Albert J Shapiro
June 4, 1996
Dear Mary and John,
I would like to seek your advice, related to Catalac sailing..
Before I do, let me take a moment and tell you how much we enjoy our 9m. We enjoy the
layout, the solidness of the construction and the maneuverability with the twin diesels. As we have
finally found the time to do more cruising and even some fun racing we have found a number of
situations in which we could use some guidance and advise. We are sailing with the original set of
sails. We have the reefing genoa and the mail sail on at present and are finding the following-
When sailing to windward we can not point well at all. We are swinging through 140
degrees in coming through the wind. That is from one point of decent drive to the same point on the
opposite tack. With leeway added to the 140 degrees we are achieving very poor, if any, windward
performance. We have telltales on the genoa and sheet in to the point of seeing the telltales
horizontal. Our genoa sheets are led back to blocks on the boat's sides near the aft cleats.
In tacking through the wind we usually backwind the head sail to help drive us
through, We are finding (more frequently than not) that when we come through the wind on the new tack
direction the boat has a tendency to head up into the wind and not respond to the tiller at all. Also
when we backwind we find the head sail getting stuck in a number of pockets (i.e between the forestay
and the baby stay: around the shrouds or hung up on our recently installed rubber, bumpers on our
Jim Andrews in his book "Catamarans for Cruising mentions this problem Pg 172 ,
stating something like this happened in "older Cats".
We also noticed that when on a run (wind dead behind) we were doing 5 knots through
the water We went over to a broad reach expecting to see a significant increase in speed only to find
ourselves at 3 1/2 -4 knots.
Since much of our local cruising is on the Hudson River with the wind
frequently in our face, the above mentioned issues seriously limit our enjoyment under sail.
Is there something we are doing wrong? We would most appreciate your
comments and suggestions to allow us to better enjoy the Purrfect Sunset. We are planning some
cruising in the next few weeks and would really like to have your advise. Would it be possible for
you to fax it to us at the above number.
Regards to all
TOM LACK MULTIHULL BROKERAGE
FLAGSTAFF MUDEFORD CHRISTCHURCH DORSET
5 June 1996
Albert J. Shapiro
Good to hear from you and I am glad you are now able to contact
USA Cattales. Hope it will make you new friends and give you pleasure meeting other Catalac
Regarding the windward performance you are not getting with Purrfect Sunset, the point that
jumped straight out at me is that of the headsail and sheeting. For windward work it is
important to be able to sheet on the cabin top blocks and, for this purpose we always
recommend using the working Jib, not the genoa. I realize that you probably have lighter winds
than we do in the main and that you use the genoa far more than we do here.
Point two. . Only in exceptional conditions would I back the genoa to come through the wind. I
am not at all surprised to learn that you get into all sorts of a tangle. I am surprised that
your crew has not revolted, for I would if I have to winch in the large headsail when it is
already pulling - that is hard work. The exceptions I cite are when the seas are large and the
wind rather slight, such as the day after a heavy wind. In general, you should sail close to
the wind, without stalling, then put the helm over. As soon as the luff of the main shows
signs of backing, release the genoa sheet and gather as quickly as possible, most of it being
under control before the wind "bites" on the new tack. Hence another reason for having the
smaller head sail. She is heading up to wind and not answering the tiller because the main is
taking charge before the headsail can balance the driving force. In these conditions you will
find it easier ease the main sheet a little, before she takes you into "irons".
The fastest point of sail should be with the wind approximately 100 degrees off the head. She
should, however, not have been faster on a dead run (unless you were able to goose-wing, than
on the broad reach. I think there was some lack of sail trim here. Perhaps the genoa was
taking all the wind from the main - or visa versa,
I do not really, know the weather/wind conditions you experience in the Hudson River but
suggest if you are likely to be beating for a fair time, that you give the Number 1 jib a try.
If the wind is light but ahead, then I would consider having a new headsail with the luff at
least as long as that of the genoa but cut flatter and suitable to sheet on the cabin top.
However, if the wind is very light, do not be tempted to sheet bar tight, for there must be a
little pocket of fullness to drive.
I do hope this will be of help and improve your windward sailing, do let me know.