Thursday, July 10, 2008

Get a Cat* - Underway

Let Me Explain
Let Me Explain
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
Two men stand on a field of white. The one on the left is a handsome white man, about 50, distinguished, knowledgeable, and stylishly dressed for dinner at a seaside restaurant. He’s standing at an angle while trying with limited success to eat from a package of Cup-O-Noodles.

On the right is a much younger man, casually attired in Bermuda shorts, Crocs, an open T-shirt, and hailing from some mixed Pan-Pacific ancestry. He’s seated at a table with a glass of wine, a steaming bowl of what appears to be bouillabaisse, and a crusty loaf of bread.
A pleasant jingle plays unobtrusively in the background.

The younger man takes a sip and speaks first in a relaxed, cheerful tone of voice, “Hello, I’m a Catamaran.”

Monohull glances up and says wearily, “And I’m a Monohull.”

Catamaran addresses the audience, “Today, my friend Monohull and I have had a really nice sail down the coast. We left early this morning, but we are almost there. Good, strong winds and a bit of chop, but absolutely beautiful weather. I’ve been tacking a lot, but Monohull here has been having a great run pointed up into the wind. He’s made fantastic time!”

Monohull demurs, “Well, I don’t like to blast my own horn, but I do think I’ve made better time than you today. Just shows you, Catamaran, that you’re not as speedy as you thought, heh?”

Catamaran smiles and shakes his head in admiration, “You are so right, Monohull. This is your sea! You look great, sleek, fast!”

Monohull blushes and looks down, but clearly he’s rather proud of himself. “Well… you know… I am a trim vessel…” He pats his belly with a tired smile and allows, “It’s been a good day for both of us.”

Catamaran apparently agrees and stands, holding up his wine glass. “A toast to you, Monohull, for a well sailed trip!” The younger man is standing straight, throwing into sharp relief the slant of Monohull man. Catamaran looks full of energy and happy for his friend.

Monohull glances over, “A toast? What’s that?...” For the first time he notices Catamaran’s dinner, the elegant table setting, the steaming fragrant soup. He asks incredulously, “What are you eating?”

“Oh, we whipped up some soup from the shellfish we got at the market yesterday.” Catamaran glances at the table, then the glass in his hand. “Baked some bread, found a good bottle of Merlot in the starboard bow that I’d forgotten was there. I think we’ll make a crème brulee for dessert.” He turns his gaze to Monohull, “What are you having?”

Monohull glances at his Cup-O-Soup and then hurriedly hides it behind his back, “The same.”

Point of sail makes a difference. Catamarans do not point as high into the wind as monohulls. So depending on the wind direction, you can find yourself following a monohull all day long as you tack back and forth, or you can sail off on a downwind run at half again their speed but way out of your way. It is a rare day when you're lucky enough to turn the much ballyhoo'd speed differential of your multi-hull into an actual improvement in time to anchor.

Name That Mountain
Name That Mountain
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
However, a crucial difference in sailing a catamaran is that the double-hulls dramatically reduce heel. So no matter how good the sail or how long it takes you to get there, you've spent the day on a largely even surface. Just the lean alone on a fast moving monohull can exhaust the crew. Cooking on a swinging stove is dicey at best. Moving on the slanting deck can be tricky, slippery, and add to the fatigue. Soups and liquids are not happy at a 20 degree tilt either.

Ditching the rail on a leaner represents the height of sailing excitement, and at times we regret the loss of that exhilarating feeling of speed and movement. However, for the long haul, we prefer to arrive refreshed and ready to dance the night away at the local cantina.

* Author’s Note: All credit to the Get a Mac marketing team whose incredibly clever work inspired this series.

No comments: