Radical Bay 8000

Having long been interested in the concept of putting a parallel or “biplane” rig on a catamaran, I was very happy to have a chance to sail the new Radical Bay 8000 catamaran after the 2010 Annapolis sailboat show. The cool thing about sailing the boat was that I really had no idea what I was doing.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Having long been interested in the concept of putting a parallel or “biplane” rig on a catamaran, I was very happy to have a chance to sail the new Radical Bay 8000 catamaran after the 2010 Annapolis sailboat show. The cool thing about sailing the boat was that I really had no idea what I was doing. Even the guy who built the boat, Ian Morse of Radical Catamarans, is still unraveling its mysteries.

The aerodynamic complexities of sailing with two separate main-and-headsail rigs side by side can indeed be mind-boggling. For example, during our sail the boat’s leeward mainsail jibed to windward as it got sucked into the draft of the windward sail while we were running off on a broad reach. I’ve sailed wing-and-wing before, but never with all spars turned inboard.

The boat is based on a DIY kit put together by Australian designer Jeff Schionning, and in ramping it up for production Ian made a few changes. He put wishbone booms rather than fixed booms on the two unstayed rotating carbon-fiber masts and added the two jibs, which furl on their own luffs. He builds the boat in epoxy, and the two resin-infused hulls are cored with Corecell foam.

The Radical Bay is certainly fast. During our sail we hit speeds well over 8 knots in 12 knots of apparent wind on a close reach; running dead downwind we topped 5 knots in 4 knots apparent. The boat is also reasonably closewinded. Closehauled with the daggerboards down, we sailed at a true angle of about 45 degrees. If you play the jibs right—backing the leeward jib back as you begin turning into the wind, then furling it and unfurling the other jib on the new tack—the two hulls turn smartly through the wind.

Ian claims he’s had the boat sailing as fast as 18 knots in 25 knots of wind, but notes the deck is extremely wet in such conditions. As on any cat, weight is critical. Ian admits the boat sails poorly when heavily loaded; he also says it would probably sail faster with just one mast in the middle.

The boat’s best feature is that it is remarkably stable. With a low center of effort, and with sails planted on both hulls, it is nigh on impossible to fly a hull, much less flip the boat over. In the moderate winds we had, I found I could turn in any direction I wanted without worrying at all about what the sails were doing.

As such, the Radical Bay should make a great little high-speed camp-cruiser and weekender. There are minimal, yet adequate accommodations in the two asymmetric hulls, which have crouching headroom (5ft 8in), three berths, a small dedicated galley, and a simple head and shower. The boat can be disassembled and trailered, though Ian estimates it takes about a day to put it back together.

To really enjoy a boat like this, you have to be comfortable climbing a steep learning curve. In the short time I spent aboard, I had lots of fun experimenting with the sails, but learning to sail the Radical Bay really well would probably take me a season or two. If this doesn’t sound like fun to you, you’ll probably just find the boat frustrating. For folks who prefer to stay inside the box, the Radical Bay can now also be ordered with one mast instead of two.

SPECS: LOA: 26ft 4in DRAFT: 12in HEADROOM: 5ft 8in SAIL AREA: 441 sq ft DISPLACEMENT: 2,425lb DESIGNER: Schionning Designs

Photo courtesy of Radical Catamarans

Related

Register-2048

Register of Circumnavigators Launched

Just in time for a fresh class of Vendée Globe sailors to attempt their circumnavigations, The International Association of Cape Horners (IACH) has taken on the responsibility of maintaining an official register of sailors who have completed solo circumnavigations by the Three ...read more

FPO skys0tlm8jlrpynehcpe_NEW

A Half-century of Cruising with SAIL

I cannot say I have been reading SAIL magazine since the very beginning, but I come pretty darned close. Sometime around 1974, when I was in high school, I began buying it every month at our local newsstand and saving every issue until I had great stacks of them, as carefully ...read more

B&G-Halo20+-side-facing

Gear: B&G HALO radar

B&G’s HALO series of radars now includes the HALO20+ and the HALO20, a pair of compact radomes expressly designed for use aboard smaller sailboats. The units measure 20in in diameter and weigh a mere 11lb. The HALO20+, in particular, delivers a full 360-degree sweep every ...read more

PICTON CASTLE under sail with stunsls WV7 compressed

Picton Castle Seeks Crew

The Picton Castle is set to begin its eighth circumnavigation this spring under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland. A professional crew of 12 will guide up to 40 trainees at a time as they learn about all aspects of sailing the bark, from steering to lookout, ...read more

DSC_0013

Ask Sail: Keel Attachments

Q: I have an early ‘70s Catalina 27. The keel bolts look pretty good. My question is, why not glass over the keel to bond to the hull rather than changing the bolts if, or when the bolts are too far gone? I haven’t seen anything on this, so could you discuss? Full-keels are ...read more

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more

Photo-by-Adobe-Stockpics721-2048x

Webinar: Navigating Post-Dorian Abaco

On Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm ET, Navigare Yachting presents a webinar on what to expect from Abaco post-Dorian. The event will feature the authors of The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Steve Dodge and his sons Jon and Jeff.Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco in early September of 2019 and ...read more