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Old 18-01-2004, 08:07   #1
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Apples & Oranges

I have no multihull experience, tho I am scheduled to charter one this year. Without getting into all of the other comparisons between monohulls and multihulls, and admitting that I have attempted no research of my own on this, is there a general statement that can be made about the price of multihulls versus that of monohulls?

I am sure this is trying to compare apples to oranges but I wanted to ask.
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Old 18-01-2004, 09:29   #2
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I'd like to give that question a try, given that I have only recently fought through the marketplace and purchased a multihull. Mind you, I am only just now drawing conclusions from my own experience. So I consider:

1. Materials and labour. There can be a lot more material in a multihull or at least a lot more labour than for a similar waterline length. After all, you are constructing more than one hull. Indeed, with a catamaran, the cockpit and salon are an "extra" space again to construct;

2. Newness. Only recently have these boats been produced by factory systems in any real numbers, compared to the many years of construction of monohulls in all sizes and types of construction. I suggest all these older boats that are still afloat or waiting in their cradles for new dreamers may be competing to keep the general price down, even for the newer models.

3. The marketplace. It seems to me that a decade ago, the homebuilt and even the factory-built multis were a lot less expensive. I attribute this to a very small market of open-minded people considering the multihull alternative. Now, that group has grown at a fantastic rate as the multihull concept has gained acceptance. A number of years ago, in acknowledgement of the tremendous growth in the number of cats available for charter, the editor of Multihulls Magazine did a tongue in cheek article on the sinking of the last charter monohull, suggesting the market had died. I think the trend has increased the price the market will pay for a multi.

We could consider many factors when investigating multihull prices: speed, safety, comfort, the effect of the charter industry, etc. I tend to focus on what I call the "cube rule". As you increase the length, you increase the beam such that you get so much more room than what might result in an increase in the lenght of a monohull. So, my first attempt at analysing the relationship between the two might be:

The prices of multihulls and monohulls vary primarily in relation to the volume or living space available in and on each.

It is a good question, and hopefully, my simplistic consideration of it will entice others to dive in.

Going a little further, I would not suggest any strong relationship between weight and cost. Not only do monohulls rely on weight to get their design to work (keel included), but many modern multihulls rely on expensive materials and methods to acquire higher strength-to-weight ratios. These can be useful in a cruising monohull, but are not likely at the same level of importance as in a multi.
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Old 19-01-2004, 19:04   #3
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Multihull Prices

I've been watching the market for about three years now, and I've come to the conclusion that cats are two to three times the cost of a monohull of the same length and quality. Whereas trihulls are about the same as a monohulls of the same size and quality.

But I will add this, if your going to be doing bluewater crusing, it's better to have the heavy-er/better constructed multihull. The fast cats or light weights acquire stressed out joints. And trihulls are more likely to broach and go over.

Let it be known: What I know about multihulls is what I've read in my subscription of the Multihulls Magazine and the multihull websites that I frequent.

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Old 19-01-2004, 23:05   #4
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I will repeat an old quote from one of the multihull pioneers, Dick Newick. "Beware of anyone who promises a fast, cheap, roomy boat. You can not have all three. You can have two, any two of the three. But you can not have all three together."

Sonosailor hit it right on the head. When you compare two 40 foot boats say a cat and a monohull the cat will have the acommadations of a 50 foot monohull. Also they will more engineering , high tech composites, more molds and parts to build. Not to mention the cost of twin diesel installations.

Heavy is not better or safer. Delmarrey may have in mind the problems of the lightweight racing crowd which break up or capsize on a regular basis. But bear in mind the only thing these boats have in common with the cruising boats may be the number of hulls. It is quality construction and sound egineering and design that are most important. A heavy boat may have low bridedeck or underwing clearence or lack the reserve bouyancy to run or push the boat hard in heavy going. It may be under rigged and not live up to the performance potential of a multihull.

In my experience it takes a large degree of operator error to broach a multihull. Cats are more resistant to wave induced capsize and the tri is more resistant to wind induced capsize. My Searunner Tri design is about 30 years old and in it's day they where considered less prone to capsize. The cats of that era had narrower overall beam than you see today. I am sure that many of the newer cats would have better stability numbers than my old girl but if you compare them with the newer trimaran designs with their wider beam and higher bouyancy floats it would be hard to say which one is more stable.

Just to put in a plug for my old girl. The complete design line is about 35 years old with upwards of 1700 boats built with many still out there cruising in all parts of the world. I know of only one instance of a Searunner capsize.
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Old 20-01-2004, 03:56   #5
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Some years ago, I toured the PDQ factory in Whitby. The younger Mr. Slater who was managing it bragged about their great reduction in molds for the new PDQ 32 over the older PDQ 36. Both were constructed with an outrageous number of molds in my estimation. He was asked by my brother if he had boatbuilding experience before jumping into the venture. He said no, and a good thing too. If he had experience, he might not have jumped into the industry. As well, if he had experience, his factory probably wouldn't have injected the new technology and techniques that allowed the success.
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Old 14-03-2004, 16:16   #6
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For what its worth, my experience is that ladies love multihulls.
Regards, Glen
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