high speed sailing catamaran

Sail GP: how do supercharged racing yachts go so fast? An engineer explains

high speed sailing catamaran

Head of Engineering, Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, Solent University

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Jonathan Ridley does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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Sailing used to be considered as a rather sedate pastime. But in the past few years, the world of yacht racing has been revolutionised by the arrival of hydrofoil-supported catamarans, known as “foilers”. These vessels, more akin to high-performance aircraft than yachts, combine the laws of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics to create vessels capable of speeds of up to 50 knots, which is far faster than the wind propelling them.

An F50 catamaran preparing for the Sail GP series recently even broke this barrier, reaching an incredible speed of 50.22 knots (57.8mph) purely powered by the wind. This was achieved in a wind of just 19.3 knots (22.2mph). F50s are 15-metre-long, 8.8-metre-wide hydrofoil catamarans propelled by rigid sails and capable of such astounding speeds that Sail GP has been called the “ Formula One of sailing ”. How are these yachts able to go so fast? The answer lies in some simple fluid dynamics.

As a vessel’s hull moves through the water, there are two primary physical mechanisms that create drag and slow the vessel down. To build a faster boat you have to find ways to overcome the drag force.

The first mechanism is friction. As the water flows past the hull, a microscopic layer of water is effectively attached to the hull and is pulled along with the yacht. A second layer of water then attaches to the first layer, and the sliding or shearing between them creates friction.

On the outside of this is a third layer, which slides over the inner layers creating more friction, and so on. Together, these layers are known as the boundary layer – and it’s the shearing of the boundary layer’s molecules against each other that creates frictional drag.

high speed sailing catamaran

A yacht also makes waves as it pushes the water around and under the hull from the bow (front) to the stern (back) of the boat. The waves form two distinctive patterns around the yacht (one at each end), known as Kelvin Wave patterns.

These waves, which move at the same speed as the yacht, are very energetic. This creates drag on the boat known as the wave-making drag, which is responsible for around 90% of the total drag. As the yacht accelerates to faster speeds (close to the “hull speed”, explained later), these waves get higher and longer.

These two effects combine to produce a phenomenon known as “ hull speed ”, which is the fastest the boat can travel – and in conventional single-hull yachts it is very slow. A single-hull yacht of the same size as the F50 has a hull speed of around 12 mph.

However, it’s possible to reduce both the frictional and wave-making drag and overcome this hull-speed limit by building a yacht with hydrofoils . Hydrofoils are small, underwater wings. These act in the same way as an aircraft wing, creating a lift force which acts against gravity, lifting our yacht upwards so that the hull is clear of the water.

high speed sailing catamaran

While an aircraft’s wings are very large, the high density of water compared to air means that we only need very small hydrofoils to produce a lot of the important lift force. A hydrofoil just the size of three A3 sheets of paper, when moving at just 10 mph, can produce enough lift to pick up a large person.

This significantly reduces the surface area and the volume of the boat that is underwater, which cuts the frictional drag and the wave-making drag, respectively. The combined effect is a reduction in the overall drag to a fraction of its original amount, so that the yacht is capable of sailing much faster than it could without hydrofoils.

The other innovation that helps boost the speed of racing yachts is the use of rigid sails . The power available from traditional sails to drive the boat forward is relatively small, limited by the fact that the sail’s forces have to act in equilibrium with a range of other forces, and that fabric sails do not make an ideal shape for creating power. Rigid sails, which are very similar in design to an aircraft wing, form a much more efficient shape than traditional sails, effectively giving the yacht a larger engine and more power.

As the yacht accelerates from the driving force of these sails, it experiences what is known as “ apparent wind ”. Imagine a completely calm day, with no wind. As you walk, you experience a breeze in your face at the same speed that you are walking. If there was a wind blowing too, you would feel a mixture of the real (or “true” wind) and the breeze you have generated.

The two together form the apparent wind, which can be faster than the true wind. If there is enough true wind combined with this apparent wind, then significant force and power can be generated from the sail to propel the yacht, so it can easily sail faster than the wind speed itself.

high speed sailing catamaran

The combined effect of reducing the drag and increasing the driving power results in a yacht that is far faster than those of even a few years ago. But all of this would not be possible without one further advance: materials. In order to be able to “fly”, the yacht must have a low mass, and the hydrofoil itself must be very strong. To achieve the required mass, strength and rigidity using traditional boat-building materials such as wood or aluminium would be very difficult.

This is where modern advanced composite materials such as carbon fibre come in. Production techniques optimising weight, rigidity and strength allow the production of structures that are strong and light enough to produce incredible yachts like the F50.

The engineers who design these high-performance boats (known as naval architects ) are always looking to use new materials and science to get an optimum design. In theory, the F50 should be able to go even faster.

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iFLY15 – iFLY Razzor Pro – Foiling Catamaran - can't wait to sail it again!!

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Just enjoy high speed - foiling

” iFLY – Born to FLY “

Just enjoy foiling, ” high performance sailing “, ” we love speed “, ” join the adventure “.

high speed sailing catamaran

iFLY15 – Technical SPECS

Length 4.63 m, 15 ft..

A Foiling Catamaran for 1-2 person(s) does not need to be any longer than this. The ancient rule that says you need length to achieve speed does not apply, as hulls do not touch the water at most times.

Width 2.50 m.

This width provides plenty of righting moment, still being road legal ato be transported in horizontal position without disassembly.

7.5 m mast / 11.2 sqm mainsail

7.5 m mast with 11.2 sqm deck-sweeper mainsail. – 8.5 m mast on iFLY RAZZOR Pro with bigger rig

Draft: 95 cm

Weight: 90 kg.

90 kg ready to sail. A very light boat, providing nonetheless excellent stability for everyday suitability.

Crew 1-2 - max.180kg

Flysafe® foil control.

T-Foils Main Foils and Rudders FlySafe automatic dynamic foil control Additional Option: Main Foil Differential >>>

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Different - Rig Options


Full Carbon Hulls

Looking for the perfect setup for your foiling sailboat.

We can recommend the best iFLY setup and accessories for your boat. Get in touch for the ultimate sailing experience!


A great number of innovations all over the catamaran and the perfect match of all components allow controlled high-speed foiling experience. iFLY15 is full of innovations, e.g. in hull design, hydrofoils, rudders, automatic flight control system, two-layer wing trampoline, high performance rig…

HULL Design

full carbon – lightweight – performance design: Born to foil

High Performance Rig Options


Two Layer Trampoline


Full Carbon T-Foils 

SCIENTIFICALLY DEVELOPED high-end foils for early take off, high speed and maximum stability.

flySafe® dynamic foil control system

The foils are controlled independently, dynamically and precisely on both sides by the flySafe® foil control system . This enables high performance sailing through stable flight. The unique foil control system of IFLY15 is a 7 years proven system developed by CEC Catamarans.        Know More >>>


MDT FOIL CONTROL – iFLY rake control The sophisticated main foil differential is an active flight assistance – The Rake is adjustable while sailing. Advanced Rake Control is for the experienced, performance-oriented Catamaran sailors / pro sailors and is a feature on the iFLY RAZZOR Pro.      Know More >>>

Innovations and more   >>>

In the hand of the experienced sailor, iFLY15 is a high-performance racing machine. STABILITY IS NOT CONTRADICTORY TO HIGH PERFORMANCE OR SPORTINESS , on the contrary, it is a prerequisite for safe reaching and maintaining constant high speeds. Stable flight allows the sailor to concentrate on the course, on the wind, as well as on opponents and strategy – rather than permanently getting distracted by working on the foiling balance.

EARLY TAKE OFF IN WINDS AS LOW AS 2Bft. / 6 KNOTS , by combining the innovative “KickOff” foil control with a trampoline that provides boost and with the latest generation of rig and foils.

BOAT SPEEDS FAR BEYOND DOUBLE WIND SPEED CAN BE ACHIEVED . Enjoy high speed foiling with top speeds far beyond 25 knots – in ideal conditions up to 30 knots.



FREEDOM ! FLYING SOLO OR OPTIONAL WITH CREW . You have the choice. No manhunt for crew. But still enjoy the opportunity of taking a friend or family to fly with you. Up to 140kg of crew weight. (To keep the boat and especially the mast light, we specified the iFLY15 components intentionally not for double trapeze.)

NO HOISTING AND LOWERING OF DAGGERBOARDS while sailing. (Only for beaching or in shallow waters.)

FREEDOM TO SWITCH BETWEEN FLYING MODE OR SAILING AS A CONVENTIONAL CATAMARAN (with at least the leeward hull touching the water). Within seconds iFLY15 can be switched to Non-Flight mode, even while sailing. In that mode, iFLY15 will not take off, but the foils will still create lift and give an extra agile sailing behavior, which is on the same time very stable as rudder Foils will avoid pitch poling. Non-Flight mode is providing additional security in extreme high wind speeds. It is also useful for less experienced sailors or in all situations, where taking off is undesirable (e.g. in the harbor or while towing…).


EASY BEACHING AND SLIPPING , as simple as with any conventional beach catamaran by using a standard catamaran beach trolley. Foils remain flat under the keel, with the daggerboard lifted as on a conventional catamaran.

SIMPLE TO DISASSEMBLE PLATFORM . Width of 2.50m is also road legal in most countries for horizontal transport without disassembly.

DAGGERBOARDS CAN BE PLUGGED IN FROM ABOVE and Foils securely anchored from below with one central screw.

FAST SET-UP OF THE iFLY15 FROM ROAD TRAILER TO SAILING . Simple rigging the mast, no genacker boom, no foresail, no spi.

SILENT AND CALM PLANING ABOVE THE WAVES . Flight height of up to 90cm, avoiding even high waves below.

EASY TO FOIL THE JIBE (without landing). Stable maneuvers are made easier by the fact that the four T-Foils always remain in the water.

« INTERNATIONAL FORMULA 15 FOIL » Class Association. The new development class for FOILING, SINGLE HANDED on MULTIHULLS. Multi manufacturer class in the tradition of a Formula18, A-Class or international Moth. Enables large regatta fields and evolution of the boats, following the technical progress (which is especially essential in the case in Foiling). Strict regulations to avoid uncontrolled exaggerated development.

Contact : [email protected]

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The iflysail team, is looking forward to your message, more to know about ifly foiling , interesting tech, high performance rig options >>>, flysafe® dynamic foil control system >>>, ifly main foil differential technology >>>.

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Ifly foiling experience >>>, press articles >>>, events >>>.

Yachting World

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Fast Bluewater Cruisers: the best new performance bluewater catamarans on the market 2018

  • Toby Hodges
  • August 20, 2018

Outreamer 51 on water

Many monohull sailors who are thinking of converting to mulithulls for distance cruising seek a combination of the speed and feel of performance cruisers together with the space multihulls provide. To offer proper bluewater cruising ability yet not be too sluggish, a fast cruising cat or tri needs to be smartly designed with payload in mind and built relatively light. Here ’ s where the fast distance cruisers like Outremer, Catana, Swisscat, Seawind, Balance, Atlantic, Neel and Ocean Explorer help offer that potential sabbatical or retirement dream.

Just launched: Outremer 51

Outreamer 51 exterior

The original Outremer 51 launched in 2014 and proved popular, selling more than 50 models. It also garnered a number of European and US yacht of the year titles. But things can always improve, so the French catamaran builder has updated the design with the help of feedback from hundreds of owners. The improvements are superficial and substantial: the interior and exterior styling has been changed, but the boat’s performance has also been tweaked. Not only does this make the boat more fun, it is also “an important safety attribute”, says Outremer. With speeds in excess of 20 knots perfectly achievable, you could certainly outrun bad weather and potentially clock up 400 miles over 24 hours. This sleek-looking boat has on-trend reverse bows, curved coachroof and low-profile steering positions. The helms are slightly raised above the cockpit with a clear 360° view out over the coachroof. It may lack the real estate of a flybridge helm station, but it saves weight and allows the boom to be lower on the mast, all of which helps stability and performance. Control lines all lead back across the coachroof to winches within easy reach of the helmsman, except for the mainsheet, which runs along a track on the aft crossbeam behind the cockpit.

Outreamer 51 galley

The saloon has comfortable seating and a table for six to eight, with a forward-looking navstation that is a good size. Accommodation is three or four cabins, depending on whether you opt for an owner’s-only hull. If you do, there’s a separate heads and shower, desk, seating and storage. Outremer makes much of the boat’s quietness, free from the grinding and cracking noises you hear as some cats flex. For liveaboards this could be a welcome feature.

First impressions

Outremer has done an impressive job of updating its most popular model, outside and in. I like the modern, muscular look of the sculpted-out topsides and dreadnought bows. Improved build techniques – partly acquired since its takeover of Gunboat – have also allowed the yard to save 600kg over the original model. The 51 has enough of a go-faster appeal for those converting from performance monohulls – the majority of Outremer’s clients, says sales manager Matthieu Rougevin-Baville – while at the same time retaining the seaworthy build and features for which the brand is known. It’s about keeping things simple, good-looking yet durable. For those with the budget, this is the ideal size of boat, in terms of speed bought by long waterline length, volume for accommodation and payload capacity (3 tonnes), for long-term, fast bluewater sailing.

At a glance…

LOA: 51ft 3in (15.65m) Beam: 24ft 4in (7.42m) Draught: 3ft 1in-7ft 7in (0.94m-2.31m) Displacement: 13.7 tonnes Price: from €735,000 Contact: Catamaran Outremer

Just launched: Ocean Explorer 60

Ocean Explorer 60 on water

Rubbing shoulders with Nautor’s Swan in Jakobstad, Finland, the new team behind this boat have a long track record in building low-impact yachts with high performance. And it’s not just a postcode they share with Swan – German Frers is also the designer of this yacht. The OE60 is the first in a range running to 78ft. There is carbon 
load-point reinforcing and an 
all-carbon rig for performance, with the further option of a carbon hull as well. Cutter rigged with a self-tacking jib and staysail, it has a long, sculpted bowsprit for launching downwind sails. Dual helm stations on each hull have long clear views ahead.

Ocean Explorer 60 galley

I wrote about this catamaran during its conception five years ago, but La Grande Motte was the first time I had seen one. Wow, talk about worth the wait… this is quite simply one of the most impressive luxury multihulls I have been aboard. Four main subcontractors to Nautor’s Swan and Baltic Yachts formed the company and the quality of their craftsmanship is, as you would expect, world class. It is the first production cat for Frers, yet the Argentinian designer has managed to maintain his reputation for alluring lines – this is a long, low and particularly elegant design. I like the helms right in the quarters, a more familiar position for monohull sailors, while the glass-based coachroof allows the helmsman a reasonable sight to the opposite bow. Step inside and it is the true panoramic view these vertical windows all combine to give that really appeals. The forward cockpit is a practical area for manning halyards or standing watch. I also like the clean, spreader-less rig and massive yet practical stowage areas. The skipper told me he had sailed a Gunboat 60 across the Pacific and that this OE60 matches its performance. A key is the C-foils, the most reliable appendage system he has used. This was the second OE60 to be built (the first has done four Atlantic and one Pacific crossing in four years) and is being used for charter. What I’d give for a week aboard this…

LOA: 60ft 7in (18.50m) Beam: 29ft 8in (9.07m) Draught: 2ft 6in-6ft 6in (0.85m-2.00m) Displacement: 18 tonnes Price: from €3.6m Contact: Frers

Just launched: Seawind 1600

Seawind 1600 on water

The new flagship performance cruiser from the Australian brand made a welcome world debut at La Grande Motte in April. The Reichel Pugh design sits in a similar market to the Outremer 51 – a fast composite cruiser, aimed at couples going long-distance cruising. The first six 1600s sold off plans and Seawind, which owns Corsair, now builds in Vietnam. All boats are built using vinylester and Diam foam. The 1600 is Reichel Pugh’s first production multihull and has a practical air about it that sailors will appreciate. “It has been properly designed to sail fast when loaded,” says Seawind sales manager Jay Nolan. The helmsman can steer from under the solid bimini or can stand outboard, with a good view over the low coachroof. Retractable, captive daggerboards, along with foam-cored lifting rudders in cassettes, allow true shoal draught capability. The daggerboards are housed underdeck and controlled from the cockpit. The running rigging is, unusually, led under the coachroof and bridgedeck aft to a single central winch on the aft crossbeam. Reefing lines and the self-tacking jib sheet also lead to this protected, vertically mounted winch. The cockpit is smallish, linked to the interior via a huge sliding window.

Seawind 1600 galley

I quickly took to this boat. The choice of performance monohull specialists to design a cruising cat is unusual, yet here the combination of Reichel Pugh’s reputation for winning lines and Seawind’s three decades of catamaran building experience has worked admirably. Sailors will appreciate the practical elements incorporated throughout. The design itself has particularly narrow hulls at waterline level, a low freeboard and coachroof, and the incorporation of a proper payload capacity into the light displacement. The use of captive boards and rudder cassettes allow for both sailing to windward and shoal cruising. The cassettes also create the option to replace 
or repair a blade easily and the low coachroof allows proper forward visibility 
from either helm. With the addition of larger portholes in the cabins, the 1600 gives an interesting fast cruising option for couples.

LOA: 51ft 8in (15.74m) Beam: 25ft 10in (7.90m) Draught: 8ft 6in-2ft 1in (2.6m-0.54m) Displacement: 13 tonnes Price: from €740,000 Contact: Seawind 

If you enjoyed this….

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high speed sailing catamaran

Cruising Catamaran Speed! With Examples and Explanation

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One of the most popular cruising vessels is cruising catamarans. Cruising catamarans are popular thanks to their stability and space, but some sailors have concerns about cruising catamarans’ speed. So, how fast are cruising catamarans? 

Sailing cruising catamarans can travel at an average of 9-15 knots and max out around 35 kts. Power Cruising catamarans have a maximum speed of 70 knots but averages around 20-25 kts. How fast a catamaran can go also depends on the load it is carrying, its structural design, and its engine power.

This article explores details of what affects a cruising catamaran’s speed. It also considers how fast sailing and power cruising catamarans can go, along with some of the most rapid cruising catamaran models available today. 

How Is a Cruising Catamaran’s Speed Measured?

To better understand a cruising catamaran’s speed, it is essential to consider how a boat’s speed is measured. Boat speed is measured in knots , which is one nautical mile per hour, (or 1.15 mph). One nautical mile is approximately 1.15 land miles. 

The speed of a catamaran is calculated by a GPS tracker that records the distance sailed every hour. 

How Fast Are Sailing Cruising Catamarans? 

The wind powers sailing cruising catamarans – their speed depends on the speed of the wind. If there is a lot of wind, more wind equals higher a faster boat. However, if there is little to no wind, the catamaran won’t move very fast or very far. 

At about 14-16 knots of wind speed, sailing catamarans can average 9-12 knots . Some high-end sailing catamarans can be even faster. For instance, the Gunboat 62 Tribe can sail up to 36.6 knots when the wind is between 35-45 knots.  

How Fast Are Power Cruising Catamarans?

Unlike sailing catamarans, power catamarans do not rely on the wind to move. Instead, they are powered by fuel (usually diesel). This means that they can travel faster than sailing catamarans and that their speed is more reliable. 

Under light loads the Power catamarans can travel at between 20-25 knots. When the load is higher, power catamarans speed drops to 15-20 knots. 

Some high-end catamarans, such as the Freeman 47, can reach up to 70 knots .

What Affects the Speed of a Cruising Catamaran? 

There are several features of a cruising catamaran that impact its speed. These include: 

  • The type of hull. The less the hull is submerged into the water, the faster the catamaran will go. When they are submerged, hulls create drag which slows the velocity of the boat. 
  • The beam/length ratio. When a catamaran has a higher surface area (stable base), it can better withstand stronger winds, therefore allowing it utilize more of the wind before needing to reduce sail area.
  • The material used to construct and reinforce the vessel. When areas of the catamaran are filled with foam, it decreases the catamaran’s weight while ensuring that stability is maintained. As a result, the catamaran has a lighter weight, making it faster. 
  • The type of propellers. Propellers are an essential part of a vessel as they act as brakes, which are necessary to slow down and stop a boat. However, many modern cruising catamarans have folding propellers that reduce the boat’s water resistance when the engine is turned off. As a result, the catamaran can travel faster under sail. 
  • The engines. The higher the horsepower of the catamaran’s engine, the faster it can go. Most newer catamarans have two engines which makes them faster than the older, one-engined counterparts. 
  • The load of the catamaran. Each catamaran has a load-carrying capacity. If the amount of weight the catamaran has onboard exceeds this capacity, it will “sit” lower in the water and significantly slow down the catamaran’s speed. 
  • The sail trim and reef. When sail area is reduced (called reefing), the catamaran slows down (in most situations). Properly trimming the sails will also enhance performance.

In addition, catamarans will be faster downwind . Going downwind removes the headwind and will many times allow you to surf with the waves.

Why Should You Look for a Faster Cruising Catamaran?

The old adage is that “slow and steady” wins the race. However, when it comes to cruising catamarans, many sailors believe the faster, the better. Faster catamarans are preferred because they: 

  • Allow the crew to quickly move the catamaran out of bad weather conditions, protect the vessel and passengers on board.
  • Allow the captain to more predictably calculate Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA).
  • A shorter time spent in bad patches of sea making big ocean crossings safer and more enjoyable.

What Are the Fastest Cruising Catamaran Models? 

Some catamarans have been recognized and won awards for their speed. Some of these models are explored below. 

Freeman 47 (Power)

Freeman catamarans are symmetrical catamarans that have especially been designed to carry a heavy load without sacrificing speed. Released in 2020, the Freeman 47 has quad 450R Mercury outboards that allow it to travel at 70 knots.

In addition to the outboards, many features of the Freeman 47 allow it to move faster. It has a fuel capacity of 1000 gallons (3785 liters) and a maximum power of 1800 HP. 

If you’re interested in purchasing or finding out more about the Freeman 47, register your interest on Freemanboatworks.com . 

Glider SS18 (Power)

The Glider SS18 is a power catamaran that was launched in 2017, after eight years of development. It is powered by 300 BHP supercharged engines that allow it to travel for up to 50 knots. It also has a built-in Stability Control System (SCS), ensuring that the catamaran remains stable and comfortable, even when traveling at top speed. 

To buy or get a quotation for the Glider SS18, visit glideryachts.com . 

ICE Cat 61 (Sail)

The Ice Cat 61 is a luxury catamaran. At 61 feet (18.60 meters) long, it is a large catamaran that has been designed with both speed and stability in mind. While its average cruising speed is 12 knots, it can achieve up to 25 knots. 

The ICE Cat 61 has been designed with carbon and glass fiber – materials that allow the boat to be lighter. It has two engines with 55 HP each and a fuel capacity of 206 gallons (780 liters). 

If you’re interested in an ICE Cat 61, you can learn more at iceyachts.it .

Gunboat 68 (Sail)

At 68 feet (20.8 meters) long, the Gunboat 68 makes for an impressive sight on the open ocean. It averages 20 knots but can reach 30 knots depending on the amount of wind power. 

The Gunboat 68 has been designed by VPLP, also known as the ‘ fastest naval architects in the world .’ It has been designed with large sails, long daggerboards, and material that has lighter weight. This vessel also has retractable rudders, which reduce the boat’s drag. 

To find out more about the Gunboat 68 or register interest in purchasing one, visit Gunboat.com . 


A catamaran’s speed depends on its design, its load, its type, and on a variety of other factors. However, on average, most sailing catamarans can achieve between 9-15 knots, while power catamarans can, on average, achieve between 20-25 knots. If you are looking to splurge for the best on the market, some power catamarans can reach 50-70 knots. 

If you’re looking to buy a cruising catamaran, make sure you use the information you have gained to assess the speed of the catamaran you are considering. A faster catamaran can make for safer and more exciting sailing. Ultimately, it will make your cruising experience more enjoyable and satisfying. 

Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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high speed sailing catamaran

Asymmetrical Racing Hulls Catamaran

represents a zero-order approximation for the wave resistance. This is not good enough for our purposes, however.

An exact theory was given by Havelock in 1932. A simplified, but still quite general form of Havelock's equation has been found by Castles for hulls with lateral and longitudinal symmetry. A discussion of the physical basis of Havelock's theory and Castle's equations for single or multiple hulls is given in Appendix A. Castles' equation for a single hull is

Rw = iPH{T)2VB2Cw (2-16)

" .00 x2e-aX2dx

high speed sailing catamaran

x0 = CP/F2. (2-18)

The quantity 5 is the depth of the centroid of the maximum cross section for which a is the area. The prismatic coefficient CP is defined by

and therefore describes the distribution of cross sectional area along the length of the boat.

The wave resistance is more or less insensitive to the shape of the hull cross section. This is not true for the frictional resistance which depends directly upon the wetted surface area Aw. This quantity is given quite accurately ( + 1 percent) for a wide variety of forms by

The minimum girth for a given enclosed area is featured by the semicircular cross section for which Gm = \nB and Aw = 1.16BL. Since the wave resistance is shape independent, we are free to concentrate our interest on semi-circular sections. For this case a = 7iB2/8, 3 = B/n, and the total resistance can be written in terms of the Froude number F, the length-to-beam ratio L/B, and the prismatic coefficient CP as

r - 1 48 f2il\c +1 lb

lgh speed One of the first numbers to be generated when planning a boat is sailing the displacement-length ratio DLR = A/(.01L)3 where A is the displacement in long tons (A = jy/2240). Using Eq. (2-19), we find for semicircular cross sections that

In formulating a design, one is always limited by material strength-to-weight ratios and other factors to some minimum DLR. From Eq. (2-22) we see that an infinite variety of values of CP and L/B correspond to a given DLR. The problem is to find the best set of values from the point of view of minimizing the total resistance. Both components of the resistance, friction and wave, increase with F2, however the wave term also contains an additional function of F2 that is

Racing Schooner Sail Plan

16 I*ig 2-3. Specific running rcsistancc as a function of L/B for V^JyjL - 2,

16 I*ig 2-3. Specific running rcsistancc as a function of L/B for V^JyjL - 2, zero for very small or very large value of F2 and reaches a maximum hulls and value for Fi * 0.281(7*^/1 » 1.78). It therefore makes good sense to outriggers compare the resistance of hulls for this value of Froude number or one only slightly higher. We have calculated R/W using Eq. (2-21) for a range of prismatic coefficients from 0.50 to 0.80 and length-to-beam ratio from 8 to 32 at a fixed value of F2 = 0.355 {VjjL = 2.0).

The results are shown in Fig. 2-3. We see that higher prismatic coefficients are better than lower ones and that hulls in the L/B range from 12-16 are maximally efficient. The waterline length L has been taken as 25 feet in calculating the friction, however, the overall result is a very weak function of size, hence this choice does not limit the generality of these results.

Prismatic Coefficient

!gh speed Interesting though it is, Fig. 2-3 still does not answer the basic sailing question which is: for a given weight and length (DLR), what is the optimum value of prismatic coefficient in order that R (not R/W) be a minimum? This is answered by replotting the data as shown in Fig. 2-4. (The calculated values from which Figs. 2-3 and 2-4 were drawn are presented in tabular form in Appendix B.) The figure shows that high prismatics are best and, indeed implies that coefficients even higher than 0.80 are desirable. The choice of CP is seen to be much less critical for the lower DLR's than for higher ones. In order to properly evaluate the data of Fig. 2-4, we must remember that eddy and flow separation effects owing to projections or small local radius of hull curvature are ignored. For high CP, the hull tends to a scow shape (for which CP = 1.0) and flow discontinuities at the bow can be expected to arise. These effects will tend to increase the resistance on the high CP end of the curves. Thus it seems likely that the ideal value of CP for the low-DLR hulls in which we are interested will lie in the range 0.65-0.75.

The effect of some variations from our standard hull (see Appendix A) for which the above results are derived should be noted. The effect of moving the cross section of maximum area forward of the midship position is an increase in the total resistance at all speeds. By moving the maximum section somewhat aft of amidships an average reduction of RjW by about 5 percent for L/B = 12 between the SLR values 0.8 to 3.0 is possible. Outside this speed range the logitudinally symmetrical hull is superior. The sensitivity of R/W to the position of the maximum section decreases with increasing L/B and CP. For the high L/B, high CP hulls of interest to us, placement of the maximum section can be dictated to a large extent by design factors other than resistance minimization.

Another possible modification is to broaden and flatten the sections of the after half of the hull. The effect of this on R/W is similar in magnitude and dependence on DLR to that of moving the maximum section aft. As in that case, stern flattening is disadvantageous for SLR's less than 0.8 and greater than 3.0. This modification also has the effect of damping pitching motion. The mechanism of this damping effect is discussed in some detail in Chapter 6. The pitching motion of low-DLR hulls is already highly damped even without stern flattening, thus proas pay only a marginal penalty for their longitudinal symmetry.

In order to make specific recommendations concerning the various multihull configurations, we must establish a working definition. We shall always refer to the weight-carrying hull as the hull and the float (or ama) as the outrigger. As a general rule, outriggers should be as light as possible and should not be used for stores and certainly not for accommodation.

A catamaran is a configuration of two identical hulls, or, in the case ofassymetrical hulls, mirror images. In the daysailing sizes, catamarans are faster than trimarans owing to their ability to fly the windward hull and sail on one hull at a modest angle of heel. We shall discuss this question of hull flying further in Chapter 4. For catamarans to be sailed in relatively smooth waters, the hull sections should be serni-circular for most of the length with some flattening in the after third and a fairly rapid transition to elliptical, parabolic, and vee sections hulls and at the bow. For larger craft intended for offshore sailing, the drag outriggers that arises owing to the presence of ocean waves must be taken into account. This drag roughly doubles the effective resistance of a typical monohull racer sailing to windward in seas having a wavelength greater than the length of the boat. Rough water drag decreases with increasing

L/B and is more or less insensitive to the beam-to-draught ratio B/H.

This suggests that a practical optimum hull section for offshore use will correspond to B/H somewhat less than the semicircular value of 2.

In rough water, large portions of the windward hull will be exiting and entering the water at high speed. In order to avoid pounding, the semi-circular section should be distorted into a rounded vee or parabolic section.

The question of whether to make catamaran hulls symmetrical or asymmetrical can be argued both ways. The intended purpose of an asymmetrical hull is, usually, to create horizontal lift on the more highly curved side. In the case of a catamaran with more or less flat outer sides and curved inner sides, the horizontal lift of the two hulls only serves to compress the cross beams unless heeling occurs. This is shown in Fig. 2-5. Only daysailers are sailed at such angles of heel and then only for short times. Even more discouraging to the notion of using hull asymmetry to enhance the lifting action of a long shallow hull is the fact that only for large angles of attack (>10°) does asymmetry make a significant contribution. Such a high angle of attack between the centreline of the boat and the course line would create an intolerable drag and is therefore out of the question. Asymmetric hulls have, however, been found to be highly resistant to broaching

Boat Broaching Sailing

when running in heavy seas. This can be understood as shown in Fig. 2-6. When the boat, beginning to broach, reaches a yaw angle of 10 or so, the lift effect of the asymmetry in the leeward hull is strongly excited; the windward hull is at a negative angle of attack ^

GH SPEED and is not producing a significant lift. The lift of the leeward hull is SAILING accompanied by a large induced drag. The excess in drag of the leeward hull over the windward hull times the overall beam of the boat constitutes a torque to counter the broach. The superiority of asymmetrical hulls under these conditions is a matter of practical experience as well as theory. In making the decision of whether or not to use asymmetrical hulls, bear in mind that for a hull section having B/H =1.5, a reasonable amount of asymmetry will cost a 5 percent increase in the wetted surface area and thus in frictional resistance. Friction is the dominant component of hull resistance when sailing in light airs (where multihulls are at a natural disadvantage anyway) and at very high speeds (SLR > 2.8).

high speed sailing catamaran

Fig. 2-6. Hull asymmetry as an anti-broaching feature.

The question of full, transom-type sterns or fine canoe-type sterns for catamarans where load carrying is not a major consideration can be settled in favour of the fine stern. At low speeds (SLR < 1.8) form drag acts against a full-sterned hull. The pressure of the water against the hull forward of the maximum section resulting in a resistive force is cancelled in a fine-sterned hull by the vector sum of the pressures aft of the maximum section except for a small amount that we lumped into the friction calculation [see Eq. (2-6)]. If the hull is terminated suddenly as is the case with full sterns, then this cancellation is not achieved. This is not the case in air where, for example, racing sports car bodies are found to give less resistance if the rear ends are chopped abruptly. At high speeds (SLR > 1.8) the difference between the resistance of full- and fine-sterned hulls is small with a slight advantage to the full stern. If we are considering an ocean racer, then we must take into account the fact that the sterns will often be buried in the seas that accompany high winds and fast sailing. Under these conditions, fine stcrncd hulls experience significantly less rough water drag.

20 Trimarans pose a different set of problems. Since all of the weight

high speed sailing catamaran

is effectively carried by the central hull, this hull should have a semicircular section over most of its length. This section may be somewhat flattened toward the stern and should be sharpened toward the bow. Since the DLR of the trimaran hull will be roughly twice that of either hull of a catamaran of similar overall specifications, it makes sense to use a transom stern. The transom should be narrow, however, and should not extend below the load water line.

The design of trimaran outriggers and their positioning with respect to the hull require special discussion. There are two schools of thought on the question of whether to fit full-buoyancy outriggers, either one of which can support the full weight of the craft without being driven under, or submersible outriggers that heel easily within a larger range of stable angles and give a better indication of when the boat is being over-driven. This question was settled (for me, at least) by a rash of capsizes in 1976-77 involving tris with low-buoyancy outriggers. It seems that when lying ahull in bad conditions, a wave may heel the trimaran in such a way as to drive the lee outrigger under. This outrigger having a high resistance to lateral motion then acts as a fixed pivot axis about which the boat can be capsized. The choice of low or full buoyancy outriggers is therefore the choice between the increased possibility of a wave capsize and the increased possibility of sailing the boat over. I personally feel that the latter is more acceptable.

For high performance, the outriggers should have semicircular sections over the after 70 percent of their length going over into a sharpening spade section toward the bow. In designing the outrigger and hull bows we want a configuration that will pierce small waves with minimum retardation and rise to large waves in order to avoid burying the bows with the possible consequence of a diagonal or stern-over-bow capsize. These requirements call for reasonably fine bows with moderate overhang and sheer, but little flare except in the main hull. The outrigger bows can be fitted with lifting plates as shown in Fig. 2-7.

Asymmetrical Catamarans

lig. 2-7. Lift plates and sheer as dive preventors for outriggers.

w speed sailing

In driving hard to windward, the deep running lee outrigger will generate a large resistance acting along a line to leeward of the driving force. The result is a torque that tends to yaw the boat to leeward (lee helm). This can be countered by designing the outrigger so that its centre of lateral resistance is 8-15 percent (depending on overall beam) ahead of the centre of lateral resistance of the hull. The keel action of the outrigger then acts along a line forward of the line of action of the centreboard and cancels the above-described lee helm. This is shown schematically in Fig. 2-8. The outriggers should be

Fig. 2-8. Balance of yawing torques in a trimaran sailing to windward.

mounted in such a way that both are clear of the water with the boat at rest under average load conditions. In this way the trimaran can sail on its central hull alone when running and thereby gain a distinct advantage in resistance over a similar catamaran. For windward work, the high positioning will allow a somewhat greater heel angle. This has the effect of putting the windward outrigger several feet out of the water where its round bottom will not often encounter a wave. When going to windward, the centreline of the hull lies at an angle X, the leeway angle, to the course line if the keel (centreboard, dagger board, leeboard, etc.) is laterally symmetrical. In this case drag can be reduced by toeing the outriggers out by an angle equal to the leeway angle experienced on a beam reach (Edwin Doran, Jr., AYRS 83 B, 18 (1976).) It is also advantageous to incline the vertical centreline of the outriggers outward at the bottom by an angle of not more than 15°. This has the effect of making the outrigger a smooth extension of the curved cross beams, thus reducing the stresses at that junction. As the boat heels the outrigger is brought into an upright position corresponding to minimum drag.

Trimaran Central Beam

In order to prevent a rapid rise in outrigger drag with increasing hulls and immersion, the DLR of the fully pressed outrigger must be quite low. outriggers This means that the reserve volume must be contained in length rather than freeboard. The limitation of such a long needle-like outrigger is the strength-to-weight ratio of its construction. It is likely that the current (1977) practice of making outriggers about 80% as long as the hull is too conservative and that longer outriggers should be contemplated.

Proas are the least understood multihull type. The original Micro-nesian proa consisted of a lean asymmetric hull to leeward and a heavy log outrigger (counterbalance weight, really) to windward. This craft was sailed by a large and agile crew who arranged themselves to windward as needed to keep the log flying just clear of the water. The few modern adaptations of the proa that have been built in a size suitable for offshore sailing have been 'Atlantic' proas with the hull to windward and a submersible or low-buoyancy outrigger to leeward. The exception to this is Newick's Cheers, a schooner -rigged proa that featured equal hulls. Cheers was the only one of the lot to have enjoyed any racing success.

The best way to think of a proa in modern terms is to visualise a trimaran with the windward outrigger and cross beams sawn off. The Micronesian outrigger or counterweight becomes our hull and the Micronesian hull becomes our full-buoyancy outrigger. So far as the hull and outrigger shapes are concerned, they should resemble the forward half of the trimaran repeated on both ends.

Comparing the proa with a catamaran in terms of performance, we see that in the daysailing sizes, the concentration of crew weight to windward gives the catamaran all the advantage of the proa. In the larger size where mobile crew weight is not a factor, the proa retains (he advantage of permanent weight bias to windward. In comparison with the trimaran, the fact of not having to carry a windward outrigger and cross beams constitutes a big advantage in weight and windage. The weight saved can go into huskier and longer cross beams to put the centre of gravity further to windward. Clearly, in the oceangoing sizes, proas will be faster than either catamarans or trimarans on all courses. Catamarans may be faster than trimarans going to windward owing to a possible windage advantage. Trimarans will usually be faster than catamarans on a run or in light airs to the extent that outrigger drag can be minimized or eliminated. The difference in performance between these two types is much less than the performance advantage of the proa.

On the basis of Eq. (2-21) and the fact that rough water drag is proportional to WF2, we might suppose that multihulls having a sufficiently low DLR might obey a simplified drag equation such as

where a is approximately constant. This turns out to be true. In a paper MTHcntcd at the 1977 Royal Yachting Association Speed Sailing Symposium, Derek Kelsall reported that tank testing of a five-foot inmumn model and resistance calculations for several multihulls using 23

high speed the International Offshore Multihull Rule (IOMR) equations both sailing resulted in smooth parabolic curves of the form of Eq. (2-23) where the constant a varied from boat to boat over a range of 0.025-0.032. Notably, Kelsall sees no hump in the curves owing to wave drag as is seen in monohull data. This is apparently obscured by the rough water drag.

Now let us discuss the question of accommodation arrangement. The minimum requirement is a bunk for each crew member, a galley, head, a few shelves and storage lockers, and a place to sit in comfort for eating, navigating, or what-have-you. The facilities and arrangements required by individuals vary too much for detailed recommendations containing my own biases to be useful. Some general observations on accommodation where performance is the overriding consideration are in order, however.

The waterline beam of the hull must be kept small as we have seen; however the hull can be flared or stepped above the waterline. This allows bunks, lockers, shelves, and so on to be fitted in the narrow hull and still give room for movement without too much elbow friction.

In a catamaran, there will be a strong temptation to build accommodation space on the deck between the hulls, because of the narrowness of the individual hulls. This has the effect of raising the centre of gravity higher off the water and adding windage. As we shall see when we discuss structural problems, there is good reason to have some sort of thick connecting structure which can comprise a cockpit and enclosed space with seated headroom.

In the trimaran and proa, accommodation is restricted to the hull. The proa, needing longitudinal symmetry, will have a centre cockpit. In the trimaran, cockpit location is optional. Other than that, the accommodation space and layout of proa and trimaran may be similar.

Weight must be kept out of the ends of the hull or hulls in order to keep the moment of inertia about the pitching axis low. This will have the effect of limiting the amplitude of pitching motions and ensure that they are rapidly damped. This is vital in reducing rough water drag. Only the central half of the hull should be regarded as habitable. Human nature being what it is, any small spaces that you as a designer do not wish to have heavy stores put into can be filled with plastic foam. This will serve to absorb shock in case of damage, though foam is heavy in large volumes and should not be overdone. Do not regard standing headroom as a necessity in small yachts. I would not build a coach house structure at all but would continue a fair line from the beams straight across the hull. In the fore-and-aft direction, the sheer line of the hull should curve smoothly into this raised deck. Flat areas should be avoided everywhere. They are structurally, aero-dynamically, and aesthetically unsound. The trimaran Three Cheers designed by Dick Newick and shown in Fig. 2-9 is a good example of the type of continuous deck and outrigger beam structure recommended.

To close this chapter on hulls and outriggers, I would like to pass along some thoughts on drawing hull lines . This method is used 24 by a number of naval architects but docs not seem to have entered

Catamaran Hull Line Drawing

the text books; I learned it from Newick who revealed it at the World Multihull Symposium in Toronto, Canada, 14-17 June, 1976.

Hull fairness is all important. Hollows or abrupt changes of hull curvature through deviations from fairness constitute sources of eddies and turbulence that can ruin a boat's performance.

One first draws the profile and load waterline onto the station lines (Fig. 2-10a). Next draw the plan view showing the sheer line and keel (Fig. 2-10b). Finally, draw the maximum cross section (Fig. 2-10c). The centreline and sheer intersect points for the cross sections can now be transferred from the profile and plan views to a body plan. The problem is now to draw the remaining cross sections such that the hull will everywhere be fair, without curvature changes or reversals over short distances. For a hull of fairly simple shape such as the proa hull (by Newick) shown here, a template can be constructed that includes the curve of the maximum section with a fair extension on either end. The master template for Newick's proa is shown in Fig. 2-10d). By keeping the x mark on the template along the reference line AA' and either set of intersect points on the template curve, all cross sections will change proportionally and the lines will be fair. The problem is therefore reduced from one of constructing the sections by experienced eyeball to one of finding one suitable reference line. It will usually be a straight line as is the case here, although it can also be a smooth curve. 25

igh speed sailing

high speed sailing catamaran

Fig. 2-10. Line drawing technique illustrated by Newick's PROa.

Sailing Boat Racing Hull

Continue reading here: Sails And Lateral Stability

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Single-handed, nonstop, around-the-world sailing grabs the spotlight at the new york vendée transatlantic race.

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IMOCA 60 offshore racing sailboats grabbed the spotlight in NYC last week

Now that Cole Brauer became the first American female in history to complete a solo, nonstop, sailing circumnavigation by the three great capes when she crossed the finish line the Global Offshore Challenge earlier this year, there are way more Americans who are aware of the community of amazing, inspiring, ( often French ) and maybe even a little crazy solo sailors that race around the world on sailboats.

And now that the New York Vendée Transatlantic Race is just about to start (after a week filled with Times Square selfies, New York Yacht Club parties, sponsor events, last-minute repairs, and plenty of sunny speed runs past the Statue of Liberty), I’m sure even more Americans will be following these special competitors who are hoping to qualify for to compete in the ultimate-non-stop-around-the-world solo-offshore-sailing marathon.

NY Vendee skippers pose for a Times Square selfie prior to the start of the last Vendée Globe ... [+] qualifying race

It's simply called the Vendée Globe . It’s only held every four years. It starts in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. And because it’s one of the most extreme endurance events on the planet, you can’t just rock up to the start line with an IMOCA 60 and compete. In fact, every solo-sailor must first sail thousands of recorded miles in sanctioned events and then be selected by the race committee before being allowed to race.

NY Vendee raceboats stole the spotlight in NYC last week

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And while there are many IMOCA events skippers can use to gain qualifying miles, the New York Vendée is last qualifying race for the main event in November. But as anyone who follows this special brand of offshore sailing, every one of the long-distance-solo races that are sailed in crazy, hydrofoil-assisted IMOCA 60’s are more than just another race.

These events bring out the best in the people who compete and provide infinite inspiration for those of us following from home. And the truth is, you don’t even really need to know too much about sailing to appreciate what each sailor must overcome just to keep the boat sailing through sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Cole Brauer (left) and Boris Herrmann shoot a selfie together before the start of the NY Vendee ... [+] transatlantic race

But don’t just take my word for it. Boris Herrmann became one of the most popular offshore sailors during the previous Vendée Globe and other high-profile offshore races. And as an official Cole Brauer fan, I was excited to see Herrmann invited the aspiring Vendee Globe competitor to join his shore team.

I felt a huge appreciation for Cole’s achievements,” said Herrmann last week. “And I know how difficult that was in a Class 40, a boat harder to sail than an IMOCA 60. “It was a personal inspiration to follow her race. And I imagined having her here would give the Vendee Globe a footprint in the U.S. and we hope to see her at the Vendée Globe start in November.”

Stay tuned!

Bill Springer

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    At about 14-16 knots of wind speed, sailing catamarans can average 9-12 knots. Some high-end sailing catamarans can be even faster. For instance, the Gunboat 62 Tribe can sail up to 36.6 knots when the wind is between 35-45 knots. How Fast Are Power Cruising Catamarans? Unlike sailing catamarans, power catamarans do not rely on the wind to move.

  21. High-performance sailing

    The Extreme 40 catamaran can sail at 35 knots (65 km/h; 40 mph) in 20-25-knot (37-46 km/h; 23-29 mph) winds. The high-performance International C-Class Catamaran can sail at twice the speed of the wind. Hydrofoils. There are many varieties of sailing hydrofoils. Monohull examples include the International Moth, Laser, and AC75.

  22. Sailing Catamaran Speed

    There are indeed high-tech racing catamarans breaking speed records all the time. Still, the vessels that most liveaboard cruisers venture out on are only slightly faster than their monohull counterparts. ... For five years, my wife and I enjoyed catamaran sailing on a Lagoon 380. We then switched—for many reasons—to a Cabo Rico 38. The ...


    JUERGEN TERIETE. light speed marine is run by Juergen Teriete, sailing enthusiast and "everything-sailor" from childhood with 40 years sailing experience and enthusiasm. Starting with regatta sailing on the 420, through numerous racing dinghies and F18 catamarans to countless holiday trips on cruising yachts and catamarans of all lengths, there are probably few types of ship that he would ...

  24. Asymmetrical Racing Hulls Catamaran

    In a paper MTHcntcd at the 1977 Royal Yachting Association Speed Sailing Symposium, Derek Kelsall reported that tank testing of a five-foot inmumn model and resistance calculations for several multihulls using 23. high speed the International Offshore Multihull Rule (IOMR) equations both sailing resulted in smooth parabolic curves of the form ...

  25. The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between a Sailboat or Catamaran ...

    3. Stability: Sailboats: Monohulls can heel (lean) while sailing, which some sailors enjoy for the thrill but can be discomforting for others. Catamarans: Greater stability due to the dual hulls ...

  26. New 2024 Invincible 46 Catamaran, 29464 Mount Pleasant

    View this Power Catamarans and other Power boats on boattrader.com. Check out this New 2024 Invincible 46 Catamaran for sale in Mount Pleasant, SC 29464. ... This Boat is Powered by Quad Mercury 400 V10's. ... High Speed Pickup for Livewell Seachest.

  27. Single-Handed, Nonstop, Around-The-World Sailing Grabs The ...

    IMOCA 60 offshore racing sailboats grabbed the spotlight in NYC last week. NY Vendee. Now that Cole Brauer became the first American female in history to complete a solo, nonstop, sailing ...

  28. Gentle giants: New England's whale watching tours dive deep

    The view as the high-speed catamaran pulls away from Boston during the aquarium's whale watching tour. - Izzy Bryars After maneuvering away from the docks, the boat hit high speeds on the open ...