Reefing a Catamaran


Reefing a cruising catamaran is normally determined by wind speed and not the action of the boat itself. It is difficult to determine when a catamaran is over powered because - of course - it does not heel significantly, heeling being the main warning or being over-canvassed on a monohull.
Because a catamaran cannot heel to spill wind out of the sails, the only way to escape the wind pressure on the sails is to accelerate. If the boat is overpowered you can often see this by looking at the leeward hull- if it is being pushed down into the water excessively, or the scoop has water up to the steps. In that case, you are carrying too much sail and need to reef. Always remember the old saying " if you think that you should have reefed then you should have already done so"

The best solution is to have a wind speed rule on when to reef, is based on the APPARENT wind speed. This will differ from boat to boat as they all perform differently depending on beam and bouyancy. Here is a guideline

Tips for squalls: