Publié le 2023 May, 3rd

Living aboard a catamaran

Making the Ocean your home, the waters your day and the horizon your only limit.


Living aboard a catamaran is always an adventure and it’s necessary to prepare it carefully, to be able to live it with passion. Whether you’re going on a year-long adventure or whether you wish to sail according to the sea and your desires for an indefinite period, life aboard a catamaran-type boat reserves its shares of questions, mysteries, and surprises.

Here are all my tips to make your living experience on board a successful one!


Olivié Pérétié, French journalist and writer, specialist in sailing.


Coque 44 Open

Which boat to choose?

To make the most of your crossing and make it an adventure as rewarding as unforgettable, the choice of your boat is crucial.


Fast, stable, and spacious, with shallow draught allowing safe moorings close to the shores, catamarans will make real allies of choice for long ocean crossings, requiring comfortable, sturdy, and reliable boats.

For long sailings, the ideal is to prefer technical catamarans, designed for living on board. The elegant design of the Nautitech 40 Open and 44 Open , thanks to their large living areas connecting the cockpit and the saloon, offer real spaces of sharing conceived for community living. Their many rooms with lovely volume bathed in natural light guarantee the preservation of everyone’s personal space, while promising beautiful moments of sharing.


And if the comfort of the boat is an essential variable to live this adventure of life at sea in the best way, the reliability and performance of the catamaran as well as the safety on board are even more so. Because, whether you intend to go solo sailing, as a couple or with family and friends, you will only be fully comfortable if you are in full possession of the capabilities of a boat whose performance is no longer to prove and fulfill your requirements and needs. And if you combine daily comfort and real feeling at the helm.


You can then, depending on the size of your crew, the length of your trip and the amount of your budget, choose the ideal model for you.

44 Open en pleine mer

Maneuvering and sailing

When you arrive on board, the size of a catamaran could be intimidating.

At equal length, these boats are two times larger than monohulls.


This feature could generate a bit of anxiety during the first maneuvers in port.

Because there comes that moment very quickly when, once the boatbuilder people have completed the handover, you must fend by yourself.

But the anxiety flies away in a blink of an eye. On board catamarans, having two engines generates serenity. Because the flow of propellers located closest to the rudders, at the very back of the hulls, could not be more efficient.


This feature gives a surprising maneuverability to these spacious boats. To the point that, it’s often easier to fit them into a berth than their single hull cousins. Thus, when the thrust of each engine is reversed, these large units make U-turns on the spot with the grace of ballerinas.

If each of their sterns is equipped with a platform ideally located at pontoon height, (like the Nautitech 44 Open), disembarking and boarding become as easy as pie, thus facilitating greatly the comings and goings during mooring maneuvers.


When access to the assigned space is tricky, the solution is to arrive in reverse and slightly oblique from the pontoon (thus presenting the “corner” of the boat first, hence the advantage of having the helms stations at the back of the hulls, the approach can be dosed to the millimeter).

Then, it is very simple to pass a warp from the rear cleat and harden it on the dock (or doubling it), and to push the opposite bow, using only the engine of the farthest hull.

All that remains is to fine-tune the mooring. Easy to perform by two crew, this maneuver can even be carried out alone without stress.


At sea the maneuvering of a catamaran benefits from the enormous advantage of a stable platform. Which doesn’t mean it doesn’t move! But the huge beam and the absence of heeling allow a middle-age couple as well as a family crew to stay relaxed when embarking for an ocean crossing. The couple aboard the Nautitech 40 Open El Gaucho set sail around the world without being able to justify a nautical experience comparable to that of Tabarly.

navigation nautitech

On board their Nautitetech 46 Open Kumbaya, the Dolley family uses less and less the electric winch they preferred to equip themselves (it greatly facilitates the hoisting of the mainsail when leaving the harbour): parents and teenagers got used to know how to sheet in or furl the solent, reef the mainsail, or hoist a Code Zero, without getting exhausted turning the winch handles.


Do not hesitate to widely bear away to furl the solent or the Code Zero. Offshore, you have all the space you need; thus, the apparent wind speed is considerably reduced. The distance lost is insignificant, but the effort required is much lower and the sails wear less.


For taking reef, the priority must also be to dodge fatigue. As the boat is not heeling, the only alerts are based on sensations and anemometer indications which should be monitored as soon as the weather is uncertain. It is of course mandatory to follow the sail reduction table provided by Nautitech.


Better yet, apply this unstoppable rule: as soon as you begin to wonder if you should take a reef, it is time to do it. Offshore, when you anticipate, you win. In making things easier (a reef taken before the rising wind requires much less sweat) and in providing serenity.

Another useful tip in ocean crossing: each time you reduce or make more sails, check the possible wear and tear of the mainsail halyard.



Food aboard a catamaran

Crucial issue if there ever was one.


After the first moments of possible unease or even nausea, the sea increases the appetite tenfold! And the incomparable advantages of catamarans, is that they allow the whole crew to sit at the dining table and take together the three main meals.


Especially on board the Nautitech: just like their interior saloon, their cockpit perfectly protected from the spray, rain and even the tropical blazing sun allows an almost complete vision on the horizon. It is therefore possible to eat while keeping watch.

Having fixed schedules for these three gastronomic rendezvous will help creating a good harmony on board.

It is generally taken for granted that the average energy requirement for a female adult reaches 2 200 calories per day, when a male adult needs 2 500 cal.


As physical exertion increases at sea, even on board a catamaran -if only to compensate for the movements of the boat- some specialists consider that it would be wise to retain the respective values of 2 600 and 3 000 calories. Keep in mind that this is average. Children needs are lower when those of teenagers are significantly greater.

To make your food supply, before even thinking about composing the menus over a week or more and to dose the intake of carbohydrates, proteins and fats (by complying with the 421 cpf rule recommended by nutritionists, so for each meal, four servings of carbohydrates, two of proteins and one of fat), wisdom recommends asking everyone about their tastes and habits. Questions that will not be asked by families, generally aware of these preferences.


When the time comes to fill the supermarket trolleys, do not hesitate to plan big. To deal with any unforeseen event that would lengthen the planned crossing and because a catamaran offers large storage volumes.

If, as the Kumbaya family, there is a freezer on board, frozen meat, fish, vegetables, and fruits can be stored widely. And even dessert and ice cream! The refrigerator will preserve dairy products, drinks and other fresh food.


Do not forget that in the open air in the tropics, fresh vegetables and fruits will not last much more than five to ten days maximum. Provide suspended nets to place them. Finally, do not hesitate to take on board, in addition to classic preserves, self-heating dishes for those days when bad weather will deprive anyone of the desire to cook.

Provide plenty of drinking water. Even if there is a water maker on board. Even if the water from the tanks can be consumed, a solid reserve of bottled mineral water is never superfluous:  well dosed in mineral salts, this water will taste good and will help everyone measure their hydration at sea. Two liters per day per person is a minimum.


Bearing in mind that if seasickness is rampant at the beginning of the crossing, sugar water is often the only food that its victim will agree to ingest… As for the total amount of water consumed daily, it will be necessary to monitor the use of the shower, so comfortable in catamaran… but which easily takes the consumed volumes well beyond ten liters per day.


Here is another definite advantage of catamarans.


These sailboats are equipped with two engines, which certainly increases the fuel consumption, but also safety.

And of course, they are sources of electrical energy production, thanks to their alternators.


But they should not be used to cover all the needs of everyday life.


Who wants to hear the engines purring three hours a day when crossing an ocean?

Before reviewing other potential sources of energy on board, it is therefore necessary to draw up the electrical balance of the catamaran. Here, the advice of Nautitech professionals will be valuable.


In the meantime, here are some useful benchmarks on the consumption of the devices on board. Knowing that most of the Nautitech owners on a long trip have chosen to keep a voltage of 12 volts for the electrical circuit, it is time to take a calculator and add up the needs of big consumers on board, those that operate twenty-four hours a day.


Count five amps on average for the autopilot, the refrigerator (up to ten for a freezer, depending of the quality of the insulation), and the chart plotter and the displays.


Add to that the intermittent devices:


  • Pressurized water (6 amps)
  • Computer (4 to 6 amps)
  • Radar (3 amps approx.)
  • Watermaker (1 amp. for each produced liter)
  • And possibly the washing machine (80 amps), very greedy, therefore, to use sparingly.

To avoid unpleasant surprises, you can decide that the electric winch (150 amps) will only work, like the windlass, with the engines on. Thanks to the LEDs, the consumption of the running lights, the deck projector and the interior lighting is much lower than it used to be.


Once the calculations are done with the universal formula:


  • P (in watts) = U (in volts) x I (in amps)-,


and the needs on twenty-four hours specified, you can choose the battery capacity. Bearing in mind that conventional lead-acid batteries age very quickly if they fall below 50 % charge, unlike lithium-ion modules, more compact, lighter but much more expansive. As an example, Kumbaya has an AGM battery park of 810 amps hour.


To charge these batteries, once again the advantage of catamarans is obvious. You can cover their large roof aeras with solar panels. Kumbaya’s have a power of 1 200 watts. However, given the grey days when the cells yield little and nights when they give nothing, adding a hydrogenator can be a very effective solution.


At eight knots, an average speed easily reached by the Nautitech, a device like this will cover most of the consumption on board.

As for the wind turbines, keep in mind two disadvantages: when crossing the oceans by the trade wind route, you sail most of the time on a broad reach (or even like Kumbaya, dead downwind, with the mainsail furled and wearing only a Parasailor hyper-stable spinnaker type), a point of sailing where the apparent wind is light.

As for anchorages, the best are often located along the leeward coasts, well sheltered from the wind…


The Diesel generator can then appear as the absolute answer to the needs of electrical energy. Surely.


With several reservations, however: in addition to its price, this equipment forces to carry the additional fuel necessary for its consumption. It therefore means extra weight. And generates -it is the case to say- possibly an additional concern: its maintenance is not always easy in remote islands.

coucher de soleil

Life aboard a catamaran

Whether travelling with family, friends or as couple, the crews of Nautitech catamarans all testify to a fact on which earthlings are often wrong: life offshore is both easier and more serene than in cabotage near the coast.


Because once the rhythm is set, the worries fly away.

All that remains is to make the most of a fluid time, with only night watches and daily meals as an appointment.

Thanks to the complete protection provided by the saloon-cockpit as well as the nacelle of the Nautitech, keeping watch is not a tiring task. Even less stressful. To the point that the Kumbaya family is keeping watch like that: parents are on watch during nighttime and children during daytime! Simply…


Reading, fishing, schooling, emailing (via an Iridium go satellite box), navigating, weather forecasting and seldom maneuvering, days and nights pass quickly. The AIS (Automatic Identification System) alarm warns of the approach of the ships. The autopilot is responsible for steering the catamaran.


All that remains is to monitor the wear and tear and maintain the boat. Take the opportunity to well recommend avoiding clogging the toilets, a much more frequent incident than you may think. This is why some crew refrain from depositing any sheet of toilet paper in the bowl…


Remember that offshore, we throw out our blackwaters into the sea. It is only near the coast and at anchor that the use of the holding tank is mandatory. As for the gray waters, care must be taken to use the least aggressive detergents possible.


Living at anchor

On a long catamaran trip, you will spend 80 % of the time at anchor (with long incursions into the marinas for possible repairs, health imperatives, even administrative formalities.)


You thus don’t hesitate to equip yourself with a good RIB tender with a reasonably powerful outboard engine (not too weak for the days when the wind is blowing hard nor too strong which will mean weight and consumption).


In aiming for nine to fifteen horsepower, you cover almost every needs. The catamaran offers again an advantage: hoisted on its davits between the two hulls, the tender benefits from a location that is as protected as functional.

Anchorage constraints are primarily linked to administrative formalities -clearance for official entry in the country, and later departure-, the need to replenish the stock of food, fresh water, and fuel, and to unload the garbage bags.


If the boat has been equipped with a dedicated antenna, you will be able to get the wifi on board, which is very useful to communicate.


For the rest, everything is happiness: snorkeling (or scuba diving for qualified people), windsurfing or paddling, sailing an inflatable dinghy and using all sorts of water games that this wonderful two-hulls nautical dwelling with impregnable view authorizes. Its volumes and spaces allow to carry a real panoply of nautical accessories.


Living aboard a catamaran is inhabiting the sea, exploring the land, and feeling as free as the air.