The general impression that catamarans can’t sail close to the wind is one that comes from the early days of catamarans. Generally speaking all sailboats, monohulls or cats have a range of upwind performance depending on the model and type of boat. A fast well known racing monohull model in the forty foot + range is capable of going at 7.5 knots in 16 knots of true wind at a true wind angle of 35 degrees. This yields a VMG (Velocity Made Good) of over 6 Knots to windward. In other words this is the velocity the boat makes going in the direction from which the wind originates.
|Wind angle degrees||Wind speed knots||Boat speed knots||VMG knots|
Our light weight FastCat/ GreenCat 445 will only do 7 knots at 35 degrees true in those same conditions so it is obviously slower, or isn’t it? If you sail our catamaran at 45 degrees to the true wind the speed jumps to 11 knots and the FastCat 445/455’s VMG is over 7.5 knots, so the cat will get to windward quicker. At 50 degrees the speed is over 13 knots and the VMG is in excess of 8! So in fact the FastCat/ GreenCat 445 is a little less “close winded” but is faster to windward because of the difference in speed.
The advantage increases at higher wind velocities because the monohull has hit its hull speed limit while the cat can continue going faster in winds up to 25 knots. Truly all monohulls are not as close winded as our racing example and since the FastCat/GreenCat 445 has a huge load carrying capability one can make it slower with lots of supplies and guests.
People say that it is difficult to find docking space for a catamaran in most marinas.
Over the last eight years African Cat sailors have yet to come into a Northern-European harbor where they couldn’t find a berth for the evening. Many marinas have outer slips where the width of the catamaran is not an issue. Most Mediterranean style marinas with stern-to docking have more than ample space for your craft.
Mooring fees for catamarans are much more expensive
In many parts of the world, including the Caribbean, US east coast and parts of Europe the fee is charged for the mooring itself with no regard to what is on it with the possible exception of length. In fact a 44 foot cat has more room on it than many 50+ foot monohulls so that if you are sailing the equivalent boat in terms of space mooring fees might be cheaper. Some marinas do charge extra for a cat between 24 and 50%. You are still ahead here because of the additional space you have. If we take the example a 44 foot monohull which draws 8.5’ to obtain the performance it has, you will see that this limits you to only deep draft moorings, where our FastCat/ GreenCat 445 needs only 4 feet of water!
If you’re not heeling it doesn’t feel like sailing
It certainly feels like you’re sailing but the sensation is different. We must admit that we initially like it when a boat heels say 15 degrees. But after several hours of doing that it gets old and the thrill is gone but the discomfort remains. One can argue it doesn’t feel like sailing if you aren’t doing 15 knots, an easily achievable speed by the boats in the African Cat family.
Some other points:
√ Sailing on the level is much easier and less tiring.
√ Cooking, reading, playing and sleeping is all a lot easier at 5 degrees of heel as opposed to 25.
√ Things stay put on tables!
Sailing an AFRICAN FASTCAT/ GREENCAT is an addictive experience!