If planning a sailing vacation and you aren’t sure whether you want a catamaran or a monohull, you need to weigh the pros and cons of each to see what makes more sense for your purposes.

Catamaran Pros

  • One of the major advantages of a catamaran versus a monohull is their inherent stability. A monohull simply can’t be compared to a cat in this regard.
  • Stability is a big plus for families with young children or seniors who are not particularly steady on their feet. Because the boat is not as susceptible to the effects of wave action and does not heal the way a monohull does, it is much easier to walk around on deck and within the interior of the yacht while underway.
  • Anyone who may be prone to seasickness will feel the effects of motion much less aboard a cat than they might on a mono.
    The added stability on a cat makes the cook’s job a lot less challenging both while underway and at anchor. Catamarans don’t rock and roll the way monohulls do.
  • Catamarans generally provide far more living space in the main salon, galley and cockpit, than the space found aboard similarly priced monohulls. Their cabins are often more spacious too and even the smallest cat in the fleet has stand up headroom in each cabin.
  • Because of the layout, there is usually more privacy on a cat than on a mono and if you have children aboard, there is greater separation from the main living space and the cabins, making it easier for the kids to fall asleep at a reasonable hour.
  • The shallow draft of a cat allows you to anchor in shallower water which means you can be closer to the beach than almost all monohulls.
  • Many of the newer catamarans have raised or flybridge helms. No monohull can beat the visibility from the helm provided on most modern catamarans.
  • The galley, main salon and cockpit are all on one level, above the water line … making life aboard as well as your view much more enjoyable.
  • Because the majority of living space is above the waterline, you get much better flow through ventilation on a cat making the need for air conditioning somewhat less important during the daylight hours.
  • In almost all cases, you do not have to race around stowing things or using bungee cords to keep things in place, the moment you decide to set sail. Most things stay put even in moderately rough seas.
  • Because catamarans don’t have a big heavy keel loaded with lead, even if you hole the boat, it will float. Production cats have so much buoyancy built in that they are next to impossible to sink.
  • Cats are usually pretty easy to dock because you have two motors and two rudders. No need for a bow thruster.
  • Most catamarans can turn 360 degrees within their own length. No monohull I know of can do that.
  • Catamarans are usually faster than monohulls, particularly on downwind runs, reaches and broad reaches.
    It’s less tiring to sail a catamaran than it is to sail a monohull. Sailing flat has definite advantages.
  • If you are into SCUBA diving, carrying tanks and all the assorted equipment is much easier on a cat. It’s also a lot easier in many cases to board a cat on the sugar scoops than it is on many monohulls. Although many modern monohulls do have huge swim platforms that raise and lower electronically … so in that case, it’s a wash.
  • I have yet to see a monohull with a trampoline for sunbathing or lounging in the moonlight, while stargazing … with your sweetheart by your side! How much more romantic does it get than that? ????

Monohull Pros

  • You can’t beat a monohull sailboat for good looks. Well most of them anyway. There are some pretty homely monos out there, but in comparison to most catamarans, even the homely monos come out ahead of the cats. Monohulls are just a whole lot better looking … at least in my opinion.
  • A Monohull will tack quickly, is much more manoeuvrable and is faster to respond to the helm than a catamaran.
  • Monohulls slice through the water effortlessly … and without the slapping that some catamarans (with low bridge decks) often produce.
  • As much as some claim sailing “flat”, as you will on a catamaran has major advantages, healing is great fun. Not much can match the exhilaration of sailing a monohull … and that’s a fact!
  • In an anchorage, a monohull usually swings much less than a cat if placed side by side.
  • Monohulls of equal sleeping capacity and equipment are generally less expensive to charter than a catamaran.

… but in the end, yacht selection boils down to four major qualifiers:

  • Personal preference.
  • What suits your group best.
  • Your holiday budget.
  • Yacht availability for your chosen dates.


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