Why a Catamaran?

Why a catamaran?
 
The arguments between yacht owners over catamarans vs. monohulls are legendary (as are arguments over the best anchor). While no boat is the perfect boat for every person, here are some of the reasons why we feel that a catamaran is the best vessel for sailing in the Caribbean Islands.
 
Comfort at Anchor
 
The great success of catamarans in over the past decade is due primarily to the fact that catamarans offer enormous advantages over monohulls when the anchor is dropped. These benefits are as follows:
 
- Catamarans are considerably more stable than a monohull. As such, they do not bang back and forth in swells. So catamaran cruisers can eat, sleep, and live far more comfortably on the hook than a monohuller.
- Catamarans are much wider than monohulls and therefore provide enormous aft cockpits. In tropical climates this is an enormous plus because cruisers tend to spend the majority of their time dining, reading, and lounging in the cockpit under the protection of the bimini.
- The main salon of a catamaran is on the same level as the cockpit. Unlike a monohuller, catamaran sailors do not step down into a deep dark place (where the windows are generally above eye level), but rather straight from the cockpit into a light filled salon. I don’t mean to get New Age here, but catamaran sailors truly “Live in the Light.” Onboard a catamaran you remain intimately connected to the world outside. This makes cooking, reading, dining, navigating and lounging far more pleasant on a catamaran than a monohull.
- When sailing with three or more people catamarans offer much more privacy as the two hulls, and the suites and heads within them, are far away from each other.
 
Speed Under Sail
 
Because a catamaran does not have to carry a heavy lead keel underneath to stay upright, they are generally faster than a similarly sized monohull – especially off the wind. However, catamarans that carry keels cannot point as high into the wind as a monohull. They will, however, typically arrive at an upwind destination at about the same time because they are moving much faster. They sail a greater distance, but at a much higher speed.
 
Comfort Underway
 
Because a catamaran does not heel (lean over) it offers far more comfort underway than a monohull.
 
For example:
 
- Cooking is much easier on a cat underway and more pleasant as you are looking out on the world and not “down below.” Most catamarans do not have gimbaled stoves and ovens because they simply don’t need them.
- You are far less prone to sea sickness because you have mostly fore and aft pitching and very little beam-to-beam motion. Catamarans don’t roll from swell to swell like a monohull.
- Walking on the deck of a cat underway is far easier as the boat is sailing flat. The danger of falling overboard on a catamaran is considerably less than on a monohull.
- Finally, it is much nicer to sleep on a boat that doesn’t heel.
 
Safety
 
Monohull sailors have for years argued that multihulls are not nearly as safe. I heartily disagree. One of the primary laws of physics is that “Everything in nature seeks its most stable position.” The most stable position for a catamaran is indeed upside down on the top of the ocean. But the most stable position for a monohull is at the bottom of the ocean. A well built and properly designed catamaran is very hard to sink – you must either be run over by a tanker or suffer a massive fire.
 
Multihulls gained a bad reputation in the 60’s and 70’s because most of them were home built, not beamy enough, and poorly designed. But modern Multihulls are very hard to capsize. It really takes a monumental act of bone-headedness to capsize a modern cruising multihull in winds under 70 knots. If you are so bold as to cruise around far offshore in hurricane zones, well, yes, you are taking a serious risk. But so is a monohull sailor. Fact is, monohulls sink about as often as catamarans capsize, which explains why Lloyd’s insurance policies on cruising cats are nearly the same for cats and monohulls of similar value. (Note: racing mutihulls capsize quite often because they are little more than Hobie Cats on steroids, driven to the edge at all times by thrill seeking racers.)
 
In short, monohull sailors are rescued from liferafts. Multihull sailors are rescued from capsizes. Where would you rather be? Sitting in a small life raft in a storm or sitting securely inside your much larger and more stable upside down multihull? For me, the answer to this is a no brainer.
 
A faster boat is also a safer boat, as the faster boat is exposed to fewer storms. A catamaran that can regularly pull 220 mile days on a passage from Panama to Hawaii will be exposed to far less storm risk than the monohull that has a hard time regularly pulling 175 mile days. With good weather routing information a multihull can avoid most serious weather and, at worst, place itself on the most favorable position to avoid the brunt of a storm. Since most multihulls can run before a storm between 10 and 15 knots they offer considerably more options and therefore safety than a boat that has difficulty topping out over 9 knots.
 
I also believe that catamarans are superior to monohulls in terms of redundancy. Cruising catamarans generally carry two diesel engines and a generator. An engine failure on a monohull is the end of motoring. Not so on a catamaran. In fact, when motoring, most catamaran sailors only use one engine to conserve on fuel. They use two engines to dock.
 
And a catamaran has two hulls, not one. Should one of the hulls be damaged you still have another one for buoyancy. A hull fracture on a monohull is a far more serious and dangerous thing that it is on a Multihull.
 
Maneuverability
 
Because most catamarans have twin engines they are far easier to dock than a single engine monohull. A modern catamaran can do a 360 turn in her own length. A monohull cannot do this. However, a monohull under sail is much more maneuverable and certainly will tack a lot faster than a catamaran.
 
In shallow areas the catamaran is clearly superior to a monohull. Because most cats draw 4 feet or less of water they can anchor in places a monohuller could not even consider. In the Caribbean and the South Pacific the catamaran sailor has a peerless advantage. I often anchor my own cat just a few feet away from a beach, occasionally tying her off to a tree.

New Photos (interior)

I finally tidied up a bit and took some photos inside. Still have a few more to come.

Galley Up allows the cook to interact with everyon else
Galley Up allows the cook to interact with everyone else
The galley has lots of counter space, both a wash sink and a drain sink, and lots of storage
The galley has lots of counter space, both a wash sink and a drain sink, and lots of storage
Large table can seat 8 to 10. Lots of larg windows bring in tons of light and give awesome views.
Large table can seat 8 to 10. Lots of large windows bring in tons of light and give awesome views.
TV & Media center in the salon
TV & Media center in the salon
The table can fold down to make a bed for 2 adults or 4 kids (up to 4' tall). Cushion not shown to show table down.
The table can fold down to make a bed for 2 adults or 4 kids (up to 4' tall). Cushion not shown to show table down.
Queen bed in port forward cabin. On shelf is clock, bluetooth speakers, wireless phone charger, USB charger, temperature.
Queen bed in port forward cabin. On shelf is clock, bluetooth speakers, wireless phone charger, USB charger, temperature.
Port forward cabin storage and port light
Port forward cabin storage and port light
Port hull looking forward showing nav station, forward cabin, head.
Port hull looking forward showing nav station, forward cabin, head.
20170324 [K10] 3027 medium
Port hull with white lights on.
Port hull with red lights on.
Port hull with red lights on.
Nav station in port hull.
Nav station in port hull
12 Volt power center
12 Volt power center
120 Volt power center
120 Volt power center

 

 

eBooks

 A very long list of electronic books on board. (click the "Read More" to see the list)

Read more: eBooks

Books

Mechanical & Maintenance Books
  • The International Marine Sailboat Library
    • Sailboat Refinishing by Don Casey
    • Inspecting the Aging Sailboat by Don Casey
    • 100 Fast & Easy Boat Improvements by Don Casey
    • Sailboat Hull & Deck Repair by Don Casey
    • Sailboat Electrics Simplified by Don Casey
    • The Sailor's Assistant by John Vigor
    • Troubleshooting Marine Diesels by Peter Compton
    • Canvaswork & Sail Repair by Don Casey
  • Surveying Fiberglass Sailboats by Henry Mustin
  • International Marine Captain's Quick Guides
    • Diesel Engine Care and Repair by Nigel Calder
  • DIY Boat Owner Magazine (21 issues from 1995 Spring to 2001 #2)
 
Living Aboard / Cruising Books
  • Sea-Steading by Jerome FitzGerald
  • The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing by Scott Bannerman & Wendy Bannerot
  • North American Saltwater Fishing by Al Ristori
  • Reef Creature Identification by Paul Humann
  • Why Didn't I Think Of That (1198 tips from 222 sailors on 120 boats from 9 countries) by John & Susan Roberts
  • Dressing Ship (How to furnish, refurbish and accessorize your boat) by Janet Groene
  • The Passage Maker's Manual by Bill FInnis
  • The Charter Game (how to make money sailing your own boat) by Ross Norgrove
  • The New! Get Rid of Boat Odors (a boat owners guide to marine sanitation systems and other sources of aggrvation and odor) by Peggie Hall
  • The Intricate Art of Living Afloat by Clare Allcard
  • South to the Caribbean by Bill Robinson
  • Pirates Aboard! (40 cases of piracy today and what bluewater cruisers can do about it) by Klaus Hympendahl
  • The Cruising Life by Jim Trefethen
  • Adrift (76 days lost at sea) by Steven Callahan
 
Sailing How-To's Books
  • The Complete Sailing Manual by Steve Sleight
  • At The Mercy Of The Sea (the true story of three sailors in a Caribbean hurricane) by John Kretschmer
  • The Klutz Book of Knots (how to tie the world's 25 most useful hitches, ties, wraps, and knots) by John Cassidy
  • The Complete Sailor (learning the art of sailing) by David Seidman
  • International Marine Captain's Quick Guides
    • Anchoring by Peter Nielsen
    • Knots, Splices and Line Handling by Charlie Wing
    • Sail Trim and Rig Tuning by Bill Gladstone
    • Rules of the Road and Running Light Patterns by Charlie Wing
    • Using VHF & SSB Radio by Bob Sweet
    • Using GPS by Bob Sweet
    • Heavy Weather Sailing by John Rousmaniere
    • Onboard Weather Forecasting by Bob Sweet
    • Boat Handling Under Power by Bob Sweet
    • Emergency First Aid on Board by Richard Clinchy
    • Emergencies On Board by John Rousmaniere
  • Understanding Sea Anchors & Drogues by Earl Hinz
  • Chapman's Piloting & Seamanship 64th Edition by Elbert Maloney
 
Navigation Books
  • Commonsense Celestial Navigation by Hewitt Schlereth
  • Celestial Navigation in a Nutshell by Hewitt Schlereth
  • International Marine Captain's Quick Guides
    • How To Read a Nautical Chart by Nigel Calder
  • How to Read a Nautical Chart (a complete guide to understanding and using electronics and paper charts) 2nd edition by Nigel Calder
  • World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell
 
Cooking Books
  • The Lionfish Cookbook (The Caribbean's New Delicacy) by Tricia Ferguson & Lad Akins
  • The One Pan Galley Gourment (simple cooking on boats) by Don Jacobson & John Roberts
  • The Prepper's Cookbook (300 recipes to turn emergency food into nutricious, delicious, life-saving meals) by Tess Pennington
  • Cast Iron Cooking (86 southern style recipes)
 
Travel Books
  • Caribbean 2015 by Fodor's Travel
  • Travel Best Bets by Claire Newell
  • A Sail of Two Idiots by Renee Petrillo
  • An Embarrasment of Mangoes (a Caribbean interlude) by Ann Vanderhoof
  • Isles of the Caribees by Carleton Mitchell
  • Essential Sailing Destinations (the world's most spectacular cruising areas)