Catamarans require outboard motors that can range from small say 6 h.p. long shaft engines right up to 90 h.p. beasts! Catamarans are easily driven through the water because of their long narrow hulls.  Sailing catamarans will mainly use outboards for manoeuvring in marinas and anchorages.  Or when the wind is dead ahead!  I have owned and sailed several catamarans.  I remember one incident over 20 years ago when having bought the cat during the winter and tested the outboard briefly when alongside as it entered the water for the season, I found myself in trouble.  I did all the usual checks – made sure the engine ran OK  selected gears – OK , plenty of fuel etc.  Then set off down river 2 hours after high tide.  20 minutes into the journey the outboard stopped turning the propellor!  The engine was going but the propellor was not.  By this time, with the outgoing tidal current moving us at 5 knots downstream and not way of using the outboard, we were in trouble.  Thankfully, before I could get to the anchor, another boat noticed we were having difficulty and offered a tow.  Since then I have had another catamaran and it was fitted with twin diesels in each hull!

I guess the point I would like to make is – have twin outboards fitted to your catamaran!  The benefits are more than just safety.  Two engines 10 feet apart or more provide you with tremendous manoeuvrability. You can turn the cat on a sixpence (as they say)!  For a small sailing catamaran of less than 27 feet (8 metres) I would recommend a minimum of two 8 h.p. outboards.  If you can afford it I would ideally choose two 15 h.p. motors. Remember you do not have to use them both at the same time, all the time.  Alternate their use when going from A to B.  Then start them both up when going into a marina or harbour or anchorage.  Notice the faces of boat owners as you skillfully handle your catamaran using these two outboards. Envy!

For those that have bought a motor catamaran, you will need more powerful engines.  Motor catamarans are really becoming popular!  Having used a cat for many years it comes as no surprise that people are turning to power cats as pleasure craft.  Twin installations is the way to go, with at least 60 h.p. plus on each transom.  These boats are fairly economical and do not need 100 h.p. plus outboards to make them travel fast!

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