(Gamefishing for Sail Under Sail)
Why you ask, would we even consider
such a notion as big game fishing from a sail powered vessel?
As we research through the gamefishing market in general, and
some of the more recent articles on new fishing sites, etc., we
notice more and more references to potential, prolific hot spots
in an array of international and often remote locations.
The equatorial upwellings of the *Pacific's Line Islands, the
*Charlotte Bank off Brazil, and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia
are a few examples which we will reference later in this paper.
There are many other documented sites as well as numerous unexplored
remoteness of these sites and their probable lack of facilities
often preclude the use of most traditional craft. We need a vessel
of true self-sufficiency, with capabilities of endurance and
long range. The catamaran hull form has in the past
couple of years gained significant recognition from both
the power and sail industries as a truly efficient, sea-kindly
hull form . There are monthly, many new converts praising the
virtues of these multihulls. There is even a new magazine devoted
to power multihulls.
efficiency factor under both power and sail is the key to long
range. The long slender hulls of a catamaran are easily driven
past the traditional displacement/hull-length resistance speed
barriers, and this vessel's design has been optimized at a fineness
ratio of 14 to 1 to ensure top performance. Twin diesel power
of 350 hp each should drive her at 25 knots. Remember this
is not a traditional displacement hull form, so it does not require
excessive h.p. to 'get on plane'.
unique prop drive system contributes to this boat's efficiency.
The props are not inclined to the water flow, but rather are directly
aligned with it. This imparts an almost 100% thrust factor, and
we can swing larger props as we're not limited by the traditional
shaft inclination/length constraint. Many traditional sportsfishing
boats are seen to be riding bow up at approx. 7 to 10 degrees.
Add this angle to the shaft angles of 12 to 15 degrees, and we
have props digging at the water between 19 to 25 degrees off true
perpendicular; inefficient and prone to induce significant vibrations
due to the unequal top to bottom hydrodynamic loadings. And upon
hard backing-down, a tendency to power the stern of the vessel
catamaran has its props further forward in a less vulnerable location,
at the best inclination, and separated in width such as to offer
excellent maneuverability. The propellers can be mounted either
to the front or the rear of the strut in a pushing or pulling
fashion, and the entire strut/prop mechanism can be made to retract
(swing up) from the water while under sail and/or for servicing
in remote locations. (Make reference to the Power
Propulsion section of this website)
relatively small size of our engines, and the improved drive and
hull efficiencies, make for a fuel miserly vessel that
attempts to break the vicious circle of needing more fuel
to power the higher h.p. engines needed to carry more fuel. This
speed/fuel dilemma is discussed in an article in MARLIN,
Feb-Mar '93. A more recent issue of MARLIN, Jan '95, makes a "head
to head comparison" between a traditional 50' sportfisher,
"Kelsey Lee" and a 50' catamaran vessel,"Tara
Vana" over an identical, non-stop, 900 mile course from
Costa Rica to Mexico; 1800 gals of fuel verses 320 gals for the
cat (under power for the entire trip). And Tara Vana was able
to fish the entire trip, unimpeded by the extra fuel containers
which filled up the cockpit of Kelsey Lee. On another occasion,
a voyage of 3700 miles was accomplished with the consumption of
only 195 gals of fuel! [ The savings in fuel cost alone could
defray a substantial portion of the crew salaries of this vessel
if we add some sails to this vessel, we truly attain an unlimited
range to fish the whole world on our own bottom. Lets keep
this rig simple for non-sailors, and lets make sure it works
in a fishing boat environment.
looked back at an old design of mine from 25 years ago. The basis
of the idea was to develop a simple, efficient cruising
rig ,which might be handled by as few as one person. Preferably
this crewman did not have to leave the central cockpit area and/or
over-exert himself in handling the sails. The rig needed to have
good balance, in a variety of sail configurations which might
be utilized in sailing the great variety of ocean and wind conditions
it might encounter. Without going into details, this rig accomplished
all those objectives, plus all of the sails simply roll
up like old style window shades around their forward support wires
(forestays). Very simply for non-sailors.
under sail? A great majority of the time spent actually fishing
is done at trolling speeds (particularly so with the more recent
popularity of flyfishing and light-tackle/stand-up styles). This
catamaran can reach those trolling speeds under sail alone,
in a silent, effortless, stable manner; and without having to
use multiple sails. The single central sail (mainstaysail) is
all that's needed to reach trolling speeds, and it can be rolled
and stowed in 30 seconds or less, while the engines are engaged
for exceptional maneuvering while landing the fish for tagging.
I'm well aware that once a large gamefish is hooked, the vessel
must get rid of all sail quickly, with minimum effort, and get
under power. This unique vessel accomplishes that.
how about the rigging of the sail plan interfering with the fishing?
Not much - look at perspective view. The wishbone boom swings
up, to stow totally out of the way while trolling. The entire
aft deck is clean except for the two backstays which broadly 'Y'
out to either transom. Two short pole outriggers can be swung
out from their stowed position up along side these backstays.
Its possible that this upside down 'V' formed by the backstays
could be rigged with additional trolling clip attachments. The
actual configuration of the fishing cockpit area may be altered
to suit the owner. Mr. Peter Wright, a very well known
name in offshore fishing around the world, has indicated that
he would be very pleased to help with the final configuration.
Click for Larger View
more detailed description of this unique sailing rig was featured
in some older issues of the magazines Yachting, Rudder, &
Multihulls. The more recent update, "Revisiting
the Mast-Aft Sailing Rig", has yet to be published. Both
copies are available in the archives of this website.
a pleasure it is to move across the water under the silence of
sail and be able to hold a conversation without shouting, and/or
to listen to music without competing with the noise, vibration,
& fumes of a pair of big h.p.diesel engines. Many people to
whom I've talked, have emphasized this very negative aspect of
charterboat fishing. I would urge any game fisherman to try, at
least once, fishing under sail.
also heard the many claims by various captains about their individual
boat's particular sound being an attraction for raising fish.
I find it difficult to believe that a very loud (water
is a great amplifier and transmitter of sound), foreign sound
would act to attract a large predator fish seeking out their food
source in the ocean's natural environment. Loud, unnatural noises
have in most cases acted to disperse aquatic life. Tara Vana,
the only other professional sailing/gamefishing boat (catamaran)
I know of, certainly excelled in the fishing tournaments off the
Pacific island of Bora Bora (www.TaraVana.com).
sea-kindliness of some sportfishing boats is often considered
secondary in the quest for speed. What many people forget about
a smooth ride in a heavy sea is that it is very much a function
of weight, in addition to hull design. The more weight a boat
has, and the more form resistance (fat hull,etc.) it offers to
moving thru the ocean, the more the sea acts to resist the boat's
progress thru the sea, and thus the more uncomfortable ride and
we must slow down. A big headsea is a particular challenge
(the weak link you might say). Heavy boats carry their momentum
into each trough and crest in a battle with the sea, while relatively
lt-weight boats with slender hulls slice through with less battering.
"You can out-think the ocean, but you can't out-slug the
ocean," quoting a sign posted at the U.S. Naval Academy.
a beam or quartering sea, the monohull experiences a rhythmic
rolling motion as it must first roll over in order to develop
an anti-rolling force to roll back. Dampening of this motion is
very slight, and the rolling is further exacerbated by a taller
and/or heavier fishing tower. The catamaran has a much greater
athwartship stability and roll dampening qualities; (and the sail
acts to further dampen this roll, akin to the use of a steadying
sail on an ocean trawler). Following seas tend to pick up broad
sterns and slew the vessel off to either side of a straight course.
Obviously, the catamaran form does not have these broad buoyant
survivability should be a consideration for any vessel making
offshore passages, and its generally acknowledged, that
this is best accomplished by facing into a truly strong storm
(a big headsea). As mechanical things go, its not hard
to imagine some lost of significant power at a most inopportune
time during an extended storm. This could put the solely powered
vessel in a perilous position in short order. The sail/ powered
vessel of this proposal would only need to partially unfurl the
rear (mizzen) sail, and the vessel will point up into the wind
just like a weather vane on top of a barn. Add a sea anchor to
this boat's inventory, and I would ride out a hurricane in this
of this sea stuff, lets look at the fun part. What a great
boat to entertain family, friends, business associates, charter
groups, etc. on, whether fishing or not. The catamaran offers
immense areas in the cockpit, in the saloon/ galley, on the front
tramp for relaxing, sunning, fishing, dining, socializing. The
main saloon was divided into two large 'U'-shaped, galley and
dinette/seating areas, and without partitions between them. This
provides a spacious openness,
with a panoramic view out the deckhouse windows. Including
the galley in this social area is analogous to the situation at
most land based home parties; the kitchen invariable becomes a
center of the party. These areas could be opened up further, however
at sea, I've found that one does not want too open an area, with
limited things to hold onto and/or brace against. The nav
station is conveniently located just inside the deckhouse
entrance, and communicatively close to a major helm station. It
also provides another seat in the social saloon.
Just outback, the aft deck (the
'porch') becomes an extension of the main saloon with attendant
seating and stowable dining table. This area could be modified
to include twin fishing chairs at the two corners of the
inboard transom. The fishing participants and spectators can co-mingle
in a cockpit this size. Where the original design called for an
awning to be deployed from the deckhouse roof to shade the cockpit
seating, the newer version provides a hardtop extension to the
deckhouse roof which covers this seating, and could deploy curtains
to enclose this area in inclement weather or low sun angles. The
skipper can now set or stand on the aft portion of this hardtop
for an excellent view while backing down on a fish. The transom
doors have been modified to not foul lines, and bait wells are
incorporated in the transom extensions. Artificial tackle is stowed
in lockers in the back undersides of the cockpit seating. The
port helm station has been eliminated in favor of an upper, portable
station atop the deckhouse roof at the base of the mast (great
visibility for docking).A short climb up some folding steps puts
you in the crow's nest (what fun & what a view). The
sailing winches have been repositioned so as to provide additional
seating or a large cushioned area over the large access openings
for engine maintenance or replacement. Considerable effort has
been made to provide accessible sized engine rooms, which contain
most of the mechanicals, and are isolated from the living areas
by a major bulkhead of the vessel. Many of these modifications
are detailed in drawings under development and are available upon
request from the author/designer.
other 60/65' could provide 4
private dbl staterooms to the exclusion of any saloon
conversion and two separate crew's quarters. Wow! The layout arrangement
can be modified to fit an individual owner's requirements, but
the basic premise was to locate all of the living areas (excluding
crew) between the two major watertight bulkheads fore & aft.
Versatility might dictate that the two most forward of these dbl.
strms. be configured as two singles with removable inserts which
convert them to doubles; or one might be converted to a very large
one other aspect of a cat that really adds to their fun. They
draft! You can go exploring, many times right up
to the shore. You can go where other boats only dream of; mangroves,
rivers, coves. You can even beach the bows. You can fish the flats
and reefs from the Bahamas to the Pacific atolls.
is a specialized vessel, which should appeal to that truly adventurous
sportsman who desires to fish something other than organized tournaments,
or that gentleman who desires to own a 'porsche of the seas'.
8304 Whittier Blvd
Bethesda, MD 20817
A sportsfishing vessel could also be operated as a fisheries research
vessel. There are a number of colleges/universities (consortium)
which could make shared use of such a vessel while the owner(s)
co-benefit with usage time and tax considerations. Visit our Owner/Charter
it be overlooked, this vessel's mission need not just be fishing.
That may just be an ancillary feature of this very versatile
world explorer. What a great Motor/sailer!