When considering a windsurf cat, it’s a good idea to look at the catamaran version compared with the more common surfboard mount for windsurfing. By contrasting and comparing, the differences become more apparent. The advantages and disadvantages of both types of windsurfing aid the novice in deciding which version is right for them.
A catamaran is a small boat with two halves that are connected in the middle. Many people refer to them as butterfly-shaped. The catamaran is bigger than the regular surfboard most often utilized in this sport. With the variation in size, there are differences in the sail, mast and rigging.
The Windsurf Cat was developed because the physical rigors of sailing on windsurf boards are quite substantial. A typical set up with the board requires tremendous strength and agility. The sailor supports the mast physically. The boom and the harnesses keep it secure, but the strength and endurance required for regular windsurfing is significant. The board is also more susceptible to tipping, causing falls.
A board-based windsurfing athlete must be quite strong in order to be up to the challenge of sailing a board windsurfing rig. They must be able to stand for long periods of time, working to balance the board with their body and the rigging. They are also constantly impacted with waves and their knees are the only shock absorbing apparatus. The physical stress is often really hard on some people who desire to windsurf.
For many folks, the Windsurf Cat is a great option. This catamaran version has a more balanced base. It does not require the sailor to stand. Additionally, the windsurfer does not physically support the sail, mast and boom. Instead, an apparatus attaches the rigging to the catamaran base.
Windsurfing with a catamaran offers a smoother ride. It is much less bumpy. Many who would suffer greatly from the shock and momentum of a board-based windsurfing experience enjoy the increased smooth sail. Because the catamaran is constructed with a larger base, the sail and rigging are also different on the windsurf cat. The sail must be larger and the harnessing and maneuvering is done using a mechanical rig support.
It’s important to note that while the catamaran version of windsurfing may sound like a walk in the park, there is still substantial skill required to handle it out in the water. There is a different skill set required to pilot the butterfly-shaped windsurfing boat. It’s best to learn from a skilled instructor.
A windsurfer sailing with the traditional board will have much more control and maneuverability on the water than a windsurfer sailing a catamaran. A windsurf cat offers stability, but it is a substantially bigger boat. Due to its size, it is more sluggish and less responsive in the water. The difference in steering techniques and the use of the mechanized rig controls also impact the ability to turn quickly. Windsurfers that use boards are able to travel at much higher speeds than those using a catamaran for windsurfing. The trade off in stability and comfort is that the ride is slower, steadier and a bit more cumbersome. For those that want to have a windsurfing experience, but cannot withstand the physical rigors of a board, a windsurf cat is a great option.