google-site-verification: google0479f2bb362977c3.html




You need decent sized hatches facing forward in the saloon.

In the tropics, which frankly is why we go cruising, it gets pretty warm. When you return to the boat after a day swaning around the land you need to be able to open up rather generous hatches in the saloon to allow the hot air to be sucked out the main door


Many catamarans have a solid roof continuation from the top of the saloon as a bimini. This stops any ventilation in the cockpit as there is no space or gap between the saloon roof and the bimini. The gap also allows us to look forward right over the top of the saloon from the cockpit to see if there any ships in front of us. 

A few years ago we were in Bonaire where there is not a lot of wind. We were offered time on a friends boat, in the aft area to access wifi. They had a cat with the saloon roof continuing straight over the top of the cockpit where we were doing our wifi. We absolutely roasted. No ventilation.



The “flying bridge” is great for charter boats as it makes docking a lot easier.

Watches on long trips requires good visibility to enable a 360 degree viewing watch every 10 – 15 minutes.

Consider how this is done and where it is done.  At sea in a big blow, think about 30 or 40 knots plus, and think about going outside and up those steps to the “flying bridge” in the wind. 

Many catamarans have a bimini that is a continuation of the saloon roof, meaning that it is not possible to do the 360 view from the cockpit.

The Bahia allows this (as many others do as well). Just stand up and look over the top of the saloon roof. 

Even better, if it blowing like snot and raining, it is possible to do the watch from the inside. There are large windows allowing good visibility forward and to both sides. Then pop out the back to have a look astern. 



Crossing the pond a few years ago, we were about 5 days out of Barbados. The wind instruments were munted (not working) and every hour or two a big squall would sneak up from behind. You could see the bugger approaching. Dark sky. Dark wind and rain line on the sea surface.

We figured about 20 – 25 knots of breeze, gusting 30 – 35. Wind on the stern quarter. Three reefs in the mainsail and a good chunk of genoa out as well.

Wind was on the port side. When a squall would approach, I would press the electric button to furl in the genoa. Tricky job pressing a button to furl the genoa. Lots of slack in the genoa sheet as the wind was behind us so the genoa furls in nice and easy.

Just before the squall hits us, I would furl in a big chunk of genoa. When the rain squall would hit us, I just popped inside and closed the sliding door to keep dry. In 15 minutes the squall was gone.

Back outside, unfurl the genoa and off to the races. An absolute doddle, and dry as a bone. Even better though, no bouncy bouncy stuff that you get with a monohull.

I was checking the chart plotter and noticed a boat on the AIS sneaking past us. I gave them a call on Ch16. It turned out to be a big Hallberg Rassey. I asked the Captain how everything was going. Dodgy he said. Right dodgy. Everyone was bruised and wet as they were being thrown around a lot in the big swells. I didn’t mention that we were all okay and dry. Not cricket I thought. 

I then told him that our wind instruments were out, may I please have the wind? Turned out to be 35 knots and gusting 45 plus when the squalls passed through.



Two items to consider.

1.         Flying bridge will generally result in a bulkier boat.

            Positive side: The space inside is huge.

            More in the lines of an apartment.

            Negative side: Far more windage when at anchor or sailing.

            Ask yourself: Will you be happy doing your watch upstairs in a big blow      

            and snotty seas?

2.         Height of boom. In larger winds it is better to have the sail as low as 


            The higher the boom, the higher and greater the leverage of the wind on 

            the mast.


New catamarans have been designed for space. They are huge inside and not entirely dis-similar to a medium sized apartment. All later model catamarans and some of the earlier catamarans have a reduced thickness of fibreglass. Laregely due to increased cost of the product, but also because of newer and more efficient production methods and systems. I am told that the newer ones, being thinner, are considerably noisier than the earlier productions. The thicker fibreglass deadens the sound of large waves “body slamming (for those that watch ice hockey)” the hull.


Different manufacturers, different designs.

Note the difference in bulk as well as the height of the mainsail boom.

Figure out windage based on bulk.

Note the different distance between the water and underside of the saloon (called the bridge deck). The lower to the water, the more slamming of seas on the bridge deck.

In a big wind and underway, each bow produces a bow wave. Obvious because there are two hulls so two bow waves. These bow waves meet under the bridge deck and literally “jump up” and slam the underside with a pretty big bang. The closer the bridgedeck to the sea, there bigger the effect.


Papette marina showing four different designs

Far left lagoon 52', far right Outremer 45’. Both French design.


Tactical Directions on the left is an Aussie design by Crowther. Very fast. The owners okay too. Cheers Tony. Crowther also designed the hulls for the Catana catamaran.


s/v Ta-b. Fountaine Pajot Bahia 46. French design.


Invictus. Lagoon 52’. French design.


Big Privilege. Guessing about 70'



Lagoon 52’. French design.



Rose of Jericho. Stunningly gorgeous.

Low windage, plenty of bridge clearance so she won’t slam too much in a big sea.


Tika, an Outremer 55’. Goes like stink. French design.


Tika’s snoz. As it were. Resting in Tahiti.


Gunboat. 55’ I think. Very light. Very fast. I am told they are no longer in production. They put foils on one and were racing it in the Caribbean (cannot remember where, possibly Antigua). Was doing extremely well until it fell over. I was told that it put the company out of business.

Without the foils, they still make very fast passages and if money was no object it would be a very good option.

I don’t have a photo of one, but the new Outremer 55 foot or so is just gorgeous. A beautiful catamaran. French design. Very light. Very fast.

 © Russell Poulston 2017