The social areas on a catamaran are a big advantage of the catamaran lifestyle. Below I examine the key areas on a catamaran and important things to consider when you’re in the market for a new yacht.
The Control Cockpit and Sundeck
Short-Handed Sail Handling
Docking short-handed? Notice how the engine controls are outboard. Standing on the deck next to the controls you can maneuver into the fuel dock while throwing or catching a line that can be secured to the center cleat almost at your feet. So, now all is in place and you can single-handedly be secure next to the dock.
Did you notice the helm station is separated from the line handling controls?
This offers easy passage for guests going forward. It keeps the lines from getting hung up in the wheel, or the helmsman being disturbed while handling the boat. So, what about short-handed line handling— tacking and jibing?
For raising sails or tacking, I simply put my remote autopilot (could be your iPhone with Bluetooth) on velcro dots on the cabin top next to the winches. Raising sails, autopilot holds your head to wind. Tacking: Hit tack button on your autopilot and get the smoothest most enviable tack you’ll ever see!
So, now we’re going to tack. Put the new sheet on the electric winch, with the slack out. Hit the autopilot tack function. Release the old sheet. Push the button on the electric winch and trim in the new sheet. After you’re on the new tack, touch up the trim on helm and sheet— and experience the smoothest and easiest tack you ever made! So, why not a self-tacking jib instead?
Why Not a Self-Tending Jib?
On a boat, everything is a compromise— agreed? So go with an all-purpose Genoa!
Two Major Flaws with a Self-Tacking Jib
- It’s almost always too small, even if you move the rig back. You end up constantly having to shift between various headsails, most of which are not so easy to handle, compared to an all-purpose Genoa.
- To have any chance of even a slightly acceptable sail combination for reasonable performance, in a variety of conditions, with a self-tending jib, you need to move the mast back— so what?
- This puts its needed support system smack dab in the middle of the accommodations— not ideal to say the least.
- How do you support it? The mast stepped on top of the forward bulkhead is the standard, preferred and classic solution. The compressive load is spread and you can build in a substantial I-beam girder system across the cabin sole, forward of all of the furniture—all logical from an engineering perspective.
Not so logical, and a proven engineering nightmare is trying to put in support in the middle of the cabin sole. You can’t create a beam above the floor (tripping, visual hazard) and you don’t have room under the floor without compromising bridge deck clearance and creating serious wave interference under the boat.
So, let’s stay with what works, and use modern technology like electric winches, and Bluetooth autopilot interfaces to actually make tacking a conventional Genoa, a single-handed event.
Eric Smith, Senior Sales Consultant, Partner
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