For the past fifteen years, I have listened to sailors tell me how
dangerous it is to sail the seven seas in a catamaran. They point out
that in a storm, the catamaran may flip over. They are right.
The catamaran may capsize, but it will not sink. An inverted catamaran
becomes the most expensive life raft in the world.
The Privilege catamaran shown in this picture is a sister ship of Exit Only.
This catamaran capsized while at anchor during hurricane Ivan in Grenada
when the winds were blowing 170 miles per hour. The wind speed was so great
that wind under the bridge deck lifted the catamaran into the air causing
it to flip. Although the catamaran went airborne, the Bruce anchor
held without dragging, and the catamaran never blew ashore.
I have always wondered whether the structure of my catamaran would survive
the impact of flipping over. Now I know the answer. Since this
one flipped over in 170 mph winds, we can unequivocally say that a Privilege
39 catamaran should remain structurally sound in a capsize. These
photos show all the sides of this cat, and you can see that the yacht held
together just fine. The hull remained completely intact. This is one strong
yacht. Doing the same thing to some boats would split the hull and decks wide
The mast did not survive the capsize because it occurred in shallow water.
The mast broke at the first spreader. This catamaran was inverted for
two weeks before it was turned right side up. As expected, the boat
had extensive water damage to its interior. All of the
wiring required replacement and the interior will require major revision
because of the prolonged immersion.
Although it is sad to see a catamaran capsize, I have to admit that I was
glad to see what happens to a Privilege 39 when it capsizes. I now
know that my yacht can survive a capsize in winds up to 170 mph.
I have a great deal of confidence in the performance and durability of my
catamaran. I have sailed 33,000 miles with winds up to fifty knots on
multiple occasions. In every instance, our cat was well behaved and
never once did we feel like our lives were in danger. Whenever our
boat takes a licking, it keeps on ticking.
So there you have it. Catamarans can capsize even while at anchor.
But if they do, your boat will probably survive, and you will live to see
Thank you Exit Only. I bet my life on you, and you
came through for me. You are an honest and seaworthy vessel.
Addendum: The owners of the capsized catamaran must have a great deal
of confidence in the Privilege 39 design, because after they lost their
first one, they turned around and purchased
an identical one. Their first Privilege was named "Marbles", and the
replacement was called "Lost Our Marbles."