Learning To Sail Your Multihull - The shipyards are doing their bit!

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“What if you fall overboard?”, “What if there’s a big storm?”, “What if an engine breaks down?”, “What if we run out of electricity?”, “What if someone is injured on board?” Behind the dreamy images that inspired the project, of downwind passages in a gentle breeze and heavenly anchorages, there may be far more worrying questions on the minds of the crew, and the skipper in particular. Although no official statistics exist, life at sea is certainly not much riskier than life ashore. At Multihulls World, we’re even tempted to think that it is less so! But the radical change of environment inevitably raises questions that we no longer ask ourselves in privileged societies. Admittedly, access to healthcare is often criticized and, in some regions, can even be problematic. A garage mechanic may be considered unaffordable. Plumbers and electricians may be overworked. The fact remains, however, that emergency services are at our door in less than 30 minutes, 24/7, just a phone call away. There are SOS points on our highways in the event of a breakdown or even a simple puncture. A meal is delivered to our door in 30 minutes if we haven’t ‘had time’ to do the shopping and the refrigerator is empty! A new telephone is sent to us within 24 hours as soon as the battery shows the slightest sign of weakness. So inevitably, when the next island on the map is 2,000 nautical miles away, our basic needs quickly move up the list of priorities.

Guidance for future owners

With the arrival of new owners who may be less adventurous than in the past, several shipyards are offering support during this pre-departure phase. Builders are also motivated by the desire to reach a wider, less experienced clientele. It’s also in everyone’s interest that blue water cruising goes as smoothly as possible. Shipyard managers are well aware that the multihulls they sell are really just the means to an end: a journey, a story, a much wider human experience. That’s why they are now offering their future owners the chance to talk about subjects that suddenly become particularly important when the coastline disappears in our wake. For this first ‘learning’ day, we’re meeting at the Palais des Congrès in La Grande-Motte on the French Mediterranean coast, which has been requisitioned for the occasion. Just a few hundred meters from the Outremer boatyard, 80 participants have gathered for what promises to be an intense five days. No fewer than fifteen instructors are on deck, notably from the Escale Formation Technique (EFT). The experienced Laurent Marion is at the helm of this crack team. No fewer than 10 subjects are covered, ranging from the all-important medical check-ups, engine mechanics, weather and safety and not forgetting the creation of content for social networks. Sailing sessions are also on the program, to familiarize you with maneuvers at sea (reefing, anchoring, etc.) or in port, which often create apprehension that is in proportion to the surface area of the ...

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