Nautical Expert

Motorboat magazine

Motor cats have more benefits than you think

Advantages of motor catamarans

Updated on July 11th, 2023

Power catamaran manufacturers continue to attack the market with more and more advanced boats as yachtsmen continue to grow in interest in them.

There are a lot of opponents of catamarans and they put forward many arguments against buying them, but in reality, only a few of them are really fair. For example, a higher cost of purchase and subsequent maintenance or noisy tunnel slaps. However, on closer examination, even these arguments may not always be true.

The advantages that a motor cat offers easily outshine any perceived disadvantages. The three most significant drawbacks are related to the price. Here they are:

1. Purchase price

This could be a very strong argument against catamarans. However, with the same LOA between a monohull and a catamaran, in the second case you get much more living space. Therefore, it would be incorrect to compare yachts of such different design by only one length.

If we take into account the entire habitable area, then a 15-meter catamaran can easily be equated to an 18-meter monohull yacht. Both on the flybridge and in the saloon, you have 50-60% more usable volume. So some catamarans actually have the cost of monohulls.

But in general, cats are more expensive, because they are more complex and require a special shipyard to build, and also because demand exceeds supply.

2. Maintenance cost

In general, seasonal maintenance for catamarans is more expensive than for monohulls of the same length. But don’t forget that you are actually servicing a larger boat. Motor cats, like all other boats, require an average of 10% per year of their price to be laid out for this. For catamaran backup systems that improve safety, most yachtsmen who find themselves in dangerous situations on the water are willing to pay a little more.

As for unscheduled repairs, the cost is the same as on regular yachts, since the equipment is identical. Although, of course, structural damage on multihulls can be more difficult to fix, and therefore more expensive.

3. Cost of mooring and storage

Most marinas charge much more for mooring catamarans. The cost of a mooring berth can be twice as high as for a monohull of the same length. This is natural, given the width of the cats. However, there are marinas that offer significant discounts for monohull owners.

Now let’s look at the advantages of catamarans

Obviously, the demand for multihulls is growing for a reason. Even if they are more expensive, then there must be something that completely eliminates this drawback. And there are many such advantages:

  • Space
  • Safety
  • Economy
  • Speed
  • Maneuverability
  • Stability
  • Comfort
  • Load capacity
  • No spatter

All these advantages played a role in order for many modern high-speed ferries and service vessels to be built on the basis of catamarans.

Take speed and efficiency as an example. Although one can often come across the statement that catamarans are more economical and faster because they have a smaller wetted surface, it is not true. In catamarans, in comparison with monohulls, the wetted surface, with some exceptions, on the contrary, is larger. At minimum speed, crampons can be even less efficient than classic displacement hulls.

But as the speed increases, the area of ​​the wetted surface and friction fade into the background, and here it is necessary to study the frontal resistance and the wave formation associated with it. The maximum cruising speed in displacement mode depends on the length of the yacht’s hull. The catamaran in this case is considered as two separate vessels, the long, thin hulls of which will be much faster, since the speed is also related to the ratio of width to length, and not just to the length of the waterline.

These narrow, spaced hulls create an excellent and stable platform that can carry a lot of weight without losing efficiency or significantly increasing fuel consumption. They also offer a comfortable stay on board in rough sea conditions, both when moving and at anchorage. At the same time, splashes from waves hitting the bow of the boat do not fly onto the glass of the wheelhouse.

As for safety, it is obvious that the duplication of engines and even the hulls themselves is a serious advantage over monohulls.

But that’s not all…

There is only one nuance that can really help a yacht with a classic hull win over a catamaran. This is the look. Yes, these may be subjective views, but there are an extremely large number of sailors who have given up on owning a motor cat for this reason alone.

Catamarans are really extremely rarely beautiful. Basically it’s all about practicality. Without aesthetics, without romance and elegance. No matter how you decorate the design of a motor catamaran and no matter what technical filling you add to it, for many it will still remain an ordinary raft, not a yacht.