Catamaran Handling

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You have the boat – purchased or rented – and you are ready to head out on your own private adventure. No tourist-filled cattle boat for you anymore. It’s time for the two of you to explore those small, romantic bays that long-time Caribbean boaters have told you about.The whole day is perfectly planned … a quiet cove, a picnic lunch, a bottle of champagne … and a National Park Service Ranger pulling his boat up alongside yours to write you a ticket for illegal anchoring. Not exactly what you had in mind? In that case, the first thing you had better do b...

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“To think that a lot of people consider it very difficult to enter a harbor without an engine…it depends on the harbor, of course, but if they would only try it, perhaps they would never again press the starter. It is so much more genuine to come in under sail, listening to the silence, without unnecessary words or gestures.”-Bernard Moitessier, “The First Voyage of the Joshua” After sailing close-hauled all day en route from Anse Marcel at the north end of St. Martin, I was determined to sail right into the steep-sided cove at Ile Fourche, which mean...

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Ok, so there have been hundreds of articles and blogs on how to anchor a boat, and in our case a catamaran. So let me start with a little story. Some 14 years ago, when I was living on my boat in Bequia, in the Grenadine Islands, we got to know a lot of the local guys pretty well. One of those guys was a local Rastafarian, who happened to own a bunch of moorings in Admiralty Bay(Bequia). This guy was pretty low key, cool, and kind. But his business was as automatic as you can imagine. Once we had been there for a long time we became accepted in...

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Featured in Blue Water Sailing By now most monohull sailors have chartered a catamaran in the Caribbean or the Mediterranean and have come to appreciate the many virtues cats have to offer for cruising, including stable sailing with fewer seasick guests, faster off wind speeds, little or no rocking at anchor, a large aft cockpit for lounging and dining, privacy for each guest in suites that are far apart, and galley up cooking in a saloon bathed with light. Yet these traditional monohull sailors, while appreciative of the catamaran's strengths,...

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Occasionally while spending time with friends and fellow cruisers, the topic of running often comes up.  Not so much running for fitness, but rather running before the wind on a sailboat.  Often cruisers dread this point of sail, commenting on cork screwing and a wicked rolling motion that is intolerable.  Well, if you rig your boat properly it can be a wonderful point of sail, fast, safe and relatively comfortable.  Another bonus is that broad reaching and running present the least amount of resistance and stress to your boat.&nbs...

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I have been a cruising cat fanatic for quite a while now, since the early 1990s. In my years as a yacht broker, one question that has often been raised, then easily dismissed, has to do with the offshore safety of cats–particularly the discussion of capsizing. There was a time when the first words out of my mouth when confronted with safety at sea were “no cruising cat over 45’ has ever flipped.” Whether or not that was more hyperbole than fact, most early cruising cats were really heavy, slow condomarans. There is still a huge amount of these types o...

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It’s all very well to have chosen your catamaran, but before leaving, it will have to be equipped. Here is a short guide to the essential equipment, what it is worthwhile having and what can be seen as superfluous…  We have decided to look at the problem as it presents itself to someone who wants to sail fast, of course, but also with no worries. We start from the principle that your newly-delivered, 45 to 50-foot catamaran, is equipped with the basic instruments – an echo sounder, a log-speedometer and a VHF. From a comfort point of view, you...

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Featured in Blue Water SailingThe importance of helm location on a cruising cat. There are several discussion points nearly all serious catamaran buyers and owners eventually come back to. We hear about bridge deck clearance, daggerboards versus keels, galley up versus galley down, foam core versus balsa core, etc. The placement of helms on catamarans is another of these often-debated issues. While there is no one “right” way to design a catamaran’s helm station, it is vital to understand the pros and cons of each to settle on the design that bes...

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Sailing alone is more rewarding than difficult. It is also the best way of getting to know your boat well. It is not a question here of describing the methods used by the big ocean racers, who have to keep one eye open at 30 knots on one hull, pulled by a 300m² gennaker... What interests us is cruising sailing, close to the coasts, or on the high seas. Sailing alone can be a choice, a challenge to be taken up, but also an obligation. A delivery trip when no crew is available, or much more often, when cruising as a family. At sea, with young children and...

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