Once, at the Cannes Yachting Festival, we met a famous catamaran manufacturer who claimed that soon motor multihulls would completely displace the “antediluvian monohulls” from the yacht market, making them completely obsolete and unclaimed.
Of course, no one doubts the obvious advantages of catamarans and that their popularity is growing. A special role in this is played by companies such as Sunreef, Alva and others, which are taking part in the development of the market for electric yachts and, in particular, solar catamarans.
Their hydrodynamically efficient hulls and large horizontal areas suitable for placing solar panels are attracting engineers and designers who support the growing trend of eco-friendly motor yachts.
But how likely is it that catamarans, or even trimarans, will become more popular than the good old single-hull classics at some point in the future? We would say that this probability tends to zero. Even if we do not take into account financial aspects, this requires a number of conditions.
Firstly, the efficiency of catamarans is not so fantastic as to justify their complex construction for very small or, conversely, for very large boats. That’s why monohull superyachts and tenders are here to stay.
Secondly, the energy efficiency of solar panels and batteries is constantly increasing, and other alternative energy sources are being developed that can be used in different combinations on monohulls, without the need for very wide horizontal surfaces to capture sunlight.
Thirdly, catamarans have not only advantages, but also serious disadvantages, including low carrying capacity and disgusting internal layout.
Fourthly, catamarans are absolutely not suitable for exploration types of yachts (although we are sure that many will argue with this), so explorers, especially ice class ones, are completely safe.
Fifthly, for catamarans to dominate the market, the taste, sense of style and harmony among boat buyers must completely disappear or atrophy. They should stop worrying about the beauty of the design, and the purely utilitarian value of the acquisition should come to the fore, which is not what yachts inherently are. It is impossible to build a catamaran more beautiful than a monohull. Even if the monohull has a very mediocre design.
However, in the future, multihull dominance may emerge in the commercial sector. For example, projects such as Trimonoran, which have proven superiority over classic hulls, can easily become the main type of vessel for a wide variety of tasks.