Are You A Catamaran Sailor?

Being a Catamaran Sailor is different if you have never done it before especially for a sailor used to a monohull boat. The most distinctive difference to a dinghy and a catamaran is the twin hulls.

These twin hulls mean that no centreboard is required, because the two hulls provide the counteracting balance from the wind. If the wind picks up the catamaran can sail on one leg (which is it's version of heeling).

The tiller extension is very long and there are two rudders - one for each hull. There is also a trapeze, which is the reason that it is long.

There is a very small gib that is hardly used in a catamaran and is only used to help turn the boat.

So thats some background information to catamarans; now onto the actual sailing of them.

First point is that the rudders are large and there are two of them. I point this out, because if you push them out to one side, the boat will actually stop and stall. You won't believe me until you have actually see it. So until you do just take my word for it. Only do small, steady and slow movements with the tiller extension.

Next point is that the catamaran has a traveller as well as a mainsheet. The traveller makes the catamaran more like a yacht (which also has a traveller). It also means the boat can go in much stronger winds. The traveller helps pull the boom in tighter or let it out further by simply letting it off and it is far more effective than the mainsheet and speedier. It is a very useful device in a sudden gust.

Finally, sailing manoeuvres are quite difficult on a catamaran as well as points of sail. The catamaran cannot go on a dead run as it will just stop. It is most efficient on a broad reach or beam reach. The catamaran cannot tack very easily and takes a long time as well as having to travel further than a normal dinghy. It cannot of course roll gybe or roll tack, which makes it even slower.

Catamarans are great fun for all sailors of all ages and everyone is highly recommended to sail one at least once in their sailing career!

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