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Catamaran vs. Monohull Fishing Boats - Which is Better

Dec 14, 2023

less than a min

Catamaran vs. Monohull Fishing Boats - Which is Better

When selecting a fishing boat, anglers face a significant choice that can impact their experience on the water. The type of boat you choose - be it a catamaran or a traditional monohull - plays a pivotal role in defining your fishing adventures. Both catamaran and monohull boats have distinct features and advantages, and understanding these differences is key to finding a vessel that aligns with your fishing style and preferences. Whether you're a seasoned angler or just beginning to navigate the world of fishing, we'll help guide delves into the nuances of catamaran and monohull fishing boats.

Catamaran Fishing Boats: Stability Meets Performance

What are catamaran fishing boats.

Catamaran fishing boats, with their distinctive multihull design, are gaining acclaim among anglers for their exceptional stability and comfort, particularly in challenging sea conditions. The dual-hull structure of these boats not only reduces water resistance, leading to improved fuel efficiency but also ensures a smoother ride. For instance, the "Offshore Fishing Catamarans," which typically range from 20 to 40 feet in length, are equipped with features tailored for serious anglers, including fish boxes, live wells, and rod holders. These boats are adept at handling rough offshore waters, making them ideal for pursuing species like king mackerel or wahoo.

Offshore Fishing Catamarans

Design : Power catamarans , designed for offshore use, are equipped with features like fish boxes, live wells, and rod holders, essential for serious anglers.

Handling Rough Waters : They excel in handling choppy offshore waters, making them suitable for trolling species like king mackerel or wahoo.

Versatility : Not limited to saltwater, they are also effective in large freshwater systems like the Great Lakes.

Comfort for Extended Trips : Many models offer cabins for overnight stays, enhancing their appeal for longer fishing expeditions.

Average Length : 20 to 40 feet

Propulsion : Twin outboard engines

Capacity : 8 to 10 people

Hull Type : Multi-hull

Another notable example is the "Small Fishing Catamaran," averaging between 8 and 14 feet. These smaller variants offer enhanced stability and buoyancy compared to traditional flat-bottom boats and are particularly suitable for shallow water fishing. Their lightweight and easy-to-transport nature, combined with the option for paddle or small outboard motor propulsion, make them a great entry-level choice for new boaters.

Small Fishing Catamaran

Ideal for Beginners : These boats offer an entry-level option with better stability and buoyancy than flat-bottom boats.

Shallow Draft : Their shallow draft allows easy beaching and shore pull-up, ideal for coastal fishing.

Average Length : 8 to 14 feet

Propulsion : Outboard engine or paddle

Capacity : 1 to 3 people

Both types of catamarans exemplify the blend of practical design and angler-centric features, making them a compelling choice for a wide range of fishing activities.

Monohull Fishing Boats: The Traditional Choice

Monohull fishing boats, revered as the traditional choice in the angling world, have long been the backbone of the fishing community. Characterised by their single-hull design, these boats offer a classic approach to fishing, blending time-honoured maritime traditions with modern advancements. Monohulls are known for their straightforward handling and predictable performance, making them a familiar and reliable option for many anglers. Their design allows for deep V-hulls that can cut through waves, offering a smooth ride and a distinct fishing experience. 

Advantages of Monohull Fishing Boats

Space Utilisation : Monohulls offer a larger single space below the waterline, allowing for bigger cabins and storage areas.

Roll Period : They have a slower roll period, which means the motion is less abrupt compared to some catamarans.

Predictability : Handling characteristics are more consistent and predictable.

Variety and Resale : There's a broader selection of monohulls available, and they tend to be easier to resell.

Monohull Disadvantages

Stability Issues : They can lean significantly with weight shifts on the deck.

Bowrise and Steering : Monohulls experience noticeable bowrise when coming onto plane and may exhibit bow steering.

Catamaran vs. Monohull: Which is Better for Fishing?

Handling and maneuverability.

Catamarans are highly manoeuvrable due to their dual engines and hulls, offering better control, which is crucial when fishing in tight spots or near structures.

Monohulls have predictable handling, but their performance can vary significantly based on the design and sea conditions.

Space and Amenities

Catamarans provide more living space, making them suitable for extended trips and anglers who prioritise comfort.

Monohulls have more space below the waterline, which can be advantageous for storage and cabin size.

Draft and Accessibility

Catamarans, with their shallow draft, allow access to areas that might be challenging for some monohulls.

Monohulls might have limitations in shallow waters but often perform better in deep sea conditions.

Economy and Maintenance

Catamarans are generally more fuel-efficient, but they may have higher maintenance costs due to their dual systems.

Monohulls are traditionally less expensive to purchase and maintain but might not offer the same fuel efficiency as catamarans.

Tailoring to Your Fishing Style

The decision between a catamaran and a monohull fishing boat should be based on your specific fishing style, preferred locations, and comfort requirements. Catamarans are ideal for anglers seeking stability and comfort in various water conditions, while monohulls are suitable for those who prefer traditional handling and may not require extensive space. Ultimately, the right choice will enhance your fishing experience, ensuring safety, efficiency, and enjoyment on the water. Whether you're drawn to the traditional charm of monohulls or the stability of catamarans, TheBoatDB provides a user-friendly platform to assess each option side-by-side. Visit TheBoatDB to delve deeper into the specifics of each type and discover the boat that perfectly aligns with your fishing style and needs.

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Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

  • By Chris Caswell
  • Updated: February 26, 2018

Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

Ever since the Polynesians started crossing oceans on catamarans when much of the “civilized” world was still afraid of the sea, the idea of the twin hull has ebbed and flowed in popularity. For centuries in the Western world, the monohull ruled the seas. At least until 1876, when Nathanael Herreshoff designed a sailing catamaran that was so fast, cats were actually banned from racing for years. Yes, cats are cool. But how do they really stack up against the classic, tried-and-true deep-V monohull?

Let’s look at the strengths and weaknesses of catamaran and monohull boats. We picked two boats of similar length: the Sea Ray Fly 400 (43 feet 6 inches) and the Leopard 43 Power Cat (42 feet 8 inches). The Sea Ray displaces more (30,900 pounds versus 25,794 pounds), but the major difference is beam: The Leopard, carrying 22 feet 1 inch of beam, is nearly 9 feet wider than the Sea Ray (13 feet 6 inches). And that is where many differences between the two start.

Before we go on, we need to provide a disclaimer. We know we’re comparing apples to oranges to some degree, so don’t go sending us angry letters about an unfair comparison. Frankly, it’s sometimes good to compare the taste of oranges and apples. And here’s the thing: We like them both! Both boats ended up with good scores in some areas, lesser in others. We do believe that the concepts that surfaced as a result of comparing these two boats will help cruiser buyers make a more informed decision if the question of cat versus mono arises in their quest for a new boat. That said, let the comparison begin.

Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

Fast Action: Speed Vs. Efficiency

With 960 hp from twin Cummins diesels, the Sea Ray easily wins in top speed at nearly 34.5 mph compared to the Leopard (27.6 mph), but at a serious cost in fuel. At 20 mph, the Leopard is using just 20 gph, for an even 1 mpg. At the same speed, the Sea Ray is using 32.6 gph, netting 0.5 mpg.

“A strength of the catamaran is that it has such low drag,” says Gino Morelli, the catamaran designer, whose credits range from America’s Cup contenders and Olympic-class cats through power cats for charter use up to a record-setting round-the-world 125-foot cat. “It’s just basic hydrodynamics: Two slim hulls have very low resistance. They push much less water than one wider hull and therefore require smaller engines for increased efficiency.”

The Sea Ray is faster; the Leopard is more efficient. It’s nice to have speed when you want to outrun an approaching squall or get to an anchorage first. On the other hand, you’ll probably spend most of your cruising time at the lower speed more comfortable to your guests.

Our take: Both are winners. It’s your choice.

Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

Pain and Gain: Ride Vs. Handling

“Two sharp hulls pound less in a seaway too,” says Morelli. Monohulls, especially cruising monohulls like the Sea Ray, tend to experience bow rise when accelerating, while catamarans remain flat throughout their speed range. It’s generally agreed that catamarans provide a softer ride in a seaway because their knifelike hulls slice the waves rather than crush them, and the motion of a catamaran in waves is more like a cantering horse, which some people like and others don’t. At low speeds in a beam sea, some power cats can have a sharp roll as swells pass under each hull separately, but monohulls also roll considerably, which is why gyrostabilizers and stabilizer fins have become popular aboard monohulls. But the roll moment is different for each, and you may or may not prefer one motion to the other.

In hard turns, catamarans remain flat or even lean outboard somewhat, which can intimidate inexperienced skippers more used to the inboard bank of a monohull. Handling is another factor to consider, and catamarans have both good and bad features. With the engines widely spaced in the two hulls, a catamaran is more maneuverable at slow speed and spins easily by using its engines. A monohull, with the two engines close together, requires more power and technique to spin.

The downside of handling a cat, of course, is the much wider beam: Turning a platform that is more than half as wide as it is long can take planning, especially in narrow channels. Some, but not all, catamarans also have some weird quirks, such as “sneezing” between the hulls when running in some conditons, which sends spray over the bow, and also pounding at times at idle speeds due to air pockets.

Draft is something to keep in mind too, especially if you want to explore shallow waters. The Leopard draws 3 feet 1 inch compared to the Sea Ray at 3 feet 7 inches. The Leopard also has skegs to protect its props, rudders and running gear if you decide to nose up to a beach.

That 22-foot beam has another downside: It doesn’t fit in many marina slips, which means the Leopard is likely to moor on end ties (with more wave motion) or on side ties along a seawall, while the Sea Ray will fit into most any marina slip. Catamaran slips are often more expensive too.

Our take: The catamaran wins for its soft ride in a seaway. The V-hull wins for fitting into a greater number of protected, less-expensive marina slips.

Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

Interior Accommodations – Salon

There’s no getting away from the fact that a 22-foot-wide boat will have more space than one with a 13-foot beam, or so it should seem. But that isn’t quite true. Let’s start with the salon.

Having a 20-something-foot-wide living room is something you don’t find aboard monohulls until you pass the 100-foot length, and this is exactly why catamarans are proving popular with liveaboard owners. In the case of the Leopard, there is a large dinette, a single-seat lower helm station, and a spacious L-shaped galley with counter space measured in acres. Galley gear includes a three-burner gas cooktop with gas oven, and a two-drawer fridge.

The Sea Ray has a doublewide helm station, a pair of facing couches, and a galley aimed more at dining ashore, with limited counter space, a two-burner electric cooktop, microwave and fridge.

While the Leopard salon excels in sheer space (there is room to dance in the salon), it also has one popular feature: a front door. Both boats have sliding doors aft into the cockpit, of course, but the Leopard has an offset door that opens to the foredeck for anchoring or sunning.

Our take: The salon winner is the Leopard catamaran.

Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

I said “so it should seem” about a wider beam on the Leopard equating to more space, which was true for the salon, but not so much for the staterooms. The Sea Ray has a conventional monohull layout for this length, with the master stateroom forward and a midship cabin under the salon with two berths that can slide together to become a double. The Sea Ray master cabin has a walk-around island queen-size berth, while the midship cabin has limited headroom, but a couch and a separate head are optional.

The Leopard, on the other hand, offers either a four-cabin or a three-cabin owner’s layout. The four-cabin is popular with chartering, placing two cabins in each hull, with a head and stall shower between, while the owner’s version fills the starboard hull with the berth aft and the bow becomes a large head with stall shower.

The shortcomings of the catamaran are the narrow hulls, which limit the width of the cabins. The berths literally fill each cabin, hullside to hullside, making these into less graceful ­­crawl-in berths, and each cabin has limited floor space and stowage.

Our take: We’ll call this even, depending on whether you want more smaller cabins or fewer but more-spacious cabins.

Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

Once again, sheer beam is the determining factor in flybridges. The Leopard has a wraparound dinette, doublewide helm seat, and outdoor galley with barbecue grill and fridge. The Leopard bridge still has ample space for deck chairs or kayaks. A walk-through next to the helm leads to a sun pad on the forward bridge for lounging.

The Sea Ray 400 Fly has a single helm chair and a double companion seat, as well as a dinette and mini galley, but no extra space.

Our take: The Catamaran’s extra width offers a more spacious flying bridge.

Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

Transom Platform

The Leopard Power Cat has smaller transom platforms, but there are two of them. Leopard created a clever electric davit that can launch or retrieve a tender and provide secure stowage while underway, making tender operations easy. The Sea Ray offers a standard transom platform or an optional hydraulic platform, either of which serves as a terrific “beach” for your crew while at anchor. It can carry up to a 500-pound tender such as a Sea-Doo Spark PWC.

Our take: The monohull’s single wide swim platform is superior for tender handling, swimming and socializing

Fit and Finish

This last item is empirical, and the fact is the two boats are finished to different standards. The Leopard ($459,000 MSRP), like many catamarans, is designed for minimal maintenance for tough charter service, with expanses of fiberglass and Formica-like materials. The Sea Ray ($809,542 MSRP), on the other hand, uses fabrics and finishes that create a more opulent, yachtlike interior.

Engine access on the Sea Ray 400 Fly is good via a gas-lifted cockpit deck, while the Leopard engines are under the berths in the two aft cabins, which rise on gas lifts, but there is some upheaval of two cabins to check the oil. Again, a personal choice: one engine room or two.

Our take: Finish is not strictly a cat or mono attribute. Any boat can be finished to any level, depending upon the builder’s target market.

Catamaran or monohull? Both are right for certain owners and, just like apples and oranges, both taste good for different reasons. Boating ‘s position for decades has been and continues to be: There is no perfect boat, but there is probably a boat that is perfect for you.

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catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

Catamaran Or Monohull? 27 Important Facts (Explained)

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Catamarans and monohull boats are two very different kinds of vessels.  Each craft offers distinct advantages and disadvantages that you’ll want to consider before choosing between the two.

In this post, we’ll go over some of the important things to consider when choosing between catamarans and monohull boats:

Table of Contents

Cost & Availability

Both catamarans and monohull boats come in small recreational sailing versions, larger motorboat versions, and larger sailing models.  In all cases, the catamarans will cost more and will be harder to find.

The reason catamarans are harder to find because there are not as many of them, and they’re mostly made overseas.

Also, there aren’t as many catamaran manufacturers, so sailors have fewer options when buying them.

On top of this, catamarans have only recently become popular in the United States and other areas of the developed world.  This means the used market for boats doesn’t have as many catamarans on it.  You might find that you have fewer options when making a used catamaran purchase, which could bring costs up to a premium.

Two Times The Fun with Catamarans

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

Another reason that catamarans are more expensive than monohulls is the fact that catamaran buyers have to purchase two hulls, two engines, and two of all of the components that help make an engine work.

Traditional sailboats and large powerboats with one engine don’t have this cost issue.

On top of this, a catamaran is much wider than a monohull, and thus you have more space to build and equip.

On the other hand, once you’ve purchased the boat, you do get to enjoy the benefits of having two of everything.  We’ll talk about the advantages of this further down in this post.

Maintenance Cost Makes A Difference

The maintenance on a catamaran is also more expensive than the maintenance on a monohull boat.  This goes back to the fact that there is twice as much of everything to maintain.

Catamaran owners will need to do preventative maintenance on two different engines, and they’ll have two hulls and a large deck area to clean and maintain as well.  If they’re getting the bottom of the boat treated, they’ll have to do this twice (once for each hull).

Even the interior components can usually be found twice.

Each cabin will usually have a head in it, so you’ll have at least two toilets and sinks to maintain, which obviously has its plusses and minuses.

One positive aspect of this is that catamaran owners do have the option of deferring some of their maintenance.  For example, if one head is no longer functioning properly, you always have the second one that you can use.

It also adds a bit of safety as well.

This is because while the catamaran does have two engines to maintain, the owner does have power even if one of the engines happens to go down.

Some catamaran owners also like to point out that maintenance may not have to be done as frequently.  This is because the engines don’t have to work quite as hard, and other items like additional bathrooms and sinks might only be used half as much.

How Much Space Do You Need?

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

A catamaran has more space than a monohull.  This is because the boat is wider, and it has a much larger deck area.  It also has twice as many hulls, so you have more overall space between the two of them.

The additional space is great for people looking to throw parties on their boats.

Most boat owners would agree that the catamaran is usually the party boat of choice at the docks.

Even if you aren’t into throwing parties, the extra space can still be nice for relaxing on the deck or getting a suntan.  The wide-open space also makes it easy to use the boat as a fishing platform.

Additionally, you have more space for stuff like surfboards, rafts, and other items that can easily clutter up the deck of a monohull.  Even fishing can be easier from a catamaran as the deck provides plenty of space between different anglers.

Catamaran owners also have additional space for carrying fresh water and adding generators and solar panels.

Interior space is generally more plentiful on a catamaran, and luxury catamarans have an easier time fitting large items like washers and dryers inside of them.  You can have these on larger monohulls as well, but it will be harder to make them fit than it is in a catamaran.

On the other hand, all of the additional space means the catamaran owner has more space to maintain and clean.  Also, all of the additional items that can be brought onto the boat will make it heavier.  A heavier boat will use more fuel, and it will travel more slowly.

Living Quarters Vary Between The Two

The living quarters on a catamaran are much different than they are on a monohull.  Most people would agree that the berths in a monohull are much more spacious than in a catamaran.

A monohull offers people the opportunity to have a large bed with space on either side to walk around it.  This is great for couples who want to get out of bed without waking up their partner.

Catamarans, on the other hand, have the advantage of being able to offer large above-deck salon areas.  The galleys, the dining areas, and the living areas can all be above-deck, while the two hulls can provide heads and berths.

Some boat owners say that living in a monohull is akin to living in a basement apartment .  Other boat owners prefer the monohull because it brings them closer to the water and gives them the feeling of being at sea.

Privacy Can Be Prioritized On Catamarans

A catamaran offers up many different living areas that people can take advantage of.  For example, each hull will typically have its own bathroom and bedroom.

This gives each sleeping area complete privacy from the other.

The living quarters are usually up on the deck, so early risers can wake up and move to these quarters without waking up the others.

The same holds for night owls.  A night owl can stay up late without bothering the people who want to retire to their beds earlier.

With two hulls, large catamaran owners can hire a crew and give them their own hull to live in so that there is separation between the cruisers and the crew.  This is a wonderful advantage for honeymooners looking to have their own space.

The downside to all of this, of course, is that sometimes a family may not want the additional privacy.  For example, a family with small children might not want their children in a different hull than they are.

Additionally, the extra privacy can make it hard for people on the boat to communicate.  This could become a big problem in the event of an emergency.

For this reason, it is often recommended that each hull have a radio in it so that the occupants can quickly communicate with each other.  Remember, even in inland areas, cell phone reception may not be very good inside the boat hulls.

Recreation In a Monohull vs. a Catamaran

Most sailors agree that sailing a monohull boat is much more exhilarating than sailing a catamaran.  Traditional sailboats heel, and sailors get instant feedback while they’re sailing.  For the most part, catamarans stay stable, and you don’t get the same feeling with the movement of the wind and the water.

When it comes to monohull powerboats, you have the advantage of being able to pull water skiers, kneeboarders, and tubers with ease, as long as the boat has the power and a planing hull.  A power catamaran usually doesn’t have the speed or maneuverability to pull off these recreational opportunities because they are displacement hull designs.

Catamarans excel in more leisurely recreational activities.  A catamaran makes a great party deck as well as a great cruising deck.  Catamaran owners can comfortably walk around a catamaran without having to worry that the boat might knock them over the next time it decides to heel.  This allows boaters to sit and talk with one another comfortably.

A catamaran can also be used as a beaching vessel.  This makes it a great platform for people looking to go swimming or fishing around sand bars and other shallow water areas.  It also makes it a great boat for sailors looking to sail a larger boat on a river or lake known for having shallow areas.

Swimming and Diving

Swimming and diving off of a catamaran are usually much easier than doing the same from a monohull.  The wide stance of the two hulls offers boat designers the option to put in staircases at the back of both hulls.

In between these staircases, some boats will have an additional diving platform and/or a dedicated frame for pieces of equipment and dinghy storage.  This makes catamarans great for swimmers, snorkelers, and divers.

On the other hand, modern monohull sailboats can also have good transom stairs for easy access to the dinghy and swimming.  Both types of boats can easily travel far out to sea, giving boaters the option of diving in areas that can’t be accessed from beaches and developed areas.

Boat Draft In Shallow Waters

For the uninitiated, the boat’s draft refers to how deep the boat’s hull sits within the water.

A monohull typically sits deep within the water, while a catamaran sits much higher on the water.  This is why we stated that a catamaran is good for shallow waters.

The advantage of having a boat that can go into shallow waters isn’t restricted to just recreational activities like swimming and fishing.  A boat that can go into shallow water is safer to operate in areas where a boat with a deeper draft might become damaged.

Additionally, a catamaran has more stability on calm waters.  This helps make a catamaran more comfortable to relax or sleep on while at anchor or the dock.

The deeper draft of a monohull boat has its advantages as well.  A deeper draft provides more stability in rough waters and allows a boat to go further into the sea.

For this reason, many coastal cruisers will prefer catamarans, while many ocean voyagers will prefer monohull boats.  In fact, some areas of the Caribbean and the Florida Keys can be off-limits to boats with deep drafts as it simply isn’t safe for the boat to navigate these waters.

This isn’t to say that you can’t navigate these waters in a monohull boat, but you will have to be cautious depending on how deep your monohull’s boat draft is.  You wouldn’t have this issue in a catamaran.

Stability On The Sea

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

A catamaran offers a lot more stability in shallow waters, in calm waters, at the dock, and anchorage.  This makes the boat great for cruising and for relaxing in port.

A monohull offers a lot more stability in rough waters.

This makes this boat great for heading out to sea and for navigating vast distances.

Safety Issues To Consider

Both catamarans and monohulls can be built to navigate the waters they were made for safely.  This will be determined more by the boat’s category designation rather than the type of boat.

However, each boat deals with unsafe situations in different ways.  For instance, a monohull boat is likely to right itself if it is capsized.

This means that even in rough seas, you’re unlikely to find yourself permanently capsized.

The downside to this is that should you become completely swamped from a capsize in a monohull boat, you are much more likely to sink.  In fact, if there is a hull breach on a monohull boat, your boat could sink.

Catamarans are said to be unsinkable.  This isn’t completely true, but it is very unlikely that a catamaran will sink.  Even if a hull is breached, you still have a second hull to keep the catamaran afloat.

However, a catamaran can’t right itself.  If you capsize your catamaran, it will stay capsized.

One other safety concern to consider is that a monohull sailboat will heel while a catamaran will not.  This increases the chances that someone could fall off the boat or onto the deck in a monohull boat.

Catamarans Are Faster Than Monohull Boats

A catamaran is faster than the average monohull boat.

This is because they face less water resistance, and their narrow hulls don’t have to deal with their own bow waves as a monohull does.

Of course, catamarans aren’t always faster.  Old cruising catamarans may not go faster than 8 knots, and modern monohulls can exceed 10 knots.

Monohull boats tend to sail downwind and in choppy seas better than catamarans.  This gives them a speed advantage during ocean voyages.

We have a separate post with complete average speeds per type of catemaran . It’s a must read if you are at all concerned about speed!

Fuel Consumption Considerations

Catamarans have two engines to burn fuel, which can drive up fuel costs.

However, a catamaran is lighter on the water, so it usually takes less energy to move a catamaran.  This means you’ll end up using less fuel in a catamaran than you would in a monohull.

On top of this, catamarans can decide to use just one engine in low wind areas.  This further decreases the amount of fuel that a catamaran consumes.

These rules only apply to calm waters.

A monohull navigates waters with high waves and strong winds much more efficiently than a catamaran.  In this case, you’ll use less fuel in a monohull than you would in a catamaran.

Sailing Differences To Notice

Sailing a monohull boat can be exhilarating.  These boats can glide through choppy waters, and you get to feel the motion of the boat as the sea rushes by the cockpit and the wind causes you to heel.

This type of sailing also provides instant feedback as you’ll know what you need to do with the sails as you’ll feel what is going on through the boat’s motion.

Sailors all over the world have been using monohull sailboats for years, and you’ll find plenty of outlets for recreational sailing with a monohull sailboat.

Sailing catamarans do not heel like a monohull sailboat.

These boats, therefore, do not provide the sailor with instant feedback.  Also, if you incorrectly sail a catamaran, you do risk capsizing the boat more easily.

Training Can Be Quite Hard

Sailing a catamaran and sailing a monohull boat are two different experiences.  People looking to sail either should probably get professional training.

Obtaining this training will always be easier with a monohull boat.

This is because monohulls are more popular, so you’ll have more instructors available to you.

Do You (Or Your Friends) Get Seasick?

People who are prone to getting seasick easily might want to consider a catamaran.  A catamaran provides much more stability in calm waters, and you get a lot less movement.

On the other hand, people who are not prone to getting seasick might prefer a monohull in choppy waters.

This is because a monohull will deal with deep and choppy waters with high waves much better than a catamaran will.

As a result, a catamarans movement can seem extreme under these types of conditions.  People who have never gotten seasick before can end up sick under these conditions.

Here’s a separate article we wrote with everything you should know about seasickness on Catamarans . There are some things you can do and some things you should know!

Docking Is (Usually) Easier With A Monohull Boat

Docking a catamaran can be a difficult endeavor.

This is because catamarans are often too wide to be docked within the slips located in central areas of a marina.

Because of this, they need to be docked at the end of the dock.  This leaves them with fewer spots to dock.  It also makes docking more expensive.

Catamaran owners traveling through areas that are unlikely to have many catamarans in them may find it difficult to find a dock at all.  This is true in areas of the northern Atlantic where monohulls are much more popular than catamarans.

Storage Issues To Consider

Even storing a catamaran can be more difficult.  This is because storage facilities often do not have the equipment to get a catamaran out of the water.

The wide width of these boats requires special lifts, and not all boat marinas will have them.

Storage facilities that do get the catamaran out of the water will often charge more money for it.  They’ll charge additional fees for taking the catamaran out of the water, and they’ll charge additional fees for the actual storage of the boat as well.

Redundancy And Backup Equipment

We touched upon this earlier, but it is worth repeating that catamarans have many redundancy built into them.  This can be a big advantage when it comes to safety.

For example, if one rudder becomes inoperable, the boat can still be steered with the other one.  If one engine becomes inoperable, the boat can still be driven with the other one.

In extreme cases, a hull could become damaged, and you could still stay afloat because the other hull will keep the boat safely above water.  These safety advantages can save lives and keep people from becoming stranded out at sea.

The primary downside is the maintenance issue that we mentioned earlier.  All of these redundant components will need to be maintained.  As a result, maintenance costs will be close to twice as expensive in a catamaran.

Cooking Is Easier On Catamarans

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

Cooking on a catamaran is usually easier than it is on a monohull.  The main reason for this is that a catamaran doesn’t heel like a monohull, so you don’t have to worry as much about things falling over.

This not only makes cooking easier, but it makes cooking safer as well.

Additionally, catamaran galleys tend to have more space in them to move around.  Also, they are often up on the deck, so you don’t have to climb in and out of the hull with your dinner in hand.

Dinghy Storage

Monohulls and catamarans can both hold dinghies.  The larger the boat, the larger the dinghy can be.

However, catamarans have a wide area at the rear of the boat that is perfect for holding dinghies.

This makes getting in and out of the dinghy easier.  Also, people can often have larger dinghies on their catamarans because the boat’s stern is so accommodating.

Power Generation Is Easy On A Catamaran

A catamaran has a lot of space for solar panels and wind turbines.  Rigid panels can be placed in areas that won’t be walked on, like overtop of the bimini, and flexible panels can be placed in areas where the panels might end up getting stepped on.

The width of a catamaran even gives them more opportunities to put hydro generators into the water.

This means catamarans can generate more power than the average monohull boat can generate.

On the other hand, a monohull usually has less powered items to worry about.  Monohulls need less power to operate at full capacity, so you may not need all of the additional space for generating power.

Ventilation Issues To Think About

Some people feel that monohull boats don’t offer enough ventilation.  This is especially true in warmer areas of the world.

Catamarans also lack ventilation within their hulls, but fortunately for them, much of the living space is located up on deck.  This gives catamarans an edge when it comes to cruising in warm weather.

On the other hand, monohull owners aren’t exposed to the cold winds that you might find up on deck in harsher climates. 

This lack of airflow may actually be of benefit in this instance.

Some people find monohulls to be better looking than catamarans and vice versa.

This all comes down to personal preference, so you’ll have to decide for yourself which type of boat has the advantage in this case.

Some people think catamarans are the most elegant thing in the world while others prefer monohull boats as they look more classic.

Resale Value Is An Important Factor

If you read our extensive guide to boat depreciation per boat type , you know that no matter what boat you buy, it will always go down in value.  This is just a sad fact of boat ownership that people need to consider before buying a boat.

Many factors go into how much you’ll be able to get for your boat when you resell it.  These factors are the condition of the boat, the age of the boat, and the economy in general.  For example, people are less likely to want to buy boats during a recession.  This is especially true when it comes to smaller boats.

However, one additional factor that catamaran owners need to consider when thinking about resale value is the value of the dollar. 

People from the United States don’t have many American catamarans to choose from and will usually need to buy these overseas.

This means that a catamaran will be less expensive to buy when the dollar is strong compared to the Euro and more expensive to buy when the dollar is weaker in comparison.  This will affect the used market as well because higher values on new catamarans can help to bring up the value on the used market.

With a monohull boat, you may not have to consider situations like this as there are makers of monohull boats all over the world.

Don’t Let The Length Trick You!

One thought to keep in mind when comparing monohull boats and catamarans is that their different shapes account for different space advantages.

For example, a 40-foot long catamaran will have much more cubic space than a 40-foot long monohull.

Because of this, when comparing boats, you should look at the cubic space rather than the length. In this case, you may be comparing a 48-foot long monohull with a 40-foot long catamaran.

When you compare the two types of boats in this manner, the price differences aren’t quite as large, and the comparison is fairer.  It also may make the operating and maintenance costs more similar.

This is an important distinction to make because the length of the boats can trick you!

Consider Trying Both (Before Buying)

Boats can be an expensive purchase, so it makes sense to try them out before you decide to make your purchase.

Rent each type of boat and use it on the types of waters that you intend to cruise on the most.

Try the boat out in different weather conditions as well, and don’t be afraid to do multiple rentals before you make your final choice.  The time and money invested into making sure you get the boat you really want will be more than worth it in the end.

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Catamaran vs Monohull: Pros, Cons & Main Differences

By: B.J. Porter Editor

Catamaran Vs. Monohull

The choice of catamaran vs monohull ultimately comes down to preference. What’s critical for one buyer may mean little to another. If your partner refuses to set foot on a boat which heels, that’s a deal-breaker for a monohull. But if you’re passionate about classic looks and styling, your quest for beauty may override other considerations and rule out catamarans.

We can’t tell you whether a catamaran or a monohull is right for you. But we can help you with the pros and cons of each for your search.

Catamaran vs Monohull

The Strengths and Pros

No matter your choice of monohull or catamaran, there are safe, comfortable, and excellent sailing boats of both types. Neither has an exclusive lock on any strength, and both sail safely and comfortably. But there’s a different emphasis on how they do it. No matter what you are trying to do – sail fast, cruise the world, or just host a crowd at the dock, there are monohulls and catamarans that can work for any requirement.

Catamaran advantages

Catamaran advantages

Space and comfort: Two hulls and a wide beam make a very stable platform with lots of volume in the saloon and cockpit. Most living space is above the waterline, with wonderful light and airflow. Cabins in the hulls offer better privacy and isolation, usually with standing headroom.

Straight line speed: Most catamarans are faster in straight-line sailing speed (1) that similar sized or even longer monohulls. Without a lead keel, they’re lighter, so more driving force from the sails converts to speed, and narrower hull forms may have less drag than wide hulls with deep keels. Some heavier cruising catamarans may not be faster, especially if they keep rig size small for ease of handling.

Stability : The beam of two hulls with a bridge deck leads to much higher stability and resistance to roll (2). Waves in an anchorage that induce violent roll in a monohull may make a catamaran bounce or bob. Under sail, catamarans do not heel appreciably even when powered up.

Twin engines. : With one engine in forward and balanced in reverse, most catamarans can spin in a circle in place and make sharp adjustments to the boat’s direction. If you have an engine failure, you also have a second engine, giving a safety edge when you can’t sail. 

Monohull advantages

Monohull advantages

Upwind sailing performance: While catamarans have the edge at straight-line speed, monohulls sail closer to the wind. When you’re racing or you have to sail upwind to get to the next island, this can get you there faster.

Sailing feel and responsiveness : The “feel” of sailing a monohull is much better. With a single hull, you’ll feel wind pressure and trim adjustments immediately for a more responsive helm and a better ability to sail to the wind.

Maneuvering under sail: Monohulls are quite nimble tacking and turning under sail, and there’s less risk of slow or missed tacks.

Righting Moment: The primary offshore safety argument for monohulls is their ability to right when capsized. The heavy keel keeps the boat deck up when sailing, and most monohulls will come back upright even after a complete capsize.

Cargo and Loading: A higher displacement boat with thousands of pounds of lead hung from the bottom isn’t going to be as affected by loading as a relatively light multihull.

Aesthetics: This is subjective, as many catamaran enthusiasts love how they look. Classic sailboat styling, with swept sleek looks, springy sheer lines, and all the “right” proportions are more common on monohulls.

Also read: The 5 Best Electric Anchor Winches

Weaknesses and Cons

Like strengths, weaknesses are relative; just because one class has a strength doesn’t mean the other doesn’t. There are spacious monohulls and beautiful catamarans, just like there are cramped catamarans and unattractive monohulls. The differences have to be highlighted relative to each other, and the weaknesses of one are most apparent compared to the strengths of the other.

Catamaran Cons

Catamaran Cons

Upwind performance: Cats don’t sail as close to the wind, but they make up for it by sailing faster off the wind. You’ll sail a less direct course upwind. Even if you get in at the same time, you’ll have to sail farther.

Less responsive sailing: Two hulls with two rudders and a very broad platform reduce the helm feel when sailing, cutting responsiveness sailing in shifting wind and wave conditions. It also makes tacking slower.

No-flip zone: It is very difficult, but not impossible, to flip a large catamaran (3). But if a catamaran capsizes, it will not flip back over by itself.

Large in marina/close quarters: You have two problems in marinas. Beamy cats are tough to maneuver in tight spaces because they’re big and visibility is tough over the hulls. And many marinas charge extra because the wide beam extends into the next slip. The good news is that twin engines make tight maneuvering easier.

Price point: Catamarans are more difficult to build and need more materials. This is directly reflected in the cost of the boats.

Monohull Cons

They are heavier: Every large monohull needs a keel for stability (4). They can not sail or stay upright without thousands of pounds of ballast, and this makes them heavier and slows them down. Tiny monohulls can use a centerboard or daggerboard for stability, but most boats big enough to sleep on need ballast.

Darker interiors : Most monohull living space is lower in the boat, where you can’t put enormous windows for light and circulation. It’s very hard to get space as bright and airy as catamaran saloons.

Less living space: With one hull and no bridge deck saloon, most monohulls feel cramped compared to spacious catamarans.

More prone to rolling motions : Only one hull makes monohulls susceptible to rolling in waves, and the movement can be quite uncomfortable.

Heeling: Tipping is just part of sailing monohulls upwind and is unavoidable. It can be reduced on some other points of sail, but not eliminated. Many people, especially non-sailors and new sailors, find this movement uncomfortable or distressing.

You might also be interested in: How to Buff a Boat | A Detailed Guide by a Boating Expert

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Monohull vs Catamaran: A Deep Dive into Design and Performance

The genesis of two designs.

In the world of sailing, the debate between monohulls and catamarans is a tale as old as time. The history of these two iconic designs stretches back to antiquity, reflecting the evolution of human innovation and our insatiable desire for exploration.

The monohull's genesis lies in the early days of human seafaring. Traditional cultures from the Mediterranean to the South Pacific have all used some form of monohull craft for fishing, trade, and exploration. The monohull's sleek, single-hulled design, characterized by a deep keel and distinct bow and stern, offers an efficient shape for cutting through waves. Over centuries, the monohull design has been refined and perfected, culminating in the magnificent yachts we see gracing our waters today.

old-monohull-painting-sailing-virgins

On the other hand, the catamaran, a vessel with two parallel hulls, boasts a legacy equally steeped in seafaring history. Its origins can be traced back to the outrigger canoes used by ancient Austronesian cultures.

The word 'catamaran' itself is derived from the Tamil word 'kattumaram', which loosely translates to 'logs tied together'.

These innovative sailors discovered that by adding a second hull, they could greatly improve the stability and speed of their vessels, a design principle that holds true to this day.

earliest-catamarans-sailing-virgins

Exploring the Monohull Design

Stepping into the present, let's delve deeper into the modern monohull design. Its traditional single hull offers a quintessential sailing experience that's hard to match. Monohulls are typically seen as the embodiment of the romantic sailing ideal, thanks to their elegance and the graceful way they heel under sail.

One of the major benefits of monohulls lies in their seaworthiness. Their deep keels provide excellent stability, allowing them to handle heavy seas and high winds effectively. In addition, the keel acts as a counterbalance, enabling the boat to right itself after being heeled over by a gust of wind. This 'self-righting' characteristic is a significant safety feature exclusive to monohulls, adding a level of reassurance when navigating challenging sea conditions.

Monohulls are also known for their responsive handling and satisfying sailing performance. The mono-hulled design cuts cleanly through waves, resulting in a smooth and predictable ride. If you're the type of sailor who enjoys feeling the wind and waves' raw power, the visceral connection that a monohull provides is unparalleled.

However, as with everything in life, monohulls also have their downsides. For one, space can be at a premium. The deep keel and the rounded hull shape necessary for stability and performance take up much of the interior volume, leaving less room for living space compared to a similarly sized catamaran.

Another consideration is the heeling motion. While some sailors love the feeling of a boat leaning into the wind, others may find it uncomfortable or disorienting, especially during prolonged passages.

Despite these trade-offs, monohulls continue to hold their charm for many, offering a blend of tradition, performance, and adventure that has stood the test of time. In the next part of this deep dive, we'll shift our focus to the twin-hulled wonder of the sailing world: the catamaran.

The Catamaran Conundrum

As we switch gears to catamarans, it becomes apparent how contrasting they are to their monohull counterparts. Catamarans, with their dual hulls connected by a central platform or cabin, present an entirely different set of strengths and challenges.

Let's start with one of the most prominent features of catamarans: their stability. The wide beam of a catamaran provides a significant increase in stability over a monohull, reducing the boat's tendency to roll. This stability not only enhances the comfort of your crew but also allows for safer and easier movement on deck and below. If the notion of preparing a meal in a level galley while underway appeals to you, a catamaran might be the perfect fit.

Space is another major advantage of catamarans. With essentially two hulls worth of volume, catamarans typically offer much more living space than a similarly sized monohull. This makes them an attractive option for those planning extended cruises or living aboard. The additional space also allows for separate, private cabins in each hull, perfect for accommodating families or groups.

When it comes to performance, catamarans have a distinct edge in certain areas. Their dual-hulled design and lack of a ballasted keel result in less drag, allowing them to often outpace monohulls in moderate conditions. However, this speed advantage may be offset in heavy weather, where the ability to cut through waves (rather than ride over them) can make a monohull's ride smoother and faster.

But, just like monohulls, catamarans aren't without their drawbacks. While their stability and flat sailing characteristics are often seen as benefits, they can also create a false sense of security, leading some sailors to push their boats beyond safe limits. Additionally, while catamarans are significantly harder to capsize than monohulls, if they do flip, they generally won't self-right like a monohull would.

Furthermore, catamarans can be more challenging to handle in confined spaces due to their wider beam. Docking, in particular, can be trickier, especially in marinas designed with narrower monohulls in mind. Also, the increased beam and dual hulls often lead to higher mooring and maintenance costs.

Monohull vs Catamaran: Performance Parameters

Before we take this deep dive to its conclusion, it's important to touch on a few key performance parameters. These can greatly influence whether a monohull or catamaran would be a better fit for your sailing needs.

For starters, how a boat handles various wind conditions is critical. Monohulls, due to their keeled design, tend to excel upwind. Their ability to 'point' into the wind is usually superior to that of a catamaran. On the other hand, catamarans, with their lighter weight and reduced drag, often have the upper hand in downwind and lighter wind conditions.

Another factor to consider is load carrying capacity. While catamarans have more space for storing gear and provisions, they can be more sensitive to overloading. Additional weight can significantly impact a catamaran's performance, whereas monohulls tend to be more forgiving in this regard.

In the final part of this blog, we'll wrap up our deep dive by considering these and other factors to help determine which design might be the best fit for your sailing needs.

Choosing Your Vessel: What Suits Your Sailing Style?

Now that we’ve explored the design principles and performance traits of monohulls and catamarans, it’s time to consider what kind of vessel will best cater to your personal sailing needs and preferences.

If your sailing plans involve long passages in open waters, especially in rougher seas or challenging wind conditions, a monohull's sturdy and seaworthy design might be the most fitting choice. Their excellent upwind performance and smoother ride in heavy weather will provide you with both comfort and safety on lengthy oceanic voyages.

catamaran-tahiti-sailing-virgins

For those attracted to the exhilaration of speed, catamarans, with their swift downwind capabilities, can offer a thrilling sailing experience. They can be the ideal choice if your sailing adventures are primarily focused on coastal cruising, island-hopping, or participating in sailing races where their speed advantage can shine.

Lifestyle preferences play an essential role as well. If you value space and comfort, and perhaps are contemplating living aboard or planning extended family cruises, the spacious interior of a catamaran, with its level sailing and private cabins, may be the superior option.

However, if you're a sailing purist who enjoys the classic feel of a boat that heels under sail, the thrill of mastering the art of balancing a boat in various wind conditions, a monohull will likely provide the sailing experience you're seeking.

As for cost considerations, remember that while catamarans offer more living space and stability, they can also come with higher purchase, maintenance, and mooring costs.

Closing Thoughts: Your Ideal Adventure on the Water

If you're looking to buy or charter a sailboat , the choice between a monohull and a catamaran ultimately boils down to your sailing goals, personal preferences, and budget. There's no definitive answer to which is better because it's subjective to the individual sailor.

Whether you're lured by the traditional appeal and seaworthiness of a monohull or the comfort, stability, and speed of a catamaran, the most important thing is to choose a vessel that will provide you with many memorable and safe adventures on the water.

At Sailing Virgins , we love them both and appreciate their unique characteristics. Whatever you choose, the sea will always be an ever-changing playground that continually challenges and rewards those who embrace the sailing lifestyle.

If you're still unsure about which one is for you, why not join one of our sailing courses or adventures? It's the perfect way to gain hands-on experience and discover what type of sailing brings you the most joy. Feel free to press the button below to check out our courses.

Fair winds and following seas to all prospective boat buyers out there!

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Catamaran and Monohull Compared: Which is Better, Faster, Safier, and More Stable in Rought Sea?

Catamarans and monohulls are two vessels that have distinct features from each other. Catamarans have two hulls connected by a bridge structure whereas, as the name suggests monohulls have a single hull.

Both types of vessels have different features in terms of both aesthetics and function, let’s get into the details to find out more.

Catamaran Vs  Monohull: Boats in Stavanger harbor, sometimes hard to choose between Catamarans and Monohulls

Do Catamarans Have More Space?

Since catamarans have two hulls, they are normally wider than monohulls. This gives the designers and owners the flexibility to maximize the space requirements in terms of space and function.

Vessels can be designed for either commercial or recreational uses. The additional space can serve as an advantage in both fields. In terms of recreational vessels such as yachts, the accommodation can be split up between the two hulls and can be well designed in such a manner that separate spaces can be allotted for the owner, guest, and crews with separate passages such that the path between the primary guests and the crew don’t collide.

In terms of interiors, the huge space addition can give the owners much more flexibility in choosing furniture without size restrictions and more space for additional appliances such as washers, dryers and so on which can make life on board much easier.

The deck can also house more people without the feeling of being enclosed in a closed space and for this reason, catamarans are normally used as party boats with wider deck space and more space to move around.

In terms of storage, catamarans have better storage options than monohulls as both the hulls can be utilized for different functions which not only increases the overall capacity of storage in terms of fuel , fresh water , cargo, and so on but also gives the designer an option to segregate the storage areas for different uses.

Catamarans are also now a growing trend in the fishing industry as the wide decks provide more area for the fisherman to move around without any obstructions making fishing much easier also, catamarans tend to roll less which stabilizes the vessel better than monohulls, giving more stable conditions for fishing without the risk of going aboard.

Due to the wider proportions, the spaces can also be designed in such a way so as to house tenders, jet-skis, and so on, on either of the deck spaces normally aft of the vessel mostly functioned by a small crane which can launch the vessel into the water.

Recreational activities such as swimming and diving can be performed with ease on both types of boats. On catamarans, the wide aft spaces also provide effective spacing for housing equipment and accessories such as dive tanks, telescopic staircases and so on which can serve as must-haves for similar activities.

The same can also be performed on monohulls with limitations to the width of the vessel. The wide superstructures on catamarans can also be used to house solar panels for green and renewable energy solutions which surely is going to be a great advantage in the near future.

Monohulls have the advantage of having wider compartments below the deck when compared to catamarans, as the overall width of the hull is larger than a single hull on a catamaran. This gives room for larger living spaces below the deck, which can have the option to walk around on either side of the bed.

Why Are Catamarans More Expensive Than Monohulls?

Catamarans are normally priced more than monohulls. This is because they have more overall area which requires more raw materials in the production stage than monohulls.

In terms of machinery, they have two or more engines on each hull depending on the width of each semi-hull and its supporting machinery which can increase the overall cost of the final product.

In terms of engines, maintenance is less frequent when compared to monohulls as they don’t need to operate on their maximum limits to push the vessel.

Maintenance costs can also be higher for catamarans as they have more machinery and more deck space, but on the contrary, the ease of maintenance will be much better in catamarans than monohulls as they have better accessible spaces.

The preventive maintenance for corrosion and marine growth on catamaran hulls is also higher as they normally have more area to treat than monohulls.

Are Catamarans Faster Than Monohulls?

Catamarans tend to outperform monohulls due to their slender hulls which help in reducing the drag forces. On performance power catamarans the space between the two hulls is called a “Tunnel” which is designed in a similar manner to an aerofoil so that it acts like a wing, which increases the aerodynamic lift forces thereby increasing overall efficiency and top-end speeds of the vessel.

The balance between the hydrodynamic and aerodynamic forces is the key aspect that determines the performance and stability of high-speed catamarans.

Fuel economy is normally better on catamarans due to the higher lift forces and lower water friction compared to monohulls which thereby reduces the overall load on the engines, reducing fuel consumption.

Is A Catamaran More Stable Than A Monohull?

Catamarans are generally more stable than monohulls in terms of roll stability. Let’s take an example of balancing a stick in the middle compared to balancing it by supporting the two ends, obviously, the second case has an advantage. In a similar manner, we can observe that catamarans have better roll stability when compared to monohulls.

This gives them an upper hand in terms of comfort and executing different operations onboard the vessel with ease, also reducing the risk of people falling on board the vessel. Catamarans are mostly used as ferries or passenger vessels as people tend to get less seasick on these kinds of vessels.

The deeper the deadrise the better the sea-keeping characteristics, most monohulls are designed with a deep v deadrise and tend to outperform catamarans which normally have displacement or semi-displacement hulls, in rough waters.

The typical catamarans are better in shallower water than rough water due to this reason and that’s why we see most of the coastal or inland cruisers as catamarans and most ocean-going vessels as deep v monohulls.

The draft can be defined as the distance of the waterline to the keel of the vessel. Catamarans normally tend to have a lower draft compared to monohulls which gives them an advantage of plying over shallower waters without the risk of grounding.

The lower the draft of the less the vessel, the less it is in contact with water, and therefore the overall water friction resistance is reduced leading to the need for lower power to push the vessel and better fuel efficiency.

What Is Easier To Sail A Catamaran Or Monohull?

For the thrill of sailing most sailors prefer monohulls over catamarans. They are sensitive to different forces like wind and waves acting on the vessel and there is an immediate response on the vessel. They ride through rough and choppy waves; this is the experience the sailors look forward to, giving them an adrenaline rush.

Sailing catamarans do not respond similarly to monohulls as the overall motions are reduced and also monohulls maneuver much easier than catamarans at high speeds.

Docking in marinas usually is easier with monohulls than catamarans as they require lesser space to mauver into the docking space.

Which Is Safer Catamaran Or The Monohull?

Catamarans normally tend to be on the safer side than monohulls in terms of backups and safety. If any machinery fails there is always a backup, say for example if rudder machinery fails on the port hull we can always get back ashore with the help of the starboard rudder, similarly if an engine fails there is always the second engine which can be used as a backup.

In terms of reserve buoyancy, if the port side hull gets damaged, the vessel will still remain afloat. These advantages can help people on board keeping them safe and saving a life.

The only downside to the above aspects is the maintenance costs which come up with the same as we discussed earlier.

Which One Should I Get?

The type of vessel should depend totally on your end goals in terms of functionality, performance, region of operation, and so on.

But always keep in mind never to get blinded by the length when you compare a monohull to a catamaran. A monohull in comparison might be longer but the overall space which is measured in cubic space will be higher in the shorter-length catamaran.

Going through the pros and cons the final decision should be made depending on your personal requirements.

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About the author

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I worked as an officer in the deck department on various types of vessels, including oil and chemical tankers, LPG carriers, and even reefer and TSHD in the early years. Currently employed as Marine Surveyor carrying cargo, draft, bunker, and warranty survey.

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Catamaran vs Monohull - 6 Points To Consider Before Choosing Your Boat

Multihull or monohull? It’s an age-old (and ongoing) debate, and each option certainly comes with its own set of pros and cons. Whether you’re thinking of investing in a boat of your own, or planning on chartering one for a sailing holiday, one thing’s for sure: the type of vessel you select will have an impact on your cruising experience. Ultimately, what you intend to use it for will determine which type of boat would be best suited for the job. In this article, we considered the aspects of space & design; safety; stability; speed; manoeuvrability and cost, so do read on for our comparison of the multihull catamaran vs the monohull sailboat.

THE CATAMARAN VS THE MONOHULL – A COMPARISON

1. stability . which is more stable, a catamaran or a monohull.

Fact – by virtue of having two hulls, both under sail and at anchor, catamarans are more stable than monohull boats. If you are sailing with young children, seniors – or anyone who’s not all-too steady on their feet – a catamaran will provide you with a much smoother and stable cruising experience than a monohull. Being multihulled, catamarans are not nearly as susceptible to the action of the ocean’s waves. This prevents them from heeling as much as monohull vessels would under the same conditions. As anyone who suffers from seasickness will tell you, this can be an enormous bonus. What’s more, a cat’s multihull stability will also be highly appreciated by anyone prepping food in its galley (two hulls make for a somewhat more pleasant dining experience, too). Lastly, because of its superior stability, walking around the deck (and moving around the interior) of a catamaran is much easier than it would be on a monohull. The verdict? Catamarans are more stable than monohulls.

outside area on catamaran

2. SAFETY . WHICH IS SAFER – A CATAMARAN OR A MONOHULL?

The inherent stability and natural buoyancy of a catamaran automatically increase its safety while out at sea. As catamarans don’t have heavy, lead-loaded keels, they will remain afloat, even when (heaven forbid) they are holed. This is because most modern catamarans have such a large amount of buoyancy built into them that they are almost unsinkable, making them much safer than monohull sailboats in this regard. Sure, catamarans can capsize, but being rescued from an upside-down, still-floating multihull is definitely preferable to sinking to the bottom in a monohull! The verdict? Contemporary catamarans are incredibly buoyant and virtually unsinkable, making them safer than monohull sailboats.

knysna yacht company catamaran on water

3. SPACE & DESIGN . WHICH IS MORE SPACIOUS AND PRACTICAL – A CATAMARAN OR A MONOHULL?

Due to the boat's shape (and the amount of usable space each design allows), when compared square-foot-for-square-foot, every area of a monohull vessel is usually smaller than its catamaran counterpart. Generally, catamarans offer more room to move in its galley, cockpit and saloon areas than similarly priced monohull boats. Often, catamaran cabins are more spacious too, with cabins of even the smallest cat offering stand-up headroom. Catamarans are also generally more private than monohulls, and more straightforward when it comes to separating living spaces. This can be a significant advantage when you are cruising with children or guests. As most of a cat’s living spaces are above the waterline (on a monohull, only the cockpit is above the waterline), you’ll also enjoy superior airflow through ventilation on a catamaran. If you’re a scuba-diving enthusiast, carrying all of your diving equipment will be easier on a cat. What’s more, catamarans have trampolines, which make them perfect for onboard sunbathing as well as stargazing in the moonlight – a big, romantic plus for sure! Catamarans also have shallower drafts, allowing you to drop anchor closer to the beach than a monohull would. The verdict? Compared square-foot-for-square-foot, catamarans are more spacious than their monohull counterparts. In terms of design, a catamaran is perfect for onboard sunbathing and stargazing and will allow you to anchor closer to shore.

inside of catamaran

4. MANOEUVRABILITY . WHICH IS EASIER TO STEER, A CATAMARAN OR A MONOHULL?

Most catamarans can turn 360 degrees within their own length, something very few monohulls are capable of doing. However, generally speaking, monohulls are quick to tack, more manoeuvrable, and quicker to respond to the helm than catamarans. At the helm of a catamaran, you’ll get less feedback from the wheel than you would from a monohull. This will require you to be vigilant in rough conditions, and you’ll also have to know when to reduce sail. Compared square-foot-for-square-foot, catamarans are much lighter than monohulls, which means they also slow down a lot quicker. For the most part, catamarans are easier to dock than monohulls, as they have two motors and two rudders which simplify things a lot. This also does away with the need for a bow thruster. The verdict? We’re calling it a tie. Although monohulls are generally more manoeuvrable than catamarans, thanks to their two motors and two rudders, cats are easier to steer than monohulls.

catamaran on port

5. SPEED . WHICH IS FASTER, A CATAMARAN OR A MONOHULL?

Although catamarans cannot sail as close to the wind as monohull sailboats, most cats do sail faster than a monohull on a reach. On downwind runs, reaches, and broad reaches, in particular, catamarans usually beat monohulls when it comes to speed, going about 20% faster than a monohull (even outrunning bad weather when necessary!). Another plus is that sailing a catamaran requires less physical exertion than sailing a monohull. The verdict? Even if they don’t point as high into the wind, catamarans are faster than their monohull counterparts.

catamaran on water in sunset

6. COST . WHICH IS MORE EXPENSIVE, A CATAMARAN OR A MONOHULL?

Generally speaking, catamarans with similar sleeping capacity and equipment are more costly than their monohull counterparts (both to own or to charter). Just keep in mind that catamarans typically hold their value better and longer (and tend to be in higher demand) than monohulls. Comparatively, previously owned monohulls are cheaper to purchase than cats, as supply tends to outweigh demand by a large margin. The verdict? Catamarans are more costly than monohull sailboats. However, a read-through of Points 1 to 5 might convince you that they are worth the extra expense.

outside area of yacht

CATAMARAN OR MONOHULL? – YOUR NEEDS WILL DETERMINE YOUR CHOICE

Looking at the list of pros and cons above, it would seem that the catamaran comes out the clear winner – at least when judged on aspects of safety, space & design, speed and stability. However, your budget, the requirements of the people in your sailing group, as well as your own needs and preferences will all play a significant role in the boat you end up choosing. Both catamarans and monohulls offer unique advantages, and whichever choice you go with, we wish you many happy ocean voyages and an abundance of adventure! Ps. If you’re still unsure which option is the right one for you, why not check out the verdict from ocean adventurers who have lived aboard two monohulls and four catamarans over the past 25 years?

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Catamaran vs. Monohull: We Changed, Should You?

Catamaran vs Monohull

There are two schools of thought when it comes to monohull versus catamaran . We have done extensive cruising and lived aboard two monohulls and four catamarans over the past 25+ years . We experienced the good and the bad for both single hull and multihulls first hand. Quite honestly, the pluses for catamarans far outweigh the minuses. There are multiple benefits of catamarans. They are faster, more stable and spacious, and have shallower drafts allowing safer anchorage closer to shore. Being on a stable platform with no heeling cuts down on crew fatigue and seasickness leaving the crew more alert and in control of the vessel. Even novice sailors feel more confident on catamarans.

When we built our monohull Royal Salute in the early 90s, catamarans were not established and were looked upon with extreme suspicion by most cruisers, including ourselves. “Safety and the capsize” issue were always the first things to come up against sailing catamarans. It is a fact that monohulls can get rolled in heavy seas but will right themselves because of the heavy lead keel, and while crew and vessel will be battered, the roll is survivable.

YouTube video

However a catamaran once capsized, will remain upside down (jokingly referring to this state of the catamaran as “reaching its most stable position when upside down”). The inability of a catamaran to self-right was and still is a major bone of contention. However, what is not often discussed is that a monohull has about a 5,000 pound keel of lead that is constantly trying to drag the boat to the bottom of the ocean versus a catamaran that has no ballast and is in most cases with modern catamarans, unsinkable.

So the options are to either sail the world on a boat that, if it springs a leak, will sink like a stone or a vessel that cannot self-right in the event of a capsize but will not sink no matter what. So from a practical point of view, here are our observations over the last 25+ years of living aboard, on the advantages and disadvantages of a catamaran.

ADVANTAGES OF A CATAMARAN

1. speed equals safety.

The speed of a catamaran makes it possible to outrun bad weather. While catamarans do not point as high into the wind as a monohull (or if it does, it makes more leeway or slides sideways), it is about 20% faster than a monohull. This means that even if you sail upwind at a slightly wider angle to the wind than a monohull and have to cover more distance, you will still arrive at your destination long before a monohull.

A modern performance catamaran with daggerboards and good quality sails will point as high as a similar sized monohull. It will point the same as a comparable monohull and sail much faster and therefore arrive at an upwind position much sooner than a the monohull. It is important to note that most of the production catamarans on the market are under-powered and are equipped with standard smaller sails. In lighter breezes many of these designs perform poorly unless fitted with bigger headsails, a Code Zero and a square-top mainsail.

While we believe that more comfortable and safer in rough weather , we have to concede that when the weather gets really bad (60 knots of wind or more) we would personally prefer to be on a monohull from the standpoint of surviving. I would say that a monohull is preferable for serious offshore single-handed sailing because you can more easily hove-to in a monohull. We have been in some extreme weather on a number of catamarans and never really felt that we were in danger, although it takes some nifty seamanship.

A monohull could capsize in extreme weather or even roll in a storm, but they generally come back upright. A catamaran on the other hand, will not right itself. But the cat will generally stay afloat, offering a good place to survive while you wait out the storm or until help comes along. Well-designed modern catamarans are very hard to capsize though.

Having said all that, most catamarans can do 200 to 250 miles a day and with modern technology allowing one to pull down weather at will, there is no good reason why you should get caught in extreme weather. A faster boat is a safer boat as it will in many cases be able to outrun bad weather. With good weather routing information a catamaran can avoid most serious weather and, at worst, place itself in the most favorable position to avoid the brunt of a storm.

2. A Catamaran is a Stable, Safe Platform Underway

Catamarans have no ballast in the keels like monohulls do and therefor it relies on beam and buoyancy for stability. Typically cruising catamarans will have a beam to length ratio of roughly 50%, although many designs nowadays exceed the 50% rule of thumb. So, a 45-ft long catamaran will be about 22-ft wide, providing a very stable platform when sailing. Unlike catamarans, monohulls cannot overcome the rolling and pitching with their narrow beam and the lead ballast for stability.

This rolling and pitching makes the deck on a monohull very unsafe whereas on walking around on the deck of a catamaran while underway is far easier since the boat is much more stable, and it doesn’t heel. This makes sail changes and reefing much easier and a lot safer for the crew. Without the rolling and pitching motion, the danger of falling overboard on a catamaran is considerably less than on a monohull.

3. Crew Fatigue Reduces on a Catamaran

Because a catamaran does not heel over like a monohull, it offers far more comfort underway because the motion is mostly fore and aft pitching and very little beam-to-beam rolling. On all points of sail, a catamaran tracks upright and significantly reduces crew fatigue and seasickness. Seasickness is usually caused by things like anxiety, fatigue, hunger and cold, which all add to a sense of disorientation. This leads the crew to making bad decisions and seamanship errors that could be fatal to the crew and vessel. The more stable platform of the catamaran will hugely keep those issues at bay, making the crew more alert and energized.

Every action and chore including cooking is much easier on a catamaran when underway. It is much more pleasant to be on the deck level looking out rather than being stuck “down below.” It is also much nicer to sleep on a boat that doesn’t heel. I remember nights at sea in our monohull when I was rolling around in my bunk unless I was properly wedge in a little corner. That is simply not the case on catamarans.

All these factors ensure that your crew will not expend unnecessary energy to simply try and stay upright, onboard and safe on a long passage. Your crew on a catamaran will be well rested and alert and will be able to function well if a stressful situation arises.

4. Comfort at Anchor

Catamarans provide a wide platform and therefore offer lovely spaces to relax at anchor without the rolling motion that monohulls have a tendency to do in a swell. During our 15 years of cruising on a monohull, we have often had to leave anchorages that we really were not finished exploring because of a rolly, uncomfortable anchorage. Big rollers or swells coming into an anchorage can make conditions in an anchorage very uncomfortable and unsafe.

We were anchored off Funchal on the island of Madeira in our monohull Royal Salute once, when we were forced to leave our anchorage. The rolling became so bad, we were rolling from gunnel to gunnel. The anchorage became untenable to remain anchored, forcing us to go out to sea in foul weather in the middle of the night. This is an extreme case but believe me, we have left many an idyllic anchorage because of a rolling swell into the anchorage. Catamarans, on the other hand, do not roll from like monohulls have a tendency to do and are far more comfortable at anchor.

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

5. Anchor Bridal Setup

Lagoon 450S named Zuri

Catamarans are fitted with a bridle, attached to both bows and down to the anchor chain, resulting in a very stable position at anchor. What we found with our monohull was that because the bow acts as a sail (because of the high freeboard), the boat tended to sail at anchor in high winds. It sailed in one direction until the chain snatched and tacked over and sailed in the other direction, feeling like it might dislodge the anchor altogether. The catamaran on the other hand sits at anchor a lot more stable and doesn’t sail around as much.

6. Ease of Boarding on a Catamaran

Thank goodness we were much younger and more agile during our monohull days. Royal Salute and most monohulls of her generation or older, have high free-boards, making it quite a feat to get onto the boat from the dinghy. It was one of the most challenging things to do because unlike the more modern monohulls that have a scoop at the back, we had to climb up on the side of the boat to get on and off. We, of course rigged steps, etc. but it was always a hassle compared to the ease of getting on and off a catamaran from a dingy or from the water.

7. Shallow Draft Equals Better Anchorages

Catamarans have significantly shallower drafts than monohulls, allowing for safer anchorages closer to shore. Most catamarans in the 40-ft to 50-ft range draw between 3-ft to 4.5-ft, so they can anchor in places that a monohulls can not even consider. In the shallow waters of the Bahamas for example, the catamarans have a big advantage. We often anchor our own catamaran just a few feet away from a beach. It definitely allows one to be able to explore areas where the water is shallow without the fear of running aground.

The shallow draft also allows for emergency repairs in shallow water and even doing the bottom job when the tide goes out as we have done in places like Mtwapa Creek in Kenya, East Africa. The catamaran easily rests on her keels on the sand without help making it a breeze to do the “annual haul out” even in remote locations.

Bali catamaran anchored

8. Dinghy Davits & Dinghy Size

All catamarans have a set of davits that make it very easy to raise and lower the dingy. Our monohull and most cruising monohulls do not have an efficient or easily accessible set of davits. This makes raising and lowering the dingy an elaborate production. Catamarans on the other hand, has davits systems easily accessible and some even have platforms to rest the dinghy on.

The lack of beam and difficulty of lifting the dinghy also limits the size and type of dingy that one can reasonably carry on a monohull. As we all know, the dingy is your transport to and from shore and diving or fishing spots, so the bigger and faster the dingy, the better off you are. A catamaran can carry both a heavier and bigger dinghy which makes the popular center consul dinghy so much more possible.

lagoon 450 cruising catamaran

9. Interior Space and Comfort on a Catamaran

We sailed 32,000 NM on our 45-ft monohull, happy as clams, not realizing that sailing does not have to be done lying on your ear 24/7 while on passage or sitting knee-to-knee in the cockpit at anchor with your two other guests at the dinner table! One can liken sitting in a monohull cockpit to sitting in an empty Jacuzzi, you are always nice and close to the other folks.

Now that we are on our fourth catamaran, there are a few things that have become more evident to us than the incredible space and comfort of a catamaran, not only at anchor but also underway. The cockpit and living space in general are huge compared to a monohull, making for very comfortable and spacious living conditions. It feels more like you are at home, rather than just on a camping trip.

Knowing that one spends at least 90% of one’s cruising life at anchor, it’s important to have good open living space, which most modern cats nowadays offer. A lot of cats have walk around beds, lots of storage, every modern appliance including washer/dryer, etc. However, one has to fight the urge to fill the space if you want to keep the cat light and fast.

Lagoon 450 Salon

Sailing with guests onboard for extended periods of time, in close quarters can become claustrophobic but on a catamaran people are spread out and separated. With guests sleeping in one hull and the owners in another, catamarans offer much more privacy and separation. Some cats even have privacy doors that will close off the entire hull and has a separate entrance onto the deck, which really separates you from the guests completely.

There is very little heeling on a catamaran, so there is no need for hand grips and safety harnesses inside the boat. There is nothing better (and safer) than being able to walk from the cockpit into the living room (saloon) on one level or one step down at most. In a monohull, when heeling at a severe angle, you would have to claw your way from the companionway steps down to the living area, while fighting to stay upright, significantly tapping your energy.

Unless you hit extreme conditions, everything stays put on a catamaran reducing the anxiety before doing passages of having to stow and secure everything. This very issue makes a lot of cruisers reluctant to weigh anchor and explore more often. It is just too much effort to pack away all your stuff once comfortable in an anchorage!

One thing you will notice is that the stove on catamarans are not gimbaled like it is on monohulls and this should tell the story in itself. The stability and comfort on a catamaran is far superior. Cooking is easy and safer. I often open a nice cold beer, put it down to do something and forget about it only to find a warm beer later in the same place I left it. This is not something that happens on a monohull.     

Lagoon 450 Owners cabin

10. Redundancy on a Catamaran

Unlike monohulls, catamarans have a lot of critical redundancies. That of course means two hulls to clean and anti-foul, double the engine maintenance, etc. but having two of the critical equipment like engines for instance, outweighs the downside.

With two engines, if one fails you still have adequate propulsion to go anywhere. If by some fluke the second engine also fails, you have a full set of spares to fix at least one of them. Our friends once hit a sleeping whale off Tanzania, and when it dove, it hit the prop, bending it. They limped into the narrow channel on the one engine but at least they could make it to a safe harbor where we surveyed and repaired their damage.

We often only use one engine when motoring while making passage in order to conserve our fuel. The one engine is totally capable of moving the boat along at a good speed unless you are in heavy seas and you may need more power. Other than that we only use two engines to dock or maneuver the boat in close quarters.

Because there are two engines there are also two independent charging systems via the alternator on each engine. If one alternator goes out, there is still another complete charging system. There are two rudders and if one fails or falls off (as has happened to our friends on a monohull off Columbia, where they almost lost their boat) you have a second rudder that is completely capable of steering the boat by itself indefinitely. That holds true for several things on a catamaran!     

11. Maneuverability

The engines are spaced far apart on a catamaran and it makes maneuvering much easier and more precise than monohulls, unless the monohull has a bow thruster. We did not have a bow thruster (not many monohulls do) and had to rely on prop-walk and using prop wash on the rudder. A modern catamaran can do a 360 turn on her own axis. A monohull cannot do this and have a bigger turning circle. However, a monohull under sail is much more maneuverable and certainly will tack a lot faster than a catamaran. The ease in maneuverability under engine on a catamaran in close quarters specifically, is vastly superior comparatively.

12. Rigging

Because of the beam on a catamaran the spinnaker pole has become unnecessary equipment. Hallelujah, I say. That pole on our monohull was a pain the behind and I always hated having to use it. On a catamaran, one can fly an asymmetrical cruising chute or spinnaker, using the bows to tack the clew or run a guy through a block so it is very much simplified, easier and safer.We also sail wing-on-wing with twin headsails when we sail downwind. We use our furling jib and furling Code Zero. It is as easy as one, two, three.

DISADVANTAGES OF A CATAMARAN

1. bridgedeck slamming.

One advantage most monohulls do have when underway is that they don’t slam. Catamarans with a low bridgedeck clearance can experience significant slamming in confused seas sailing upwind. This slamming can be quite disconcerting when you first experience it as we did on a Shuttleworth 44 design, our first ever catamaran experience, 20+ years ago. At times, it felt as though the boat was falling apart. Of course the boat was fine but nevertheless, the stress on the crew from the constant noise and discomfort was significant.

Monohulls don’t have a bridgedeck which means no slamming and are therefore a bit more comfortable than l ow bridgedeck catamarans when beating into severe confused conditions or “washing machine” conditions as we call it. Modern catamarans mostly have better bridgedeck clearance and the slamming is significantly less. However, not all cats have a good clear tunnel under the bridgedeck. Some manufacturers build beds into the bridge deck in order to make more space in the chest of the catamaran where the slamming occurs. These protuberances into the bridgedeck tunnel will likely increase slamming. So be mindful of that when selecting a catamaran. We currently own a Bali 5.4 and the bridgedeck clearance on this boat is more than adequate and the tunnel is clear. We therefor experience very little slamming compared to our Prout 45 that we previously owned (picture of sister ship below) with a much lower bridgedeck.

We Explain Bridgedeck Clearance

In the pictures below, the Bali 5.4 has very good clearance from the water to the bridgedeck and has a nice clean tunnel versus the very low bridgedeck of the Sunreef 50. 

Sunreef 50 bridgedeck clearance

2. Sailing Downwind

Monohull spreaders are set at 90 degrees to the mast whereas a catamaran has to have backswept spreaders. The reason is that, on a monohull, there is a backstay and using this, plus the intermediates you can get a nice pre-bend in the mast (the pre-bend is to flatten out the main sail and allow for better performance).

On a catamaran with no back stay, you need to use the back swept spreaders and the diamonds to pre-bend the mast. The reason I point this out is because on a catamaran, if you want to broad reach or run, the mainsail cannot be let out all the way because the backswept spreader tips could punch holes in the fabric.

On a monohull, the spreaders are at 90 degrees so you can let the main and the boom out much further which is, of course, much more effective. This is one of the reasons it is better to broad reach and tack downwind on a catamaran.

Whether a monohull or multihull, sailing dead downwind doesn’t usually make great VMG. Therefor a regular cruising cat, much like a monohull, needs a lot of sail area and has to sail deep downwind if it is to achieve a decent speed made good (VMG). This video demonstrates how we achieve this by sailing wing-on-wing downwind.

YouTube video

It is more difficult to find a dock either as a transient or a permanent slip for a catamaran in general because of the wide beam. But this is changing fast and will soon not be too much of an issue. In the USA dockage is charged by the length of the boat in feet, so there is no disadvantage there but, in some places, (the Mediterranean for example), dockage is charged at length times one and a half because of the additional beam.

Since the catamaran is stable at anchor, we mostly anchor out. We have more privacy, a better breeze and usually a stunning view.We have a nice dinghy with a good outboard engine and is big and comfortable enough to get to shore fast and together with the modern conveniences like the generator, watermaker and washer/dryer, docking becomes a non-issue.

It is definitely more difficult to find a travel lift with enough beam for a catamaran for a haulout, while, for a monohull, there are absolutely no problems anywhere. The wide beam of cats also greatly limits the number of shipyards that can haul them out. Most catamarans over 40-ft must be hauled out with a 50-ton travel lift. This not only increases the cost of the haulout, but greatly limits the choice of the shipyards for repairs and maintenance. With limited choice, prices are high for shipyard services.

Prout sailboat named Zuri

Catamarans do tend to have a lot more windage than monohulls. This can be an issue especially when maneuvering in close quarters with a strong wind. But I have found that, provided the engines are powerful enough for the size of catamaran, that twin engines negate this problem. Also, many modern large catamarans now have a bow thruster fitted. It is super easy to dock.

The cost of getting into a catamaran is much higher than that of monohulls. That could put a serious dent in your cruising kitty or require you to put your dream on hold a little longer. Pre-owned monohulls on the other hand are very cheap to buy comparatively, because the supply presently far outweighs the demand.

Catamarans are in high demand and they typically hold their value much better and longer and the trend is now heavily in favor of the catamaran market. When prospective buyers contact us for catamarans under $250,000 the choices are very limited and catamarans under $100,000 is near impossible to buy. In this case, your best bet is to go with a monohull unless you go with much older boats like the Prouts or the less expensive Geminis.

Our Own Catamarans & Monohulls

FYI: Royal Salute , a Bruce Roberts 45 monohull, was the first boat we owned and sailed approx. 30,000NM on. Mythral, a Seafarer 30, was our “toy boat” while we were waiting for our catamaran to be built. Even though this classic little monohull sailed around the world, it didn’t have much in modern conveniences like running water. Siyaya was an Island Spirit 40 catamaran that we sailed from Cape Town to Florida on and then taught live-aboard sailing classes for several years. Zuri I was a Prout 45, a beautifully crafted catamaran but by today’s standards is considered old technology. Our Lagoon 450 SporTop ( Zuri II ) is a fantastic live-aboard catamaran. We lived and taught aboard her for three years but sold her last year and we currently own a Bali 5.4 ( Zuri III or Z3 as we call her now). Read about our various boats .

catamaran vs monohull

CONCLUSION: CATAMARAN vs MONOHULL

We were dyed in the wool monohull sailors for 15+ years. We loved the pretty lines of monohulls, the sailing ability and what we believed at the time to be much safer vessels. However, now that we have been avid catamaran enthusiasts, we simply can never go back to monohulls. Catamarans have come of age and with modern technology have overcome most objections that sailors of old had against them. They are well designed and built, are safe, and we simply love that they sail fast and upright. There is not a whole lot to dislike about a catamaran when you live aboard. We have weighed all the pros and cons of catamarans and found that the pros far exceed the cons. We made the change to a catamaran and do not regret it one bit!

We hope that this article will clear things up for all the prospective catamaran owners out there.

Contact us if you have any questions regarding catamarans, Fractional Yacht Ownership or our Charter Management Programs .

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4 thoughts on “Catamaran vs. Monohull: We Changed, Should You?”

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

I read that the engineering on the catamarans were improved over the years. Whats the oldest year would you recommend designwise?

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

Scott, my apologies for the late reply. We’ve been traveling in Africa. Anyway, catamarans have come a long way and improvements in technology is happening at lightning speed. I reckon that even the older model catamarans are good. It depends on what your needs are. If you want something a little better performance wise, I would go for something no older than 15 years.

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

After buying a catamaran what is the difference in expense of a catamaran vs a monohull. Many articles state that not only the initial cost of a catamaran is more it the operating cost as well.

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

Hi Todd, it is more expensive. The annual dockage and haul out as well as maintenance will be more expensive. You obviously have two engines to maintain and various other pieces of equipment to service in both hulls. While there is more equipment there is also more redundancy and of course you have the comfort factor. So, depending on your situation, it’s probably worth it.

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Monohull boats vs. catamarans.

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Monohull Boats Vs. Powered Catamarans

When deciding what type of boat to buy, you will likely want to understand the differences between the most popular boat hulls. This brief article highlights some of the critical differences between Catamaran and Monohull boats.

Ride Comfort

Undoubtedly one of the most important features of any watercraft is how well it’s engineered for a comfortable ride for all passengers. Many boats are primarily designed around comfort for the captain. This usually means anyone at the front or sides of the boat takes most of the jostling. The catamaran-style hull delivers three distinctive characteristics key to ride comfort, smoothness, load distribution, and stability.

The wider footprint of the catamaran vessel helps negate the effects of unpredictable rolling while at sea. The efficient hull design reduces resistance and allows for faster headway, especially in rough conditions.

The narrow design of the monohull vessel relies heavily on the calmness of the water to ensure a smooth ride. The bouncing, slapping, and choppiness encountered by the monohull is much greater due to the greater amount of surface area that remains in contact with the water.

A catamaran beam is carried fully forward, giving the deck a rectangular design, and resulting in more usable deck space than a monohull boat.

Boats have a pinched bow, which comes to a point, creating a triangular shape as opposed to a catamaran’s rectangular shape. This feature makes the monohull less space-efficient.

Load Distribution

The catamaran’s rectangular shape uses space much more efficiently, giving passengers room to stretch out and enjoy the ride, even from the bow of the boat. Passengers can also enjoy the freedom to fish from either side of the deck, as opposed to having to adjust to ensure even weight distribution, as is the case with monohull designs. This is because the catamaran’s resistance to capsizing is much higher.

If you’re reading this, then you’ve almost certainly boarded a monohull style vessel, and you’re familiar with their tendency to rock and dip when passengers are boarding and offboarding. This unfortunate feature of monohull vessels can be understood best with a simple analogy: catamarans are similar to standing on two legs, while monohull vessels are similar to balancing on one leg.

Catamarans’ parallel hulls create reliable form stability, which prevents heeling and capsizing, and greatly reduces the vessel roll at rest and at trolling speeds. One of the most obvious advantages of catamaran stability is in the elimination of seasickness for passengers.

The stability of the monohull can be called into question more readily than a catamaran, as it requires four-times less force to initiate the capsize of a monohull vessel than an equally sized catamaran. Heeling is also more of a problem for the monohull, as its single-beam style makes it seven-times more prone to heeling than a similarly sized catamaran.

Fuel efficiency

A catamaran hull experiences little to drag or resistance to get on plane, resulting in greater fuel economy. Catamarans have a steady rise in speed and fuel burn with little to no spikes in fuel consumption. See the diagram below courtesy of Yamaha Outboards.

Catamaran Fuel Consumption

Worldcat 296DC with 600HP Yamaha Outboards

By comparison, bow(keel) drag created by a monohull vessel is higher than that of a catamaran, and due to this greater displacement.  The monohull encounters higher resistance taking longer to plane and spikes in speed and fuel consumption at mid-range. A monohull, by comparison, needs much more power to increase its speed.

Monohull Fuel Consumption

29′ Monohull with 600HP Yamaha Outboards

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Ocean Sail Lust

Monohulls vs. Catamarans: Which One is Best for You?

If you’re considering purchasing a sailboat, you might be wondering which type of vessel is best suited for your seafaring adventures. Fear not, for we’re here to help you weigh the differences between monohulls vs. catamarans to make an informed decision.

Now, before we dive into the nitty-gritty details of hull design, sail handling, and the like, let’s take a moment to appreciate the quirky personalities of these two boats. Sloop rigged monohulls are the classic, old-school sailboats with a single mast and a triangular sail. They’re like the wise old grandpa who’s been sailing the seas for decades and has plenty of stories to tell. On the other hand, catamarans are the younger, hipper cousins of the boating world. With their twin hulls and sleek designs, they’re like the trendy millennials who are always up for an adventure.

But enough with the stereotypes, let’s get down to business. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of monohulls and catamarans across various factors such as stability, maneuverability, accommodations, and cost. By the end of it, you’ll have a better idea of which boat is best suited for your sailing style and preferences. So, hoist the anchor and let’s set sail!

What are classic monohulls?

Let’s start with the basics – what exactly are classic monohulls? Well, sloops. To put it simply, a sloop is a type of sailboat with a single mast and a fore-and-aft rigged mainsail. But there’s more to these boats than meets the eye.

Sloops are the OGs of the sailing world, tracing their roots back to the 17th century. They were the go-to boats for explorers, pirates, and adventurers alike, with their simple yet effective design making them perfect for long journeys at sea. Nowadays, they’re still a popular choice for sailing enthusiasts who appreciate the classic, traditional look and feel of a sloop.

Monohulls vs. Catamarans

One of the defining characteristics of a sloop is its versatility. They come in a range of sizes, from small day sailers to larger offshore cruisers, and can be easily handled by a single sailor. Their rigging is relatively simple, making them a great option for beginners or those who prefer a less complicated sailing experience. But don’t let their simplicity fool you – sloops can pack a punch when it comes to speed and performance upwind.

Of course, there are some downsides to monohulls as well. Due to their single-hull design, they can be less stable in high winds or rough seas. They also tend to have less living space below deck compared to their bigger brothers. But if you’re looking for a classic, reliable, and versatile sailboat, a monohull might just be the vessel for you.

What are catamarans?

Now let’s talk about the other contender in this seafaring showdown – catamarans. These boats are a bit like the cool kids in high school – they’re sleek, modern, and always turning heads.

So, what exactly are catamarans? Well, to put it simply, they’re boats with twin hulls that are connected by a platform. But don’t let their basic design fool you – these boats are anything but ordinary. Catamarans come in a range of sizes, from small day boats to luxurious yachts, and offer a unique sailing experience that’s hard to beat.

Monohulls vs. Catamarans

One of the biggest advantages of catamarans is their stability. With two hulls instead of one, they’re less likely to tip over or roll in rough waters. This makes them a popular choice for families or those who prefer a smoother sailing experience. They also have more living space above and below deck compared to monohulls, with spacious cabins, lounges, and kitchens that are perfect for extended trips.

But let’s not forget about performance – catamarans are no slouches when it comes to speed and agility. Their twin hulls create less drag in the water, allowing them to glide through the waves with ease. And with their sleek, aerodynamic designs, they can often outpace traditional monohull boats.

Of course, catamarans do have their downsides as well. They can be more complicated to handle compared to monohulls, and require more space to in marinas or docks. They also tend to be more expensive than other types of sailboats, but hey, you can’t put a price on luxury.

Hull design

Per definition, the hull design is the biggest differences between monohulls and catamarans.

Let’s start with monohulls. These boats typically have a single hull that’s shaped like a long, narrow tube. This design allows them to slice through the water with ease, making them great for speed and agility. The hull is usually rounded or V-shaped at the bow, which helps to cut through waves and reduce drag. At the stern, the hull flares out to create a wider, more stable base.

Now, onto catamarans. These boats have two hulls that are connected by a platform, giving them a unique look and feel. The hulls are usually wider and flatter than those of monohulls, which provides a greater amount of stability. This can be especially beneficial for those who are prone to seasickness or prefer a smoother sailing experience. The flat shape of the hulls also creates less drag in the water, allowing for higher speeds and better maneuverability.

When it comes to sailboats, stability is crucial for a comfortable and safe journey on the high seas. So, which type of boat – monohulls or catamarans – reigns supreme in this category?

Monohulls vs. Catamarans

Well, let’s start with monohulls. These boats have a single hull, which means that their stability comes from the shape and weight distribution of the hull. Generally speaking, monohulls tend to be less stable than catamarans, especially in rough waters. This is because the single hull has to work harder to maintain balance, and can be more prone to tipping or rolling.

With two hulls connected by a platform, catamarans are the kings and queens of stability. The twin hulls provide a wider base and more buoyancy, making them less likely to tip over or roll in rough conditions. This can be especially beneficial for those who are new to sailing or prone to seasickness.

Maneuverability

Let’s talk about maneuverability – the art of smoothly navigating your vessel through the choppy waters. When it comes to monohulls vs. catamarans, the level of maneuverability can vary depending on the design and size of the boat.

Starting with monohulls, these boats are typically designed for speed and agility, which can translate to better maneuverability in certain situations. Their narrow hulls and single keels allow them to slice through the water and make quick turns, which can be useful in tight spots or when navigating through busy marinas.

Now, onto catamarans. With two hulls and a wider beam, these boats can be more challenging to maneuver in tight spaces. However, they do have some tricks up their sleeves. For example, many catamarans have engines that can rotate 360 degrees, allowing for greater control and maneuverability in tight spots.

Of course, when it comes to maneuverability, the skill and experience of the captain also plays a big role. A skilled sailor can make even the most unwieldy vessel dance through the water with ease, while a novice may struggle with even the most nimble of boats.

So, whether you’re piloting a monohull or a catamaran, it’s important to keep your wits about you and stay alert to your surroundings. And if all else fails, just remember the time-honored sailor’s adage – “When in doubt, let it out!”

Accommodations

Starting with monohulls, these boats typically have a more compact interior layout, with limited headroom and sleeping quarters. However, this can be a trade-off for a sleeker and more agile vessel that can slice through the waves with ease. Plus, with some creative packing and organization, a monohull can provide all the basic amenities you need for a comfortable voyage.

With their wider beam and spacious design, catamarans offer more room for living and sleeping quarters, as well as additional amenities like a galley kitchen and a bathroom. This can make for a more luxurious and comfortable sailing experience, especially for longer voyages. In addition, the two-hull design offers more space on deck for dinner parties or sunbathing in the trampolines

Monohulls vs. Catamarans

Of course, when it comes to accommodations, everyone’s preferences are different. Some sailors may prefer the cozy intimacy of a monohull, while others crave the roominess and luxury of a catamaran. It all depends on your personal style and needs as a sailor.

Performance

Let’s delve into the topic of performance, which is a critical factor when selecting a sailing vessel. Each sailor may have a different perspective on what constitutes optimal performance, but generally speaking, it comes down to speed and efficiency.

When it comes to speed, catamarans have an advantage in downwind performance. Their wider beam and twin hulls give them more sail area and a greater ability to surf down waves, resulting in faster speeds. However, monohulls are often faster when sailing upwind, as their pointed hull allows them to sail closer to the wind.

Monohulls vs. Catamarans

The upwind angle is an important consideration for sailors, as it affects how close to the wind they can sail. sloop rigged monohulls are known for their ability to sail at a higher angle upwind, which can be a major advantage when sailing in areas with narrow passages or limited space to maneuver. Catamarans, on the other hand, may need to tack more frequently in order to reach their destination when sailing upwind.

Maintenance

When it comes to sailing, we all know that proper maintenance is key to keeping your vessel in tip-top shape. So, when it comes to choosing between a monohull vs. a catamaran, it’s important to consider the maintenance requirements for each type of vessel.

Monohulls generally have simpler systems and structures, which can make maintenance a bit easier and more straightforward. However, the tradeoff is that they may require more frequent maintenance and repairs due to their smaller size and simpler design.

Catamarans, on the other hand, can be more complex and may require more maintenance in terms of their twin hulls, rigging, and systems. However many important systems like engines, bathrooms, or water tanks are in both hulls which give you redundancy and options. Also, their larger size can make accessing and maintaining these components a bit easier.

Regardless of which type of vessel you choose, regular maintenance is a must. From checking and maintaining the sails and rigging to ensuring the engines and electrical systems are in good working order, taking care of your vessel will ensure that you’re able to sail safely and confidently.

When it comes to the cost of a sailing vessel, there are many factors to consider. Let’s take a closer look at how monohulls vs. catamarans stack up.

First off, monohulls are generally considered to be more affordable than catamarans, both in terms of the initial purchase price and ongoing maintenance costs. This is due in part to their simpler design and smaller size, which requires less materials and labor to build and maintain.

On the other hand, catamarans can be quite costly to purchase and maintain, especially if you opt for a larger or more luxurious model. The wider beam and heavier construction of a catamaran can also mean higher slip fees and storage costs at marinas. But don’t let that deter you! If you have the means and the desire for a more spacious and comfortable sailing experience, a catamaran might be worth the investment.

Of course, the cost of a sailing vessel is just one piece of the puzzle. You’ll also need to consider other expenses like fuel, insurance, and ongoing maintenance and repairs. And let’s not forget the most important cost of all: the cost of living your best life on the open sea!

Monohulls vs. Catamarans

So weigh your options carefully, and remember that the true value of a sailing vessel goes far beyond the price tag. May the winds of fortune guide you to the vessel of your dreams, and may you sail with joy and a full wallet!

Resale value

Resale value is an important consideration when it comes to buying any type of vessel, and monohulls and catamarans are no exception. Generally speaking, catamarans tend to hold their value better than monohulls due to their popularity among sailors and their reputation for being spacious and comfortable. However, resale value can also depend on the specific make and model of the boat, as well as its age, condition, and location.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some monohulls may have a cult following and fetch a higher price on the resale market, while some older catamarans may not hold their value as well as their newer counterparts. Additionally, factors such as maintenance, upgrades, and customization can also affect resale value.

In conclusion, when it comes to monohulls vs catamarans, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Each boat has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the decision ultimately depends on your personal preferences, needs, and sailing goals. If you have the money, looking for a faster ride downwind and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of upwind performance, a catamaran might be the way to go.

Resale Value

On the other hand, if you want something cheaper, prioritize sailing close to the wind and want a boat that is more easily handled in a variety of conditions, a sloop rigged monohull might be the better choice. Of course, other factors such as accommodations, and maintenance also play a crucial role in the decision-making process.

So whether you prefer the sleekness of a monohull or the stability of a catamaran, make sure to consider all the options and weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your final choice. And as with any big decision, it never hurts to consult with experienced sailors, boat dealers, or brokers to get their expert opinions. Happy sailing!

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Catamarans - Monohulls: Pros and Cons

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With catamarans vastly popular in the charter industry, and showing no sign of abating, let's compare the pros and cons of monohull and catamaran strictly on the charter work point of view . The reason why this distinction is important – and I write this as a monohull fanatic myself - is because for charter companies, catamarans are in huge demand due to the overwhelming number of advantages they offer. Out of charter use, there is no question for me that, when the offshore going gets tough, I would much rather be on a solid monohull than on a catamaran - although the catamaran builders have come a long way to strengthen comstruction. But this is just a matter of opinion!

Catamaran Pros

On deck The cockpit, highlight of catamarans, is usually huge, since it spans over both hulls. The cockpit and the salon are on the same level, which enhances the feeling of light and spaciousness, along with the typical huge panoramic windows. The foredeck area is very large as well and sports a big pair of nets between the hulls, the notorious trampolines, which make a great sun bathing area. In any case, it is a great observation spot and a kids' favorite. As a result of this roominess, a catamaran rarely feels crowded, as it is relatively easy to get some seclusion and quietness from other members of the party. Most cats are equipped with dinghy-davits at the transom, which is absolutely great: no more towing the dinghy, thus no more drag on the boat speed.

Down below The catamaran will provide you with considerably more room than a monohull almost everywhere on the boat: in the cabins and in the salon. Besides, there is ample headroom everywhere. A typical 43/47 ft. cat will have 4 large staterooms, with rectangular queen-size beds – no more of those pointy beds! - each with en-suite bathroom. A 38 to 42ft. will have 3/4 staterooms and 2/3 bathrooms. Most cats have an enormous salon/cockpit combination capable to entertain about 20 people in style! Because of the cats’ layout configuration, there is full privacy in every cabin and one does not hear anything from one cabin to the other.

Stability The key fact is that catamarans have a phenomenal stability: they do not heel under way and do not roll at anchor. This usually makes seasickness a non-event. Incidentally, it makes it somewhat safer for kids running around. Whether at anchor or under way, a catamaran is always much more stable than a monohull. Stability is also a good factor for elderly people and/or first time sailors. As a matter of fact, a catamaran will give the latter an excellent impression for their first cruise, instead of memories of being seasick!

Speed & maneuverability There is no question that catamarans are faster under power or sail. Whatever your cruising goals are, catamarans will usually move you about more quickly than a monohull. Catamarans have shallow drafts. This means catamarans can get into places monohulls yachts often cannot reach, and that they can also anchor closer to shore. However, more and more charter cats now have small "sacrificial" keels to improve close-hauled performance. Lastly, I personally enjoy the phenomenal maneuverability of the cats. With 2 engines spread apart, you can pivot a cat of any size literally around the boat's central axis – and without the help of the rudders. The autopilot works particularly well on cats, on a tracking standpoint.

Catamaran Cons

A hard-core monohull sailor once said: "When I sail a cat, it feels like I am driving my living room!" He meant that a cat does not convey the "real" feeling of sailing, with the "rail in the water" as sailors say. That is precisely because a cat does not heel, whereas a monohull does, and sometimes a lot. So if you are in for hard, pure sailing, you will not get that felling on a cat. Only a monohull will give you the full experience!

A cat does not typically sail well upwind and needs a different technique for tacking and anchoring. ( See tips for cat handling ).

It is often said that anchoring a catamaran can be more difficult. This is due to the fact that catamarans have more “windage” than monohulls, and, without keel and ballast, they have a tendency to “bob” on the water when a gust hits. ( See tips for cat anchoring )

Obviously, catamarans take up twice as much docking space as monohulls. This can be a bit of a problem in chartering areas where spending nights in marinas is a necessity.

If you are bringing with you a party of first-time sailors, or older people, or people who could feel apprehensive at sea, you probably will better off with a cat.

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Catamaran vs. Monohulls: Pros and Cons

small boat swinging in the left during the morning

Published Aug 30, 2021

Going on a trip but don’t know what boat to use? If you have been eyeing Catamaran and Monohull boats, you are in the right place. If you can’t choose between the two, knowing their pros and cons should help you decide. In this article, we will be battling catamaran vs. monohulls to determine which one is more suitable for you.

What is Catamaran?

A catamaran is a sailboat with multihulls that features two parallel hulls of equal size. This type of boat has been popular ever since because of its stability and size. In addition, vacationers tend to sail with catamaran boats because of their space above and below.

What are Monohulls?

Unlike catamaran boats, a monohull is a boat that comes with only one hull. Monohull boats are the most widely used form of waterborne vessel. Sailing in a monohull may satisfy a person’s inner sailor self and give them the whole sailing experience. In addition, this type of boat is cheaper than other boats since it only caters to one hull.

Since catamaran and monohulls are completely different boats, we should compare and contrast their characteristics.

Spaciousness

The multihulls of catamarans give the boat additional space for the galley, cockpit, and more rooms when it comes to space. Catamaran boats also feature shallower draft, smaller displacement, and less hull volume than monohull boats. Therefore, this boat is more spacious than a monohull boat. It should be what you’re looking for if you’re sailing with family or friends.

On the other hand, monohull boats provide limited space, and most spaces are below the waterline. This might be concerning, especially for non-sailors, like vacationers. However, long-time sailors are most likely used to this situation. In addition, a monohull is smaller than most catamarans since it only consists of one hull.

Stability and Comfort

Another advantage of having multi-hulls is inheriting more stability than a one-hull boat. Catamarans are less prone to rocking and heeling, which makes them an ideal boat for family vacations. Large families usually include kids or seniors that get out of balance easily. Sailing in a catamaran boat would surely be more comfortable for you. Catamaran also features a separated skipper cabin that separates the crew and boat guests. Some larger skipper cabins provide full equipment like an isolated shower, sink, and toilet. In catamaran boats, you can sunbathe, lounge, or even jump on a trampoline while onboard.

Monohull boats are obviously less stable than multi-hull catamarans. From the word “mono,” monohulls only have one hull, which makes it prone to being rocky than a multihull boat. A rocking boat might not be an ideal vacation boat for families. 

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of sailing for both boats:

Catamaran boats are often faster than monohulls when sailing downwind, reaches, and broad. Moreover, they have low bridge decks likely to slap on the undercarriage when the boat is sailing upwind. That is what slows the speed of the catamaran boats.

Monohulls sail through water without any slapping or pounding that may slow down the boat. They tend to be faster than catamaran boats when going upwind since the slapping slows down the multihull.  

Pounding and slapping

Multihulls are made so that guests and sailors can get the most out of their vacation. That is why producers of catamarans try their best to add as much platform in the boat as the low bridge deck. Unfortunately, the low bridge deck of a catamaran tends to pound and slap the undercarriage of the boat, especially when sailing upwind. Some people find the pounding and slapping sound annoying. 

Monohulls don’t have a low bridge deck, so sailing comes smoothly for monohull boats. Monohull guests wouldn’t have a problem with the noise at all. 

Maneuvering and docking

Multihulls are powered by two engines. Having two engines can be extremely helpful when it comes to an emergency. These engines make it possible for the boat to rotate to a full 360 degrees. Catamarans also have two rudders which makes it easier to dock the boat. 

Monohulls are easier to maneuver because of their size. However, the monohull only consists of one engine for the whole boat. The engine of the monohull can be combined with a front bow thruster so the yacht/boat can move sideways, which is helpful for tight spaces. This function makes it easier for the sailor to dock the boat.

Catamaran boats are more expensive than most monohulls because of their features. They are known as a high-quality boat that reassures sailor’s guests that it’s safer than most boats and costs a lot of building materials as catamaran boats are more spacious. Catamaran boats may cost more because it’s a high demand boat. The cost for docking for this type of boat also costs double the price of a monohull since it’s bigger.

Monohulls usually cost cheaper than most catamaran boats because of the monohull’s building materials. Multihull boats typically need to double the building materials required for a catamaran. Therefore, monohull boats with the same sleeping capacity and equipment as the catamaran may cost cheaper than buying a catamaran.

Ocean view during the sun set

Catamaran vs. Monohulls: What to Choose?

Catamarans are more expensive, but it’s a family vacation-friendly boat that offers a lot of advantages. On the other hand, monohull boats are cheaper, simpler, and perfect for aspiring sailors. In the end, it all comes down to the person’s preference, budget, and what suits their needs. So I will ask you, catamaran vs. monohulls? (Related: What to Know Before Renting a Catamaran Charter )

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  • Catamaran vs. Monohull: What Type of Boat is Right for You?
  • Sailing Hub
  • Sailing Dilemmas
  • Catamaran vs. Monohull - which one should you choose?

When you are planning a sailing holiday, you’ll be faced with a choice; catamaran vs. monohull. Each type has many benefits, but it’s important to think about what your needs are because that will tell you just which one to pick!

Let's dive right in!

Ease of sailing

Maneuverability, space/layout, holiday vibe.

You may also like:  Sailing holiday destinations for your next boat trip

One of the top considerations you should have is what type of sailor you are because catamaran vs monohulls offer a distinctly different sailing experience. If you are a first time sailor and just want something incredibly easy to handle, then a catamaran will probably win out. 

Catamarans have great control when it comes to maneuvering in tight places. Since they have twin engines and rudders, you get a lot of control and can turn pretty much 360 degrees with ease.

Saba 50 catamaran helm and navigation area

Catamarans also have a shallow draft, which will allow you to explore much closer to the shoreline than a monohull would be able to venture. 

In the catamaran vs monohull speed debate, it might be more of a draw. Catamarans are typically 25-30% faster than a comparable monohull, but some argue that it comes at a price. When catamarans are sailing full speed you might experience a lot of slapping from the waves. Monohulls are designed to cut through the water. Also note that catamarans can be inefficient upwind and tack slowly. 

When considering sailing conditions , a catamaran vs monohull in rough seas will perform very differently. 

During rough sailing, you must be more vigilant when on a catamaran. The feedback from the wheel of a cat is not as obvious as that from a monohull. In high winds, you’ll need to know when to reduce sail. 

However, monohulls tend to roll more in stormy weather, while catamarans stay pretty level even in rough seas.

When thinking about catamaran vs monohull stability, the stability that catamarans offer is a huge draw for many. Since cats bounce with the waves less, it is easier to walk around and enjoy the yacht while in motion. The increased stability is also great for children, or seniors, or anyone who might be prone to seasickness. When it comes to catamaran vs monohull seasickness, catamarans come out on top.

Saona 47 sailing in Lavrion

Although it is worth noting that monohulls swing less than catamarans if placed side by side in an anchorage.

If you’re deciding on a catamaran vs. monohull, you’ll have to think about what type of group you have. For family sailing holidays , maybe a catamaran is the best choice. Catamarans are very spacious, offering a large living space, and many cabin/head options. This makes them optimal for parties that want to spread out. Whether you’re a family, a big group of friends, or even couples looking for a 5 star, luxury experience who appreciate the extra space and comfort even if it’s not needed, a catamaran can fit your needs.

If thinking about catamaran vs monohull liveaboard readiness, the catamaran is a top contender. With far more living space and a much more spacious kitchen, Catamarans are great for people and groups that want to focus on entertainment and lounging.  

Catamarans also typically have more spacious cabins and more privacy due to the layout with the cabins separate from the living area. This way you can send the kids to bed, and still enjoy the kitchen, dining, and living area. 

Saba 50 catamaran in Sicily, Italy

While catamarans are often touted for being roomy and luxurious, it’s worth nothing that monohull yachts can also be large and luxe. The Oceanis 62 and the Jeanneau 64 are top choices for those who want to live in the lap of luxury during their sailing holidays , while still getting that real sailing yacht experience.

In terms of catamarans vs monohull price , a monohull will definitely win. Charter prices for a catamaran can be 50-100% higher than that of a comparable sailing yacht. But that can be boiled down to the fact that you’re getting more space and more equipment with a catamaran! 

A monohull, will only have one of everything - like it’s name suggests. It has one hull, one engine, one rudder, whereas a catamaran has twice the equipment and twice the living space of a monohull of the same length.

Another catamaran vs monohull cost to consider is the mooring costs. A catamaran, due to its twin hulls, might use two spots. Monohulls take less space to moor, and will be less expensive in that regard. 

The cost of fuel should also be a consideration and in the question of catamaran vs monohull fuel efficiency, catamarans are the winner. With easy to drive hulls, and super light weight, they have great fuel efficiency. 

Lastly, there is an abundant supply of monohull charters yachts, so the charter costs tend to be less to match the demand. 

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

In the end, what it all comes down to is preference. In terms of performance, price, and comfort, catamarans and monohulls both have a lot going for them. You just need to decide what kind of holiday vibe you’re looking for, and Yacht4Less can help you with the rest! 

At Yacht4Less we recommend fully crewed catamaran charters if you’re looking for top-of-the-line luxury and a super relaxing holiday where you don’t have to lift a finger. These boats will offer the space and comfort you’d expect from a 5-star hotel. 

Saba 50 catamaran flybridge lounge in Italy.

If you’re looking for a hands-on sailing adventure holiday, you might want to do a skippered charter with a monohull.. Your captain can show the ropes and help you learn how to sail. Or if you’re already an experienced sailor, go for a bareboat monohull charter . The exhilarating feeling of sailing a monohull is unmatched. It’s the classic romantic sailing experience, and makes for a thrilling holiday. 

For those looking for a sailing experience somewhere in between extravagant luxury and exciting escapades, Yacht4Less is here to help you find the perfect boat for your needs.  More sailing holiday dilemmas? We got you covered! Sailing Holidays vs. Land-Based Holidays  » Party Sailing vs. Natural Wonders  »

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catamaran vs. monohull

  • Thread starter seawind24
  • Start date Nov 27, 2009
  • Nov 27, 2009

Looking for information on the ride difference between 24-28 ft. power cats vs. monohull and difference between different types of cats. (i.e. grady white, vs. pro cat vs. world cat). I appreciate any and all info and real world experiences. By the way use of boat will be for weekend getaways and fishing in the Tampa/St. Petersburg Florida area. Thanks in advance: JohnE.  

Bifflefan

Re: catamaran vs. monohull A little reading on Wikipedia is a grand thing.  

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

How Much to Tip a Fishing Guide: Learn the proper tipping etiquette

catamaran vs monohull fishing boat

Table of Contents

Last Updated on June 19, 2024 by Boatsetter Team

When you go on a guided fishing trip there’s an advertised price, but there are other costs of a fishing charter and one that shouldn’t be overlooked is tipping the captain and/or mate. Just what an appropriate tip is will change with the situation, too, because some guides work alone, others work with a mate, and you may want to tip more or less depending on the level of service.

It’s important to differentiate between charters and guides at this point, because although there’s no set definition for either, most charter boats have mates who often work for tips and tips alone. Some larger charters that take out more people than the standard “six pack” crew of six may even have multiple mates. But captains who work alone and take out smaller parties, on the other hand, are usually referred to as guides.

Tipping a small boat fishing guide

As a general rule of thumb, the standard tipping etiquette you’d use in a restaurant applies to fishing guides. Anything under 15 percent of the cost of the trip would be thought of as a penalty for a poor experience, 20 percent would be for meeting expectations, and 25 percent would be a bonus.

Remember that if you rent a fishing boat with a captain, as far as tipping goes that still counts as hiring a guide or booking a charter. Although the terminology and the booking process may be a bit different, they’ll still be working to make sure you have a great day on the water and catch as many fish as possible.

Book your next fishing boat rental

Tipping on charters

fishing charter tipping

On charter boats working with a mate, the mate is usually (though not always) working just for the tip. The same rates apply, except that instead of handing the tip to the captain you’d give it to the mate or mates. When there are multiple mates it’s okay to hand the tip to one of them, as tips are generally pooled and split, but if you want to tip a specific mate extra because they worked particularly hard or were especially pleasant, be sure to tell them that and tip them separately from the rest of the crew.

The same goes for captains who do an especially good job; tip the mates separately, and then approach the captain. Also, know that in some cases the captain will still share their tips with the mate(s) or ask you to pass it on to them, but either way they’ll still appreciate the gesture.

When you’re planning a group charter where the cost of the trip will be shared, be sure to give everyone a heads-up about tipping ahead of time. People who don’t regularly fish on charter boats may not realize that tipping is expected, and many people don’t carry much cash these days in case they’re caught unaware.

Tipping guides and charters for the experience

tipping your fishing guide

It’s always important to remember that a guide or captain, no matter how good he or she may be at their job, can’t control the weather or whether the fish will bite. Either factor can contribute to having a disappointing trip, but that isn’t necessarily a reflection of how the person is doing their job. More important is attitude, how hard he or she works to try to make the trip a success, and honesty.

Did the captain and/or mate greet you with a smile, and stay positive no matter what? Did they race around the boat all day keeping the baits fresh and the lines set, even if the fish weren’t biting? If they’re a pleasure to be around and they give it their all, you can’t blame them for rough seas or slow fishing.

The very best captains may even give you a heads-up if the fishing is particularly slow or it will be uncomfortably windy and rough, and may suggest rescheduling. When this happens, remember that they’ve willingly given up their income for that day to help ensure your experience is a positive one — and when you do eventually go, you should bear that in mind when it’s time to tip them.

The bottom line ? Tipping fishing guides and charter boat crew isn’t any different from tipping in other venues. If someone has done their best and you’ve had fun, tip them accordingly.

About us

Boatsetter  is the leading online marketplace for boat rentals and on-water experiences. Download the Boatsetter app ( App Store  |  Google Play ) and follow us on  Instagram .

Lenny-Rudow

With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow’s FishTalk , he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous BWI and OWAA writing awards.

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  1. Catamaran vs Monohull: Pros, Cons & Main Differences

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  2. Catamaran vs Monohull: Pros, Cons & Main Differences

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  3. Catamaran vs. Monohull: Which Is Better?

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  4. Which is Really Faster? Monohull vs. Catamaran Design

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  5. Catamaran vs Monohull

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  6. Catamarans vs. Monohulls on Charter

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COMMENTS

  1. Catamaran vs. Monohull Fishing Boats

    When selecting a fishing boat, anglers face a significant choice that can impact their experience on the water. The type of boat you choose - be it a catamaran or a traditional monohull - plays a pivotal role in defining your fishing adventures. Both catamaran and monohull boats have distinct features and advantages, and understanding these differences is key to finding a vessel that aligns ...

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    Power Cat Con: Some power catamarans "sneeze," when compressed air in the hulls blows a mist back out of the tunnel. This can make for an overly-moist ride. Monohull Con: Many monohulls take more spray over the bow. This depends quite a bit upon the conditions and direction of the wind and waves, but generally speaking, monohulls are going ...

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  4. Center Console Boats: Catamarans vs. Monohull Boats

    Comparing Power and Performance. One of the biggest differences between cats and monohulls is the requirement for at least two engines on a catamaran. For smaller deep-vee boats up to 26 feet or so, you could use a single 300 or 350 hp outboard. A cat of the same size might be powered by twin 150 or 200 hp engines.

  5. Catamaran Versus Deep-V Monohull

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    A catamaran has more space than a monohull. This is because the boat is wider, and it has a much larger deck area. It also has twice as many hulls, so you have more overall space between the two of them. The additional space is great for people looking to throw parties on their boats.

  7. Catamaran vs Monohull: Pros, Cons & Main Differences

    Darker interiors: Most monohull living space is lower in the boat, where you can't put enormous windows for light and circulation. It's very hard to get space as bright and airy as catamaran saloons. Less living space: With one hull and no bridge deck saloon, most monohulls feel cramped compared to spacious catamarans.

  8. Catamaran vs. Monohull: Which Is Better?

    Monohull sailboats have their own groove. This motion is predictable and distinguishable by pro sailors. Cats, on the other hand, depend on the body of water's condition state. Also, cats pound when going upwind into big seas if their bridge deck is pummeled by waves, while monohulls tend to slice through the waves.

  9. Monohull vs Cat: A Debate for the Ages

    1. SAFETY. Mike Kiely: Catamarans are very stable and have natural buoyancy, making them unsinkable. Yes, they can capsize in a bad accident, but it's better to be rescued floating on the water's surface than sinking to the bottom in a monohull. Plus, moving around on a flat deck is much safer than on a deck at an angle.

  10. Powered Catamaran vs Monohull Comparison

    World Cat Powered Catamarans vs Monohull. Because you get a smoother ride. The wider footprint of a World Cat helps negate the effect of a rolling. Take a Se...

  11. Monohull Versus Powercat: Let the Better Boat Win

    This has been objectively measured (with accelerometers) in a Glacier Bay 26 powercat versus a Regulator 26 monohull—both boats known for providing an excellent ride—to the tune of a .287-second deceleration versus a 0.081 second deceleration, and a three-G force impact versus a four-G force impact when hitting an identical wave head-on.

  12. Monohull vs Catamaran: A Deep Dive into Design and Performance

    For starters, how a boat handles various wind conditions is critical. Monohulls, due to their keeled design, tend to excel upwind. Their ability to 'point' into the wind is usually superior to that of a catamaran. On the other hand, catamarans, with their lighter weight and reduced drag, often have the upper hand in downwind and lighter wind ...

  13. Catamaran Vs Monohull: Which Is Better, Faster And Safier?

    Monohulls have the advantage of having wider compartments below the deck when compared to catamarans, as the overall width of the hull is larger than a single hull on a catamaran. This gives room for larger living spaces below the deck, which can have the option to walk around on either side of the bed.

  14. Catamaran vs Monohull

    Compared square-foot-for-square-foot, catamarans are much lighter than monohulls, which means they also slow down a lot quicker. For the most part, catamarans are easier to dock than monohulls, as they have two motors and two rudders which simplify things a lot. This also does away with the need for a bow thruster.

  15. Catamaran vs. Monohull: We Changed, Should You?

    7. Shallow Draft Equals Better Anchorages. Catamarans have significantly shallower drafts than monohulls, allowing for safer anchorages closer to shore. Most catamarans in the 40-ft to 50-ft range draw between 3-ft to 4.5-ft, so they can anchor in places that a monohulls can not even consider.

  16. Monohull Boats Vs. Catamarans

    A catamaran beam is carried fully forward, giving the deck a rectangular design, and resulting in more usable deck space than a monohull boat. Monohull. Boats have a pinched bow, which comes to a point, creating a triangular shape as opposed to a catamaran's rectangular shape. This feature makes the monohull less space-efficient.

  17. Catamaran Vs. Monohull: Which One Should You Buy?

    If you buy new, you're looking at a starting price of about $250,000. For a brand new 40ft cat, you're looking at a starting price of about $400,000. Of course, you can buy a used, older catamaran, too. There's the Prout Snowgoose 37, the Lagoon 380, and the PDQ 36. Any of these can be purchased for under $90,000.

  18. Monohulls vs. Catamarans: Which One is Best for You?

    Now let's talk about the other contender in this seafaring showdown - catamarans. These boats are a bit like the cool kids in high school - they're sleek, modern, and always turning heads. ... So, when it comes to choosing between a monohull vs. a catamaran, it's important to consider the maintenance requirements for each type of vessel.

  19. Catamarans

    With catamarans vastly popular in the charter industry, and showing no sign of abating, let's compare the pros and cons of monohull and catamaran strictly on the charter work point of view. The reason why this distinction is important - and I write this as a monohull fanatic myself - is because for charter companies, catamarans are in huge demand due to the overwhelming number of advantages ...

  20. Types of Fishing Boats: Finding Your Ideal Boat

    With over three decades of experience in marine journalism, Lenny Rudow has contributed to dozens of boating and fishing publications and websites ranging from BoatU.S. Magazine to BDOutdoors.com. Rudow is currently the Angler in Chief at Rudow's FishTalk, he is a past president of Boating Writers International (BWI), a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design, and has won numerous ...

  21. Catamaran vs. Monohull: What Type of Boat is Right for You?

    When you are planning a sailing holiday, you'll be faced with a choice; catamaran vs. monohull. Each type has many benefits, but it's important to think about what your needs are because that ...

  22. Catamaran vs. Monohulls: Pros and Cons

    Monohulls usually cost cheaper than most catamaran boats because of the monohull's building materials. Multihull boats typically need to double the building materials required for a catamaran. Therefore, monohull boats with the same sleeping capacity and equipment as the catamaran may cost cheaper than buying a catamaran.

  23. Catamaran vs. Monohull: What Type of Boat is Right for You?

    Speed. In the catamaran vs monohull speed debate, it might be more of a draw. Catamarans are typically 25-30% faster than a comparable monohull, but some argue that it comes at a price. When catamarans are sailing full speed you might experience a lot of slapping from the waves. Monohulls are designed to cut through the water.

  24. catamaran vs. monohull

    Looking for information on the ride difference between 24-28 ft. power cats vs. monohull and difference between different types of cats. (i.e. grady white, vs. pro cat vs. world cat). I appreciate any and all info and real world experiences. By the way use of boat will be for weekend getaways and fishing in the Tampa/St. Petersburg Florida area.

  25. How Much to Tip a Fishing Guide: Proper Tipping Etiquette

    Tipping a small boat fishing guide. As a general rule of thumb, the standard tipping etiquette you'd use in a restaurant applies to fishing guides. Anything under 15 percent of the cost of the trip would be thought of as a penalty for a poor experience, 20 percent would be for meeting expectations, and 25 percent would be a bonus.