In the second part of the Catamaran Sailing Technique series, we'll take a look at how best to use the engines of a sailing catamaran when they are needed, and also point out some of the hidden points of their use. By Nigel Ayrens
Sailing technique on a catamaran under engine control
So, we decided to be newcomers on the sailing catamaran, which was specially offered to us for this mission. And we spent a good half hour on the high seas, practicing driving the khat under the engine.
We chose a buoy outside the channel as a guideline as we needed immediate feedback on whether how our actions affect management. We did a really useful exercise, and I would encourage everyone to start with it.
The most important point is to study how how to use a dual motor configuration for maximum benefit... After all, it will not be a big revelation to find out that if you go forward under one motor, and back under the second, then the boat will simply spin.
It will take some practiceto develop the degree of spatial awareness needed to understand if the boat is moving in a specific direction as intended. In our case, with sufficiently stable 15-17 wind knots, we learned the following - what will be valuable when planning and carrying out such maneuvers in a real situation.
Practicing your catamaran handling skills in training conditions will serve you well in "real life"
The boat behaves well with the wind abeam, being in a stable balance. Side drift does not greatly affect speedalthough sufficient to churn the windward wake. We maintain position by throtting, usually forward with one engine, and backward with another.
This knowledge can be useful when mooring in a tight spot in a down breeze... The twin thrusters allow you to stay parallel to the pontoon as well as stay close to the seat, so even a breeze will do the rest, forcing you to gracefully glide through the available “window” (sometimes even to applause from the shore).
If the wind is squeezing, then a different strategy will be needed. A useful trick would be first approach the dock astern - approximately at an angle of 45 degrees. This will allow the helmsman to see what is happening much better than if the boat was heading in.
If there is any wind it is probably best to approach the dock from the leeward side, as the bow is very prone to drift. And entering the stern allows you to better control the situation.
The undoubted strength of the kats (one of the!) Is the presence of two engines
Unlike the previous situation, it turned out to be surprisingly it is not easy to keep the boat in the leventik not having enough move. There was no point in turning the steering wheel back and forth, since even the flow of water coming from the propellers was not enough to create any significant force from the rudder feathers.
As soon as the nose fell off even a little to the side, we quickly discovered that we had already gone 10 or more degrees from the leventic - before we had time to turn one engine to get back.
Being able to feel this moment in open water will be of great benefit when you find yourself in a similar situation in a crowded marina. Or, even more importantly, when you need to drop anchor or accept a mooring line.
Nigel Ayrens and His Catamaran Training Maneuvers
Circulation and stern travel
This is a good way to get a feel for what the rudder feathers are capable of at different speeds - useful knowledge for real maneuvers.
Again, in any situation, where you need to make complex circulation, you have the advantage of using two motors. This will avoid the temptation to use the old-fashioned "rudder-to-board-full-throttle" approach, which may work impressively, but it may not. The cost of a mistake (in the literal sense of the word) is so high that it’s better not to even try.
Will the boat respond to steering when stern? Give yourself the opportunity to find out. If it doesn't work out well, just keep the steering wheel straight and use the motors to steer. On our kate, the position of the rudders didn't seem to play a significant role, especially at low speeds, so we kept them straight by default.
The knowledge and skills acquired in open water will allow you to better manage the behavior of your kata in the marina
Here, most owners and skippers settle for a comfortable cruising speed that offers the best compromise between movement, noise, vibration and fuel economy.
It is common practice to install a propeller of such a diameter and pitch so that the engine (or, in our case, motors) can reach its maximum speed (rpm) under normal conditions. This is important for the "health" and durability of the motors, since manufacturers are not happy with overloaded engines - up to and including the waiver of warranty claims.
Running under one engine can, of course, reduce fuel consumption for a given cruising speed. The danger, however, is that since under one engine the cat goes slower, the motor does not reach the optimal rpm, which are achieved when using two engines - and may suffer as a result.
The safest way to fly a catamaran under one engine - slowly move the control lever forward until the engine stops responding to this movement by increasing the speed. From this point on, the lever must be pushed back again - until the load is noticeably reduced.
Like most people, I am usually amazed at how well it works. motor sailingwhen the fun is over and you just need to get home upwind at the end of a long day - even on a boat that doesn't like to go upwind. Moreover, it works equally well both on a cutter and on a monohull.
Manufacturers are not happy with engine overloads and are even able to refuse warranty service
What should and shouldn't be done
- Get the practice of maneuvering where you cannot harm your boat or anyone else.
- Find out the correct strategy for effective "motosailing" (one engine or two) before taking the catamaran.
- During maneuvering, constantly look around; be aware of the actual movement of the boat.
- Remember to use the thrusters to maneuver in difficult situations, and keep the rudders straight.
- Resist the temptation to overuse maneuvers.
- And on the other hand, don't be too timid with your controls, letting the wind or current overly influence your kat.
The Interparus team is one of the few who provide training on sailing catamarans at their yacht school. Our experienced instructors have many years of experience in driving, sailing, and teaching sailing techniques on catamarans. Call now and sign up for a catamaran driving course from Interparus Yachting.
+33 644 14 21 68, Sasha Goron
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