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  Topic Review (Newest First)
07-09-2012 12:01 PM
Re: Learning on a cat?

I know I'm a little late to this thread, but I learned to sail on a Hobie 16. I found it made me just a good a sailor as the guys who learned to sail in monos. Now that I have small children I switched to a larger mono hull. When they are old enough I will be getting them a Hobie to sail on.

It is true, they sail slightly different than mono dinghies. However, I found them to be great teachers. The high speed causes you to think further ahead of your boat. The lack of inertia and difficulty in tacking a cat teaches you energy management so you can make the tack on the first try. Spinnakers are flown from cats all of the time. Hobie 16's have "bolt" on kit for asymmetrical spins. Since most cats are way overpowered you learn quickly how to handle wind gusts to keep from capsizing.

I will say the Hobie community is one of the most open and inviting groups of people I have had the pleasure to interact with. Sailors in general are great with helping newbies, but the Hobie guys take it to the next level. I have seen on several occasions top of the fleet finishers helping a newbie rig his boat for a race they were competing in. I have not seen that with mono dinghies. I'm not saying it doesn't happen there, but I have not witnessed it.

Of course there is the fun factor. I love sailing my mono hull, but there is nothing like sailing a beach cat. How many dinghies have you seen sail up, onto a beach while flying a hull? There is nothing like launching the boat completely out of the water off a wave or a wake. Yes, including the rudders.

So, if you cannot tell, I would reccommend a cat. It worked for me. I took the lessons learned from the beach cat and was able to apply them to boats of all sizes upto 70' wooden schooners. I don't think I was at a disadvantage compared to those who started on dinghies.

Please PM me if you have any questions or would like recommendations for good beach cat books.
07-08-2012 05:27 PM
Re: Learning on a cat?

Okay folks, I've decided to learn on a dingy. Now then - next step. I need to find a cheap, used dingy. Anyone have one setting around collecting dust they'd like to get rid of? I don't have much, but it is cash.

Thank you again for all of your input.

07-06-2012 12:00 PM
Re: Learning on a cat?

In my early teens I learned in an Optomist Pram, and then had a 16' monohull sloop, and about then Hobies were coming out, and I got one as soon as I could.

If you have the option of going that route, the learning would be smoother, I think.

Hobies are "weird" as far as sailing goes-don't get me wrong-I love them!

But since they are SO fast, they don't follow the usual sailing rules as monohulls do-for example, when going fast downwind, you don't let the sails out, ("ease the sheets"), you basically keep the sails "sheeted in" fairly tight, and the boat's going so fast it's making it's own wind, (as a ski boat would), so even going with the wind the boat feels as if it's not.

And tacking a monohull is a challenge-it's done all the time, but it's harder on a catamaran.

TMI, probably, sorry.

But if you're looking to buy one boat to learn on, and then have fun sailing it for a while, I'd go with the Hobie and read a lot about sailing them. There used to be a set of two manuals that was mostly about racing, but really taught me a lot.
07-06-2012 10:43 AM
Re: Learning on a cat?

if you have no sailing experiance then start with the optimist. learning the points of sail with one sail is best. I have seen some learn in cats but it did not make a good sailer of them. all they could do is reach back and forth. never learned to sail upwind. learning in a cat you will develope many bad habits. tou will learn slowly in a cat as there is way to much to it for a beginner. when you can sail the opti to any place in the bay/lake without any help then move up to the 420 or beach cat with a crew and learn the jib
07-06-2012 10:09 AM
Re: Learning on a cat?

Originally Posted by oneshotonekill View Post
.... I've been told by everyone that learning on a small boat is the best way to go, but everyone has been implying a monohull dinghy.....
I think you're reading too much into it. I'm in my 60s. I learned to sail 40 years ago. There were no two hulled boats in my part of the world at that time. Thinking back, even if there was a two hulled boat available, I probably would have still picked a mono. Back in those days the benefits of sailing a Catamaran just wasn't common knowledge. At least not to us common folk
07-06-2012 10:06 AM
Re: Learning on a cat?

First & foremost, it's been my experience that one learns the foundations of sailing in small boat better & faster than a large one, but I'm not an expert. That said, no expert or experienced sailor I've talked to has disagreed with me yet

Secondly, 16ft is the dinghy size I've learnt (and still am learning) on. Cats in that size are fun, but there are some things you don't learn on them. Flying a spinnaker being a good example. Different physical skills in sailing a cat that size and a mono too. I get a sore back & legs pushing myself physically in the cat, but sore stomach muscles in the mono.
07-06-2012 09:49 AM
Re: Learning on a cat?

Originally Posted by pdqaltair View Post
I think EVERYONE should lean on a small boat, cat or mono.

Sail Delmarva: The Merits of Learning to Sail on a Small Boat

It's fun and you learn the feel of the wind and waves without the boat insulating you. You will learn the bigger boat stuff later.

The fun is sufficient reason!
I was thinking of learning on a boat, mono or cat, not to exceed 17 feet. I've been told by everyone that learning on a small boat is the best way to go, but everyone has been implying a monohull dinghy. I suspect that using a small cat has not even crossed their minds. Perhaps the folk I have read and spoken to have been biased more towards monos - I just don't know.

I have a Mutineers, Optimists and 420's available to me for free through the club. I can also get my hands on a Hobbie 16 or a Beach Cat 17 anytime for the asking as well. Of course, the number one thing to do is GET OUT ON THE WATER! Just looking for the BEST way maximize my time.

07-06-2012 09:16 AM
Re: Learning on a cat?

I learned to sail on a sailing dinghy. I didn't get my first sail on 2 hulls ( a hobie cat ) until I was in my 30's and didn't buy a catamaran until my 50s.

Learn on a small sail boat and work your way up.
07-06-2012 09:10 AM
Re: Learning on a cat?

I agree. Learning to sail on a big boat is like swimming in a wetsuit. You're in the water, but you don't have the feel and don't appreciate the subtle changes in wind and waves. Welcome aboard!
07-06-2012 08:36 AM
Jonathan Dunlop
Re: Learning on a cat?

I like it.
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