Why a Sailing Catamaran or Trimaran Instead of a Sailing Monohull?
There are six reasons in particular that illustrate the primary advantages you'll enjoy with today's modern, sail-cruising catamarans and tris.
1. No-Heel Sailing - True, some sailors consider it fun to engage in an afternoon of dramatically-heeled (monohull) sailing. But we've never seen one of those sailors who lived in a home constructed at a slant. Nor one of them who drove a car permanently jacked up on one side. So why put up with monohull sailboats that always force you to live and sail at a 15-to-25-degree angle? Especially when the modern alternative, the cruising catamaran, heels barely 4-to-6-degrees!
2. Exhilarating Sailing Performance - Today's modern, production-built cats and tris will carry you to windward as much as 25% faster than a similar length cruising monohull. For example, in conditions where a 38-foot monohull's doing well to sail at a steady 6.5 knots, the 38-foot cruising cat easily does 7 to 9 knots. And off the wind that 38' cat delivers even faster speeds - from 12-to-15 knots. That's a whopping 75% to 100% faster than that same 38-foot monohull cruiser! And it's accomplished with no heeling, and using just the easily handled working sails.
3. Superior Motoring Performance - With a cat's twin props set fully 15-feet apart, maneuverability under power is superior to most powerboats of similar length, let alone any monohull sailboat. And twin engines mean twice the reliability and faster speeds (an easy cruising speed of 6.5-knots for a 38' cat with twin 18 HP diesels).
4. Roominess - Cruising cats are much roomier than singlehull sailboats. That's because the cat's beam (width) extends the boat's full length (not pinched at the bow and stern as with a monohull). In fact, if you multiply the length of a cruising cat by 1.25, you'll discover what length monohull sailboat offers comparable room.For example, a 38 foot cruising cat offers the room of a 47-foot monohull! (38 x 1.25 = 47). Even better, the cat will usually be less expensive to purchase or charter than that 47 footer. Yet the cat offers a cockpit that's twice the size - a larger saloon that's on the same level as the cockpit, thus providing 360-degree visibility - and faster sailing and motoring speeds.
5. Shallow Draft & Beachability - Cruising cats and tris can take you into the "skinny-water" areas that monohulls dread. And many multihulls' rugged shoal-draft keels let you beach them easily and without fear. What a benefit when you're off cruising and need to repaint the bottom, tend to a transducer, make a hull repair, etc.
6. The "Unsinkable" Factor - There's a darned good reason why race committees demand that monohull sailboats carry life rafts. It's the ever-present risk of sinking. But because modern cats (a) need no ballast and (b) are built of state-of-the-art, cored-sandwich construction, most are virtually unsinkable. You even could chainsaw (literally) such a cat into 4 sections and each one would float.(Similar to how breaking up a foam coffee cup doesn't decrease each pieces' ability to float.) Consider carefully what that means. When boats sink, sailors can die. But when boats stay afloat, death is seldom the outcome. Can you think of any reason why you or your crew do not deserve this huge added margin of safety when cruising under sail?