Do you feel your catamaran is not performing to its specification? Is she overloaded with gear? When was she last slipped and antifouled? These are just a few reasons why you could be experiencing slow performance.
Here are some simple tips to help you get the best out of your catamaran:
One of the greatest advantages catamarans have over monohulls is their abundance of storage space. It’s tempting to fill this extra space with gear and supplies, however this can hamper the performance of your vessel.
Whether you’re looking to embark on world cruising, coastal sailing or weekend pleasure cruises, it is important to not overload your vessel with unnecessary gear and clutter.
While staying prepared for all conditions and emergencies is important, taking aboard unnecessary or too many supplies is only going add weight and slow you down.
Keep it Clean
Improperly cleaning and failing to maintain your catamaran is going to cause issues far beyond aesthetics. Negligence can lead to extensive damage from marine growth, blockages within the engine water outlets and inlets, propeller damage, increased fuel usage and an overall decrease in performance.
Antifouling paint contains biocides that can prevent a wide variety of growths and slimes, making it one of the most important parts of any maintenance regimen.
Prevention is far better than a cure, so be sure to slip, clean and antifoul your vessel at least annually to prevent marine growth and maintain your maximum hull speed.
Get Yourself a Spinnaker
Designed for downwind light air sailing, a spinnaker can significantly increase your overall cruising speed.
While spinnakers may be known as a staple for racing sailors, they are also a beneficial addition to your cruising sail wardrobe. They can add speed and enjoyment to a downwind or broad-reaching sailing adventure.
Pick Your Propellers
If you are racing or very focussed on adding speed to your catamaran, it is worth considering replacing a fixed propeller with a folding or feathering propeller. Folding propellers decrease drag and allow for smoother movement through the water.
There is a great article testing a variety of folding propellers here:
Know Your Boat
Having a thorough understanding of your catamaran’s strengths, weaknesses and capabilities will allow you to push your boat to its maximum capabilities without overloading her and causing damage.
Be sure to understand your vessel’s:
- Ideal maximum capacity
- Fuel range
- Designed use (e.g. racing, cruising, etc.)
- Best setup for your sails
- Ideal sails to use in different conditions
- Maximum hull speed
Knowing your boat is certainly key to performance. We strongly recommend getting as much advice possible and even hiring a trained instructor that is familiar with your boat size and design to take you through these elements. You will learn how hard you can push your boat while ensuring your crew are safe and your gear will not be unnecessarily damaged or broken.
Enjoy the process of getting to know your boat in intimate detail; it is fun and your cruising adventures will be all the more enjoyable and safe for all onboard!