Multihulls – Do Your Homework Before Hauling

We became multihull owners over ten years ago after purchasing our first trimaran and have never looked back. There is a lot to be said about staying flat while sailing fast. Soon the 27ft tri was sold for a 34ft tri. Eventually, creature comforts trumped speed and last year the 40ft cruising catamaran was purchased. Although multihulls offer smooth sailing on the water, they can present challenges when it comes time to haul out. By doing the proper homework you can make the process run smoothly without extra pain to your wallet.

Let’s begin by stating the obvious. Multihulls are wider than monohulls thereby limiting the facilities available for your haul out. Many facilities have travel lifts capable of handling the weight of multihulls; however, their haul out bay may only be 20ft wide. Facilities catering to megayachts may have the lift and bay size needed, but the air draft leading into the marina may not be acceptable.

Once you’ve narrowed down the facilities determine if their hauling equipment is right for your boat. Options include:

Travel Lift: Cloth slings are strategically positioned under the hulls lifting the boat out of the water.

Marine Railway: The boat is floated onto a platform then secured to a cradle with dock lines to prevent any movement. The platform meets the bottom of the hulls and they are moved ashore as one unit.

Crane: Utilizes lifting eyes on the deck to lift the boat out of the water.

Hydraulic Lift: A large forklift is positioned under the bridge deck to lift the boat.

Knowing where the lifting points are on the boat is your responsibility, not the boatyard’s. Not all multihulls are created equal. Center of gravity, position of rigging, and sail drive placement all play a major role. Where should you place the slings when hauling with a travel lift? Can your bridge deck support the weight of your entire boat? Are those eyes topside lifting points or will they rip out? You need to understand your boat before hauling.

Manufacturer’s drawings are a multihull owner’s best friend. These will clearly define where the lifting points are on your multihull. If drawings are not available, ask other owners how they have successfully hauled their boat. Manufacturer-specific forums are a great resource and owners are happy to answer questions. A word of advice: Run away from the marina who says, “We hauled a Catana 471 last week, so we’ll use the same procedure for your Lagoon 440.” Catanas use lifting points on deck while the Lagoon must hang in the sling. We can’t emphasize enough; know how your boat should be hauled.

We recently hauled our catamaran in south Florida for bottom paint and sail drive service. The quotes were as diverse as the types of multihulls in the world. Charges to expect are:

Haul out: Typically quoted by the foot, however, some marinas offer a flat rate. Is this rate roundtrip? Trust us, you need to ask. Does it include pressure wash?

Pressure wash: Most of the time this is included in the haul out, but you need to ask.  Double or triple hulls may mean extra labor costs.

Environmental fees: This fee could include plastic sleeves placed over the straps of a sling to not only protect their straps but also your boat. There also may be a fee for a containment systems keeping the grime sprayed off the boats from reentering the water.

Lay time: How many days will you be on shore? Work closely with the yard to minimize your cost.

Other fees: Some marinas require a diver for proper strap placement. There also could be extra blocking fees to support both hulls.

Have the marina itemize your quote. If the quote is too good to be true, it probably is.

You rely on your boat to keep you safe at sea, so take the extra time to do your homework to keep her safe on land.


All At Sea’s US editor Terry Boram discovered her passion for writing and photography after leaving corporate America behind ten years ago. She finds many of her inspirations while sailing with her husband Clint in South Florida.