I have sailed both catamarans and monohulls. They do sail differently. A monohull
gives you a warning before it is over powered. It heals excessively and feels like it is getting overpowered. On a catamaran
you have to reef by apparent wind
since they don't heel, and dont necessarily give warning before loads can lead to a breaking point. Most every catamaran
has twice the maintenance
on some things. Two engines, two alternators, two heat exchangers, etc., so double your maintenance
time on mechanicals.
I do have a difference of opinion slightly from bobconnie. I think most cruising catamarans as well as monohulls are capsized by sea state, not by wind
. Statistically, I have been told a cruising catamaran is about as likely to capsize
as a monohull
is to sink. I don't know if that is true or not, but I do know capsizes in modern cruising cats are very rare, but not unheard of. A couple years ago a voyage catamaran with a delivery
crew aboard capsized and remained inverted off of the coast of California
. However, a look at the conditions the boat capsized in would lead most reasonable people to conclude any boat would have capsized and/or sank in that storm.
The biggest advantage to a catamaran is the off the wind sailing speed, and the relatively huge interior
and exterior living space. They are more comfortable, generally, if you are chartering with other people, cats seem to be less likely to induce sea sickness
in any given reasonable conditions. However, rather than heel, they wallow and a lot of people don't like the wallowing around and find it uncomfortable.
A fifty foot catamaran will draw less water
than a comparably sized monohull, which allows you to hide the boat in some nooks and crannies you might not get to in a monohull. Also, since you have two engines, when around docks, or maneuvering in an anchorage, the cats are very nimble, and can turn a 360 in about a boat length and a half space. When around docks there is more controll over approach and contact speed with two engines.
When you go to a marina though, there is a double wide boat that has to be accomodate, and sometimes more to pay to accomodate it. When you go to haul them out, there is also some extra charges for storage
at some yards.
And, when you find yourself sailing to weather
, the pounding of waves on the hull can be definitely unnerving at times. On some cats, there is also some flexing of the two hulls in rough weather
which can be disconcerting, and if going directly to weather they don't point nearly as well as a monohull.