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Old 06-06-2017, 09:12   #1
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Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

I previously posted about my wife and I looking to purchase a sailboat and retire on the water with our two young daughters. My wife and I, like so many people undoubtedly on this forum, grew up sailing monohull sailboats.

In the course of our research on monohull sailboats in the 45-55 ft range, it became apparent there has been a substantial transition in the industry to catamaran sailboat designs. I confess I have never even been on a catamaran sailboat. With no knowledge whatsoever on this issue other than what I have read and observed in publications, there is no question cat sailboats provide substantially greater living space. Along with that comes a much larger footprint for a boat so I assume docking becomes a bit more complicated and expensive. The draft of a cat is substantially less than any monohull sailboat which also has its advantages. My wife and I receive two sailing publications by mail and although there are substantial numbers of people on monohull sailboats in those publications, we do notice a large number of families on catamaran sailboats. It also appears catamaran sailboats tend to hold their value a bit stronger than many monohull designs.

Given my inherent bias, I have a hard time coming to grips with sailing a 45 foot catamaran across the Atlantic Ocean and whether that can even be done safely with a family. My bias and logic tells me there are going to be some greater sailing limitations for a catamaran versus monohull boats but what you give up as far as sailing limitations you gain in the form of substantially greater living space.

I am curious regarding the thoughts of people on this forum as to whether a catamaran versus monohull sailboat is the best selection for a family? I would be especially interested in hearing from people who no longer have a monohull sailboat and instead are now using a catamaran for family living.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:29   #2
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

If you're concerned about the seaworthy ability of any boat, catamaran or monohull any make, shipping the boat across the pond on a freighter is always an option.

Where to put your boat is also an issue in some locals, like today in this marina... absolutely no moorings, slips or haul out ability for a catamaran of any size. Which doesn't mean it can't be done locally, but around here the options are limited. Other places, not so much.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:34   #3
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

JonCharles66,

A mono hull is best for your family and more affordable.

Catamarans are to popular and expensive.
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:46   #4
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

For Catamarans across the Atlantic I suggest you review the composition of the last dozen or so ARC and ODESSY rallies.

ARC participation has increased to the point they have a Multihull category which appears to be very popular.


Your Bias may have concerns, but I'd say current logic does not actually agree. (And my Bias also).

I'd argue any modern, well found, properly equipped and properly sailed catamaran will go just about anywhere in the world a similarly equipped and sailed mono hull will.

Are they different to do so, yes. Can they, evidence of people doing it seems to say also yes.

IMO, the vessel meeting the above criterea, be it catamaran or monohull, most likely exceeds the capabilities of the crew driving it, and will endure conditions that the crew will not be happy to be in.

NOTE: I am also biased, in the other direction, as I now own a 46ft Catamaran, and intend to sail it in said places with my family. (Atlantic, Pacific, etc). I consider it quite safe to do so.

With regards docking. Cat's are in theory easier to dock (2 engines makes it fairly simple). But really if you know how to dock a mono in all wind conditions, then its much the same. No need for a bow-thruster on a cat. Berthing does seem however to be more expensive, I agree.

Personally, a Catamaran in the 46'+ size is an IDEAL family boat. lots of room sails flat, fast, shallow draft to get up nice and tight to beaches etc, etc. Whats not to like !

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Old 06-06-2017, 09:46   #5
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

https://youtu.be/S97u6hLFjEY
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Old 06-06-2017, 09:49   #6
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

You really need to go to a boat show, climb on a Lagoon 450 or any other 45' cat. Your reservations will quickly disappear and will be filled with anxiety on how you will finance the purchase.........
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:13   #7
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

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You really need to go to a boat show, climb on a Lagoon 450 or any other 45' cat. Your reservations will quickly disappear and will be filled with anxiety on how you will finance the purchase.........
Feeling a sense of De'Ja Vue here.....
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:14   #8
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

The answer to your question is both a catamaran and monohull .

Personalły, I think most of the differences disappear if you take into account the wider beam of a cat, and compare like with like. So a 45 foot monohull should be compared with say a 38 foot cat. Or say a 45 foot cat should be compared to a 55 foot monohull. The costs are similar (both purchase and running) the area is similar in total (although the distribution is very different).

Of course, there are still significant differences that exist between these two types of vessels. These remaining differences are what should be used to determine which is better for you and your family.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:34   #9
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

It's actually more like a 65ft monohull compares to a 45ft cat. Been on many of both.
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:39   #10
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

Quote:
Feeling a sense of De'Ja Vue here.....
Me too........ Happens every year around February in Miami........
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Old 06-06-2017, 10:44   #11
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

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Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
It's actually more like a 65ft monohull compares to a 45ft cat. Been on many of both.
That could be right. The exact length comparison is difficult to pin down, but I think the important principal is not to compare similar length monohulls and catamarans when the beam of these two vessels is very different.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:01   #12
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

Without ever having stepped foot on a large 46 foot or larger catamaran, there are 4 things that jump out at me as being very apparent even in the pictures. Lots of light coming in, outstanding ventilation, no up and down stairs 50 times a day moving about the cabin, and lots of room for a family to move around and have their own spaces. In pictures, a 46 foot Cat looks huge on the water. Very big footprint. I imagine very stable and hardly any list under sail. It is hard stepping outside your comfort zone.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:25   #13
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

Considering that cats have been setting round the world racing records for several decades now, I'd say that they're fairly safe to cross an ocean in. I mean folks have been doing that "feat" for thousands of years with them. Witness the sailing cultures in the Pacific. And of course besides going to boat shows, you can rent & or charter one. Try out a bunch of different designs, & see what you like. But also come up with a list of both needs, & wants for the boat which you purchase.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:48   #14
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

More than half of the other families we know are on a catamaran. We have not sailed far off the beaten path, to Patagonia or etc, but so far the ratio of cats to monos seems to be about the same everywhere.

A lot of people, of course, love them. My wife doesn't like the motion, even at anchor. And likes the heavy duty vibe of our monohull. So there is that.
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Old 06-06-2017, 11:51   #15
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull sailing for Families

I'll just add a few comments.

Do you really plan on crossing the Atlantic? 99% of all "blue water" boats are sitting in some marina and rarely go anywhere at all.

I'll be lucky to spend the rest of my days cruising Florida and the Caribbean. However, in the event I do want to cross the Atlantic, I can call these guys:
Home :: DYT Yacht Transport

I could do it several times and still save money over buying a larger boat. Every boat is a compromise, pick and choose the items that are most important to you.

Just like real estate, most people buy a starter home and then upgrade many times. Your first boat purchase will likely not be your last...........
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