What’s interesting is that even experienced sailors and boaters often don’t know of the benefits of catamarans, or the difference in the experience you’ll have with each one. There’s certainly a lot of myths and hear-say out there! In Part 1, we’ll look at catamarans in detail, and what’s good about them. In Part 2, we’ll do the same with monohulls.
If you have a monohull, have you ever found that the limited space is a problem? Maybe not, because you love being up on deck. Sometimes it’s hard to get around the boat, though, right? Do you head out to the foredeck sometimes, just looking for space, and peace?
Catamarans are championed for their liveability. You can entertain more people on your boat, and stretch out comfortably inside.
According to catamaran expert Russell Peters of Leopard Catamarans South Africa, a 45 foot catamaran has the same amount of space as a 60 foot monohull. Peters tells us that in a catamaran, everything is on the bridge deck, so you don’t end up going up and down stairs as much, and everything feels more spacious as a result. That brings you closer to nature.
One experienced sailor from South Africa set out on a trip across the Atlantic to the USA in a 38 foot catamaran. There was a bottle of ketchup in the gulley, and he said that it didn’t fall on the floor at all during the whole transatlantic sail!
If you think about it graphically, monohulls are like a spoon, wide on the bottom. Catamarans have a sharper entry into the water, like a fork, you might say, and the multihull design means you can stand on one side of the boat and jump up and down, and they’ll be very little movement in the boat.
That’s great when you’re out cruising, and when you’re on anchor. There’s also much less lean when you’re turning in the water, and catamarans don’t slam as hard when you’re sailing into a head sea.
Here’s a good example of the real difference for a sailor:
Planning a trip to an island? A monohull boat has a larger draft, so it’s not so great for shallow waters. If a catamaran has a 1 foot draft, a monohull could have 2! And that leads us on to….
Fuel Consumption and Efficiency
Monohulls create more drag, so catamarans are actually more efficient. The air space between the hulls of a catamaran also creates a cushion as you’re moving along. What does that mean for a real sailor? You’ll go faster!
There’s a myth that catamarans aren’t blue water cruising boats, but Sharp tells us that over 1000 catamarans have been launched from a marina in South Africa and crossed the Indian and Atlantic ocean without any incidents.
Another misconception is that catamarans are hard to maneuver in close quarters, when coming into an anchorage, for example. But catamarans are actually very easy to handle and control under these circumstances!
Disadvantages of Catamarans
The banging. Yeah, you have to get used to the banging if the space between your boat and the water isn’t too large. But that small disadvantage isn’t so awful considering the benefits, right?
It’s important to take any boat you’re considering buying out onto the water. Most boats look great on land, but how they perform on the water is naturally the more important thing. Have you ever been on a catamaran? What about a trimaran? Try it out for yourself, and tell us what you think. And don’t forget to check out Part 2, when we’ll give you the skinny on the trusty, traditional monohull, Ahoy and Enjoy!!