Here are my thoughts on the Haha.
It’s really a boat race loosely organized as a rally. There was a great emphasis on sailing the entire way and a bit of a stigma for using your engine. There were 130 or so boats participating, of which only about 8 were catamarans. Interestingly the cats were the fastest boats of the bunch, with only a few large racer-type monos competing. In heavier winds, Neko was quite fast compared to all others so long as we carried a lot of sail, but almost uncomfortably so. We are beginning our cruise and are quite heavily loaded. In light airs we were slow. The only cats consistently faster were a very well sailed Schionning 49 named Sea Level and a custom go-fast cat named Kalewa. I don’t know if the latter is on the web, but suggest you google it. Quite a boat. At the very beginning we had about 20-25 knots on a close reach. We and Sea Level easily left the pack behind doing about 11, with the Schionning slowly drawing away from us.
But Kalewa must have started late b/c it screamed up and passed us both. Its basically a giant beach cat. We had speeds over 15 knots surfing with the spinnaker up, along with consistent 8s, 9s, 10s and 11s in good winds. It was the lighter winds that were our downfall.
It’s already got me thinking of a better light air rig. Also, a cleaner rig. We have a staysail, genoa, gennaker on a sprit and symmetrical spinnaker that we fly from both hulls, all fractionally rigged. This leads to a jungle of lines coming down the side decks – spin tackline, spin sheet, gennaker sheet if rigged, dagger lines, headsail furling lines (3 of them), preventer if you rig one. We had use for both the gennaker and the spinnaker, so couldn’t really do without one. I would really like to replace both the spinnaker and gennaker with a big deep reaching sail, preferably tacked to the sprit and furling and even better flown from higher up the mast. Anyway it was fun to finally put this boat through its paces and see it perform well.
If you like group activities, you’ll love the Haha. You can participate as much or as little as you want. They’ve got parties and volleyball and chit chat galore. Some people clearly can’t get enough of that sort of thing. Some must have iron stomachs because we saw a few drunk souls the night before leaving on each leg.
Overall, the Haha made sailing down 800 miles of forbidding Pacific coast quite enjoyable and secure. There were sailmakers and riggers and electronics gurus etc. among the fleet, all of whom were willing to help others for only a cold beer in return. It had a good, positive overall vibe. However, now that we are finally around the bottom of the peninsula, we are ready to go at it in a smaller group. (more Haha photos)
Go Pete go! How satisfying — on your first real foray/race out.
I like your sail thinking, though think a SIM card with unlimited minutes may be a more appreciated investment for your co-captain and perhaps a few other interested landlubbers.