Tricks of the Tradewinds: How to Anchor & Pick up a Mooring

Catamarans have many advantages over monohulls when it comes to sitting at anchor or on a mooring. In particular, their shallower draft means that you can get closer to shore and often in less crowded areas. Keep in mind, however, that anchoring a catamaran can be tricky if you’re used to maneuvering monohulls, which don’t have as much windage. Slow and steady anchoring as well as proper preparations are the keys to catamaran technique success.

Before dropping anchor of course, be sure to cruise around the area to check for depth variation, sandy vs. grassy spots, and take note of how other boats nearby have safely and effectively secured their locations. And unless you are a skilled and seasoned sailor, you should be anchoring under power with tight sails at all times.

Catamarans pair perfectly with beaches because they allow you to get in closer to anchor. The two engines are a great benefit for maneuvering in general and moving backward easily, which is very useful when anchoring as it allows the catamaran to “dig” the anchor deeper once set in place. Be aware that with catamarans, the anchor windlass roller is set back further on the deck. Because of this a bridle should be used, which reduces the load on the anchor chain, reduces wear on the boat, and acts as a shock absorber. 

As you approach your chosen anchoring or mooring spot, keep the catamaran straight ahead into the wind and remember that catamarans take less time to slow down because they weigh less than mon­­ohulls and are less resistant to the water. While you’re learning, take some time to practice anchoring and picking up a mooring ball in safe conditions until you become more skilled. This will make your first attempts in crowded or windy conditions safer – and less stressful! 
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