Why a Catamaran?

Why a Catamaran?

May 21, 2017 1 Comment

Why a catamaran over a monohull?

This seems to be a point of debate amongst many cruisers.  It is really your personal preference that will come into play - what you deem to be most important to you and for your journey.  

Pros of a catamaran:

  1. Faster
  • we could outsail storms/bad weather
  • Catamarans point steeper into the wind than a monohull because they don’t heel as much, so point to point travel is more efficient and effective
  • Lighter
    • uses less fuel than a monohull
    • basically unsinkable (unlike the heavy keel that drags down a monohull)
  • More stable
    • great plus to be able to set down a beer and actually pick it up where you left it.
    • More stability bodes well for the cats ability to adapt - and ours!
  • More living space
    • We could have crammed the four of us onto a monohull.  However, this way we can each have our own space.  Even the cats can have their own berth if they want it (though they will most likely prefer ours
  • Shallow draft
    • we can pull her up onto a beach to scrub the botttom - no holding your breath and diving to scrub
    • Better access to anchorages and beaches which might be too shallow for a monohull
    • Has the potential of allowing us to perform out of water repairs ourselves, instead of having to get her hauled out for repair near/below the waterline.

    Cons of a catamaran:

    1. The wide beam
    • Though you gain stability, you also lose accessibility to many marinas and haul out facilities.  Many haul out facilities are capped around 16’ feet, which means you have to be selective when getting your vessel hauled out.  *this is part of the reason we are so thankful we own a Gemini
    1. Capsizing:
      • Of course the big con of a catamaran is that once it is capsized, it is very hard /impossible to recover.  Thus the joke that upside down is actually the catamarans most stable position.  However, most catamarans that capsize are racing catamarans that are super light and pushed to the brink of their stability.  Also, catamarans are built with sealed compartments, which means that if they DO capsize or get a hole punched in the side, they are built to be unsinkable.  
      1. Less maneuverability:
        • This point is debatable.  Many catamarans have twin engines, one on each hull, so they actually have the ability to turn on zero.  However, the wider beam can make for some docking fun, especially during windy moments.  Catsaway has only one engine, however, it also has a steerable drive leg, meaning the propeller turns with the rudders, increasing the maneuverability and handling.

          Even though monohulls have a great reputation for survivability (namely, their ability to always right themselves when they capsize), we decided that the chances of us sailing in a huge storm will be rare for at least the first few months (Diana is a bit of a wimp).  The advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages for us.  

          What are your thoughts?  Share below!

          1 Response

          Alan Clarke
          Alan Clarke

          September 27, 2017

          Although I had always favoured a good monohull, you have raised a few points that I never considered & I can appreciate your logic. The ability to ‘outrun’ an impeding storm may be critical, but I urge you to consider a good parachute for the worst case scenario.
          The Gemini was an excellent choice for you & Diana (and puddlies too)

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