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Old 24-10-2015, 22:14   #1
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Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

My wife and I are about to buy a live aboard here in Mexico. We need to work and live on the boat. We are battling with the question of "Why not a trimaran or catamaran instead of a 40ft with two cabins and all the features needed to sail around Mexico? Both pacific and Caribbean.

Please help.
JWS
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Old 24-10-2015, 22:36   #2
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

only 2 cons... Cost and cost.. Its cost more to buy one and it costs more to maintain one.. Pretty much, thats it!
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Old 24-10-2015, 22:43   #3
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

Yeah. That is what we can see so far. We need the space, I love the speed and stability. So how much more can it cost to Maintain? Does the cost rise with the number of hulls?
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Old 24-10-2015, 22:57   #4
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

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Originally Posted by BWSJWS View Post
Yeah. That is what we can see so far. We need the space, I love the speed and stability. So how much more can it cost to Maintain? Does the cost rise with the number of hulls?
No matter what anyone tells you.. Cats are not faster than monohulls when you are cruising.. Ok.. Maybe a tiny bit fast, but the difference is so small its negligible.

Maintenance costs are directly propotional to the amount of fibergalss and the amount of mechanical (motors) on the boat. A multihull takes more fiberglass and has more motors than a mono, thus higer maintenance. How much higher... That depends on a bunch of factors (what size of boat and motors, what other systems, what brand, how mechanically inclined are you). One thing I can say.. There are times I curse 2 motors. Like recently I had to get a new exhaust mixer made.... Twice!

For me.. It was well worth the trade-off. Of course it all depends on your financial situation. If buying a multi would have set me back 5 more years, then I would have went with a mono.
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Old 24-10-2015, 23:07   #5
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. This really does help.
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Old 24-10-2015, 23:12   #6
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

Like others have said, a lot if it is down to your budget.

If it was me, I'd go for a cat. Why? Well, space, light, general comfort at anchor and draft. We have a big pilothouse ketch (43ft) and even though we get a lot of extra space and light in the pilothouse, whenever I visit neighbouring cats my jaw drops at how much space they have. This is especially important in the winter months (when you need as much light as you can get) or when working aboard (I ran my office from my boat and always sat in the pilothouse so I didn't feel like I was stuck in a teak cubicle).

As for general comfort and draft, there's been times we've been anchoring / sailing along with some rolly swell, and boy howdy I wish we'd been in a cat. MUCH more comfy. As for the draft, drawing 3ft rather than 7ft opens up a lot more anchoring options for you.

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Old 24-10-2015, 23:25   #7
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

Fair winds, my friend.. I hope to see you out there..

ausnp84 makes a good point.. Draft.. Cats have a very low draft.. This is an advantage tha is massively understated. If I hadn't bought a Cat I would have run aground the first week out. The low draft, gave me a margian of error that a mono couldn't match! I learned a big leason without hitting bottom!
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Old 25-10-2015, 00:19   #8
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

Usually a tri will have less interior volume than a monohull of the same length so for living space I would say cat>mono>tri if comparing as the OP mentioned all 3.

Also, whether a cat is faster in cruising mode than a monohull depends a lot on whether you are crusing in a condo cat (think Lagoon) or a performance cat (think Atlantic) and what kind of monohull. A racy monohull is going to kick a Lagoon's arse.

Since most people cruising in cats are cruising in condo cats, most of the time they arent going any faster than the cruisy monohulls.

Still, I bet I would average more sea miles made good each day in a Mumby 48 (arguably a performance cat) than a cruisy monull in a similar length. I volunteer to try if someone will buy me one
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Old 25-10-2015, 09:28   #9
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

If you're living aboard you'll want STUFF. And stuff has weight. Cats are weight sensitive. With a mono basically if it fits - you can bring it aboard.

We don't like the loss of a forward view and the wind in your face sailing in a cat. The admiral would only allow a cat if it had a proper flybridge.
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Old 25-10-2015, 09:50   #10
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

One thing a Cat has that a mono does not is Beam. Sometimes a good thing, but if you're trying to find a slip, it could be pricey.

I guess I'm biased since I've always been on mono-hulls, but when we were looking for a vessel neither of us really cared for the cats at the spring Annapolis boat show a few years back. We've been on a few in the carrib and thought overall they were fairly cramped in the hull areas. (They were setup for more than 1 couple, to be fair...)
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Old 25-10-2015, 10:05   #11
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

We do alot of ocean crossings and I am bias towards monos. Having said that if I was planning on sailing in the Med/Mexico or the Caribbean and I wanted to write the cheque its pretty hard to beat the liveable space offered on many of the Cats.
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Old 25-10-2015, 10:06   #12
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

Hi BWSJWS and welcome to the forum.

Not that I'm trying to avoid the question but this discussion has been covered in great detail many, many times on this forum. Use the search function and you will find enough opinions to keep you busy reading for a few hours.

One thing I would like to point out (that is mentioned in previous discussions) is that cats are more expensive if you compare by length IE 40' cat to a 40' monohull. However if you compare costs based on sq ft of living space the cost is closer. Also speed the same. If you look at the typical cruising speed for a cat of X sq ft living space vs a monohull with the same living space the mono will be a good bit longer and with higher hull speed and similar performance to the (cruising, not performance) cat.

Comfort and motion.

- Cats sail level, mono's heel, especially when sailing close to the wind. However, without the ballast the motion of a cat tends to be a bit quicker, sometimes maybe even jerky where a monohull tends to have a slower motion damped by heeling and the weight of the keel. So cats do move in a seaway and whether you prefer one type of motion over the other is a personal decision. I've been on a cat that had to me, a very uncomfortable kind of wallowing, corkscrew kind of motion in a beam sea.
- At anchor cats don't roll.
- Fewer options for docking a cat. Usually more expensive.
- Ditto for boatyards and hauling.
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Old 25-10-2015, 10:16   #13
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

Quote:
Originally Posted by BWSJWS View Post
My wife and I are about to buy a live aboard here in Mexico. We need to work and live on the boat. We are battling with the question of "Why not a trimaran or catamaran instead of a 40ft with two cabins and all the features needed to sail around Mexico? Both pacific and Caribbean.

Please help.
JWS

Having cruised and lived on both I believe it is personal preference. For every advantage of a cat, ( speed, space, sailing flat, not rolling at anchorage), I can counter with the advantages of a mono,( easier to find a slip/ haul out, more sea kindly in a storm, less initial cost). As far as maintenance the amount of fiberglass isn't a factor, to me, the number of filters, oil changes, coolant etc. isn't appreciable.
The OP's requirements of needing to work on the boat is a definite cat advantage with a dedicated office and three other cabins. Hanging lockers for clothes and storage are abundant on a cat and comparatively sparse on a mono. The advantage of twin engines is huge to me, the ability to pull up on a beach, clear coral heads, or have guests aboard without it negatively affecting our space....uh, I prefer a cat. With that said I prefer the motion in the ocean of a mono hull.
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Old 25-10-2015, 10:16   #14
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

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Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
We do alot of ocean crossings and I am bias towards monos. Having said that if I was planning on sailing in the Med/Mexico or the Caribbean and I wanted to write the cheque its pretty hard to beat the liveable space offered on many of the Cats.
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Old 25-10-2015, 11:31   #15
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Re: Pros & cons of buying a multihull over a mono hull

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If you're living aboard you'll want STUFF. And stuff has weight. Cats are weight sensitive. With a mono basically if it fits - you can bring it aboard.

We don't like the loss of a forward view and the wind in your face sailing in a cat. The admiral would only allow a cat if it had a proper flybridge.


Cats are definitely more weight sensitive than mono, but most condo cruising cats are designed to carry all of the stuff you want. Our cat has big fat hulls that accommodate everything we can pile on.

Most of the expensive fast cats have narrower hulls and are more sensitive to weight than the cruising condos. Like everything else in life, plus's and minus's for both.

I beg to differ with the forward view comment and flybridge. Our helm is in the center of the boat, at deck level, not the aft end, below deck level like most all mono's.

We designed a helm seat whereby we can sit in the seat at the helm and be totally enclosed from bad weather, with a view of the entire perimeter of the boat OR sit on top of the seat's backrest, with our feet on the seat, looking over the bimini, which is my preferred position OR use the seat back as a step to sit up on the bimini, great for navigation shallow water. ALL OF THESE SEATING POSITIONS HAVE THE OPTION OF "WIND IN YOUR FACE" WITH THE DODGER WINDOW ZIPPED OPEN OR NO WIND IN FACE ZIPPED SHUT.

Regarding the fly bridge - not for me. If you're doing charters or traveling with multiple families, the fly bridge would be fine, giving people another private place to go. However, we travel with husband, wife and child most of the time, short handed, so the isolation up there wouldn't work for us.

With the salon sliding doors open (99% of the time) I can talk to my wife and child from the helm without an intercom or having to leave the helm and walk downstairs. Hand me a beer, hand me a sandwich, etc. You can see where climbing a set of stairs every time you need something wouldn't work.

To each his own and lots of trade offs to consider.
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