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Mastering Catamaran Sailing: Learn How to Sail a Catamaran like a Pro

Alex Morgan

sailing catamaran meaning

Sailing a catamaran is an exhilarating experience that allows you to harness the power of the wind and navigate the open waters with agility and speed. If you’re interested in learning how to sail a catamaran, it’s essential to understand the basics, prepare properly, learn key sailing techniques, and acquire navigation skills specific to catamarans. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the necessary knowledge and techniques to confidently sail a catamaran.

Introduction to Sailing a Catamaran

Sailing a catamaran offers a unique sailing experience with its twin hulls, stability, and spacious deck. Before diving into the specifics, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of catamarans and how they differ from monohulls.

Understanding the Basics of a Catamaran

To fully grasp the art of catamaran sailing, you need to first comprehend what a catamaran is and how it differs from a monohull. This section will provide a clear definition of a catamaran and highlight its distinctive features.

Preparation for Sailing a Catamaran

Before setting sail, proper preparation is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. This section will cover essential steps such as conducting safety equipment checks, understanding wind and weather conditions, and making necessary preparations for sailing a catamaran.

Key Sailing Techniques for Catamarans

Mastering key techniques is essential to maneuvering and controlling a catamaran effectively. This section will delve into important skills such as steering and maneuvering, sail trim and adjustment, tacking and jibing, and understanding points of sail specific to catamarans.

Navigation and Seamanship for Catamarans

Navigating a catamaran requires a solid understanding of chart reading, course planning, and the rules of the road. This section will provide guidance on reading nautical charts, planning routes, and understanding the right-of-way rules when sailing a catamaran.

Recovering from Common Sailing Challenges

Even with proper preparation, sailors may encounter challenges while on the water. This section will address common issues such as capsize and the techniques for righting a catamaran, as well as strategies for dealing with strong winds and heavy seas.

Additional Resources for Learning Catamaran Sailing

To further enhance your knowledge and skills in catamaran sailing, this section will provide a list of helpful resources, including books, online courses, and sailing clubs, where you can continue your learning journey.

By following this guide and honing your skills, you’ll embark on a rewarding adventure as you navigate the seas with confidence and expertise in sailing a catamaran.

Key takeaway:

  • Learning to sail a catamaran maximizes your sailing experience: Sailing a catamaran allows you to navigate the waters in a unique and exciting way, enhancing your overall enjoyment of the sport.
  • A catamaran offers a different sailing experience from a monohull: Understanding the basics of a catamaran helps you appreciate its distinct characteristics, such as stability and speed, compared to traditional monohull sailboats.
  • Being prepared and understanding key sailing techniques are crucial: Prioritizing safety, learning about necessary equipment, and mastering sailing techniques like steering, sail trim, and tacking ensure a successful and enjoyable catamaran sailing experience.

A catamaran is a boat with two parallel hulls connected by a bridge. Understanding the basics of a catamaran is important to fully enjoy the unique sailing experience it offers. These hulls provide stability and reduce drag, enabling higher speeds. Catamarans are used for sailing , cruising , and racing .

The design allows for a spacious interior layout, making it ideal for leisure activities or living aboard. One advantage of a catamaran is its shallow draft , which allows for navigation in shallower waters . When sailing, it’s crucial to have a good grasp of the components like the mast , sails , rigging , and helm . Learning how to trim the sails and adjust the rigging optimizes performance. Maneuvering the catamaran, including tacking and jibing , controls direction and speed.

Safety is paramount, so having a clear understanding of safety procedures and possessing the necessary equipment is essential. With a thorough understanding of the basics, you can confidently enjoy the unique sailing experience a catamaran offers.

What is a Catamaran?

A catamaran, also known as a cat , is a type of boat with two parallel hulls connected by a deck. It is specifically designed to prioritize stability, achieved through a wider base and weight distribution. Catamarans are renowned for their spaciousness and maneuverability , making them a popular choice for sailing and cruising enthusiasts.

One notable advantage of a catamaran is its ability to achieve higher speeds compared to monohulls . This can be attributed to the wide hulls, which result in less drag and enable faster and smoother sailing experiences. The dual hull design enhances stability , reducing the likelihood of rolling or capsizing , particularly in rough waters.

Catamarans also offer a significant advantage in terms of living space and comfort . Thanks to the presence of two separate hulls, these boats can accommodate cabins , lounges , and various amenities. As a result, catamarans are considered ideal for long-distance cruising or liveaboard experiences , providing ample room for relaxation and enjoyment .

When it comes to sailing performance, catamarans excel in upwind capabilities and have the ability to sail closer to the wind compared to monohulls. They are easier to maneuver and require less effort to handle, making them an excellent choice even for beginners embarking on their sailing journey .

How is a Catamaran Different from a Monohull?

Catamarans have greater stability than monohulls due to their wider beam and two hulls. This stability reduces tipping and rolling in rough seas.

Compared to monohulls , catamarans have a shallower draft, allowing them to navigate in shallow waters and anchor closer to the shore.

Catamarans provide more interior space with their wider beam, resulting in larger cabins, living areas, and storage compartments.

Catamarans are known for their speed. The twin hull design reduces drag, enabling them to sail faster than monohulls , particularly in light winds.

In terms of sailing motion, catamarans have a flatter and more stable movement, offering increased comfort for those prone to seasickness. They also have better maneuverability and can sail closer to the wind compared to monohulls .

Pro-tip: If you desire a spacious, stable, and fast sailing experience, a catamaran is an excellent choice. Its unique design provides comfort and performance, making it a popular option for cruising and long-distance sailing.

Prepping your catamaran for an epic sailing adventure? Get ready to set sail with confidence as we dive into the vital elements of catamaran preparation. From essential safety equipment and thorough checks to mastering the art of reading wind and weather conditions, we've got you covered. Safety first and a keen understanding of the natural elements will ensure smooth sailing and unforgettable experiences on the open water. Let's dive into the nitty-gritty details and get you fully prepared to harness the power of the winds and conquer the seas!

Safety Equipment and Checks

When sailing a catamaran, it is essential to prioritize safety. It is important to follow these steps for safety equipment and checks:

  • First and foremost, inspect the life jackets to ensure they are in good condition and functioning properly.
  • Take the time to check the throwable flotation devices and ensure they are readily available and in working order.
  • Verify that the catamaran has a properly installed fire extinguisher, which is crucial in case of any fire emergencies.
  • Make sure that distress signals, such as flares or emergency signaling devices, are present and easily accessible.
  • It is vital to inspect and test the bilge pump to make sure it is functioning correctly and can effectively remove any water from the boat.
  • Check the navigation lights to ensure they are properly functioning, as they are essential for visibility during nighttime or low-light conditions.
  • Verify the availability and condition of a sound signaling device, such as a horn or whistle , which can alert others in case of emergencies.
  • Ensure that the catamaran is equipped with a VHF radio or other communication devices for effective communication during emergencies.
  • Inspect the anchor and anchor line to ensure their good condition, as they are crucial for securing the catamaran in place.
  • Check the availability and condition of navigation charts and a compass, which are essential for proper navigation and orientation.

Pro-tip: It is highly recommended to regularly inspect and maintain all safety equipment to ensure they always work properly. Performing safety checks before every sailing trip is crucial to ensure the well-being and safety of everyone onboard.

Understanding Wind and Weather Conditions

Understanding wind and weather conditions is essential when sailing a catamaran. It is crucial to consider wind direction, wind strength, and current weather conditions in order to plan your sail effectively and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Having a good understanding of wind direction is vital while sailing. By adjusting your sails accordingly, you can maximize the power and efficiency of your catamaran. Knowing the strength of the wind can help you determine the appropriate sail trim and make adjustments for optimal performance .

Weather conditions play a critical role in ensuring safety while sailing. It is important to check weather forecasts before setting sail and to remain aware of potential changes in weather patterns. Understanding the possibility of storms, strong winds, or heavy seas allows you to make informed decisions on when it is safe to sail and when it is best to stay ashore.

By understanding wind and weather conditions, you can effectively plan your sail, adjust your sails for optimal performance, and ensure the safety of yourself and your crew. Continuously monitoring and assessing these conditions throughout your sailing journey allows for well-informed decisions and contributes to a successful and memorable experience on your catamaran.

Get ready to set sail and master the art of catamaran sailing with these key techniques! We will unravel the secrets behind steering and maneuvering, sail trim and adjustment, tacking and jibing, and understanding the points of sail . From controlling the direction of your catamaran to optimizing your sail position, this section has got you covered with practical tips that will enhance your sailing skills. So, hop on board and let’s embark on a thrilling sailing adventure !

Steering and Maneuvering

When steering and maneuvering a catamaran, it is important to keep in mind the following techniques:

  • Use the tiller or steering wheel to control the direction of the catamaran. Push the tiller away from you to turn the catamaran to starboard (right), and pull the tiller towards you to turn the catamaran to port (left).
  • Work closely with the crew and communicate clearly to ensure smooth maneuvering. Assign specific roles and responsibilities to each crew member, such as trimming the sails or adjusting the daggerboards .
  • Adjust the sails accordingly to optimize the catamaran's performance. Trim in the mainsail and jib to generate more power and speed, or ease the sails to reduce power in strong winds.
  • Pay attention to the catamaran's speed and steer accordingly. A faster catamaran may require more precise and proactive steering to maintain control.
  • Practice tacking and jibing techniques to change direction smoothly. Tacking involves turning the bow of the catamaran through the wind, while jibing involves turning the stern of the catamaran through the wind. Always be mindful of the wind direction and adjust your maneuvering accordingly.

By mastering these techniques, you'll be able to navigate your catamaran with confidence and precision.

Sail Trim and Adjustment

For optimal performance and stability of a catamaran, sail trim and adjustment are essential. Follow these steps to ensure proper sail trim:

  • Begin by checking the telltales of the main sail to ensure smooth flow without any fluttering or stalling.
  • Next, focus on the jib or headsail and adjust the sheet tension to achieve proper trim and generate lift.
  • Paying attention to the traveler position is crucial. Move it accordingly to control the boom angle and sail shape based on wind conditions.
  • Adjust the halyard tension to prevent any sagging or fluttering.
  • Continuously monitor and adjust the tension in control lines, such as the jib sheet and mainsheet , to achieve the desired sail shape and balance.
  • While sailing, constantly assess the sail trim. Observe the telltales, listen to the wind, and take note of any changes in speed. Fine-tune the trim for optimal performance and control.

By consistently adjusting sail trim based on changing conditions, you’ll ensure a pleasurable and efficient catamaran sailing experience.

Tacking and Jibing

Sailing a catamaran requires a good understanding of the techniques for tacking and jibing . Here are the steps to master these maneuvers:

  • To change direction when the wind shifts, turn the helm or the wheel away from the wind.
  • Release the jib sheet and let the jib sail luff as the bow of the catamaran passes through the wind.
  • Trim in the jib sheet on the new tack to regain speed and control.
  • Ease out the mainsail sheet and move the boom to the opposite side of the catamaran.
  • Steer the catamaran downwind to swing the mainsail across the boat.
  • Switch the mainsail sheet to the new side and trim it in to stabilize the sail as the mainsail crosses over.

Pro-tip: It is advisable to practice tacking and jibing in light winds before attempting these maneuvers in stronger conditions. This will help build confidence and develop a solid understanding of the catamaran’s handling characteristics.

Understanding Points of Sail

To gain a comprehensive comprehension of Understanding Points of Sail , it is important to acknowledge the various angles at which a sailboat can navigate in relation to the wind.

The initial point of sail is referred to as the “no-sail zone,” during which the wind is directly facing the boat’s front, making it impossible for the sails to catch the wind.

Subsequently, we have the “close-hauled” or “upwind” point of sail, where the boat skillfully sails as close to the wind as possible without stalling. In this scenario, the sails are meticulously adjusted to create lift and propel the boat forward.

Moving on, the “close reach” point of sail occurs when the boat is slightly angled away from the wind, enabling the sails to fill and generate power.

As for the “beam reach” point of sail, the boat is positioned at a right angle to the wind, causing the wind to blow directly onto the side of the sails. This results in the boat achieving the desired speed and momentum.

On the other hand, the “broad reach” point of sail sees the boat sailing at an angle away from the wind, which allows the sails to fill more and generate even greater speed.

We have the “downwind” or “running” point of sail, where the boat sails directly with the wind coming from behind. To ensure an efficient catch of the wind, the sails are let out as far as possible in this scenario.

Acquiring a solid understanding of points of sail is paramount when it comes to taking control of the direction and speed of a catamaran, ultimately maximizing its performance. By skillfully adjusting the sails and steering according to the various points of sail, sailors are able to effectively navigate their catamarans, ensuring a smooth and efficient sailing experience.

When it comes to sailing a catamaran, one crucial skill to master is navigation and seamanship . In this section, we’ll dive into the essentials of chart reading and course planning , helping you plot your path with confidence on the open waters. We’ll explore the rules of the road and right-of-way , ensuring you understand the fundamental principles of safe sailing. So, sharpen your skills and join us as we navigate the captivating world of catamaran seamanship !

Chart Reading and Course Planning

When sailing a catamaran, chart reading and course planning are essential for a safe journey. Understanding and properly navigating charts will help you choose the best route and avoid potential hazards. The following table outlines key aspects of chart reading and course planning for catamaran sailing:

By mastering the skills of chart reading and course planning, you can confidently and safely navigate your catamaran, maximizing your enjoyment of the sailing experience.

Rules of the Road and Right-of-Way

To sail a catamaran safely and avoid collisions, it’s crucial to understand the Rules of the Road and Right-of-Way .

  • Sailboats fall under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) , which provide guidelines for preventing accidents in various situations.
  • According to the Rules of the Road , when two sailboats approach each other on different tacks, the boat on the starboard tack has the Right-of-Way and the boat on the port tack must keep clear.
  • When a sailboat approaches a power-driven vessel, the sailboat must yield and keep clear of the power-driven vessel’s path.
  • When overtaking another sailboat, the overtaking boat is responsible for keeping clear and avoiding a collision.
  • It’s important to understand and follow these Rules of the Road and Right-of-Way to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone on the water.

I was sailing my catamaran on a sunny day when I spotted another sailboat coming towards me. Realizing we were on a collision course, I acted quickly and adjusted my course to give way to the other sailboat, which was on the starboard tack. By following the Rules of the Road and Right-of-Way , we avoided a potentially dangerous situation and continued enjoying our day on the water. This experience highlights the importance of sailors being knowledgeable about the Rules of the Road and Right-of-Way for a safe and enjoyable sailing experience.

Navigating the unpredictable waters of sailing can come with its fair share of challenges. In this section, we’ll delve into practical techniques for recovering from common sailing mishaps, empowering you to conquer any situation with confidence. From capsize and righting a catamaran to dealing with the relentless forces of strong winds and heavy seas, we’ll equip you with the necessary knowledge to overcome these hurdles and keep your sailing adventure afloat. So, let’s dive in and uncover the secrets to mastering the art of recovery on the open waters!

Capsize and Righting a Catamaran

Capsize and righting a catamaran can be challenging, but with knowledge and techniques, you can recover safely. When facing a catamaran capsize, follow these steps to ensure a successful recovery:

1. Stay calm and assess the situation. It’s important to maintain a level-headed approach.

2. Ensure everyone onboard wears a life jacket and is accounted for. Safety should always be a priority.

3. Communicate with your crew to determine the best approach for righting the catamaran. Teamwork and coordination are crucial at this stage.

4. Release and secure the sails to prevent further problems. This will help minimize any potential damage.

5. Work together as a team to shift the crew’s weight towards the side of the catamaran that needs lifting. Distributing the weight properly is essential.

6. Utilize weight distribution and leverage to gradually lift the capsized catamaran. It’s important to take this process one step at a time.

7. Continue applying steady pressure until the catamaran is fully righted. Persistence is key during this stage.

8. Check the boat for damages or water ingress and address them accordingly. Taking care of any issues promptly is crucial for safety.

9. Retrieve any lost belongings or equipment that may have fallen overboard during the capsize.

10. Restart the sail and ensure proper stability. Confirm that everything is in order before resuming your sailing adventure.

By following these steps and working together, you can successfully recover from a catamaran capsize and continue enjoying your sailing adventure.

Dealing with Strong Winds and Heavy Seas

Dealing with strong winds and heavy seas while sailing a catamaran can be a challenging task. With the right techniques and precautions, it can be managed effectively. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

1. Maintain a steady course: It is crucial to hold the helm firmly and adjust the sails to maintain balance and control in the face of strong winds and heavy seas .

2. Reef the sails: When the winds become too powerful, it is important to reduce the sail area exposed to the wind by reefing the sails. This technique helps in controlling the boat’s speed and stability. Familiarize yourself with the specific catamaran’s reefing technique beforehand.

3. Adjust the daggerboards: Daggerboards are retractable keels that play a vital role in providing stability and preventing tipping over in strong winds . Adjusting the daggerboards to the appropriate depth is important to maintain balance and control in challenging conditions.

4. Monitor the sea state: Pay close attention to the waves and their direction. Anticipating changes in the swell and taking appropriate action, such as avoiding broadside hits and angling the boat into the waves, ensures a smoother and more comfortable ride.

5. Use safety equipment: It is imperative to always have necessary safety equipment onboard, including life jackets, flares, and a tethering system. When challenging conditions arise, wearing a safety harness is essential to prevent falling overboard.

By following these techniques and taking proper precautions, you can effectively deal with strong winds and heavy seas while sailing a catamaran . Remember, experience and practice are crucial in safely and confidently handling challenging conditions.

Here are some resources to enhance your catamaran sailing skills:

– Online forums: Joining forums dedicated to catamaran sailing can provide valuable knowledge and interaction with experienced sailors.

– Instructional videos: Online instructional videos offer step-by-step guidance on various aspects of catamaran sailing, helping you understand different maneuvers and techniques.

– Books and guides: Several resources cover both fundamental and advanced techniques of catamaran sailing, providing in-depth knowledge for self-paced learning.

– Courses and workshops: Participating in formal courses or workshops conducted by sailing schools or yacht clubs offers hands-on training and guidance from experienced instructors, improving your skills.

– Online tutorials: Websites offer catamaran sailing tutorials with comprehensive lessons, interactive quizzes, and feedback, enhancing your understanding and proficiency.

With these resources, you can cultivate your catamaran sailing skills and become a proficient sailor. Practice consistently and remain open to learning from others. Happy sailing!

Some Facts About Learn How To Sail A Catamaran:

  • ✅ Sailing a catamaran is similar to sailing a monohull, with most skills easily transferable.
  • ✅ Catamarans have become very popular in the last 5 years due to their advantages over monohulls.
  • ✅ Catamarans have two hulls connected by a bridge deck, providing stability and space for cabins and amenities.
  • ✅ Catamarans are considered safer than monohulls due to their stability and the presence of two engines.
  • ✅ Monohulls are harder to sail due to heeling and confined spaces, while catamarans offer easier movement and stability.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can i learn how to sail a catamaran.

To learn how to sail a catamaran, you can explore various options such as online schools, books, and sailing schools. Going on a week-long or weekend cruise can provide valuable hands-on experience. Watching videos, reading books, and joining a crew of experienced sailors can also help you learn the basics and improve your skills.

What are some recommended resources for learning how to sail a catamaran?

For beginners, online schools like Nautic Ed and reputable institutions like ASA (American Sailing Association) and US Sailing Association offer catamaran courses that provide structured training and guidance. Advanced books on catamaran sailing can also be a great resource, helping you familiarize yourself with boat parts, terminology, and essential skills.

How long does it take to learn how to sail a catamaran?

The time it takes to learn how to sail a catamaran may vary depending on individual learning abilities and dedication. Typically, it ranges from 14 days to five years. With the right training, practice, and experience, you can progress efficiently and gain confidence in sailing a catamaran.

Are there any short-term catamaran sailing courses available?

Yes, there are short-term catamaran sailing courses available. Sailing schools like ASA and US Sailing Association offer land and on-water training programs that provide intensive courses tailored to teach you how to sail a catamaran effectively within a shorter timeframe.

What are the key differences between catamarans and monohulls in sailing?

There are several differences between catamarans and monohulls in sailing. Catamarans have a bridge deck and two hulls connected, providing stability, ample space, and ease of movement. They are considered safer due to their stability and the presence of two engines. On the other hand, monohulls are harder to sail due to heeling and confined spaces.

Do I need any certification to sail a catamaran?

While a cruising catamaran captain’s license is not necessary, having a recognized certificate, such as ASA certification, can increase opportunities to sail and gain the trust of catamaran owners. Certification courses like ASA provide comprehensive training and assessments to ensure you possess the necessary skills and knowledge for safe catamaran sailing.

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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.

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

3. Amenities comparable to a hotel room

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

4. Added extras

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

5. Shallow draft

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

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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.

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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..

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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

sailing catamaran meaning

What Is A Catamaran? Does It Have Engines Or Can It Only Sail?

sailing catamaran meaning

Catamarans are a type of boat that has two hulls connected by a platform. They offer many advantages over traditional monohull boats, including increased stability and improved speed. This article will explore what exactly catamarans are and how they can be powered. We’ll also look at the differences between sailing and motor-powered catamarans to help you decide which one is right for you.

What Is A Catamaran?

A catamaran is a type of boat with two hulls connected by beams. It is usually powered by sails, although all modern catamarans come with inboard motors for propulsion. Catamarans are traditionally used for sailing, fishing, and leisure activities . They can be used in both fresh and salt water, and their light weight allows them to travel at high speeds without using much fuel.

Catamarans are known for their stability and durability due to their wide beam and shallow draft. This makes them ideal for traversing shallow waters or areas where the sea is choppy and unpredictable. They also have the advantage of being able to turn quickly and maneuver easily in tight spaces. Additionally, they provide a smooth ride despite rough seas since the two hulls help to reduce wave impact on the boat itself.

Advantages Of Catamarans

Catamarans offer many advantages to sailors and other seafaring travelers. The primary benefit of catamarans is their stability, due to the fact that they have two hulls that are connected by a platform. This design makes them much more resistant to waves than monohull vessels, which makes them ideal for activities such as fishing or leisurely cruises near shore. Catamarans also tend to be lighter, faster and more fuel efficient than monohulls, making them an attractive choice for sportier outings such as racing or overnight trips. In addition, catamarans can either be powered by engines or sails, giving you the flexibility to choose whatever type of propulsion suits your needs best.

Types Of Catamarans

Catamarans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from luxurious yachts to fast-moving racing boats. They offer a unique sailing experience, with their twin hulls providing stability and comfort while still able to reach high speeds. Catamarans can be powered by engines or sail, enabling them to move swiftly through the water. Some are designed for serious racing, while others are equipped for leisurely cruising on the open waters. With so many options available, there is sure to be a catamaran that will fit any sailor’s needs. Whether it’s speed or comfort that you’re after, a catamaran can provide an unforgettable experience on the seas.

Sailing Vs. Motor-Powered Catamarans

Catamarans offer many advantages over monohulls and have become a popular choice for many reasons.. They are lightweight, stable, and provide ample space onboard. However, there is one major decision to make when purchasing a catamaran: whether to choose a sailing or motor-powered version.

Sailing catamarans have the traditional look of a boat with two hulls and tall sails, while motor-powered catamarans come equipped with engines and resemble more of a powerboat. Both types of catamarans offer their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Sailing versions are cheaper to purchase but require the sailor to be knowledgeable in sailing tactics in order to navigate easily. Motor-powered versions are more expensive but can be easier to operate in certain conditions due to their greater speed and maneuverability. In the end, it comes down to personal preference as both types can provide an enjoyable experience on the water.

Benefits Of Chartering A Catamaran

Catamarans are a type of sailing vessel with two hulls that are connected with a frame. They are typically very stable and have plenty of deck space for passengers and amenities. Catamarans also come equipped with two engines, so they can travel in calm waters even when there’s no wind to power the sails. The engine also allows them to get back quickly against strong winds or tides, making them great for long trips and passages.

The major benefit of chartering a catamaran is the amount of space it provides compared to traditional monohulls (a boat with one hull). This makes them ideal for larger groups, as they can accommodate more people without feeling cramped. Additionally, catamarans offer great stability in the water – even in choppy conditions – allowing you to feel safe and secure while onboard. Plus, since they don’t require as much maintenance as other boats, they’re perfect for longer periods of time on the water. All these factors make catamarans a great choice for any travel vacation with friends and family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are catamarans suitable for excursions.

Catamarans are a popular choice for those looking to charter one for an excursion due to their spaciousness and stability. They provide more than enough room for comfortable traveling as well as plenty of storage space, making them an ideal option for extended cruising. Additionally, all catamarans are equipped with engines, allowing for easy navigation and maneuverability when needed. All in all, catamarans make great vessels for vacations and traveling and can be a great way to explore the waters.

What Is The Best Type Of Catamaran For Ocean Voyaging?

When it comes to ocean voyaging, the best type of catamaran is a modern performance cruiser. These vessels are designed to combine speed and comfort, with a shallow draft for navigating in and out of shallow waters. Modern performance cruising catamarans feature two hulls connected by an open deck, often with engines that give them greater maneuverability. They also generally have larger living spaces than traditional monohulls, so they can provide more comfortable accommodations during long voyages.

How Many People Can Typically Fit On A Catamaran?

A catamaran is a type of boat with two parallel hulls. Depending on the size, it can typically fit anywhere from 4-12 people plus crew. It’s important to note that the number of passengers will depend on the size and design of the boat, so it’s best to check with a manufacturer for more specific details.

A catamaran is a great choice for those looking to explore the ocean in style. They’re spacious and versatile, making them suitable for all sorts of travel plans and excursions. Plus, they can be powered by either engines and/or sails, so you can decide which works best for your needs. Charter prices can vary depending on your vacation needs. All in all, a catamaran is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to explore the open seas!

If you’re considering renting a catamaran, it’s important to do some research first. There are many different kinds to choose from depending on what your entire party has on their travel wish list – and make sure that you have a safe and fun voyage!

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What is a sailing Catamaran and its advantages in navigation

What is a catamaran and how has it revolutionized the sailing experience? Catamarans, boats with two parallel hulls, have transformed sailing with their numerous advantages. Thanks to their design, they provide a more stable and safe navigation in various maritime conditions. These types of vessels stand out for being more efficient, consuming less fuel due to their aerodynamic structure. Furthermore, their spacious interior and greater height offer unparalleled comfort to passengers. With a reduced draft, catamarans have the ability to venture into shallow waters, expanding exploration possibilities. Their extensive flotation surface facilitates maneuvers, and their prolonged lifespan, combined with their commitment to the environment, has cemented their popularity in recent times. Now that you know what a catamaran is, let’s look at its advantages.

Advantages of the catamaran in sailing

Stability and safety at sea.

Catamarans guarantee extraordinarily stable and safe navigation thanks to their two parallel hulls. This unique structure allows them to remain firm in the water, ensuring a smooth journey, even when the sea becomes stormy. Both hulls work in harmony to balance the weight of the vessel, minimizing the chances of capsizing and abrupt movements. This additional stability is a hallmark for sailors, whether on extended voyages or maneuvers in ports.

Efficiency and reduced fuel consumption

The efficiency of catamarans in sailing is undeniable. Their twin-hull design minimizes water resistance, maximizing aerodynamics. This allows the vessel to harness more wind energy, translating into significantly lower fuel consumption compared to single-hull boats. This efficiency is not only beneficial for the wallet but is also an ecological advantage by reducing harmful gas emissions.

Spacious living space on board

Catamarans are synonymous with space and comfort. Their twin-hull design provides larger interiors compared to single-hulls, offering more spacious resting areas, cabins, and salons. This translates into a more pleasant and comfortable sailing experience during extended voyages. Additionally, the extra height in the design offers a feeling of openness, creating brighter and more airy environments.

Design features and flotation of a catamaran

A catamaran’s design is characterized by having two parallel hulls, which provides a series of distinctive advantages in terms of flotation and stability compared to traditional single-hulls. Next, we’ll highlight the main features of this innovative design.

Two parallel hulls design

The revolutionary design of the catamaran with two parallel hulls offers unique advantages in terms of flotation and stability. This structure allows for more balanced navigation, preventing abrupt movements and providing a more pleasant journey. Moreover, their reduced draft allows access to shallow water areas, opening a range of exploration possibilities. The extensive flotation surface facilitates maneuvers, allowing precise turns even in adverse conditions.

Reduced draft and access to shallow waters

Traveling on a catamaran is an unparalleled experience. The feeling of space, breadth, and comfort surpasses that of any conventional vessel. This comfort extends from the spacious lounges to the cabins, providing a perfect environment to relax and enjoy the journey. Additionally, the robustness of their design ensures a longer lifespan and superior resistance to ocean forces.

Flotation surface and ease of maneuvering

Catamarans are equipped with a larger flotation surface compared to single-hulls. This feature translates into greater stability and maneuverability, making navigation in confined spaces, such as narrow ports or docks, easier. Additionally, the distribution of flotation across the two hulls provides a greater sense of balance and control during navigation. Catamarans are agile and can make more precise turns, proving especially useful when maneuvering in adverse wind or current conditions.

Sailing experience on a sailing catamaran

Comfort and spacious interior ambiance.

One of the main advantages of sailing on a catamaran is the extensive comfort and spacious ambiance it offers inside. Thanks to their design with two parallel hulls, catamarans provide a much larger living space compared to traditional single-hulls. Passengers can enjoy a feeling of spaciousness and freedom, with more room to move and relax during the voyage.

Moreover, the greater free height inside the catamaran creates a more open and bright environment, providing a more comfortable sailing experience for all crew members. Whether you’re enjoying the living room, preparing a delicious meal in the kitchen, or resting in the cabins, there’s more space available to enjoy on board.

Longer lifespan and structural resistance

Sailing catamarans offer a longer lifespan compared to other vessels due to their structural design. Having two hulls separated by a rigid platform reduces the risk of long-term structural damage. This means that catamarans can better withstand the forces of the sea and maintain their integrity over a longer period.

In addition, the design of catamarans allows them to “cut” through waves rather than “dance” over them, reducing wear on the hull and propulsion systems. This, combined with robust construction and high-quality materials, contributes to greater resistance and durability in the water.

Respect for the environment and growing popularity

The popularity of catamarans has grown in part due to their sustainable design. Being more efficient and consuming less fuel, they have a lower environmental impact, making them the perfect choice for those environmentally conscious. The growing concern for the health of our oceans has led to increased demand for vessels like the catamaran, which combines a superior sailing experience with ecological commitment.

Furthermore, the rising awareness of the importance of preserving the oceans and reducing the ecological footprint has generated greater interest in environmentally-friendly vessels, such as sailing catamarans. More and more people are looking to enjoy sailing without compromising the health of our marine ecosystems, leading to a surge in the popularity and demand for sailing catamarans worldwide.

Now that we’ve told you everything you need to know about this incredible vessel, it’s worth noting that we have two catamarans. Following historical tradition, they each have their own names, “Attraction” and “Inspiration”. Come and meet them in Palma de Mallorca.

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Meaning of catamaran in English

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  • cabin cruiser
  • dragon boat
  • rubber dinghy
  • As soon as the boat anchored, a catamaran put out, and brought Charlie and his followers to shore.  
  • Next morning we were visited by a party of natives from the neighbouring island, consisting of six men in a canoe, and one on a catamaran or raft.  
  • Soon we were surrounded with catamarans and canoes, with three or four natives in each.  
  • The horses and cows were taken on a species of catamaran, or large raft, that is much used in those mild seas, and which sail reasonably well a little off the wind, and not very badly on.  
  • When we reached the lagoon, a catamaran with three natives on it came off to us.  

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something dangerous or serious, such as an accident, that happens suddenly or unexpectedly and needs fast action in order to avoid harmful results

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How to Sail a Catamaran: 10 Catamaran Sailing Tips

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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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Definition of catamaran

Illustration of catamaran, examples of catamaran in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'catamaran.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Tamil kaṭṭumaram , from kaṭṭu to tie + maram tree, wood

1673, in the meaning defined above

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“Catamaran.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Mar. 2024.

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Where Did Catamaran Originate? (A Look Into Its History)

sailing catamaran meaning

Catamarans have been around for centuries, but where did they come from? For those who are curious about the history and origins of catamarans, this article will explore the history of catamaran, from its beginnings to its current uses.

From the meaning of the word “catamaran” to its use in racing and cruising, this article will look into the history of catamarans and how it has shaped the sport today.

We will also look at how catamarans have been used for fishing, and how they are still used for this purpose today.

Finally, we will explore the ways in which catamarans are used for racing and cruising, and the ways in which they have become popular vessels for these activities.

Join us as we explore the fascinating history of catamarans!

Table of Contents

Short Answer

Catamarans are thought to have originated in the South Pacific region, likely in the islands of Polynesia.

The earliest catamarans are believed to have been constructed by the Austronesians around 1500 to 1000 BC.

These vessels were then spread to other cultures by trading and other means of communication.

Today, catamarans are used in various ways around the world, including for commercial and recreational purposes.

The Origins of Catamaran

Catamarans have a long and rich history that dates back to the Indian subcontinent.

The word catamaran is derived from the Tamil language of South India and literally means tied wood, referring to how two logs were tied together to form the original catamaran design.

This sturdy craft was originally used for transportation and fishing, but it eventually made its way to the West in the late 18th century as a recreational sailing vessel.

Today, catamarans are used for a variety of purposes, ranging from racing and cruising to fishing.

They are renowned for their stability, maneuverability, and speed, and they are popular with both recreational and professional sailors alike.

Catamarans are especially adept at handling choppy waters, as their design allows them to handle waves better than most other vessels.

This makes them an ideal choice for sailing in rough or windy conditions.

Catamarans are also praised for their spacious layout, with their two hulls providing more room than other types of vessels.

This makes them ideal for larger groups, as they can comfortably accommodate more people than a traditional sailboat.

Additionally, catamarans are renowned for their efficiency, as their design allows them to move through the water faster and more efficiently than other boats.

Overall, catamarans have come a long way from their humble origins in the Indian subcontinent.

Today, they are a versatile and popular choice for sailing enthusiasts of all levels, and their history is a testament to their durability and longevity.

The Meaning of the Word Catamaran

sailing catamaran meaning

The word catamaran is derived from the Tamil language of South India, where it literally means “tied wood”.

This refers to the traditional design of catamarans, which typically consists of two logs or planks of wood tied together with rope.

The original catamarans were used for transportation and fishing, and their widespread use in the Indian subcontinent has been documented since at least the 3rd century BCE.

Today, the term catamaran is often used to describe a wide range of multi-hulled vessels, from recreational sailing vessels to racing boats and even commercial vessels.

While all of these vessels share the same basic design, the modern catamaran has evolved over the centuries and now includes variations such as trimarans, trimarans, and even pontoon boats.

The development of the modern catamaran began in the late 18th century, when the first catamarans appeared in the West.

These vessels were developed for recreational sailing, and over time they have become increasingly popular for use in racing, cruising, and fishing.

Catamarans are well known for their stability and speed, and they are now used in a variety of applications, from leisure sailing to commercial shipping.

Ultimately, the word catamaran is derived from the Tamil language and it literally means “tied wood”.

Over the centuries, the catamaran has evolved and today it is used for everything from racing to cruising to fishing, and is renowned for its stability and speed.

Catamarans in the West

The first recorded appearance of catamarans in the Western world dates back to the late 18th century.

At the time, the vessels were brought to the Caribbean from the Indian subcontinent by traders and explorers.

They were quickly adopted by sailors for their speed and stability, as well as their ability to navigate shallow waters.

Catamarans were also popular among fishermen, as they could carry more cargo and could easily navigate shallow waters.

The vessels quickly spread across the globe, with catamarans becoming a popular recreational sailing vessel in the 19th century.

The vessels were a common sight in the Caribbean, and they eventually spread to other parts of the world, including the United States and Europe.

By the mid-20th century, catamarans had become a popular recreational sailing vessel, with many people using them for racing, cruising, and fishing.

Today, catamarans are used for a wide variety of activities, from recreational sailing to fishing and racing.

They are renowned for their stability and speed, and they are still popular among recreational sailors of all skill levels.

Catamarans continue to be used for transportation and fishing in the Indian subcontinent, where they originated, and they are still a popular sight in many parts of the world.

Uses of Catamarans

sailing catamaran meaning

Catamarans have long been used for transportation and fishing in the Indian subcontinent, where the word “catamaran” originates from the Tamil language, meaning “tied wood.” This origin refers to the traditional design of tying two logs together to form the original catamaran.

Today, catamarans are used for a variety of purposes, from recreational sailing to racing, cruising, and fishing.

Catamarans are renowned for their stability and speed, making them ideal for traversing large bodies of water quickly.

They provide a stable platform for activities, such as fishing and diving, and offer increased living space when compared to conventional sailboats.

The increased stability of a catamaran also makes them ideal for use in areas with high winds and choppy waters, as they can handle the conditions better than traditional sailboats.

In addition to transportation and fishing, catamarans are also used for a variety of recreational activities.

They are popular among sailors due to their speed and maneuverability, and can be used for racing, cruising, and day-sailing.

Catamarans are also popular among families and large groups, as they provide ample space for socializing and relaxing.

Catamarans have come a long way since their humble beginnings in the Indian subcontinent, and are now an integral part of the sailing world.

With their stability, speed, and ample living space, catamarans are a great choice for both recreational and commercial use.

Racing with Catamarans

Catamarans have become a popular choice for racing enthusiasts all over the world.

This is due to their remarkable stability and speed, which make them ideal for competitive sailing.

Catamarans are able to cut through the water more efficiently than traditional sailing vessels, and their light weight makes them easier to maneuver.

In addition, their dual-hulls provide more surface area, allowing them to catch more wind and push through the water faster.

This makes them perfect for racing, as they can easily navigate tight turns and sail upwind faster than any other type of boat.

Catamarans are also well-suited for long-distance sailing, as they typically have more space than traditional vessels.

This extra space allows for more storage and greater comfort, making it easier for a crew to stay out on the water for longer periods of time.

Catamarans also have a relatively flat bottom, which reduces drag and helps make them faster than traditional boats.

Today, catamarans are used in a variety of sailing competitions, including the Americas Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race.

These races typically involve multiple catamarans, making them exciting spectacles to watch.

Catamarans have also become popular in recreational sailing, and many people use them for pleasure cruises and fishing trips.

No matter how it’s used, the catamaran has become an icon in the sailing world.

Its unique advantages have made it a favorite of both racers and recreational sailors alike, and its history makes it an interesting topic to explore.

Cruising with Catamarans

sailing catamaran meaning

Catamarans are well-known for their stability and speed, making them a popular choice for recreational sailing.

Whether youre looking for a day of leisurely sailing or a thrilling race, catamarans offer an enjoyable experience that can be tailored to your individual needs.

Catamarans are especially suited to cruising, as they offer plenty of space for passengers and cargo, and their hulls dont require much maintenance.

Catamarans have a unique design that allows them to cruise efficiently and smoothly.

Their two hulls make them more stable than other boats, and their flat decks provide plenty of room for passengers to move around.

The spacious cabins provide plenty of space for sleeping, dining, and relaxing, and the cockpit is designed to make sailing easy and enjoyable.

Catamarans are also known for their speed and agility.

Their hulls are designed to cut through the water with minimal resistance, allowing them to reach speeds of up to 20 knots.

Their shallow draft also makes them ideal for shallow waters, allowing you to explore more areas than with a traditional monohull boat.

In addition to their speed and stability, catamarans are also known for their safety.

Their wide beam makes them less likely to capsize, and their two hulls help to spread the load, making them less susceptible to sinking than other vessels.

Catamarans also have a lower center of gravity, making them less likely to tip over in rough seas.

Whether youre looking for a leisurely day of sailing or a thrilling race, catamarans are an excellent choice for cruising.

With their stability, speed, and safety, they offer an enjoyable and accessible way to explore the open waters.

Fishing with Catamarans

The use of catamarans for fishing is nothing new, with the vessels first being used for the purpose in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago.

In the Tamil language of South India, the word catamaran comes from two words that literally mean tied wood, referring to how two logs were tied together to form the original catamaran design.

It was these vessels that were used for fishing, with two logs forming the base for the frame and a platform built on top for the fishermen to stand on.

These catamarans were incredibly versatile vessels, allowing fishermen to access shallow waters and maneuver quickly and easily to chase schools of fish.

They were also incredibly stable, and could carry a large amount of equipment and supplies, which made them ideal for long-distance fishing trips.

Today, modern catamarans are still used for fishing, with the vessels’ stable and maneuverable design still providing an ideal platform for fishermen.

Modern catamarans are made from a variety of materials, including fiberglass and aluminum, and are available in a range of sizes to suit different needs.

Catamarans are also popular for recreational fishing, with the vessels providing a great platform for anglers to enjoy their sport.

The popularity of catamarans for fishing is a testament to the versatility and effectiveness of these vessels.

With their stable and maneuverable design, their ability to access shallow waters, and their capacity to carry a large amount of equipment and supplies, they remain a popular choice for those looking to take to the water in pursuit of their catch.

Final Thoughts

Catamarans have come a long way since their humble beginnings in the Indian subcontinent.

From their simple design of two logs tied together, to today’s modern catamarans used for racing, cruising, and fishing, it’s amazing to think about all the ways these vessels have evolved.

Now that you know the history behind the word catamaran, why not take a sail and experience the thrill of these incredible vessels for yourself?

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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sailing catamaran meaning

How To Sail a Catamaran Upwind or Downwind (Complete Guide)

sailing catamaran meaning

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Catamarans are the perfect backdrop to a relaxing fishing excursion, with sails in the wind as you reel in 50-pound striped bass. But when the gusts pick up and shift directions, you’ll find yourself weathering uncharted territory where reefing and speed are unlike a classic monohull. Sailing a catamaran upwind and downwind requires a skill set much different from the classic one hulled sailing.

To sail a catamaran upwind, maintain high speeds, center the mainsheet, limit angles to 45-60°, lose unnecessary weight, upgrade to Kevlar sails and daggerboards. To sail a catamaran downwind, maintain 160-170°, use asymmetrical spinnakers, reef when winds exceed 15 knots, and jibe.

Downwind gusts can help a catamaran surf down waves, something that is extremely exciting. However, facing those dreaded upwind breezes (especially without daggerboards) can signal the end of a soothing Mediterranian adventure. To learn how to sail a catamaran upwind or downwind, read on!

Table of Contents

How Sailing a Catamaran Is Different Than Monohulls

Multihull vessels like catamarans respond very differently to rough surfs, gusting winds, and shallow waters. If you’re still questioning, “What’s the difference?” here’s your answer.

Compared to classic monohull boats, catamarans are:

  • More stable — at sail and when anchored — and less likely to heel or rock from side to side.
  • Less responsive to waves and winds (detecting these requires keen observation skills).
  • Likely to struggle when sailing into the wind.
  • Harder to tack (high speeds are essential to avoid losing momentum)

Traditional yacht enthusiasts quickly learn that sailing a catamaran is smoother, though stiff headwinds and choppy surf are more challenging to overcome. Learning to master upwind and downwind catamaran sailing is essential to get the most out of your trip

If there’s one debate looming over the sailing community, it’s the age-old catamaran versus monohull discussion.

What is the difference b e tween cats and monos?

The UPWIND Catamaran Sailing Guide

sailing catamaran meaning

Sailing upwind means you’re cruising your catamaran toward the wind (i.e., Traveling east against westward-blowing gusts). This added wind resistance makes it more challenging to reach your destination swiftly and safely, as upwind journeys could come with:

  • Relentless sail luffing (fluttering like a bedsheet on a clothesline)
  • Slowed speeds and VMG (velocity made good)
  • Deep-digging bows in waves
  • Bridge deck slamming

Preparing for an upwind journey means taking the path of least resistance and the “long way home.” To survive your next upwind sail unscathed, follow these tips:

Maintain High Speeds

Thirty-knot gusts at-sea, high speeds, and a Leopard 44 might sound like a recipe for disaster. But a catamaran’s multihull design allows for lower capsize risks and less heeling in rougher conditions. It’s far gentler on the vessel to maintain momentum than to build throttle against heavy winds. 

Sailing a catamaran upwind requires sail, chart plotter, and daggerboard monitoring. The video below discusses upwind sailing tips as your catamaran’s bow faces 20-knot gusts.

Limit Angles to 45–60°

A straight line is undoubtedly the shortest pathway to your on-shore destination, but sailing your catamaran directly into the wind will land you in the dreaded “no-go zone.” That is, sailing into 15-knot wind gusts directly, draining all forward momentum (unless motoring), and being unable to steer responsively.

The point of sail “sweet spot” for catamarans sailing upwind is between 45 and 60°. This tight range will keep the bow headed in the right direction — toward a particular cove or dock — without cutting throttle (too direct) or over-inflating the sails (too perpendicular). 

An onboard flag can help you accurately detect your current point of sail (there are of course electronic aids as well). You should adjust the sails intentionally to ensure the perfect angle:

  • Slowly let out your sail.
  • Wait for the telltale to begin luffing (flapping in the wind).
  • Gently tug it back until the telltale flapping stops.

Upgrade to Kevlar Sails

Catamarans are impressively resistant to heeling where dainty monohulls might capsize. But instead of “giving” with the wind, a catamaran’s classic polyester sails will resist 30+ knot gusts almost entirely. Even the highest-tenacity Dacron sailcloths will develop wear and tear, performance-reducing distortions, or irreversible breakage in heavy winds.

Investing in heavy-duty Kevlar sails can create stiffer and more damage-proof sails that can better handle upwind excursions. Upgraded catamaran sail cloths can help you travel a crisper pathway at a close-hauled 45° without overcompensating at the wheel.

Select a Daggerboard Catamaran

Daggerboards are retractable vertical keels attached to a catamaran’s underbelly. These large, below-deck protrusions can prevent or limit any leeway in exceptionally windy conditions. 

Daggerboards vs Centerboards explained!

In other words, daggerboards will keep your catamaran from drifting with the wind or falling off course. The $30,000 higher price tag is undoubtedly off-putting, especially when proper tacking technique might render them useless. But the benefits are substantial:

  • Sailing 1-2 knots faster than a standard keeled catamaran
  • Traveling 5-7° closer to the no-go zone
  • Reaching your upwind destination quicker and with less dramatic tacking

Catamarans with daggerboards installed are more reliable and accurate when traveling upwind. But these built-in keels require proper care to prevent grounding or lurching into a reef. Until your sea voyages bring you upwind, keep your daggerboards raised.

Clean Hulls

Aside from trimming the sails and staying in the close-hauled zone, there’s only so much you can do onboard to better tackle an upwind voyage. But what about beneath the water’s surface? A dirty underside can wreak havoc on your catamaran’s all-around performance — cutting RPM by 1,000, draining fuel efficiency, and slashing your maximum speed by several kts.

Keeping your catamaran hulls free of barnacles, grime, and fouling can make your upwind travels far less treacherous. Revive upwind sailing potential by:

  • Spraying the bottom clean with an on-land hose
  • Scrubbing the slimy waterline with a soft brush or sponge
  • Dislodging caked-on algae with a plastic putty knife
  • Applying a fresh coat of antifouling paint

Scrub your catamaran’s underbelly clean at least four times a year, though monthly is preferred for maximum performance. You’ll quickly notice a swifter, cleaner, and smoother journey the next time you take your catamaran up the coast.

Trim the Sails & Center the Mainsheet

“Trimming” the sails is a beginner’s catamaran cruising skill designed to improve speed and better catch the breeze. By changing the angle of the sails and adjusting line tension, you can evade sail luffing and add several knots to your voyage — especially upwind. It takes practice to adapt your sails to the wind speed and direction, so here are the catamaran sail trimming basics:

  • Lock the mainsheet and position the boom so that it’s somewhat leeward (further away from the wind gusts).
  • As you veer away from the wind, slightly ease the traveler and monitor the telltales.
  • Start slowly easing the mainsheet when you’re on a beam or reaching (when the catamaran is at the right angle to the wind).
  • Keep an eye on the telltales and watch for differences between leward and windward side (bluffing or flopping). 

As you go through the classic trial and error process, don’t forget to keep the mainsheet centered — or as close to the center as possible. Otherwise, turning the winches in 18+ knot winds will require superhuman strength to get back on track, complicating your sail.

sailing catamaran meaning

Steering clear of the no-go zone (straight into the wind) will keep your catamaran from stalling and your sails from flapping around and potentially increasing wear. But you’ll never arrive at your coordinates if you’re staying on a strict 45° path in one direction. This is where skilled catamaran sailors begin “tacking”, the art of turning your boat with the wind on your bows.

When you tack on a sailboat, you’re forcing the bows into the wind’s direction (no go zone). Tacking redirects the bow to the opposite 45° angle — from 3 o’clock to 9 o’clock — and creates a zig-zag formation or subtle 90° turns through the water. Proper tacking requires a skilled crew on larger catamarans but can be a solo pursuit. Here’s how to do this maneuver carefully:

  • Start by sailing as close to the close-hauled territory as possible (within 40-45°).
  • Choose a heading 90° away as your turn “destination.”
  • Alert the crew to the tacking (if applicable).
  • Slowly release the loaded jib sheet and begin pulling the lazy sheet inward.
  • Steer the catamaran into the turn while maintaining speed (don’t speed up or slow down).
  • Allow the sail to backfill to assist with the pivot.
  • Release the jib sheet (watch your fingers, as the line releases quickly).
  • Tighten the jib sheet on the opposite side and feel the wind start powering the boat.

Tacking is a challenging sailing concept to master. But it’s also the only way to sail upwind efficiently.

Turn On the Motor

A traditional, motor-free catamaran cruise can be soothing if there’s no destination in mind. However, the sails become inefficient against 15-knot winds when your preferred snorkeling spot is several miles directly into the wind. The best way to sail upwind is by turning to your catamaran’s twin diesel engines and hitting the throttle. Even cranking the engine to half-speed can ignite your speed by 1-2 knots and improve the course by up to 20°.

The DOWNWIND Catamaran Sailing Guide

Sailing downwind means you’re cruising in the same direction as the wind’s blowing (i.e., Journeying north alongside north-blowing winds). This extra momentum can generate higher speeds on a run, though the consequences of unpredictable downwind exist. Spinnakers becoming tangled around forestays or spinnaker collapse are looming concerns in high winds.

Downwind sailing is the catamaran sailors’ favorite direction, and thats why most people circumnavigating the globe is travelling with the tradewinds going west!

How to circumnavigate the world

Downwind trips are much more straightforward for novice sailors, but there are techniques for building speed and learning more about your boat. To better handle your next downwind sail like an expert, follow these tips

Use a Screecher or Asymmetrical Spinnakers

Spinnakers are a special type of sail ideal for downwind runs. Unlike a mainsail or jib that luffs in the wind, spinnakers inflate like a balloon and give maximum power at around 90-160° angles. These ultra-lightweight, colorful sailcloths come in two varieties: Asymmetrical and symmetrical. Most yachters attach asymmetrical spinnakers or screechers to their catamarans because they:

  • Work well in close-hauls, beams, and broad reaches
  • Boost speed by about 2 knots
  • Resist damage in 25-knot downwind gusts
  • Are quite versatile

The latest spinnaker tends to have more volume when tacked to the windward bow. These new designs allow them to catch more wind and pick up speed at nearly all deep, downwind angles (except directly at your aft). 

Sailing a catamaran downwind isn’t quite as simple as easing the sails and cruising. The video below explains the catamaran difference when traversing the sea with the wind at your aft.

Choose the Right Angle

Sailing a catamaran directly downwind sounds like a decent strategy for picking up some momentum. But because catamarans travel faster with the wind at their sails, a less direct point of sail can maximize your velocity made good (VMG). 

The proper point of sail for downward cruises is in the broad reach position — ideally between 160 and 170°, though up to 90° can be somewhat effective. This 10-20° off-center angle is slight but can boost your maximum speeds by a few knots.

Reef at 15 Knots

Though catamarans don’t heel or spill wind like monohull ships, the high wind pressure cues are more challenging to detect. Sailing behind 15 or even 20-knot gusts can overpower even the sturdiest sails when you jibe. Reducing your sail surface area and allowing more wind to flow through — reefing — will reduce speed(usually) and increase safety.

Always keep an eye on your anemometer while sailing downwind in windier conditions. Once it’s registering 15-20 knots, here’s what you should do:

  • Reduce the mainsail’s pressure by loosening the mainsheet and repositioning the traveler leeward (away from the wind).
  • Take the pressure off the boom vang.
  • Lower the main halyard and hook reefing point #1 on the proper hook.
  • Pull the reefing line manually (or with a winch).
  • Put more tension back on the halyard and boom vang.

Time is of the essence while reefing downwind, and one reef might not be enough if you’re sailing into a squall. Be prepared for a second or third reef when winds measure 25 and 30 knots, respectively. If winds exceed 30 knots, remove the jib entirely and use the mainsail as you return to the marina.

These numbers above are general numbers and since cats don’t heel much it is very important to abide by the wind speed reefing table on your boat.

Why do catamarans capsize?

Jibe (Gybe)

Jibing (gybing) is the downwind version of tacking, meaning you’ll be heading off on another zig-zag 90° journey as you sail out of the bay. But unlike tacking, where you forced the ship’s bow toward the wind, now you’ll be guiding the boat’s stern away from the wind. Here’s how to jibe a catamaran safely and quickly:

  • Make sure the traveler is in a center position (or close to center).
  • Trim the sail to prevent the boom from swinging in mid-jibe.
  • Angle the catamaran so you’re traveling a few degrees off from directly downwind.
  • Choose a location in the distance that’s 90° from your current location.
  • When the mainsheet feels lighter, bring the boom toward the ship’s center.
  • Wait for the leech to rise (the sail’s rear edge).
  • Release the mainsheet again.

While jibing can help you stay on course and pick up some speed, it comes with some risks. An uncontrolled boom can rapidly swing and crash into a crew member, cause unpredictable heeling, or damage the rig. Make sure all crew members are ready to jibe before beginning the process.

Reduce Speeds

The physics behind sailing is quite complicated and misconceptions about venturing downwind are common. Thanks to choppy waves (water resistance) and sails (lack of wind resistance), it’s impossible to sail downwind at faster speeds than the wind directly at your aft.

Sailing a catamaran upwind or downwind is more complicated than a calm, Caribbean sailing expedition. Prepare for your next windy escapade by:

  • Checking the wind speed and direction via your local weather service
  • Practicing reefing, tacking, and cruising skills in calmer conditions
  • Experimenting with sail trims, headsail positions, and motor use
  • Learning more about spinnakers, screechers, and gennakers

Every gust, knot, and reef will help you hone your catamaran sailing talents and better prepare for less predictable weather. Try to build your confidence and perfect your skills before exposing yourself to harsher conditions.

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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12 Best Catamaran Sailboats

Best Catamaran Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

December 28, 2023

The appeal of the catamaran sailboats in terms of speed , stability, and the ability to embark on long-range cruising has made them hugely popular with today's sailors. But what are the best catamaran sailboats?

Even though catamaran sailboats have become increasingly popular in the last few years, they have a truly rich legacy as one of the most sought after vessels for bluewater cruising.

Thanks to their incredibly wide beams and bigger daft, catamarans have become remarkably favorable for sailors looking to go for long-distance voyages, overnight cruising, and day sailing.

And if space is paramount for you when out there on the water, a catamaran sailboat is the only way to go as they offer extraordinary space to allow you to spend more time on the water with friends and family.

But even with all these amazing features, you're probably still wondering; what are the best catamaran sailboats?

Like their monohull counterparts, choosing the best catamaran sailboat can be quite overwhelming since there are lots of them out there. They come in a wide variety of designs and sizes ranging from small catamarans to huge ones.

The best catamaran sailboats can easily clock 250-mile voyages, offer incredible performance, and have layouts that can be easily optimized for individuals, charter markets, and great accommodation. In essence, the best catamaran sailboats offer respectable performance and offer good load-carrying ability.

That being said, here are some of the best catamaran sailboats that you can get your hands on.

Table of contents

Best Catamarans


Even though many multihulls are no longer built in the United States these days, the Manta 42 is a true American-built catamaran that brings good living and good value into one package. Designed cleverly for easy handling, this American built catamaran is a great choice for a liveaboard cruiser for sailors looking to go for long-distance voyages. Thanks to its trademark high bows and an enormously curved incorporated forward crossbeam, this catamaran is easily recognizable even from a distance.

It is designed with a uniquely fixed crossbeam, which is very different from conventional aluminum cross beams that support the tension of the forestay. This fixed crossbeam allows for a little bit of movement thereby helping in absorbing enormous twisting forces of the bows. As such, you have to keep in mind that there may be resultant stress crack particularly in the bow area of the vessel.

All in all, the Manta 42 is a superb offshore cruising catamaran that offers a good sail-area-to-displacement ratio as well as plenty of space and accommodation. The cockpit area is refined, luxurious, and is designed with additional stainless pushpit contraptions to help in holding objects such as wind vanes, dinghies, and solar panels. The boat's quality in terms of performance and stability is the benchmark of what a catamaran should be.

Fountaine Pajot Elba 45


Recently named the "Boat of the Year" for 2019 by Cruising World Magazine and Sail Magazine, the Elba 45 is the latest model in the incredible line of Fountaine Pajot catamarans. This boat was designed to replace the outgoing Helia 44 and stands to be one of the most popular catamarans with Fountain Pajot having sold over 100 Elba 45 hulls long before even the first one emerged from production.

This French-built cat brings to the fore a well-thought-out, safe, and dependable features with 10% less drag, efficient motoring, top-notch performance, and high speeds. It's also designed with fixed stub keels and slightly aft-raked bows, which are all essential in enhancing windward performance; something that most catamarans struggle with.

To improve on safety, the keels of this amazing catamaran sailboat are glued into a particularly designed recess in the hulls. This is to ensure that there are no keel bolts that can rip out and put the boat in danger if the boat gets grounded or in the event of a collision. The rig is also ICW friendly and is a true representation of a standard catamaran setup.

This is, without a doubt, a modern-looking cruising catamaran that has a low-profile lounging space on its deck, high topsides and bows as well as a more pronounced reverse sheer that's essential in minimizing the bulk of the windows while creating additional and useful volume below. This is a true catamaran that occupies a sweet spot for those looking to sail along the bay or for those adventurous sailors looking to set sail for more ambitious offshore cruising plans.


With its fine design, straightforward systems, and easy handling, the Leopard 48 has everything it needs to be ranked among the distinguished category of the best catamaran sailboats. This is an excellent multihull that is structured with advanced materials, designs, and innovations that are meant to be fun, spacious, and comfortable.

Designed in South Africa by Simonis-Voogd, is probably the best design in the Leopard family of catamarans. Its two hulls are vacuum-bagged using balsa core to offer maximum firmness while ensuring that the weight is on the minimum. This is done by articulately regulating the level of resin in the layup. With such types of hull shapes, this catamaran sailboat is very fast and can consistently clock 12 knots of speed against the currents.

The boat is also designed with shallow keels as they're filled with closed-cell polyurethane foam that's of great importance in increasing buoyancy and preventing water ingress. To enhance the safety of the vessel, the stern and bow both have bulkheads that are essential in keeping out that water if the sailboat is involved in a collision.

The hulls of this boat are deep and narrow, particularly below the waterline. They also curve higher up to practically reduce the wetted surface area while offering enough deck space and plenty of room for accommodations. Its cockpit is another excellent feature thanks to its lavish spaces that give you the chance of kicking back and relaxing.

This boat is designed to offer superior livability, quick and easy to handle features, as well as enough space for friends and family. It is designed with beautiful lines and immense practicality for those who want to go on long cruising voyages.

Antares 44i

While many people often believe that voluminous cruising catamarans should be used as charter boats, the Antares 44i brings a very different perspective altogether. Designed in Argentina as a complete bluewater catamaran, this is a boat that's specifically built for private boat owners looking for a sturdy and well-equipped bluewater cruiser. This is an absolutely gorgeous catamaran that has a fully-equipped cockpit just to ensure that you can safely operate it even when shorthanded.

Like most catamarans, the Antares 44i is designed with features that allow for long-distance voyages. It comes with a minimum bridge deck clearance of 30 inches, which is essential in mitigating bridge deck slap. The helm station is designed to offer excellent visibility over the coach roof without having to perch the helmsman high above the cockpit.

If you're planning to make those long-distance cruising to exotic places, you'll appreciate this boat's layout. The galley is put down in the port hull so that it doesn't compromise the size of the galley and the saloon. The forward-facing navigation station is up there with the best and is up to offshore standards. And that's not all; the Antares 44i comes with good mounting points for electronics, a large table, comfortable seats, and provides brilliant visibility outside.

This boat is perfectly suited for extended offshore cruising and is a great reminder for anyone who thinks that all catamarans are charter boats and all offshore boats are monohulls.


Designed by Philipe Pouvreau in northern Brazil, the Dolphin Ocema 42 is a truly unique catamaran sailboat that goes against the conventional norm of catamarans. It is equipped with daggerboards, which are essential in enabling it to point higher on the wind while reducing the wetted surface when running or anchoring in shallow surfaces. This, however, requires a higher level of expertise in sailing. This is because lifting the daggerboards higher up will expose the rudders while the daggerboards can also interfere with the hulls in the event that the vessel runs aground.

But even with that, the Dolphin 42 balances incredible performance and cruising comfort in a very compact package; something that is not very easy in bluewater cruising. That's why it's designed using a foam core to make it lightweight by reducing weight wherever possible. This vessel will most likely never let you down if you want to circumnavigate the bluewater on a high-performance boat that is safe and comfortable.

So if you've been looking for a real sailing catamaran that doubles up as a very comfortable liveaboard sailboat , look no further than the Dolphin 42.


Regarded as the best built and most stylish cruising multihull, the Catana 50 is a very huge catamaran sailboat. Measuring about 50 feet long with a beam of about 26 feet, this is an amazing catamaran that will test your sailing skills as a single sailor or if you're planning to sail shorthanded.

This boat is designed with a rig that gives you the option of using either a screecher or a self-tending jib. This may seem complex since the sheets are led to winches near each wheel while all other controls lead to a centerline winch that's located in the cockpit. But even with that, this sailboat can be easily tacked once on the course.

This is a real performance-oriented catamaran with efficient hulls and rigs allowing for top speed. This vessel is also designed with a long waterline and a subtle underwater shape at the bow to help in increasing volume while minimizing wave drag. The stern platforms can help in stretching the waterline length while also providing easy access from a dock or a dinghy. The board trunks are also very strong and sturdy to protect the integrity of the hulls if a collision occurs.

In essence, this is a very modern catamaran that's designed to safely make long-distance passages with ease. It is subdued in terms of styling but this doesn't mean that it falls short as far as performance is concerned.

Atlantic 42


Designed in 1993, the A42 has cultivated a legion of fiercely loyal fans thanks to its efficiency and aesthetic. This is the smallest of the Atlantic cruising catamaran line and is hugely popular with sailors thanks to its ease of handling, ocean-going capabilities, and superb use of space. From the forward cockpit, pilothouse to the sleeping cabins, and brilliant galleys everything about this cat is a true classic.

Unlike most catamarans, the Atlantic 42 is designed with a waist-high cockpit that's located forward of the pilothouse just behind the mast. It brings forth a solid construction thanks to the large metal girder-like bearers that run across the bulkheads. This helps the vessel in having the utmost strength, better air circulation under the engine, and a high level of flexibility as far as the size of the engine and its positioning is concerned.

Initially, the boat's style and its outlook were considered conservative but it soon became clear that it is built of high-quality materials and to last. The internal construction of the boat is impressive, to say the least. The exterior looks very beautiful and perhaps much more beautiful than most boats today. Its large aft cabin accommodation is a top drawer while the space separating en suite heads and shower compartments are considered a bonus.


If you were to board the French-built Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46, you'll agree that the high-quality of workmanship, layout, and efficient use of space is quite exciting, to say the least. This cat remains very popular among sailors thanks to its easy handling features and incredible performance under the sails. Well, this may not come as a surprise to many of us given that the Fountain Pajot is known for building some of the most remarkable cruising catamarans out there that it can be quite overwhelming to narrow down to a single vessel, but the Bahia 46 simply stands out.

This vessel is designed with hulls that are broader than those of many other catamarans. It's also designed with centerboards and daggerboards that are meant to enhance its performance. These are essential in minimizing draft while ensuring reliability, generous bilge, and in helping to protect the rudders and propellers.

This boat is big enough to manage any type of serious offshore sailing. This is one of the best cruising catamarans for anyone looking for the right vessel for long-distance sailing. This vessel has a very more generous rig than most cruising catamarans, which is essential in enhancing its performance. The six-post Bimini is very strong and clean and can perfectly hold dinghies.

In terms of its look, the Bahia 36 is designed with gorgeous lines with the deck and hulls sculpted with lines that add a touch of elegance to the overall look of an already excellent catamaran sailboat.

Gemini 105MC


Whether you're looking for a comfortable catamaran vessel to take you for a weekend sailing trip or a long sabbatical vacation on the oceans, the Gemini 105MC is a very satisfactory liveaboard catamaran vessel that offers spacious accommodation, thoughtful design, and a stable cruising platform for anyone who wants to have some good time on the water.

Designed by the legendary Tony Smith, this is somewhat a sailing cottage. Like a land cottage, it is cozy, comfortable, and very safe. This is essentially a 35 feet catamaran that offers great value for any sailing looking for a reasonably-priced catamaran sailboat for the weekend or holiday cruising.

This boat is designed with incredibly slim hulls, which are teardrop-shaped with flat bottoms and smaller wetted surface area. This is to ensure that drag is minimized and to lead to more leeway under sail. Each of the boat's hull is designed with a kick-up centerboard is of great importance in enhancing the vessel's windward pointing capability. This boat also has its rudders raised to enable it to seamlessly cruise in shallow waters where most vessels would otherwise run aground.

The eccentric narrow beam, which measures about 40% of the boat's length, is very different from today's 50%. However, its low center helps in keeping its stable, upright, and of course, safe.

Lagoon 450 F


If you're looking for a catamaran sailboat that offers prestige at its peak, look no further than the Lagoon 450. This cat is widely known for offering an all-around comfort without compromising its beauty, spaciousness, class, and elegance. This is an elaborate French catamaran that brings to the table fantastic craftsmanship while leaving nothing to chance.

This is a very safe 45 feet catamaran that's not just comfortable but also very luxurious. The deck layout is centered on an amazing flybridge, which has been redesigned and redefined to offer both the traditional and modern outlook. You can very easily access the bridge, engine controls, steering station in a matter of seconds. As a result, this boat is efficiently designed to give you the ultimate control of almost every situation while on the water.

The spacious and luxurious interior of this boat is worth experiencing. The cabins and saloons are perfectly lit. We're talking about four to six cabins, eight to twelve berths, and up to four bathrooms. In essence, this boat can comfortably sleep eight to twelve people. This boat is designed to offer ultra-modern accommodations and amenities that come with little but amazing touches; all designed to make your life inside the catamaran enjoyable.


An original performance catamaran cruiser from the iconic Gunboat manufacturer, the Gunboat 62 has truly cemented its place as one of the best catamaran sailboats to ever grace the oceans. Honestly speaking, this cat-inspired a whole range of other incredible boats including HH66 Catamaran and the Balance 526.

This is a boat that can perform admirably well in storms with a speed of over 35 knots despite being built using epoxy and E-glass with carbon-fiber structural components. It's designed with a distinct angular outline than most catamaran sailboats of its size and category. This is a vessel that was built for people looking to add more stuff and more gear for their voyages. In other words, you can have all the gear and equipment on this boat and still outperform a racing monohull of the same size.

Thanks to its lightweight feature, this vessel can sail upwind at speeds of over 17 knots and pinch up to 30 degrees. Just for comparison, the Gunboat 62 can tack through 95 degrees and still outperform the best racing monohulls. This boat is designed with a comfortable helm seat that offers 360-degree visibility as well as plenty of storage space, a functional working surface, and a luxurious cabin. Like many performance catamarans, the Gunboat 62 can attain about 20 knots if the conditions are right.

Privilege 615


Combining elegance, comfort, and style, the Privilege 615 is a lovely catamaran sailboat that seems to be always ready for a long offshore voyage. The roots of this incredible cat can be traced back to the 1980s when Philippe Jeantot opened up a boat-building company in France. As one of the best productions from the company, the privilege 615 sports a flybridge that comes complete with twin wheels, a sprawling sunbed, and other excellent features that will make your bluewater cruising a breeze.

Whether you want the charter version or a privately-owned version, the Privilege 615 is one of the most versatile catamaran sailboats. Step inside this vessel and you'll instantly notice the quality of the wood finish and the elegance of design. The advanced navigation station is not only ultra-modern but is perfectly stationed at a dedicated corner where you can control everything while still having a conversation with your friends and family.

This boat comes with multiple sleeping configurations to ensure that you and your guests can live aboard the boat for months on end. Although the boat appears like some sort of maze on the inside, you'll easily get used to it when you enter the forward section. That's not all; this boat has gorgeous lines that make the exterior beautiful just like the interior. Its sleek profile, incredible volume, and versatile interior make it one of the best catamaran sailboats out there.

There you have it; these are the best catamaran sailboats out there. It doesn't matter the one you choose, these cats will make your day out on the water and will serve you just right for your offshore voyages or for day sailing along the bays.

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Definition of catamaran noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

sailing catamaran meaning


Catamaran no sail zone

Catamaran Sailing Techniques


Catamaran sailors should beat to windward on a close reach, not attempting to point high upwind, which slows the boat and prevents the windward hull lifting. Running is also inefficient, except in light winds. Sail a succession of port and starboard broad reaches, jibing across the downwind course. Center the mainsheet for upwind sailing; ease it down the track downwind.

Continue reading here: Tacking and jibing a catamaran

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Readers' Questions

How close on a reach catamaran?
On a Reach catamaran, the distance between the two hulls is usually quite close. The width of the catamaran can vary depending on the specific model and size, but typically the hulls are placed closer together compared to other types of catamarans. This design allows for better stability and maneuverability, especially when sailing on a reach (a point of sail where the wind is coming from the side of the boat). The close proximity of the hulls also increases the overall deck space available on the catamaran.
Why don't a catamaran sail closer to the wind?
A catamaran is a type of boat with two parallel hulls, and it is known for its stability and speed. However, one limitation of catamarans is their ability to sail as close to the wind (into the wind) compared to other sailboats such as monohulls. There are a few reasons why catamarans cannot sail as close to the wind: High windage: Catamarans have a wider beam (the width of the boat) due to their double-hull design. This results in more surface area exposed to the wind, causing a higher windage. The wind pushing against the larger surface area makes it harder for the boat to point directly into the wind and maintain forward progress. Limited upwind performance: Catamarans are usually designed with larger and flatter hulls, which provide buoyancy and stability. However, these hull shapes create more drag and resist the boat's ability to sail upwind efficiently. They are not optimized for pointing directly into the wind. Lack of keel: Unlike monohull sailboats, catamarans do not have a deep keel extending below the waterline. Keels provide lateral resistance and prevent sideways slipping or skidding. This lack of keel reduces the ability of catamarans to sail upwind effectively. However, it's important to note that modern catamarans have made significant advancements in their upwind performance through design modifications and technological improvements. Newer models may have features like daggerboards or centerboards to enhance lift and lateral resistance, allowing them to sail closer to the wind compared to older designs.
How to sail a catamaran dinghy fast downwind?
Tune your rig: Make sure your sails are set correctly and the rigging is properly tensioned. Carefully trim the sails: Sheet in or out your mainsail and jib as needed to keep them filling in the wind as you make your course downwind. Center your weight: Sit in the middle of the cockpit and make sure your crew’s weight is evenly distributed. Keep the bow up: Heel the boat slightly to keep the bow from plunging into the waves. Maintain a smooth ride: Trim the sails to adjust the speed and angle of your course. Ride the waves: As you go downwind, find the best angle of attack by riding on the crest of the waves. Use the wind to your advantage: As the wind changes direction or intensity, adjust your sail trim accordingly to get the most speed.

sailing catamaran meaning

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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  6. Catamaran

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  22. catamaran noun

    Definition of catamaran noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. ... a fast sailing boat with two hulls compare trimaran Topics Transport by water c2, Sports: water sports c2.

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    If the wind is strong enough to lift the windward hull, a catamaran will always sail on the apparent wind—meaning that speed forward through the water tightens the angle of the wind so that it always appears to be blowing from ahead, irrespective of the course sailed.. SAIL FREE AND FAST. The principal requirement of catamaran sailing is to build up apparent wind.

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    Catamarans: Greater stability due to the dual hulls, providing a more level sailing experience. Reduced heeling makes catamarans suitable for those prone to seasickness.