To be wise generally just means to be experienced. Some things you have to learn by doing. The best way to do this safely when sailing a catamaran is to go out with more experienced sailors and not go out of your depth. If you’re about to set out on a catamaran for the first time, here are a few pointers to help you on your way.
Get Used To Your Boat
If you’ve been sailing on a variety of different boats, you will notice that each is different and that sailing a catamaran for the first time may seem like a completely different task. This may be the first time you are looking at power catamarans for sale for yourself. As opposed to monohulls, catamarans may seem like they provide less feedback, making it harder to read if they are overpowered or heeling. The signals are there; they are just different. It will take time, patience and some experience to get to know them.
Sitting behind the wheel of a cruising catamaran for the first time may seem a little daunting. The sprawling interior space inevitably places limits on your visibility. Depending on the make and model of your catamaran there will be different restrictions on various lines of sight, be sure to communicate to avoid unnecessary adventures.
You’ve probably realized that dealing with a catamaran with a generous amount of accommodation is also going to have a generous amount of windage. The windage issue and poor visibility may seem daunting at first, having two engines set so far apart provides a balance against the negative aspects of windage and will get you out of a lot of trouble.
Maneuvering With Twin Engines
Having two engines means you can forget about the rudders when maneuvering at low speeds; which can be quite beneficial if you’re moored tightly between two other cats and need to get quite a way sidewards to get clear.
Cruise On One Engine
Having the two engines that a cat provides is great for maneuvering at low speeds and safety in general, but when cruising one engine will get you there. Using both engines will only add another few knots of speed. Catamarans are quite efficient boats running on just one engine, so they save you the fuel. Running both engines at cruising speed means twice the fuel consumption for an extra knot of boat speed. If you’re worried about the boat becoming off balance using only one engine, then you needn’t be concerned. Sailboats are subjected to many different forces affecting balance that need to be taken into consideration, and running on one engine means the propulsion force is not aligned with the center of lateral resistance, but a relatively small rudder angle is enough to counter prop the helm.
Be Sure To Clean Your Hulls
Despite the fact that catamarans have two hulls, the total wetted area of a catamaran is generally less than that of a similar sized monohull boat. This actually means that it takes less time for marine growth to spread itself over a larger fraction of your hulls, so you need to be sure to clean them regularly and thoroughly.
Your best bet is to surround yourself with more experienced sailors and to learn from them as you go, rather than have to learn from costly or dangerous mistakes that you may make, landing yourself in trouble. Having experienced sailors with you will also take some of the stress away and make your trip a more enjoyable experience.