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Old 15-12-2015, 13:55   #1
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Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

I'm a Great Lakes sailor in the market for a live aboard boat 50-60 ft. I plan on being on the ocean mainly. Any thoughts on mono vs tri or even catamaran?
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Old 15-12-2015, 14:00   #2
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Welcome! if you plan on living in the ocean, i'd go for a trimaran. Just watch Waterworld.

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Old 15-12-2015, 14:20   #3
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

You'll run into a whole lot of generalisations, and there are always exceptions.


Generally, a 50 foot cat will be more spacious than a 50 foot mono, which will be more spacious than a 50 foot tri.


Prices will generally be in the same order.


The major 'con' for a tri that big would be finding somewhere to keep it. It's likely to be very wide too.
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Old 15-12-2015, 14:21   #4
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Well trimaran of course, does the question even need to be asked?

Unless you go with the condo style (old-school Horstmann, new-style Neel) you will find that a trimaran has the least living space of all the options you mentioned. Our boat, at 40', has a main hull with maximum beam of under 7', and less than 5' at the waterline. And accommodations are generally main hull (although you may be able to move the bunks outboard).

My very biased opinion is you can't beat the sailing qualities and seakeeping features of a decent trimaran, but your selection on the market will be the least of all of the options you listed, your resale value will be the lowest, and your living space (and cargo capacity) will be the most limited. Think backpacking all the time. Wouldn't have it any other way.
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Old 15-12-2015, 14:52   #5
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Welcome to CF.
I know that you've stated that you're a sailor, but if you could fill us in a bit more in terms of your experience level, it will help in terms of getting you higher quality answers. That, & if you'd be so kind as to give us ball park numbers on; your boat budget, & upkeep budget. Plus your sailing goals & aspirations as well

That said, have you at all, factored in the care & feeding costs of the various types of sailboats? As a trimaran will be the stiffest, thus generating the highest loads on sails & gear. Which of course, translates into much higher costs for sails & running gear.
For example, a mainsail for a 60' tri, will cost as much as a fully decked out 30' monohull.

Also, what do you plan to do for crew? Especially if you pick up a multihull that big, as they're less forgiving of errors in judgement than are monohulls. So everyone onboard needs to be much sharper, & possessing of a greater depth of experience.

I'm not trying to dissuade you, just point out a few obvious things. Since we're a bit lacking for details in terms of all that I've mentioned.
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Old 15-12-2015, 15:31   #6
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

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Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
Well trimaran of course, does the question even need to be asked?

Unless you go with the condo style (old-school Horstmann, new-style Neel) you will find that a trimaran has the least living space of all the options you mentioned. Our boat, at 40', has a main hull with maximum beam of under 7', and less than 5' at the waterline. And accommodations are generally main hull (although you may be able to move the bunks outboard).

My very biased opinion is you can't beat the sailing qualities and seakeeping features of a decent trimaran, but your selection on the market will be the least of all of the options you listed, your resale value will be the lowest, and your living space (and cargo capacity) will be the most limited. Think backpacking all the time. Wouldn't have it any other way.
Dsanduril has it about right. We have a cat now only because we couldn't find a tri that met our personal requirements. I owned a Piver AA31 and sailed on Browns, Crosses, and Horstmans (Horstmen?) and enjoyed them all. Finding a tri that's big enough to live on, in good enough condition, and affordable will be a challenge. There just aren't that many Hammerhead 54s around
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Old 15-12-2015, 20:59   #7
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Now for a contrasting opinion. I have considered a multihull because of the speed and relative stability. I stayed with a monohull because of the price and the less stress on the boat itself to interact with adverse conditions.
I like to explore far from the equator. The conditions higher than 40 degrees lat. tend to favor a mono because of it's ability to lean with the swells rather than try to counteract them.
Yes I have seen large multihulls up here: in port or in protected waters. I am not saying they cannot sail here, they can. But they require more attention while sailing. I like being on the ocean with my Valiant. I can get some sleep while a less experienced person is on watch. I don't think I would do that with a Gunboat.
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Old 15-12-2015, 21:30   #8
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Assuming we are talking about normal production boats, living space isn't even close. Assuming all 3 are the same length...The Cat wins by a mile. The mono comes in a distant second and the tri loses.

Then you have to consider performance vs accommodations vs cost. Since you are asking about 50' boats, I'm guessing you care more about accommodations in which case I would direct you towards a cat.

Of course, I have to question how much experience you have and if you have any idea what it takes to keep a large boat (any style) going. This is just based on your question missing the obvious differences. I suggest taking a couple years to research and go to boat shows, so you can answer these questions for yourself.
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Old 15-12-2015, 22:05   #9
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Welcome to CF!

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNewell View Post
I plan on being on the ocean mainly.
I see pretty much everybody talking living space, but since you'll be on the ocean mostly - what exactly are your plans? More or less non-stop around the world or ...?
Are we talking coconuts, polar bears or both possibly?

Hard to say what type of hull fits best with unknown plans

Also - do you have a budget? How many people? Experience?
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Old 17-12-2015, 05:14   #10
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, TNewell.
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Old 19-12-2015, 17:29   #11
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

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Old 19-12-2015, 18:59   #12
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
Well trimaran of course, does the question even need to be asked?

Unless you go with the condo style (old-school Horstmann, new-style Neel) you will find that a trimaran has the least living space of all the options you mentioned. Our boat, at 40', has a main hull with maximum beam of under 7', and less than 5' at the waterline. And accommodations are generally main hull (although you may be able to move the bunks outboard).

My very biased opinion is you can't beat the sailing qualities and seakeeping features of a decent trimaran, but your selection on the market will be the least of all of the options you listed, your resale value will be the lowest, and your living space (and cargo capacity) will be the most limited. Think backpacking all the time. Wouldn't have it any other way.
as another tri owner (Dragonfly 1200) I can attest that Dsanduril has it right.

So what's your style? 1) Sailing joy, or 2) comfort at anchor, or 3) dockside livaboard?
If 1, tri. If 2, cat, if 3, monohull.

Also budget may be a factor, and a mono will be cheaper, generally.
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Old 19-12-2015, 22:24   #13
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNewell View Post
I'm a Great Lakes sailor in the market for a live aboard boat 50-60 ft. I plan on being on the ocean mainly. Any thoughts on mono vs tri or even catamaran?
Quote:
Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
The major 'con' for a tri that big would be finding somewhere to keep it. It's likely to be very wide too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dsanduril View Post
My very biased opinion is you can't beat the sailing qualities and seakeeping features of a decent trimaran
Quote:
Originally Posted by SailFastTri View Post
So what's your style? 1) Sailing joy, or 2) comfort at anchor, or 3) dockside livaboard?
If 1, tri. If 2, cat, if 3, monohull.
Welcome aboard!

I can only offer your my thoughts on monohull and trimaran for cruising. The only catamarans I've sailed were racing Hobie Cats in high school.

Do you have experience sailing each of these types of boats to know if you are comfortable with their motion under way?

Each type has fans that love that type of boat. It would be worth taking the time and trouble to charter or crew on each type where you can personally experience how they feel at sea.

My sailing experience is primarily the North American west coast, San Francisco Bay area, Puget Sound and Biscayne Bay in Florida with a few Miami to Bimini trips. I've never been on a boat in the Great Lakes.

I spent a couple of years helping a friend build a ~40 ft trimaran with the intent of cruising around the world. It was very rewarding to turn piles of wood veneer and drums of epoxy into a beautiful boat. We launched off the beach and spent the next 6 or 8 months doing "shakedown" cruises up and down the California coast, going progressively further out with each trip.

From that experience I learned

1) to wear a night guard to save my teeth when going to weather.

The tri tended to skim/slam across the tops of the waves rather than ploughing through them. The sailing was fun up to a point and the constant pounding was hard on my teeth and spine.

2) that the motion of a trimaran running down wind makes me incredibly sea sick.

Ironically I've never been prone to sea sickness on a monohull (knock wood!). My body seems to recognize even the pitching, rolling and heeling of extra weather as normal. I have occasionally been prone to Mal de débarquement and queasiness on turbulent plane flights. The motion of the trimaran reminds me somewhat of the motion of an airplane. Downwind sailing on a tri was a miserable experience for me - every time. I just could not get comfortable with it.

This is the main reason I recommend you try to experience how each type of boat feels underway. What feels comfortable for another may not be comfortable for you.

I was very surprised and really disappointed to discover my physical response to a trimaran's motion. I was determined to get past that but nothing seemed to help. I had the same reaction when I sailed on other types of trimarans so it wasn't just the one we built.


3) we needed to steer down the waves in rough weather.

In spite of watching the weather we encountered some less than desirable conditions. The skipper said heaving to and taking refuge below decks was not an option with this type of boat. I was wedged into the cockpit with a death grip on the wheel as I tried to steer the surfing boat down each wave by feel. Probably good that it was too dark to see much or I would really have been frazzled. I kept praying that Mother Ocean would see us safely through each trough. The motion of the boat when we hit the bottom of the wave was rather disconcerting. The "horizon" (the line where the starlight stopped and blackness started) kept shifting from below deck level to above the mast. It was the longest night of my life. I am sure that there were better ways to handle that situation.


4) trimarans are hard to "park" at a marina; much more expensive for dock space due to the wide beam. There is not a lot of living space for the amount of boat compared to a monohull.

The trimaran sailing experience has put me so completely off of multihulls that I've been reluctant to even try a charter cat. If your body is comfortable with the multihull motion, you have many more options available to you.
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Old 20-12-2015, 03:35   #14
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

Last boat was a 40' x 26' trimaran. Loved sailing it, but my lady wanted more creature comforts. We are now on a 36' x 18' catamaran, which is much more comfortable for living aboard. Doesn't sail as well, but has a lot more space.
Both have less than 4' draft, which is nice for the Bahamas.

Monohulls? Haven't you heard those things can sink lol?
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Old 20-12-2015, 08:09   #15
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Re: Mono Hull Verses Trimaran Pro's And Con's

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snip
The skipper said heaving to and taking refuge below decks was not an option with this type of boat.
I don't know why the skipper would have said that. There have been many times that I've hove to in my trimarans, and everything settled down just as it would in a mono. Perhaps the skipper didn't know, or there was something unique in that particular boat's handling that's not universal about trimarans?

Most of what I snipped from MermaidMuse's post was personal reaction and observation, and as the saying goes "YMMV" so I have no reason to dispute it. I haven't had the same reaction. Perhaps the boat she built was more prone to motion I haven't experienced on the 3 tris I have owned (a Dragonfly 920, Dragonfly 1000, and Dragonfly 1200.) Guests who were long-term monohull sailors have remarked that they were surprised at the smoothness of the ride (of my boats) in cross seas and lack of rolling downwind. I've observed that in smaller waves there is an averaging effect of the hulls and less movement. Having said all that, the (smaller) movement is quicker than a heavy displacement mono, and it's not for everyone. There are times (particularly beating into strong winds) that we slow the boat for comfort and to reduce bashing into head seas.
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