In your price
range... If you look at non production, custom, one offs... You can find cats, (or tris), that WERE designed for true "hard core", going to windward, blue water
conditions, VS protected sailing only, like the Gemini. This being "protected sailing only", low cost, and fitting into marina slips, was what they were originally designed for. I was right there reading about their "niche" when they came out in Multihulls Magazine. (Which I read ALL of, since the early 70s) The fact that a lot of people are using them differently, doesn't make it smart.
A TRUE blue water catamaran
needs to be wider, more strongly built, low center of gravity, modest accommodation for their length, have excellent visibility forward... and most important, they need a great deal of wing clearance! This is ignored at your own risk. It is not just a cosmetic "noise". In extreme conditions, like beating to windward off of a lee shore, in 35 or 40 knots of wind
and nasty square waves... it is the sound of a boat being beaten to death! I KNOW first hand of them being seriously damaged from this, and after limping home, required extensive repairs
. Afterward they NEVER considered it a blue water boat again, never sailed it like one, and did OK from then on. (Tony Smyth himself told them that it was NEVER intended to be sailed this way!) This applies to other multihulls as well. You can not go to windward with impunity, in extreme conditions, on a multihull
with 8" of wing clearance! Physics... It's not just a good idea, "IT'S THE LAW"!
Look around some more. If you sift through the hundreds of bad apples, and know the characteristics / designs to look for, you can find a better / SAFER multihull
, for the same or lower price. The best "deals" out there BTW, are in Tris, like Brown / Marples, Crosses, Kantola, etc.
For a bit more money, there are some wonderful older "custom" cats out there too, that were simply built to a better design in the first place. They weren't trying to be an apartment, and kept windward ability, and seaworthiness, as higher priorities.
Just a thought... If you're open to the idea. Mark