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A new experience
It's taken me far too long to get around to writing this blog, I have now finished my AS Exams though so I thought I would finally get on with it.
The monohull/catamaran debate often seems to split the sailing world, and I have always sailed monohull boats but few weekends ago, I sailed a catamaran for the first time! It was the Dart 18 open at Stokes Bay, I saw an advert for someone looking for a crew; with no Laser events on, and club sailing cancelled for the open, I decided it would be a good chance to see what cat sailing is all about.
Before going sailing the biggest thing that surprised me about the Darts was just how similar each boat was, even more so than one design boats like the Laser. Every single block, rope, foil, and spar is identical, so like the Laser, the racing is down to the sailors.
On the Saturday we had very little wind, but the race officer did a good job managing to get one fair race in. It wasn't the most exciting sailing I have ever done, and it certainly wasn't very comfy, but it was fun to get a feel for what it is like to sail a cat.
On the Sunday there was no wind to start the day off, but by 12 we had a nice sea breeze building, and the race officer managed to get 4 good races in before the 3:30 time limit. With enough wind to get trapezing, the upwind legs were a bit more fun, however sitting on the leeward side holding out the jib, and getting very wet, whilst going downwind wasn't so much.
The weekend was a new experience, and one that I did enjoy, but not one that I would want to swap for Laser sailing. The Darts just don't seem particularly exciting, even in the nice 16-19 knots we had on Sunday. They seem too big and cumbersome to be as fun to sail as a Laser, and don't feel as quick and exhilarating to sail as a high performance monohull like a 29er.
With the more modern catamarans like the flying Phantom and the foiling AC boats, I can see why cat sailing is becoming more popular. Personally however, I think I would much rather stick with my Laser for now.
On another note, this weekend just gone was my first Laser open of the year and there were some great conditions in Chichester, but I will leave that for another blog soon...