Are Catamarans Sable in Rough Seas?
Sailing a catamaran in rough seas is not an easy task. Actually, sailing any boat in big waves is not easy. It requires a lot of knowledge, determination of the crew and stability of the boat. So, are catamarans safe for ocean crossing when you have to sail in heavy seas?
What Is It That You Need to Know?
There are a few things you need to know when it comes to power catamaran in rough seas:
1. Drogue slows down, Sea Anchor Moors You With Minimal Drift
When sailing catamaran in heavy seas, you need yo know what you need to use depending on the sea room. If drogue will slow your boat down, the sea anchor will moor you to the middle of the sea with minimal drift. However, at the end of the day, what you are looking for is control. Using whichever means of slowing the boat to be in sync with the seas will create much less stress on boat fittings in comparison with sea anchors, because that way, you would be running with the wind and the seas.
2. When Running, A Cat Should Be Taken Downwind
It is more beneficial to run downwind at a slight angle when cruising a catamaran in heavy seas because this will increase the effective length of the cat by presenting its diagonal distance. This distance is longer than the overall height of the boat, to following seas. Moreover, this diagonal distance is the most important aspect of multihull stability. By running at a slight angle, the bows will bury less, and the risk of pitchpoling is minimized.
3. Run Before Seas and Wind With Minimal Sail
This is the preferred tactic to many sailors when it comes to calming down catamaran in big waves. You may not have the need to touch the helm, because the autopilot will do its job without any mistake. You should keep your cat’s twin non-yawing, always-vertical rudder and keels will keep the boat on track, making it much easier for the autopilot to cope with the seas.
Catamaran VS Monohull in Rough Seas
1. Deploying Sea Anchor
In order to keep chafe to a minimum, the most important aspect in deploying a sea anchor is the ability to control the angle, otherwise, the vessel will have the wind and prevailing seas without putting too much strain on fittings. The wide beam of a catamaran when in rough seas will give the boat an advantage over monohull, since the bigger bridle angle will reduce strain and improve attitude leverage, which facilitates boat rotation in respect to the sea anchor. However, an important note is that sea anchors should be used as a very last resort on a catamaran.
When it comes to seaworthiness, it is just a combination of seamanship, construction, and boat design. If monohulls often can fend for herself in a storm, a multihull requires more attention. Higher speeds and loads will demand a vigilant crew who need to dial in the cat in order to find the safest and most comfortable setup. Luckily, fast cats have an edge in speed over monohulls with equal length and can avoid bad conditions by smart weather monitoring and routing.
These boats are stiffer than keelboats thanks to their extensive righting moment, which is many times that of a monohull. A well-designed cruising catamaran is unsinkable, sheltering the crew in a catastrophic event, whereas the monohull would disappear from sight, forcing the crew into a miniature rubber raft.