Tuesday, April 3, 2018

C is for Catamaran. Also Crazy.

from the Polynesian for logs tied together
see also:
method to simultaneously soak tourists in salt water while convincing them they are having fun.

Ah, catamaran.
I'm not talking about those ginormous America's Cup boats with the hydrofoils, or even the sleeps four comfortably while you cruise the islands in search of rum drinks.
Oh no.
I'm talking about those dual pontoons with a mesh sling between, flying over the water, usually only one pontoon submerged, as the captain desperately tries to keep the boat upright.
You've seen them.
there they are. innocently awaiting their next victims
Admit it.
You watch just to see the whole boat teeter precariously before giving in to gravity and flipping over, leaving its crew dangling on the sideways pontoon looking confused.

Or is that just me?

Thanks Catamaran.
Because of you, every single person who sets foot on our monohull sailboat is convinced they will flip over and go for a swim.
I promise you, our boat will not easily capsize. It has several failsafes built in.
If we are heeling (leaning) so far to one side that control is gone and a simple turn will not help then all Rob needs to do is release the mainsail and the wind will be lost, thus uprighting the boat.
Or, I can drop the sails entirely. Same effect.
Of course the biggest safety feature is the gigantic MESS and subsequent hissy fit to deal with should the boat actually capsize.

But, back to Catamarans.
We had the good fortune to spend a luxurious week at a luxurious resort in Jamaica where all non-motorized water craft were included in our stay. Naturally we (Rob) had to give the little Hobie-Cats a try.
We've rented sailboats before and fully expected a few questions about ability, rules of the road, next of kin...
We were asked two questions:
You feel comfortable with this one?
You see that reef, where the waves are breaking violently? Well, don't go past them.

Or the imaginary rope marking the resort's portion of ocean, which in my head was yellow and accompanied by imaginary snipers in palm trees waiting to take out the errant sailor who looks like they might be absconding to Montego Bay.

We carried the small boat to the water, climbed in and headed directly for the reef.
Really quickly.
Thanks to Rob's endless, obsessive study of sailing and my professional job as ballast, our little cat soared, turned and soared some more.
It was exhilarating and such fun. The wind. The spray. Our friends went with us one afternoon and I am not sure they stopped smiling the entire evening.
That's the beauty of island sailing. The winds tend to blow consistently in one direction – see 'Trade Winds'. And in this case, that wind blew directly down the coast past all three versions of the lux resort towards the imaginary roped off end of the world.
This is us! Our friend the Fireman snapped this one. 
Way to go, Fireman!
Downwind sailing was exhilarating.
Returning to the boat hut, upwind, was a challenge.
Especially if you were the poor guy who has never been on a sailboat and just can't seem to manuever the boat back up the shore. But it's vacation and you really wanted to try something new.
You know, the guys we skimmed past.
It's not that we wouldn't have helped them. Each time, just as one of us was about to say, 'maybe we should go help those guys' they would begin a turn and look to be almost there, causing us to pass, at which point the one in charge of the tiller and main would freak out and turn the boat downwind again.
que the theme from Gilligan's Island,
or that scene in Club Paradise where the guy takes a sailboard out and never returns
We managed to get our serpentine return trip with just enough minutes to spare in our hour time limit to laughingly make plans for the next day's outing. An elderly lady standing in the shade of her gigantic straw hat smiled and in a strong New Jersey accent commented, 'you really seem to know what you're doing out there!'
At last, the validation we had always hoped to get! Sailing approval by a complete stranger. And on top of an amazing morning on the water!

Later at lunch, we noticed several catamarans from early in the morning, still floundering near the imaginary rope well within the scope of the imaginary sniper, clearly past their one hour allotment.
Eventually the boat hut guy appeared, helped drag the boat to shore, unloaded the exhausted sailors and promptly charged them fifty dollars for a 'rescue'. He then proceded to quickly sail the stranded boat back to its home.

The elderly lady in the big straw hat just happened to be sitting behind us at lunch leaned in and said, 'he really knows what he's doing too!'

We all laughed.
Is that wrong?
they are quite lovely
even as they lay in wait for tomorrow....

Up for tomorrow: D – Dramanine. Oh, yeah. We're going there...

Click on the link: a-to-zchallenge.com for more alphabetically themed posts!


  1. The only time I tried to sail a catamaran like one of these was an absolute disaster - the person I was with said they knew what they were doing (they lied!) and we ended up stranded out to sea and had to be rescued by the hire company - never again!

    Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au
    C for Consider Every Angle

    1. I can completely see how that would happen! I don’t think I would try one alone.

  2. Now I don't know too much about sailing but I have seen enough catamarans to know they are a dangerous idea! :-)

    1. Those little ones can be! As are the super fast America’s Cup boats. We have considered the more sedate cruising style for a vacation sometime-they are roomier inside.

  3. What a vacation! Boy could I use a week of blue water and non-motorized toys to play with in here soon.

    Love the story. Sounds like the boat rental place has got a good system worked out! :D

    1. I agree! Having a definite Vitamin Sea deficiency!

  4. I've only been on really big catamarans in Greece. I can't imagine trying to steer one.

    1. Oooo-would love to try those big ones in Greece!

  5. I grew up in Illinois. I don't foresee my husband and me moving back, but I do want to live in Michigan on Lake Michigan! Thank for visiting my blog. I'll have to check out A Little Paris Bookshop!

    1. We haven’t tried the Great Lakes for sailing yet. But Port Huron looks lovely. I hope you like Little Paris Bookshop.

  6. Me: Not a sailor on any level. I could write a "D" story! Love to see your humor in print. I will get to the next letter posts!

    1. Thank you Suzanne! There is nothing wrong with being part of the D club!! Lol!


Got a Hairnet sighting? Other weirdness?