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Catamaran Boat Buying Guide
A catamaran is an excellent choice for those who want the best of both worlds. The difference between a motor yacht, sailing yacht, and a catamaran is that a catamaran is a multi-hulled vessel, built with two parallel hulls that are the same size. A catamaran can be powered by both motor and sail, or a combination of the two.
A catamaran offers the amenities and power of a motor yacht, but still retains the romantic sense of adventure of a sailing yacht. As with many sailing yachts, catamarans benefit from a vast number of outside areas to choose from – and often have a unique ‘netting’ to connect the two hulls that can be used for sunbathing. Like motor yachts, catamarans have shallow drafts that allow them to sail to almost all anchorages.
One of the best characteristics of a catamaran is its stability. As these boats are designed with two hulls, they seamlessly glide over the water and offer better balance while underway. The choice to buy a catamaran is an ideal choice for anyone who suffers from seasickness.
In summary, there are many differences between motor yachts, sailing yachts and catamarans. Any boat owner’s choice of vessel should be based on the use of the yacht and the experience while on board.
What Is a Catamaran?
A catamaran is a boat 78 feet or under with two hulls connected by a bridge deck. It has a wide beam and the bow area is generally linked by a trampoline that stretches between the two hulls, although some catamarans have large decks instead. Catamaran designs include both sailing vessels or power options – a powered blue water catamaran does not have a mast or sails, which is a benefit if clearance is a concern, while a sailing cat has both sails and usually twin engines, one in each hull, that can make the catamaran very maneuverable under power. Under sail, a catamaran is typically considered faster than a monohull. You can measure the performance and handling by looking at the catamaran’s sail area. This an excellent choice for many lovers of the sea due to their performance, low draft, and stability. The category of catamarans includes racing catamarans, open deck cruising catamarans, and bridge-deck cabin cruisers – to name a few.
From basic to luxurious, catamarans come in different sizes, designs, and styles to suit every kind of owner. From the popular 40 feet length models to smaller day sailers, or even those over 100ft, there is something for everyone. The quality of a catamaran cannot be questioned and is a great option for a family or a couple wanting to explore the ocean. Blue water catamarans are excellent for cruising and day sailing. No two catamarans are alike, and a wide variety of fun water toys and snorkel gear can be added onboard to make yours perfect for you!
Blue water catamarans are some of the best cruising options for new sailors, as well as Robertson and Caine. Based in South Africa, Robertson and Caine are the number one sellers of catamarans in North America and build high-quality boats.
What are Catamaran Made of (Construction Material/Hull Design)?
The catamaran can be constructed from a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, and composites like fiberglass, GRP, and carbon fiber. This boat type can have both a displacement (powercat) or a planing hull form, depending on use. The Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull (SWATH) is also a catamaran hull form that places the bulk of the vessel’s buoyancy under the water in two submarine hulls to provide better stability. An example in the yachting industry is SILVER CLOUD.
If you are looking to buy a catamaran sailboat, you should look at the sail area to understand the maneuverability of the boat. The sail area is only found on sailing vessels, not powered catamarans.
How Much to Buy a Catamaran?
The price of your catamaran will depend on a few things:
- Age – Newer models of the same length will usually cost more.
- Length – Are you looking at 20ft day catamarans, or those 40 feet and above?
- Location – Depending where you are in the world, there can be more or less inventory, or a need to get the boat shipped to you at a cost.
- Condition – Is it a new build direct from the shipyard, or an older model in need of repairs?
- Sails and rigging – Usually these will all be included, however, if they aren’t, this will be at an added cost.
As we are talking about catamaran boats and not catamaran yachts, they will have a smaller price tag since they are vessels 78ft and under. As an example, YATCO has a range of prices if you want to buy a catamaran – from $60,000 at the lower end, to those models over $3 million, you’ll find a wide range of options and price points. If you’re looking at a mid-range catamaran of 40 feet, this will cost you around $400,000 on average.
Is a Catamaran a Speed Boat?
No, a catamaran is not a speed boat, however they can travel very fast. Thanks to dual hulls, and a shallow draft, catamarans can reach top speeds of around 20 mph, depending on the length and engine size. You can also have catamarans without sails, meaning these only have engine power which can increase output.
Are Catamarans More Stable?
Yes, catamarans are more stable than sailboats since they heel less while at sail than a monohull sailboat. As for larger motor yachts that are mono hulls, they may still offer better stability, but it depends on the stabilizers they come equipped with.
Are Catamarans Better for Seasickness?
Since catamarans are more stable than other monohull options, they are definitely better for those prone to seasickness. They are less prone to rocking both while under way, and while at anchor.
Do Catamarans Have Bathrooms?
Depending on the catamaran size, most will come with at least one bathroom or “head” for you to use.
Are Catamarans Faster Than Mono Hulls?
Catamarans are usually around 20% faster than monohulls, however it can depend on the conditions. Monohulls are designed to cut through the water, while catamarans are prone to slapping against the water with their two hulls. In addition, catamarans can lose speed if sailing upwind versus their monohull sisters.
Are Catamarans Good in Rough Waters?
Catamarans usually fare quite well in rough waters and are actually quite hard to capsize. Due to their balance and buoyancy of the dual hulls, they are very adaptable in all weather conditions.
Are Catamarans Good for Long Distances?
Yes! Catamarans are great for traveling long distances. There are a number of influencers and content creators who have made the move to their catamarans for extended periods of time or to even live onboard full-time. Thanks to the wide beam interiors, they offer comfort to guests inside, with ample space outside as well to spread out. In inclement weather, you can also steer your catamaran from inside and benefit from the added buoyancy of the two hulls.
Can Catamarans Handle Big Waves?
Yes, catamarans can handle big waves; however, like all boats this also depends on the size of the vessel and the weather conditions. Catamarans will handle rough seas better than a monohull thanks to the balance and stability of the two hulls, with those onboard experiencing significantly less heeling and rolling.
Are Catamarans Easier to Sail?
While the technique of sailing will be similar, most consider catamarans easier to sail due to the balance of the boat. With less heeling, there isn’t the same urgency to control the sails as you would on a monohull. It will still take some getting used to if you are a monohull sailor by trade and switch to a catamaran. Catching the wind is a bit different as well in a catamaran versus a sailboat so you’ll want to do a bit of practice before heading out in the open ocean!
Are Catamarans Unsinkable?
Catamarans are certainly one of the more seaworthy boats that make it harder to sink than others. While anything can happen if you are in dire weather conditions or an inexperienced sailor, due to the lack of ballast in a catamaran and added buoyancy of two hulls, they are very hard to sink versus a steel hulled boat that carries much more weight.
Are Catamarans Safe?
Now that we know catamarans are extremely buoyant, offer less rolling and pitching, and are virtually unsinkable, yes, you can rest easy knowing your catamaran is safe.
Do Catamarans Have Keels?
Catamarans do not have keels like monohull sailboats. The keel helps to balance a monohull in the water, and since a catamaran achieves this balance through the use of two hulls, a keel is unnecessary. This is also why catamarans are favored by those looking to cruise with a more shallow draft in areas like the Bahamas and Caribbean, or Indonesia and Australia – places with plenty of shallow bays to cruise into without having to worry about a long keel hitting the bottom.
Why Should You Buy a Catamaran?
You should buy a catamaran if you’re looking for more stability on the water as this boat type doesn’t heel like a monohull while sailing. It is a much smoother experience for overnight cruising and day sailing than traditional sailing vessels. At anchor, it also eliminates the rocking possible on a monohull. The smoother ride can be a plus for those who may suffer from seasickness, although the catamaran’s motion under sail might take some getting used to if you’re accustomed to a monohull. The catamaran’s shallow draft is also a plus, allowing sailors access to shallower waters closer to shore, which can be a bonus in areas like The Bahamas. Two hulls can also provide more interior volume than similarly sized monohulls, with wider decks for easier navigation and more outdoor living space.
Where is the Best Place to Buy a Catamaran?
The best place to buy a catamaran will depend on your location in the world and what you have access to. If you aren’t sure where to start, attending as many boat shows as possible can be a great way to get onboard different yachts and styles. Or, you can book a yacht charter which is an excellent way to experience how a catamaran moves and feels.
Contacting a local yacht broker you know and trust is also a great way to explore the best place to buy a catamaran near you. Search for a yacht broker with YATCO now.