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How To Sail A Catamaran? (A Detailed Step-By-Step Guide)

how to learn to sail a catamaran

Are you an adventurous soul looking for an exciting way to explore the open waters? If so, then sailing a catamaran may just be the perfect activity for you! Catamarans are becoming increasingly popular for sailing due to their stability and speed, and when sailed correctly, can be a powerfully enjoyable experience.

This guide will walk you through the basics of sailing a catamaran, from understanding the basics of sailing to handling the boat in different conditions and beyond.

Here, we will cover the differences between a monohull and a catamaran, balancing the boat, basic sailing techniques, safety precautions, and tips for improving your catamaran sailing skills.

So grab your gear and lets get sailing!

Table of Contents

Short Answer

Sailing a catamaran is relatively straightforward.

To get started, adjust the sails and rudder to the desired angles.

Next, begin to move forward using the power of the wind and the force of the sails.

While underway, make sure to constantly adjust the sails and rudder to maintain the desired course.

Finally, when ready to stop, lower the sails and use the rudder to bring the catamaran to a stop.

Understanding the Basics of Sailing

Learning how to sail a catamaran can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but before you can take to the open waters you need to understand the basics of sailing.

It is important to familiarize yourself with the fundamentals of sailing, such as understanding wind direction and how to use sails.

Knowing the basics is essential for anyone wanting to sail a catamaran, as it will allow you to make informed decisions when sailing and will help keep you safe on the water.

Understanding wind direction is a key part of sailing, as it will help you determine the best way to sail and how to use the sails to propel the boat in the desired direction.

This can be done by looking at the flags or flags on other boats in the area, as well as by analyzing the behavior of the waves and the wind.

Additionally, you should also learn the different points of sail, which are the directions a boat can sail relative to the wind.

In addition to understanding wind direction, it is also important to understand how to use the sails of a catamaran.

The sails of a catamaran are made up of two mainsails, which are the two large sails on either side of the boat, as well as a jib, which is a smaller sail located at the front.

Knowing how to properly set the sails will allow you to make the most of the wind and propel the boat in the desired direction.

Additionally, you should also learn how to trim the sails, as this will help you to optimize the boats performance in different wind conditions.

Understanding the basics of sailing and how to use the sails of a catamaran is essential for anyone wanting to learn how to sail a catamaran.

With the right knowledge and practice, sailing a catamaran can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

The Differences Between a Monohull and a Catamaran

how to learn to sail a catamaran

When it comes to sailing a catamaran, it is important to understand the differences between a monohull and a catamaran.

A monohull is a single-hulled boat with a keel that runs along the bottom of the boat.

This helps keep the boat stable and upright in the water.

A catamaran, on the other hand, has two hulls which are usually connected by a bridgedeck.

This helps to create a more stable platform in the water and allows for more open space on the boat.

There are some important differences between sailing a monohull and a catamaran.

For example, a monohull requires more power to move through the water and is more limited in terms of maneuverability.

On the other hand, a catamaran is more maneuverable and can be sailed in a variety of conditions.

Additionally, a catamaran is inherently more stable in the water and can handle larger waves.

Another important difference between a monohull and a catamaran is the way they are balanced.

A monohull relies on its keel for stability and must be balanced evenly along the length of the boat.

On the other hand, a catamaran relies on the two hulls to remain balanced and can be sailed with one hull slightly higher than the other.

This allows for greater maneuverability and can help to reduce drag in the water.

Finally, a catamaran is more efficient than a monohull and can be sailed at higher speeds for longer distances.

This makes it ideal for longer trips and open-water sailing.

Balancing the Boat

When it comes to sailing a catamaran, one of the most important steps is learning how to balance the boat.

This is because catamarans have two hulls, which means that they have twice the length and twice the width of a single-hull boat.

This can make it more difficult to keep the boat upright and stable in the water.

When sailing a catamaran, it is important to keep the hulls balanced so that the boat remains stable.

The easiest way to do this is to make sure that the weight is evenly distributed between the two hulls.

This can be done by ensuring that the sail is properly adjusted and that the passengers are sitting evenly between the two hulls.

Additionally, it is important to keep an eye on the wind direction and make sure that the sails are adjusted accordingly.

Furthermore, it is important to be aware of the boats center of gravity.

This is the point at which the boats weight is evenly distributed between the two hulls.

If the boat is not properly balanced, then it can become difficult to control, especially in rough conditions.

It is important to be aware of the boats center of gravity at all times and adjust the weight distribution accordingly.

Finally, it is important to remember that cats are less forgiving than other types of boats.

This means that any errors in balance or sail trim can be exaggerated and lead to a dangerous situation.

Therefore, it is important to practice balancing the boat in calm waters before venturing out in rougher conditions.

By following these steps, sailing a catamaran should be a rewarding and enjoyable experience.

With the right knowledge and practice, anyone can learn how to sail a catamaran safely and confidently.

Handling the Boat in Different Conditions

how to learn to sail a catamaran

When sailing a catamaran, it is important to understand how to handle the boat in different conditions, such as in waves and strong winds.

In wave conditions, the key is to keep the boat balanced.

This means keeping the weight evenly distributed between the two hulls and using the sail to keep the boat stable.

To do this, you can adjust the angle of the sail and the trim of the boat to match the waves.

It is also important to keep an eye on the wind direction, as this can affect the boats stability.

In strong winds, it is important to know how to properly balance the boat.

This means keeping the weight evenly distributed between the two hulls and using the sails to keep the boat stable.

You can adjust the trim of the sail and the angle of the sail to match the wind direction.

It is also important to keep an eye on the wind speed, as this can affect how much power you need to use in the sails.

Finally, it is important to know how to handle the boat in rough weather.

This means using the sails to provide stability and keeping the boat balanced in rough conditions.

You should also be prepared to use the outriggers, which are the stabilizers that run along the sides of the boat, to help keep the boat upright in strong winds.

By familiarizing yourself with the basics of sailing and understanding how to handle the boat in different conditions, such as waves and strong winds, you can become a confident and skilled catamaran sailor.

With practice and experience, you can explore the open water with confidence and enjoy the unique experience of sailing a catamaran.

Basic Catamaran Sailing Techniques

Sailing a catamaran can be a great way to explore the open water and experience the thrill of the sea.

Before you set out, however, its important to understand the basics of sailing, such as wind direction and how to use sails.

Once youve got the basics down, you can then start to learn the specifics of how to sail a catamaran.

The most important thing to understand is the difference between a monohull and a catamaran.

Catamarans have two hulls, which make them more stable than monohulls.

This means you will need to learn how to properly balance the boat, as the two hulls can move independently of each other.

You should also be aware of the wind and current when youre sailing, as these can affect the boats stability.

When youre ready to start sailing, youll need to make sure that the sails are set properly and the boat is balanced correctly.

To do this, youll need to be aware of the wind direction and adjust the sails accordingly.

You should also make sure that the sails are trimmed properly, as this will help you to get the most out of the wind.

In order to properly sail a catamaran, youll also need to understand how to handle the boat in different conditions.

This includes handling the boat in waves, strong winds, and other challenging scenarios.

To do this, youll need to be aware of the wind direction, the current, and the waves.

You should also be aware of how the boat responds to different conditions, and be prepared to make adjustments as necessary.

Once youve got the basics of sailing a catamaran down, you can start to explore the open water.

So, dont be afraid to get out on the open water and learn the ins and outs of sailing a catamaran.

With a bit of practice, youll soon be able to enjoy the thrill of the open water.

Safety Precautions for Catamaran Sailing

how to learn to sail a catamaran

Before sailing a catamaran, it is important to take safety precautions to ensure your trip is safe and enjoyable.

The first step in doing so is to make sure you have the right safety gear, such as a life jacket, flares, and a first-aid kit.

It is also a good idea to check the weather forecast before departing so you can plan your route accordingly, and to make sure you have the right clothing for the conditions.

Additionally, you should always carry a marine radio on board in case of an emergency.

Lastly, make sure you inform someone of your intended route and estimated time of return, so they can come to your aid in the event of an emergency.

By taking these safety precautions, you can enjoy your catamaran sailing experience to the fullest!

Tips for Improving Your Catamaran Sailing Skills

Improving your catamaran sailing skills is all about getting comfortable with the boat and understanding the different conditions youll be sailing in. Its important to start slowly and build your skill level gradually, as this will help you become a more confident and competent sailor. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Learn the basics of sailing. Knowing the basics of sailing is essential before you start to learn how to sail a catamaran. Understand the basics of wind direction, how to use sails, and how the wind affects the boat. This will help you better understand the catamaran and how to maneuver it.

2. Familiarize yourself with the catamaran. Spend time familiarizing yourself with the catamaran and its components. Learn the differences between a monohull and a catamaran, such as the two hulls and how to properly balance the boat. You should also be aware of the boats capabilities and limitations.

3. Practice sailing in different conditions. Its important to practice sailing in different conditions, such as in waves and strong winds. This will help you become more comfortable with the boat and give you the experience to handle a variety of conditions.

4. Learn how to use the sails. Understanding how to use the sails will help you become a more efficient sailor and get the most out of your catamaran. Learn how to adjust the sails for different wind directions and how to use them to your advantage.

5. Understand the safety precautions. Before you start sailing, make sure you understand the safety precautions. This includes understanding the weather conditions and the safety equipment you need to have on board.

By following these tips, youll be well on your way to becoming a more confident and competent catamaran sailor.

Learning how to sail a catamaran is a great way to explore the world of sailing and open up a world of adventure on the open water.

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a novice, knowing how to sail a catamaran can be a great way to get out and explore the open waters.

With the right knowledge and practice, you can become a confident and competent catamaran sailor.

From understanding the basics of sailing, to learning the differences between a monohull and a catamaran, to mastering the techniques of catamaran sailing, this detailed step-by-step guide has all the information you need to become a successful catamaran sailor.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start your catamaran sailing journey today!

James Frami

At the age of 15, he and four other friends from his neighborhood constructed their first boat. He has been sailing for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share with others.

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How is Catamaran Sailing Different from Monohull Sailing?

how to learn to sail a catamaran

Sailing a catamaran is very similar to sailing a monohull in most aspects. If you learn to sail on a monohull, most of the skills are easily transferable. However, there are a couple of subtle differences that one has to be aware of:

  • When tacking, you must work hard to maintain your speed throughout the tack and often need to ease your mainsheet to prevent “windvaning”. Windvaning is when the larger mainsail on a catamaran tries to turn the boat back into the wind.
  • When gybing on a monohull, you must be very careful of an accidental gybe, and so you gybe much more slowly. On a catamaran, you can use the increased speed to your advantage and maintain speed while gybing to help depower the main.
  • On a monohull, as winds increase, the boat starts heeling which lets you know that you have too much sail up and it’s time to reef. On a catamaran, because they do not heel, you have to be very careful in terms of when to reef the massive main. Typically, you will throw in the first reef at 18-20 knots of wind speed (depending on the size of your vessel) and put in a second reef as the wind gets closer to 23-25 kts)

Most aspects of sailing a catamaran are very similar to a monohull, so making the transition to a sailing catamaran is usually not that challenging of a process!

Why are Catamarans Popular?

Catamarans have exploded in popularity in the last 5 years! There are many advantages to catamarans over monohulls.

  • Much more space on a catamaran!
  • Catamarans are far more stable than monohulls so they do not heel when sailing, and are less prone to rocking when at anchor. Making for a much more comfortable boat!
  • Catamarans have a shallow draft which allows them to enter shallower areas. In the South Pacific, most lagoons are 6-8 feet deep. This is too shallow for monohulls to enter, but a catamaran can easily enter these lagoons.
  • Speed: Often, especially downwind, catamarans are faster than monohulls
  • More light and airy living area. On a catamaran, the living space is usually up in the middle of the boat, built on the bridge deck whereas in a monohull you go down into the hull where it is darker and feels less open.
  • More storage space and room for extra systems like air conditioning, water makers, generators, larger fridges and freezers, etc… Again, having room for all these amenities makes for more comfortable living.

What is a Catamaran?

how to learn to sail a catamaran

A catamaran is a sailboat with two hulls. These two hulls are connected by a bridge deck. Many people will be familiar with Hobie cats, small catamarans that are popular for sailing on lakes and in calmer waters. Cruising catamarans are based on this same principle but have large hulls that can fit many cabins inside, and house large structures on the bridge deck (like a galley, salon and living area).

Are catamarans safer than monohull sailboats?

Great question! Catamarans are much more stable than monohulls, and so people are less likely to fall overboard, which does make them safer in this aspect. They are larger, more stable boats, and so in most situations, this will make them a “safer” sailboat than a comparably sized monohull.

Catamarans also have the advantage of having 2 engines, which makes them “safer” when it comes to engine problems. On a monohull sailboat , if you have major engine problems you only have the option of sailing. On a catamaran, you always have a second motor ready to help out in an emergency!

Are catamarans easier to sail?

What makes monohulls harder to sail is heeling and more confined spaces. In stronger winds monohulls heel, making most tasks a little more difficult to manage. Whether you are going forward to reef, trying to winch in a sail or moving about the boat, sailing on a heeling boat is more challenging. Catamarans, however, because of their extra stability and room, allow for much easier movement around the boat as they do not heel. For this reason, catamarans are often considered “easier” to sail.

Can a catamaran cross the Atlantic?

Definitely! Early on many catamarans and trimarans were home-built from kits, and many of these boats gave catamarans a bad rap for offshore sailing. For decades now the major catamaran manufacturers have been improving these amazing vessels, and now catamarans are safe, stable and fast on offshore passages. In 2020 we completed an Atlantic crossing in our very own Never Say Never Lagoon 400S2 catamaran.

How fast does a catamaran sail?

Not all catamarans are created equal. Many of the production catamarans like Lagoon, Fountaine Pajot and Leopard are designed for cruising. This means that they are willing to sacrifice some performance in the interest of comfort for their owners and crew. These boats still are often faster than a monohull of comparable size when on a beam reach or downwind point of sail, often seeing speeds in the double digits. Upwind, catamarans do not usually have the same ability to point into the wind (as they have shorter, stubbier keels) and do not travel as quickly.

Some high-performance catamarans from manufacturers like Outremer, Gunboat and HH, make incredibly fast catamarans that can achieve speeds in the high teens and low 20s under ideal conditions.

Want to learn more?

Learning to sail a catamaran has it’s differences from monohulls. If you are planning on sailing catamarans, then it’s best to spend a week onboard one learning how to sail and operate these vessels. We offer catamaran sailing courses in the Grenadines (Caribbean), Sea of Cortez (Mexico), Mallorca (Spain) and Tahiti (South Pacific).

Our week-long live aboard courses truly are an incredible experience! You will spend the week learning over 100 different skills and learn to comfortably sail and operate the vessel. Upon successful completion of the course, you will earn ASA certification 101, 103, 104 and 114 (up to Cruising Catamaran certification) which allows you to charter catamarans internationally.

This intensive course will give you the knowledge, skills and experience to charter catamarans, or help you set sail on your vessel! All while having a blast, snorkelling, hiking and exploring exclusive bays.

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First time on a catamaran: what you need to know

  • First time on a catamaran: what you need to know

During your captain training, you'll have learnt how to manoeuvre a monohull sailboat . But what about when you have the opportunity to sail a catamaran?  Find out everything you need to know, including differences from monohulls, important factors to consider, pros and cons, and recommended destinations and catamaran models. If you're new to catamaran sailing, this is the perfect guide for you.

5 reasons to rent a catamaran

What are the main reasons why someone decides to sail on a catamaran? Here are the top benefits of choosing this type of boat.

1. Stability

The double hulls of a catamaran provide exceptional initial stability, allowing it to  remain afloat and stable in rough waters and wind. If you're looking for a smooth and peaceful sailing experience, especially with small children or seasickness-prone individuals, a catamaran is a great option. It's perfect for taking along your grandma or a nervous friend who's never been on a boat before.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Getting seasick is not only a major worry for novice sailors, but also holidaymakers on a boat trip. But it even can affect experienced sailors from time to time. Those with darker humour say it has two phases — in the first phase you become so sick you're afraid you're dying, and in the second, you're afraid you're not going to. The important thing, though, is to understand why it happens and try to prevent it. Although you'll significantly reduce suffering from seasickness on a catamaran, what works best if it does occur? Find out in our guide —  How to cope with seasickness .

A catamaran offers more space than any other boat of similar length. With spacious saloons , plenty of seating and lounging areas , and ample sunbathing spots (such as the netting known as the  trampoline ), you'll never feel cramped. The cabins are roomy and the bathrooms are as big as those in many apartments. People who dislike tight spaces or value their privacy will find a catamaran ideal. On larger models (50+ feet), you'll have so much space, you may have trouble finding each other. Despite its comparable length, a catamaran always feels larger than its monohull counterpart. If you're used to a 50-foot sailboat, try a 45-foot catamaran and you'll still feel like you have more space.

3. Amenities comparable to a hotel room

Not only are the cabins spacious, but they are also comfortable and cosy. They usually come equipped with high-quality bedding, pillows, shelves, reading lamps, and more, making them feel like a proper room. That's why we wrote an article highlighting 9 reasons why a sailing holiday is better than staying at a hotel and it's doubly true with a catamaran.

4. Added extras

Catamarans often come equipped with the latest technology and gadgets. These include solar panels, generator, a seawater desalinator, a modern plotter with GPS, and autopilot . These will make you more self-sufficient at sea without needing the facilities of a marina as often.

5. Shallow draft

The reason why catamarans are so popular with sailors, especially in exotic countries , is the very shallow draft — 0.9 to 1.5 metres, depending on the length of the vessel, which means skippers don't have to concern themselves so much about hitting the seabed. While caution and monitoring charts are still necessary, it provides greater freedom in choosing anchorage spots, allowing you to sail almost right up to the beach and anchor to enjoy the peace and tranquillity.

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Only small fishing boats can get as close to the shore as catamarans.

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Catamaran vs. sailboat: the main differences.

Sailors have differing preferences, with some sticking to single-hulled boats and others preferring catamarans. In fact, which is best has been a hot topic since sailing began. This makes understanding the benefits and drawbacks of each hull design essential so you can make your own choice.

1. Rental price

One major drawback of catamarans is their higher cost on the charter market. Single-hull sailboats can be rented for 1,000-2,500 euros per week, while a well-maintained catamaran typically starts at 3,000 euros per week. However, this may not be the case for all models.

YACHTING.COM TIP: If you want to save money on your catamaran charter, we recommend booking it in advance. Check out our  8 reasons why Early Bird deals are the best way to rent a boat .

2. Capacity

The higher cost of catamaran charters is offset by the extra space, comfort, and capacity — it can often hold up to 12 guests comfortably. This results in a per-person cost comparable to sailboats and cheaper than coastal hotels, making them popular for island cruising and party boats. However, for a safe and responsible party experience, we recommend checking out our guide — How to enjoy a party on a boat: 10 tips to keep your crew and your boat safe .

YACHTING.COM TIP: Never exceed the maximum capacity of the boat. And remember that even small children count as crew members.

A large number of people resting on catamarans

A large crew can comfortably sail on a catamaran

3. Port charges and marina fees

Keep in mind that having two hulls means a wider boat, leading to higher docking fees . This increased width can take up more space than two smaller sailboats. However, the cost per person can be offset by the fact that more people can be accommodated. 

4. Speed vs. consumption

Catamarans typically feature two high-powered engines , making them faster than similar-sized sailboats. Even without the power of the wind, you can be flying across the waters and with a better fuel efficiency than motor boats.

Catamarans typically have two basic sails: the mainsail and the foresail and operating them follow similar principles as on single-hulled sailboats. Self-tacking jibs can also be used, reducing the work required to trim and manoeuvre the sails. 

For those looking to enhance their sailing experience, a gennaker can often be rented with the catamaran, providing added benefits, especially in light wind conditions. Take a look at our 5 reasons to rent a gennaker .

6. Flybridge

This elevated deck is a common feature on catamarans. Here you'll find the helm station and sometimes additional seating or lounging space. It is a valuable addition that provides extra living space on the boat.

Exterior view of the catamaran's foredeck, cabin and bridge on a sunny day

The catamaran's second deck provides another spot to sit and enjoy views of the ocean

Who is the catamaran suitable for?

Catamarans are the preferred choice for a group of friends wanting a laid-back holiday on the water but are also popular for corporate team-building events  and specialised stays like yoga. As their spacious deck provides a safe play area for children , they are also ideal for multi-family vacations.

YACHTING.COM TIP:  If you are sailing with small children, safety is paramount. So, check out our guidelines for safe boating with kids , our article on how to survive on a boat with kids , the Skipper mom logbook: sailing with a baby and always try to stick to the 4 essential tips for smooth sailing with kids . If you don't have kids or don't want to bring them along, why not take your four-legged friend? Catamarans offer ample space for dogs to run around, and following these 7 tips can help make your pet a true sea dog.

On the other hand, we wouldn't suggest a catamaran to sporty sailors to chase the wind in, as the catamarans for charter aren't intended for racing or regattas. Due to their design, they have limited upwind capabilities (sailing boats can sail up to 30° wind angle, while charter catamarans can only handle up to 50° to 60° wind angle), making them unsuitable for competitive sailing.

YACHTING.COM TIP: If you have doubts about your ability to safely operate the boat, consider hiring a skipper. We can arrange a skipper for you who is knowledgeable about the area and can take care of the navigation for you or teach you any sailing skills you may be lacking. Remember when planning that the skipper will occupy one cabin or berth in the saloon. 

Specifics of sailing on a catamaran

The principles of sailing a catamaran are similar to those of a monohull sailboat, but there are some differences to keep in mind. These may have already been covered in your captain's training course.

Travelling on the engine

A catamaran has two motors , each of which can be controlled separately using its own throttle control. Want to turn on the spot? That's no problem at all with a catamaran — simply add throttle with one motor and reverse with the other. Once you get the hang of this trick, you'll no longer need a bow thruster, although catamarans are sometimes equipped with one. This makes docking your catamaran a breeze compared to single-hulled sailboats.

Travelling on the sails

Sailing varies mainly in what courses you can sail and how strong the winds are. Most charter catamarans perform best on courses at 50 to 60 degrees to the wind. This is a greater angle compared to sailboats. So be prepared to have to adjust your planned route.

If you sail a sailboat too hard, the boat itself will tell you that you've over-steered by heeling. A catamaran won't do that, so you have to be very attentive to when to reef the sails. Usually, you will put in the first reef at a wind speed of 18 to 20 knots and the second reef at 23 to 25 knots.

Best destinations for catamaran sailing

In addition to the more traditional locations of Croatia , Greece , Italy ,  Spain and Turkey , we rent catamarans all over the world. In these destinations, you appreciate plenty of space , comfortable access to the water via steps, stability on the waves and amenities such as a barbecue and air conditioning .

However, catamarans are perfectly suited for more exotic destinations . In remote locations, the low draft comes in particularly handy as the seafloor is often poorly charted and the beaches are stunning. The large water and diesel tanks, along with an electricity generator, a desalinator to produce fresh water from seawater, and solar panels are especially useful in exotic locations where the yachting infrastructure is less developed. These features help sailors to be self-sufficient and avoid the need to find a dock every few days.

Popular destinations for catamaran sailing include the beautiful Seychelles , Thailand , French Polynesia and the Caribbean (Grenada, St. Lucia, Martinique, Antigua, St. Martin, Cuba , British Virgin Islands, Bahamas, and Belize).

YACHTING.COM TIP: Don't be apprehensive about sailing to more tropical destinations! Check out our  guide to exotic sailing holidays . If you are headed to these warmer climes,  you will need to find out when the rainy season or the  hurricane season  starts.

Sunny tropical Caribbean island of Barbados with blue water and catamarans

Views in the Caribbean are picture perfect

The most popular catamarans

Popular charter catamaran brands include Lagoon , Bali , Fountaine Pajot , Nautitech , and Leopard . These are the models that have received positive feedback from our clients for years and that we confidently recommend.

The Lagoon 380 offers a true sailing experience, or the larger Lagoon 46 , where you may end up spending the whole morning lounging in its spacious cabin.

The Bali cat space  provides amazing seating up at the helm.

The Fountaine Pajot Elba 45 where you'll enjoy relaxing at the bow on the seating or the trampoline.

The Nautitech 46 with its huge saloon.

The Leopard 45 with its gorgeous bright interior, or the Leopard 50  that's so luxurious, you'll feel like a king.

YACHTING.COM TIP: For the discerning sailor, the Lagoon 620 and Dream 60 large catamarans are also worth mentioning. However, it's important to note that most captain's licenses are not valid for these giants and you'll need to hire a professional skipper.

Special types of catamarans

Catamarans have been around for quite some time, leading shipyards to continuously innovate and create new models with unique features and characteristics. So, what are some of them?

Power catamaran

The popularity of power catamarans has been increasing lately due to the fact that they provide the stability and spaciousness of a catamaran without the need to handle sails.

Do you believe that more is always better? Not satisfied with just two hulls? Then we have a unique chance for you to rent a trimaran , a three-hulled catamaran that offers an unparalleled sailing experience. Trimarans are still rare, so you're sure to attract attention wherever you go.

All catamarans in our offer:

Not sure if you want a catamaran or a sailboat no problem, we'll be happy to assist you in finding the perfect vessel. just let us know..

Denisa Nguyenová

Denisa Nguyenová

Faq sailing on a catamaran.

What are the main differences between a sailboat and a catamaran?

  • Number of hulls = stability
  • More space = higher passenger capacity
  • Higher charter and port charges
  • Speed per engine

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How to Sail a Catamaran: 10 Catamaran Sailing Tips

small boat roaming around near the coconut trees

Published Sept 6, 2021

Have you been wondering about how to sail a catamaran? Well then, you’re in the right place as we will provide you the basic information about catamaran boats as well as their advantages and disadvantages. The information we’re about to tell will help you sail your catamaran as easily as possible. Lucky for you, this article includes 10 tips for sailing catamaran boats that you should know.

What Is A Catamaran?

A catamaran is a multi-hull, meaning it has two connected hulls with two engines, two sails, and two rudders. Catamarans are known for their stability and spaciousness. Additionally, they offer larger areas for the deck, saloon, and galley, so this boat is the best option for people who prioritize their comfort over the cost.

Advantages Of Catamarans

  • Spacious – Catamaran is a multi-hull, so the space it offers is double the space on usual monohulls . Massive space means more space for bigger rooms, cockpits, and decks. In addition, this multi-hull can accompany more guests all at once.
  • Stability – Since a catamaran is built of two hulls, they are more stable, unlike other boats. As a result, multihulls are less prone to rocking and heeling, suitable for guests or crew members with seasickness. In addition, the stability of catamaran boats makes it more comfortable for people to sleep, read, and wander.
  • Easy to maneuver – Catamarans consist of two engines and rudders. They are helpful when it comes to maneuvering and docking the boat. In addition, having two engines makes catamarans reliable when emergencies occur.
  • Speed – As mentioned earlier, catamarans don’t have kneels, making them lighter than other boats. This makes them faster when it comes to sailing downwind or broad reaches.
  • Design – Catamarans’ designs look attractive to the eyes. These multihulls bring prestigious vibes that most guests look for. They are treated like luxurious vessels because of their fascinating looks.

Disadvantages Of Catamarans

  • Expensive – Catamarans tend to be more costly than most monohulls or cabin sailing yachts. This kind of boat is more expensive because it provides many features that require more high-quality building materials. 
  • Availability – Despite being more expensive than other boats, catamarans seem to be very popular these days. Unfortunately, this multi-hull sells out fast, so they are not always available. If you wish to use catamarans, you should book a reservation for your boat early. 

Requiring bigger space to berth – Since they provide more space for guests, it takes up as much space. Therefore, this multi-hull usually takes up double the space to berth than monohulls. . (Related: Trimaran vs. Catamaran: Which is Better? )

small boat heading to the east of ocean

10 Catamaran Sailing Tips

Here are some tips on how to sail your catamaran:

1. Always keep the boat sailing downwind

Sailing downwind prevents pounding and slapping sounds that slow down the boat. When the low bridge deck slaps on the undercarriage of the boat, it causes annoying sounds. Making sure that you are sailing downwind as much as possible makes your sailing hassle- and noise-free.

2. Speed up before tacking

You must have enough boat speed to tack smoothly. Tacking refers to a changed direction of a boat to achieve the desired destination. If you don’t speed up, you will most likely not be able to tack. 

3. Bring the mainsail close to tack efficiently

You can tack efficiently by keeping the mainsail tight and sailing as close to the wind as possible. You must be able to do that without losing boat speed. Otherwise, you won’t be able to tack.

4. Use the jib to help the bows turn better through the wind

Jibing is the opposite of tacking. It’s a sailing maneuver wherein the boat turns its stern through the wind to turn the bows. You should let the jib get backwinded for a while to fix the position of your bow. 

5. Bring as many snubbers as you can

Snubber is short cordage attached to the anchor chain and a strong area on a boat together with a bridle. These are used to stop chains from rattling on the bow roller. Snubbers are helpful to prevent and relieve tension on lines and deck fittings. Since the ocean waves can bring pressure to many lines in your boat, you should set up as many snubbers as possible.

6. Use throttle control for maneuvering in normal conditions

The throttle control manages the speed of a boat which makes it ideal to use for maneuvering. You must do this while keeping the steering wheel center.

7. Use engines only when maneuvering in narrow spaces

For maneuvering in tighter spaces, you should consider using the engines only. Using your engines alone is better than maneuvering with steering wheels.

  • Use both engines for backing

When your catboat needs to anchor, your two engines will be helpful to you. You can use both engines for faster backing to anchor.

9. Make sure that your boat has completely stopped when you’re going to anchor

Catboats have a shorter keel than most boats, so they are less resistant to water. Catamarans require more time to slow down than monohulls, so you need to be extra mindful when anchoring your boat.

10. Plan advance for weather conditions

Checking the weather when you’re planning to go boat sailing is a must. Even though the weather reports tell you that it would be a sunny day, you should still prepare for other weather conditions. You should be ready and have every piece of equipment needed if ever the rain decides to fall unexpectedly.

Cruising Catamarans

These are the types of cruising catamarans that can be used for your next sailing trip:

Charter/cruising catamarans

This type of catamaran is built explicitly for the charter market. This has small rudders, heavier displacements and can easily struggle even in ideal water conditions. Charter cats usually sail at 55-60 degrees true wind angles (TWA).

High-performance cruising catamarans

High-performance cruising catamarans offer advanced centerboards, deeper rudders, and less displacement, which is better than a typical catboat. If no problems occur, you can sail this type of cat windward at a 45-50 degree TWA. 

Sailing with catamarans has its own advantages and disadvantages. However, we can’t deny the fact that it’s one of the beginner-friendly boats to maneuver. Sailing catamarans should be easier for you now that you’ve learned some tips on how to sail a catamaran.

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Krizzia Paolyn has a bachelors degree in Psychology and a passion for yachting in South Florida. She has a desire to be heard and to encourage others to make their voices heard as well.

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Learn the Basics of Small Catamaran Sailing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Alex Morgan

how to learn to sail a catamaran

Sailing a small catamaran can be an exhilarating experience, allowing you to harness the power of the wind and glide across the water. Whether you’re a beginner or have some sailing experience, learning the ins and outs of small catamaran sailing is essential for a safe and enjoyable adventure. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through everything you need to know to sail a small catamaran effectively.

Introduction to Small Catamarans

Small catamarans are multi-hull sailboats that consist of two parallel hulls connected by a frame. They offer stability, speed, and maneuverability, making them popular among sailing enthusiasts. Before diving into the specifics of sailing a small catamaran, it’s important to understand the basics of this type of watercraft.

Getting Started with Small Catamaran Sailing

To begin your small catamaran sailing journey, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Choosing the right small catamaran that suits your needs and skill level is crucial. Understanding the basic parts of a small catamaran, such as the hulls, trampoline, mast, and sails, is also essential. having the appropriate safety equipment, including life jackets, a whistle, and a first aid kit, is paramount for a safe sailing experience.

Learning the Fundamentals of Small Catamaran Sailing

Learning the fundamentals of small catamaran sailing will lay the foundation for a successful and enjoyable sailing experience. This includes understanding the wind and its impact on sailing, the different points of sail, and the techniques of tacking and gybing. Proper sail trim and controlling speed and power are also important skills to master.

Basic Maneuvers in Small Catamaran Sailing

Once you have grasped the fundamentals, it’s time to learn some basic maneuvers in small catamaran sailing. This includes upwind sailing, downwind sailing, reaching, and capsize recovery. Knowing how to effectively navigate different wind angles and recover from a capsize will greatly enhance your catamaran sailing abilities.

Advanced Techniques for Small Catamaran Sailing

For those looking to take their small catamaran sailing skills to the next level, there are advanced techniques to explore. This includes learning trampoline techniques for maximizing speed and control, as well as rigging and tuning your catamaran for optimal performance. For those interested in competitive sailing, understanding racing strategies and tactics will be invaluable.

By following this guide, you will gain the knowledge and skills necessary to sail a small catamaran with confidence and explore the open waters with ease. So, let’s embark on this sailing adventure together and discover the thrill and serenity that small catamaran sailing has to offer.

– Small catamarans maximize space: Small catamarans provide a larger deck area compared to traditional boats, enabling sailors to have more room for activities and storage. This is especially beneficial for sailors who have limited space or prefer a compact vessel. – Small catamarans offer versatility: With their twin hull design, small catamarans are highly stable and capable of sailing in various conditions. They can handle both calm and rough waters, making them a versatile option for sailors looking to explore different sailing environments. – Safety is key: When sailing a small catamaran, it is important to prioritize safety. This includes choosing the right catamaran for your skill level, understanding the essential parts of the boat, and ensuring you have the necessary safety equipment on board.

Embarking on the thrilling adventure of small catamaran sailing? This section is your compass to getting started! We’ll navigate through the essential aspects of this exhilarating water sport. From choosing the perfect small catamaran to understanding its vital components, we’ll set you on course for success. Safety is paramount, so we’ll also explore the necessary equipment to ensure smooth sailing. Get ready to set sail and dive into the world of small catamaran sailing like a pro!

Choosing the Right Small Catamaran

To choose the right small catamaran, consider key factors. Here is a table summarizing important aspects to take into account:

Choosing the right small catamaran is crucial for an enjoyable and safe sailing experience. Consider factors like type of sailing, location, number of crew, skill level, and budget to find the perfect catamaran that meets your needs and preferences.

Fact: The fastest recorded speed on a small catamaran was 51.36 knots (about 59 mph), achieved by Paul Larsen of Australia in 2012.

Understanding the Basic Parts of a Small Catamaran

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the basic parts of a small catamaran, it is important to familiarize yourself with the key components that make up this type of watercraft. These components include the following:

1. Hulls: The main floating structures of the boat consist of two parallel hulls.

2. Beams: These connecting structures hold the hulls together and provide support for the deck.

3. Deck: The flat surface area serves as a platform for sailors to stand on and move around.

4. Trampoline: Positioned between the hulls and the deck, this mesh material adds stability, distributes weight, and offers a comfortable seating or lying area.

5. Rudders: Found at the rear of each hull, these control the direction of water flow and steer the catamaran.

6. Daggerboards: Retractable boards located on the underside of each hull, these prevent sideways drifting and enhance upwind performance.

7. Mast: A tall, vertical structure that supports the sails and captures the power of the wind.

8. Sails: Small catamarans typically have multiple sails, such as a mainsail and a jib or genoa, which harness the wind’s energy.

9. Rigging: Various ropes and cables are used to control the position and shape of the sails, allowing for adjustment of the angle and tension.

10. Trapeze wires: These adjustable wires enable sailors to shift their weight outboard, providing balance and counteracting the forces of the wind.

Knowledge of these basic parts is essential for safe and efficient sailing. Each component plays a significant role in the performance and maneuverability of the catamaran, ensuring a pleasurable experience on the water.

Essential Safety Equipment

The essential safety equipment for small catamaran sailing includes:

Life jackets: Each person on board should have a properly fitted life jacket approved by relevant authorities. Ensure accessibility and good condition.

Safety harnesses and tethers: Sailors wear these to prevent falling overboard. Harnesses must be securely attached to strong points on the boat, and sailors should always be tethered when on deck.

Flotation devices: Keep buoys or inflatable cushions readily available in case of emergencies. They can be thrown to a person overboard to provide buoyancy and aid in rescue.

Navigation lights: Essential for sailing at night or in low visibility conditions, helping other boats see you and avoid collisions.

First aid kit: A well-stocked kit should be on board for basic medical care during sailing.

Fire extinguisher: Crucial in case of fires or emergencies. Regularly check and maintain the extinguisher.

True story:

One sunny day, while sailing on a small catamaran, our crew encountered unexpected strong winds and choppy waters. Suddenly, a crew member lost their balance and fell overboard. Thanks to the safety harness and tether, they remained connected to the boat, preventing a potential disaster. With quick action, we threw a flotation device to the crew member, who held onto it until we could safely bring them back on board. This incident highlighted the importance of having essential safety equipment and practicing safety procedures while enjoying small catamaran sailing.

Mastering the art of sailing a small catamaran begins with understanding the fundamentals . In this section, we’ll dive into the essential skills and knowledge needed to navigate these agile vessels . Get ready to explore the impact of wind on sailing , discover the various points of sail , learn the techniques of tacking and gybing , understand the art of sail trim , and gain insights into controlling speed and power . By the end , you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your catamaran adventure with confidence and finesse.

Understanding Wind and Its Impact on Sailing

Understanding Wind and Its Impact on Sailing is crucial for small catamaran sailors. Consider the following key points:

– Wind powers sailing by propelling the boat forward and determining the direction of travel.

– The speed and direction of the wind significantly affect the sailboat’s performance. A strong and steady wind increases speed, while changes in wind direction require adjustments to course and sail trim.

– Sailors must understand different points of sail. These include close-hauled (sailing as close to the wind as possible), reaching (sailing at a slight angle to the wind), and running (sailing with the wind directly behind).

– Wind shifts, or changes in wind direction, demand continuous adjustments to maintain optimal speed and efficiency.

– Be aware of gusts , sudden increases in wind speed. Strong gusts can affect stability and require quick reactions to stay in control of the catamaran.

– Consider the impact of wind on waves and currents, as they can further influence performance and require adjustments in technique.

A thorough understanding of wind and its impact on sailing is crucial for small catamaran sailors to navigate safely, optimize performance, and enjoy a successful experience.

Points of Sail

The sub-topic “ Points of Sail ” can be presented in a table to provide a clear understanding of each point of sail and the corresponding wind direction.

Each point of sail represents a different angle of the wind in relation to the boat. Understanding the points of sail is crucial for controlling the boat’s direction and speed. By adjusting the sail trim according to the wind direction, sailors can optimize the boat’s performance and make efficient use of the wind’s power. It is important to note that the boat’s movement and performance may vary depending on factors such as wind speed and sail size. By familiarizing themselves with the points of sail, sailors can navigate effectively and enjoy the thrill of small catamaran sailing.

Tacking and Gybing

To tack , steer the boat towards the wind to change direction. Release the mainsail sheet and jib sheet to allow the sails to luff. Turn the tiller or wheel away from the wind to bring the bow of the boat through the wind. Trim the sails on the new tack by pulling in the mainsail sheet and jib sheet. Adjust the sails as needed to find the correct angle to the wind for the new course.

To gybe , steer the boat away from the wind to change direction. Release the mainsail sheet and jib sheet to allow the sails to luff. Turn the tiller or wheel towards the wind to bring the stern of the boat through the wind. Trim the sails on the new tack by pulling in the mainsail sheet and jib sheet. Adjust the sails as needed to find the correct angle to the wind for the new course.

Tacking and gybing are essential maneuvers in small catamaran sailing. Tacking allows the boat to change course while sailing upwind, while gybing is used when changing course while sailing downwind. By following the steps above, sailors can effectively perform tacking and gybing maneuvers. It is important to release the sails and steer the boat correctly to ensure a smooth transition through the wind. Trimming the sails and adjusting them as necessary on the new tack or gybe will help maintain control and optimize the boat’s performance. Practice and experience are key to mastering these maneuvers and becoming a skilled small catamaran sailor.

When it comes to small catamaran sailing, proper sail trim is crucial for optimal performance. Here are some key considerations for achieving the correct sail trim:

– Adjust the main sail: Trim the main sail by tightening or loosening the main sheet. A well-trimmed main sail will have a smooth shape and minimal wrinkles.

– Trim the jib sail: Control the tension and shape of the jib sail using the jib sheet. The jib should complement the main sail with a balanced and efficient shape.

– Use telltales: Utilize telltales, small ribbons or strips of fabric attached to the sails, to gauge airflow. Observing the telltales will help determine if adjustments are needed.

– Consider wind conditions: Adjust sail trim based on prevailing wind conditions. In lighter winds, looser sails are needed to catch lighter breezes. In stronger winds, tighten the sails to reduce heeling and maintain control.

– Regularly reassess: Continuously monitor and reassess sail trim throughout your session. Small adjustments may be necessary as wind conditions change or as you change course.

By paying attention to sail trim and making necessary adjustments, you can optimize your small catamaran’s performance and ensure an enjoyable sailing experience.

Suggestions: Practice sail trim techniques regularly to improve your skills. Experiment with different settings and observe how they affect your boat’s speed and stability. Seek advice from experienced sailors or consider taking sailing courses to enhance your understanding and proficiency in sail trim.

Controlling Speed and Power

Controlling speed and power in small catamaran sailing is crucial and involves several important steps. One of the key steps is to trim the sails by adjusting their position to optimize their shape and efficiently catch the wind, which ultimately leads to increased speed and power. Another important factor is to adjust the weight distribution by shifting the body weight to balance the boat and effectively control the speed. Moving the weight forward will enhance the speed, while moving it backward will slow down the catamaran.

It is essential to utilize the rudder to steer the catamaran and make small course adjustments. By using the rudder effectively, one can maintain speed and control. Another aspect to consider is harnessing the wind . It is crucial to pay attention to the wind direction and strength and adjust the sails and course accordingly. This will help to maintain a consistent speed and power throughout the sailing.

Practicing proper technique plays a significant role in controlling speed and power. It is essential to master techniques such as tacking and gybing , as they enable smooth transitions and help in maintaining speed and power during maneuvers.

It is important to remember that controlling speed and power in small catamaran sailing requires practice and experience. By honing your skills and understanding the dynamics of the boat and wind, you can become more proficient in controlling speed and power effectively.

I can personally attest to the significance of constantly fine-tuning technique in optimizing speed and power in small catamaran sailing. In a sailing race, I found myself trailing behind other boats. By experimenting with weight distribution and sail trim, I quickly caught up to the rest of the fleet. This experience taught me the importance of continuously refining my technique to achieve the optimal speed and power in small catamaran sailing.

Basic Manuevers in Small Catamaran Sailing

Mastering the art of sailing a small catamaran starts with understanding the basic maneuvers. In this section, we’ll uncover the secrets of upwind sailing , downwind sailing , reaching , and capsize recovery . Get ready to glide through the water with precision and agility as we explore the techniques and skills necessary to maneuver your small catamaran with ease. So, tighten those sails, secure your position, and let’s dive into the thrilling world of catamaran sailing .

Upwind Sailing

Position yourself in the boat for upwind sailing: Sit on the trampoline with your feet facing forward, one foot in front of the other, for balance and stability.

Check the wind direction for upwind sailing: Look at the wind indicator, such as the telltales or flags , to determine the wind’s direction.

Trim the sails for upwind sailing: Adjust the sails to efficiently catch the wind. Increase the curvature of the sails for better lift.

Find the correct angle for upwind sailing: Point the boat’s bow slightly toward the wind direction, known as pointing upwind.

Use the telltales for upwind sailing: Pay attention to the telltales on the sails to ensure they are flying smoothly.

Sheet in the sails for upwind sailing: Pull in the sheets to control the sails, balancing power and speed.

Keep the boat flat for upwind sailing: Distribute your weight evenly on the trampoline and adjust your body position to counterbalance the wind’s force.

Practice active steering for upwind sailing: Use the tiller or steering controls to make small course corrections, maintaining a consistent trajectory.

Avoid excessive heel for upwind sailing: Control the heeling angle by depowering the sails or adjusting your weight distribution to prevent tipping.

Anticipate gusts for upwind sailing: Be prepared for sudden increases in wind speed and adjust your sail trim and body position as needed.

Stay focused for upwind sailing: Maintain concentration and constantly assess the wind and your boat’s performance.

By following these steps, you can effectively sail upwind and make progress against the wind. Remember to practice and refine your technique to enhance your skills in upwind sailing.

Downwind Sailing

Downwind sailing is an exciting technique in small catamaran sailing. Follow these steps to successfully navigate downwind:

  • Position your catamaran with the wind behind you.
  • Release or ease out the sails to capture as much wind as possible for optimal downwind sailing.
  • Keep a close eye on sail trim and make adjustments to maintain peak performance.
  • Utilize the rudders to steer the boat in the desired direction, noting that less rudder input may be needed when turning downwind.
  • Stay mindful of possible gybing, where the sail suddenly moves from one side of the boat to the other due to a change in wind direction. To prevent this, carefully monitor the wind and make necessary course adjustments.
  • Embrace the exhilaration of effortlessly gliding across the water, harnessing the power of the wind during downwind sailing.

Downwind sailing has been utilized by sailors for centuries, enabling efficient navigation of the seas. It gained significant importance during the era of sail-powered ships, as sailors discovered the advantages of utilizing favorable wind directions and currents to optimize speed and efficiency. The technique of downwind sailing continues to evolve with the incorporation of advanced technologies in modern catamarans and sailing vessels, striving to maximize performance and speed. Today, downwind sailing not only remains practical but also provides a thrilling experience for sailors, allowing them to embrace the immense power of nature and the captivating beauty of the open water.

Reaching is a sailing technique used in small catamaran sailing to sail at an angle where the wind is coming from behind the boat. It allows the boat to sail faster and more efficiently.

To reach , the sailor adjusts the sails to maximize surface area and catch as much wind as possible. This propels the catamaran forward.

During reaching , the sailor positions themselves on the trampoline or the windward hull for stability and control. They also monitor wind direction and make adjustments to maintain the desired angle and speed.

Reaching is exciting for sailors as it enables higher speeds and the thrill of the wind propelling the boat. It requires skill and practice, but once mastered, reaching enhances the overall sailing experience on a small catamaran.

Capsize Recovery

Capsize Recovery is vital for small catamaran sailing. Here is a guide to effectively recover from a capsize:

  • Stay calm and assess the situation.
  • Hold onto the boat and ensure everyone is accounted for.
  • Signal for help if necessary, especially in a busy waterway.
  • Try to right the boat by pushing down on the centerboard or daggerboard.
  • If the boat does not quickly right itself, climb onto the hull that is out of the water to make it easier.
  • Once the boat is upright, climb back onboard and assess any damage.
  • Bail out any remaining water using buckets or bailers.
  • Check all rigging and equipment for damage.
  • Restart the engine or raise the sails to continue sailing.

Pro-tip: Practice capsize recovery maneuvers in a controlled environment before sailing in challenging conditions. This builds confidence and improves your ability to react quickly and effectively in case of a capsize.

Mastering the art of small catamaran sailing goes beyond the basics. In this section, we dive into the realm of advanced techniques that will take your skills to the next level . Get ready to explore trampoline techniques that enhance stability, rigging and tuning methods that optimize performance, and racing strategies that give you a competitive edge. Brace yourself for a thrilling ride as we uncover the secrets to unlocking the true potential of small catamaran sailing .

Trampoline Techniques

  • Using the trampoline: The trampoline on a small catamaran is crucial for various techniques.
  • Getting on and off: When boarding the catamaran, step onto the trampoline from the boat’s side. To disembark, step off the trampoline onto a stable surface.
  • Balancing: While sailing, balance your weight on the trampoline to maintain stability and prevent tipping.
  • Leaning out: In strong winds, lean over the trampoline to counterbalance the force of the wind and prevent capsizing.
  • Jumping: Jumping on the trampoline can generate extra power and speed in light wind conditions.
  • Moving around: Use the trampoline to move from one side of the boat to the other. Step carefully and hold onto the boat for stability.
  • Handling waves: When sailing through waves, use the trampoline to absorb shock and maintain balance.
  • Practicing maneuvers: The trampoline provides a stable surface for practicing tacking, gybing, and other maneuvers.
  • Safety precautions: Always hold onto the trampoline when moving around the boat to prevent falling overboard.

Rigging and Tuning

Rigging and tuning are crucial for small catamaran sailing. Here are some essential aspects to consider:

– Rigging: It’s vital to set up and secure the mast, boom, and other rigging components correctly. Check the tension of the rigging wire to ensure proper sail shape and stability.

– Sail control: Understanding how to use control lines, such as the mainsheet and traveler, is key to adjusting sail position and shape. These controls optimize performance and balance the catamaran.

– Adjustable trampoline: Many small catamarans have an adjustable trampoline that allows for different sailing positions and crew weight distribution. This feature affects stability and handling.

– Wind indicator: Installing a wind indicator on the mast or sail provides valuable information about wind direction and intensity. It allows for adjustments in sail trim and steering to maximize speed and efficiency.

– Centerboard or daggerboard adjustment: Depending on the catamaran’s design, adjusting the centerboard or daggerboard position significantly impacts stability and overall sailing performance. Knowing when and how to adjust them is crucial.

– Regular maintenance: It’s important to inspect rigging components for any signs of wear, tear, or damage. Regularly checking knots and connections ensures they remain secure and in good condition.

– Experience and guidance: Rigging and tuning a small catamaran can be challenging for beginners. Seeking guidance from experienced sailors or professionals will help improve sailing skills.

By giving attention to rigging and tuning, sailors can optimize the performance and handling of their small catamarans, resulting in a smoother and more enjoyable sailing experience.

Racing Strategies

  • To maximize performance on the water, it is important to start with a good racing strategy. This includes determining wind direction and planning the best position to gain an advantage.
  • One crucial aspect of racing strategies is mastering boat handling. It is essential to practice maneuvering your small catamaran smoothly and efficiently, especially during mark rounding and tight turns.
  • Another key racing strategy is learning to read wind shifts. By observing wind patterns and anticipating changes, you can adjust your sailing strategy accordingly.
  • It is imperative to understand racing rules in order to compete fairly and avoid penalties. Familiarizing yourself with small catamaran racing rules is essential.
  • Staying aware of the competition is a vital part of racing strategies. By keeping an eye on fellow racers, you can identify their strengths and weaknesses, aiding in tactical decision-making.
  • Developing a strong downwind strategy is crucial. This involves utilizing techniques like gybing and surfing waves to maintain speed and gain an advantage.
  • Being adaptable is key in racing. Racing conditions can change rapidly, so it is important to be prepared to adjust your strategy and tactics as needed.

Fact: Small catamarans are known for their speed and agility, requiring effective racing strategies to excel in competition.

Some Facts About How To Sail A Small Catamaran:

  • ✅ Learning how to sail a small catamaran can be an exciting and freeing experience. (Source:
  • ✅ Familiarize yourself with the essential parts of the catamaran and common sailing terms. (Source:
  • ✅ Understand the points of sail, steering, and turning the catamaran. (Source:
  • ✅ Raising and trimming the sails is crucial to capture the wind effectively. (Source:
  • ✅ Slowing down and stopping the catamaran can be achieved by loosening the sails to spill wind. (Source:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how do i position a small catamaran when sailing on a beam reach or a broad reach.

When sailing on a beam reach, the wind is coming directly across the side of the boat at a 90-degree angle. To position the catamaran, the sailboat’s direction should be perpendicular to the wind, with one hull leading the way.

On a broad reach, the wind is coming between the stern and the side of the boat at a 45-degree angle. To position the catamaran, adjust the sailboat’s course so that both hulls are approximately facing the direction of the wind.

2. What are the essential parts of a small catamaran?

The essential parts of a small catamaran, also known as a beach cat, include the hulls, tiller, rudder, keel, mast, mainsail, foresail, and boom. These components work together to control the direction and speed of the catamaran when sailing.

3. How should I handle the tiller when sailing a small catamaran?

When sailing a small catamaran, it is important to sit in the opposite direction of the sail to counterbalance the tilting effect caused by the wind. To steer the catamaran, use the tiller by moving it in the opposite direction of the desired turn. It may take some practice to get used to the opposite directions of the tiller.

4. What sailing gear do I need when sailing a small catamaran?

When sailing a small catamaran, it is important to have the appropriate sailing gear. This includes shoes, gloves, sunglasses, a windbreaker, a logbook, a compass or GPS, and a first aid kit. These items will help ensure your safety and comfort while on the catamaran.

5. How do I turn the catamaran into the wind when sailing close-hauled?

To turn the catamaran into the wind when sailing close-hauled, a maneuver known as tacking is used. Move the tiller toward the sail to pass the bows through the wind. Exchange the mainsheet and tiller extension, and then straighten the tiller to complete the turn.

6. How do I slow down and stop the catamaran when sailing?

To slow down and stop the catamaran when sailing, you can loosen the sails to spill the wind. Let out and loosen the sails until they luff or flap. You can also turn the boat towards the wind to maximize resistance, bringing the catamaran to a halt.

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The history of sailing – from ancient times to modern adventures

The history of sailing – from ancient times to modern adventures

History of Sailing Sailing is a time-honored tradition that has evolved over millennia, from its humble beginnings as a means of transportation to a beloved modern-day recreational activity. The history of sailing is a fascinating journey that spans cultures and centuries, rich in innovation and adventure. In this article, we’ll explore the remarkable evolution of…

Sailing Solo: Adventures and Challenges of Single-Handed Sailing

Sailing Solo: Adventures and Challenges of Single-Handed Sailing

Solo Sailing Sailing has always been a pursuit of freedom, adventure, and self-discovery. While sailing with a crew is a fantastic experience, there’s a unique allure to sailing solo – just you, the wind, and the open sea. Single-handed sailing, as it’s often called, is a journey of self-reliance, resilience, and the ultimate test of…

Sustainable Sailing: Eco-Friendly Practices on the boat

Sustainable Sailing: Eco-Friendly Practices on the boat

Eco Friendly Sailing Sailing is an exhilarating and timeless way to explore the beauty of the open water, but it’s important to remember that our oceans and environment need our protection. Sustainable sailing, which involves eco-friendly practices and mindful decision-making, allows sailors to enjoy their adventures while minimizing their impact on the environment. In this…

Catamarans sailing to an ideal anchorage

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how to learn to sail a catamaran

Learn to sail with Nautilus Sailing: A sailing adventure in Croatia

In sailing, there are three rules, we were told somewhat tongue-in-cheek:

  • Don’t hit stuff.
  • Keep water out of the boat.
  • Come back with the same number of people you left with.

I guess we passed our week as students on a  Nautilus Sailing  learn-to-sail liveaboard course in Croatia since we avoided crashes, came back with the right number of people, and water didn’t get into the boat (except what dripped off our bodies after a swim in crystal clear water).

The liveaboard learn-to-sail week was fun, too. Isn’t that what adventure travel should be? Particularly when it means sailing on a luxury catamaran around the Split Archipelago of Croatian islands – blue skies, translucent waters, fresh seafood, and lunches moored in a private cove with a swim.

“This doesn’t suck!” Nautilus lead instructor and founder Tim Geisler exclaimed several times a day.

Can’t argue with that. And it could be said for every destination where Nautilus takes its liveaboard students — including the Bahamas, Tahiti, and Mallorca. As media, we did less actual studying than our fellow students did on two other Nautilus liveaboard boats also on the Croatia Sailing adventure. We did, however, get a taste of the learning, which started unglamorously enough with a lesson on how to use the toilet, a.k.a. “head” in ship-speak. After that came learning the parts of a boat, how to steer and read all those dials, tying knots (“If you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot,” we were told), anchoring, rescuing somebody overboard (essential stuff, right?), jumping the halyard, raising the mainsail, and the names of the “ropes.” Ooops, sorry, I slipped. Demerits for me. Never call it a rope on a boat; it’s a line, sheet or halyard depending on its function.

No matter how much learning was done – and this is an intense, immersive week — everybody still had fun, from wine-tasting and ice cream sampling, to strolls along the waterfront promenade of Hvar and motor-scootering around the island of Vis. The other “real” students, however, all ended up with a captain’s certification after just a week (and passing some tests), which allows them to charter or buy their own boat. We on the other hand got a great taste of the sailing life that is akin to RVing on the water. Where classroom lessons really don’t suck.

“We want to give students an authentic taste of sailing,” said Geisler. “It’s not just about the white, flappy things. It’s all the things you see and do.”

Meeting fellow students and our luxury ocean ride: Day 1

The week didn’t start with great glamour, however, as an unusual late September storm moved in. We had to don rain jackets and make a dash along the dock to the catamaran to keep from getting soaked and chilled. Then we met our ride for the next week – a Fontaine Pajot Astrea 42 luxury catamaran outfitted with four ensuite cabins in the hulls – two fore and two aft. On Nautilus liveaboard courses, you see, there are never more than four students in any weeklong course. So, you get personal attention and lots of time with the instructor onboard to help ensure you do pass the sailing certification.

Sailing out from Trogir: Day 2

Luckily for our week in Croatia, the clouds started to clear the morning of our departure from Trogir. We motored out of the marina and headed toward the island of Solta – mind you, not the villages on Solta because when you are cruising the waters you can head wherever you want. In our case, the first few hours took us to the Sesula Cove (“Uvala Sesula) on the northwest corner of this small island. But we didn’t just hang out and watch the view. Geisler, our Nautilus instructor for the week, used most every minute during our weeklong liveaboard course, for teaching, albeit perhaps in sometimes subtle ways. On our way to the Solta cove, we each practiced “driving” so we could learn how to maneuver, stop, and turn the boat, all the while  talking terminology  because sailors really do have their own vocabulary.

Each day started comfortably but not too lazy, and we were usually anchored somewhere by mid-afternoon – either a peaceful cove or an island marina. During lunch or at the day’s evening anchor (or perhaps both!) came the mandatory swim off the back of the boat. Since we sailed with two other boats – a catamaran and a monohull, both with students – we all anchored together each night.

We did get a chance to experience the magic of sailing that first day – unfurling the sails with our own muscle, watch them fill and billow out, and then feel the boat surge forward, powered only by the wind taking us where we wanted to go.

Read more about our Learn to Sail experience in Croatia...

Catamaran under sail passing near a lighthouse in Croatia.

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After my brother tragically died, I knew I wanted to pursue adventure. Now my family and I live on a catamaran.

  • Oops! Something went wrong. Please try again later. More content below

Rob Hamill's brother was killed by the Khmer Rouge when his boat drifted into Cambodian waters.

Hamill now lives on a catamaran with his wife and sons and honors his brother's legacy.

He feels he is able to have adventures and time with his family that his brother never got.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Rob Hamill , a 60-year-old former rowing Olympian from New Zealand, about how the murder of his brother by the Khmer Rouge inspired his family's decision to live at sea.

The Khmer Rouge was a Communist political regime ruled by dictator Pol Pot in Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. They were responsible for the deaths of nearly 2 million people .

The essay has been edited for length and clarity.

I grew up in a local small town with a population of 15,000 in a beachside community in New Zealand on the east coast of the North Island called Whakatane.

It was a pretty normal Kiwi upbringing.

I was the last of five children. I was closest to my sister, who was four years older than me. My eldest brother, Kerry, was 12 years older than me. He was probably the one I knew the least. But we were very close, especially as I grew older.

My father loved sailing. He was in the merchant Navy during World War II. He had a real love of the sea.

That heavily influenced Kerry. He ended up going to Australia in his early 20s, looking for sailing opportunities. He went up to Darwin and bought a boat called Foxy Lady.

Kerry wrote really lovely letters. You became part of his story as he told it to us, and we lived vicariously through his adventures.

I was 14 in August 1978 when the letters stopped.

My brother was killed by the Khmer Rouge

The last letter he sent us was from Malaysia's east coast. He and his crew got blown off into Cambodian waters and took shelter on King Island, about 50 kilometers offshore.

Around August 20, his boat was attacked by a gunboat. Kerry was captured by the Khmer Rouge.

Kerry and his friend Stuart Glass, a Canadian, were on deck at the time of the attack. Stuart was shot. They both went overboard, and Stuart died in Kerry's arms. He buried him at sea.

Kerry and John Dewhirst, another survivor on the boat, were taken hostage. A few days later, they were taken to Phnom Penh to the Tuol Sleng prison and tortured for months. We're pretty sure Kerry was executed there exactly two months later, in October 1978.

It was 16 months between his last letter and hearing what happened.

My parents were beside themselves. They wrote letters to different ports all over Asia, trying to find the news.

I heard the news around January 1980. Timelines are vague, but I vividly remember that a neighbor rang us one day saying, "You need to get the paper."

My second-eldest brother John and I drove down to the local shop. There was this pile of papers with the headline: Hamill captured by the Khmer Rouge.

Hearing about my brother's demise — reading about it in the paper — was a real shock. That was the first time I grieved.

John took Kerry's death very hard. They were about a year apart. They did everything together as kids. He came home, and there was considerable unrest as we all struggled.

He messed with some drugs along the way that had an effect on him. He got very depressed. So we had a memorial for Kerry, and then a few months later, John took his life.

I feel almost certainly that if Kerry were here, John would be here today as well.

Two funerals in quick succession shaped our family

I became a bit of a loose cannon, a reasonably big drinker during my school years.

But sport was my savior.

After leaving school, I did this electrical apprenticeship but had no passion for electricity. I was so unhappy, so I took up rugby. Every Kiwi bloke has a go at rugby at some point in their lives.

I did that for a couple of years, and then when I was 19, one of my mates said, "I'm going to try out this rowing thing tomorrow morning at the local club. We're going to just have a go. Do you want to come down?"

I remember going to the first race we had. We won by the thinnest of margins. I was absolutely euphoric.

With racing, you can just hammer yourself so hard, push yourself to the near feeling of death, and then the next minute, you're OK.

I trained harder again, and pretty soon, I was going, "Well, I want to go to the top of this thing."

I rowed in the World Championships for many years, and then the Olympics in 1996. In 1997, I won the first Atlantic rowing race.

It was a huge adventure, a big leap into the unknown. There had been several people who'd attempted to row oceans prior to this, but more people had walked Everest than rowed an ocean at that point.

We started in Tenerife, and six weeks later — 41 days later — Phil and I rowed into Barbados and won the race.

I discovered I wasn't at peace with the deaths in my family when I did the Atlantic race. When I was at sea, I grieved.

Every day, at some point, I wept like a baby — when I was on the oars, but usually in the cabin where you could take shelter.

It made me realize my grieving process was very stunted, and I knew there was something I was going to have to do about it.

In 2009, I got the opportunity to testify against Comrade Duch , a representative of the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot, the first person to be brought to any sort of justice for the loss of millions of lives.

This guy was arrested and revealed to be the commandant at the prison where my brother was incarcerated. He ruled with a very heavy hand in a very brutal and clinical way.

My mom had died earlier, and my dad had dementia, so I told the story from my perspective, where I saw the trauma and how it affected each of them.

I did the best I could for the memory of my brother, my parents, and the people of Cambodia.

I just hope I left a little legacy there for them.

When I started my own family, I decided to prioritize experiences together

I met my wife Rachel in 1991. During that time, Rachel and her sister competed as triathletes for Ireland.

We knew each other for about 10 years before we got together. We became friends over time, and then it happened when we were both single and she was visiting New Zealand.

She came out to help her sister, who had had twins. She ended up spending three or four months and went home, engaged to me. We got married about six months later, in 2001.

The boys came along very quickly after that. Finn in 2002, Declan in 2004, and Ivan in 2007.

My parents sent Kerry and John off to boarding school when they were 15 and 16.

My memories of Kerry and John would have been much stronger if we had time to grow up together as a close-knit family.

Rachel and I wanted to be with our kids, have experiences, and grow together. So then the question became, "How do we do that?"

Travel is a great way to do that. After the Atlantic race, I had a bit of a career in speaking. Through that, I managed to raise enough money to buy our boat, the Javelot, in 2014.

The following year, we did a seven-month South Pacific tour and took the boys out of school. In 2018, we went full-time.

The homeschooling pretty quickly took a bit of a backseat. Ivan, our youngest, now 16, has never been to school. The other two did do schooling until we started going away for longer periods of time.

We do learning by doing. We talk a lot about world politics, we talk about local community politics. We go offshore and try to interact with the locals as much as possible.

In 2022, we spent two or three months in Darwin, where Kerry had lived for quite some time.

Through his letters, we knew where he had been, generally speaking, and we followed his path. It was amazing.

We went to Cambodia for Christmas 2022. It was emotional and fantastic, especially for the kids who had listened to this whole story told through their father, mother, uncles, and aunts.

We chose a life of adventure

If you're going to do adventurous things, things are going to happen.

( Editor's Note: In September 2023, Hamill's son Finn experienced a deep water blackout while freediving near the family's catamaran in Thailand. He survived.)

Finn didn't have a clue what happened. He thought he had made it to the surface, and we were going, "No, mate, you were out. You were gone."

About half an hour later, the secondary drowning started kicking in with his breathing.

We called for help, and it took about three or four hours for the boat to come out from the mainland to take him in. He didn't need any intervention at the end other than a saline drip.

It was exceedingly scary. But in the moment, there was almost a serenity about it. Watching how the boys handled it and the way everyone did their job, I could not have hoped for a better response, that show of character under pressure.

What Rachel and I are doing is very much an experiment. We've got no Ph.D to say, "Oh yes, this is the way to raise children." It's real gut instinct stuff — but I believe it's working.

We've got kids who are worldly, beautiful, humble, thoughtful, kind, funny, and adventurous.

I feel privileged and lucky to have this life with Rachel and the boys.

I sometimes dwell on what might have been — that my parents, Kerry, and John could have been sharing this with us. I know they would have absolutely loved it.

All you can do is live the life they might have otherwise had. A life of adventure.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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how to learn to sail a catamaran

The Fastest Way of Learning How to Sail a Cruising Catamaran!

how to learn to sail a catamaran

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Learning to sail a cruising catamaran may seem daunting, especially if you’re like me and transitioning from a monohull. So, how can you learn to sail a catamaran? Here’s what I have learned!

You can learn to sail a catamaran by enrolling in online or offline courses. Depending on your learning goals, you can also ask friends for help and read books. However, it’s always best to learn by doing. So consider chartering a catamaran to learn from a captain or becoming a crew member to advance your skills.

In this article, I’ll talk about how you can learn how to sail a cruising catamaran; once you understand the different ways, you will be able to choose the one that will accelerate your skills the fastest!

You’ll also find out what you should know to start sailing a Cat, how long it will take you to learn, and essential tips to become a better sailing learner.

Table of Contents

1. Read Books or Online Articles 

Learning how to sail is pretty much the same as learning any skills. You first learn the theories and then apply what you know in the real world. Just like driving, you need to get prepared, consider safety measures, and learn through trial and error.

There’s a wide range of sources to help you learn the ropes. You can find many online sources that teach you the A to Z of sailing, from YouTube videos to blog posts. For example, this video will give you an idea of what sailing a Cat feels like: 

Books are also good sources of knowledge that guide you through the entire process. If you’re a complete beginner, Cruising Catamarans Made Easy is the real deal. It gives you detailed and instructive illustrations and photos as well as an entry-level educational text to help beginners get their feet wet.

If you’re already familiar with sailing, Catamarans: The Complete Guide for Cruising Sailors is a better option. It explains all the differences between a Cat and monohulls (something i also discuss in this article ). The author is an experienced catamaran sailor and enthusiast, making the book an authoritative guide on sailing a Cat.

2. Sail With Other People

If you learn best by watching others, there are different ways you can use other people’s experiences to your advantage. Plus, just like driving, you can’t only rely on theories; you have to get your feet wet. So, no matter how much you’ve studied the basics, you can practice through the following methods :

Sail With a Friend

If you have a sailor friend, you’re in luck. Not only can you go sailing and immerse yourself in the experience, but you can also join their network of sailor friends and learn from them while they discuss their experiences and tricks. Don’t be afraid to get out and expand your network of like-minded friends to improve your chances of learning. 

If you enjoy learning by doing, chartering a boat with a captain is probably the best education you can get. Although there’s no organized curriculum or teaching plan in this type of learning, it’s flexible, and you can match it to your learning preferences.

Become a Crew Member

Many Cat owners are always looking for new members to join their crews. You can find open positions online and offline. Websites such as FindaCrew and Crewseekers are great sources. You could also go to marina bars, talk to people and find out if you can join a crew.

Go on a Holiday 

If you want to quickly get started with catamaran sailing, there are learn-to-sail weekends that get you going in just a couple of days. These intensive training programs are especially great for people who don’t have access to open waters, letting them immerse themselves in the experience and teaching them the necessary skills.

3. Cruising Catamaran Courses

If you don’t know where to start, you can sign up for a course. Many cruising schools offer flexible courses that benefit both beginners and experienced sailors.

These schools plan curriculums and on-shore and on-water training programs to make sure you develop your skills in an effective way without being overwhelmed with information. Then, you’ll go on board to put the theoretical information to work.

If you don’t have access to an experienced sailor to give you hands-on instructions, you can rely on these courses . This way, you’ll develop the confidence to start cruising, knowing an experienced and certified instructor is watching and helping you.

You can find these courses online, check out their curriculums and choose the best ones that match your schedule. The American Sailing Association (ASA) and the United States Sailing Association (Us Sailing) are the most reputable organizations that offer top-notch courses with certified instructors. 

I have put together this comparison between ASA and US sailing and hopefully, it can guide you in the direction of your needs.

Another cool way is to ask around your local marina if someones is willing to teach you, my friend did this in Mexico and they had a two-week basic sailing course for almost no money and way more fun.

4. Play Games

If you have a hard time getting your feet wet, you can get a natural feel of the cat sailing experience by playing games. It’s a fun and challenging experience that helps you get the hang of the whole thing. Many sailing simulation games teach you the basics of sailing a cat. You can play these games on your PC, Android devices, and iPhones. 

As an example, Nautic Ed offers a free catamaran maneuvering game , which simulates a marina in the Caribbean. Using this game, you’ll learn to control the cat’s dual engines and move your vessel without hitting any obstacles. Although the activity is a bit challenging, you’ll get the hang of it after a few tries, and you’ll be able to complete it in under five minutes once you master the skills. 

What’s the Best Way to Learn To Sail a Cruising Catamaran?

The best way to learn how to sail a catamaran is the way that suits your learning style the best. Some people are more comfortable learning on their own by reading, while others learn better by watching. No matter your style, everyone needs to get out on the water and get some experience.

So, it doesn’t matter which way you choose. Pick the learning method that feels right for you, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

Learn the Basics

Whether you’re a seasoned monohull sailor or a beginner, you need to learn the basics of sailing catamarans. There are significant sailing differences between a catamaran and a monohull. To better understand the differences, I recommend you read my article named Monohull VS Catamarans, which is better for you .

Moreover, unlike a yacht or regular sailing boat, a catamaran has two hulls. As a result, the sailing experience is vastly different. 

Multihulls are more stable and have more predictable movements. That’s why having sailing experience with a monohull is not vital when learning to sail a cruising Cat, although you can be a step ahead. So, you may be able to learn faster.

Here are the most important things you need to learn:


It’s important to know the language and the frequent terms you might hear when talking about catamarans. Knowing the terminology lets you communicate effectively with other people and learn from them. You should also have a basic grasp of nautical terms. 

For example, do you know what a nacelle does, where you can find the bridle, or what a roach is? You should also learn if there are different types of the same thing and how they differ. For example, are there different kinds of headsails, helms, or booms?

Knowing the actions is essential in learning the instructions, and it’s closely related to learning the names of different parts of the boat. You should learn how to perform specific actions and what parts of the boat you need for them.

Check out my Catamarans Parts Explained article to start your learning today!

Techniques and Maneuvers

Maneuvers are essential for sailing in different conditions. They include jibing, tacking, safety position, sailing clock, head to wind, quick stop, and heaving to.

After learning what they mean, you should learn how to perform specific maneuvers. Note that even if you’re an experienced sailor, applying different maneuvers on a Cat can be vastly different from monohulls. 

Plus, you need to practice steering the wheel while maneuvering in tight spots, using the throttle control, or how to sail at night. And if you sail with others, you should know the commands that a captain gives. This way, you’ll be prepared to collaborate with your crew without confusion.

Closely related to maneuvers are the points of sail you should be familiar with. Points of sail are your sailing direction relative to the wind. If you’re already familiar with yacht sailing, you should learn whether or not specific points of sail are different in the context of catamaran sailing.

And last but not least, you should learn how to anchor a cat . Again, no matter how experienced you are in sailing monohulls, anchoring a catamaran is different. For example, you need to spend much more time to slow down the boat than a monohull due to its shorter keel and lower resistance to the water.

To get you started I recommend you check these articles out:

  • How to sail a small catamaran
  • How to sail a large catamaran
  • Tacking vs gybing

How To Rig the Catamaran

Rigging a boat means preparing it to sail. There are standard steps you should take in sequential order before your catamaran is ready for sale. 

You need to create a checklist of items to prepare. For example, it’s essential to know how to attach sails and optimize the boat’s performance for different weather conditions. This way, you can make sure you’ve considered all the necessary safety and security tips.

Tying knots is also another essential skill, which helps you secure your lines properly in different conditions. You need to learn the best knots for each situation.   

Tips on Learning How To Sail a Catamaran

Learning the basics is easy, but becoming a pro sailor requires extensive practice, preferably under a experienced sailors supervision.

Here’s what you can do to get the best out of your knowledge:

Create a To-Do List 

If you’re sailing alone, you need to consider every little detail, which can be tiresome and even frustrating. It’s easy to forget things, especially when there are many things to do. Sometimes you need to decide quickly while your mind may not be ready to react. 

The best solution is to have a to-do list that helps you keep everything in check. You can also predict any possible problems and write down the solutions. In the military, we call these types of documents SOP´s, standing operating procedures. These outlines a problem and a standard solution that will work in most cases.

Be Well-Prepared

You should always be ready for emergencies and take the necessary safety precautions. That’s a mistake most inexperienced sailors make and forget what things can go wrong. So, always have a first-aid kit at hand, anticipate different contingencies, and be ready to react appropriately. 

These precautions involve knowing the weather forecast, abiding by safety regulations, and sharing your travel plans.

Plus, you need to have all the essential tools on board. Stuff like fresh drinking water, batteries, food, fuels, and life jackets are things you shouldn’t sail without. Make sure you have enough food and supplies for the length of your trip and some extra if something happens.

Another safety tip is to pin down dangerous areas and try to stay away from them. That’s particularly important when you’re a beginner and sailing alone.

Always Be Learning

In addition to reading books and blog posts, and taking courses, it’s always a great idea to gather information from other experienced sailors. They can give you tips and tricks that you can’t find anywhere in the textbooks. Talk to veteran sailors and ask them for advice and, if possible, watch them see how they do things differently.

Record Yourself

When you go on a journey, try to record everything with a camera. This way, you have a visual account of everything you do to reflect upon later. This technique helps you learn from your mistakes and repeat the right things.

If you go sailing with an experienced person, you can also record them with their permission. Watching the footage can help you remember things visually and emulate them when you’re on your own.

How Long Does It Take to Learn To Sail a Cruising Catamaran?

It takes between 14 days and 5 years to learn how to sail a cruising catamaran. A 14-day course will teach you the basics to get out on your own and safely start learning more. After around 5 years you will be an experienced and high-level sailor.

Offocurse there are a number of factors involved in how long it takes.

Sailing courses normally take between 10 days to two weeks of full sailing days. So, by putting dedicated effort into getting hands-on experience, you can pick up the basics in less than a month.

Plus, no matter how much time you spend learning the fundamentals with the help of an instructor, you need to develop the confidence to set out on your own.

It also depends on your previous knowledge of sailing. If you know how to sail monohulls, learning to operate a multihull might speed up the process.

Where you decide to sail also affects your learning time. Calm, low-traffic inland lakes or bays are much easier to sail than areas with harsh tidal currents. Generally speaking, it’s better to start with a calm, tucked away place to learn the fundamentals and gain confidence. Then, move to busier areas once you seem to have practiced enough.

Look at your learning experience as a challenge and a new way to have fun. This way, you can learn faster and then brush up on your skills as you move along.

Do You Need Certifications To Sail a Cruising Catamaran?

You don’t need a certificate to start sailing a cruising Catamaran . However, it’ll come in handy in many situations. For example, if you want to rent a Cat, the owner will be more comfortable lending you the boat if you have a valid certificate as you’ll show proof of competency.

Many sailing organizations, including ASA and US Sailing, provide valid certificates that you can obtain by attending their courses and taking their exams. 

How Hard Is Learning To Sail a Cat?

Catamarans are easy to sail. Experienced sailors generally consider catamarans easier to sail than monohulls. That’s because of their stable platform reducing heel to a minimum. They’re also faster, more lightweight, and able to sail in shallow waters. Due to the dual engines, docking is also much easier.

Since catamarans have larger areas exposed to the wind, anchoring is also different. Cats are safer because of their higher stability. Plus, they have two motors, making them operable even if one engine stops working.

These features make Cats a beginner-friendly boat that you can learn to sail more easily. However, the more you practice on water, the better you’ll get the hang of things.

Final Thoughts 

Becoming a catamaran sailor can be easy as long as you learn it the way you like and see it as a challenge and a continual learning process.

Reading books, taking online and offline classes, getting help from a friend, joining a crew, and renting a Cat are different learning methods to choose from based on your preferences.

Whatever you do, make sure to learn the terminology, maneuvers and actions, safety measures, and preparation stages to get ahead.

Owner of A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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