Copyright 2017 - Woods Designs, Foss Quay, Millbrook, Torpoint, Cornwall, PL10 1EN, UK
  • home built Flica 37

  • plywood Romany 34

  • lightweight 14ft Zeta mainhull

  • Strike 15 trimaran at speed

  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

  • 10ft 2 sheet ply Duo dinghy

  • 24ft Strider sailing fast

  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

Obviously two widely spaced hulls will take more time to move through the water than a monohull will, but even so tacking a catamaran should be quick. There is certainly no excuse to have a boat that is hard to tack or one that doesn't sail well to windward. A Youtube clip on the Strider page shows a Strider Turbo tacking very fast, while this Youtube clip, taken from the Multihull Sailors Have More Fun! video, showing a 35ft Banshee tacking, gives an idea of how it is done, even if one of the crew does nothing!

Having said that, people often confuse windward ability with a narrow pointing angle, but really what everyone wants is the highest "speed made good" to windward (or max VMG). Monohulls can't sail faster than their hull speed so the only way for them to go quicker is to improve their tacking angle, hence the pointing fetish. That's not the case with catamarans which can just go faster and faster.

Thus comparing an Eclipse with a Mumm 30 in 20 knots of wind and flat water, the former may do 8.5 knots and 85 degrees between tacks and the Mumm 7.8 at 75 degrees. But Eclipse still ends up first at the windward mark. It may surprise readers, but if I want to beat a 38ft monohull to windward (which I can do with Eclipse), I wouldn't want flat water and light winds. Rather I'd want big seas and a F4 or more.

This Youtube clip, again from the Multihull Sailors Have More Fun video, shows a Banshee beating to windward in 20-25 knots apparent wind. The shots were taken from my Sagitta, the Banshee was faster in these conditions. And we were both comfortably (in all senses of the word) faster than the Sigma 38 monohull, just visible behind the Banshee.

This video is one of the Strike 18 "doing donuts' helm held down and the boat sails in circles. on my youtube channel you'll also see another video, this time of the Strike doing the same thing (but more slowly) with the jib rolled up. Try it in your monohull sometime.