Catamaran technique - part 4

Leading Dutch sailor Hans Bouscholte on his approach to long distance cat racing
Hans Bouscholte is one of the most outstanding long-distance cat sailors of our times. He holds the Round Texel record, with a time of 2 hours, 30 minutes and 9 seconds around the Dutch island, which has become somewhat of a Mecca for catamaran racers. Perhaps more impressively, the Dutchman holds the record for crossing the Atlantic in a 20-foot open catamaran. He still has the scars from his passage four years ago from Dakar to Guadeloupe which, together with French sailing partner Gerard Navarin, he completed in 15 days and 2 hours. He also became the first non-Frenchman to win the Tour Voile, and he was skipper of the Dutch Whitbread 60 Brunel Sunergy . But here, Hans Bouscholte shares some of his hard-earned experience in long-distance cat sailing. Preparation Before any long-distance event in a small cat, it’s vital to get a lot of training. You need to learn how to sail the boat at night, which is pretty hard. Sailing a beach cat for four or five hours is fun, but when you sail for 15 hours, that’s when the fun disappears and it becomes hard work. I can think of one experienced Tornado sailor, who went out sailing from Palamos, and went out sailing for one night and said ‘never again’. You must do a training run to make sure that you are suited to this style of racing. It is not something to be taken lightly. Note also that when you pack a small cat with a lot of safety gear and food, it completely alters the hull stability of the boat. When we had the boat for the ocean crossing, we couldn’t right it. If we’d have capsized it, the race would have been over. So do your training with the same gear that you’ll be