Updated on July 11th, 2023
The ancient debate about which is better – a catamaran or a monohull yacht, is like an endless debate among watch lovers between the adherents of quartz and mechanics. Multihulls have a number of pros and cons compared to classic boats, but in general, representatives of both camps argue that their choice is based not only on cold calculations, including finance, but also one or another philosophy.
Nonetheless, the popularity of catamarans has grown significantly as the concept of their design has undergone a number of important changes, in light of which they have now become luxurious and incredibly comfortable cruisers.
Charter agencies now certainly have motor catamarans in their arsenal, and some have even made them their main focus, since many clients, having rented a catamaran for the first time, usually do not return to classic yachts. Why?
For a person who takes a yacht for rent or charter, one of the desires is a calm and predictable vacation on the water, which means relaxation, enjoying the sea and the Sun, glasses of delicious wine and beautiful plates of fruit on the table. And the catamaran is able to provide it.
The hull of the catamaran offers high stability, a horizontal deck and amazingly large space for the whole family or friends, for whom getting around in a boat is no more difficult than in a country house.
Advantages of catamarans
1. Spaciousness and habitability
This is the first and main reason for the popularity of multihull yachts. Huge saloon at main deck level, an equally large flybridge, and an ideal spot for sunbathing and up close dolphin watching, which is located at the bow between the hulls.
When sailing with three or more guests, catamarans provide much more privacy: two hulls with living quarters are far apart.
Cooking, dinner with friends – all this is much more pleasant on the spacious board of the catamaran. By comparison, being in a medium-sized monohull sailboat is like living in a big dark tube.
Catamarans have two engines, which are located in the stern of each hull. Due to the distance between them, tactical circulation is zero, that is, the boat can turn around almost on the spot. Of course, modern control systems for monohulls and dynamic drives, coupled with bow thrusters, have practically negated this advantage.
The resistance of two lightly submerged sharp hulls is less than one displacement hull with a ballast keel. Therefore, you can feel the difference in fuel consumption. But only in good weather. In conditions close to storm conditions, the monohull will be more efficient and can take the lead in terms of efficiency.
For many years, supporters of the classics have argued that catamarans are not as safe as their monohull boats. However, a properly designed modern family catamaran is very difficult to sink, especially if it is in the turtle position (and this is an incredibly rare occurrence). To drown you must either collide with two marine containers drifting from different directions, or be subjected to a strong fire.
If catamarans were more dangerous than monohulls, then insurance policies would have a significant difference in cost, but this is not so. Two hulls are anyway more reliable than one in case of a hole. As, however, and two engines too. On a catamaran, the stationary engines are identical and the generator will be able to continue working even if one motor fails, and the area for solar panels can be incredibly large.
This is an important point for many, which often becomes decisive when choosing a yacht. So many yachtsmen over the years of owning monohull boats have not been able to get rid of seasickness. Buying a catamaran solved this problem. But it is not always the case. The opposite cases are also known.
It should also be remembered that modern motor yachts have active stabilization systems that make yachting incredibly enjoyable, even for those suffering from seasickness.
Disadvantages of catamarans
Yes, multihull boats are more expensive. And the price of catamarans continues to grow along with their popularity. Maintenance is also significantly more expensive. We must remember at least that you will have two engines, not one.
Added to this is the high cost of overland transportation, if necessary, as well as the cost of storage. Payment for a place in the marina will be higher, and some yacht clubs are not designed for catamarans and trimarans at all.
The consolation may be that usually used catamarans sell faster and have less loss in price in relative terms.
2. Noisy and shaking
Catamaran hulls have an excellent ability to dampen a low side wave, leaving the transverse line of the hull close to the horizon. However, a medium-sized oncoming or entangled wave creates a continuous soundtrack when it is trapped between the floats and the bottom of the superstructure. Hard hitting (tunnel slap) causes vibration. In this regard, it is recommended to choose a catamaran with a clearance of at least a meter.
5. Not suitable for high latitudes
The best choice for the North Atlantic is an aluminum or steel trawler motor yacht. And, of course, a monohull would be a better solution than a catamaran. Living quarters are easier to heat and keep warm, and a metal case can even go through thin ice. But in the equatorial zone and in the subtropics, the opposite is true – the spacious salons of catamarans will be out of competition.
6. Not so romantic
Most sea lovers claim that monohull yachts are more romantic and beautiful than multihulls. It’s impossible to argue with this. But, probably, someone will be able to find their own special charm in catamarans.