At Seawind catamarans we are regularly asked “Convince me why I should buy a catamaran instead of a monohull”. Like everything, there are pluses and there are minuses and we try to give the person a balanced answer. Of course the pluses and minuses are more or less compelling for different people depending on their circumstances and their sailing ambitions. However, a growing number of people are coming down heavily one side and becoming firm catamaran converts. Like reformed mokers, many are passionate advocates of two hulls over one. For the cruising sailor the advantages are many.
1- Level, no heel sailing Leaning over at 25 degrees can be exciting and fun – for a while. In a very short time the novelty wears off and the attraction of level sailing is pretty obvious. The cruising cat rarely heels more than 5 degrees and most often less. This makes offshore passages less tiring, helps drink and food stay on the table, sleeping doesn't involve a balancing act and reefing in heavy weather is not done on a rolling slippery deck. The advantages are endless.
2 – Great sailing performance In most weather conditions, todays modern production built cats will sail at speeds 20 to 50% faster than a similar length monohull.
3 – Space / roominess The modern cruising cat is much roomier than its equivalent length monohull. In fact to get the same facilities as on the 33ft Seawind 1000 it is estimated you would have to go to a 45ft yacht. The Seawind 1160 has features found on few monohulls under 60ft.
4 – Shallow draft Even without the extreme of daggerboards, the cruising cat will draw less than 3ft allowing access to areas that would terrify a monohull. Often getting in close means better protection and a safer, more comfortable anchorage. With shoal draft keels, such as on the Seawind 1000 and Seawind 1160, the catamaran can be beached without damage. This a real bonus for under hull maintenance and antifouling.
5 – Manoeuvrability With twin propellers set 10 to 15 feet apart the modern cat is a pure joy to manoeuvre and is superior to most powerboats, let alone any monohull sailboat.
6 – Unsinkability The modern cruising cat, built of light weight FRP/foam construction is virtually unsinkable offering a level of offshore safety not available to monohulls with a ballasted keel. In the rare event of holing the hull the monohull sailor has only the Liferaft for survival. In a catamaran the same damage may not even seriously affect the sailing performance as the boat is sufficiently buoyant under even these conditions. In extreme damage the catamaran will still float offering a high level of safety to its crew. The list goes on and from these advantages grow many others. For instance, we have witnessed amazing changes to how families sail together on a catamaran. For many families the catamaran has meant the kids can bring their friends without overcrowding the boat. Guests do not have to be yachties to enjoy the day and entertaining can be done with style and without stress. The most compelling argument of all must be this: monohull sailors are converting to multihulls by the truckload. It is rare to hear of any of these ever going back. Once a cat sailor and you are hooked for life.