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Old 09-11-2009, 16:08   #1
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The Future of Catamarans

I'm just curious about where everyone here thinks catamarans are headed in the next 10 or 15 years. The more I read, the more I see that the quality and quantity of cats has increased quite a bit in the last 10-15 years. It seems there are more cruisers switching to multihulls than to monohulls.

What's in store for them in the future in terms of quality, price, and availability? Will an average Joe be eventually able to afford one in the way one can afford a monohull? Or will the price increase because of a greater demand?

I've been interested in sailing all my life, and at some point I want to either circumnavigate or do some extensive cruising in the south pacific and caribbean. I have a long time before this dream becomes a reality, so that's why I'm interested in the future.
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Old 09-11-2009, 16:38   #2
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Nothing will change - they will become faster, safer, more common and more pricey.

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Old 09-11-2009, 16:42   #3
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... and they will remain relatively expensive to maintain and park.
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Old 09-11-2009, 16:53   #4
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I have a long time before this dream becomes a reality,
.
Don't wait as long as I did.

I fear my knees (and other parts) cannot handle it now.

Feel like I should have chucked it all in the early 80s when I fell in love with the Heavenly Twins.
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Old 09-11-2009, 17:01   #5
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i think the onset of more available multi-hulls out there will drive the price down of those already available. Not everyone can afford a new one but as everything goes, the supply & demand curve demands that the price come down on some models and the more desireable ones will hold their value longer.
In the long run, it'll probably stay pretty much the same. You will always pay more for a vessel that's of higher quality and been taken care of... and we cant forget inflation either.
In my personal experience (limited and sheltered to say the least) I have been around monohulls for years and now I'm actually (gulp) taking a second look at multihulls. I have noticed that true liveaboard vessels and not the cookie cutter charter versions are very attractive to my and my significant other...both from a comfort and from a depth of draft standpoint. Without inciting riots on the board, let me say... they ain't what they used to be and I think the monohull mfg community has noticed that. Even though the cost of dockage and mooring and lifts for multihulls are slightly more, in the long run, they ain't so bad considering the surface area to spread bottom coatings on and the lack of lead in their keel(s).
Ever wonder what happens when your monohull fills up with water? It sinks, right? Do the same thing to a multihull and it just gets wet for the most part. That by itself makes me take a second look although I don't plan on leaving the door open when it's raining. LoL
Yes, I have a monohull but you never know what the future holds.
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Old 09-11-2009, 18:14   #6
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I believe we are going to see a shift to cruising Trimarans or stabilized monohulls I hate that term but as yet there is no better term available which explains the evolving concept.
I am not talking about the current range of RACING trimarans

What we will see developing is a fast displacement type hull which has accomodation in the center hull but has outriggers on each side to stabilize what is essentially under water a narrow or unstable hull on its own.
The Danish built Dragonfly is perhaps the best example currently available on the market.

The commercial ferry industry is leading the way.

However the concept can be developed for cruising under sail.
The advantages over catamarans are many.
They are more Monohull like inside.
They cost less to build.
Before you all scream at me and argue about having to build three hulls etc. The hull building costs are the cheapest part of building a boat. The REAL cost is fitting out. With this concept you are only fitting out ONE hull not two plus a bridgedeck.

It is feasible and practical to build under 40 ft.
It is very difficult to build a catamaran under 40 ft which has either headroom or sufficient bridgedeck clearance.
To get speed you need narrow hull shapes on a catamaran which means that under 40 ft you have two long tubes for accomodation.

30 ft X 14 ft Stabilized monohull with fast displacement hull shapes
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Old 09-11-2009, 19:48   #7
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Do the same thing to a multihull and it just gets wet for the most part.
Nah, they sink too, just more slowly I think.
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Old 09-11-2009, 20:08   #8
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Somethings change, some not.

The only cats coming down in price are older models built to older designs. The rate of evolution is, in some ways, slowing, as cats come of age.

They keep getting bigger, just as houses get bigger beyond all sense. That is because the high-end market wants comforts and headroom and big numbers. There only so much market for 30-34' value cats, and Gemini has a good handle on the market it seems. I don't see many other cats coming on the market under 38', so few cats under $350,000 or so. I like my smaller cat fine, but I also feel no compulsion to move from my PAID FOR house into a larger house with a funny-money loan.

Yes, a regular Joe can afford one now, if he doesn't mind selling his immortal soul.... Or forgoing many things for a few years. The thing to remeber is that good cats, particularly used ones, do not depreiciate. I have owned 3, and I sold the first 2 after over 10 years of hard use (and good maintanance) for ~ 2% per year more than I paid for them. They were not fixer-uppers.

Cats will always be far more expensive per length: 2 rudders, 2 hulls, stiffer and stronger sails and rig, often 2 engines, more expensive construction methods and more complex molds. The buyer needs to compare a 32 foot cat with a 36-40' mono; The accommodations are in between, and the cat is (should be) as fast or faster than as the larger boat, except close hauled, where it should be very close. There are trade offs, but comparing my 32' cat with a 32' mono is not fair; it has 2 queen mattress staterooms with closets, a convertible king dinnet, stand-up shower, and can sustain 12 knots easily without surfing, with greater speed possible. On the other hand, the motion can be quick and some don't like the layout.

As for storage, I pay $100/month next door to a $500/month marina, because the water is shallow. Marinas need to learn that cats have different needs. We need short, shallow, wider slips and not deep end ties. Hauling and maintenance for smaller cats is not much more unless very large. Less bottom paint!
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Old 09-11-2009, 21:23   #9
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Unless more end slips become available, they are going to be real expensive to own. Supply and demand.
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Old 10-11-2009, 00:35   #10
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See the interview with prominent multihull designer Gino Morrelli. On the third page he talks about owners versions becoming more prominent, infusion and carbon making boats lighter at affordable prices due to the composite work by boeing and airbus, and also free standing and wing masts....

Gino Morrelli Interviewed in Seahorse Magazine ę Morrelli and Melvin Design and Engineering Inc
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:40   #11
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I don't get the impression that there are a lot of people changing from multihulls to monohulls.
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:42   #12
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Nah, they sink too, just more slowly I think.
Foam composite hulls, no lead keel. Like a Coleman ice chest, even if you cut it up the pieces will float. So, no they don't even sink slowly.
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:45   #13
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Unless more end slips become available, they are going to be real expensive to own. Supply and demand.
Or alternatively if they stop dredging harbours , then there will be plenty of space, dredging is environmental vandalism.
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Old 10-11-2009, 03:46   #14
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I don't get the impression that there are a lot of people changing from multihulls to monohulls.
When they do it's usually when they down-size or go over to the dark side to power. They switch for cost reasons, or for available docking/access.
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Old 10-11-2009, 04:36   #15
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In our area I've seen, sailors moving from performance multi's to monos when its time to go cruising. Two local sailors have given up there Farriers and bought mono's with plans of cruising.

I have also seen power boaters move to larger cats like the Lagoon, PDQ's,,,. This makes sense to me, layouts are similar, no healing, twin engine...... Who was the fellow here that bought the big St Francis? He moved from power didn't he?

I think the future of big cats is very bright, there are a whole lot more power boaters then then sailors. And anytime we get a power boat off the water and replace it with sail it's a good thing.

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I don't get the impression that there are a lot of people changing from multihulls to monohulls.
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