Tutorial #1

Let ’s take the helm!

Coming onto or leaving the dock, whether ahead or astern with a catamaran isn’t complicated. Quite the contrary in fact! You just need to build up a little experience, and respect certain routines, keeping in mind that the boat’s windage will have a great influence on the way the catamaran responds to your requests.

Thanks to its twin-engine configuration, a catamaran can be maneuvered with precision (even to the point of turning on the spot). Once you’ve got some way on, a little more speed allows you to balance its low inertia and maintain a minimum of maneuverability.

Given that the view of the opposite bow or the sugarscoops isn’t always excellent, depending on whether the catamaran has twin helm stations or a flybridge, it is usually up to the crew to provide the helmsman with the information needed to make the best approach.

Lastly, a well-briefed crew will make maneuvers easy. Whatever the situation, take your time and know how to anticipate. If uncertain, or if the maneuver doesn’t go according to plan, do not hesitate to start again as many times as necessary.

Once the location has been determined, the wind and current assessed, the mooring lines put the cleats from the outside, the fenders and crew on station, the helms and rudders locked, the catamaran is ready to maneuver.


MW advice : “Keep in mind that it will be easier to maneuver upwind or downwind rather than with the wind on the beam, and keep some way on to stay maneuverable.


Coming stern to the dock

Typically seen in the Mediterranean, but also in many ports around the world, multihulls are moored stern to the dock, held off at the bows by one or two ground lines. Pivot the boat round so it’s perpendicular to the dock using only the throttles while keeping some way on to counteract the windage.


1/ Approaching in astern in a straight line.


2/ Check the fenders on each side of the multihull and make sure you’ve got no lines trailing in the water.


3/ As you close the dock, stop the boat, engines in neutral. One of the crew steps ashore to get the windward mooring line on first, then the leeward one. Once secured, take up on the ground line(s) with the engines still in neutral.


4/ Take up on the groundlines, adjust the mooring lines, let the engines run for 30 seconds before shutting them off. Sundowner time!


MW advice: “Prepare your maneuver with your stern to the wind to stabilize the boat with the help of the engines in reverse at minimum maneuvering speed. Helm and rudders locked and daggerboards down if the catamaran has them”.


Coming ahead off the dock

Start by casting off the crossed mooring lines at the back of the boat before engaging the engines.

1/ Check that no lines are trailing in the water. Keep the boat straight with the stern lines taut.

2/ Cast off the groundline(s) , holding them away from the motors and let them.


3/ In neutral, cast off the leeward stern line and then the windward stern line last.


4/ Engage the engines in slow ahead.


5/ A vigilant crew member, with a roving fender, will help you to better control your departure, always checking for any wandering.


6/ Once clear, stow the mooring lines and fenders in the lockers.




MW advice : “Whatever the ...

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