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Old 31-10-2022, 11:53   #1
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Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

I've always been curious about the extreme lack of cats out there. It's probably due to the obvious downsides of cats... higher price tag, marina and haul-out price and availability. I'd like to hear from folks who switched to cats (I imagine no one started with a cat) and liked it, and especially from folks who switched back to monohull.


Are the above issues the main deciding factors? It seems that cats are far superior other than those. It seems that they have an incredible amount of room. Even the old Gemini cats are mansions compared to my Hunter 31, and they still fit in a regular slip. It also seems like a plus to walk about the boat rather than climb... heeling and all.
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Old 31-10-2022, 11:59   #2
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

The motion on a cat doesn’t sit well with some folks.
More time and effort into maintenance because there are twice as many engines.
Sailing in high winds takes a lot more attentiveness, if’s less apparent when the wind is starting to overpower the boat, boat doesn’t heel more when overpowered, it breaks or capsizes.
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Old 31-10-2022, 13:02   #3
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

Oh boy, here we go again!
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Old 31-10-2022, 13:09   #4
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

Cats and monohulls are both great cruising boats with different pros and cons. Sail both and see which you prefer.
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Old 31-10-2022, 13:19   #5
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

It also depends where you are. Up in BC you see very few cats (I feel I almost see more tris!), but in Mexico they were everywhere. I've heard it's the same in the Bahamas as well
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Old 31-10-2022, 13:42   #6
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

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Cats and monohulls are both great cruising boats with different pros and cons. Sail both and see which you prefer.
This forum is the opposite of the truck forums I'm on. This is, of course, an opinion question and this is the correctest answer, but I'm looking for fanboy type opinions.

If money and infrastructure weren't an issue, I'd go cat hands down... after a trial of course but I'd have to find one first. Just wondering why this isn't a common thought. When I see a $100k+ monohull, I always wonder why they didn't get a cat. I find it tough to think that so many people prefer the behavior of a monohull over a single. having to judge sailing conditions by charts rather than feel is probably a bigger factor than I'm attributing though.
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Old 31-10-2022, 13:57   #7
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

Totally depends on how and where you plan on using the boat...and of course your budget. We've had a blast sailing both, but if I were just going to hop around the Bahamas, a shallow draft catamaran would be a more enjoyable choice than a rugged monohull that drafts 7'. Now if we were going to be sailing through Scandanavia for a few years then doing a circumnavigation, that deep draft monohull would a far better choice.

Define your mission, check your bank account, then buy the right tool for the job that allows you to be out there for as long as you plan without having money be a concern. Both are excellent choices as long as you just get out there. People have done the northern passage in a "charter condo-cat" and others are happily sailing the world in 28' monohulls that most would consider a day-sailor...to hell what anybody else thinks.
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Old 31-10-2022, 14:01   #8
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

As stated above, it does depend on where you are. Here on the east coast of Oz I have seen cats go from rare to dominant (in cruising fleets) over 35 years.

I took my cat to Tasmania but didn't like sailing down there with it. My cat is light and the winds down there are gusty, with lows sometimes washing across every two days, and at anchor it gets quite boisterous, whereas on the mainland the weather is more moderate. Also our cats ability to glide over coral reefs or do long days at a 9 knot average was not so necessary with short distances. And swimming off the back and playing around the boat was not a thing with the cold water. Our cat can do great things but not many of these are required in Tassie.But the trip across the strait was fast and fab and we got to slip into St Helens, which most monos can't do because of the shallow bar.

If I had a boat in Tassie I would consider something much more bulletproof than my cat. I might even just go for a motorsailor because sailing can be such a pain and just go dinghy racing for my sailing. Even in summer, we could see people using their heaters in the morning and heating the large volume of the cat with all its hatches and doors was an impossibility. So we got cold - in late autumn it was truly bitter, whereas the monos could get the diesel heater chuffing away to heat the whole interior.

You may have some similar constraints determining boat choice where you live. If the sailing is reasonable, with typical sailing conditions, a cat can be a wonderful choice, but in some situations, high latitude sailing I would think, even this multi owner of 40 years would consider something else. I may stay with the cat but one of Australia's most experienced multi sailors has an old fishing lugger (with only stabilising sails) as his own boat and he waxes about his Lister engine the same way he used to talk about rigs. Tassie is different.

Also racing is usually far easier in monos. There are more classes to race one design with, so if you are near a serious racing scene then the monos will dominate. Monos are great race boats because you can get very close with great manouvrability and not huge speeds. Getting things wrong in multi racing can get very expensive very quickly.
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Old 31-10-2022, 14:01   #9
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

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If money and infrastructure weren't an issue, I'd go cat hands down... after a trial of course but I'd have to find one first. Just wondering why this isn't a common thought. When I see a $100k+ monohull, I always wonder why they didn't get a cat. I find it tough to think that so many people prefer the behavior of a monohull over a single.

It is a personal choice, cats can make great cruising boats. It is not a “common thought” because priorities and requirements differ.

Try and experience both types of vessels and talk to long term owners before deciding.
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Old 31-10-2022, 14:53   #10
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

AuChante hands down with my clients it's a money issue. Cat's are expensive compared to a mono here in Australia. Then trying to find a berth and reasonable priced boat yard can be a real mission. Some of those older cats are real pigs to sail. I did a sea trial recently on an older cat. It was wind against tide so there was some chop. The slap on the underwing just about rattled my fillings out.

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Old 31-10-2022, 15:09   #11
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

If you are comparing boats you need to compare based on equal $s. I just randomly checked on YachtWorld and a 2011 Lagoon 40 cost the same as a 2011 Beneteau 54. Not sure who'd win the space, comfort, and speed comparison between them.
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Old 31-10-2022, 15:20   #12
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

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If you are comparing boats you need to compare based on equal $s. I just randomly checked on YachtWorld and a 2011 Lagoon 40 cost the same as a 2011 Beneteau 54. Not sure who'd win the space, comfort, and speed comparison between them.

But how many $$$ is not heeling worth? Seriously, we can usually* go sailing with all of our live aboard sh*t loose on the shelves and counters and tables because we know stuff wont go flying because of heel. Very convenient.

* occasionally we do need to put our things away and/or line our liquor cabinet with towels. But that’s rare, even offshore.
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Old 31-10-2022, 15:35   #13
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

Something else I suppose I should consider is the bluewater-ability of the cats. I've gathered that the ideal cat, very generally, has minimal mass in front of the mast (no saloon in front of mast), mast should be in the center of the boat, high as possible bridge, and narrow as possible hulls. That really cuts into liveable space.


But it sounds like it mostly boils down to money and local infrastructure.


Thanks for all the responses!
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Old 31-10-2022, 15:54   #14
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

^^^^ (post 8)

This is a very thoughtful post from an avowed multihuller... well worth reading and thinking about when making the decision.

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Old 31-10-2022, 18:45   #15
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Re: Catamaran vs Monohull... advantages, disadvantages?

I don’t think you can compare catamarans to monohulls as there are some absolute crap catamarans and there are some absolute crap monohulls, so it all comes down to the actual contenders.
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