Cruising

Small Cat, Big Ocean

by Igor Belay, Posted January 30, 2014
Picolé comes from Europe to Cape Town in a container, and my sailing partner, Beto Pandiani, and I arrive by plane. Back in 2008, Beto and I sailed an open sport catamaran from Spain to Australia in search of adventure and in the hopes of promoting clean energy.
From a family of five cruising the South Pacific, to a pair of exercise fanatics filming work-out videos on their Caribbean-based cat, to a solo sailor exploring the Exumas on his trimaran, these liveaboard cruisers decided that two (or three) hulls were better than one when it came to creating a life at sea. 
Here’s a game I invented at the 2013 Corsair Nationals. Ask the owner of any of Corsair’s folding trailerable trimarans for an opinion of the boat—and take a step back. You’ll need some extra space to absorb the superlatives. These people don’t just like their boats: they bear the passions of the misunderstood.  
If you want to know what’s happening in cruising catamaran design, just take a stroll down the docks of a charter company. Especially in those warm, shallow-water areas that appeal to big groups—and where catamarans abound—you’ll be sure to find a fleet that’s constantly evolving as it adapts to trends in customer preferences, whether it be boats that are bigger, faster, prettier, cooler or all of the above. Here are some of the current trends driving the market.  
For five years, Marlene and I have left Kansas City each May to board Different Drummer, our 39-foot Prout Escale catamaran, at the River Dunes, North Carolina, and set out for six months of sailing. It’s not always blueberries and chocolate ice cream, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
I distinctly remember the first time I ever sailed a cruising multihull. It was a gray summer morning on England’s south coast, and a frigid 25-knot easterly was putting the boot into a fast-running east-going tide, kicking up walls of water that clashed and fell in all directions.
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