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Choosing a cat advice please - 14 or 15ft

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I’m looking to buy a catamaran and would appreciate some input:

I will mostly be sailing solo, but occasionally with my 6yo daughter in light conditions, and with a mate when it gets breezy.

I’m 29yo, 6ft6, 100kg and have lots of experience. I used to own a Hobie 18 (LOVED IT) but it was a little  bit too big to setup and sail solo and I could not reliably find crew so I want something that is:
 
a) light enough to drag up and down the beach and rig by myself
b) buoyant enough for a combined crew weight of up to 180kg
b) fast enough to not get bored
 
I’ve sailed a Hobie 16 but I’m not a fan of the raised trampoline and I’m thinking it may also be a bit heavy.
 
So I’m looking at the Windrush 14, Nacra 4.5, Nacra 5.0, Is there anything else I may have overlooked? The boomless Nacras are certainly appealing from a safety perspective with a young child.
 
Do people sail the 5.0s solo? The advantage over the 4.5 being the extra trapeze and the extra buoyancy and there seems to be only 10kg difference in boat weight. Is there a fleet of Nacras or Windys on Sydney Harbour or Pittwater or do they mainly sail Hobies? Also is there somewhere that I might be able to test sail or hire a 4.5 and a 5 for comparison. 

Thanks in advance!

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There's Palm Beach, Concord and Ryde, Kurnell, Port Kembla on Lake Illawarra, and Southern Highlands at Fitzroy Falls, Toukley, Mannering Park and Budgewoi on Lake Macquarie that I can think of straight away.  Kembla have quite a big fleet of Windy's and one or two Mari's with sloop rig.  Concord definitely have Mari's.

I've seen 4.5's and 5's (only ever one or two) but don't know where they sail.

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Just in case you haven't bought anything yet...
Your 'ideal' boat doesn't exist... coz u r asking for something that hasn't been designed yet...
However, the closest you could come would be a Prindle 16, or a Prindle 15 (with an added jib) - for when you have crew.
Unless of course you want an older design like a Mosquito... but that has the hassle of centreboards... and they're 'fragile' boats compared to the plasti-cats.

In the 80's and 90's (when the Prindles were going strong) - the top sailors regularly sailed the Prindle 16 1-up - but they definitely knew what they were doing - and understood what the upper wind limit would be before venturing out solo...

The Windrush 14 and Maricat are good up to a combined crew weight of 120kgs. Anything more than that they start to suffer badly.
That latest foam sandwich Windrush 14 is a joy to sail - (I have one) - and is very fast on all points of sail - but realistically, is still a 1-up boat if you're 100+ kgs...

Of course if it's anything above 20 knots, you can still blast along with slightly heavier crew weights - but then if you do that regularly you should be on a 16 anyway...
:p
 

 

 

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A viper or similar late generation F16 would be your best bet.  Mossies and Taipan 4.9 are both raced 1 and 2 up but the mossie won't handle 180kg well and the Taipan will bog down a bit.  Ok for blasting with a mate but don't expect to win any races.  Any of these can be easily rigged and moved around the beach single handle.

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Go the  4.5, I regret every day since i sold mine, you can rig it on your own, sail it on your own. or crew. simple, flies, ticks all boxes!! good luck

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It depends on your skills and experience, and what you really want to do. If you want to race then maybe Nacra 4.5 or maybe Nacra 430, if not you might also also think of the fairly quick but very easy to set up and buoyant Hobie Wave http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewforum.php?f=24 which doesn't have a raised trampoline

or Nacra 350.

Older boats might be good but then that can come with other problems too and can take longer to set up, aren't as buoyant and so on. Like an old car, it does the job but new ones are so much better.

Speed isn't everything so don't get too focused on that in my personal opinion unless you want to go racing. Even then the handicap system comes into place.

Also worth considering what the normal wind conditions are in your area. Is it normally 5-10 knots, 10-15 knots and so on? If it is windy then having too much power in your Cat can be a problem if you aren't used to handling it. If you are used to it then too much power might be just what you want.

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I think one boat you may have overlooked isn't a Cat but a Tri - and that's a Weta 4.4.

OK it does have a raised tramp but because the structure is carbon it's light enough to take down the beach (about 120Kg fully rigged) on your own and takes less than 25 minutes to rig (see video). All the components are light enough too as the spars are all carbon and the mast is in two pieces which slot together. There's no boom to worry about either as the mylar sails are fully battened and the furling screecher is great fun off the wind in a blow - and flat enough to use as a "code zero" upwind in the light stuff.

It has enough buoyancy for 2 1/2 adults or 200Kg and can be raced one or two up.

It planes upwind at around 10 knots of breeze and you can do 20Knots off the wind. But the main point is it's usability as you can take it out in over 30 knots and not get bored or overpowered (34 knots is my max to date) - and if it does go over it's easy to right even in a blow (I know - I've done it). All you do is undo one one of the ports on the end of the floats and let the air out - then right it like a monohull - it takes about 3-5 mins.

There's a fleet on Sydney Harbour at Woollarah SC and another at Palm Beach Sailing Club at Pittwater. We also do various regattas and marathon races around the state.

See weta.com.au or facebook.com/ausweta

 

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