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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“Taking our family, including two children, on a yacht for the week was daunting, as we all had very limited experience on large boats. But every detail and every comfort was taken care of by Captain Ted. We were able to learn a tremendous amount, and the way in which Ted worked with our kids was as gentle as it was effective. His demeanor imparted a sense of confidence that allowed our kids to comfortably take on tasks they might not otherwise have tried, from taking the helm to learning to flambé shrimp for dinner. We all came away appreciative that our week had been as relaxing as educational. The unbelievable beauty of the Caribbean was perhaps the least impressive part of our trip, and that is saying a ton about Ted and the trip. Can’t wait to head South again.”

Keith, Krista, Walker and Grey Davis