How To Sail a Catamaran Today – The Step-By-Step Guide

Beautiful Catamaran Docked on the Water

Learning how to sail a Catamaran is an amazing experience that everyone can enjoy. And if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, or simply an afternoon cruise, sailing a Catamaran is the sport for you!

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the basics of learning how to sail a Catamaran and help make sure your trip goes smoothly. Be safe and be prepared – everything goes better when you have a plan. Then, sail away and enjoy the wind in your hair!


Sailing a Catamaran can be a great way to spend a sunny day. However, it’s important to be aware of the dangers that can befall you. Make sure you are familiar with the shorelines before sailing, and always wear a life jacket when sailing. Even though a Catamaran is a fairly large sailboat, accidents can still happen.

Sail during daylight hours only – at night, conditions can be much more treacherous. Always have a lifejacket, radio, flashlight, and an appropriate sailing tool. Finally, never sail without proper navigational knowledge and equipment. If you follow these simple safety tips, you’ll have a sailing experience that is both safe and fun!

Points of sail

As you may know, it is impossible to sail any sailboat directly into the wind. This is simply because if the sails point towards the wind, they will not catch any wind to propel the sailboat. However, if you point away from the wind by about 45 degrees, the sailboat is suddenly able to move.

This idea is known as “point of sail” or the sailing clock. Essentially, the further a sailboat points away relative to the wind, the further its sails need to be let out. The opposite is also true. The further a sailboat points into the wind, the further its sails must be pulled in. The exception to this rule when you point within 45 degrees either direction of the wind, this is referred to as “irons” or the “no-go-zone”

It is important to always be mindful of where you are sailing relative to the wind so that your sail can always be trimmed correctly.

Steering, Tacking, and Jibing


Although it may seem like the most complicated aspect of sailing a Catamaran, it is actually the simplest once you have the hang of it.

Sailboats that have a rudder and tiller mechanism located in the back of the boat also steer in a backwards manner; meaning that if you point the tiller to the left, the boat goes right, and if the tiller goes to the right the boat goes left. This is simply because the steering mechanism is located in the back of the boat.

To elaborate, a car drives from the front because the front tires are the ones that rotate. So, if you turn the wheel to the left the car goes left and vice versa.


A common maneuver on a sailboat occurs when the boat crosses through irons or the no go zone and the sail switches sides of the boat. To complete this maneuver, first build a considerable speed as crossing through the no go zone causes one to lose speed. Then point the tiller towards the sail and cross through the no go zone (tiller towards sail is always a tack). Once the sails stop flapping and they have filled with air, you have completed your tack. 


The tack also has an evil twin called the jibe. In a Jibe the boat crosses through the zone directly away from the wind and the sail will also flip sides. To complete a jibe, sail from broad reach to broad reach and watch your head for the boom to cross! Jibes are quite dangerous because the boat never slows down, and the sails hold their pressure. 


Once again, learning how to sail a Catamaran takes lots of time, and do not feel bad if you cannot figure it out on your first day. For many sailors, it takes years to fully understand the aspect of sailing. Additionally, it is always crucial to wear you lifejacket and carry a radio. A Catamaran is a very small boat so safety is of utmost importance With that being said, you are well on your way to becoming a professional Catamaran sailor! Leave any questions you may have in the comments.

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