Catamaran or Monohull?


Monohull sailboats were a preferred design for generations, with multi-hull yachts as an afterthought. Salty sailors would scoff at the idea of a catamaran for cruising or for racing. Recently, however, the game has changed. The Americas Cup races of 2013 and 2017 featured catamarans able to attain speeds up to 45 knots in winds of only 20 knots. Able to deliver a fast and exhilarating sail to those who love the sporting aspect of sailing, catamarans also add several comfort features and have taken over the charter industry during the last decade. 

First, the space available onboard cruising catamarans is incomparable. They are perfect for large group of friends or family, with larger cabins, communal areas for lounging and group dinning, and plenty of deck space for sunbathing and mid afternoon naps. The extra storage and space on deck also offer possibilities to carry water toys and sporting equipment if desired, such as paddleboards and kayaks.

The stability of catamarans can make them more enjoyable, especially for guests who don’t quite have their sea legs, or for sailing with children. It’s much easier to walk around the vessel underway or to have a meal. With their smaller draft, catamarans are able to get to shallower water and closer to the beach. They are able to access parts of the bay that may otherwise be out of reach for monohulls, which can help avoid crowds.

Still, monohulls aren’t going anywhere. For beginners, monohulls are a great way to learn, as the physical concepts can be easier to see. Every sail training organization starts with monohulls. Costs to own, repair, and run are less. Generally monohulls are smaller overall which cuts down costs, and catamarans have two engines requiring more fuel and maintenance.

For first time bareboat skippers, monohulls are likely more familiar. They can be rented less expensively and with less experience. But if you want a crewed charter, catamarans offer unparalleled space and comfort, combined with always increasing sailing performance.

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“What an amazing experience! This trip took us out of our comfort zone just enough to be a great adventure. We saw beautiful sunrises and sunsets over the horizon, swam in clear blue waters and slept out on the deck under the stars. Our guide and Captain, Ted did a great job sailing the boat while sharing his knowledge of the process and the islands we visited. Highly recommend a trip like this with MountainSea for families or a group of friends!”

Randy and Jen