahina and what its like on a catamaran.

In reality, Tahina has never seen what I would call rough weather. We have never been in a major storm (cyclone/hurricane). We purposely choose our route during idyllic weather patterns, and I put my flying weather skills to work when weather routing our passages. However, we have seen what most people would call rough weather.

There has been the occasional squall, and nearby passing gale that has made the seas pretty impressive. And, we have ridden some pretty immense waves resulting from weather far away, or from wind to our aft. These waves have been as high as 9-10 meters and would scare the heck out of a lot of people. Tahina handles these big seas very well though. The big swells are far apart, and the boat simply rides up and over them. The big swells are long, and everything stays pretty much upright on board during those big seas.

The bad weather for us is during squalls or passing fronts, or especially with the wind ahead of us. Here the seas get very disturbed and Tahina has to bash over or through the swells. It is a loud experience. The wind is the loudest part, but also the rush of the water past the hulls, and the waves bashing against the sides and underneath. The boat also moves the most in these conditions.

Mono-hulls have to lash everything down in almost any sailing conditions. On catamarans, we rarely have to do it. The two hulls just give us so much stability the ride is almost always smooth. But, when the wind gets ahead and the seas get up, then our drinks on the table are no longer safe. And, even on Tahina, we have to start putting things away on our counter tops. Once we had stuff all over the floors that had fallen from counters, desks, seats and beds. It was a mess!

Tahina is a South African-built catamaran that was designed to handle blue water conditions. She is strong, and built well to handle all normal conditions at sea. Properly handled and rigged, she can manage any normal sea conditions. We will continue to plan our passages carefully, and choose not to go (or change our route) if bad weather is ahead. Tahina will continue to provide us with safe passages.

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5 Responses to Rough Seas

  1. Gayl Blount says:

    Frank, I laughed when I read this part of your journal entry, “everything stays pretty much upright on board during those big seas”, with Lara being the lone exception! Tahina 1, Lara 0

    Nice to continue with you on your journeying. ~Lara’s Mom

  2. Tom Boles says:

    Frank….thanks for the interesting comments on Tahina. We have been following your voyage from the beginning. My wife and I are starting the planning for doing a similar trip and I do have a couple of questions. Are you seeing more cruising catamarans out there and if so, what size and make. After 2 1/2 years would you have chosen differently? And secondly, on monohulls, does there seem to be a consensus of correct size for 2 people and a make you see more often than any other?

    Thanks

    Tom & Genevieve
    Houston, Tx

  3. Frank Taylor says:

    @Tom & Genevieve: There are definitely a growing number of catamarans, and many mono-hull owners out cruising talk about moving to cats. There have been a wide variety of sizes and makes for catamarans out here. The most common size has been in the 44-46 foot range. But, we have seen people on 38-70′ cats out cruising. But, very few over 50. We are very happy with our choice and have no regrets. On mono-hulls, sizes and makes are a much wider choice. There is little consensus. It depends on your needs and lifestyle choice. One monohull choice sticks out though: the Amel boats (http://www.amel.fr). Very happy Amel owners and you can find deals second-hand.

  4. Susan Reeves says:

    Frank, we have enjoyed reading your adventures aboard Tahina. Mike and I bought the 2009 St. Francis at the Miami Boat Show and have loved it dearly for several years. However, our lifestyle has changed to include some little West Coast granddaughters, so our time is more frequently spent that direction instead of on our boat. We have our boat, Twilight Rodeo 2, for sale. If, on your travels, you hear of anyone interested in purchasing a really gorgeous, well-outfitted vessel, please share this link to the yachtworld site with them:
    http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2009/St.-Francis-50-Catamaran-2265973/Sarasota/FL/United-States
    Thanks so much….and happy sailing!!
    Susan Reeves

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