How To Sail A Catamaran

Learning how to sail a catamaran means getting used to a water conveyance that features two hulls; in addition, the cumbersome look of the boat betrays its lightweight agility on the water. The rules that govern the skipper’s handling of the boat and any advice on how to sail a catamaran are in large part directly dictated by his weight and the wind conditions.

So what should the novice skipper know before setting the sail for the first time?

  1. Wear a wetsuit. Learning how to sail a catamaran is wet business and the chances of capsizing are high. Even if the weather is warm, frequent dunks in the ocean or lake water can make this a less than pleasant outing.
  2. Invest in sailing gloves and ankle-high, skid-proof booties. Moving around the wet hulls takes nimble footwork and holding on to the rigging can–in strong winds—quickly lead to rope burns. Protect hands and feet accordingly.
  3. Get into physical shape. While it is not necessary to run a marathon just to learn how to sail a catamaran, it takes quite a bit of physical prowess, stamina, agility and strength to maneuver this boat at wind-speed or beyond. Weekend warriors in particular will do well to hit the gym a few times a week to get and stay fit.
  4. Take lessons that offer hands-on instructions on how to sail a catamaran. Until the skipper has a natural feel for counter-balancing the wind and moving the boat, it pays to have someone walk him through the ropes.

Remember that even after learning how to sail a catamaran, the process of discovery does not stop. It is a good idea to devise a launch sequence that details what equipment to check prior to taking off, and also, to limit outings only in wind conditions the skipper knows he can master.

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