Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: SW Devil's Triangle
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catamaran gust question
I was reading another thread on ASA certification, and it jogged a question I had that I still am not sure I understand. This cropped up in my own ASA marathon back in december in the BVI.
We were sailing a 42 ft. R&C catamaran in the Christmas Winds and decided to sail outside Jost van Dyke and to circumnavigate the island. I venture to say we were the only two student sailors out there that day, with sustained winds in the high 20's and gusts to over 32 a few times. We were sailing on the second reef, just us two noobies and our instructor ( we chartered the whole boat). I was at the helm, getting a real first hand feel for how a catamaran that size feels in solid 28 kts of wind and a following 8-10 ft. sea on the stbd. quarter. As we were heading out into it around the east end of Little JVD, my tendency was to head up into the gusts, as most of my sailing has been in monohulls in the past, and that's always what I did. Especially in my small 16 ft. AMF daysailor. BUT our ASA man told me that in a catamaran, you bear off in the gusts. As we came around headed more to the west and practiced white-knuckle jibes for the next few minutes...I meant to get a better explanation for why not head up into a gust on a multihull.....but my limited attention span was quickly overwhelmed and I forgot about it. And I just remembered, today, that I am not sure I understand this 100%. Since we are bound and determined to buy a catamaran of our own before the year is out, I thought I better ask.
Can someone explain why we steer downwind in a gust in a multihull, instead of heading up into the gust? I imagine it has something to do with the rigging, transferring load into hull speed instead of spilling it or heeling? I dunno. But I figure someone here will.
Two Americans move to the TCI.
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