SOCIAL SAILING WITH A CATAMARAN

A personal perspective on the crowd-pleasing comforts of catamaran cruising. 

By Kathy Mak

Some may say that the sailing experience of monohulls versus catamarans is as different as chalk & cheese.   Until recently, Frank (my husband) and I never gave much thought to catamarans.  We rarely saw them over the years of monohull sailing on the West Coast.  However, they’re very popular in warmer water destinations, especially the Caribbean.  When we were presented with the option to sail on a catamaran for an autumn Desolation Sound Flotilla (organized by Cooper Boating, Vancouver), it intrigued us – What is catamaran sailing all about?  We wanted to find out for ourselves.  Our curiosity peaked further when we learned the catamaran or ‘cat’ was a luxurious 40’ Lagoon 400! 

In the warmth of fall’s last sun, we set sail on the cat named Amritha with her owner/skipper Bruce and his wife, plus another couple.  At first, we were instantly impressed with the enormity of her space, cozy layout and deluxe features.  She embodies the best of cruising comfort. For seven days, we were treated to another world of sailing.  Bruce had warned us - “once you’ve sailed a cat, you can’t go back”.  After this trip, we got it - hook, line and sinker!

Maybe it was the lounge-luring cockpit, or the sprawling bow trampolines for sunning/snoozing, or our double cabin with large profile windows, full standing height, and an en-suite head/shower.  But most likely it was the spacious sun-soaked salon integrated galley on the bridge deck, with 360 panoramic views, that beckoned us to be enamoured with cats.  As we experienced first-hand, there are many more advantages.  The obvious benefits are the gains in liveable space and number of creature comforts.  A 40 foot cat has the roominess of a 70 foot monohull, as pointed out by Skipper Bruce.  With ample space to socialize, spread out or slip away for privacy – we rarely felt crowded. It was easy to understand why cats are great sailboats for groups of friends or a family, and particularly to share sailing with people who are reluctant to go on a monohull because of motion or tight quarters.

When it comes to entertaining on a sailboat, a cat makes it easy. The aft cockpit, like an expansive covered patio, can comfortably seat eight to ten people and many more standing.  This open space flows into an airy salon/galley (with generous dinette seating), joining two areas together to form a convivial setting for our group and for company. Our ‘dream’ flotilla, aptly named and led by Anne and Laurence Yeadon-Jones (authors of the well-known Dreamspeaker Guides), consisted of twenty sailors on four monohulls and our cat.  It was hardly a surprise then that the cat was often a fun central gathering point for mingling over après-sailing sundowners and appetizers.

But, more impressive perhaps, a catamaran rules when it comes to cooking and dining.  With the cat’s well laid-out and equipped galley, meals aboard can be grand affairs. For us, enjoying great food and wine is an essential part of sailing; therefore, we felt right at home and were thrilled to have a regular kitchen-size galley, including a front-load fridge and separate freezer. From elaborate to simple meals, every evening was a quaint dinner party with our ensemble of six sailors.  Whether it was alfresco or indoor dining, our onboard meals were delightful events that lingered into the wee hours and culminated with us reclining on trampolines to gaze at the stars.  Naturally, it helped that we had plenty of great wines, scotches, rums, and liqueurs over the course of seven days! 

Above all, a big advantage of cooking or entertaining on a cat is that it allows the crew on chef duty to carry on socializing with the rest of the group because the galley/salon and cockpit are at the same level. Cooking on a sailboat has never been easier and our cooks didn’t have to miss a beat in the conversation or the gorgeous sunsets. Frank appreciated this the most since he never liked being stuck cooking in the cavity of a monohull.  With the BBQ only steps away from the galley, it was handy for him to make our favourite dish – Pan seared beef tenderloin with blue cheese butter sauce, married with grilled Caesar salad.  A galley up format was also a perk when sailing on chilly days, making hot food at lunch a cinch. Whether for breakfast or lunch, we stayed warm and dry socializing in the cheery salon bathed in bright daylight, all the while enjoying the views or staying on watch. And, thanks to the cat’s wide beam, it is more stable and heels less.  Therefore, we had the pleasure of many daytime sit down meals, even under sail.

At times, it felt much more like hanging out at a waterfront cottage with friends than being on a sailboat. A laid-back vibe often prevailed on the cat, and when we weren’t sailing or eating there were plenty of other leisure pursuits. I enjoyed tucking into the various sunny nooks of the boat for reading. Bruce’s wife, Marina, retreated to the shade of the covered hard top Bimini for napping, while Frank snoozed on the trampoline.  The other couple brought two single kayaks for exploring tranquil bays. The men attempted to fish and set crab traps; but, alas, no fresh catch for suppers.

The thrill of sailing, however, was not sacrificed with all the extra comforts and conveniences.   We were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to sail Amritha.  I found it convenient that all the lines lead to the helm station, which was raised to provide good views of all four corners of the boat. In bad weather, the helm could be enclosed.  Despite not sailing as close to the wind, Frank liked that the cat was faster than the other boats.  Not having to drag the dinghy (safely stowed on a dinghy davit at the transom) may have helped.  Accessing shallow areas and stern tying closer to shore were other added benefits that we found useful.  Even better, two engines made maneuvering and docking a breeze!

In the end, our first trip on a cat was exactly what we wanted.  From our perspective, it was the ideal union and balance of high comfort, abundant space, sociable meals, exceptional food & wine, relaxed pace, wonderful scenery, group camaraderie, and easy sailing.  Without even saying it aloud, we knew Skipper Bruce was right. Embracing the catamaran cruising style is not hard, but going back to a monohull will be.

Sidebar: Additional information about the Amritha catamaran and catamaran sailing can be found at www.catamaransailingcharters.ca

Photos

Photo 1:  Amritha in Melanie Cove in Desolation Sound.
Photo 2:  Flotilla Sailing in Desolation Sound.
Photo 3:  Relaxing in the aft cockpit.
Photo 4:  A big advantage of cooking or entertaining on a cat is that it allows the crew on chef duty to carry on socializing with the rest of the group.


     

Related Articles

Tuesday, 14 May 2013 13:30

Whether you see it as fairy dust in the water or stars in the head, ocean bioluminescence is a fascinating phenomenon. I had my most recent exposure to the remarkable phenomenon called...

Friday, 08 March 2013 16:09

This will be a familiar question for most boaters when they first buy a boat and need to keep it someplace; what does one look for in a yacht club or marina? Is it the convenience, the atmosphere,...

Thursday, 07 March 2013 12:43

Vancouver Island’s premiere in-water boat show, the 2013 Victoria Harbour Boat Show, returns to the pristine waters of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, April 18 – 21, 2013. Hosted by...

Friday, 08 November 2013 10:35

Western Canada’s premiere boat show, the Vancouver International Boat Show kicks off Jan 22nd with an impressive roster of events.  Download the Show Guide for free, find out how to Win the Grand...

Friday, 05 July 2013 12:27

Skippers and sponsors still have time to join the action at this year’s National Bank Easter Seals Charity Regatta on Saturday, July 13. With media sponsorship from Canadian Yachting West,...

Thursday, 07 March 2013 12:43

Vancouver Island’s premiere in-water boat show, the 2013 Victoria Harbour Boat Show, returns to the pristine waters of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, April 18 – 21, 2013. Hosted by...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride. The expression that came to ...
This is such an exciting time in boating! While we feel very sorry for people whose health and ...
For many, the 2020 sailing year will be one to go down into the books as “different”. With delayed ...
What perfect timing! Beneteau is has just announced their new Antares 11 model for North America ...
Commodore’s Boats is a full-service shipyard with over 50 years of generational history and ...
The Oceanis Yacht 54, younger sister of the Oceanis 62, embodies the innovation that has always ...
Beneteau announces the launch of the latest addition to the Antares range! With a length overall of ...
I had been looking forward to a sea trial aboard the Greenline 33 because I was hoping it would ...
New at the end of 2019, the 58 Salon Express design features large windows to flood the living ...
No wonder this is one of Regal’s best-selling boats; the Regal 33 Express offers amazing ...

CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

Read more about the CY Virtual Boat Tours....................

 

Hanse 418By Katherine Stone

Optimized sailing performance and comfortable living – a sweet ride

The expression that came to mind immediately was “Sweet Ride” – and I wasn’t referring to the latest ride at the CNE, a chairlift, or a new Mercedes – it was the new Hanse 418, as it cleanly cut through the water in a gusty 15-20 knot breeze averaging 6-8 knots on Lake Ontario. She was easy to steer and manoeuver even in the big gusts. The extra length over the 388 has made a big difference, with German architects Judel/Vrolijk focusing on updates to the deck layout, cockpit and stern.

Read More

ChemainusBy Marianne Scott

The approach to the Chemainus Municipal Dock from Stuart Channel is straightforward and is protected from all but strong northerly winds. The only obstacle may be some large log booms often anchored in the harbour. The Dock is immediately south of the B.C. ferry terminal; the ferry runs to Thetis- and Penelakut Islands.

Harbourmaster Harmen Bootsma, who has been the cheerful, welcoming presence here for a couple of decades, is ready to catch your lines. 

 

Read More

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Skipper John “Drew” Plominski is hoping that lightning doesn’t strike twice. Plominski, whose boat ...
The Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf ...
Kristin Cummings, Operations Manager at Beacon Bay Marina took this shot after the skies broke ...
Our Photo of the Week (two, in fact) comes from New Zealand where the second America’s Cup AC 75 ...
The Marine Debris Recovery Initiative (MDRI), a collaboration with the Clean Coast, Clean Waters ...
The International Joint Commission (IJC) is reviewing Plan 2014 and could use your help. The plan ...
The Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR), thanks to funding from Environment and Climate Change ...
This Photo of the Week came from our own CY Team member Sarah C who, like many of us, is trying to ...
Limestone, a heritage Canadian boat brand that has earned a loyal following over the past 35 ...
Schooner Cove Yacht Club through their staff Capt. and other volunteers organize cruises so members ...

Discovery Harbour MarinaThe Association provides a forum for exchanging information, tips and access an advocate on behalf of the membership. Their Directors work with members to find solutions to issues in British Columbia. Members receive quarterly newsletter, with contributions by other members all along the BC coast.

The Association and its members continually update the list of marinas that allow little board moorings. This is a list of known and reported marinas that allow marine residents in British Columbia. We need your help to build and keep this list up-to-date. Please contact us with any additions or edits.

Read More

DIY & How to

  • Prev
There’s nothing worse than wondering how much fuel you have on board. You’re left wondering how ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
“They don’t make ‘em like they used to”, is a phrase that many of us are familiar with. Most of the ...
I’m on many different types of boats, with many configurations. Some have a single ...
I often get asked if regular care and maintenance is necessary for inflatable PFDs. Here is a ...
Labour Day weekend tends to be the ‘last hurrah’ on many fronts: the last long weekend of the ...
One of the Great Lakes’ best known tall ships, sail training vessel TS Playfair, will soon be ...
My Dad is not a mechanical guy. He is educated and well-read, and handy around the house – but not ...
I was cleaning up my workbench the other day. My eyes then scanned across my workbench and fell on ...
July and August  in Canada are the months of boating. People are on the water – exploring, ...

WinterizationBy Andrew McDonald, Lakeside Marine Services

“They don’t make ‘em like they used to”, is a phrase that many of us are familiar with. Most of the time it is in reference to a bygone era of better, and it’s used to lament the sorry state of what we have today. It is a phrase that can be applied to many areas of our lives: architecture, art, furniture, tools. Boats? I would argue that they don’t make them like they used to. But, is that lamentable, or is it progress?

Progress, I think. With this concept in mind, as we enter another season of putting boats to bed for the winter, why do we winterize as we always have?

Read More

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Tundra 65 is Yeti's most versatile cooler, just as adept at keeping catches cold as it is ...
Fireball self Extinguisher. It's a revolutionary self-detonating device designed to extinguish a ...
The problem with driving any full-size Pickup Truck or Sport Utility Vehicle is that when you are ...
Wait no longer - the 2021 Rideau Canal & Lower Ottawa River PORTS Guide will be available for ...
Timed to help with those tough last-minute gift-giving ideas, we bring you the (almost) first-ever ...
With growing demand being placed on onboard electrical power supplies these days, it's an ideal ...
Timed to help with those tough last-minute gift-giving ideas, we bring you the (almost) first-ever ...
By Amptrup, Jon and Bob Shepton      
Ratcheted strap allows quick, easy attaching.