Catamaran Daggerboards and Keels – Woods Interview # 9

I am with Richard Woods, and we are talking about catamarans. He’s a legendary catamaran designer and experienced catamaran sailor of many different designs. This is one of several interviews we’re having on different topics. Today, we’re talking about daggerboards versus keels. Richard will tell us a little bit about how daggerboards work, how keels work, and what some of the benefits of each are. For more from Richard Woods, please go to his website. Richard, can you start off with what dagger boards and keels do for a boat? There’s the three basic ways of preventing leeway, which is what you’re going to be doing with a multihull. On a monohull you’ve got the keel. Essentially, it’s for stability to balance the heeling, to stop the boat heeling too much. You don’t have that as a problem on a multihull. You are just trying to stop leeway. You can […]

Catamaran Helm Position – Woods Interview # 8

We talk again with Richard Woods, catamaran designer and very expert sailor. We’ve been having a series of discussions about aspects of catamarans that you might not be familiar with. Right now, we’re talking about helm position and some of the unique attributes of where the helm positions can be on a catamaran, and also some of his thoughts about where the helm position ends up. For more information from Richard Woods including purchasing build plans for one of his many affordable designs, please see his website. Why are we talking about helm position? Why is helm position important? People start by saying, “Do you want two helms? Is it hydraulic steering or wire steering or cable push/pull or whatever?” But I think most boats and most designers seem to put their steering and the helm as a very much last resort afterthought. “Oh! Well, we’ll do the saloon, we’ll […]

Catamaran Upwind Performance – Woods Interview # 7

We spoke with Richard Woods, a catamaran designer and sailor based in the UK and famous worldwide. Today, we are talking about pointing and whether or not catamarans can point because there’s a myth about catamarans and their inability to point. Having sailed around the world on one of Richard’s designs, I can let you know that we pointed, probably better than a lot of the monohulls we were with. We’ve been having a series of conversations about elements of catamarans that you might not think about. We’ve had quite a few great conversations, so feel free to look through our Woods Design Advice page. You can read more about Richard Woods on his website and purchase build plans for many different designs. Can you explain why some catamarans point and some don’t? You’re not really interested in pointing ability, per se. What you’re actually trying to do is […]

Catamarans vs Monohulls – Woods Interview # 6

Welcome back to a new episode with catamaran designer and sailor, Richard Woods. We’ve had a few conversations already, about a variety of topics. Today we’re going to be talking about monohulls versus catamarans, and some of the attributes that make catamarans especially nice for cruising and living on. Please watch the video below and see the transcript and photos. I assume that you design catamarans because you think they’ve got some definite benefits. Do you want to start off on what you’re thinking is as far as why they make good places to sail and live? I think it’s fairly self-evident that the catamaran has a lot more interior room and a lot more deck space. That seems to be the main appeal to people these days. I’ve actually spent 20 years cruising on catamarans and only recently moved ashore to a house. It’s a very nice, comfortable two-bedroom […]

How old of a catamaran should I buy? – Woods Interview # 5

We talked with Richard Woods, well known catamaran designer and seasoned catamaran sailor, about catamaran ages. Is there an age where the fiberglass wears out or the structure of a catamaran breaks down? Also we talk about what to keep in mind when you’re looking at buying an older boat. For more information or to purchase build plans from Richard Woods, please go to his website at Please see Episode 1 for an introduction of Richard, Episode 2 to learn about galley locations, Episode 3 for a primer on why cruising catamaran bows are an important purchase design decision, and Episode 4 about bridgedeck clearance. What kind of ages do cats come in? I always think of them as sort of a newer type of boat. How old are the production catamarans? How far do they go back? Oh much. We actually own a catamaran that was built in […]

What “good” bridgedeck clearance is and why is it important? – Richard Woods Interview # 4

Editor’s Note: These videos are meant to be introductions to basic catamaran design considerations. For more in depth discussions please contact Richard Woods via his website or comment below on this article. We welcome questions and suggestions. In this interview, we talk to Richard Woods about one of the most important characteristics of cruising catamaran design – bridgedeck clearance. It is a feature that is often too low especially on small catamarans. Richard explains that while bridgedeck clearance seems like a simple yet elusive measurements, it is in fact a very complicated design characteristic that catamaran architects have to thoroughly think out. Can I get an inflatable dinghy underneath? A question Richard Woods suggests asking to determine if a catamaran has enough bridge deck clearance. For more information or to purchase build plans from Richard Woods, please go to his website at Please see Episode 1 for an introduction […]

Why Catamaran Bow Shape is Important: Woods Interview # 3

Richard Woods, catamaran designer and sailor, talks to us about bow shapes on cruising catamarans, and why bow shape should be an important consideration to buyers of catamarans. You might not have thought about bow shape yet while looking for a catamaran. Richard clues us into how designers think about bow shape while they are designing a catamaran. Specifically he addresses the drawbacks of reverse bows in regards to seamanship while docking or hitting flotsam offshore. Please visit his website for more information from Richard and build plans for his designs. This is Episode 3 in a series of interviews with Richard Woods covering topics to educate those looking to purchase a catamaran. Please see Episode 1 which is an introduction video and then Episode 2 covers galley location considerations. Stay tuned for additional videos in the coming weeks. Can you define what a vertical bow is? Vertical bow […]

When is Galley Up or Galley Down Better? Woods Interview # 2

We talked with Richard Woods, catamaran designer and sailor, about galley up versus galley down. The main advice is to consider how you will actually live in the catamaran and what size salon you need. If you are considering staying small in terms of catamaran length, then galley up configurations can lead to numerous compromises you should be aware of. Can you sit up, put your feet up, and read a book or watch TV? Richard Woods on galley up leading to space restrictions in salon. Please see his website for more information about him and to purchase plans to build Woods catamarans. This is the second in a series of interviews with Richard Woods. If you missed it, the first one was an introduction of Richard with his general thoughts about the current state of catamaran design. Please stay tuned for additional episodes with Richard as well as other […]

Introduction of Catamaran Designer Richard Woods – Interview # 1

Diane spoke with Richard Woods, a long time catamaran designer. Richard designed the catamaran that Diane circumnavigated on with her family, a modified Woods 40 Meander. Richard has been designing for a very long time all the way back to the 1970’s when working with Derek Kelsall and James Wharram. He has designed more boats than he can recall mostly in the 8 to 40 foot range. You can find out much more about him on his website You can purchase designs to build your own Woods catamaran from his website here as well. We will be doing a series of interviews with Richard Woods about different catamaran design features to help educate buyers and broaden their understanding of models beyond the traditional charter catamaran experience. How did you end up in catamaran design? It is really difficult to answer. It has been my life. It started with my […]