Hammock Beach Marina, 2022
Are two hulls better than one?
You bet your bimini catamaran owners think so! Over the last five years, catamarans, or cats for short, have exploded in popularity. Just some of the reasons for their fame are their stability, shallow draft, speed, storage, and light and airy living areas. Cruising catamarans have large hulls that can fit several cabins, and accommodate large structures on the bridge deck - like a galley, salon, and living area.
Florida’s best destination to dock your catamaran
Even with their rise in popularity, catamaran owners still find it difficult to hit upon a marina that offers wide-beam slips to properly accommodate large and wide vessels. One that does it flawlessly is Hammock Beach Marina in Palm Coast, Florida. If you’re cruising takes you outside of the Palm Coast area, a quick phone call to the marina you’re considering will tell you if they have the accommodations you require.
Another notable benefit of docking at the Hammock Beach is that it is part of the celebrated Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa. This means that boaters can enjoy its generous and luxurious list of amenities. While there, you can relax at the spa, take in a round of golf, walk along the beach, or jump right into one of their many pools. There is also a fitness center and tennis courts. When you’re hungry, there’s no need to leave the resort. Everything from an oceanfront seafood restaurant and a sushi bar, to a sports bar, Italian steakhouse, and ocean bar and café are just steps away. Should you prefer a quiet night, you can place a takeout order for onboard dining.
Hammock Beach Marina’s long list of amenities also includes concrete floating docks, pump out, 30-, 50- & 100-amp electric service, showers & laundry, wifi, transportation to the Club, and 24-hour security on-site.
Business meets pleasure
If you’re trip mixes business with pleasure, Hammock Beach Golf Resort & Spa’s events staff has you covered. Their spectacular grounds can accommodate everything from birthdays to meetings and corporate galas. Plus, their friendly and knowledgeable staff, voted “Best On-Site Support Staff”, can help you every step of the way.
Tips for docking and swinging your catamaran
Because catamarans have dual engines and twin props, maneuvering in close quarters is really a straightforward and easy process. The truth is that although the lack of keel(s), high freeboard, and the boat’s light weight might be off-putting at first, it will pass. Because the dual engines and twin-propeller configuration are awesome tools - even when space is tight, and wind and current are challenging.
Forget the wheel!
If you’re new to catamarans, the first thing you want to learn is to forget the wheel and leave the rudders in a neutral position. There will come a time when the rudders will be helpful, but save that until you’ve gathered enough experience. Because the boat’s twin propellers are far apart, it’s just not necessary to use the rudders. For that matter, when learning to dive a catamaran, rudders may add an unnecessary dynamic.
The main principle you want to grasp is that a catamaran can pivot in its own length, without moving for or aft. When you advance one throttle and reverse the other equally, the boat will simply rotate on its centerline axis. Cool, right? Now when you apply greater and lesser power to the respective throttles, you’ll pivot from the side that you’ve applied less power. Here’s an example; to pivot to port, use slightly less reverse power to your port engine, and slightly more forward power to your starboard engine. If you want to pivot to starboard, just do the opposite.
Slow is the way to go!
A catamaran can be operated at very slow speeds. The reason is that you don’t need to create a flow over the rudders in order to turn. That’s why seasoned catamaran owners know that “Slow is the way to go.”
Back into a Slip
The good news is that backing into a slip is easier with a catamaran than a monohull. That’s because there are twin counter-rotating propellers that don’t create prop walk - the pull to one side when a single screw boat is in reverse. To back into a slip you only need to pull up until perpendicular with the slip, pivot the boat with the engines (as described above) then use both in reverse. You can adjust as you back up if there’s wind or current to deal with.
Docking and departure
Coming alongside or departing from a dock is also easy to master. With a properly placed spring line and fenders, combined with careful use of the throttles, you can bring your catamaran neatly alongside even a crowded dock. For instance, when leaving a portside tie-up with boats both fore and aft, place a fender on your port quarter. Then put the starboard engine in reverse until the bows pivot out, clearing the boat ahead. Then drive forward, first with the port, then with both engines.
Don’t expect to coast
Catamarans don’t coast well. The reason for this is that they don’t have a deep keel to track. So, trying to coast to a dock at a shallow angle, then going into reverse and using prop walk to move your stern in, won’t work like it does on a monohull boat.
Written by: Jo Montgomery