The Big Debate: Monohull or Catamaran
The following comments apply whether you charter a bareboat or a crewed boat.
- The catamaran will provide you with considerably more room than a monohull basically everywhere on the boat: in the cabins, in the salon and in the cockpit, the latter usually being huge, since it spans over both hulls. A typical 45 ft. cat will have 4 large staterooms, with genuine queen-size beds, each with en-suite bathroom, and a salon/cockpit combination capable to sit and entertain 20 people. A 38 to 42ft. will have 3 staterooms and 2/4 bathrooms. The cockpit and the salon are on the same level, which enhances the feeling of spaciousness. There is ample headroom everywhere. The foredeck also has a big net between the hulls, which makes a great sun bathing area. As a result of this roominess, a catamaran rarely feels crowded as it is relatively easy to get some seclusion and quietness from other members of the party.
- Because of the cats layout configuration, you have full privacy in every room and you don't hear anything from one room to the other.
- The other major factor is that a catamaran does not heel and does not roll at anchor. This usually makes seasickness a non-event. Incidentally, it makes it somewhat safer for kids running around.
- A catamaran usually sails faster than a monohull on some point of sails (beam reach and downwind).
- Cats have a shallow draft, allowing you more gunkholing than a monohull.
- A hard-core monohull sailor once said: "When I sail a cat, it feels like I am driving my living room!" He meant that a cat does not convey the "real" feeling of sailing, with the "rail in the water" as they say. That is precisely because a cat does not heel, and a monohull does, sometimes a lot. So if you are in for hard, pure sailing, you will not get that fealing on a cat.
- Lastly, a cat does not typically sail too well upwind and needs a different technique for tacking and anchoring.
Conclusion: If you are bringing with you a party of first-time sailors, or older people, or people who could feel apprehensive at sea, you are probably better off with a cat.