Catamaran basics - Coming away from the dock under engine

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Identify the dangers, the conditions – tide, current, wind – and work out your strategy. Here, the current on the beam pushing the boat onto the dock obliges us to pivot the boat.


Disconnect… everything!
Unplug the electricity and disconnect the hosepipe. Don’t laugh, many an experienced skipper has forgotten …

Jump, but don’t fall 
To go from the boat to the dock, use the sugar scoops rather than jumping from the side decks. Our catamarans’ hulls are high – a sprained ankle would spoil your cruising, wouldn’t it?

Bigger is better
Protect the stern or the bow with a big fender, depending on the chosen maneuver. It’s preferable to clear the stern first, but here a monohull is moored just behind: go for the bow!


Look out for ropes
Tidy up: no lines lying around on the sugarscoops or on the edge of the trampoline. It’s not the moment to get a line caught in either of your propellers.


Engines on!
Start the engine furthest away from you, then the nearer one, so you can hear them – and the opposite when you turn them off – then check the exhausts, which should be spitting water steadily.

Time to let go
Cast off slack mooring lines – they serve no purpose – and double up the others so you can recover them from on board.


Play the throttles!
Thanks to having two engines, pivoting your catamaran is child’s play. All the mooring lines are cast off, just one line at the stern still holds the boat attached to the dock. 


Clear the dock immediately
As soon as the optimum angle is reached, the aft line is cast off and the starboard engine, which is already in forward gear, is accelerated to move the boat away rapidly - the current is trying to push it back onto the dock.


Tidy the deck
And you’re off! Stow the fenders in the appropriate locker – nothing is uglier than fenders still in position or even lying on the side decks.


Mooring lines and sugarscoops
Make the sugarscoops safe with the guardwire gates and stow mooring lines after having coiled them.


Stay at the helm
Remain under engine until the mainsail is hoisted and correctly trimmed. Unless you are very shorthanded, avoid using the autopilot close to port and in channels – risk of collision.


At sea, at last!
Make the most of this first trip out… you owe it to yourself!

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