Monohulls vs Catamarans

Ocean Handling

Cats have been noticed because of their many benefits over monohulls. First and foremost is their greater stability in rough waters. When it comes to sailing this advantage is definitely noticed. Monohulls tilt to one side while sailing due to their v-shaped hull. Passengers have to deal with the fact that while the boat is sailing they have to tilt to one side the entire time. This creates discomfort when trying to move around the vessel. Catamarans stay consistently level while sailing, allowing for passengers to get around without having to bend and contort to maintain balance.

The extra stability makes it safer for children to run around and play on deck. The elderly can have more of an enjoyable time, because of the lack of physical strain involved in getting around the boat. Catamarans make it easier for novice sailors to get a handle on maneuvering and sailing the vessel.

Palm Beach Catamarans

Palm Beach Catamarans

Cats have excellent load-carrying abilities. This is why they are often used as ferries; they provide a safe and stable platform. When there is added stability and a lack of heeling the chances of someone becoming sea sick is reduced. Passengers will be more inclined to stay off land for greater lengths of time when their comfort levels are high.

Catamarans have the ability of smothering rough water. The environment that is created by having two parallel floats(hulls) causes for air to be trapped between these two apparatuses providing additional lift. This provides an invisible cushion as the vessel passes over wakes and waves.

Multihull Advantages – Catamarans have been popular for many years in parts of the world such as Australia, France, and South Africa but have not caught attention in North America until recently. Catamaran sales have grown significantly in the past ten years in North America, and the subject of comparing cats and monohulls has become commonplace. Catamarans have been the fastest growing segment of the sailboat market. In the past couple of years the growth of this market has been over 20% per year.

Due to this rising market’s popularity the demand is greater than the supply at this moment. Taking this into consideration, catamarans have higher resale values over monohulls. Cats have been selling at prices close to or greater than what the owner originally paid for the vessel. This advent is firing the growth of this industry.

Speed – Catamarans will take you faster to where you want to go over monohulls. It’s not a question about whether you’re sailing or under power, catamaran designs are faster overall. The overall speed of a cat compared to a monohull of the same size is about 20% faster. Cats are being designed with smaller keels this indeed improves closed-hull performance. Monohulls are limited by a maximum hull speed; this is not the case for multihulls. The elongated thin hulls of a cat limit a bow wave. The amount of wind at a certain point in time is what will limit your maximum speed while sailing. Monohulls can only travel as fast as their bow wave to stern speed. Catamarans are lighter for their length compared to monohulls. Cats usually have taller masts with bigger sails.

Along with speed, cats are much more maneuverable, especially when it comes to power cats. With the engines on each side of the boat you can move a cat around its central axis…

Capsizing – The chances of capsizing on a cat are less probable than on a monohull. Of course, if your traveling at a high rate of speed you have to be careful, but you still have a little more leeway to be reckless than on a monohull. The problem here is that when you actually capsize a catamaran it is much more difficult to get the vessel back in its proper position.

Spaciousness – Catamarans are wider than monohulls. Given this fact a catamarans interior/deck is much more spacious. A 50ft catamaran has the same room as a 60ft catamaran. In other words, a monohull has the same volume as a 10ft shorter catamaran. Cats give you the benefit of anchoring in shallow waters due to their small draft. This gives the option of having a larger list of areas to anchor in than monohulls.

Since a cat has more room it creates a home like feel. The interior layouts tend to be more private. Heads and showers are separate. The dual hull layout gives way to the advantage of having heads and showers in opposite corners. Catamarans around the 40 foot range provide enough room for queen-sized rectangular beds. You don’t have to deal with the discomfort of pointy beds as you see in monohulls of the same size. The greater surface area also creates more storage room, so passengers don’t have to leave things behind. The added room can also mean you can pack for longer trips…

The extra room around a cat gives someone the freedom of being able to find a nice quiet spot away from other crew members. A larger foredeck and interior allows an escape for those who like spending time away from other crew members. Most catamarans have larger than normal cockpits with panoramic views. One can sit and relax in the salon and still feel like their outside. The space between the two hulls has multiple functions. This space allows for a net to be placed between the hulls, this can provide an extra lounging area or creates a perfect spot for sunbathing. Also, a dinghy-davit can be placed at the transom, fitting without a problem between the hulls. All of these benefits as compared to monohulls is the reason why catamarans are have also risen in popularity for sailing vacations.

To view the top selling catamarans today please visit

Article Source: Expert – Alex Padilla



  1. Posted April 18, 2008 at 3:49 pm |

    Nice article.

    By the way, that is actually our graphic you have used in the piece and formed part of a past promotion on lagoon power catamarans.:)

    To catch up on the last multihull/catamaran news in sales and charter please visit

    The lastest developments include hybrid electric Lagoon 420 catamarans which are now finding their way into our charter fleet.

    – Jason

  2. Damien
    Posted August 5, 2008 at 11:51 am |

    I know this article is old, but you don’t seem to list the disadvantages of catamarans (VMG off a lee shore; reduced carrying capacity; price; limited dockage; etc).