In this article, we’re really talking about bareboat chartering of a Catamaran sailing boat on a sailing vacation.
Of the dozens of flotilla trips I’ve lead to the Mediterranean, Pacific and the Caribbean, I’d say it was about 50/50 between monohull charter and catamaran charter. Chartering in the Mediterranean, however tends to be more monohulls because of the tight space available in the marinas. Not to say that you can’t do a catamaran charter in the Mediterranean but if you want to, you should plan on booking ahead far in advance ( perhaps 1 year).
Sailing a Catamaran on a yacht charter sailing vacation in the Caribbean is much easier and more prevalent. Still, these days with the popularity of Catamaran Charter, you should still book at least 6-9 months in advance.
Catamaran Charter in Belize
A good money saving tip here is to get on the email list of the catamaran charter companies. When they’re having a special – they’ll be certain to let you know. One week either side of a low/mid/high season could save you thousands.
There’s lots of advantages to a catamaran sailing boat over a monohull on a sailing vacation. First off, you don’t spill your rum drink ( I say Rum drink here now because of our newly formed alliance with Mount Gay Rum who sponsor the Sailing Spoken Here website and community. Mount Gay Rum has made NauticEd their exclusive Sailing Education partner (slight pat on the back to the NauticEd team)). Whilst sailing a catamaran, even on a beat to windward, you don’t heel over. You can just set your drink down and it won’t slide off the table.
No heeling over while sailing a catamaran
New sailors like catamaran chartering again because of the no heeling factor. Funny – I can’t understand it – but new sailors don’t like spending all day hanging on for dear life. Go figure that one out.
True monohull sailors tend to scoff at sailing a catamaran but – we say get over it. Sail a monohull at home and do a catamaran charter on holiday with your family and mates. It’s not about you – it’s about everyone on the boat having a really good social fun time. Apologies for the admonishment but ….
One of the interesting differences about sailing a catamaran is that because they don’t heel over, you have to be especially weary about the loads on the rig. On a monohull, as the boat heels over, the load stays about the same because there is less sail area presented to the wind. When you get too much heel, it’s a signal to reef the sails. When sailing a catamaran, the loads just increase as the wind strength gets higher. Usually there is a chart that comes with the catamaran to show when to reef according to the wind strength. You should identify this chart before you leave the dock.
You can also twist out the top of the sail to reduce the wind load on the sails. You do this by pulling the traveler to windward and letting out on the mainsheet (with the boom vang loosened). This allows the boom to rise up and twist out the top of the mainsail. Thus forces aloft are reduced and consequently the forces on the rig. BUT you should reef the sails when you reach the windspeeds shown in the reefing chart else risk the rig coming down.
The traveler on a catamaran is so wide that this becomes a more noticeable effect over many monohulls. In the photo below you can see how the sail aloft is pointing at a much different angle than the sail section near the boom. Thus the bottom of the sail is doing the powering with a vastly reduced heeling (rig breaking) moment.
catamaran sailing: sail twist out
NauticEd’s Catamaran Sailing Confidence Sailing Course leads NauticEd Sailing Students through the switch over from monohull sailing to Catamaran Sailing. It even has a sailing game that helps the students learn to maneuver and dock a catamaran using the dual engine controls embedded into the catamaran sailing course. And as a reward for reading this blog – we’ll tell you that the Catamaran Maneuvering Game is Free when you set up a free student account with NauticEd. Login now using your facebook account.
We highly recommend (of course) that if you’re going to do a catamaran charter in the Caribbean or Mediterranean, that you take both NauticEd’s Bareboat Yacht Charter Sailing Course and NauticEd’s Catamaran Sailing Confidence Sailing Course.
Sailing a catamaran is pretty easy but there are some nuances that you should know like reefing etc above that you really should learn before you leave the dock.
If you’re thinking about a bareboat yacht charter sailing vacation, invest in the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Master Sailing Certification accepted world wide by most charter companies including The Moorings, Sunsail, BVI Yacht Charters, Sailing New Zealand, Kiriacoulis etc etc.
As we prepare for our yacht charter sailing vacation to the British Virgin Islands this month, I want to post a few emails that we are sending out to the group that is going. Below is one from my wife discussing provisioning. The name of our trip every year is called Bonga Bonga. Some years we do tee shirts. I’ve got one dating back to 1997 when we went to St. Maarten.
SUBJ: Bonga Bonga 2009
Here are a few tips we have picked up during our charter sailing trips – thought I would share.
- Towels – you get two towels per person for the week – that is for swimming and showering – I take a few cheap hand towels along, very nice to have later in the week when you towel is yuck. Some people take a beach towel along – numerous smaller ones seem to be a better bet.
- Daily I give the floor in the salon a wipe down – gets rid of the hair, crumbs and sand – best for this is wipes – either Clorox or Baby wipes, great for cleaning the counters too. We have been taking baby wipes along for years and swear by them. My used hand towel then becomes the door mat – helps tremendously with keeping the interior clean.
- Toilets – if even one toilet stinks the entire boat stinks – hang a toilet freshener in the bowl from day one and the problem is solved.
- Liquid body wash or soap – bar soap slips and slides all over your bathroom and when showering on deck it generally lands in the sea!
- BONINE – the very best motion sickness tablet – no side effects, you can drink etc. Don’t be tough and be uncomfortable – be a woosy and have fun – take a tab on day one and then if the weather gets rough you’ll be ok! Otherwise since we have a catamaran if you’re not too susceptible then you should not get sick.
- Floaties – up until our last trip you could still not buy Noodles for a reasonable price. It’s nice to have something to float on other than the boat fenders. So consider squeezing one in or a cheep blow up floatee. Vacuum suck the air out before packing since the airline will nail you for baggage these days.
- Sippy Cups – although your drink is safer on a Cat, the best bet is a sippy cup for less spills – bring the most outrageous cup – win award!
- Sunscreen – need I remind you.
- Snorkeling gear – there is gear at the charter base, so not worries borrowing any if you don’t already own.
- Zip lock bags – there is no Tupperware on the boat – zip locks are the easiest for food storage – left overs / cheeses etc. Only once have we been able to buy zip lock bags in the islands – so just in case I suggest taking them along.
- PROVISIONS – couple of take alongs – sometimes hard or impossible to get in the islands.
- Wasabi – I have bought 2 tubes as I have full confidence in my fisherman!
- Soy Sauce – for the endless sashimi
- Coffee – if you are fussy the coffee there is poor to pathetic – take your java along. We drink decaf, so we take an extra plunger as not to hog the coffee pot.
- Benadryl for any bites and /or itch ease. (Stingrays / eels – only kidding! Mosquitos/jellyfish)
- Cloth shopping bags. Use these for the freezer. Put similar things together so that you cn pull out and not find all the stuff in the bottom of the freezer at the end of the week.
Provisioning in Tortola
Don’t over stock, there are places along the way to pick up supplies.
Whenever we have bought beef – it has been the biggest disappointment – don’t waste your time. Eat fish – last trip we could not eat all G caught, and cold meats are great for lunch. But forget the steak, unless you get very lucky – then invite us over!
Chicken – the only time I am interested is if I can buy an already roasted chicken – great for salads / sandwiches – to cook on the boat takes to long, hot.
Pasta Sauce – a couple times during the week it is great to just whip up an easy pasta dish – I might take a fabulous pesto or two along in the suitcase.
We always seem to eat the most at cocktail hour, one days sample menu just to get your juices flowing.
Breakfast – FRUIT, yogurt, sometimes eggs and toast, cereal.
Snacks – chips and cookies
Lunch – Salad Nicoise
Sundowners – cheese and crackers, salmon, dips etc. (fresh bread is not easy to find – crackers rule)
Dinner – Artichoke pasta and Caprese salad. Chocolate!! Port!!
ICE is the big score every day – we go in search of it…..
Other than alcohol, nice to have iced tea and fruit juice along with lots of water.
Grant is the world’s expert on making tasty rum drinks. Rum, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, mango, passion. – ouch!
We always land up drinking wine with dinner – so stock up.
Fishing gear – we need one more Reel – anyone got a fishing reel – pls let us know.
Can’t wait – see you all in a couple of weeks. And – you all should really take NauticEd’s bareboat charter course and catamaran sailing course. It’ll make the trip much more fun for everyone.
Hotel reservations to follow..
Chartering a sailing boat on a sailing vacation? Take the NauticEd Bareboat Charter Clinic
Bareboat Charter sailing Course
Chartering a catamaran on a sailing vacation? Take the NauticEd Catamaran Sailing Confidence course.
Learn to sail, handle and maneuver a catamaran with confidence