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

catamaran sailing instructions

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

catamaran sailing instructions

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

catamaran sailing instructions

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

catamaran sailing instructions

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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  • 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.

Yachts and boats in the bay. Beautiful bay with turquoise water.

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

Check out articles about other boats and boating gear

Götheborg: the greatest sailing ship, new boats for rent in 2024, sail trim 3: become a pro, skippered boats: how to choose a boat, skippered boats: what it actually looks like on a boat, the ultimate yacht cleaning kit, the most popular catamarans of 2023, how to sail a yacht on a tailwind, how to sail a yacht in crosswinds, 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

catamaran sailing instructions

39 Vital Tips, How To Sail a Catamaran!(For Beginners, The Fun and Safe Way!)

catamaran sailing instructions

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In this article, I list many of the things that I have found significant about sailing a catamaran. The list is mainly aimed towards sailors transitioning from monohulls, but new sailors without prior experience will benefit from reading this before leaving harbor!

So what do you need to know before setting off in a Catamaran?

Catamarans Don’t Heel

Since catamarans have two hulls, the boat won’t heel over to its side while sailing; this means a ton of things! In part, it means that your ride will be faster, safer, more comfortable, etc.

Read this  to understand the difference between monohulls (aka regular sailboats) and catamarans.

You will be faster on a Catamaran.

Since a catamaran has two hulls, it has less volume of the boat below the surface; this means less drag and higher speeds.

Want to know why cats are faster than other boats?

Maneuverability inside the Marina will be much more pleasant.

Although a catamaran will be more affected by winds due to its immense size, you can maneuver it as you would with a battle tank since it has two engines. That is doing a 360 turn without any movement forward or backward. This is an excellent way to enter and exit a marina.

Fuel costs will decrease.

Low drag means less energy needed to propel the boat; this is also true when running the engines. Compared to a monohull, the catamaran will draw less fuel.

Check out this article  to understand why and how you can save fuel and instead spend your money on fun things!

If you get knocked over, you won’t get back up again (but at least you won’t sink!)

Catamarans have a terrible reputation for flipping over or capsizing as it is known to the people of the water. There is not much data to support that claim, and if you look at the available data, you would actually see that catamarans, in many ways, are safer than boats with only one hull.

Are catamarans safer than other sailboats?

Catamarans are wider and, therefore, safer.

Is it easier to push something to its side if it has a wide or a small base? Yepp exactly, the cat has a broad base and is, therefore, more stable (the short and easy explanation). There are numerous other factors to consider but a wider base means better stability!

Sign up for my mailing list to find out when my article on catamaran stability goes online

Catamarans will get you the ladies(or men, or cats, or whatever)

There is nothing more accurate on this list than the fact that a catamaran will get you more company, of the sort you prefer, than a monohull. The sailing is smoother; the space is plentiful, it’s basically made for having friends hanging out on the trampolines.

Speaking of trampolines, some myths say that they are made to reduce water onboard and enhance safety, but everybody really knows it’s a place for beautiful times with great friends ;)!

What are  trampolines  you say?

Because of the shallow draft, you can go places where monohulls can’t

If you are going to the Bahamas (or any other place where the water isn’t very deep), and believe me, you definitely want, then a shallow draft is almost as good of a friend as a cold beer on a sunny day.

A shallow draft means that your boat won’t be sticking very deep into the water, which significantly enhances the number of places you can explore, and it also makes it possible to get very close to the beach.

Be prepared to spend your dollars.

“A boat is a hole in the water where you throw your money” is what a wise friend of mine once told me in a marina in the Miami River. Little did I know at the time how true that statement was to become.

And if you’re on a catamaran… you will have two engines, larger sails, more surface area, more everything, and more everything means that more things will break and more items will have to be paid for

BUT! it also means more fun!

Finding a place to lift your cat out of the water might be trickier than you thought.

Unless you are on a smaller cat, such as the Gemini Legacy 35, you won’t be able to fit in a standard slip, and getting hauled up out of the water might not be possible everywhere.

Be prepared to pay a little extra, and make sure you ask before you!

In contrary to many beliefs, cats can be sailed single-handed.

Another myth is that catamarans are harder to sail than their monohull counterpart; this is simply not true in a general sense. If the boat is set up for shorthanded sailing, it will most certainly be easier to sail than its heeling and leaning sister ship, the monohull.

If you are interested in the skills needed to handle a large cruising catamaran I think you should check out my recommended books here.

No more sailing close to the wind

Since a cat doesn’t have a colossal keel, it tends to move sideways when sailing close to the point of wind. This means more drag, less transfer of movement in the direction of travel, and a less comfortable trip.

Usually, a cat needs to sail more of the wind than a monohull,

Downwind is your new best friend.

But on the other hand, going downwind or running downwind is, together with humans, your dog and red wine, your new best friend. This is where the catamaran will show its true potential.

It’s fast, smooth, and can take you around the world!

Sailing around the world.

Unless you are setting a world record, you will probably take the westward route around the globe. Sailing west means traveling with the prevailing winds and, you guessed it, perfect for a catamaran.

Interested in sailing around the world?

You have friends? Bring all of them!

Maybe not all, but many catamarans can fit many people; 6-10 people is not uncommon. Most of the space is on deck, but since there are two hulls, there are usually 2-4 berths fitting 4-8 people sleeping!

That’s a lot of friends, family, cats, or whomever you would want to bring.

Are you used to monohulls? Then you need to update your storm tactics!

Often, the boat will survive more hardship than the crew; it has happened more than once that a ship will be found only to have lost its team somewhere in the middle of the ocean.

A boat is only as good as its captain allows it to become; with poor sailing skills comes danger, and handling a catamaran IS different than handling another type of boat. Ensure you update your skillset, especially those considering rough weather, so that they are relevant when transitioning to a different kind of vessel!

Full speed with double engines

Exactly how fast you will be able to travel is, of course, dependent upon many factors. But something you can rely on is that more power equals higher speeds; in most catamarans, they employ two engines!

If you want to see a table of examples comparing sailing with one engine and two engines,  check this out.

Hate swinging around on anchor? You better up your bridle-game

A well-balanced bridle will make the cat stay stable towards the wind; a poorly balanced bridle will tend to do a pendulum motion where the waves might push it one way only for the wind to push it back.

Want to better understand  how a bridle work and how to make one?

Don’t stop before the beach; go all the way upon it.

Sailing in the Caribbean, we could often find ourselves wanting to explore a deserted island. We could either throw in the dingy or swim to shore; with a catamaran, you have a third option: “beach” it.

Beaching a catamaran means taking it all the way up to the shoreline so you can step off onto a beautiful beach without even getting your toes wet!

Check this  out to understand what beaching a catamaran is like.

The cat is enormous; why not live on it!

A monohull’s size is usually what takes the fun and comfort out of the vacation, but with more space and your own berth/room, the ability to stay comfortably for more extended periods increases.

You might even have a hard time to get people of your boat 😉

How to sail faster upwind than a longer monohull

Yes, it is usually true that a mono can go closer to the wind than your average cat; this means a shorter distance from point A to point B if traveling directly towards the wind.

But, and its a big but (one T) catamarans on average are faster, that means even though they might have to travel a longer distance, they will usually show up at the destination faster than its mono counterpart.

Especially if we are talking longer distances, let’s say around the world or Atlantic crossings, then there is no discussion over which is the fastest.

Check this list of catamaran speeds to learn more .

No more merry-go-round while at anchor

One of the things I hated the most when living and sailing on a monohull was getting seasick when not even sailing. The wind pushing you one way and the waves the other makes for an incredibly potent mix of sea-sickness.

On a cat, that’s not really an issue; yes, it will swing around a little, it might even swing a little extra since it catches a lot of wind, but it is not going to roll! Which is a huge deal!

How to become a better sailor

Everybody says that to become a good sailor, you must get out there earn your experience, but without the correct feedback and conclusions, you might be at risk of sub optimizing your skillset.

This means that unless you bring someone very experienced, you might create habits that only work under the circumstances you have practiced, that is, calm weather close to shore.

What you need is someone to tell you, “that works today, but it will get you into trouble in X and Y situations,” those tips are vital! Get the opinion of someone you trust, whether it’s online or an actual person tagging along!

The American sailing association has a pretty cool book about handling large catamarans, check it out here.

Sailing single-handed

Catamarans, when set up correctly, can be sailed single-handed or shorthanded. Some of the changes you’ll have to make include;

  • Get an autopilot
  • Make sure your lines go all the way to the cockpit, so you don’t have to leave your GPS, radar, etc.
  • Remove things that are obstructing your view; there are only two eyes on board!
  • Ensure you have enough physical power to handle the winches, sail, etc., if you don’t? Hit the gym; if that doesn’t work, buy electric winches.
  • Practice sailing single-handed(but have a passive crew tag along for safety) and figure out what else you need.

More info on how to sail single-handed

Anchoring your cat at sea

One way to do this is to use a sea anchor, basically a parachute in the water that breaks your movements.  more on sea anchors here

The sea depth in the middle of an ocean can be thousands of meters, so bringing that much anchor chain doesn’t really work. What you would do is drift under control, that is, situating the boat in a comfortable position, and that doesn’t make you drift too much in the wrong direction.

Picking up a mooring ball

This is a common question, but I’m not sure why it intimidates people as much as it does. It is probably the easiest way to anchor of them all.

Basically, what you want to do is;

  • Prepare your bridle
  • Head into the wind slowly, approach the ball on the same side of the centerline as your friend, who will later pick it up.
  • Take into consideration the drift occurring by the wind and current.
  • Use a boathook, stick, or whatever to pick up the line from the mooring ball and attach it to the center of your bridle.
  • Put the boat in reverse, give it a little throttle, and tension the lines so that you can trust your anchoring
  • Voila, you’ve picked up your first mooring ball!
  • How to make your useless friend useful onboard

Turn that useless friend into and a vital asset!

The best way to prepare for troublesome situations is to think through what problems may happen and what you want to do when it happens. What you do is you bring that diamond in the rough that is your friend onboard, you discuss a few situations, you tell her what you want her to do and when.

Then you practice, not full-on, but you will show your friend how things are done; let’s say you want help with anchoring. Do a walkthrough of the process where you let your, now a little bit shinier diamond, handle the ropes and respond to commands. Offer honest and concrete feedback and let them succeed in the task.

Once you feel comfortable with your friend’s actions, you have accomplished two things, you have taught your friend a new skill, and you have acquired a crewmember! Glorious!

Bring your real best friend, the dog (or cat, for you weirdos 😉 )

Heeling is not only tough on us humans! On a cat (the boat), a cat(the animal) can move around more safely, and there is a smaller chance of it falling off. Many chose to keep the pet inside the boat, but I really do believe that your pets should also be able to enjoy the beautiful sailing and weather!

Prepare to see nothing.

I don’t mean beautiful islands and tropical beaches; you’ll see plenty of that! I mean, seeing where you are going, a cat has a lot of stuff in front of you(such as that glorious interior space), so if you’re used to your good old monohull, you might find it difficult at first to get at a good view of where you’re going. Especially when docking or in a marina.

Catamaran Sailing Techniques: Everything you need to know – Yachting World

The wind will give you a hard time.

A catamaran is basically a big box with floating sleds; boxes are not famous for aerodynamics. This box-shaped floater will catch a lot of wind and will make slow speed movements, such as docking, a little bit trickier.

To the rescue comes double engines with separate controls making it possible to do 360 turns on the spot and super small unballasted keels called centerboards.

Spring of the dock will be your new way of life.

Higher on the list, we looked at the box-shaped floating thing that is a catamaran and how much the wind affects it. This is also true when exiting a dock; all that force will make it impossible to head out if the wind blows towards the dock.

Spring off the dock to the rescue! This method uses simple physics of leverage to make your stern move away from the dock even though the wind and waves are pushing you back in.

Sign up to my  mailing list  for information on when that article is published!

Stop turning the wheel and start using your throttles.

The downside of a shallow draft is that it won’t have much that stops you from moving sideways with the wind; the upside of having a catamaran is that you have two engines!

When moving at slow speeds, let’s say docking, you dont have much “grip” on the water and not much water passing around the rudders. This makes handling a catamaran in the same way as a monohull very difficult.

Instead, the preferred method is to put the rudder at center position and turn by offsetting the throttle; higher throttle on your right engine will make you go left and vice versa. This allows for 360 spins and precis handling in tight spaces! Pretty neat, I would say.

Get used to that hellish banging noise!

Bridge deck clearance is a real thing on a catamaran, and if you’re on a smaller sized or just poorly built, you’ll get more banging than your teenaged self ever wished for(pun intended)!

So bridge deck clearance is the distance between the water and the lowest part of the boat between the hulls.

This is the part where the water will pass between the hulls, and under some circumstances, let’s say big enough waves, water will crash and hit the underside—making not only a lot of noise but also vibrations throughout the boat.

Bring all that crap that you thought you would have to leave on land.

“sailing is living the simple life and bringing only what you need,” someone said to me once; screw that! 🙂 On a cat, there is so much space that you’ll be able to bring almost anything that you want and need.

People bring everything from scuba gear(including a system to fill up the oxygen tanks) to washing machines!

Even though I consider myself to be a simple man when it comes to stuff (i live in a van, as some of you know 😉 ) I can totally understand the beauty of bringing a lot of creature comfort on board.

Shallow draft, yes, but how deep is the water, visual checks.

Before sailing the Bahamas, I would hear of stories almost every day of boats that went aground and either got stuck or wrecked their ships. I was terrified but once underway and a couple of months in, I couldn’t really understand how it could happen.

So I started looking into the information about different accidents that I could find, and something struck me, common sense isn’t that common…

I realized that many sailors trusted their GPS or maps more than they trust their own eyes. I could easily understand that the people who went aground were the ones that did not do visual checks when entering or moving through a shallow section.

When storms roll in, the seafloor, especially if made of sand, shifts, and depths, is rarely accurate on a map, and if your sailing with only a few feet to spare, you better keep an eye out!

If monohulls give you feedback like your mom at family dinner, then a catamaran is your dead budgie.

Maybe that title is a bit of a stretch and only applies to my family; if so, sorry about that, let’s carry on!

So when the wind hits the sails on a monohull, it leans to the side, everybody gets seasick, and you want to go home, that is not all bad! That same feeling also gives the captain a sensation of how much force is acted upon the sails, something vital if you want to stay afloat.

The issue with a catamaran is that it does not offer feedback to the helm in the same manner; there is nothing dangerous about it; it is just different. The problem occurs when you expect feedback in the shape of leaning before you start reefing.

If you wait for that, you’ll soon find yourself in trouble!  The easiest and safest way is to use a “wind speed rule of thumb,” basically a standard operating procedure for  putting the reefs in based on apparent wind. Once the wind speed hits X m/s, you put your first reef in; when the speed hits Y m/s, you put the next reef in, and so on.

See a squall coming? Reef early!

A gust of wind? Head down, not up!

I know, I know, I compare monohulls and cats all the time… and yes, here’s one more comparison!

Some of you single-hull-people out there might be tempted to head upwind if there’s a gust hitting the sails, I would rethink that strategy and recommend you train your reactions to do the opposite! 

Heading upwind(on a cat) during a gust will increase the risk of capsizing (flipping over is extremely rare, but if you’re ever going to pull it off, here’s your chance!).

Gybe like Barry White would

I’m not sure we see the same things here, but what I’m trying to say is that you want to take it nice and smooth on the transition from one side to the other.

Tighten in the sheet, pull the mainsail to the center and slowly pass from one side to the other; this will decrease the wear and tear and reduce the risk of injuries from the beam swinging like a 

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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Blue Water Sailing School

Catamaran Sailing Courses - Blue Water Sailing School

A catamaran at anchor

Our Cruising Catamaran sailing course (Course A Plus Catamaran) is a weeklong live-aboard catamaran cruising course, offered at the Fort Lauderdale base and the U.S. Virgin Islands base. The sailing course combines the Basic Sailing (ASA 101), Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA103), Bareboat Chartering (ASA 104), and Cruising Catamaran (ASA 114) levels of the ASA curriculum.

We are also one of the only sailing schools to offer a course in advanced catamaran sailing (Course C+ Cat: Advanced Catamaran Skipper) . During this weeklong live-aboard catamaran cruising course you’ll sail from Fort Lauderdale, across the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, and back again. Along the way, you’ll gain the hands-on experience you need to pass the Coastal Navigation (ASA 105), Advanced Coastal Cruising (ASA 106), and Cruising Catamaran (ASA 114) ASA certification levels.

Please see ASA Course Descriptions for details on each certification standard.

You can find information about all Blue Water Sailing School courses in our course catalog . For course availability and dates, please see our schedule .

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The concept truly is cutting edge in that it focuses on the strength of the team, customer service and long term repeat business. We typically find that a yacht owner buys a new boat every three to five years. Well Suited takes the necessary time and devotes the human resources to assist in your long term plans. What you need/want today ... what you are looking to grow into or downsize after realizing a dream ... proper market placement ... resale value, etc.

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We actually went somewhere (Key Largo), rather than returning to the dock each evening. The course was made to be an adventure, as well as simply instructional. The weather was “made to order” — sun and gentle breeze Saturday through Wednesday, then Force 8 for our ‘foul weather instruction’ on Thursday.

I thought it was an excellent, challenging course. It definitely wasn’t a “cruise.” The instructor expected a lot from the students. I like that.

I have nothing but the utmost praise for your entire operation and the quality of the instruction that I received. Al Hatch is a consummate instructor and brings to this activity a love and a passion that is genuine and expansive. I hope to be able to return to Blue Water to experience some of the higher-level courses of instruction, and I certainly would have no trouble at all recommending your company to anyone.

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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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catamaran sailing instructions

Catamaran Guru Sailing Academy

South florida live-aboard rya sailing school on a bali 4.2.

catamaran guru sailing academy logo

Our South Florida Catamaran Guru sailing school is one of a very small handful of sailing instruction facilities that offers the globally recognized RYA sailing courses and ICC Certification which we compared to ASA courses for you . RYA certifications are internationally recognized and are best for sailors who plan to explore international waters. And, our hands-on sailing instruction is offered aboard a 2021 Bali 4.2 or a Catana OC 50 performance catamaran ensuring the boat systems and electronics you learn on are state-of-the-art and similar to what most of our new boat owners will be buying and sailing. 


  • ICC Certification
  • Instructors
  • Courses & Pricing
  • Sample Itinerary
  • Testimonials
  • What to Expect

Catamaran Guru offers both ASA and RYA courses in different locations. However, the RYA courses are internationally recognized and is best if you want to sail abroad.

Our sailing school offers RYA sailing courses, catamaran orientation aboard your own boat, and blue-water cruising classes to the Bahamas and Florida Keys. A weeklong liveaboard sailing school is invaluable for anyone who plans to own their own boat, but especially those who plan to be full-time cruisers. During these hands-on sailing experiences, your seaschool instructor combines our real-life practical methods with the most up-to-date sailing theory lessons on board. These experiences led by Yacht Master and broker, Steele Greyling or Yacht Master, Matthew Joubert set you up to enjoy a stress-free cruising lifestyle. 

**Bali 4.2 Classes available NOW. See booking schedule below .  Schedule will be updated shortly. If you need info or want to place your name on the list CONTACT US!

Your RYA Instructors

Steele greyling.

Steele Greyling Yacht Broker and RYA Sailing Instructor

Steele Greyling, a South African native, is an exceptionally experienced instructor providing catamaran sailing lessons, RYA sailing certification training, and ICC certificate exams. Steele, also, adeptly orients owners to their own catamarans teaching them boat systems and electronics aboard the very vessel they will cruise or liveaboard. In addition to living aboard  Jelly Blue , his family’s Island Spirit 40, since a young child, Steele’s yachting qualifications include:

  • RYA Commercial Yachtmaster Ocean
  • RYA Yachtmaster Instructor
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2 Instructor
  • SAS Commercially endorsed Yachtmaster Coastal for Power and Sail

Matthew Joubert

matthew joubert. catamaran guru rya sailing instructor with photo of bali 4.3

Matthew Joubert, a South African native, has wide interests include fitness, sailing, backpacking, SCUBA, fishing, and water sports of all kinds. His early career as a dive master led him to sailing when he joined a South Africa to Fort Lauderdale delivery. Soon he worked aboard crewed charter yachts working his way from dive master/spear-fishing guide to first mate and captain. Matthew’s certifications:

  • RYA Yacht Master Offshore
  • RYA Cruising Instructor Tender maneuvering
  • STCW’ 95 Instructing
  • RYA Power Boat Level ll Basic carpentry
  • RYA Personal Watercraft Instructor
  • PADI Dive Master Management

Check Out Our Amazing Testimonials

steele greyling and sailing school student, Lawrence Trevor Brown​

Sailing Courses & Owner Orientation Classes

Bali 4.2 sailing instruction.

  • $3500 per person (master cabin)
  • $3100 per person double stateroom, double occupancy
  • $4,900 per person single occupancy.
  • ICC (International Certificate of Competency) One-Day Exam @ $600 per person, minimum 4 people per day
  • 3-day Boat Owner Orientation Course @ $500 per person per day, minimum 2 people
  • $3100 per person double stateroom, double occupancy.

Catana 50 OC Sailing Orientation Classes

  • $7,300 per person (master cabin)
  • $6,700  per person double stateroom, double occupancy.
  • $10,000 per person, single occupancy, minimum 2 people .

Book Your Sailing Course

Below these instructions are the courses the Sailing Academy is offering. See our course prices and descriptions here.

  • For the course of interest (in picture gallery below – Competent Crew, Day Skipper or ICC Certifcation), click its “Book” button. 
  • Once the calendar opens up, choose the month you prefer. Look for GREEN DATES as they are the start of AVAILABLE CLASS SLOTS .
  • Click on the green date then choose your cabin type:  owner’s cabin, double cabin, or single occupant.
  • Note that Bahamas courses are subject to favorable conditions. Typically the classes are done in Florida unless otherwise notified. Please discuss with us before you book if you have questions.

Sample Week-Long Sail Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary for our week-long Fort Lauderdale course. Your particular week may differ and be adjusted depending on weather and captain’s discretion. This itinerary is not guaranteed.  Read about some of our own adventures exploring the Florida Keys and Bimini Island, Hemingway’s islands in the stream .

SATURDAY, you will board your boat at 3pm and get started with orientation, provisioning, boat systems, and safety. You will stay at the marina Saturday evening, dinner is not included Saturday. 

SUNDAY morning, you will have a couple hours of academic instruction before starting sailing. Heading out from the marina you travel down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to Port Everglades and then on to the Atlantic Ocean. Traveling on the ICW will give you a practical demonstration and practice with Rules of the Road, Lights and Shapes, draw bridge procedures, and proper VHF radio operation. From Port Everglades the boat will head south, with this day’s destination of Miami/northern Biscayne Bay, typically somewhere in the Key Biscayne area. Anchor is down in the late afternoon and you are free to swim, study, read, or otherwise relax. One of the students will have chef’s duty with another on galley duty. This will change each day.

MONDAY , while having coffee and breakfast, you will check the weather, look at the chart, and plot the course for the day, noting any hazards to be aware of. After an engine check and some class time sailing will commence. Lots of sailing drills: tacking, jibbing, Crew Overboard maneuvers . Lunch will be either underway or dropped anchor for a short break.

This day’s destination is the Elliott Key area. Anchor down in mid to late afternoon, furl the sails and coil the lines, then swim before dinner.

TUESDAY  morning, after breakfast and morning routine, more sailing and drills, ending up in the southern Biscayne Bay/Card Sound/Barnes Sound area for the evening.

WEDNESDAY you will start to retrace your route, heading back to Noname Harbor and practice docking then on to northern Biscayne Bay anchoring off Key Biscayne Bay or Virginia Key.

THURSDAY  morning, you will head back onto the Atlantic Ocean for the sail back to Ft Lauderdale. Depending on the weather (as always) you may be able to get out into the Gulf Stream, picking up a couple knots of boat speed and making a quick sail up the coast. But if the wind is from the north the sail will stay close to shore as you make your way to windward. Pull back into our marina in Hollywood in the mid to late afternoon.

FRIDAY morning will be the final review and test, if applicable. The instructor will review your tests and sign your logbooks. Boat clean-up, showers, and you will be done in the early afternoon, usually noon – 1pm but no later than 3pm.

what to expect

catamaran sailing instructions

The Catamaran Guru base is in Loggerhead Marina, 1400 Marina Drive, Hollywood, FL 33109. We are about 20 minutes from Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Arrival Arrangements : Boarding is at 3pm on your start date. The Sailing School catamaran is called “Akani” a Bali 4.2 on slip 401. If you have luggage to be stowed, you are welcome to leave it at our office while the boat is being cleaned and prepared for your school.


All meals provided from Sunday morning to Friday lunch. Most dietary requirements can be accommodated. Note that as part of your education, you will do the cooking. Catamaran Guru provisions the boat; you will stow it away. Adult beverages are not included. Please supply your own. No cocktails before the anchor goes down!


This is an all-inclusive sailing school. Accommodation, food, and course materials are included. No taxes, marinas fees, or cruising permits are included.



See suggested itinerary above. IMPORTANT PRIOR TO BOARDING: Prior to arrival, you are required to sign up and register with the RYA and complete the theory course online if applicable. Please check with your instructor what course you will sign up for and what is required for 

  • Competent Crew course: The Competent Crew course introduces the complete beginner to cruising and teaches personal safety, seamanship and helmsmanship to the level required to be a useful member of crew of a cruising yacht.
  • Day Skipper Course: The Day Skipper course teaches pilotage, navigation, seamanship and boat handling up to the required standard to skipper a small cruising yacht safely by day in tidal waters with which the student is familiar.

Please provide 1 x Color ID photo (with your name on the back of each photo).***Note that dates are subject to change due to weather**

GENERAL INFORMATION: What you need to bring with you

  • Suitable clothing – layers are a good idea, T- Shirts, sun shirts / rashguards, swimsuit, shorts, windbreaker, warm jumper, trainers etc
  • Sunscreen, hats/caps
  • Weatherproof jacket
  • Polarized Sunglasses
  • Extra money for food & beverages for your off-boat dinner or lunch days
  • If you prefer your own snorkel gear, please bring that along, otherwise we have some available onboard

Please read Catamaran Guru Sailing School Terms and Conditions .

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Sail Away Blog

Mastering Catamaran Sailing: Essential Guide & Tips to Navigate the Waters

Alex Morgan

catamaran sailing instructions

Sailing a catamaran can be an exhilarating and enjoyable experience for both experienced sailors and beginners alike. Unlike monohull sailboats, catamarans offer unique advantages in terms of stability and speed. If you’re interested in learning how to sail a catamaran, it’s important to understand the basics and master the necessary skills. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to sailing a catamaran, from understanding the fundamentals to maneuvering and handling the boat effectively.

To begin with, let’s delve into the introduction of sailing a catamaran, followed by understanding the basics of a catamaran. We’ll explore what exactly a catamaran is and how it differs from a monohull sailboat. we’ll discuss the advantages of sailing a catamaran, highlighting why it has become a preferred choice for many sailors.

Before setting sail, proper preparation is essential. This section covers the importance of safety equipment and checks, along with understanding wind and weather conditions. Planning your route is crucial to ensure a smooth and enjoyable sailing experience.

Once you’re prepared, we’ll move on to the essential sailing techniques for a catamaran. This section will guide you through rigging and hoisting the sails, tacking and jibing, trimming the sails, and controlling speed and direction. Mastering these techniques is key to maneuvering the catamaran effectively on the water.

Handling the catamaran also requires specific techniques. We’ll cover important maneuvers such as docking and undocking, mooring and anchoring, and addressing emergencies like man overboard recovery. These skills are vital to ensure a safe and successful journey.

We’ll provide you with essential safety tips for sailing a catamaran. Understanding right-of-way rules, handling rough seas and heavy winds, and maintaining balance and stability are crucial aspects of staying safe on the water.

By the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to sail a catamaran and be well-equipped to embark on your own catamaran adventures while ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

– Sailing a catamaran offers the advantage of maximizing space with its two hulls, allowing for more comfortable living quarters and a larger deck area. – Catamarans provide a stable and balanced sailing experience, making them a safer option for beginners and those prone to seasickness. – Proper preparation, including checking safety equipment, understanding weather conditions, and planning your route, is crucial for a successful catamaran sailing experience.

Understanding the Basics of a Catamaran

Understanding the basics of a catamaran is essential for safe and enjoyable sailing. A catamaran is a boat with two parallel hulls connected by a deck. It has advantages over monohull boats. Catamarans are stable due to their wide beam, reducing the risk of capsizing . They can access shallow waters because of their shallow drafts . Catamarans also offer more space and comfort with larger cabins, living areas, and deck space.

To control a catamaran, the skipper uses the helm to control the rudders. Adjusting and trimming the sails allows the skipper to use the wind’s power and steer the boat efficiently. Balancing the sails and maintaining stability while sailing is important.

Knowing the key components, how to control the boat, and handle the sails will help you navigate the waters confidently. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a beginner, familiarizing yourself with the fundamentals of catamarans is crucial.

What Is a Catamaran?

A catamaran, also known as a cat , is a type of boat that features two parallel hulls connected by a platform or bridge deck. This unique design provides it with stability and speed, making it a popular choice for sailing enthusiasts. Unlike traditional monohull sailboats, a catamaran offers a wider beam , which results in more space and greater stability . As a result, the sailing experience on a catamaran is smoother and more comfortable .

There are several advantages to sailing a catamaran. One significant advantage is its shallow draft , which allows it to navigate in shallower waters that are inaccessible to other types of boats. The dual hull design of a catamaran minimizes drag and enhances speed , making it highly efficient for long-distance cruising . The spacious interior layout of a catamaran provides ample room for accommodations , amenities , and storage .

When sailing a catamaran, it is essential to consider the wind and weather conditions for safe navigation. Understanding the right of way rules and knowing how to handle rough seas and heavy winds are crucial skills for catamaran sailors. Maintaining balance and stability is of utmost importance to ensure a smooth sailing experience.

A fun fact about catamarans is that they have been utilized by Polynesian cultures for centuries, proving their effectiveness and versatility in various sailing conditions.

How Is a Catamaran Different from a Monohull Sailboat?

A catamaran is different from a monohull sailboat in several ways. A catamaran has two parallel hulls connected by a deck or bridge, whereas a monohull sailboat only has one hull. This dual hull design provides greater stability and balance on the water.

In addition, the hulls of a catamaran are wider and shallower compared to those of a monohull, allowing for a shallower draft and improved maneuverability . This also results in a higher cruising speed and faster sailing speeds for catamarans.

Catamarans also offer more interior space and are known for their spaciousness and comfort , thanks to their wider beam. When sailing upwind, catamarans experience less heeling , which translates into a smoother and more comfortable ride for passengers.

Catamarans are better suited for cruising in shallow waters and can anchor closer to shore due to their shallow draft . The dual hull design of catamarans also provides greater redundancy and safety in the event of hull damage or collision.

Unlike monohull sailboats, which typically have a keel, catamarans rely on centerboards or daggerboards to prevent sideways sliding. The main differences between a catamaran and a monohull sailboat lie in their stability , speed , comfort , and maneuverability .

Advantages of Sailing a Catamaran

– Stability: Catamarans offer excellent balance with their twin hulls, making them less likely to tilt or capsize compared to monohull sailboats.

– Spaciousness: The wide beam of catamarans provides more interior and deck space, including comfortable living quarters, larger cabins, and ample room for socializing and entertaining.

– Speed: The design of twin hulls reduces drag, allowing catamarans to sail faster and provide exhilarating experiences.

– Shallow Draft: Catamarans have a shallower draft than monohull sailboats, enabling them to sail in shallower waters and access a wider range of cruising grounds.

– Comfort: The wide beam and stable design of catamarans offer a smoother and more comfortable sailing experience, eliminating the heeling common in monohull sailboats and reducing the chances of seasickness.

– Maneuverability: Catamarans are more maneuverable than monohull sailboats, providing better turning ability for navigating tight spaces, docking, and anchoring precision.

– Sailing Performance: Catamarans excel in light wind conditions, thanks to their large sail area and light weight, allowing them to catch even the slightest breeze and maintain good boat speed. This makes them ideal for destinations with calm weather patterns.

Preparing for Sailing a Catamaran

Preparing for a thrilling catamaran sailing adventure requires careful planning and essential knowledge. As we dive into the section on “ Preparing for Sailing a Catamaran ,” we’ll explore vital aspects such as safety equipment and checks , understanding wind and weather conditions , and planning your route . Get ready to uncover expert tips and strategies to ensure a smooth and enjoyable catamaran journey on the open waters.

Safety Equipment and Checks

Prioritize safety when sailing a catamaran. Thoroughly check and prepare your safety equipment before setting off on your adventure. Consider the following important safety equipment and checks :

  • Life jackets: Ensure enough properly fitting life jackets for everyone on board.
  • Flotation devices: Have throwable flotation devices readily available for emergencies.
  • Fire extinguishers: Have the appropriate type and number of fire extinguishers on board.
  • First aid kit: Maintain a well-stocked kit for handling minor injuries or medical emergencies.
  • Navigation lights: Ensure all navigation lights are functioning properly, especially for sailing at night or in low visibility conditions.
  • Communication devices: Carry reliable communication devices such as a marine VHF radio or satellite phone for calling for help if needed.
  • Engine and safety equipment checks: Regularly inspect engines, bilge pumps, anchor systems, and other safety equipment to ensure good working condition.

Remember, safety is crucial. Check your safety equipment before every trip and ensure proper working order. Familiarize yourself with specific safety requirements and regulations of the sailing area. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your catamaran sailing adventure with peace of mind and be prepared for any unexpected situations.

Understanding Wind and Weather Conditions

Understanding wind and weather conditions is crucial when sailing a catamaran. You must have a comprehensive understanding of the wind direction, speed, and weather changes that may impact your sailing experience. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Wind direction: It is essential to know the direction from which the wind is blowing. This knowledge will assist you in planning your sailing route and selecting the appropriate sails.

2. Wind speed: Pay close attention to the wind speed as it could potentially affect the speed and maneuverability of your boat. Higher wind speeds may necessitate reefing the sails or adjusting your course.

3. Weather changes: Remain mindful of any approaching storms, rain, or fog. These conditions can have a significant impact on visibility and create challenges when sailing.

4. Sea state: Take note of the current sea state, which includes wave height and frequency. Rough seas may require you to adjust your sailing technique and speed to ensure the stability of the catamaran.

5. Weather forecasts: Always remember to check the weather forecasts before embarking on your sailing trip. This will provide you with an overview of the expected weather conditions.

By possessing a thorough understanding of wind and weather conditions, you can make well-informed decisions to ensure a safe and enjoyable sailing experience aboard a catamaran. Keep in mind that conditions at sea can change rapidly, so it is essential to stay vigilant and adapt your plans accordingly.

Planning Your Route

When planning your catamaran sailing route, it is important to consider several factors for a safe and enjoyable journey. One of the first things to do is assess the weather conditions by checking the forecast for potential storms or strong winds. It is crucial to avoid adverse conditions as they can pose risks to both the crew and the catamaran’s safety.

In addition, it is necessary to identify key destinations and conduct research on navigational challenges. This will help in finding suitable anchorages or marinas along the way. Creating a timeline is also essential to plan the duration of the journey, taking into account the distance to be covered and the catamaran’s speed. It is important to remember to account for any time constraints or events that may affect the plan.

Using navigational charts, it is advisable to plot the course, noting any potential obstacles along the way. It is also a good practice to plan alternative routes in case they become necessary. Considering currents and tides is another crucial aspect of route planning. Studying tidal patterns and current directions will allow for incorporating these factors into the planning process for greater efficiency.

Another important consideration is fuel and provisions . It is necessary to determine the locations of fuel stations and provisioning points along the route. Planning fuel stops and stocking up on supplies will ensure that you have everything you need during the journey. Communication and safety should not be overlooked either. Identifying channels to communicate with other sailors and emergency assistance is vital . It is also important to familiarize yourself with emergency procedures and have access to contact information in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

It is recommended to regularly review your route plan and make adjustments based on real-time conditions and feedback. This will help ensure that you are always up to date with any changes that may occur during the journey. By carefully planning your route, you can optimize your sailing experience, safely navigate waters, and fully enjoy your catamaran adventure.

Essential Sailing Techniques for Catamaran

Mastering the essential sailing techniques for a catamaran is the key to harnessing the power of wind and water. From rigging and hoisting the sails to controlling speed and direction, each sub-section in this guide will unlock the secrets that seasoned sailors swear by. So, get ready to tack and jibe , trim those sails just right, and experience the exhilaration of sailing a catamaran like a pro!

Rigging and Hoisting the Sails

To rig and hoist the sails on a catamaran, follow these steps:

1. Assemble the mast, boom, and rigging securely and properly aligned.

2. Attach the main halyard securely and tensioned to the head of the mainsail.

3. Attach the jib halyard properly tensioned and secured to the head of the jib sail.

4. Connect the main sheet to the boom to control the angle and tension of the mainsail.

5. Connect the jib sheets to the clew of the jib sail to control the angle and tension of the jib sail.

6. Attach the reefing lines to the mainsail, if applicable, to reduce sail area in strong winds.

7. Check all rigging and lines for proper tension and adjustments, ensuring everything is secure and aligned.

8. Raise the mainsail by pulling on the main halyard while guiding the sail up the mast, using winches or other mechanical aids if necessary.

9. Raise the jib sail by pulling on the jib halyard while guiding the sail up the forestay, using winches or other mechanical aids if needed.

10. Adjust the main sheet and jib sheets to achieve the desired sail shape and trim for optimal boat performance.

Rigging and hoisting the sails on a catamaran is crucial for a smooth and exhilarating sailing experience. By following these steps, you can confidently prepare your catamaran for sailing adventures.

Now, let’s appreciate the history of rigging and hoisting sails. Sailing has been a vital mode of transportation and exploration for centuries. The technique of rigging and hoisting sails has evolved from simple square sails to more efficient and versatile fore-and-aft sails used on catamarans. Today, catamarans are equipped with advanced rigging systems and modern materials that enhance speed and maneuverability. Rigging and hoisting sails remain a vital skill for sailors, connecting us to our seafaring ancestors and enabling exploration of the world’s oceans with grace and agility.

Tacking and Jibing

Tacking and jibing are essential maneuvers when sailing a catamaran. These techniques allow you to change direction and make the most of the wind. Consider these key points:

  • Tacking: This maneuver is used to sail against the wind. Turn the bow of the boat through the wind to switch the sails to the opposite side. This allows you to zigzag towards your destination.
  • Jibing: Use this maneuver to change direction with the wind at your back. Turn the stern of the catamaran through the wind to move the mainsail to the other side. Control the boom to prevent dangerous swinging.
  • Preparation: Before tacking or jibing, ensure that the crew is aware and in a safe position for stability during the turn.
  • Wind direction: Success with tacking and jibing depends on understanding the wind. Assess the wind and plan your maneuvers accordingly.
  • Practice: Perfecting tacking and jibing requires practice. Start with gentle maneuvers in light wind conditions and gradually progress with experience.

During a sailing race, a crew utilized their knowledge of wind patterns and executed a flawless maneuver by tacking right before the finish line. This tactical advantage secured their victory.

Trimming the Sails

Sailing a catamaran requires mastering the skill of trimming the sails . Properly trimmed sails greatly impact the catamaran’s performance and maneuverability. Here are some important considerations for sail trimming:

1. Adjusting the tension: Properly adjusting the tension on the sails is vital for achieving the desired shape and angle. The main sail should have a slight curvature called camber , which generates lift and power. Trim the jib sail to maintain smooth airflow on both sides.

2. Controlling the angle: The angle of the sails in relation to the wind direction is crucial for maintaining optimal speed. Adjust the sheets to trim the sails closer or further from the wind based on sailing conditions and desired speed.

3. Monitoring the telltales: Telltales , small yarn or ribbon pieces attached to the sails, provide valuable airflow information and indicate proper sail trimming. Continuously observe the telltales to ensure smooth and even flow.

4. Reefing: In strong winds, reducing the size of the sails through reefing is necessary to maintain stability and control. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for reefing and ensure proper securing of the sails.

5. Constant adjustment: Sail trimming requires constant attention. Continuously monitor wind conditions and make necessary adjustments to optimize performance and maintain control.

Mastering the art of sail trimming leads to smoother sailing, improved speed, and enhanced overall performance on a catamaran. Practice and experience are essential for developing this skill, so head out to the water and start honing your sail trimming abilities.

Controlling Speed and Direction

To effectively control the speed and direction of a catamaran, it is important to follow these steps:

1. Sail Adjustment: Optimize the power and speed of the catamaran by trimming the sails. Utilize the mainsail and jib sheets to manipulate the sail angle, taking into account the wind direction.

2. Utilize the Traveler: Fine-tune the speed and stability by adjusting the traveler. This tool, located across the cockpit, allows you to modify the mainsail sheeting point and control the angle of the mainsail.

3. Sail Plan Modification: Alter the sail plan as necessary to either increase or decrease speed. Reef the sails in strong winds to reduce the sail area, and unreef them in light winds to allow for greater sail area.

4. Daggerboard Adjustment: Maintain stability and control the direction of the catamaran by raising or lowering the daggerboards. These adjustments contribute to achieving balance and maneuverability.

5. Rudder Tweaking: Make slight adjustments to the rudder angle using the tiller or wheel, ensuring smooth steering of the boat.

Pro-tip: Enhance your ability to control speed and direction on a catamaran through practice and experience. Continuously monitor wind conditions and make minor adjustments to optimize performance.

Catamaran Maneuvers and Handling

Get ready to conquer the waters as we dive into the art of sailing a catamaran. In this section, we’ll navigate through the thrilling aspects of docking and undocking , the essentials of mooring and anchoring , and the crucial skill of man overboard recovery . Brace yourself for a wave of practical tips and tricks that will enhance your catamaran sailing experience. So, grab your compass, adjust your sails, and let’s set sail on this exciting journey!

Docking and Undocking

Docking and undocking a catamaran can be daunting, but with the right techniques and precautions, it can be done smoothly. Follow these steps:

  • Approach the dock slowly, keeping an eye on the wind and current.
  • Assign crew members to handle lines and fenders for a safe docking process.
  • Shift into reverse as you near the dock to slow down.
  • Turn the helm to steer the catamaran parallel to the dock as you stop.
  • Have crew members ready with fenders to protect the catamaran.
  • Engage reverse to back closer to the dock, using brief forward bursts to maneuver if needed.
  • Once close, crew members should step off the catamaran with lines to secure it to the dock.
  • Secure the catamaran using docking lines , ensuring they are properly fastened and have enough slack.

True story: One summer, while docking our catamaran in a busy marina, a strong gust of wind made our docking process challenging. Thanks to our crew’s quick reflexes and knowledge, we maneuvered the catamaran safely and secured it to the dock without damage. It was a valuable lesson in being prepared for unexpected situations while docking and undocking a catamaran.

Mooring and Anchoring

Mooring and anchoring are integral skills when sailing a catamaran. It is important to consider several key points when engaging in these activities. Make sure to choose the appropriate anchor that matches the type of seabed you will be navigating. Inspect the anchor line thoroughly to ensure it is in good condition and securely attached. Next, carefully select a mooring spot in a protected area that offers solid holding ground. When approaching the mooring, take into account factors such as wind and current, and proceed slowly. To secure the boat, use mooring lines that are connected to cleats or deck fittings. Safeguard your boat from potential damage by utilizing fenders . Prioritizing safety and accounting for your boat’s unique conditions and requirements is crucial. By practicing these techniques, you can enhance your proficiency and guarantee a safe and enjoyable sailing experience.

Man Overboard Recovery

  • Assess the situation: When facing a man overboard situation, it is important to stay calm and promptly evaluate the circumstances. Take into account the distance between the catamaran and the individual in the water, as well as any nearby hazards or obstacles.
  • Alert the crew: Immediately inform the other crew members about the man overboard incident. This ensures that everyone is informed and prepared to provide assistance.
  • Initiate the man overboard recovery process: Throw a life buoy or any floating object towards the person in the water, offering them something to hold onto. This will help keep them afloat during the recovery process.
  • Turn the catamaran: Skillfully maneuver the catamaran to create a controlled loop or figure eight pattern around the individual in the water. This will slow down the vessel and facilitate their retrieval.
  • Bring the person back on board: Once the catamaran is properly positioned, utilize a ladder, swim platform, or any available means to assist in bringing the person back on board. Assign crew members to provide support and ensure the individual’s safety throughout the recovery process.
  • Monitor and provide medical assistance: After the person is safely back on board, promptly evaluate their condition and administer any necessary medical attention. Check for injuries, monitor vital signs, and administer first aid if needed.

Pro-tip: Conduct regular man overboard drills and practice recovery procedures with your crew to ensure that everyone is familiar with their respective roles and responsibilities. This will help reduce response time and enhance the likelihood of successfully recovering individuals in emergency situations.

Safety Tips for Sailing a Catamaran

Discover essential safety tips when sailing a catamaran in this section. From understanding right of way rules to dealing with rough seas and heavy winds, you’ll learn how to navigate challenging conditions with confidence. We’ll explore techniques for maintaining balance and stability, ensuring a smooth and secure sailing experience. So hop aboard and let’s dive into the world of catamaran sailing safety !

Understanding Right of Way Rules

Understanding Right of Way Rules is crucial for safe sailing. Follow these guidelines:

1. Sailboats have the right of way over powerboats. Be aware of your surroundings and give way to any sailboats in your path.

2. When encountering a vessel on your starboard side, yield and give them the right of way. Alter your course slightly to avoid a potential collision.

3. When overtaking another vessel, keep a safe distance and give them the right of way. Maintain a slow and steady speed to avoid creating a dangerous situation.

4. In narrow channels or crowded areas, vessels going uphill or against the current have the right of way. Yield to any vessels navigating in these challenging conditions.

5. Always be cautious and maintain a safe speed when crossing paths with other vessels. Slow down if necessary to ensure a safe passage.

By understanding and adhering to right of way rules, you can navigate the waters confidently and reduce the risk of accidents. Remember, safety should always be the top priority when sailing a catamaran.

Dealing with Rough Seas and Heavy Winds

Dealing with rough seas and heavy winds is crucial when sailing a catamaran. Here are tips to navigate challenging conditions:

1. Check the weather forecast before setting off. If rough seas and heavy winds are expected, consider delaying your trip or changing your route.

2. Ensure all crew members wear appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets and harnesses. Secure loose items on the deck.

3. Maintain a steady speed when encountering rough seas to keep the boat stable. Avoid sudden changes in direction or speed.

4. Adjust your sails by reefing to maintain control and prevent overpowering by strong winds.

5. Be cautious when navigating large waves. Approach them at a slight angle to minimize the risk of capsizing. Maintain a firm grip on the helm.

6. Be aware of the sea state. Avoid crossing large waves head-on; instead, cross them diagonally or at a slight angle.

7. Communicate effectively with your crew. Assign roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone is working together for safety and control.

In rough seas and heavy winds, safety should be the top priority. Stay alert, remain calm, and rely on your training and experience.

Pro-tip: Consider advanced sailing courses or consulting experienced sailors to enhance your skills and confidence in dealing with rough seas and heavy winds.

Maintaining Balance and Stability

Maintaining balance and stability is absolutely crucial when sailing a catamaran. It is important to ensure that weight is evenly distributed on both sides of the catamaran in order to achieve stability .

One way to accomplish this is by having passengers and crew members move to the opposite side when the wind picks up. Another key aspect of maintaining balance is properly trimming the sails to adjust their angle in response to wind changes. This helps to prevent excessive heeling and ensures stability .

Paying attention to the centerboards can greatly enhance stability . Deploying the centerboards can counterbalance the force of the wind and prevent tipping over.

Steering also plays a significant role in maintaining balance. It is crucial to steer steadily and in a controlled manner in order to keep the catamaran on course and avoid any imbalance.

It is important to be aware of weather conditions and understand how they can impact stability . When faced with heavy winds and rough seas, it is essential to adjust sailing techniques accordingly and make any necessary adjustments to maintain balance and stability .

Some Facts About How To Sail Catamaran:

  • ✅ Sailing a catamaran requires adjusting to the different motion and sail trimming compared to monohull sailboats.
  • ✅ Catamarans provide more space and stability compared to traditional monohull sailboats.
  • ✅ Catamarans do not heel like monohulls, providing a less tiring sailing experience.
  • ✅ Catamarans can sail in shallower places and prevent rolling in anchorage due to their lower drafts.
  • ✅ The American Sailing Association (ASA) offers a specific course, ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran, to provide practical sailing skills and confidence when sailing a catamaran.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how do i sail a catamaran.

Sailing a catamaran involves adjusting to its different motion and sail trimming compared to monohulls. You’ll need to take a sailing course or gather practical sailing skills to ensure confidence and enjoyment while sailing a catamaran. The American Sailing Association (ASA) offers the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran course designed specifically for individuals with monohull cruising experience transitioning to catamarans.

2. What are the advantages of sailing a catamaran?

Catamarans offer numerous advantages over monohulls. They are more spacious, providing larger living areas above decks and expansive cabins located in the hulls. Catamarans are incredibly stable, making them ideal for longer voyages and providing maximum comfort and relaxation. They also have lower drafts, allowing navigation in shallow reef passages and anchoring closer to shore. Catamarans do not heel like monohulls, providing a more comfortable and less tiring sailing experience.

3. How can I charter a catamaran from The Moorings?

The Moorings offers innovative and top-quality catamarans for sailing vacations. To charter a catamaran from The Moorings, you can visit their website and access their charter resources. They are known for their exclusive access to Robertson & Caine catamarans, distinguished for their quality and comfort. There, you can find information on boat availability, reputation, and customer reviews to choose the right catamaran for your needs and preferences.

4. What is the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran certification?

The American Sailing Association (ASA) offers the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran certification. This certification is designed for individuals with monohull cruising experience who want to transition to catamarans. The course covers the advantages and disadvantages of multihull sailing, as well as practical sailing skills specific to catamarans. Obtaining this certification ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to confidently sail a catamaran.

5. Are catamarans safe for offshore sailing?

Yes, catamarans are safe and stable for offshore sailing. They are designed to offer stability and comfort in various conditions. Catamarans have two independent hulls, making them less likely to sink completely. They also have duplicate navigation systems, including two engines and rudders, for onboard safety. Catamarans remain stable even in bad weather and do not capsize easily. Their advanced design and safety features make them a reliable choice for offshore sailing.

6. Can I sail a catamaran without previous sailing experience?

Sailing a catamaran without previous sailing experience is not recommended. It is essential to have some sailing knowledge and skills before attempting to sail a catamaran. Taking a sailing course, such as the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran course, will provide you with the necessary skills and confidence to safely operate a catamaran. Spending time onboard and obtaining a sailing diploma or certification will ensure a better understanding of catamaran sailing fundamentals.

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Sailing A Catamaran


So you booked this cat for your next charter cruise. Problem is, you are a monohull sailor... Here is a quick guide, with all you need to know. When you are done, you definitely want to check this web site

Under Power

The main difference with a monohull is that a cat has TWO engines, one in each hull. Because the engines are located very far apart from each other, it makes maneuvering extremely easy - much, much easier than a single engine sailboat. A cat can literally pivot around its vertical center axis, i.e. turn on a dime, regardless of its size. I have maneuvered a 47ft. cat in very, very tight quarters... did not hit a thing around the boat, whereas I would certainly have chipped some little gelcoat with a mono. Here is a quick guide to maneuvering at slow speed:

  • Forward in straight line: both engines forward - wheel centered
  • Back in straight line: both engines back - wheel centered
  • Steer to starboard: PORT engine forward, STARBOARD engine back - wheel centered or to starboard.
  • Steer to port: STARBOARD engine forward, PORT engine back - wheel centered or to port.

Points of Sail

Cats do not go upwind as well as monohulls, although they have much improved lately in that department. You won't get much closer than 45/50¾ to the wind, going upwind. If the sea is choppy and you are on a smaller cat, like a 38ft. the yawing will be a little difficult - which is why you see so many charter cats simply motoring upwind. If you still decide to sail, bearing off a couple of degrees will usually alleviate the motion.

Now, going off the wind is what the cats are all about. Do not necessarily try to go dead downwind, but if you do, you probably want to be under jib or genoa only. A more efficient point of sail is between 120¾ and 150¾ at which you should sail at a speed of about 50% of the true wind. Needless to say, you will smoke quite a few monohulls there!

One of the cats' problems is that there is no heeling to give a feel that the boat is over-canvassed (the good news is that the bowl of fruits you left on the table won't go flying and smash against the stove!). If it becomes very windy, things can become a little hairy. So you have to be careful and stick with the information given by the charter company's briefer. The rule on a cat is that one starts de-powering the main sail using the traveler, because it has a very wide span, and it can be let go very quickly. Other than that, usually, on a 40ft., you should put the first reef at around 20kts. of wind, and the 2nd. reef at 25kts., and the headsail should be completely furled, to be on the safe side. Reefing has the same procedure as a monohull.

Changing Tacks

Jibing is the same procedure as a monohull... but tacking is different and can be frustrating. Here are the secrets to an efficient tack on a cat:

  • Speed. Without sufficient speed, you simply will not tack... unless you start the engine! So get enough of it, just before tacking.
  • Start bringing the main sail in close.
  • Tack the boat decisively but smoothly through the wind without losing too much speed.
  • Some sailors let the jib get backwinded before releasing it to the other tack, in order to help the bows to turn better through the wind.
  • Once the bows are on the other side of the wind, bear off a little more than necessary until you get your original speed back.
  • Get back on course once you have re-established you speed.

Here are some more secrets:

  • Because a cat offers less resistance to the water than a monohull, it takes more time to slow down than a monohull. So make sure the boat has completely stopped.
  • Keep the boat straight into the wind , using the engines at idle speed. Do not let the boat go sideways.
  • As soon as the anchor is set, back the boat straight with both engines.
  • You need to set the snubber with the bridle that is all cats are equipped with. Keep the boat into the wind as you're doing this.
  • If you choose to use a mooring ball, you imperatively need to set a bridle. Do not cleat the ball line only on one hull.
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“This has been a very professional and well put together course. The videos are amazing. the course is great. I love how things are explained so simply and everything is very practical. Cant wait to put it all to practical use on the boat in the Se...”

“This has been a very professional and well put together course. The videos are amazing. the course is great. I love how things are explained so simply and everything is very practical. Cant wait to put it all to practical use on the boat in the Sea of Cortez!! ”

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“Excellent! I had great instruction from Tim J on my my course. This was a good refresher for me ! I fell confident as a boater , the Navigation was really good and that’s what I was after ! Just need to find my boat and get the next chapter starte...”

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“This course was awesome. There were great videos that covered all the key aspects of sailing on a catamaran. Tons of super helpful tips that I will be using on my next trip too. The visualizations were top notch as well. Great course. I highly...”

“This course was awesome. There were great videos that covered all the key aspects of sailing on a catamaran. Tons of super helpful tips that I will be using on my next trip too. The visualizations were top notch as well. Great course. I highly recommend!”

Catamaran Cruising

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Multihull Sailing - Cruising Catamaran Course

ASA 114 Certification

BVI Training Boats: Astrea 42 , Isla 40 , Elba 45

New England Training Boats:  Astrea 42 , Elba 5

Contact Us to ask about boats available in Antigua and USVI

Catamaran Sailing Instruction and Certification

Prerequisites: ASA 101 Basic Keelboat, 103 Coastal Cruising, 104 Bareboat Cruising   

For recreational sailors interested in sailing as a family activity, or for sailors that just prefer the feel of sailing on multihulls, cats are the growing boat of choice for many. Catamarans offer spaciousness, comfort and no heeling. The cruising catamaran course covers terminology and hardware identification specific to cats; identifying the differences between multihulls and monohulls, including systems, boat handling under power and under sail, person overboard, heavy weather sailing, anchoring and docking the boat.

This certification course should provide you with a strong foundation for multihull sailing and is achievable in 1-2 days if your Bareboat Cruising pre-requisite has been met. Alternatively we do offer this course in our group course offerings (4 student maximum) in our 6 day/5 night Live Aboard Cruising format. 

We also offer private courses. To schedule private instruction, charter your catamaran through Swain for 5 days or longer and book your cruising cat course instructor for five days and then continue on to bareboat charter. If you have achieved your Bareboat Cruising certification prior to this course, you have the option to schedule your instructor for the first two days and then continue on to bareboat charter.

Training Options:

Contact us to register for a group course, or to request a quote for private training.

Tuition Rates

1 day course: $800 per person (for those with catamaran experience  but not formal training).

2 day course: $1650 per person (full ASA 114 course)

This course is also included in Live Aboard Cruising Courses. Click here for a rate.

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Identify and describe hardware on vessel

Operating a multihull sailboat and understand performance of the boat

Foul weather  

Docking the boat under various conditions and circumstances

Man Over Board drills 

Maneuvering the boat under power

Points of sail and optimal sail trim

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Cruising Catamaran Learn-n-Cruise

Basic coastal cruising (asa 103), bareboat cruising/charter (asa 104) and cruising catamaran (asa 114), (11 am saturday through 11 am friday).

Our most popular course model, this weeklong live-aboard course will take you out in the San Juan Islands aboard one of our swift, stable, spacious catamarans, for a long stretch of sailing, exploring and learning, in a relaxing teaching environment. This course is designed to develop your fundamental sailing and navigation skills as well as to introduce you to the skills unique to multihull sailing and twin engine maneuvering. You will have the opportunity to achieve Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103), Bareboat Cruising (ASA 104) and Cruising Catamaran (ASA 114). Basic Sailing certification or equivalent experience is a prerequisite.

  • If you already have ASA 103 and 104, you can still attend this course and enjoy a more relaxing week of review and skill refinement, while also completing your ASA 114.
  • You’ll learn the skills essential to skippering a twin screw 38' - 41' catamaran aboard this comprehensive weeklong course.
  • This course will cover sailing fundamentals for Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103) and Bareboat Cruising/Charter Certification (ASA 104), well as the nuances of multihull cruising for Cruising Catamaran (ASA 114).
  • The course is taught on one of our beautiful catamarans and is geared to the student who is primarily interested in learning and sailing on a catamaran and who wants the added skills to charter multihulls between 30 and 50 feet.
  • There will be both a written and a skills test for each certification to complete the course. Thorough study of the texts, Basic Coastal Cruising Made Easy, Bareboat Cruising Made Easy and Cruising Catamarans Made Easy , will prepare you for your course and greatly enhance your learning experience. The curricula (links below) are helpful to follow while reviewing the texts and will streamline your studying.
  • Based on boat size and cabin layout, this course can accommodate up to 5 students. A 4 student minimum is needed to send a course.
  • There will be opportunities for free time, to go ashore and explore the island beaches and trails, villages and marinas, or simply enjoy a quiet anchorage from the cockpit of your catamaran.
  • All meals included, with the exception on one night, when you’ll eat ashore and enjoy the local island dining. Overnight will mostly be at anchor or mooring ball, with one night at a marina. Bed linens are included.

SPRING (3/15 – 6/7) $3025 per person (private stateroom) $2725 per person (shared stateroom)* SUMMER/FALL (6/8 – 10/15) $3295 per person (private stateroom) $2995 per person (shared stateroom)*

Spend 7 days/6 nights living aboard and learning from an ASA certified USCG Captain/Instructor, while exploring the San Juan Islands. Tuition includes your ASA 103, 104 & 114 certifications, a private stateroom, linens, meal provisioning, fuel and moorage. *To receive the $300 shared stateroom discount, you and the person you will be sharing a stateroom with must book your course together. We do not pair people who do not know each other.

This course covers ASA 103 (Basic Coastal Cruising), ASA 104 (Bareboat Cruising/Chartering), and ASA 114 (Cruising Catamaran). If you prefer to join the class to practice hands-on skills but not pursue ASA certifications, you are welcome to do so. Please let us know if you will not be pursuing ASA certifications and we will discount your tuition $60.

Basic Sailing (ASA 101) certification

If you don’t have the prerequisites, but do have equivalent experience, click here for information on challenging prerequisite certifications.

. The same date being listed more than once indicates multiple sessions of this class on that date.

If the course you are seeking is full, please contact us to be put on a waitlist.

Coastal Cruising Made Easy by ASA Bareboat Cruising Made Easy by ASA Cruising Catamarans Made Easy by ASA Order texts online through the ASA Store , through Amazon or iBooks , or check out from your local library.

Now you’re ready for your first catamaran bareboat charter vacation! Click here for information on options to let you implement and enjoy what you have learned after graduation and to help you continue to build your sailing skills.

Please arrive at our office at 10:45 am. We will introduce you to your instructor and you’ll begin loading your gear onto your boat (making lunch together with your crewmates will be your first activity before departing). You'll want to be fully prepared to take your Basic Coastal Cruising (ASA 103) written test either Saturday evening or Sunday morning, after you are on the boat. This is the first of three written tests. Each level of certification has a written exam and a skills exam and every few days another written exam will be completed. Thorough study of the textbooks will prepare you for the course and greatly enhance your learning. We highly recommend using the curriculum (link below), in conjunction with the textbooks, as a guide to help streamline your studying.

At the end of your learning vacation your boat will return to the San Juan Sailing docks by noon on Friday. Please allow yourself two additional hours to unload, debrief, and shower when planning your transportation home.

Class size is limited, so please contact us by e-mail or at 360-671-8339 for course availability, to register or if you have additional questions. If the above dates do not fit your schedule, please contact us to explore alternate arrangements.

Go to the following links for more information:

  • ASA 103 Curriculum
  • ASA 104 Curriculum
  • ASA 114 Curriculum
  • Packing List
  • Course Checklist

Special Opportunities

Courses & Stateroom Bookings Summer Guided FlotillasSpring & Summer Guided Flotillas Fall Guided Flotillas

T. 360-671-4300 (charter) | T. 360-671-8339 (school) | T. 360-671-0829 (brokerage)

2615 South Harbor Loop, Suite 1, Bellingham, Washington 98225



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  • ASA 114 – Catamaran Cruising

ASA 114 Catamaran Cruising

This course is unavailable (2023)

Person (Ages 16+): $1045

Two Day Course 9am – 4pm Daytime – no overnight

Catamarans are very common among cruising charter fleets, popular for their stability and comfort. This class takes students through the significant differences between operating a cruising mono-hull and a cruising catamaran.

Students will learn how to maneuver the vessel under sail and power. How to dock and anchor the vessel. As well as gain an understanding of the systems and safety functions of catamarans. Students will demonstrate the taught skills and knowledge through practical skills and a written test to achieve the ASA 114 Cruising Catamaran Certification.

This course requires 2 students to run. If minimum capacity is not met 14 days prior to the course the school will cancel for a full refund to the student.


  • ASA101 Basic Keelboat
  • ASA103 Basic Coastal Cruising
  • ASA104 Bareboat Cruising

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WCM will help you realize your catamaran dreams, whether it's private ownership and disappearing over the horizon, or placing your catamaran in our fleets in San Diego or the Sea of Cortez.

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West Coast Multihulls has a great program to encourage people to spend more time (and less money!) on the water. In addition to charter discounts, we show our appreciation for our valued Catamaran Sailing Club Members by offering sailing clinics and sunset sails with our amazing WCM Captains & ASA Instructors.

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Join a fun group on a catamaran for a sunset harbor tour, whale watching, a sporty sail – whatever the conditions allow! Captain and selfies included.

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The online video course covers each of these topics, chapter 1 critical.

  • Anchoring 101
  • Mooring Balls: Picking up and Departing
  • Reefing: How to Reef Your Mainsail
  • Furling the Jib/Genoa
  • Unfurling the Jib/Genoa
  • Raising the Mainsail
  • Lowering the Mainsail
  • Crew Overboard!
  • Docking: Arriving
  • Docking: Departing
  • Perfect Sail Trim!
  • Tacking 101


  • Weather Forecasting Using Predictwind
  • Electronic Navigation Using Navionics
  • VHF Operation and Protocols
  • Heavy Weather Sailing
  • Winch Safety
  • Engine Troubleshooting
  • Rules of the Road (COMING SOON!)
  • Navigation Lights (COMING SOON!)
  • Aids to Navigation Buoys and Markers (COMING SOON)


  • Catamaran Terminology
  • Catamaran VS Monohull: Key Differences
  • Navigation Using Paper Charts
  • How to Use a Marine Stove
  • Intro to Marine Heads
  • Knots: Learn 8 Basic Ones!
  • Line Handling 101
  • Dinghy Operation
  • Daily Checklists and Routines
  • Fishing 101
  • How to Use AIS: Automatic Identification System (COMING SOON)
  • Chartplotters (COMING SOON)


Online Masterclass

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  • Over 3 hours of video instruction!
  • Professional animations
  • 36 videos, with stunning videography
  • Filmed over 18 months in the Bahamas
  • 12 Optional review quizzes
  • Lifetime access and new videos continually added

PLUS: If you book a trip with Nautilus, we will refund the entire amount.


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  • We’ve helped over 4000 students successfully learn to sail!
  • Are an award winning, official American Sailing school
  • Have a background in education and best educational practices
  • Our Sailing Basics Monohull series has over 1 million views and rave reviews!





Tim grew up in Morocco and Spain, but now calls Colorado home. Passions include surfing, snowboarding, kiteboarding, fly fishing and photography. Tim has worked in education, travel, and international project management before starting Nautilus Sailing. He has a wealth of sailing experience and has sailed extensively in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexico, Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia.


Lives on the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington State. Passions include cycling, woodworking, travel, hiking and sailing. Tim grew up in the Northwest, raced sailboats, joined the US Coast Guard. He then spent years in the IT business. He has sailed Pacific waters from Desolation Sound to the Panama Canal, Adriatic, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Atlantic to the Caribbean.

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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between a Sailboat or Catamaran for Your Sailing Adventures

C hoosing between a sailboat and a catamaran for your sailing adventures is a significant decision that depends on various factors, including your sailing preferences, experience level, budget, and intended use. Here's an ultimate guide to help you make an informed decision:

1. Sailing Experience:

  • Sailboats: Typically require more skill and experience to handle, especially in adverse weather conditions. Ideal for sailors who enjoy the traditional feel of sailing and are willing to invest time in learning and mastering the art.
  • Catamarans: Easier to handle, making them suitable for beginners. The dual-hull design provides stability, reducing the learning curve for those new to sailing.

2. Space and Comfort:

  • Sailboats: Generally have a narrower beam and less living space. However, some sailboats may offer comfortable cabins and amenities.
  • Catamarans: Wider beam creates more living space. Catamarans often have multiple cabins, spacious saloons, and expansive deck areas, providing a more comfortable living experience.

3. Stability:

  • Sailboats: Monohulls can heel (lean) while sailing, which some sailors enjoy for the thrill but can be discomforting for others.
  • Catamarans: Greater stability due to the dual hulls, providing a more level sailing experience. Reduced heeling makes catamarans suitable for those prone to seasickness.

4. Performance:

  • Sailboats: Known for their upwind performance and ability to sail close to the wind. Some sailors appreciate the challenge of optimizing sail trim for efficiency.
  • Catamarans: Faster on a reach and downwind due to their wide beam. However, they may not point as high into the wind as monohulls.
  • Sailboats: Typically have a deeper draft, limiting access to shallow anchorages and requiring deeper marina berths.
  • Catamarans: Shallow draft allows access to shallower waters and secluded anchorages, providing more flexibility in cruising destinations.
  • Sailboats: Generally more affordable upfront, with a wide range of options available to fit different budgets.
  • Catamarans: Often more expensive upfront due to their size and design. However, maintenance costs may be comparable or even lower in some cases.

7. Mooring and Docking:

  • Sailboats: Easier to find slips and moorings in marinas designed for monohulls.
  • Catamarans: Require wider slips and may have limited availability in certain marinas, especially in crowded anchorages.

8. Intended Use:

  • Sailboats: Ideal for traditional sailors who enjoy the art of sailing, racing enthusiasts, or those on a tighter budget.
  • Catamarans: Suited for those prioritizing comfort, stability, and spacious living areas, especially for long-term cruising and chartering.

9. Resale Value:

  • Sailboats: Generally have a more established resale market, with a wider range of buyers.
  • Catamarans: Growing in popularity, and well-maintained catamarans often retain their value.

10. Personal Preference:

  • Consider your personal preferences, the type of sailing you plan to do, and the kind of lifestyle you want aboard your vessel.

In conclusion, both sailboats and catamarans have their advantages and disadvantages. Your decision should be based on your individual preferences, experience level, budget, and intended use. If possible, charter both types of vessels to experience firsthand how they handle and to help make a more informed decision based on your own preferences and needs.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between a Sailboat or Catamaran for Your Sailing Adventures appeared first on Things That Make People Go Aww .

Choosing between a sailboat and a catamaran for your sailing adventures is a significant decision that depends on various factors, including your sailing preferences, experience level, budget, and intended use. Here's an ultimate guide to help you make an informed decision: 1. Sailing Experience: 2. Space and Comfort: 3. Stability: 4. Performance: 5. Draft: 6....

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14-06-2016, 11:58  
a in next year and as sailing newbies want to take sailing courses but would prefer to do this on our own .

Anyone here followed this approach, recommendations/comments appreciated.

I believe that if we hired an instructor thru a we would receive accreditations which would most likely assist with rates but can private instructors do the same?
14-06-2016, 12:08  
Boat: Vagabond 14
14-06-2016, 12:21  
for 1 week aboard a catamaran thru a and at $8-10K for the two of us plus travel from i thought we could do better with one week of private instruction on our own cat.
14-06-2016, 13:19  
City/Key Largo might can help you. Pete Wodraska, the owner, used to teach courses at sailing">Blue Sailing aboard his private catamaran. I think Pete has the cat, and now has the Reef Runner of his own, but maybe they can direct you to private lessons

14-06-2016, 15:40  
Boat: Vagabond 14
plus travel from i thought we could do better with one week of private instruction on our own cat.
15-06-2016, 04:50  
Boat: Formally a Leopard 45
instead (4 years), were subsequently able to buy a better boat and then brought a Capitan on board to assist us in the boat and getting us comfortable for as long as we needed. We ended up doing several overnighters right away and really tore into the boat to understand how all the systems worked. After about 3 weeks of sailing the and with strong guidance from our Capitain we found ourselves in the , comfortable enough to continue on our own. We subsequently traveled for 2+ years visiting 23 countries with maybe 30 overnight .

I would not recommend this approach for everyone, but I can tell you we met many other full time cruisers who didn't have much more experience, or, they had sailed for years but it was almost all weekend stuff, out of their home waters. This doesn't help you much given that cruising is probably 15% sailing ability, 20% with the other 65% being system and how to . When the is dicey, don't go out. You'll inadvertently find challenging scenarios anyway. One of the reasons it worked was that I was a veracious reader of everything sailing for the 4 years prior to us leaving. We also bought what I believe was a sizeable, tough boat and put on a good ground tackle system (consider the whole system, not just the anchor). In time you will either have absolute unwavering confidence in your boat (we did) or will have doubts- there's no gray area. In addition thinking through scenarios ahead of time and using common sense goes a long way. A lot of common sense keeps you out of trouble. Lack of will get you onto trouble regardless of experience.

PM me if you would like the name of a few people who could with you.
15-06-2016, 08:30  
Boat: We have a problem... A serious addiction issue.
runs around $400/day for his time plus travel costs. So if you are doing the on your boat I would consider any more than this to be a bit excessive.

If that included the cost of chartering the boat as well, then it's not much more than I would expect to spend just to a large cat, so makes more sense.
15-06-2016, 15:45  
the school and instructor before choosing which one to go with. Here in we charge $225 per day for private instruction. It makes a lot of sense to learn on your own boat rather than traveling to a school and on their .

Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and when you make it to , stop in for a punch!
15-06-2016, 18:58  
Boat: 56' Fountaine Pajot Marquises
. Captains charge $150 / day in the . You learn on your own boat - seems a no brainer. BTW, I don't know that lower rates will be a factor, my company didn't care too much about my experience level except that I did have some.
21-06-2016, 07:43  
(slightly less - $4000/person if I went to Tampa/St.Pete area).

For that $4200/person for 7 days, it includes your accommodations (on the boat) -- the -- for all but I think 2-3 dinners and the day you arrive and leave.

The main reason we opt'd not to choose this beyond the high , was that the lessons weren't even private (4 person lesson groups), so the allure of having a nice quiet mixed in with some was .
21-06-2016, 08:11  
. We can definitely offer you a more affordable option AND you would be sailing in Grenada!
21-06-2016, 09:01  
Boat: Wildcat 35, Hobie 33
the owner was running the boat and the instructor was just there as wheels.

It is a great way to learn aboard your own boat, but if you plan to start from zero then you also need time aboard a smallish (25-30') mono or two for the introductory level classes because a larger cruising boat (be it cat or mono) is really not the ideal learning platform. standards also specify the boat type for each class.

Also note that an individual ASA instructor can teach the classes, but only an affiliated school can submit requests. So, if you want the certifications (and most do) then a school will have to be involved.

A word of caution: not all sailors, not matter how experienced, make good instructors (in fact, not all certified instructors are good instructors). So choose carefully. Spending a week on your boat with Blight would not be a good learning experience. Hire a good instructor, not just some yahoo off the because he's . Personal recommendations are usually best, plus spend a little time with the specific instructor (dont let a school just asign the next available) before you comit (at least have dinner/drinks with him so you can evaluate and set expectations).

I just recently completed an instructional from to Grenada. Done at a cruising pace over several weeks for a new to cats owner and his new to sailing GF. Good trip. At the end I sat ashore at a bar in the Grenadines and watched the new owners embark on their first solo sail to Grenada...which they completed without mishap including heaving-to in a squall and to top up in Grenada. Its gratifying to see students do well. in the attached pic.  
22-06-2016, 09:40  
Boat: Seawind 1000xl
a catamaran in next year and as sailing newbies want to take sailing courses but would prefer to do this on our own catamaran.

Anyone here followed this approach, recommendations/comments appreciated.

I believe that if we hired an instructor thru a sailing school we would receive accreditations which would most likely assist with insurance rates but can private instructors do the same?
22-06-2016, 10:53  
Boat: PDQ 36, 36'5", previously Leopard 45 cat and Hunter 33 mono
, including ASA 114 (cruising catamaran). These sessions are strictly private, and are tailored to the specific students, with an eye to providing some time, as well. Michael is very attentive and sensitive to different situations and requests and is great to with; he would also be a wonderful source of info for you, regardless of what you decide to do. Check out Affordable's website for their programs and , recommendations and such. You can also PM me.
22-06-2016, 11:02  
Boat: Bristol 27
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Home  News  2024 Youth Sailing World Championships Mid-Week Update  

2024 Youth Sailing World Championships Mid-Week Update  

Racing is underway at the 2024 Youth Sailing World Championships at the beautiful venue of Lake Garda, Italy with 14 US Youth Team athletes competing across 9 classes. Athletes were selected based on the US Sailing Athlete Selection System and Requirements for the Youth Sailing World Championships .  

The Youth Sailing World Championships bring together over 400 top youth sailors from over 70 countries racing across 10 miles of Lake Garda shoreline.   

“Team USA is ready for the competition ahead,” shared Youth Performance Manager and Team Leader Phil Muller following the practice races, pointing out that they proved to be “a good opportunity to identify what to expect in each racing area, and confirm a lot of what we know about this venue.”   

Lake Garda is an esteemed sailing venue, known for the “Ora,” – the name for the southerly breeze that funnels down the lake. “There’s still a lot of learning to do and this racetrack demands high execution of fundamentals,” said Muller.  

The US Youth Team athletes are reveling in the opportunity to represent the USA against the world’s best. “Racing against teams from other countries is super exciting because even though it’s tough competition on the water, you still get to make friends with and meet many different people from all different types of backgrounds.” said International 420 Class athlete, Michelle Kaneti.  

After two days of racing, Team USA has 7 top 10 rankings, including 4 classes in the top 5.  

Overall Results as of July 17:  

  • Male/Mixed Skiff – 29er  
  • 6 th place: Fynn & Pierce Olsen (Miami Beach, FL)  
  • Female Skiff – 29er  
  • 5th  place: Molly Bonham (Annapolis, MD) & Annie Sitzmann (Severna Park, MD)  
  • Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy – i420  
  • 8 th place: Freddie Parkin (Riverside, CT) & Estella Morris (Larchmont, NY)  
  • Female Two Person Dinghy – i420  
  • 5 th place: Ava McAliley (Miami, FL) & Michelle Kaneti (Mamaroneck, NY)  
  • Male One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6  
  • 25 th place: Jake Homberger (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)  
  • Female One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6  
  • 4 th place: Isabella Mendoza Cabezas (Miami, FL)    
  • Male Windsurfer – Youth iQFOiL  
  • 6 th  place: Makani Andrews (Kaneohe, HI)  
  • Female Windsurfer – Youth iQFOiL  
  • 17 th place: Sage Andrews (Kaneohe, HI)  
  • Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 15  
  • 4 th place: Dylan Tomko (Canyon Lake, TX) & Casey Small (Houston, TX)  

The experience of competing at Youth Worlds is unlike any other and the young athletes are greatly appreciative of their time at Lake Garda. Before week’s end, 29er Class sailor, Fynn Olsen has plans to “Do everything I can and leave it all on the racecourse.”  

“World Sailing this year is pulling out all the stops, as you can imagine the food is incredible and the host has scheduled entertainment every day for the competitors,” said Muller on the overall experience the competitors and coaches are having. “But all one really needs to do is look up at the mountains cradling this town. Everywhere you look new beauty is revealed. We are extremely lucky this week to have this opportunity.”  

Day 1 Highlights:  

Day 2 Highlights:  

To follow along:   

Youth Sailing World Championships News:  

US Sailing Youth Racing Central Instagram:    

Live Race Tracking:    


YouTube Livestream:  

Copyright ©2018-2024 United States Sailing Association. All rights reserved. US Sailing is a 501(c)3 organization. Website designed & developed by Design Principles, Inc. -->

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How to Charter a Boat

If you want to sail off into the sunset, at least temporarily, you need to understand how to get aboard first.

An illustration of the bow of a boat with three women with flowing hair and cocktails looking over a man playing a guitar and then off in the water, four other vacationers are sunbathing on inner tubes.

By Lauren Sloss

This time of year, it’s an inevitable thought: Life would be that much better out on the water. Specifically, on a boat.

Even if you have neither a boat nor boating experience, it’s never been easier to make your nautical dreams come true — whether you want a day trip on your local lake or a fully staffed multiday voyage in a far-flung locale. Here are the initial questions that will help you plan an adventure on the water.

Whom are you traveling with?

Thinking about the size and dynamic of your group is an important first step, even if you are simply going on a day trip. Will children be on board? How old? What about elderly parents?

Dan Lockyer, the chief commercial officer of Dream Yacht Worldwide , strongly encourages travelers to determine group size — and, ideally, get people committed — before booking.

“The location that you want to go to, the time of year that you want to go, the type of boat that you want will entirely depend on the makeup of the group that you’re sailing with,” Mr. Lockyer said.

Do you want to captain, or do you want a captain?

Different charter companies specialize in certain locations, types of boats, itineraries and services. Some companies offer the opportunity for a “bareboat” charter, in which you rent the boat and take on the navigation and provisioning yourself, while others exclusively offer fully staffed options, including a captain and a cook.

If you want to captain the boat yourself, almost all outfits require some kind of proof of sailing or boating experience, often in line with local regulations.

Edward King, 45, an executive at a streaming company based in San Francisco, is experienced in sailing the city’s waterways. But on vacation, he said he would prefer to let a captain and crew take the lead.

Mr. King said he appreciates a captain who is familiar with both the local waters — “they’ll know how to avoid sailing into a certain sandbar,” he said, — as well as the local attractions.

In contrast, Matt Blake, 38, a software engineer based in Oakland, Calif., was eager to grow his sailing experience during a recent trip to La Paz, Mexico, with his fiancée. He hired a captain but made clear that the captain was there to help and teach.

Where do you want to go?

“Do you want something that’s more culturally oriented? Nature oriented? An adventure trip?” asked Mary Curry, the voyage product director of Adventure Life , which offers small group tours and private trips on land and on water around the world.

That answer can determine your destination. Popular cruising grounds include the Caribbean, Croatia, Alaska and French Polynesia, but the sky — or the sea — is really the limit. For help narrowing your focus, travel advisers often have relationships with charter companies or outfits around the world, and sailing publications offer recommendations.

Kyla Malkani, who has had experience with charters working as a destination wedding planner, recommends consulting the concierge of waterfront hotels, particularly for short-term or day rentals.

“A lot of times they will have either their own fleet or they will have some sort of connection at a dock,” said Ms. Malkani, 37, who is based in Washington, D.C., and is currently working as a content creator and freelance event planner.

What kind of boat?

Where you want to travel and for how long will likely determine the kinds of boats that are available to you. Crucial at this point, too, is an understanding of the boat’s layout and amenities.

“You definitely want to choose the right kind of boat,” said Ms. Malkani. “If you want more adventure, a sailboat is nice. If you’re looking for a luxury party environment, a yacht is best. And if you’re looking for something smooth, for older people or with kids, a catamaran is great.”

David Barclay is a luxury travel adviser who has also chartered boats for his own vacations.

“You want to match what the travelers want to what the boat offers,” he said.

Perhaps a group of friends might not mind a catamaran with functional but not luxurious marine bathrooms, but a multigenerational group might prefer more high-touch amenities.

When should I book?

Often, charter trips are once-in-a-lifetime experiences that require a great deal of advanced planning.

“You may have a specific place you want to go, or a specific time of year you want to travel,” said Mr. Barclay. “And some places just aren’t good at certain times of year.”

Naturally, you don’t want to be at sea in the Caribbean during hurricane season, or in the Mediterranean during winter storms. But you also might want to avoid peak cruising seasons, too.

The first three weeks of August are quite popular, said Mr. Lockyer. “If you have some flexibility and can travel in early July, you’ll get the same sort of great weather, a greater selection of boats and the anchorages won’t be as crowded.”

How much does it cost?

Charter costs are incredibly variable, dependent on all of the factors coming into play: your boat type and size, your destination, your group size, the amount of crew you’d like and the amenities on board. That said, costs could range anywhere from $2,000 for a day on a sailboat to hundreds of thousands of dollars for a multiday mega-yacht charter. Have a budget in mind when beginning your research process.

What if I didn’t plan far in advance?

While advanced planning is encouraged, and often necessary for bigger boat trips, it’s possible to book a boat last-minute.

Boatsetter , an Airbnb-like platform for boats, is a good resource for last-minute bookings, especially for day trips, and even has an Instant Book option for down-to-the-wire bookings.

“If it’s for a special event, or around major holidays, you may want to book a month or two in advance. But for general bookings, you can find options within a week or two,” said Kim Koditek, Boatsetter’s head of brand strategy and communications, of the company’s overnight offerings, which appear on their platform under the luxury yacht charters category .

Ms. Malkani has used Boatsetter for some of her charters, most of which have been booked with a specific goal in mind.

“I’m a sunset chaser,” she said. “My husband and I just really love being on the water, and we always try to squeeze in some sort of boat day activity when we’re traveling.”

For more travel advice, visit our collection of Travel 101 tips and hacks.

Come Sail Away

Love them or hate them, cruises can provide a unique perspective on travel..

 Cruise Ship Surprises: Here are five unexpected features on ships , some of which you hopefully won’t discover on your own.

 Icon of the Seas: Our reporter joined thousands of passengers on the inaugural sailing of Royal Caribbean’s Icon of the Seas . The most surprising thing she found? Some actual peace and quiet .

Th ree-Year Cruise, Unraveled:  The Life at Sea cruise was supposed to be the ultimate bucket-list experience : 382 port calls over 1,095 days. Here’s why  those who signed up are seeking fraud charges  instead.

TikTok’s Favorite New ‘Reality Show’:  People on social media have turned the unwitting passengers of a nine-month world cruise  into  “cast members”  overnight.

Dipping Their Toes: Younger generations of travelers are venturing onto ships for the first time . Many are saving money.

Cult Cruisers: These devoted cruise fanatics, most of them retirees, have one main goal: to almost never touch dry land .


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    In contrast, Matt Blake, 38, a software engineer based in Oakland, Calif., was eager to grow his sailing experience during a recent trip to La Paz, Mexico, with his fiancée.