Cruising World: Sails & Trampolines on Catamarans

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Cruising World: Sails & Trampolines on Catamarans

New Sails for a Multihull

Experts offer advice for upgrading a catamaran’s sails.

By Jennifer Brett June 27, 2018

new sails

It was about midnight, and we were barreling along on a close reach through boisterous seas in a gusty 20-knot breeze. I was on watch aboard a Saba 50 catamaran, and while checking the sail trim, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the forces at play — particularly on the massive mainsail. It’s impressive.

With these forces, the sails aboard a modern cruising cat need to be up to snuff. If you’re in the market for new sails, what are the details that you should be looking for? I checked in with sailmakers who specialize in multihulls to find out what they would recommend for a midsize ­production cruising cat, such as a Leopard 44 or Lagoon 42.

Let’s start with the main. The mainsail is the driving sail aboard catamarans, and a backstayless rig, which you’ll find on most cats, allows for a large amount of roach. These massive sails have different requirements from their cousins aboard monohulls, which impacts what materials and techniques will be used to build the sail.

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Inspecting The Trampoline

Before you head out on the water, take a close look at this crucial area of any catamaran to keep it safe and functional.

By Etienne Giroire June 26, 2017

catamaran

The trampoline on a cruising catamaran takes plenty of abuse from sun, salt and crewmembers’ feet, and over time this wears down the materials used for the trampoline and its attachment points. A regular inspection of the netting and its lashings should reveal any areas that need attention or replacement.

If you own an older catamaran or put on lots of miles, especially in the tropics, where UV rays are at their peak, here are the trouble spots to look for. Most trampolines are manufactured with webbing or netting, and the constant UV exposure they are subjected to can cause the materials to age comparatively quickly. It’s often difficult to evaluate the strength and overall condition of a trampoline by age alone. Most will last five to seven years, but fewer if the material is washed often with bleach or strong detergents.

When inspecting the trampoline, walk around on it. Is it bouncy and stiff underfoot? Look at its general condition. Is it shiny or dull? Is there dirt and mold in the fibers?

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Michael James
Michael James
Michael James has been with Murray Yacht Sales since 1995 and is in the the New Orleans office.

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