A Different Approach to the Catamaran Bridle


When it comes to snubber sizes and diameters, catamarans present special challenges, and usually require a bridle, with separate lines leading from the hook to each hull. Heres an example of the bridle-type snubber that PS contributor Jonathan Neeves uses on his seven-ton, 38-foot catamaran that he lives aboard and cruises in Australia.

On most catamarans, the snubber is a bridle that extends outward from the bow crossbeams and attaches to the anchor. Our bridle is formed using two, 50-foot lengths of lightly used, 11-millimeter climbing rope (selected for its abrasion resistance and elasticity) that are attached to horn cleats on the stern. (The equivalent would be 12-millimeter nylon three-strand braid or eight-strand plait, either of which would serve well.)

We run the snubber up the sidedecks and through the stanchion bases. The legs of each bridle then pass through swivel blocks shackled to padeyes that we have installed at each bow. Although each snubber is 50 feet long, we use only about 30 feet; the rest is in reserve.

climbing rope

The individual snubber legs are joined at a shackle with scaffold or halyard knots (climbing rope is impossible to splice). The only tricky part of the installation is reinforcing the area where the padeyes are located. An alternative to the padeyes is to fit the blocks to the forward horn cleats. (We used to do this, securing the blocks with a length of nylon webbing so that they hung outboard.)

The same system can easily be adopted for a monohull that uses a single snubber. The main variable is how to direct the snubber from the sidedeck to the chain hook. This will depend on the individual yacht, but fairleads would be an attractive option, probably requiring some form of chafe protection.

If you have a beamy or heavy monohull, a bridle can be more effective at reducing yawing, and yawing can exacerbate snatch loads. The amount of time you invest in developing a sensible system will depend on how much time you spend at anchor. We can be at anchor for three to five months each year, so we wanted something permanent.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on marine products for serious sailors for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising or any form of compensation from manufacturers whose products we test. Testing is carried out by a team of experts from a wide range of fields including marine electronics, marine safety, marine surveying, sailboat rigging, sailmaking, engineering, ocean sailing, sailboat racing, and sailboat construction and design. This diversity of expertise allows us to carry out in-depth, objective evaluation of virtually every product available to serious sailors. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser with more than three decades of experience as a marine writer, photographer, boat captain, and product tester. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.


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