Best Seat in the House
A critical look at various steering positions on cruising catamarans, their advantages and drawbacks
By Gregor Tarjan
The cruising catamaran has come a long way from its Polynesian origins. New building materials, advances in production techniques, findings in aero and hydrodynamics have shaped this once ancient sailing craft into the most popular cruising and live aboard platform. What has remained a constant in the last 50 years however has been the basic layout and accommodation plan. Saloon and cockpit are on the main deck and staterooms and heads below. The galley is the few variables – as especially on cats above 40’ it can be found either in the hulls or on the main deck. Rather different are the steering stations which designers either place in the stern, midships, on so called “mezzanine” helm stations, the flybridge or even in front of the coachroof. The vast majority of cruising cats utilize wheels although some builders offer additional tillers helmed via aft seats. Each of these steering positions has their advantages and drawbacks in terms of the activities of keeping watch, sail handling and weather protection. There are some few iterations of these basic steering positions but we will focus on the most popular….
This article appeared in Blue Water Sailing Magazine’s Multihull Quarterly Aug/Sept 2016 issue