Recently received this report from Ocean Navigator contributor Ron Schaper about his first substantial experience sailing multihulls in the Pacific.
"Just had two wonderful weeks sailing our SunSail 44 around the Society Islands. This was our first extended and offshore experience with a cat…and as a longtime monohull sailor…I loved it! The winds have been strong, in the mid to upper 20-knot range. The ESE breeze combined with a SW swell of 12 to 15 feet made for some great trial conditions for someone like myself testing the waters for a possible catamaran in my future. We actually had a group of 14 friends who chartered two of these cats and we sailed together, great for taking photos of each other in active sea conditions and to compare different methods of sailing them.
"For example, sailing the 20 some odd miles from Bora Bora to Taha'a, directly to windward, we tucking a reef in the main and sailed about 55 to 60 degrees off the wind, then tacked. We tried to get more weatherly by rolling up the jib and motorsailing. We finally dropped the main and motored into it. Our friends on an identical boat, leaving a the same time, did not spread a bit of sail but put both throttles down to 2,400 rpm, set the autpilot on rhumb line and slammed into it. They beat us to the mooring by 2 1/2 hours! Mike, running that boat, lives aboard his Lagoon 42. He knew that these cruising cats only go to weather under both engines."