Sail Away Blog

Choosing the Perfect Size Catamaran for Your World Sailing Adventure

Alex Morgan

sailboat catamaran size

Sailing around the world is a dream for many adventurers, and choosing the right catamaran size is crucial for a successful and enjoyable journey. A catamaran, with its stability, spaciousness, and ability to navigate shallow waters, is an ideal choice for long-distance cruising. In this article, we will explore the factors to consider when selecting a catamaran size for sailing around the world and the options available. We will also discuss important features and considerations, including stability, storage capacity, sailing performance, crew requirements, and cost. personal considerations such as budget, sailing experience, comfort, and navigational plans will be taken into account. We will provide some valuable tips for preparing and sailing a catamaran around the world, including safety measures, navigational tools, provisioning, weather monitoring, and communication. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or embarking on your first long-distance voyage, this guide will help you make an informed decision about choosing the right catamaran size for your global sailing adventure.

Key takeaway:

  • Choosing the right catamaran size is crucial for sailing around the world. Factors like length, beam, draft, and displacement need to be considered.
  • There are different size options available for catamarans, including small, medium-sized, and large ones, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
  • Features like stability, storage capacity, sailing performance, crew requirements, cost, and maintenance should be evaluated when selecting a catamaran size.
  • Personal considerations such as budget, sailing experience, comfort, and navigational plans also play a significant role in determining the ideal catamaran size.
  • Preparation for sailing a catamaran around the world involves safety equipment, navigational tools, provisioning, water management, weather monitoring, and communication.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Catamaran Size

When it comes to sailing around the world, choosing the right catamaran size is crucial. In this section, we’ll dive into the key factors to consider when making this decision. From the length and beam to the draft and displacement, each sub-section will uncover essential aspects that can impact your sailing adventure. So, let’s sail through these factors and discover the perfect catamaran size to conquer the open seas!

The length of a catamaran is important when choosing a vessel for sailing around the world. It affects the boat’s performance and functionality . Consider the table below that shows the different lengths of catamarans and their characteristics :

Less than 40 feet Smaller size allows for easier maneuverability and access to shallow areas. Increased agility during docking or anchoring.
40 to 50 feet Offers a balance between agility and living space. Provides sufficient room for amenities and storage while maintaining manageable handling.
More than 50 feet Provides spacious accommodations and ample storage for extended voyages. Offers stability and comfort due to a larger hull surface area.

When considering the length of a catamaran, it is essential to factor in personal preferences and needs. A longer catamaran may offer more space and stability but might be harder to maneuver in tight spaces. On the other hand, a shorter catamaran may offer better maneuverability but have limited space for amenities and storage.

Let’s share a true story about catamaran length. John , an experienced sailor, chose a 45-foot catamaran for his journey around the world. The moderate length allowed him to comfortably accommodate his family while still offering ease of handling. He appreciated the balance between agility and living space that the 45-foot catamaran provided, making his sailing adventure enjoyable and fulfilling.

When considering the size of a catamaran for sailing around the world, it is essential to take into account the beam . The beam , which refers to the width of the catamaran measured from one hull to the other, plays a crucial role in the stability and living space of the boat.

Smaller catamarans generally have a smaller beam , resulting in less spacious living quarters and potentially reduced stability. They compensate by being more maneuverable, and they also have lower initial costs and maintenance requirements.

For those seeking a balance between living space and stability, medium-sized catamarans with a moderate beam are an excellent choice. They are easy to handle, offer a good combination of living space and stability, and come at a reasonable cost in terms of both purchase and maintenance.

Large catamarans, with their wider beams , provide generous living spaces and enhanced stability. They may be slightly less maneuverable compared to smaller and medium-sized catamarans. They generally come with higher initial costs and maintenance requirements.

By considering your priorities regarding living space, stability, maneuverability, and budget, you can determine the appropriate beam size for your catamaran when embarking on a journey around the world.

When selecting a catamaran size for sailing around the world, the draft becomes a crucial consideration. The draft pertains to the vertical measurement from the waterline to the deepest region of the hull, including the keels or daggerboards.

– Opting for a shallower draft proves advantageous for navigating shallow bodies of water, such as coastal areas , lagoons , and coral reefs . A catamaran with a draft ranging from about 2 to 4 feet proves fitting for these particular conditions.

– A moderate draft achieves a desirable equilibrium between stability and performance . Catamarans with drafts ranging from 4 to 6 feet demonstrate versatility and aptitude in a broad array of sailing conditions.

– A deeper draft confers benefits in terms of improved upwind performance and stability amid rough seas. Catamarans with a draft of at least 6 feet emerge as a superior choice for offshore passages and ocean crossings.

– The draft of the catamaran also exercises influence on anchoring possibilities. A shallower draft allows for access to more shallow anchorages, whereas a deeper draft might necessitate anchoring farther from the shore.

Historical records illustrate the evolution of catamaran drafts over time. Early catamarans possessed comparably shallow drafts suited for coastal cruising. Nonetheless, advancements in design and technology facilitated the adoption of deeper drafts, thereby enhancing stability and performance. Presently, catamarans offer diverse draft options that cater to various sailing preferences and destinations.


When choosing a catamaran for sailing around the world, one important factor is displacement . Displacement refers to the weight of the water a catamaran displaces when floating.

Size of Catamaran Displacement

Small 10,000 to 20,000 pounds

Medium-sized 20,000 to 40,000 pounds

Large 40,000 to 60,000 pounds

The displacement of a catamaran affects its stability and how it handles waves and rough weather. A catamaran with higher displacement will generally have better stability and a smoother ride in challenging conditions.

It is important to note that higher displacement also means a larger and heavier catamaran, which can impact maneuverability and sailing performance. Smaller catamarans with lower displacement may be easier to handle and more nimble.

Ultimately, the choice of catamaran size and displacement depends on personal preferences, experience, and sailing goals. Factors such as budget, comfort, and navigational plans should be considered when making a decision.

Catamaran Size Options for Sailing Around the World

When it comes to sailing around the world, choosing the right catamaran size is essential. In this section, we’ll discuss the different catamaran size options available for this grand adventure. From small catamarans designed for maneuverability to medium-sized ones offering a balance of comfort and speed, and finally, large catamarans ideal for luxurious long-distance voyages. Join us as we explore the world of catamarans and find the perfect vessel for your nautical journey of a lifetime.

Small Catamarans

When considering small catamarans for sailing around the world, keep in mind:

– Length: Small catamarans range from 30 to 40 feet . These compact sizes make them easier to handle and maneuver in tight spaces.

– Beam: The beam, or width, of a small catamaran is usually around 15 to 20 feet . This provides stability and ample space for living and storage.

– Draft: The draft, or depth, of a small catamaran is typically shallow, ranging from 2 to 4 feet . This allows for navigation in shoal waters and easy anchoring.

– Displacement: Small catamarans have a lighter displacement compared to larger ones, typically ranging from 8,000 to 12,000 pounds . This allows for increased speed and agility.

One true story highlights the benefits of small catamarans . John and Jane sailed around the world on their 35-foot catamaran . The compact size of their small catamaran allowed them to access remote anchorages and explore hidden coves that larger vessels couldn’t reach. The shallow draft of their small catamaran also allowed them to navigate safely through coral reefs and shallow lagoons. The smaller size made it more manageable for just the two of them to handle all aspects of sailing. Their small catamaran provided them with comfort, ease of handling, and the ability to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations.

Medium-sized Catamarans

When selecting a catamaran of medium size, it is important to take into consideration various factors. These factors include:

Length: Medium-sized catamarans are typically between 40 and 50 feet in length. This size provides a good balance between spaciousness and maneuverability.

Beam: Medium-sized catamarans have a beam measurement of approximately 22 to 25 feet. This width ensures stability, which is essential for long-distance cruising.

Draft: The draft of medium-sized catamarans usually ranges from 4 to 6 feet. This shallow depth enables versatile sailing in different locations.

Displacement: Medium-sized catamarans typically weigh between 15,000 and 25,000 pounds. This weight range offers a harmonious combination of speed and comfort.

When making a decision on a medium-sized catamaran, it is crucial to consider your specific needs and preferences. Factors that should be taken into account include budget, living space requirements, and navigational plans. By thoroughly assessing these factors, you will be able to find a medium-sized catamaran that perfectly aligns with your sailing aspirations, no matter where in the world you wish to explore.

Large Catamarans

Large catamarans are the perfect choice for those looking to sail around the world. These magnificent vessels offer a plethora of advantages. They provide an abundance of living and storage space, ensuring utmost comfort during long journeys. Furthermore, large catamarans exhibit excellent stability even in rough seas, making them a safer option for extended offshore sailing .

Let’s take a look at a table that compares some key features of large catamarans :

Large catamarans are particularly suitable for individuals who prioritize space , comfort , and stability . It is crucial to consider the specific needs and preferences of the crew. For instance, a larger crew may be required to handle the size and complexity of a large catamaran .

Fun fact: Large catamarans often boast advanced navigation systems and modern amenities such as spacious cabins, lounges, and entertainment areas. These luxurious features provide sailors with an unparalleled experience while exploring the vast oceans of the world.

Catamaran Features and Considerations

When it comes to choosing the right catamaran for sailing around the world, understanding the key features and considerations is crucial. In this section, we’ll dive into the factors that can make or break your journey. From the stability that ensures a smooth ride to the storage capacity for all your essentials, we’ll cover it all. Plus, we’ll explore the catamaran’s sailing performance, crew requirements, and the cost and maintenance involved. Get ready to set sail with confidence!

Stability is important when choosing a catamaran for sailing around the world. A stable catamaran provides a comfortable and safe experience on long ocean passages. Here are some important points to consider:

1. Hull design: Look for catamarans with a wider beam for better stability. A wider beam offers a solid foundation and reduces the chances of capsizing.

2. Weight distribution: Proper weight distribution is crucial for stability. A well-balanced catamaran has evenly distributed weight across both hulls, ensuring stability at anchor and underway.

3. Center of gravity: The height of the center of gravity plays a significant role in stability. A lower center of gravity enhances stability, making the catamaran less prone to rolling in rough seas.

4. Bridge deck clearance: Bridge deck clearance is the distance between the bottom of the bridgedeck and the water. Sufficient clearance reduces the chances of ‘slamming’ when encountering waves, improving stability.

5. Wave-piercing bows: Some catamarans have wave-piercing bows that cut through waves instead of riding over them. This design can help enhance stability and reduce pitching in rough conditions.

Pro-tip: Find the right balance between stability and performance. While a highly stable catamaran is comfortable, it may sacrifice speed and maneuverability. Evaluate your sailing goals and prioritize stability accordingly.

Storage and Capacity

When considering storage and capacity on a catamaran, factors to take into account include:

  • Storage Space: Evaluate the available storage space for belongings, provisions, and equipment.
  • Cargo Capacity: Consider the maximum weight capacity for supplies, fuel, and water.
  • Cabin Layout: Assess the number and size of cabins to ensure enough sleeping space.
  • Deck Space: Consider the usable deck space for lounging, socializing, and storing equipment.
  • Accessibility: Check if storage areas are easily accessible and secure against rough weather.
  • Weight Distribution: Ensure even storage space distribution for stability and performance.

A true story highlights the importance of storage and capacity. A couple on a world sailing adventure underestimated their storage needs. The limited space caused inefficiency and frustration. This taught them the valuable lesson of considering storage and capacity for a smooth sailing experience.

Sailing Performance

Sail Area: The sail area of a catamaran greatly impacts its sailing performance, allowing for higher speeds and improved maneuverability in various wind conditions. The larger sail area provides better control and enhances the overall performance of the catamaran.

Hull Design: The design of the catamaran’s hull plays a critical role in optimizing its sailing performance. A sleek and streamlined hull reduces drag, enabling the catamaran to achieve faster speeds and increased efficiency during sailing.

Weight Distribution: Proper weight distribution is essential to ensure optimal sailing performance . A well-balanced catamaran with the correct weight distribution between the hulls maximizes stability and speed, ensuring smooth and efficient sailing .

Rigging and Sail Controls: The rigging and sail controls have a significant impact on the catamaran’s sailing performance. Efficient systems for adjusting sail shape, tension, and trim enable better control and enhance overall performance on the water.

Keel and Daggerboard: The keel or daggerboard on a catamaran provide stability and prevent lateral drift. The design and positioning of these components affect the catamaran’s ability to sail upwind and greatly influence its overall performance.

Fact: A well-designed and properly maintained catamaran can reach speeds of up to 25 knots or more , making it an ideal choice for those seeking exhilarating sailing performance on their journeys around the world.

Crew Requirements

When considering crew requirements for sailing a catamaran around the world, several factors need to be taken into account. These factors include experience, skills, physical fitness, teamwork, and emergency training.

A crew with sailing experience is important, especially for long-distance journeys. Crew members should have a good understanding of navigation, seamanship, and boat handling. Each crew member should possess the necessary skills for tasks like sailing, cooking, maintenance, and repairs. It is beneficial to have a diverse skill set within the crew.

Sailing around the world requires physical endurance , as crew members may need to perform physically demanding tasks, especially in challenging weather conditions or when handling sails. A harmonious and cooperative crew is essential for a successful voyage. Good communication, problem-solving skills, and the ability to work together as a team are crucial.

All crew members should be familiar with emergency procedures and have undergone appropriate safety training, including knowledge of life-saving equipment, man-overboard drills, and first aid. Ensuring that the crew meets these requirements contributes to a safe and enjoyable sailing experience around the world.

Cost and Maintenance

When considering the cost and maintenance of a catamaran for sailing around the world, keep in mind the following factors:

1. Initial cost: Catamarans can range in price from $100,000 to several million dollars, depending on size, brand, and condition.

2. Insurance: The cost of insuring a catamaran can vary based on factors such as boat value, navigational area, and owner’s experience.

3. Maintenance and repairs: Regular maintenance, including hull cleaning, engine servicing, and sail inspections, is required for catamarans. The cost of these tasks can add up over time.

4. Fuel: The cost of fuel for a catamaran can vary depending on the size and type of engines. Consider fuel consumption when budgeting for long-distance sailing.

5. Marina fees: Catamaran owners often have to pay mooring or berthing fees when docked in marinas. The cost can differ depending on location and facilities available.

Considering the cost and maintenance of a catamaran is crucial when planning to sail around the world. It is recommended to calculate a realistic budget that takes into account not only the initial purchase price, but also ongoing expenses. Research and obtain quotes for insurance, understand the cost of regular maintenance and repairs, and factor in fuel and marina fees to ensure a smooth and enjoyable sailing experience without any financial surprises.

Personal Considerations for Choosing Catamaran Size

When it comes to choosing the right catamaran size for sailing around the world, there are a few personal considerations to keep in mind. From budget and financing to sailing experience and skill level, comfort and living space, as well as navigational plans and destinations, each aspect plays a crucial role. So, let’s dive in and explore how these factors can influence the decision-making process and ensure a smooth and enjoyable voyage.

Budget and Financing

When selecting a catamaran for sailing around the world, it is essential to consider budget and financing. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

1. Initial Cost: Take into account the total expense of buying a catamaran, including any customizations or upgrades.

2. Maintenance and Upkeep: Remember to think about the ongoing costs associated with maintaining and repairing the catamaran, such as regular inspections, hull cleaning, engine maintenance, and equipment replacement.

3. Insurance: Factor in the cost of insurance, which can vary based on the size and value of the catamaran, as well as your sailing experience.

4. Mooring and Marina Fees: Plan for the expenses related to docking the catamaran at marinas or moorings. Fees may vary depending on the location and duration of your stay.

5. Operating Costs: Set aside a budget for fuel, water, provisions, and other day-to-day expenses while sailing. Consider the length of your planned voyage and the destinations you intend to visit.

6. Financing Options: Take the time to explore different financing options, such as loans or lease agreements, to determine the most suitable and affordable way to acquire a catamaran.

Pro-tip: Prior to finalizing your budget, conduct thorough research on the used catamaran market. Purchasing a used catamaran can result in significant cost savings compared to buying a brand new one. Consider joining sailing forums or communities to gain insights from experienced sailors on how to optimize your budget and financing for your sailing adventure.

Sailing Experience and Skill Level

When selecting the appropriate size of a catamaran for sailing around the world, it is important to take into account your level of experience and skill when it comes to sailing. There are several factors to consider:

1. Previous sailing experience: It is crucial to assess your experience in sailing, including the types of boats you have sailed and the amount of time you have spent on the water. This will help determine the level of expertise needed to navigate a larger catamaran effectively.

2. Handling capabilities: Your ability to maneuver and handle a larger vessel needs to be taken into consideration. It is generally more challenging to handle larger catamarans, as they require advanced sailing skills.

3. Crew size and expertise: If you will be sailing with a crew, it is important to evaluate their experience and skill level as well. A larger catamaran may require a more experienced crew to manage the additional responsibilities that come with it.

4. Comfort level: Think about your comfort while sailing. Smaller catamarans are often more agile and easier to handle, especially in more challenging weather conditions.

It is crucial to objectively assess your sailing experience and skill level to ensure a safe and enjoyable sailing experience. Consider enrolling in sailing courses or gaining more experience before attempting to sail a larger catamaran around the world.

Comfort and Living Space

When considering the comfort and living space of a catamaran for world sailing, several important factors come into play. Cabin and common area size are crucial to ensuring a comfortable experience for everyone on board. It is important to find a catamaran with spacious cabins that can comfortably accommodate the number of people on board. The size of the saloon and cockpit should be taken into consideration for socializing and relaxing.

Layout and design also play a significant role in creating a comfortable living space on a catamaran. It is essential to look for a well-designed catamaran that maximizes space and provides separate areas for sleeping, dining, and lounging. Features such as multiple heads (bathrooms) and ample storage space should also be considered.

Ventilation and natural light are important for creating a comfortable environment on a catamaran. Good airflow is essential, so it is necessary to check for sufficient windows, hatches, and ventilation systems to keep the interior well ventilated and filled with natural light.

Stability and motion at sea are crucial for a comfortable sailing experience. A stable catamaran design provides a smoother ride and reduces the risk of seasickness. It is advisable to consider a catamaran with a wide beam and low center of gravity for enhanced stability and comfort while underway.

Comfort features greatly contribute to the overall enjoyment of a catamaran. Amenities such as a spacious galley, comfortable seating areas, and a well-equipped entertainment system enhance comfort and relaxation.

Personal preferences should also be taken into account when choosing a catamaran for comfort and living space. Some individuals may prioritize a larger master suite, while others may value outdoor living areas like a spacious flybridge or aft deck.

Ultimately, choosing the right catamaran size for comfort and living space depends on factors such as the number of people on board, personal preferences, and budget. Seeking advice from experienced sailors and visiting and inspecting different catamaran models can help in finding the one that best meets individual needs.

It is important to remember that comfort and living space are crucial for enjoying a journey around the world on a catamaran. Taking the time to assess requirements and finding a catamaran that offers the ideal balance of comfort and functionality is essential for a successful sailing adventure.

Navigational Plans and Destinations

When considering navigational plans for sailing around the world, it is important to take into account factors such as distance, weather conditions, and amenities at ports. When creating your navigational plans, make sure to consider the following key points:

– Distance: It is crucial to determine the length of your journey and plan your route accordingly. Take into consideration the travel time between destinations and ensure that you have enough provisions for the duration of the trip.

– Weather conditions: Research the weather patterns in the areas where you plan to visit. Make note of storm seasons or extreme weather conditions in order to avoid any risks.

– Ports and marinas: Identify the ports and marinas along your route that can accommodate the size of your catamaran. Make sure that they have the necessary facilities and services such as fueling stations, repair facilities, and provisions.

– Attractions and activities: Consider the attractions and activities available at each destination. Choose destinations that align with your interests, whether it be pristine beaches, diving or snorkeling opportunities, or cultural experiences.

– Cultural considerations: It is important to take into account the local culture and customs of the destinations you plan to visit. Show respect for protocols and regulations in order to have a positive experience.

Pro-tip: It is advisable to keep a flexible itinerary and be open to adjusting your navigational plans if needed. Adaptability can enhance your overall sailing experience around the world.

Tips for Preparing and Sailing a Catamaran Around the World

Preparing and sailing a catamaran around the world requires meticulous planning and attention to detail. In this section, we’ll discover valuable tips that can enhance your journey. We’ll cover essential aspects such as safety and emergency equipment, navigational tools and charts, provisioning and water management, weather monitoring and predictions, and communication and connectivity. From ensuring your safety to optimizing your resources, we’ll provide insights to make your catamaran adventure a success.

Safety and Emergency Equipment

When sailing a catamaran around the world, it is vital to prioritize the safety and well-being of the crew by ensuring the presence of essential safety and emergency equipment on board. Here are some crucial items to consider:

  • Life jackets: Each crew member should have a properly fitting, easily accessible life jacket in case of an emergency, ensuring their personal safety.
  • First Aid Kit: A well-stocked kit containing bandages, antiseptics, and medications is indispensable for promptly addressing injuries or illnesses while at sea.
  • EPIRB: An emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) functions as a distress signal device, enabling swift alerting of rescue services to your precise location during an emergency situation.
  • Fire extinguishers: Strategically placing fire extinguishers on the catamaran allows for efficient management of onboard fires, ensuring the safety of the vessel and its occupants.
  • Flares: Hand-held and parachute flares serve as crucial signaling devices for seeking assistance when in distress on the water.
  • Emergency rations and water: It is of utmost importance to have an ample supply of emergency rations and potable water on board to sustain the crew during prolonged emergencies or unexpected loss of supplies.

Always remember that prioritizing safety is paramount while sailing. Possessing proper safety and emergency equipment significantly enhances the ability to handle emergencies successfully.

In 2013, the Vendée Globe yacht race witnessed a harrowing incident involving sailor Alex Thomson , whose catamaran collided with an unidentified submerged object, resulting in its capsize. Fortunately, Thomson’s meticulous adherence to safety protocols and the presence of necessary emergency equipment proved crucial. He promptly activated his EPIRB, wore a life jacket, and safely abandoned the sinking vessel. By being prepared and utilizing the available safety and emergency resources, Thomson was ultimately rescued by a passing ship and managed to survive the ordeal. This true account serves as a poignant reminder of how proper safety measures and the presence of appropriate emergency equipment are indispensable when embarking on sailing journeys.

Navigational Tools and Charts

Navigational Tools and Charts play a crucial role in sailing a catamaran. They ensure safe and efficient navigation, helping sailors plot courses, track positions, and avoid hazards. Here is a table showing the essential navigational tools and charts:

Charts are essential visual references for sailors, providing detailed information about coastlines, water depths, and navigational aids. Sailors should carry appropriate charts for their sailing area. Common chart types include:

Pro Tip: Regularly update charts and ensure the reliability of navigational tools to maintain accuracy and improve safety during your catamaran journey.

Remember, proper use of navigational tools and charts contributes to a successful and enjoyable sailing experience.

Provisioning and Water Management

One crucial aspect of sailing a catamaran around the world is provisioning and water management . It is essential to plan and prepare adequately for a smooth journey.

– Create a detailed list of necessary provisions , including non-perishable food items , cooking ingredients , and toiletries . – Take into account dietary restrictions and preferences when stocking up on food supplies. – Consider the storage space available on the catamaran and utilize it effectively for provisioning. – Prioritize long-lasting and easily storable food items to minimize the need for frequent resupply. – Keep track of expiry dates and rotate food supplies regularly to maintain freshness and prevent spoilage.

– Estimate the amount of freshwater required for the voyage, considering the number of crew members and the duration of the journey. – Install efficient water storage tanks and consider implementing a watermaker to generate freshwater from seawater. – Monitor water usage throughout the journey, promoting responsible consumption to conserve valuable freshwater resources. – Familiarize yourself with water treatment techniques to ensure the safety and quality of the onboard water supply. – Plan for potential contingencies by carrying additional jugs of freshwater or researching freshwater sources at various destinations.

Proper provisioning and water management are vital for the success of a catamaran journey around the world. By carefully considering and planning for these factors, sailors can ensure they have the necessary resources for their voyage and enjoy a safe and comfortable experience.

Fun Fact: A typical crew of four will require approximately 2-3 liters of freshwater per person per day for drinking and cooking during a long-term sailing trip.

Weather Monitoring and Predictions

Weather monitoring and predictions play a vital role in navigating a catamaran around the world. It is crucial to stay updated about weather conditions to ensure safe navigation.

To achieve this, it is important to regularly check weather forecasts from reputable sources such as meteorological agencies or weather routing services. These forecasts provide valuable information on wind patterns, storm systems, and ocean currents.

Equipping yourself with onboard weather monitoring systems is also essential. These systems provide real-time data on important factors such as wind speed , atmospheric pressure , and sea surface temperature . By having access to this information, you can make informed decisions regarding route planning and avoid adverse weather conditions.

Utilizing advanced technology is another key aspect of effective weather prediction. By utilizing advanced weather prediction models and satellite imagery, you can anticipate and track weather patterns. This knowledge allows you to plan sailing routes accordingly, avoiding heavy storms or dangerous weather conditions.

Having redundancy in receiving weather information is also critical. It is advisable to have backup means such as satellite phones or long-range radios in case of equipment failure or limited connectivity.

Seeking professional advice is highly recommended. Consult experienced sailors or weather experts who specialize in oceanic weather conditions. Their knowledge and expertise can provide valuable insights and guidance.

It is important to remember that weather conditions at sea can change rapidly. Therefore, prioritizing safety and adjusting the route if necessary is crucial. By closely monitoring weather patterns and making informed decisions, you can minimize risks and enjoy a smooth sailing experience around the world.

Here’s a fun fact: Sailors have relied on weather signs and natural indicators since ancient times to predict weather conditions. These indicators include observing clouds , wind patterns, and animal behavior .

Communication and Connectivity

When sailing a catamaran around the world, reliable communication and connectivity are crucial for staying connected with the outside world and ensuring safety. Cellular and satellite communication systems play an important role in staying connected, even in remote areas. These systems allow for voice calls , text messages , and internet access .

A working VHF radio and a valid operator’s license are essential for communication with other boats, marinas, and emergency services. On top of that, having Wi-Fi and internet access on board allows sailors to stay connected with family and friends, access weather updates, and perform online research. Navigation systems , including GPS , chart plotters , and radar systems , are also necessary for safe navigation and efficient communication with other vessels.

In case of emergencies, it is important to have emergency beacons such as EPIRBs and SARTs on board. These devices can send distress signals and help search and rescue teams locate the boat. Having a satellite phone as a backup communication device is advisable if cellular networks are not available or unreliable.

Having reliable communication and connectivity systems on a catamaran ensures that sailors can stay in touch with loved ones, receive important updates, and call for help if needed during their journey around the world.

The perfect size catamaran for sailing around the world is between 37 to 47 feet long.

  • ✅ Smaller catamarans have limited living space and cargo capacity, while larger ones are more expensive and difficult to handle.
  • ✅ Catamarans shorter than 30 feet usually do not have cabins and are not suitable for open sea sailing.
  • ✅ A catamaran needs to be well-equipped and have enough space for a crew and provisions for ocean-crossing voyages.
  • ✅ Catamarans between 40 and 45 feet are the average size for ocean-crossing and offer more space and amenities.
  • ✅ Catamarans have a high freeboard, reducing the risk of being washed over by large waves.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal size of a catamaran to sail around the world.

The recommended size range for a catamaran to embark on an around-the-world voyage is typically between 37 to 47 feet long. This size provides a good balance between living space, cargo capacity, and manageable handling.

Are smaller catamarans suitable for sailing around the world?

Smaller catamarans can still be used for world cruising if you adopt a minimalist lifestyle and stay light with your equipment and supplies. They have limited storage space for necessary provisions such as food and water.

Are larger catamarans better for long-distance voyages?

While larger catamarans offer enhanced levels of comfort and amenities, handling a bigger boat requires more skill and may require additional crew. Expenses increase with boat length, and bigger boats may face extra charges for services and marina slips.

What are the advantages of sailing around the world in a catamaran?

Some advantages of catamaran circumnavigation include speed, comfort in rough weather, safety, extra storage space, room for more passengers, larger living spaces, and a shallow draft, which allows for easy beaching and access to shallow waters.

How do catamarans compare to monohull sailboats for circumnavigation?

Catamarans are generally considered a better choice for circumnavigation compared to monohulls due to their stability, spaciousness, and comfort in rough weather. It’s important to note that the ideal choice ultimately depends on individual needs and preferences.

Where can I find catamarans for sailing around the world?

You can find catamarans suitable for sailing around the world through various sources such as boat shows, catamaran manufacturers, online listings, and yacht brokerage firms like Simpson Marine. They offer new and preowned yachts and catamarans for all budgets and usage plans, along with services like yacht management, design, and refit.

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Catamarans have been a part of sailing history for centuries and continue to be popular for their stability, spaciousness, and performance. Developed by various cultures around the world, the principles of catamaran design have evolved over time to become optimized for both pleasure cruising and racing. This complete guide will help you understand the essentials of catamarans, their unique characteristics, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

sailboat catamaran size

From the basic concepts of multihull design, performance, and handling, we will explore the advantages and benefits of a catamaran in terms of safety and comfort on board.

Along the way, we will discuss maintenance considerations, distinctive catamaran brands and models, and how a catamaran lifestyle can compare to more traditional sailing options .

Finally, we will provide learning resources and frequently asked questions tailored to both seasoned sailors and newcomers to the world of catamarans.

Key Takeaways

  • Catamarans are known for their stability, spaciousness, and performance
  • This guide covers aspects like design, handling, safety, and choosing the right catamaran
  • Resources and frequently asked questions provide additional insights for potential catamaran owners

Understanding Catamarans

Design Characteristics

Catamarans are known for their unique design, which features two parallel hulls connected by a deck. This design provides several advantages over traditional monohull boats, such as stability and speed.

With their wide beam, catamarans have a reduced risk of capsizing and can access shallow waters due to their shallow drafts 1 .

One of the notable aspects of a catamaran is its twin hulls, which offer increased living space and comfort compared to a monohull. Additionally, catamarans are often favored by recreational and competitive sailors for their excellent maneuverability 2 .

The materials used for constructing catamarans range from wood to fiberglass, and even aluminum for high-performance vessels. Aluminum catamarans are known for their strength, lightweight structure, and resistance to corrosion 3 .

sailboat catamaran size

Hulls and Construction

The hulls in a catamaran are crucial to its stability and performance. These hulls help distribute the weight evenly across the water surface, minimizing drag and allowing for smoother sailing.

In general, the hulls can be categorized into two types:

  • Symmetrical Hulls : The hull shape is similar on both sides, which enhances balance and stability in various sailing conditions.
  • Asymmetrical Hulls : One side of the hull is designed differently than the other, which can be advantageous when sailing upwind.

The construction materials used in building catamaran hulls also play a vital role in the boat's performance and durability. Common materials include:

  • Fiberglass : A popular choice due to its lightweight, strength, and ease of maintenance.
  • Wood : Traditional material that offers a classic look, but requires more maintenance than fiberglass or aluminum.
  • Aluminum : Lightweight and strong, aluminum is an excellent choice for high-performance catamarans 4 .

sailboat catamaran size

Multihulls vs Monohulls

There's often a debate between the benefits of multihull boats, such as catamarans or trimarans, and monohull boats. Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Stability : Due to their wide beam and reduced heeling, catamarans offer improved stability compared to monohulls. This makes them an attractive option for those who want to avoid seasickness or feel more comfortable on the water 5 .
  • Speed : Multihull boats are known for their speed, which results from their ability to minimize drag and maintain a level sail.
  • Living Space : Catamarans and other multihulls generally have more living space, as both the hulls and the connecting deck can be utilized for accommodation and storage.
  • Maneuverability : While monohulls are known for their agility and ability to point close to the wind, catamarans can still offer exceptional maneuverability when properly sailed 6 .

Performance and Handling

Speed and Efficiency

Power catamarans have gained popularity for offering a unique combination of speed, efficiency, and stability. Their dual-hull design allows for less water resistance, which directly translates to higher speeds and better fuel efficiency compared to traditional monohull boats.

In addition, the wide beam provided by the two hulls ensures a stable ride even at higher speeds. This makes power catamarans ideal for cruising, fishing, and watersports ( Boating Beast ).

Sailing Dynamics

When it comes to sailing catamarans , the performance is affected by factors such as keel, rudders, mast, and sails.

Their wide beam and dual-hull design provide inherent stability and reduced heeling effect, making them less likely to capsize compared to monohulls.

I should also note that catamarans have a shallow draft, which gives them the ability to access shallow waters that may be off-limits to other boats ( Navigating the Waters ).

In my experience, the lighter weight of a catamaran and its aerodynamic design can contribute to remarkable sailing performance under different wind conditions.

The larger sail area relative to hull weight allows them to harness more wind power, further enhancing their speed and agility on the water.

Maneuvering and Docking

Maneuvering and docking a power catamaran involves understanding its unique handling characteristics.

The presence of two engines in separate hulls allows for more precise control in confined spaces such as marinas.

The maneuverability of these boats is typically improved by the use of dual rudders that are located close to each powered hull for efficient steering ( BoatUS ).

When docking under power, I find it helpful to carefully assess the wind and current conditions beforehand.

This is because catamarans can be more sensitive to windage due to their larger surface area above the waterline.

By understanding how these forces may affect the boat, I can make adjustments to my approach and successfully dock the catamaran without any incidents.

Safety and Comfort on Board

Safety Features

Safety is a top priority when sailing any type of vessel, including catamarans. A well-built catamaran offers several features aimed at ensuring the safety of those onboard.

First, catamarans have inherent stability due to their wide beam and twin hull design . This makes them less prone to capsizing than monohull boats. This stability allows me to confidently navigate various water conditions .

In addition to stability, catamarans are designed with positive buoyancy, making them almost unsinkable . Of course, safety equipment such as lifejackets, flares, and first aid kits should always be onboard and well-maintained.

Furthermore, you should also stay updated on weather conditions, avoid sailing in high-risk areas, and learn your boat's safe sail limits.

Living Spaces and Comfort

When it comes to living spaces, I value comfort and practicality as essential features for my time on the water. Catamarans offer a unique advantage in this regard, as their dual hulls create spacious living areas.

Most catamarans are designed with separate cabins in each hull, allowing for privacy and comfort when sleeping. Additionally, these boats typically feature shallow drafts , which means I can access shallow waters and anchor close to shore.

The main living area, or salon, is situated on the bridge deck between the hulls. It usually includes a seating area, a dining table, and a galley (kitchen). Large windows provide ample natural light and panoramic views, making the space feel open and bright. Some catamarans even have the option for an additional living area on the upper deck where you can enjoy the sun and breeze.

One aspect of catamaran living I truly appreciate is the ample storage available. Each cabin typically has built-in storage spaces for clothes, gear, and personal items. There are also designated areas for equipment such as spare sails, tools, and water toys. This makes it easy for me to keep my belongings organized and make the most of my time on the water.

Maintaining a Catamaran

Routine Maintenance

In order to keep my catamaran in the best possible shape, I make sure to perform routine maintenance tasks. These tasks are essential to extend the life of the components and ensure smooth sailing:

  • Cleaning : Regularly cleaning the deck, hulls, and sails prevents buildup of dirt, algae, and other debris that could affect performance.
  • Inspection : Periodically inspecting my catamaran allows me to detect any potential issues before they become significant problems. I pay close attention to the rigging, sails, and lines on my boat.
  • Lubrication : Keeping all moving parts lubricated is vital to prevent friction and wear on components such as winches and pulleys.
  • Antifouling : Applying antifouling paint to the hulls of my catamaran helps prevent the growth of marine organisms that can damage the boat and reduce its speed. Make sure to do this at least once a year.

Dealing with Wear and Tear

Despite my best efforts to keep my catamaran well-maintained, wear and tear is inevitable. Here's how I deal with common issues that could arise from regular use:

  • Repairs : When I notice signs of wear on sails, lines, or rigging components, I make it a priority to repair or replace them promptly. Neglecting these issues can lead to more significant problems and affect the boat's performance.
  • Hull maintenance : If I find dents, scratches, or stiff rudders on my catamaran's hulls, I address them immediately. Repairing any damage not only ensures smooth sailing but also prevents further issues from developing.
  • Sail care : Over time, my sails can become stretched, torn, or damaged due to exposure to sun, wind, and saltwater. Regularly inspecting them for signs of wear and making any necessary repairs or replacements helps maintain optimal performance.
  • Rust and corrosion prevention : Since my catamaran is made of various metal components, I need to protect them from rust and corrosion. I routinely check for signs of corrosion and apply anti-corrosive treatments when needed.

Catamaran Brands and Models

High-Performance Models

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in high-performance catamarans. I have seen a variety of brands and models that have impressed me with their performance capabilities. One notable brand is Fountaine Pajot , which has a long history of producing a range of sailing catamarans and power catamarans. Some of their popular models include the Tanna 47 and the Bali 4.4 .

Another high-performance catamaran I've come across is the Leopard 40 . Known for their speed and exceptional handling in various conditions, the Leopard brand started with sailing catamarans and has since expanded to include power catamarans. Their models range from 40 to 53 feet long, offering both power and luxury for those looking for a thrilling experience on the water.

Cruising Catamarans

When it comes to cruising catamarans, the Lagoon brand is synonymous with luxury and comfort. With a range of sailing catamarans from 40 to 70 feet long, Lagoon offers spacious catamarans for extended bluewater cruising. Their 60- and 70-foot power catamarans are equally impressive, providing ample living space and smooth sailing experiences.

I've also found the Aquila 42 PC to be a remarkable cruising catamaran. With a focus on design and innovation, Aquila has produced catamarans perfect for exploring the open sea with friends and family. Their spacious, stable designs allow for a more enjoyable and serene journey, ensuring you arrive at your destination comfortably.

The Catamaran Lifestyle

Anchoring and Cruising

I find catamarans to be a fantastic choice for cruising and anchoring , which is a critical part of living the catamaran lifestyle . Catamarans have several advantages when it comes to anchoring and cruising, such as:

  • Stability : Due to their wide beam and twin hulls, catamarans remain stable during anchoring, which reduces the risk of seasickness.
  • Shallow draft : Thanks to their shallow draft , catamarans can anchor close to shore, enabling better access to protected coves and more beautiful beaches.
  • Speed : Despite their large size for cruising vessels , catamarans are generally faster than monohulls. This is a result of their slim hulls and reduced water resistance.

When it comes to anchoring, catamarans can make use of their shallow draft to anchor in locations that other boats cannot. This allows for a greater range of cruising spots, which makes the overall experience much more enjoyable and unique.

Living on a Catamaran Full-time

For many catamaran enthusiasts, the dream of living full-time on a catamaran is entirely possible. While not without challenges, there are several factors that make living aboard a catamaran an enjoyable experience:

  • Spacious living areas : Catamarans generally have more living area compared to monohulls, providing ample space for the whole crew.
  • Privacy : The separate hulls allow for private cabins, ensuring that everyone on board has their space.
  • Stability : As mentioned earlier, catamarans are stable vessels, making living on them more comfortable than monohulls.

Choosing Your Catamaran

Comparing Models and Features

When I start to look for the perfect catamaran, the first thing I focus on is comparing various models and features .

I determine the key factors that are essential for my needs, such as size, passenger comfort, and performance. By doing so, I can identify which catamaran models are most suitable for me.

For example, if I plan to sail with a large group, I would look for a catamaran that offers ample space both inside and out.

To help me with my comparisons, I usually create a table or list of the different models and their features:


This visual aid makes it easier for me to sort the options and prioritize my considerations, such as price, yacht type, and brand.

New vs. Second-Hand

Another critical aspect of choosing a catamaran is deciding between a new or second-hand boat.

Both options have their pros and cons, and ultimately it depends on my preferences and budget.

If I can afford a new catamaran, I get the advantage of the latest design , features, and technology. Plus, I typically receive better warranty coverage and support from the manufacturer.

However, new catamarans are more expensive and can have long wait times due to high demand.

On the other hand, purchasing a second-hand catamaran can save me a significant amount of money, and I might find a high-quality boat with low mileage or well-maintained by the previous owner.

However, this option carries more risks, as I need to be knowledgeable about potential maintenance issues and conduct a thorough inspection before purchase.

Learning Resources

Books and Manuals

When it comes to learning about catamarans, there are plenty of books and manuals available.

One of the highly recommended books is Multihull Voyaging by Thomas Firth Jones. This book provides a comprehensive understanding of multihulls, including catamarans, and is an essential guide for any beginner sailor.

Another great book to check out is Catamarans: The Complete Guide for Cruising Sailors by Gregor Tarjan.

With a foreword by Charles K. Chiodi, publisher of Multihulls Magazine, this book covers all aspects of cruising catamarans. It includes detailed information on design, construction, and maintenance, as well as tips and tricks for sailing a catamaran.

Here are a few more books that I find valuable:

  • The Catamaran Book by Tim Bartlett, an excellent resource for both beginners and experienced sailors
  • Catamaran Sailing: From Start to Finish by Phil Berman and Lenny Rudow, a comprehensive guide to both catamaran racing and cruising

Online Content and Photography

In addition to books, you can find plenty of online content and photography about catamarans.

Websites like Sailaway Blog and Boating Guide offer tips, techniques, and how-to articles for sailing catamarans.

Many of these sites also include stunning photography, showcasing these beautiful vessels in action.

For those who prefer Kindle or e-books, many of these resources are available in digital format.

This makes it easier for you to access them anytime, anywhere, allowing you to keep learning and improving your catamaran sailing skills.

To further enhance your knowledge, you can also join online forums and communities dedicated to catamarans.

These platforms provide invaluable advice and first-hand experiences shared by fellow sailors, as well as recommendations for additional learning resources.

Frequently Asked Questions

What factors should be considered when choosing a catamaran for full-time living?

When choosing a catamaran for full-time living, consider its space and layout , as it will become your home.

Look for a design with a comfortable living area , ample storage, and sufficient berths for the number of people living aboard.

Also, consider fuel efficiency , ease of maintenance, and the catamaran's cruising range .

Lastly, the overall cost of ownership , including insurance and mooring fees, should be considered.

How do catamarans perform in rough sea conditions?

In general, catamarans are known for their stability, which is primarily due to their wide beams. This makes them less prone to capsizing when compared to monohulls.

However, their performance in rough sea conditions will depend on the specific model and design of the catamaran. Some may perform better in certain conditions than others, so researching and selecting the right design is essential.

What are the key differences between sailing a catamaran and a monohull?

One of the main differences between catamarans and monohulls is stability.

Catamarans have a wider beam , which makes them more stable and minimizes the risk of capsizing.

They also have shallower drafts, which allow them to access more shallow waters compared to monohulls.

Additionally, catamarans often have larger living spaces, making them more comfortable and suitable for cruising and full-time living.

What are the advantages of catamarans for long-distance cruising?

Catamarans offer several advantages for long-distance cruising.

Their wide, stable design provides a comfortable ride and reduces the risk of seasickness.

They can also attain higher speeds due to their reduced drag and generally sail faster than monohulls on certain points of sail.

The shallow draft allows them to explore more coastal areas and anchor closer to shore. Lastly, their spacious interiors make them ideal for extended cruises and living aboard.

How does one assess the value of a used catamaran on the market?

Assessing the value of a used catamaran requires thorough research and inspection.

Start by comparing the age, model, and condition of the catamaran to similar listings on the market.

Take note of any upgrades or additions made to the boat, as these can affect the price.

It's essential to inspect the boat in person or hire a professional surveyor to ensure there are no hidden issues that could affect its value.

What essential features should be looked for in a catamaran intended for ocean voyages?

For ocean voyages, look for a catamaran with a strong, well-built hull designed to handle rough conditions.

Safety features such as liferafts, adequate flotation, and sturdy deck hardware are crucial.

A reliable engine and well-maintained rigging and sails are also essential.

In terms of living space, opt for a catamaran with a comfortable, spacious interior and ample storage.

Last but not least, good navigation and communication systems are necessary for long-distance ocean voyages.

sailboat catamaran size

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How to determine the right size of sailboat for your needs

Choosing the right size sailboat for your sailing adventure is crucial for your comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment. Our comprehensive guide explores the factors to consider when making this important decision.

How to Determine the Right Size of Sailboat for Your Needs

Embarking on a sailing adventure with your family is an exciting and life-changing decision. One of the most important aspects of this journey is choosing the right sailboat to suit your needs. The size of your sailboat will have a significant impact on your comfort, safety, and overall enjoyment of your new lifestyle. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the factors to consider when determining the right size of sailboat for your needs, as well as provide some tips and advice to help you make the best decision for your family.

Table of Contents

Understanding sailboat sizes, sailing experience, intended use, number of crew members, comfort and amenities, storage and maintenance, small sailboats (20-30 feet), medium sailboats (30-40 feet), large sailboats (40-50 feet), extra-large sailboats (50+ feet).

Sailboats come in a wide range of sizes, typically measured in feet from bow to stern (the front to the back of the boat). The size of a sailboat can greatly influence its performance, handling, and the level of comfort it provides. Generally, larger sailboats offer more living space, storage, and amenities, while smaller sailboats are easier to handle, maintain, and store.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Sailboat Size

When determining the right size of sailboat for your needs, there are several factors to consider. These include your budget, sailing experience, intended use, number of crew members, comfort and amenities, and storage and maintenance requirements.

Your budget will play a significant role in determining the size of the sailboat you can afford. Larger sailboats tend to be more expensive, both in terms of initial purchase price and ongoing costs such as maintenance, insurance, and mooring fees. It’s essential to consider not only the upfront cost of the boat but also the long-term expenses associated with owning and operating a sailboat of that size.

Your level of sailing experience will also influence the size of the sailboat that’s right for you. Smaller sailboats are generally easier to handle and maneuver, making them more suitable for beginners or those with limited sailing experience. Larger sailboats can be more challenging to sail and may require a higher level of skill and experience to operate safely and efficiently.

The intended use of your sailboat will also play a significant role in determining the right size for your needs. If you plan to use your sailboat primarily for day sailing or weekend trips, a smaller boat may be more suitable. However, if you intend to embark on long-term cruising or live aboard your sailboat full-time, a larger boat with more living space and amenities will likely be more appropriate.

The number of people who will regularly be on board your sailboat is another important factor to consider. A larger boat will provide more space and comfort for a larger crew, while a smaller boat may be more manageable for a solo sailor or a couple. It’s essential to strike a balance between having enough space for everyone on board while still maintaining a manageable size for sailing and handling.

The level of comfort and amenities you desire on your sailboat will also influence the size of the boat you choose. Larger sailboats typically offer more living space, private cabins, and additional amenities such as a larger galley (kitchen), separate shower and toilet facilities, and more storage space. Smaller sailboats may have more limited amenities and living space, which may be a trade-off you’re willing to make for easier handling and lower costs.

Finally, consider the storage and maintenance requirements of the sailboat size you’re considering. Larger sailboats will require more space for storage, both on land and in the water, and may have higher maintenance costs due to their size and complexity. Smaller sailboats are generally easier to store and maintain, which can be an important consideration if you have limited storage space or a tight budget.

Popular Sailboat Sizes and Their Advantages

Now that we’ve discussed the factors to consider when choosing a sailboat size, let’s explore some popular sailboat size categories and their advantages.

Small sailboats are ideal for those new to sailing or with limited experience. They are easier to handle, more affordable, and require less maintenance than larger boats. Small sailboats are perfect for day sailing, weekend trips, or coastal cruising. However, they may lack the space and amenities desired for long-term cruising or living aboard.

Advantages of small sailboats:

  • Easier to handle and maneuver
  • More affordable upfront and ongoing costs
  • Lower maintenance requirements
  • Suitable for day sailing, weekend trips, and coastal cruising

Medium-sized sailboats offer a balance between the ease of handling of smaller boats and the increased space and amenities of larger boats. They are suitable for more experienced sailors and can be used for extended cruising or living aboard. Medium sailboats provide more living space, storage, and amenities than small sailboats, making them a popular choice for families or those planning longer sailing adventures.

Advantages of medium sailboats:

  • Good balance between handling and space/amenities
  • Suitable for extended cruising or living aboard
  • More living space, storage, and amenities than small sailboats
  • Popular choice for families or those planning longer sailing adventures

Large sailboats offer even more space, comfort, and amenities, making them ideal for long-term cruising or living aboard. They are best suited for experienced sailors, as they can be more challenging to handle and maintain. Large sailboats provide ample living space, private cabins, and additional amenities such as a larger galley, separate shower and toilet facilities, and more storage space.

Advantages of large sailboats:

  • Ample living space, comfort, and amenities
  • Ideal for long-term cruising or living aboard
  • Best suited for experienced sailors
  • Larger galley, separate shower and toilet facilities, and more storage space

Extra-large sailboats are the ultimate in space, comfort, and amenities. They are best suited for experienced sailors with a larger budget, as they can be more challenging to handle and maintain, and have higher upfront and ongoing costs. Extra-large sailboats offer luxurious living spaces, multiple private cabins, and a wide range of amenities to make life aboard as comfortable as possible.

Advantages of extra-large sailboats:

  • Ultimate in space, comfort, and amenities
  • Luxurious living spaces and multiple private cabins
  • Wide range of amenities for maximum comfort
  • Best suited for experienced sailors with a larger budget

Determining the right size of sailboat for your needs is a crucial decision that will impact your sailing experience, comfort, and overall enjoyment of your new lifestyle. By considering factors such as your budget, sailing experience, intended use, number of crew members, comfort and amenities, and storage and maintenance requirements, you can make an informed decision about the best sailboat size for your needs. Whether you choose a small, medium, large, or extra-large sailboat, the most important thing is to find a boat that meets your unique needs and allows you to embark on the sailing adventure of your dreams.

sailboat catamaran size

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between a Sailboat or Catamaran for Your Sailing Adventures

C hoosing between a sailboat and a catamaran for your sailing adventures is a significant decision that depends on various factors, including your sailing preferences, experience level, budget, and intended use. Here's an ultimate guide to help you make an informed decision:

1. Sailing Experience:

  • Sailboats: Typically require more skill and experience to handle, especially in adverse weather conditions. Ideal for sailors who enjoy the traditional feel of sailing and are willing to invest time in learning and mastering the art.
  • Catamarans: Easier to handle, making them suitable for beginners. The dual-hull design provides stability, reducing the learning curve for those new to sailing.

2. Space and Comfort:

  • Sailboats: Generally have a narrower beam and less living space. However, some sailboats may offer comfortable cabins and amenities.
  • Catamarans: Wider beam creates more living space. Catamarans often have multiple cabins, spacious saloons, and expansive deck areas, providing a more comfortable living experience.

3. Stability:

  • Sailboats: Monohulls can heel (lean) while sailing, which some sailors enjoy for the thrill but can be discomforting for others.
  • Catamarans: Greater stability due to the dual hulls, providing a more level sailing experience. Reduced heeling makes catamarans suitable for those prone to seasickness.

4. Performance:

  • Sailboats: Known for their upwind performance and ability to sail close to the wind. Some sailors appreciate the challenge of optimizing sail trim for efficiency.
  • Catamarans: Faster on a reach and downwind due to their wide beam. However, they may not point as high into the wind as monohulls.
  • Sailboats: Typically have a deeper draft, limiting access to shallow anchorages and requiring deeper marina berths.
  • Catamarans: Shallow draft allows access to shallower waters and secluded anchorages, providing more flexibility in cruising destinations.
  • Sailboats: Generally more affordable upfront, with a wide range of options available to fit different budgets.
  • Catamarans: Often more expensive upfront due to their size and design. However, maintenance costs may be comparable or even lower in some cases.

7. Mooring and Docking:

  • Sailboats: Easier to find slips and moorings in marinas designed for monohulls.
  • Catamarans: Require wider slips and may have limited availability in certain marinas, especially in crowded anchorages.

8. Intended Use:

  • Sailboats: Ideal for traditional sailors who enjoy the art of sailing, racing enthusiasts, or those on a tighter budget.
  • Catamarans: Suited for those prioritizing comfort, stability, and spacious living areas, especially for long-term cruising and chartering.

9. Resale Value:

  • Sailboats: Generally have a more established resale market, with a wider range of buyers.
  • Catamarans: Growing in popularity, and well-maintained catamarans often retain their value.

10. Personal Preference:

  • Consider your personal preferences, the type of sailing you plan to do, and the kind of lifestyle you want aboard your vessel.

In conclusion, both sailboats and catamarans have their advantages and disadvantages. Your decision should be based on your individual preferences, experience level, budget, and intended use. If possible, charter both types of vessels to experience firsthand how they handle and to help make a more informed decision based on your own preferences and needs.

The post The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Between a Sailboat or Catamaran for Your Sailing Adventures appeared first on Things That Make People Go Aww .

Choosing between a sailboat and a catamaran for your sailing adventures is a significant decision that depends on various factors, including your sailing preferences, experience level, budget, and intended use. Here's an ultimate guide to help you make an informed decision: 1. Sailing Experience: 2. Space and Comfort: 3. Stability: 4. Performance: 5. Draft: 6....

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2024 Boat of the Year: Best Cruising Catamaran Over 50 Feet

  • By Herb McCormick
  • December 15, 2023

Fountaine Pajot Aura 51

It was perhaps fitting that Fountaine-Pajot and Lagoon Catamarans—two longtime pillars in the production catamaran community—came head-to-head for the title of best cruising cat over 50 feet for 2024. Talk about symmetry: Both boats measure in at about 51 feet. A nearly exact price point of just around $1.6 million. Each is produced by one of the pioneering French multihull builders that’s been at the game for decades. In some ways, this matchup was not unlike a heavyweight boxing bout between Ali and Frazier, or a good old-fashioned feud like the Hatfields and McCoys. It was a duel that the judges relished and dreaded because the competition would undoubtedly be close—but there could be only one champ. 

Winner: Fountaine-Pajot Aura 51

During deliberations, judge Mark Pillsbury summarized the overall layout of the Aura 51, a viewpoint shared by his fellow panelists: “A length overall of 51 feet is enough space to give designers options when it comes to how a cruising cat is laid out, and Fountaine-Pajot takes advantage of this by offering a variety of layouts, with up to six cabins in charter mode. The boat we sailed in Annapolis had what they term a ‘double Maestro layout,’ i.e., a master cabin aft in each hull, with guest quarters forward. It would be a boat that two owners might share, sailing separately or together occasionally. I really liked their decision to locate the helm station on the Aura partway between the cockpit and the flybridge, which they called the sky lounge. That way, the skipper stays in contact with guests below and above, and has good visibility astern when docking. I also like the separation between the steering seat and the three winches on the cabin top. Shorthanded, the autopilot can be engaged when the skipper steps forward to trim sails, and with crew, the trimmer has room to work and the skipper room to steer. We had light wind the day we sailed, only about 5 to 8 knots, and the Aura made 4 knots closehauled—a good run for a big, well-stocked cruising cat.

Judge Herb McCormick weighed in: “I really thought that this category was a toss-up. Both boats will be sold to private owners and will also be set up for the charter trade. At the end of the day, what leaned me toward the Aura was that helmsman’s arrangement, centered between the cockpit and the top deck. I loved that big flybridge on the Lagoon, which will be a great space especially on charter, but this is the best ‘cruising’ cat, not best ‘charter’ cat, and that one feature I believe is better-suited to real cruising.”

Runner-up: Lagoon Catamarans 51

Lagoon 52 being tested during Boat of the Year

The French boatbuilding industry is to be applauded for its forward-thinking approach to sustainable building practices and exploring next-generation powering and propulsion systems. Judge Tim Murphy focused in on Lagoon’s approach: “This is largest Lagoon fully intended for owner-operators. Beginning with 55, the next size up in the range, a professional captain is expected to be involved. Lagoon produces 275 boats per year. From this year’s Boat of the Year fleet, Lagoon is at the forefront of carbon-positive materials: 35 percent biomaterial in the polyester resin (compared with 14 percent last year), with hemp fibers employed instead of glass in some of the smaller molded parts. The production plant is certified ISO 9001, 40001, 50001, which is notable for the commitment to sustainable manufacturing.” 

Unlike McCormick, judge Mark Pillsbury liked the Lagoon’s helm station just fine. He said: “The 51 is a big boat, but the layout of the helm station on the flybridge makes the boat simple to operate with a shorthanded crew. All sail controls are led to three winches on the cabin top, and there is a Harken electric sidewinder winch adjacent to the wheel to control the traveler. And for a large cruising cat, I thought that the 51 sailed well. The steering was very smooth. In 8 to 12 knots of breeze, we saw boatspeeds in the high 6s and 7s depending on our point of sail. The view from the helm was tremendous.”

  • More: 2024 Boat of the Year , Fountaine Pajot , Lagoon Catamarans , Print January 2024
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sailboat catamaran size

Best Sized Catamaran for Ocean Sailing and Liveaboard?

sailboat catamaran size

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Buying a boat is a tricky thing, but once you start figuring out what you’re going to use it for things begin to become more apparent. I’m assuming you’re here because you are interested in knowing how small of a sailing catamaran you can get while balancing factors such as price, length, and space. If so, you have come to the right place!

The perfect sized catamaran for ocean sailing (including around the world sailing) is around 40ft; it is small enough to be sailed by one person but big enough to provide safety and speed. Of course, there are many variables to consider, and below we will discuss many of them.

Before we can decide which one is perfect for our needs, we need to look at all ends of the spectrum: the smallest, biggest, cheapest, and most expensive.

Table of Contents

What is The Smallest Sized Catamaran for Ocean Sailing?

The size of the smallest suitable catamaran that can safely, and somewhat comfortably, cross big oceans is according to consensus in the sailing community, around 30ft. It is possible with less, but a smaller boat has some real downsides, which I will discuss below .

sailboat catamaran size

Anything smaller than 30ft is starting to become too much of a tradeoff. When it comes to dealing with huge waves and strong winds, size is an issue. Too small of a catamaran and every wave appears as a mountain.

It also has a significant effect on the crew; if the boat is never at rest always pitching and yawing it really takes its toll on the team, this will sooner or later impair the crew’s ability to make the right decisions, something that is a must in a situation of crisis.

One of the most significant issues with small catamarans  is the low bridge deck clearance; most catamarans make some noise when sailing upwind. These loud noises are due to waves coming towards the boat only to get projected with high speed and force straight into the deck’s underside.

This makes for massive noise and vibration, something that isn’t dangerous but adds to the crew’s fatigue while also making for a horrible trip. There are really only two things that you can do to prevent bridge deck slamming, either you get a big boat with a high bridge deck clearance (more on that here) or you sail downwind.

Usually, fitting all the gear you need for a long trip on the boat is not an issue. But there might be a problem with balancing the ship once you have filled it with all that weight, having weight too far out on either the bow or the stern is a safety issue and can lead to unnecessary pitching and in a worst-case scenario make you dive right into a wave instead of staying on top of it.

Why is a Bigger Catamaran Better For Sailing Around The World?

sailboat catamaran size

Having a bigger boat offers a lot of advantages, some of them are;

Speed   is not only fun, but it is also something that adds to the safety of the trip. If you’re doing ten plus knots instead of just five, that means you will only need half of the time at sea, and if there is a storm on the way, you definitely want to get into safe harbor before it strikes.

It also means that you could “outrun” or at least out-steer a storm, so speed gives possibilities and therefore, safety.

Another  aspect of speed is how much fun  it is:

“Sailing my old 35ft monohull, it was always a slug, slow and steady wins the race they say, we won nothing but boredom, and when you realize that your speed is so slow that on an average jog you would easily outrun your boat, that sucks.” Gabo

But when you are  starting to surf waves  and semi-plane, it’s a whole different world; it’s exhilarating, and you go from thinking when is this horrible experience over to thinking, let this never end!

Getting a bigger boat also means  a lot more space , and that means more places to store all the fun stuff you want to bring, scuba gear, snorkels, surfing boards, and other fun stuff. Having a smaller boat might mean you won’t have space enough to fill up your dive tanks, so you miss out on many great opportunities.

Another aspect of space is  the problem with headroom  if you are a tall person and/or you want to bring tall friends onboard then having a saloon where you don’t have to hit your head on the ceiling is a significant factor, and to be honest small catamarans usually don’t have this. This is often not a big issue for short trips, but going on a cruise for multiple days, being comfortable is a big thing.

And speaking of bringing  friends along, a bigger boat equals more berths , the bigger ones (40+ft) have full-sized rooms with large beds that are so comfortable that not even grandma will complain, so if you don’t want her to stay for too long, you should probably get a smaller boat.

sailboat catamaran size

What Sized Catamaran is Too big For Ocean Sailing?

A too big of a catamaran is for most sailors anything longer than 45ft, more specifically a boat which is too expensive, something you can´t handle on your own and that has more space than you need .

This once a little more tricky, a general rule of thumb for many is that you should  be able to sail it on your own  because you might have to sooner or later.

Bigger boat means sails that are harder to raise and sometimes only possible with an electric winch and having too much electrical stuff are for many a big NO GO. for me it’s not a big deal, just make sure you are able to repair it if it breaks, just like any mechanical system.

A bigger boat means more sail area, which usually means more power, which means higher speeds and sometimes a bit more complicated to handle for a beginner. Make sure you try to get a boat that you are comfortable handling and know precisely how and when to reef.

sailboat catamaran size

Since catamarans don’t heel  ( more on that here ) they offer handling-feedback a little bit different, for example since they don’t have deep keels and don’t lean to their side they tend to almost “sit down “a little on their leeward side (the hull of the lee side of the boat).

This sensation can be a little bit awkward  at first but is something that the catamaran captain needs to get used to if he or she wants to understand how to properly reef and maintain the sails. If this is not correctly done the catamaran might be at  risk of capsizing .

For most people, anything over 45ft is just too much to handle short-handed.

Balancing Price and comforts

Size in ftComfortsMaintenance & repair costsPricePotential incomeNotes
Up to 30Small berths, full height only in hulls.$
~30 000 USDNot many optionsLow bridge deck clearance
~30Full height only in hulls, $~ 60 000 USDMaybe charteringNot big, not small
~40Full Height in saloon and hulls, large outer deck,$$+150 000 USDChartering, AirBnB, paying crew,Not big, not small
Above 45Full Height in saloon and hulls, large outer deck,$$$$ *
+250 000 USDChartering, AirBnB, multiple berths, paying crewBig boat demands an experienced captain

 *Exponentially higher costs since the amount of stuff you have to do usually exceeds the time you will have to fix it. Let’s use bottom paint as an example, you can do it yourself trying to save some money, but since the boat is soo big, you’ll end up spending a lot of work hours painting.

And every day spent hauled out is expensive (especially for such a big boat), so trying to do it yourself might even be more costly than hiring a few workers (since if you are the only one working on the ship it needs to be hauled out for a longer time).

sailboat catamaran size

Potential Income From a Bigger Boat

When it comes to  the potential income  I would argue that the bigger boat you have, the more money you can make, not only could you attract high-paying customers since now you are offering luxury yacht sailing instead of low-end stuff aimed at backpackers. This could be a massive resource of income.

I tried taking people out on my boat, but since it was quite small and not even close to what someone wanted to pay a lot of money for, it didn’t really generate much money.

If you find yourself staying at a marina for a longer time and having a couple of berths available,  you could AirBnB those to out to people in the area . This is a great way to make some extra income, and it’s also a great way to make some friends. I would definitely recommend this!

Bigger boats also mean the possibility to have a  larger paying crew,  instead of not being able to take a single crew person, on a 43ft you could have seven people both working and paying to stay at your boat. That’s a sweet deal and a lot of fun!

sailboat catamaran size

Bigger Boats = Higher Expenses

Size matters; nothing is more accurate in the boating world, but when it comes to the amount of expenses and the size of your pride.

Haul out and placing on stands when it’s time for your repair and maintenance should be thoroughly planned and executed. This is a good tip since you will most definitely pay by the length of your boat, and if you are sailing around in a  catamaran, be ready to pay a premium,  many times 25 – 50 percent more than the standard price per foot.

So before you take your boat out of the water, make sure you have a solid game plan that includes a rigid timeline of when the contractors should arrive, what the different phases of your maintenance will be, and then push hard to execute according to plan.

If you do it this way there is a lot of money to be saved, what you don’t want to happen is that you have four contractors ready to get to work, but you haven’t bought the paint or the gear needed for the repairs, so they are just sitting around and costing money.

sailboat catamaran size

The Best Sized Liveaboard Catamaran

Most ocean-capable catamarans are also more or less suited for living aboard. This means that the best-sized liveaboard catamaran should be around 40-45ft.

When it comes to long-term living on a catamaran, some things are more important than if we only do a single crossing; a liveaboard is about enjoying your house on the water.

In contrast, a catamaran made for hardcore sailing is more about speed and excitement.

sailboat catamaran size

Liveaboard-demands usually include a lot of space to store your stuff, wide hulls with large-sized berths, and for many getting a used charter boat is the right decision. Beware when buying an old charter boat that they are usually made for coastal waters, and not all are suited for offshore multiday sailing.

Living on a boat means you will spend a lot of time doing the usual stuff you would also be doing in an ordinary house, including cooking cleaning, and working.

Once you understand your needs there is a better chance you can find a boat that will suit your needs in the long run. Catamarans in the “cruising” category usually have a lot of space to store gear, this means that they have wider hulls.

Having wider hulls creates more drag and will hinder the boat from going as fast as a catamaran with narrow hulls ( Check out catamaran hull speed explained ).

But having these hulls will greatly improve your comfort since it allows for wider berths(beds) and a boat that is easier to move around in, this might sound like a small thing and you might think that it’s not a big deal. But…

After a couple of weeks sharing a few square feet, every time you bump into someone or something will be a little annoying so I cannot be frank enough when emphasizing how important internal space is when it comes to comfort but also staying good friends with your crew.

If you have an online job, or maybe just a job that you can do from your computer there might also be a need to have a desk or room that is relatively separate and quiet so you can get some work done.

sailboat catamaran size

Cruising, Liveaboard, and Ocean Crossing. Guidelines on How to Choose Your Catamaran!

To summarize this article I have put together a shortlist of guidelines that you can use when scouting for a suitable catamaran.

  • What is the smallest I   can go that still satisfies my needs?  This is a great question to ask yourself because, as you have seen above, the smaller you can go, the more money you can redirect into outfitting the boat in a way that you want.
  • In a situation where your the only one in “sailable” condition, will you be able to handle the vessel single-handed?  Out of a safety perspective, this is very important since you might have to do a man overboard maneuver on your own. This is also a question that only you can answer. If you have a lot of experience and are a very confident sailor, maybe you’ll be okay with a 45ft, but smaller is more appropriate for most people.
  • How big of a boat can you afford when including the cost of maintenance , repairs, haul out and all other stuff you have to put money into. Don’t forget BOAT really stands for Break Out Another Thousand.
  • When it really comes down to it, do you want speed or space ? You can’t have both, unless your filthy rich, then you can have both 🙂

Hope you find this useful! Take care!

Owner of A minimalist that has lived in a caravan in Sweden, 35ft Monohull in the Bahamas, and right now in his self-built Van. He just started the next adventure, to circumnavigate the world on a Catamaran!

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What Is A Catamaran Sailboat? (And What It Looks Like)

What Is A Catamaran Boat? (And What It Looks Like) | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

August 30, 2022

Catamarans are increasingly popular for sailing and commercial use, but what sets them apart from monohulls and other multihulls?

A catamaran is a twin-hull boat with two equally-sized hulls placed side by side. They’re powered by engines, sails, or both—and they’re known for efficiency and speed. Catamarans are the most common kind of multihull boat.

In this article, we’ll go over the characteristics of catamarans and how to differentiate them from other types of boats. Additionally, we’ll cover the advantages and disadvantages of catamarans and compare them to trimarans and monohulls. We’ll also go over the most common types of catamarans and their uses.

We sourced the information in this article from marine design guides, boat identification resources, and the online boating community.

Table of contents

‍ How to Spot a Catamaran

Spotting a catamaran is easy. Simply look at the hulls and count them. Catamarans have two hulls side by side and a relatively large gap between them where you can see light on the other end. Catamarans are distinct from trimarans, which have an additional hull between the two outer hulls.

How do Catamarans Work?

The principle behind the catamaran is simple. You can think of catamarans like cars and monohulls like motorcycles. Catamarans distribute their weight between hulls on either side, whereas monohulls utilize only one hull.

Evidently, cars are much more difficult to tip over and can hold much more weight. Additionally, cars are wider, as they have much more contact with the road. Catamarans work in a similar way, as they have a wide stance and contact with the surface on both sides.

Obviously, that isn’t the most precise comparison. But the basic principle is the same, and catamarans have a few notable benefits over monohulls.

Catamaran Vs Monohull

Catamarans are easy to distinguish from monohulls. A monohull is just a regular old boat with a single hull. The vast majority of boats and ships are monohulls. Catamarans have two hulls, which are usually sleek and narrow.

Here are some comparisons of catamarans and monohulls, along with the advantages twin-hull designs have over most single hull types.

Benefits of Catamarans

Catamarans have numerous benefits. The first is speed. Catamarans produce less drag than monohulls and thus can achieve excessive speeds both under sail and power. They don’t need to plane like monohulls to achieve these high speeds, and they use less fuel.

Catamarans are also much more stable than monohulls. They have a wide stance and shallow draft, and many waves and swells can travel between the hulls instead of below them. This effectively reduces an entire axis of movement and prevents catamarans from rolling excessively.

Drawbacks of Catamarans

Catamarans aren’t advantageous in every way, or else we wouldn’t bother building monohulls. The disadvantages of catamarans limit their use to niche commercial applications and high-end yachts. But what are the drawbacks of a twin-hull design?

Sailing catamarans don’t follow many of the traditional boat handling rules and characteristics that sailors pass down for generations. Some, such as hull speed limitations, are good to do away with—while others, such as responsiveness, are not.

Catamarans aren’t as quick to the helm or responsive as monohulls. There are some exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, you’ll get a lot more feedback from a single-hull vessel. Additionally, the large section of deck between the hulls of a catamaran is prone to pounding in rough seas, which is loud and uncomfortable.

Catamarans can sometimes be twice the width of an equivalent monohull sailboat, which can increase mooring fees and limit docking options.

The final major drawback of catamarans is a consequence of their stability. Traditional full-keel monohull sailboats have a very low center of gravity, which makes them roll in heavy seas but ensures a recovery.

Catamarans have a higher center of gravity, and they can’t right themselves after a knockdown. And though catamarans are less likely to roll, a severe list on a multihull is a much more serious concern than on a ballasted monohull.

Catamaran Vs Trimaran

Catamarans and trimarans are often lumped together, but they have very different design and performance specifications. Trimarans have three hulls, whereas catamarans have two.

Trimarans look a lot like catamarans from the side, but a quick glance at the bow or stern can set them apart. Trimarans are faster than catamarans, as they distribute their weight across three hulls instead of two. This helps them stay centered and reduces interference from pitching and rolling.

Catamarans are fast, but they lose out to trimarans when going head to head. However, catamarans are much less expensive to build and maintain and often have roomier cabins due to their larger hulls.

Types of Catamarans

There are numerous types of catamarans, and their uses vary widely. The catamaran is one of the oldest and most useful hull types, and some variants have been used for thousands of years. Here are the most common kinds of catamaran boats and their uses.

Sailing Catamaran

Sailing catamarans are probably what you think of when you hear the name. Sailing catamarans are sailboats with two identical hulls connected by a center deck. The largest sailing catamarans are spacious and stable vessels that are capable of serious offshore sailing.

Sailing catamarans have a number of notable advantages over monohulls. Monohulls, which are traditional sailboats with a single hull, are limited by a simple concept called hull speed. As the bow and stern wave of a monohull intersect, they cause drag which limits the top speed of the boat.

Catamarans are not bound by hull speed limitations, as they have two hulls. Catamarans can go twice or even three times as fast as similar monohulls and achieve excellent travel times.

Catamarans are also more stable than monohulls, as their wide stance and shallow draft reduce the effect of rough water. They don’t heel, as the force of the wind is counteracted by the double hulls. Additionally, modern sailing catamarans can ‘wave pierce’ by cutting through swells instead of riding over them.

Sailing catamarans come in many shapes and sizes. Small sailing catamarans, such as those used in races and regattas, are known for their speed and relative stability compared to light racing monohulls. Sometimes, they feature a smaller second hull for stability—these are called outriggers.

Sailing catamarans have spacious interiors thanks to the large cockpit between the hulls. This cockpit usually contains cooking and eating spaces, a place to sit, and a hallway between the hulls. The hulls usually contain living quarters and often mirror each other.

Power Catamarans

Power catamarans have an even greater variety than sailing catamarans. These vessels are used for everything from party platforms to ferries and patrol boats.

Power catamarans are a recent development, as engineers and marine architects now realize they have numerous hydrodynamic advantages over other hull types.

Catamarans are much more efficient than other hull types, as they have less drag relative to their size. Additionally, you can build a much larger catamaran with less material. This makes them popular for car and rail ferries, as builders can construct a very wide vessel with two small hulls rather than a narrower vessel with a large single hull.

Military and Commercial Catamarans

Even the military has found a use for the catamaran hull shape. The Spearhead class EPF is an expeditionary fast transport vessel designed for carrying capacity and speed. It has two sharp hulls and a huge cargo capacity.

The Spearhead class EPF is 337 feet long, which is about the same length as a WW2 escort destroyer. Yet despite having a similar length and displacement, these catamarans can travel more than twice as fast—43 knots, or nearly 50 miles per hour. Their great speed is a direct consequence of their catamaran hull type.

Power catamarans are also used as patrol and utility boats on a much smaller scale, with either outboard or inboard motors. The State of Texas uses catamarans to patrol shallow rivers and lakes. Texas Game Wardens utilize state-of-the-art aluminum catamaran patrol boats, which are fast enough to outrun most fishing boats.

There’s another form of power catamaran that you may not have considered. Pontoon boats are technically catamarans, and they’re enormously popular on lakes and rivers throughout the country. Pontoon boats aren’t known for speed, but they’re a great platform for a fun and comfortable outing.

Catamaran Houseboats

The final common type of power catamaran is the two-hulled houseboat. Houseboats don’t always use the catamaran hull type, but it’s common enough that most major manufacturers offer it as an option.

Catamaran houseboats have a few notable advantages over monohull designs. For one, they’re easier to build—especially when pontoons are chosen. Additionally, they’re better suited for navigating shallow water. These vessels can support more weight across their two hulls, offer increased stability, and they’re also efficient.

Why Aren’t Catamarans More Common?

With all the advantages listed in this article to consider, it may seem strange that the use of catamarans is still somewhat limited. At the end of the day, it comes down to economics—as monohull boats and ships are simply cheaper to build.

Additionally, catamarans have some distinct limitations. Monohulls have lots of storage space in their hulls and can carry thousands of tons of cargo safely in all weather conditions. Catamarans lack this space and low center of gravity, so they’re not ideal for transporting cargo past a certain point.

Additionally, monohulls work, and many people are reluctant to experiment with new designs when old designs work just fine. This rule applies to both large and small boats.

A large monohull sailboat can be constructed at low cost from stock plans and reliably sail almost anywhere. Very little complex structural engineering is involved, and looser tolerances reduce cost and maintenance requirements.

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I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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Catamaran Design Formulas

  • Post author By Rick
  • Post date June 29, 2010
  • 10 Comments on Catamaran Design Formulas

sailboat catamaran size

Part 2: W ith permission from Terho Halme – Naval Architect

While Part 1 showcased design comments from Richard Woods , this second webpage on catamaran design is from a paper on “How to dimension a sailing catamaran”, written by the Finnish boat designer, Terho Halme. I found his paper easy to follow and all the Catamaran hull design equations were in one place.  Terho was kind enough to grant permission to reproduce his work here.

Below are basic equations and parameters of catamaran design, courtesy of Terho Halme. There are also a few references from ISO boat standards. The first step of catamaran design is to decide the length of the boat and her purpose. Then we’ll try to optimize other dimensions, to give her decent performance. All dimensions on this page are metric, linear dimensions are in meters (m), areas are in square meters (m2), displacement volumes in cubic meters (m3), masses (displacement, weight) are in kilograms (kg), forces in Newton’s (N), powers in kilowatts (kW) and speeds in knots. 

Please see our catamarans for sale by owner page if you are looking for great deals on affordable catamarans sold directly by their owners.

Length, Draft and Beam

There are two major dimensions of a boat hull: The length of the hull L H  and length of waterline L WL  . The following consist of arbitrary values to illustrate a calculated example. 

L H  = 12.20      L WL  = 12.00

sailboat catamaran size

After deciding how big a boat we want we next enter the length/beam ratio of each hull, L BR . Heavy boats have low value and light racers high value. L BR  below “8” leads to increased wave making and this should be avoided. Lower values increase loading capacity. Normal L BR  for a cruiser is somewhere between 9 and 12. L BR  has a definitive effect on boat displacement estimate.  

B  L / L In this example L  = 11.0 and beam waterline B  will be:
Figure 2
B = 1.09A narrow beam, of under 1 meter, will be impractical in designing accommodations in a hull. 
B  = B  / T  A value near 2 minimizes friction resistance and slightly lower values minimize wave making. Reasonable values are from 1.5 to 2.8. Higher values increase load capacity. The deep-V bottomed boats have typically B  between 1.1 and 1.4. B  has also effect on boat displacement estimation.
T  = B  / B 
 T  = 0.57
Here we put B  = 1.9 to minimize boat resistance (for her size) and get the draft calculation for a canoe body T  (Figure 1). 
 Midship coefficient – C 
C  = A  / T  (x) B  We need to estimate a few coefficients of the canoe body. where A  is the maximum cross section area of the hull (Figure 3). C  depends on the shape of the midship section: a deep-V-section has C  = 0.5 while an ellipse section has C  = 0.785. Midship coefficient has a linear relation to displacement. In this example we use ellipse hull shape to minimize wetted surface, so C  = 0.785
Figure 3
C =D / A  × L where D is the displacement volume (m  ) of the boat. Prismatic coefficient has an influence on boat resistance. C is typically between 0.55 and 0.64. Lower values (< 0.57) are optimized to displacement speeds, and higher values (>0.60) to speeds over the hull speed (hull speed    ). In this example we are seeking for an all round performance cat and set C  := 0.59
C  = A  / B × L where A  is water plane (horizontal) area. Typical value for water plane coefficient is C  = 0.69 – 0.72. In our example C  = 0.71
m  = 2 × B  x L × T    × C  × C  × 1025 
m  = 7136
At last we can do our displacement estimation. In the next formula, 2 is for two hulls and 1025 is the density of sea water (kg/m3). Loaded displacement mass in kg’s
L  = 6.3
L  near five, the catamaran is a heavy one and made from solid laminate. Near six, the catamaran has a modern sandwich construction. In a performance cruiser L  is usually between 6.0 and 7.0. Higher values than seven are reserved for big racers and super high tech beasts. Use 6.0 to 6.5 as a target for L  in a glass-sandwich built cruising catamaran. To adjust L  and fully loaded displacement m  , change the length/beam ratio of hull, L  . 
m = 0.7 × m
m = 4995
We can now estimate our empty boat displacement (kg): This value must be checked after weight calculation or prototype building of the boat.
m = 0.8 × m 
m = 5709
The light loaded displacement mass (kg); this is the mass we will use in stability and performance prediction:
 The beam of a sailing catamaran is a fundamental thing. Make it too narrow, and she can’t carry sails enough to be a decent sailboat. Make it too wide and you end up pitch-poling with too much sails on. The commonly accepted way is to design longitudinal and transversal metacenter heights equal. Here we use the height from buoyancy to metacenter (commonly named B  ). The beam between hull centers is named B  (Figure 4) and remember that the overall length of the hull is L  .
Figure 4
 Length/beam ratio of the catamaran – L 
L = L / B If we set L  = 2.2 , the longitudinal and transversal stability will come very near to the same value. You can design a sailing catamaran wider or narrower, if you like. Wider construction makes her heavier, narrower means that she carries less sail.
B  = L / L  B  = 5.55Beam between hull centers (m) – B 
BM  = 2[(B  × L x C  / 12) +( L × B × C  x (0.5B ) )] × (1025 / m )

BM = 20.7
Transversal height from the center of buoyancy to metacenter, BM  can be estimated

BM = (2 × 0.92 x L   × B   x C   ) / 12 x (1025 / m  )

BM = 20.9  
Longitudinal height from the center of buoyancy to metacenter, BM  can be estimated. Too low value of BM  (well under 10) will make her sensitive to hobby-horsing
B  = 1.4 × B We still need to determine the beam of one hull B  (Figure 4). If the hulls are asymmetric above waterline this is a sum of outer hull halves. B  must be bigger than B  of the hull. We’ll put here in our example:
B  = B B B  = 7.07Now we can calculate the beam of our catamaran B   (Figure 4):
Z  = 0.06 × L   
Z  = 0.72
Minimum wet deck clearance at fully loaded condition is defined here to be 6 % of L   :
 EU Size factor
SF=1.75 x m  SF = 82 x 10 While the length/beam ratio of catamaran, L  is between 2.2 and 3.2, a catamaran can be
certified to A category if SF > 40 000 and to B category if SF > 15 000.
 Engine Power Requirements
P  = 4 x (m /1025)P  = 28The engine power needed for the catamaran is typically 4 kW/tonne and the motoring speed is near the hull speed. Installed power total in Kw
V  = 2.44 V  = 8.5Motoring speed (knots)
Vol = 1.2(R / V )(con x P ) Vol = 356motoring range in nautical miles R  = 600, A diesel engine consume on half throttle approximately: con := 0.15 kg/kWh. The fuel tank of diesel with 20% of reserve is then
  • Tags Buying Advice , Catamaran Designers


Owner of a Catalac 8M and Catamaransite webmaster.

10 replies on “Catamaran Design Formulas”

Im working though these formuals to help in the conversion of a cat from diesel to electric. Range, Speed, effect of extra weight on the boat….. Im having a bit of trouble with the B_TR. First off what is it? You don’t call it out as to what it is anywhere that i could find. Second its listed as B TR = B WL / T c but then directly after that you have T c = B WL / B TR. these two equasion are circular….

Yes, I noted the same thing. I guess that TR means resistance.

I am new here and very intetested to continue the discussion! I believe that TR had to be looked at as in Btr (small letter = underscore). B = beam, t= draft and r (I believe) = ratio! As in Lbr, here it is Btr = Beam to draft ratio! This goes along with the further elaboration on the subject! Let me know if I am wrong! Regards PETER

I posted the author’s contact info. You have to contact him as he’s not going to answer here. – Rick

Thank you these formulas as I am planning a catamaran hull/ house boat. The planned length will be about thirty six ft. In length. This will help me in this new venture.

You have to ask the author. His link was above.

I understood everything, accept nothing makes sense from Cm=Am/Tc*Bwl. Almost all equations from here on after is basically the answer to the dividend being divided into itself, which gives a constant answer of “1”. What am I missing? I contacted the original author on Facebook, but due to Facebook regulations, he’s bound never to receive it.

Hi Brian, B WL is the maximum hull breadth at the waterline and Tc is the maximum draft.

The equation B TW = B WL/Tc can be rearranged by multiplying both sides of the equation by Tc:

B TW * Tc = Tc * B WL / Tc

On the right hand side the Tc on the top is divided by the Tc on the bottom so the equal 1 and can both be crossed out.

Then divide both sides by B TW:

Cross out that B TW when it is on the top and the bottom and you get the new equation:

Tc = B WL/ B TW

Thank you all for this very useful article

Parfait j aimerais participer à une formation en ligne (perfect I would like to participate in an online training)

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  • Catamaran size – how big a boat do you need – ocean sailing

Posted by Tim Weston | Oct 18, 2017 | Building , Cruising | 1

Catamaran size – how big a boat do you need – ocean sailing

How big is big enough?

How big a cat do you need for ocean sailing? What is the minimum catamaran size to cross an ocean? If you are in the market to build or buy a cat, it is something worth considering.

When I bought my plans and started building I had never been on a cat before, let alone sailed on one. All my decisions were based on what I had read. I created a picture in my mind from all the info I had gathered and the people I had spoken to (not that many). After reading a few books, I plunged in. Finally, it was the right decision, for me and if I replayed my story, I would choose a 40ft cat again for my first boat.

For me, 40ft (12m), is a good round number, for a minimum size for living aboard and extended ocean cruising. It is a size that is often mentioned, including for keel yachts and I tend to agree.

Some Pro’s and Cons

Of course, you can sail around the world in a much smaller boat, and safely too, depending on the design and setup of the vessel. But comfort among other things improves with size. Bigger is always better, but I think the 38-40ft mark is a good compromise. When weighing up the cost, comfort, speed, ease of handling and other factors, it is not a bad starting point.

Some advantages of increasing size

Comfort Stability Speed Room / payload Bridge deck clearance/headroom

Some of the disadvantages of increasing size

The initial cost Maintenance costs Room and cost of berthing in a marina Ease of handling for a solo sailor

Some other thoughts

With smaller boats, having enough headroom to stand up in on the bridge deck is a consideration. Having a bridge deck with 2m headroom (enough for tall people) on a 30ft cat may start to look out of proportion.

I was happy to have the speed potential I did, at times when crossing bars, entering rivers. The ability to surf at 20+kts between the sets kept me in front of big waves. If it was big enough to be dangerous it also had the energy, and the boat had the speed, to keep in front of it. It was at moments like these I was glad I had the size boat I did.

Despite encountering some pretty heavy weather. There were only a couple of times where the thought of capsizing entered my mind. Even though my boat was quite light and had a reasonably big rig, I never felt unsafe on the ocean. With a 40ft boat on the sea, I feel like I am on something half serious.

Advantages of size

After a lot of miles sailing and especially on my Pacific trip, I certainly dreamt of a bigger boat. The main reason was speed and also less pitching. I didn’t need more room I had plenty of room. My preference was and still is, a larger/beamier boat relative to the size of accommodation. Having a big footprint on the water without a lot of weight makes for a fast, easily driven, more stable boat.

I remember talking with a friend who had stepped up from his first boat, a 12m cat that he built himself, to a large racy 15m catamaran he’d made, with minimal accommodation. He said, “they were worlds apart on the water”. “You didn’t even notice bad weather”. Out on deck reefing down half way to New Zealand in big seas. He said the sensation was more that of standing on a big stable platform compared to his “little” 12m cat. It’s all relative.

More length (among other things) dampens pitching, especially for the same weight. But a longer hull also gives you speed, and speed means a lot when you are on the water. No matter how much some people discount speed as not being that important. Nothing makes you grin more than when your boat really starts moving. In my book “ Building Tokyo Express “, I talk more about this. Whenever my speed climbed above 12-13kts, and the yacht started surfing, the ride changed – to pure joy.

Even in a big sea the ride softens when you start surfing (semi-planing), it feels a little like riding on a cushion of air, and the hulls doesn’t slam anymore. It’s an unusual sensation, that really surprised me, in a good way! The boat starts leaving rooster tails behind you. Sitting up on the fore beam as the hulls slice through the water is exhilarating! The voyage changes from “when are we going to get there” to “I don’t want this ride to end”.

If money were my limiting factor, I would instead build the size I want by saving money in other areas. Put a smaller rig on the boat, smaller engines, and/or save money on the fit out (i.e. no anchor winch, etc.). The material costs of extra wood, fibreglass and epoxy don’t add that much to the cost of the boat. It’s the rig and other bits that add the money. You can always add or change those things after if you want too. It’s harder to lengthen your boat once you have built it.

You might also be interested in the following post, which compares catamarans vs monohulls . I hope this post was helpful.

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sailboat catamaran size

What Size Sailboat Do I Need? Must-Read Before You Choose

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Buying a sailboat is a huge investment and requires planning and forethought before you begin.

Knowing your needs and requirements before you start shopping is crucial to making the buying process easier.

That being said, knowing how big of a boat you need is the first step:

Here’s How to Choose What Size Sailboat you Need:

Consider your needs before buying your boat. If you are a solo sailor or have a huge family, if you cruise or race, or if you want to sail the ocean, your needs and size of the boat will change. Most sailboats range between 15-40 feet. Depending on your needs, you may need 15-25 or 25-40 feet.

Table of Contents

sailboat catamaran size

What is the Best-Sized Sailboat for a Family of 4?

You will not need as much room for a family of 4 that is racing and/or daysailing.

You won’t need the stowage for provisions or offshore equipment, and you expect to bump into one another now and then when tacking.

Keeping in mind that all boats are different and headrooms can differ even on boats of the same length, a good size would be 25-28 feet. If the kids are younger, a smaller boat is better, and if they are teens or pre-teens, a larger boat is preferable.

On longer trips, you need more space per person and storage. This is especially true if you are going to be liveaboards.

Liveaboard families will probably need a 36-42 foot range.

What is the Minimum Size Sailboat for Rough Weather?

Most modern sailboats are manufactured to handle rough weather for at least a reasonable amount of time.

Knowledge of construction and rigging and manufacturing standards are very high in the marine industry (liability has made this a certainty over the years).

With that being said, you’d still want to be in at least a 24-foot boat if you want to sustain storm conditions for a significant length of time. A rugged boat like the J/24, while designed as a one-design racer, can take a lot of pounding. 

You would not necessarily want to cross the ocean in that size boat (though it can and has been done), but you can handle most of the rough weather you encounter along the coast.

What Size Sailboat Can you Live on Comfortably?

We need to consider whether you will be living by yourself on the boat or with your family and if you will be staying mostly at a marina or cruising offshore, living from port to port.

Personal preference for accommodations is important here, too. Some people are perfectly comfortable living in Spartan conditions, while others would find it difficult to live without the most modern amenities.

If you live by yourself on board, your options will be wider, as you will not need the room that a family will require. If this is the case, 30 feet is a pretty good choice to live in comfortably.

The Catalina 30, for example, was one of the most successful designs ever as a racer/cruiser and had plenty of space and storage and a comparatively roomy bathroom. The Cataline 30 can also go for extended cruises, so it is a good size for single-living whether you will be marina-based or going on long-distance cruises.

If a family is living aboard, you need a bigger boat.

Staying at a marina where you can spend time ashore is easier, so 36-38 feet can be a comfortable size, but this sized boat will probably become cramped if you live offshore or from point to point.

Offshore, 40-42 feet is a good size for a family of four. If your family is larger, you might have to find a 45-footer for everyone to live in comfort.

What is the Minimum Size Sailboat for Sailing the Ocean?

The record-sized boat to cross the Atlantic is just over five feet in length, but that was a feat of endurance and not a comfortable or safe crossing.

It is generally accepted that about a 30-footer is the minimum you’d want to take across the Atlantic or Pacific, even by experienced sailors.

This is for the combination of speed, stowage, durability, and safety.

What Size Sailboat to Sail the Caribbean?

If you are cruising through the Caribbean for a while, you want to be comfortable.

You will see all sizes of sailboats making their way between the islands, but not all of them are doing it comfortably or safely.

The most common sizes with these factors in mind are in the 30 to 35-foot range, both in monohulls and catamarans. 

Many of these are charter boats, taken by people with little or no sailing experience, particularly the catamarans, so crossings between islands are usually done in calmer seas. Still, boats in this range will be able to handle any unexpected weather.

What Size Sailboat to Sail to the Bahamas?

If you are sailing to the Bahamas from Florida, the passage is not as long or difficult as going through the Caribbean and definitely not as bad as across the Atlantic.

If the trip is planned properly, you will not see any rough weather at all.

The crossing is routinely made by sailboats as small as 20 feet in length. Most sailors tend toward the 22- to 26-foot range in making the voyage safely and easily.

If you want to do it in comfort, you can’t go wrong with your 30-footer.

How Many Guests Will You Have?

Many sailors prefer to sail solo.

If you prefer solo sailing, you will probably not need as big a boat as you do not require the amount of space and storage you would with a crew on board.

This is not always true because you need a larger boat for durability and storage if you are doing distance solo sailing.

For most sailors, though, the company of their friends and family is a prime draw of being out on the water. If you intend to have more people with you, you will certainly need a larger boat.

The more people you intend to take with you regularly, the larger the boat will need to be.

Will You Be Doing Serious or Casual Sailing?

Depending on your level of seriousness, your choice of boat size will vary.

Smaller boats are easier to maintain, more fun to take out on weekends, and don’t have a lot of upkeep. However, bigger boats will end up costing you so much more, need a lot of attention, and will generally require a lot of experience.

Some of the highest costs here are sails. This is not just because of the sail area, but cloth weight and material, as well. So a new mainsail for a 30-foot boat will cost twice or more than one for a 20-foot boat.

Furthermore, marinas charge slip fees based on the boat’s length, or at least the size of the slip. The difference between the slip fees for a 25-foot boat and a 30-foot boat can be hundreds of dollars a year.

Also, larger boats always require more work. Because they are longer, they have more surface area that needs to be cleaned and repaired, more teak that needs to be treated, and more hardware that needs to be maintained and replaced.

A casual sailor is often less inclined to spend the time and money required to maintain a larger boat so that they will gravitate toward a smaller one.

The serious sailor understands the commitment in time and money, so they expect it. Because they are more dedicated to sailing, they usually will end up with a larger boat.

Will You be Racing, Cruising, or Both?

If you are primarily racing, you need to determine whether you will be doing one-design or handicap:

Handicap Racing:

In handicap racing, your boat will be assigned a rating based on its documented performance, and other boats will owe you time, or you will owe them time over the length of the racecourse, expressed in seconds per mile.

This is more about the performance of your crew and their experience as well. In this case, any size boat can compete, though fleets are usually broken up at certain ratings.

So a 22-foot boat will be in a different class than a 40-foot boat, and they will not be competing directly with each other unless the fleet is small and so they are all combined.

One-Design Racing:

In one-design racing, all boats are the same as one another, whether Lasers, J/24s, or Vipers.

If you want to go that route, your choice in size of a boat will be made for you.

If you intend to do both racing and cruising and do not go the one design route, you are free to choose the size of boat that you wish. You will probably opt for a little larger-sized boat, as you are a little more serious about your sailing.

There are many sailboats made with both racing and cruising in mind. This “hybrid design” started in the 1970s with the explosion of sailing’s popularity, and today most boats are made to accomplish both.

The exceptions to this are the pure racing boats, which are generally very uncomfortable to do any pleasure cruising in over any significant distance, anyway.

So, What Boat Size Works for You?

If you are doing casual solo sailing, you might look at dinghies around 15 feet.

A Sunfish-style boat is ideal, as it is easy to sail and get up to speed. Likewise, serious solo racers might look in the 15-foot range, such as Lasers or Moths. These are all trailerable.

If you want to stay in dinghies, there are many 2-person boats, often classic classes like Hamptons or popular boats like the Hobie 16 catamarans. There are many larger dinghies around, such as the Thistle, which has active racing classes and requires a crew of 3.

If you are a casual solo cruiser, you might look in the 19 to 23-foot range. At this size, a sailboat is still relatively easy to handle. There are a variety of small daysailers made with this in mind.

Serious solo cruisers will look for larger boats, as they will frequently be sailing, and frequently it will be distance cruising. Longer boats will have better speed and more room, and these sailors will handle the larger size.

25 to 30 feet is a good size for these sailors, but it is not rare to see an experienced solo sailor taking a 35 or 40-footer across an ocean.

If you are taking out a crew of 4 people regularly, you will be looking in the 25 to 30-foot range as a cruiser, whether serious or casual, with serious being at the longer end. If you anticipate 6 to 8 people regularly, 35 or 40 or more feet will be more comfortable.

Serious and casual racers will be found in almost any size boat from 20 to 45 feet. One design will determine the exact boat if you go that route, but otherwise, there are few limits outside of price.

The determining factors here will probably be the number of crew you can count on and the fleet you wish to compete in.

Casual racers will probably opt for smaller boats here, as it is less expensive and easier to compete short-handed if all of the crew cannot make the race. Serious racers will opt toward the larger boat here, as they are more competitive, and the best competition is usually at the upper end of the fleet.  

Final Thoughts

We’ve looked at the major considerations for choosing the best size sailboat for you and/or your family and looked at what size is best for certain voyages.

Price is something we did not examine closely, except in the context of being a serious or casual sailor, but that will have to fall where it may.

The bigger boat will cost you more. If not in the initial purchase, then it will cost more in the maintenance.

The bottom line is what you want to accomplish in your sailing and how many people in your crew.


The Six Types of Daysailers

Ten Best Sailboats To Live In

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What's the Best Size of Sailboat for Coastal Cruising?

Size matters when it comes to sailboats, as with many other things. With sailboats, this will determine how comfortable your sailing experience will be or how many people you can bring along. If you're planning for coastal cruising and pondering what the best size sailboat is to make it a comfortable experience, this article can help you explore your options.

A sailboat between 30 and 40 feet is considered an ideal size for coastal cruising. Boats in this size range are large enough to offer comfortable accommodations for several people, yet small enough to be easily handled by a couple or a small crew. They are also more affordable than larger sailboats.

Monohulls and catamarans are the two most common types of sailboats used in coastal cruising, but there are many other types of sailboats you can choose from. Let's learn which other sailboats can be deemed suitable for this boating activity.

  • For solo cruising, the best sailboat size is around 24 to 30 feet. If you're with your family or friends, opt for sailboats with a 35 to 45-foot range.
  • The Sun Odyssey 349 is one of the most notable and multi-awarded cruisers due to its innovative design and exceptional performance. This 35-foot boat has a modern touch and can accommodate up to six people, making it an ideal choice for family vacations or weekend getaways with friends.
  • While the best size for a cruising sailboat is within 30 to 40 feet, it should be comfortable, accommodating, easy to handle and maneuver, stable, and, of course, safe to sail.

sailboat catamaran size

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Choosing the right sailboat size for coastal cruising, types of sailboats for coastal cruising, specific sailboat models suitable for cruising, consider these when choosing the best sailboat size for cruising.

The size of your sailboat can determine how comfortable your sailing experience will be, how many people you can bring along, and whether or not you can sail alone. Here are some things to consider when choosing the right size of sailboat for your coastal cruising needs:

Enough to have a comfortable sailing experience but with less amenities
Good for family sailing and has more amenities and storage space
Best for solo sailing

If you want to sail comfortably and have enough space to bring along some friends or family, a 30-foot sailboat might be the minimum size you should consider. This will give you enough room to move around and sleep comfortably, but you may have to sacrifice some amenities or storage space.

If you plan on sailing with your family, you may want to consider a sailboat in the 35-45 foot range. This will give you enough space to comfortably accommodate a family of four or five, with amenities like a galley, head, and storage space. However, keep in mind that larger sailboats can be more expensive to maintain and require more crew to operate.

sailboat catamaran size

If you plan on sailing alone, you'll want to choose a sailboat that is easy to handle and has enough space to accommodate your needs. A 24-30 foot sailboat can be a good choice for a solo sailor, as it is small enough to handle alone but still has enough space to be comfortable. Keep in mind that smaller sailboats may not be as stable in rough waters and may require more skill to operate.

Coastal cruising is an exciting way to explore the world by sea. It takes you from port to port along the coast, allowing you to explore different destinations and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. Your cruise can be a short one or a longer one, depending on your preferences.

You can choose to explore a specific region or travel along the entire coast. This water activity is ideal for those who want to experience the joy of sailing while also enjoying the comforts of a cruise ship.

Below are several types of sailboats available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Monohulls and catamarans are the most popular for coastal cruising

Monohulls are traditional sailboats with a single hull, while catamarans have two hulls. Monohulls are known for their stability in heavy seas and their ability to sail upwind efficiently. On the other hand, catamarans are more stable at anchor and offer more living space.

Sloop is also ideal for coastal cruising

The sloop is the most common type of sailboat and is ideal for coastal cruising. It has a single mast, a mainsail, and a mainsail and jib. The sloop is easy to handle, making it a great choice for beginners. It is also versatile and can be used for day sailing or extended cruises.

Ketch offers more sail area which makes it good for coastal cruising

The ketch is a two-masted sailboat with a mainmast and a shorter mizzenmast. It is a popular choice for coastal cruising because it offers more sail area and better balance than a sloop. The ketch is also easier to handle than a schooner, making it a great option for solo sailors or small crews. If you plan to solo sail, you can find the best sailboats for solo sailing here .

sailboat catamaran size

Schooner is ideal for coastal cruising but will require a larger crew

The schooner is a two or more-masted sailboat with fore-and-aft sails on both masts. It is a classic sailboat design that is ideal for coastal cruising. The schooner has a large sail area, which makes it fast and efficient. However, it can be more difficult to handle than other types of sailboats, and it requires a larger crew.

There are a variety of sailboat models to choose from if you are planning coastal cruising. Here are a few specific models to consider, as well as their sizes:

Up to 6 Coastal cruising, longer trips
Up to 6 Coastal cruising, open waters
Up to 6 Coastal cruising, shallow waters
Up to 6 Versatile cruising, advanced technology
Up to 6 Highly maneuverable cruising, advanced technology

Catalina 30 is perfect for longer trips to the sea

With its spacious interior and comfortable cockpit, Catalina 30 is perfect for weekend getaways or longer trips. The Catalina 30 has a moderate draft, making it suitable for shallow waters, and its sturdy construction provides a smooth ride in rough seas. This sailboat is also easy to handle, even for beginners.

The Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 is perfect for sailing in open waters

The Beneteau Oceanis 38.1 is designed to be fast and agile, making it perfect for sailing in open waters. It has a spacious interior with plenty of storage space, and its modern design provides a comfortable living space. This sailboat is also easy to handle, even for single-handed sailing.

The Hunter 36 can easily navigate through shallow water

The Hunter 36 is a versatile sailboat that is perfect for coastal cruising. With its shallow draft, this sailboat can easily navigate in shallow waters, making it ideal for exploring coastal areas. This boat has a spacious interior with plenty of headroom, and its large windows provide plenty of natural light. It is also easy to handle, even for beginners.

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 is a versatile cruiser equipped with advanced technology

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 is a popular sailboat model that has won numerous awards for its innovative design and exceptional performance. It is a versatile cruiser that can comfortably accommodate six or more people depending on the specific configuration and options chosen by the owner, making it an ideal choice for family vacations or weekend getaways with friends.

sailboat catamaran size

The boat features a spacious cockpit, a modern interior, and a sleek hull design that provides excellent stability and speed. It is also equipped with advanced technology, including a GPS navigation system and a high-performance sail plan, which makes it easy to handle and maneuver in different wind conditions.

Bavaria Cruiser 37 is a highly maneuverable sailboat suited for cruising

The Bavaria Cruiser 37 is a popular sailboat model that combines comfort, performance, and style. This boat has a spacious and modern interior with ample headroom, providing a comfortable living space for up to six people.

The boat's cockpit is also spacious and well-designed, with plenty of seating and easy access to the helm. It is also a highly maneuverable boat, with a responsive rudder and a powerful sail plan that allows for excellent speed and stability. It has advanced technology, including a GPS navigation system and a state-of-the-art engine, making it easy to handle and operate.

If you're looking for some of the best and cheapest beginner sailboats for ocean cruising, you can try reading this article .

sailboat catamaran size

Several factors to keep in mind when picking the best sailboat size include the following:

Check if the cabin is comfortable and accommodating enough

The sailboat should have enough space to accommodate you, your family, and any guests. The cabin space should be comfortable and spacious enough for movement when coastal cruising.

An aft cabin can provide privacy and a comfortable place to sleep for guests. Try to consider also if there's sufficient living space for dining, lounging, and socializing. Private spaces on board are also necessary for privacy and alone time.

You can check this article for a long list of cruising essentials which you may want to consider while choosing a sailboat.

Check if the sailboat is easy to handle and maneuver

A sailboat that is easy to handle and sail means it should be small enough that you can handle the sails on your own. A sailboat with a fin keel and a spade rudder is a good choice , as it will respond quickly to your commands and be easy to steer. You could also check if there is a roller furling jib and a lazy jack system for the mainsail as these will make handling the sails a breeze.

Maneuvering in tight spaces can be challenging, so you may want to consider having a sailboat that is easy to handle in close quarters. A sailboat with a bow thruster or a stern thruster will make docking and maneuvering in tight spaces much easier.

Opt for a sailboat with a wide beam and a short waterline that will be stable and easy to control, even in choppy waters. Additionally, a sailboat with a self-tacking jib will make handling the sails even easier , as you won't need to worry about adjusting the jib sheet.

Inspect for safety and stability

A sailboat that is not stable or seaworthy enough can put you and your crew at risk, especially when dealing with rough seas or unexpected weather conditions. You will need to look for sailboats with a good reputation for seaworthiness and make sure to inspect the boat thoroughly before purchasing.

sailboat catamaran size

While smaller sailboats may be more affordable and easier to handle, they may not be as stable as larger ones. On the other hand, larger sailboats may be more stable but can be more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces.

When it comes to hull type, a double-hulled sailboat (catamaran) is generally more stable than a single-hulled one . The wider the surface area, the more stable a boat will be.

Try to look for a sailboat with a heavier keel or more ballast as it tends to be more stable than one with a lighter keel or less ballast. However, the catch is that a heavier sailboat may not be as fast or as easy to handle as a lighter one.

Consider your crew and guests

When choosing the best sailboat size for coastal cruising, you may need to consider the number of crew and guests, sleeping arrangements, space on board, and experience level. The sleeping arrangements and space on board should be comfortable for everyone.

A sailboat between 25 and 35 feet is suitable for small crews or families, while a sailboat between 35 and 45 feet can accommodate more or less six people (depending on the layout and design of the boat) . If sailing with inexperienced crew or guests, a smaller sailboat is recommended, while a larger sailboat may be suitable for experienced sailors.

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