"But a 14- to 15-foot beam will fit in a normal slip, a 24-foot beam in a large powerboat slip and a 25-foot beam you usually see at a mooring," said Stevens. "But marina owners here and along the Intracoastal Waterway are making over their slip plans because those shallow-water slips that held one or two small fishing boats can easily handle a catamaran because of its shallow draft."
Catamarans are more weight sensitive than monohulls, and a heavily overloaded cat can be dangerous in certain situations. Because catamarans, for example, have two hulls, excessive weight quickly will slow the boat as wetted surface increases. A radically overloaded cat can begin to bury its bows into waves rather than rise over them.
"A thousand pounds is not a lot of weight," said Stevens. "They are designed for that -- but 3,000 pounds is a lot of weight -- and if an owner wants to add large extra fuel tanks or generators so he can run tons of electronic equipment and his air conditioner at anchor, the weight can add up quickly.
"If it's that hot, sail north, dude."
Under sail or power, however, catamarans do offer some advantages in safety, economy of operation and maneuverability.
A catamaran that will run off at 17 knots will get one out of harm's way much more quickly than a monohull that might make 9 knots.
With twin engines, one in each hull, a catamaran can be turned in its own length with a minimum of practice, making docking and other close maneuvers quick and easy.
Farrow said a comparison between a 45-foot sportsfisherman and a 36-foot catamaran making the transit from Annapolis to Florida showed the following: The sportfisherman used $4,000 worth of fuel while the catamaran used $130 worth of fuel and got south six days faster.
While there will be dozens of multihulls on display from manufacturers in several countries, not all will be quick on the wind or light as a space age feather. It will pay to shop and weigh the pros and cons of use, budget, construction and performance.
"We are seeing a mirror image of the monohull scene, where there are cheap, middle- and high-priced boats," said Farrow. "But our market seems to be cruising couples, people who have made their nut and are ready to get away."
What: 29th annual United States Sailboat Show, oldest fall in-the-water show in the country. Hundreds of boats on display in addition to vendors for accessories, equipment and services.
Where: City Dock and harbor, Annapolis
When: Now through Oct. 12
Hours: Show open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday and Monday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Admission: $12 for adults, $6 for all children 12 and under.
Parking: From Route 50, take Exit 24, Rowe Boulevard, and follow signs to parking lots. Shuttle buses from parking lots to City Dock area will run from 9 a.m. to one hour after the show closes each day.
Information: For more show information, call 410-268-8828.
Pub Date: 10/11/98