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The 6 Best Ways to Learn to Sail a Catamaran (Complete Guide)

main characteristics of a catamaran hull

It’s one thing to kick back, relax and enjoy a catamaran ride with friends, family, or colleagues. However, the feeling you get being at the controls is a whole other level. It can prove intimidating if you’re used to a monohull, but no sweat, you’ve got this!

Many sailors are out there, but what did they do to become one? Does it cost a lot of money? Can people teach themselves? How long does it take to learn how to sail a cat?

There are many ways to learn how to sail a catamaran, from online school to apprenticeship. Books are available, and so are sailing schools. Hands-on is always the best way to learn because everything happens in real-time. If you have a friend, it would be nice to shadow that person. 

These steps are guaranteed to have your brain ticking and you sailing efficiently in very little time.

1. Go on a Week-long or Weekend Cruise  


You may be baffled as to why I began with this. If all you’ve done is day trips, you have no idea what it’s like to spend days at sea, sleeping, eating, and showering in the open air.

If you’ve already done that and want to go right into catamaran sailing, there’s a whole number of short-term courses available. Individuals who don’t have lots of open water will benefit greatly from these intense training programs since they will be able to fully involve themselves in the situation and learn the skills needed.

2. Watch Videos and Read Books

When you first begin, you would rather not be a total novice. If you’ve never sailed before, it’s a good idea to brush up on your knowledge of boat parts, terminology, and more. Beginner books provide you with thorough and instructive samples and images, and an entry-level instructional text, to assist novices in getting their feet wet.

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If you’ve already mastered the basics of sailing, look for a more advanced book. Reading is an excellent method to remain up to date with sailing trends and developments.

When discussing catamarans, it’s vital to know the lingo and the most commonly used terms. The ability to communicate and learn from others is greatly enhanced when one is conversant in the appropriate jargon. Basic knowledge of nautical terms is also required.

3. Sail With a Friend or Group


If you learn best by observing others, there are a variety of strategies you can employ to benefit from what they’ve learned. A friend who is a sailor can help you out. 

Aside from the obvious benefits of getting out on the water and immersing yourself in the adventure, sailing is an excellent way to meet new people who share your interests. To increase your chances of learning, don’t be scared to make new acquaintances who share your interests. 

4. Cruising Catamaran Courses


Choosing the right institution is essential when you’re spending a lot of money on a course. ASA and the US Sailing Association are the most well-known entities that provide upper-edge training with certified trainers.

Enroll in a class if you’re not sure where to begin. Many cruise schools provide courses for all levels of sailors, from the absolute novice to the seasoned sailor.

To ensure that you learn efficiently, these institutions plan course content including land and on-water training programs. To put theory into practice, you’ll board the ship.

If you don’t have contact with a seasoned sailor, you can count on these courses for guidance. Because an experienced and trained teacher is keeping a close eye on your progress, you’ll feel more comfortable being out on the water and having fun.

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If you’re looking for courses online, you can check out their syllabuses and pick the ones that work best with your schedule.

5. Join a Crew

Numerous cat owners will always be on the lookout for new additions to their family of feline companions. You can search for jobs both online and offline. Great resources include websites like FindaCrew and Crewseekers. Talk to people at marina bars and see if you could perhaps join a crew there.

6. Sailing Simulation


Were you under the impression that simulation training was exclusive to the worlds of aviation and automobiles? In such a case, you’d be mistaken. Alf has it as well. Playing games is a good way to acquire a sense of what it’s like to go cat sailing. These activities build an understanding of cat sailing.

These games are playable on a variety of different platforms.

Free catamaran handling games from Nautic Ed, for instance, take place in a Caribbean harbor.

You’ll master the cat’s two engines and maneuver your ship without colliding with any obstacles by playing this game. Even though the exercise is a little difficult at first, you’ll pick it up quickly.

Things You Need to Know When Learning to Sail a Catamaran


Catamaran sailing can be learned in any way that works best for you. While some people prefer to learn by reading, others prefer to watch videos. The most important thing is to get on the water and gain some experience, regardless of your personal preferences.

As a result, it makes no difference whatever route you take. Choose a way of learning that works best for you and don’t be scared to fail.

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Become Familiar With The Fundamentals

Even if you’ve never sailed in a catamaran before, you’ll need to know the basics. A catamaran, as well as a monohull, are very different in terms of how they can be sailed. My article titled Monohull VS Catamarans: Which Is Better For You? will help you better understand the differences.

Since it has two hulls, the catamaran differs from other types of sailing boats. Because of this, sailing is an entirely different experience.

The movement of a multi-hull boat is more predictable and steady. As a result, prior experience sailing a monohull isn’t required while learning to cruise on a Cat, but it certainly helps. As a result, you might also be able to pick things up more quickly.

To succeed, you must master the following essential skills:

Instructions for Catamaran Rigging

Rigging a boat is getting it ready to sail. Before you put your catamaran on the market, there are a few typical measures you should follow in sequence.

Make a list of things you need to do before the event. You must know how to connect the sails and adjust the boat for varying conditions to get the most out of it. It is possible to ensure that you have taken into account all the relevant safety and security advice in this manner.

Another important skill is knot tying, which helps you safeguard your lines under a variety of weather circumstances. For any occasion, you need to know the ideal knots.

Catamaran Sailing Tips for Beginners

catamaran size

To become a professional sailor, you need to put in a lot of practice, and the best way to learn is by working with an experienced sailor.

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Here’s how to make the most of what you know:

Learn to Sail a Catamaran: How Long Does the Process Take?

It might take anywhere from 14 days to five years to master the art of cruising catamaran sailing. A 2-week program will prepare you for the fundamentals so that you may begin learning on your own, though in a safe way. You’ll be an accomplished sailor in around five years.

The time it takes depends on a variety of things, of course.

Sailing lessons often go for up to two weeks, depending on how much time is spent on the water. As a result, you may learn the fundamentals within just under a month if you put in the time and effort.

Regardless of how often you spend studying the concepts with the support of a teacher, you need to have the self-confidence to go out and do it on your own.

On the other hand, it also hinges on your sailing experience. If you’ve sailed a monohull before, picking up the controls of a multihull might be easier.

Choosing the Right Places to Sail

Choosing where to sail determines how much time you have to learn. When compared to locations with strong tidal currents, serene inland lakes and bays are so much simpler to understand. Starting in a quiet and private location is a good approach to learning the basics and building your confidence. You can then move on to more crowded areas after you feel you have honed your skills.

Think of your educational journey as a quest and an opportunity to discover new interests. It’s a great way to learn quickly and then hone your skills as you progress.

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Is a Cruising Catamaran Captain’s License Necessary?

Catamarans can be sailed by anyone with no prior sailing experience. As a result, it will be useful in a wide range of scenarios. For instance, the owner of the cat will be more willing to let you use the catamaran if you present him with proof that you are competent.

You can get a recognized certificate from sailing organizations like the ASA and US Sailing by taking their courses and tests.