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CATAMARAN DESIGNS

F-41™, F-44R™ & The New F-44SC

Chris Hiscock's F-41 ISLAND STYLE, light weather sailing in New Zealand
- photo by Mike Hunter, Boating New Zealand

F-41 DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

Catamaran designs were not initially considered as an option for Farrier Marine, Inc, but a number of Farrier trimaran owners considering moving up to large catamarans have commented that the boats in general just did not perform well, or the building plans available were not very comprehensive.

Observations of existing catamaran designs showed a number of areas that could be improved, particularly building methods and systems, so a decision was made in 1998 to go ahead with the first Farrier catamaran design - the F-41, and then a high performance version, the F-44R.

New F-44SC (Super Cruiser) Now Also Available

There have now been many launchings around the world, one Atlantic crossing has already been made, while Scott Meyer's ENDLESS SUMMER has cruised across the Pacific from Australia to San Francisco.

ENDLESS SUMMER at the dock soon after launching. Note the high bridgedeck clearance, and
how the transoms are well clear of the water - always a good sign of a light boat that can perform

ENDLESS SUMMER sailing off the Gold Coast, Australia

ENDLESS SUMMER was the first F-41 launched, in Australia in 2002, and immediately proved to be a real performer, reaching 21 knots on her first sail (Sailing report link below). Construction is all epoxy foam core, extensively vacuum bagged, and thus ENDLESS SUMMER is very light for a large cruising cat, for a very high standard of performance.

Considerable valuable data was obtained from this launching, enabling the plans and features to be even further refined and optimized, to make the F-41 one of the most comprehensively developed catamaran designs available. The Farrier design way has always been to concentrate on providing a few well developed designs, which are then constantly improved until just about perfect in every way, and this well proven and very successful philosophy will be continued with the F-41.

.....and at the dock in Hawaii, bow pole retracted - photo by Jim Jensen

F-41 builders Jack and Marlene Dearden had an opportunity to sail on ENDLESS SUMMER and wrote:

Jack -"I was amazed at the way it sailed at or better than apparent wind speed. As you always do we found another boat to race against which happened to be a pretty sleek looking trimaran called Adios. When we approached them they shook their reef out of the main and I fully expected them to sail away. However, with speeds up to 16 knots, we were still holding (actually gaining on them).

Marlene -" Now for the technical side of things, it was fantastic to be out on the water again and they even let me steer it, which I found to be quite easy. It was good to be able to eat and drink without holding everything in you lap. I have always been a little apprehensive about being able to handle a boat so wide but after steering and sailing on Endless Summer I am comfortable and look forward to launching our boat. Jack is now ordered to work 16 hours a day instead of his usual 8."

Paul Symes' F-41 'Duette' at launching in Christchurch, New Zealand.

...and sailing up the New Zealand coast to Auckland (reaching 19.1 knots on the way).

Catamaran Pros and Cons

Catamarans over 35' begin to offer many advantages and become the cruising multihull of choice over 40', with considerably more room and better interior layouts being possible. With only two hulls versus three, they are also less complex and easier to build than a trimaran, and thus offer the most room for the least amount of effort and cost. There is some extra work required with the need for two rudders and daggerboards, and two engine installations, but the savings overall easily offset this.

A cruising catamaran will not perform or handle as well as the equivalent cruising trimaran, but once large enough to offer full standing headroom on the bridgedeck, without a high windage boxy cabin, their performance can be quite acceptable, and even impressive. However, they do need to be designed correctly, with a modern rig and systems, and be built with advanced methods to achieve the very necessary light weight.

Chris and Stephanie Hiscock's F-41 ISLAND STYLE in Lyttleton harbor, New Zealand

...and cruising in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland

What Type of Catamaran?

The larger bridgedeck cabin type of catamaran is a very interesting and capable craft and considerable research has been done on the existing 'state of the art' catamarans from Australia's best and fastest to the French style luxury cruiser catamarans. The new F-41 is of this latter type, but from a completely new and fresh perspective. Existing good features have been retained and improved, while any problem areas or complexities have been eliminated wherever possible.

The open bridgedeck type of catamaran is less desirable, as while these can offer excellent performance, room has to be limited, and an oversize rig is usually required to achieve equivalent performance to a trimaran. This makes them a little skittish and easier to capsize. Such cats can also be very wet, particularly with spray generated from the windward bow. This does not occur with a trimaran where the windward bow is always clear of the water, and such spray can be controlled better on the larger bridgedeck type cat.

Open bridgedeck cats can be cheaper initially, but this can also be an illusion, as net ownership cost can be considerably more, due to their low popularity resulting in a disappointing resale value. Trailerability will help improve the small open bridgedeck cat's practicality, but is only achievable by assembly which can take hours and require several people, resulting in little trailering, if any. Such boats then tend to end up on a mooring and smaller versions less than 30' may not have the interior room or comfort to justify the expense of mooring/docking fees and bottom paint.

Design Philosophy

The design object was to provide a safe, roomy, rugged, and practical cruising catamaran, that also offers outstanding performance and handling, but not at the expense of room, safety, or structural integrity. These ongoing principals have made Farrier trimarans the most popular of their class, along with the highest resale value.

The F-41 is not an excessively large 41 footer, being more like a 40 footer with longer hulls for better overall balance, performance and seaworthiness. Overall length can in fact be as much as 43' depending on builder's preferences, and there will be no need for hull extensions after launching, as is a common problem with many designs.

Over three years of research and development time have now gone into the F-41, as good thorough design and a highly detailed set of plans can make the building process much easier for the builder, considerably reducing construction time and making it possible to enjoy sailing sooner.

Jaap Verwer's F-41 in Latvia

F-41 Features

Interior

Particular care has been taken to ensure the main saloon is bright and airy, with excellent views all around, and all cabins have good ventilation. By extending the cockpit coamings outboard, for instance, the aft cabins can have forward facing opening windows.

There are many options possible in the interior layout, so that it can be tailored to the owner’s specific tastes or requirements. This is one advantage of a self-built or custom built boat in that the interior can be built exactly as required.

Dinette area - several different options are available, galley being located down in starboard hull in ISLAND STYLE

Starboard hull galley - forward double cabin through doorway, and optional forward bathroom is just visible

The plans thus allow and include such options as 'galley up' or 'galley down'. With 'galley up', the galley is located in the bridgedeck saloon cabin where it is very convenient, airy and open, though the galley size can be restricted. 'Galley down', has it located in one hull where it can be very roomy, with many more options. However it can also become a ‘cave like’ unfriendly area, and special care has been taken to minimize this. There is also a ‘mini galley’ option in the main saloon, for convenient snacks, drinks etc., avoiding the need to go down into a hull.

Bridgedeck galley and main settee on Paul Symes' F-41 - more interior photos
are available via links at bottom of page

Depending on use of boat, there are two to four separate cabin options. Four cabins can give a better return when chartering, but two cabins are roomier and more practical for cruising.

Interior Layout 1

Interior Layout 2

Interior Layout 3

These are downloadable Adobe Acrobat PDF files for better resolution and printing. Readable by most computer platforms via the free program Acrobat Reader. More details on Newsletter Page

Hull Beam To Length Ratio

The F-41 hulls use a waterline beam to length ratio of 11 : 1 which provides excellent room inside and a high load carrying capacity, while also maintaining high performance. Very narrow hulled boats can frequently end up slower overall due to excessive wetted area from hulls floating well below their design waterline, even when only moderately loaded. They can also be prone to excessive hobby horsing due to a lack of buoyancy in the ends.

Philip Berman's WAKE UP, built in South Africa, and then sailed across the Atlantic. It performed
admirably in very adverse conditions having seen winds up to 50 knots and seas up to 20 feet

Flared/Stepped Hulls

These can be a good feature and are now used on a number of designs to increase interior room. However, flares/steps tend to look unattractive on the outside, are difficult to make and fair, plus one is actually increasing overall beam, but not stability. The F-41 has flared hulls, but only on the inside. Not using a flare/step on the outside also avoids the problems that can arise when tied up alongside a low dock, or another lower freeboard boat, where the step can be rising and falling with any motion, and can cause damage. Careful design has also eliminated the problem of noisy wave slapping that can occur on such hull steps when at anchor or at sea.

Bridgedeck Clearance

This is a very important requirement and has been kept very high overall at 2’ 9” (840mm), with only those areas necessary for standing headroom being at the lowest point. Thus bridgedeck clearance actually increases towards the stern, a common problem area with pounding and drag on large waves.

Rig and Sail Plan

This features a safe low profile rig, but one that is very efficient and able to give very good overall performance, with excellent windward ability in particular, and good light weather speed - common catamaran weak areas. Many advanced multihull rig features as developed and used on the F-25C and F-31R are incorporated, including a rotating mast with an advanced and seaworthy rotation system that eliminates the stay chafe common with the usual nose shackle system. Fosters of New Zealand are now having a special aluminum wing section mast developed specifically for the F-41 and this can be shipped anywhere in the world. All halyards can be internal, while an optional retractable composite bow pole mounted screacher maximizes light air performance. Carbon fiber chainplates are optional to further reduce weight.

Multihull sailmaker and top catamaran sailor Randy Smyth has optimized the sail plan for the maximum efficiency, with the more efficient square top main standard, though a traditional pin head main is an option. A self-tacking jib will also be optional for maximum ease of use. A composite bow beam (carbon fiber recommended) is optional to minimize weight in the bow area, reducing pitching moment, for the best motion in choppy waters. The F-44R option offers a longer waterline and taller rig for the performance orientated sailor.

Deck Layout

Particular care has taken to ensure crew friendly and family safe deck areas. One problem noticed with some existing designs is a tendency to have too many corners or rounded edges making a walk around the deck a little challenging. The crew should be able to feel safe at all times. Sidedecks must be wide, with ample nonskid, while the immediate mast area should make working on the mast easy, not a tricky endeavor. All halyards and sheets can be led aft for the maximum convenience.

Cockpit also should be crew friendly, and many designs require the crew to be standing for any visibility forward. This is not comfortable or enjoyable and the F-41 cockpit coamings are designed for use as additional seating with excellent forward visibility. One option allows comfortable seating on both sides of the cockpit coamings, with an excellent view all around. Door to main cabin is large for convenience and easy access, while the cockpit can have an optional full Bimini or hardtop.

Daggerboard

These are vertical, and offset outboard in each hull for the maximum performance. Cruisers have the option of using just one daggerboard which experience has shown works almost as well as two. This saves space and the cost of two daggerboards/cases. The daggerboard has an optional 'spring up' feature to help prevent damage in unexpected groundings. A swing back centerboard is also an available option.

Mini-keels are also optional - Paul Symes' F-41 'Duette' being launched

Rudders

Traditional style underslung rudders are standard, and they can still be retractable if wished for beaching. Twin helm stations are recommended, for the best visibility and control, but a single more central helm station is optional. Helms can also be located where required.

'Comfortably Numb', a newly launched F-41 in Sydney, Australia, has standard
underslung rudders with twin helms. Was built in just under two years by Alan Milne,
Steve Bradley, and David Bradley. Another light boat.

Deep daggerboard type transom hung rudders with carbon fiber gudgeons are optional, as there is just no substitute for deep effective rudders in achieving excellent control and handling/tacking. The rudder blade can be partly retracted in shallow water, or fully retractable for easy and problem free beaching, while the rudder case uses a unique kick up system for safety.

Auxiliary Power

Twin diesels with saildrive units aft in each hull are the standard setup, or twin outboard motors mounted in their own wells each side forward in the bridgedeck, with everything remotely controlled, are optional.

Plans also now include details of another inboard system where propellers are positioned off to one side of hull, and higher, to where they are completely above the hull bottom, thus avoiding any need for a skeg or mini-keel for protection. With this system, saildrives and the extra maintenance involved can also be avoided, as the offset engines can be mounted further forward, to where prop shafts can be used to drive the propellers. The offset allows a 'walk by' passage, so that the hull accommodation is not disrupted, which has been the main problem with such forward mounted engines in the past. The major advantage is that one gets the engine weight more central and in the best possible place. More details are available on the Study Site.

Safety

The unsinkable large beamy catamaran is one of the safest offshore boats available, and safety features of the F-41 include:

Safety hatches: incorporated as standard in each hull to allow easy in and out access in the unlikely event of a capsize. These are also very useful for additional ventilation in tropical areas, or even for passing in supplies direct to the galley from a dinghy (only possible with good bridgedeck clearance).

Watertight compartments: hulls have been designed with several separate watertight compartments to prevent any hull from filling too much after being holed or capsized - this is an essential requirement for good safety on any catamaran.

Mark Sayers' F-41, hull #43, recently launched in Latvia

F-41 Specifications

    L.O.A........................................41' 8" to 43' (12.7 - 13.1m)
    B.O.A....................................... 23' 1” (7.04m)
    L.W.L.......................................39' 5" (12.0m )
    Fully Loaded Displacement (at DWL)...16,900lbs (7680kg)
    Bridgedeck Clearance at full load.........2’ 9” (840mm)
    Bridgedeck Headroom.....................6’ to 6’ 4” (1.83 to 1.93m)
    Hull Headroom.............................6’ to 6’ 6” (1.83 to 1.93m)
    Mast Height.................................54' 2" (16.5m)
    Sail Area.....................................916sq.ft (85sq.m.) (main & jib)
    Draft (board up)............................ 1' 10" (0.56m)
    Draft (board down)....................... 7' 4" (2.24m)

Note that displacement given is for a fully loaded boat floating at its design or drawn waterline (dwl). Bare weight is considerably less and will range from less than 11,000lbs to 13,000lbs depending on materials, fitout, and construction methods. Some specifications confuse displacement and weight, with the bare unloaded weight sometimes being given as displacement, so be aware of this.

'Comfortably Numb' at Sydney harbor heads

Sailing Report and More Photos | More Interior Photos | Photo Gallery

| More Sailing Photos | Downloadable Video

A New F-41 Launched In New Zealand

Another F-41 in New Zealand

* * F-41 For Charter * *

Another F-41 Sailing in Australia

Availability

The F-41, F-44SC, and the F-44R have now been discontinued, in order to concentrate on production boats. However, the F-44SC can be purchased sail away or as a kit from Multihulls Direct in the Philippines

More interior photos:

Jack and Marlene Dearden's F-41 PLAYTIME

An F-44SC Builders Blog

Copyright © 2000 by Farrier Marine, Inc - this page or drawings not to be reproduced without permission of Ian Farrier

F-41 and F-44R are trademarks of Farrier Marine, Inc.