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What Size Catamaran Should I Buy?

  • Post author By Patrick Davin
  • Post date September 11, 2020

sailboat catamaran size

The decision of what size catamaran to buy is an important one, and also a surprisingly difficult one. The best size catamaran will depend a lot on your needs for the boat – how you plan to use it, how many people you’ll typically have onboard, and what your expectations are for boating liveaboard life. 

A larger boat will be more spacious and comfortable for living onboard, capable of comfortably housing more people, but has higher costs for purchase and maintenance – and a larger catamaran can also require more skill (or crew) to safely sail. Choosing what size catamaran to look for is the first key step in your purchasing process because it will narrow down the field of options, and can have a big impact on how happy you end up with your decision.

The biggest factor that typically comes into play is cost – the larger the catamaran, the more it will cost to purchase and maintain. The increase in cost from increased boat length comes from many sources: 

  • Higher purchase price due to the larger boat and more complex systems
  • Moorage (long-term or transient) is typically priced per foot
  • Maintenance costs are often priced per foot (haul-out, bottom paint, etc)
  • Fuel costs will be higher when motoring
  • Larger boats usually have greater electrical system needs, which means more expensive power generation requirements (larger batteries and power generation systems).

Even just increasing in length by 2 feet or 5 feet can make a significant difference in costs. In some areas of the world, marina slips aren’t available in odd sizes, and the marina may charge for the total slip length even if your boat is shorter than that. So in a marina that has 40’ and 45’ slips, increasing in boat length from 40’ to 42’ will have the same moorage costs as a 45’ boat.

Many people say to buy the biggest boat you can afford. But it’s also easy to underestimate the maintenance costs involved, and the more money you spend on the purchase, the less you’ll have for a cruising budget. So another oft stated advice is to buy the smallest boat you can be happy living on.

Catamarans in the 35-40’ size range will typically include 2 or 3 berths, for up to 4 people to live onboard comfortably, or perhaps 6 for shorter durations. As you move up into the 40-50’ range that may increase to 3 or 4 berths, with one of them being a large master suite holding a queen sized bed. Larger catamarans are likely to have greater bridgedeck clearance, so if you’re tall that may be a consideration for the under 40’ boats. Families with children may want to consider a catamaran with more staterooms while a cruising couple can get by with fewer.

Bigger catamarans will have more storage for things like extra sails, water toys (inflatable paddleboard, kayaks, scuba gear) and provisions. They’re likely to have a larger galley for meal prep and more entertaining space where you can easily host large groups of friends. Generally they’ll have more heads as well, which provides redundancy if one head clogs or breaks (and more privacy when hosting guests) but additional maintenance work.

They’ll also have larger tankage (fuel, water, holding) which helps accommodate the larger crew expected with a larger catamaran, or if sailing as a couple, helps extend the time you can go between ports.

Sailing Performance

The longer the boat, the faster it sails, in general. The maximum speed of the boat is related to the waterline length, and larger catamarans will have longer waterlines. So one consideration in choosing a catamaran size is whether you have a need for speed and faster passages. However, many factors can affect performance, such as the weight and design of the catamaran, so if performance is important you may be better served by focusing on models known for their sailing performance. 

As catamaran size increases above 45’, the loads on the rig and control lines can be quite high, so you may find you need additional crew (or electric assist devices like electric winches) at those sizes. As a boat’s sail area increases, the force on the sails tends to increase exponentially – so a boat that is seemingly only slightly larger (50’ vs 45’) can actually have substantially higher loads, which means more work when it comes time to reef in a squall. 

Most performance catamarans will have faster downwind speeds than a monohull, so if sailing performance is important to you it would be a good idea to check how well the catamaran points when going upwind (how close to the wind it can sail).

Finding the Catamaran Size Sweet Point

If there’s a sweet point to choosing a catamaran size, it would probably be around 40 feet. 40-feet is where the breakpoint begins where the salon gets small and it doesn’t have as much galley space as one would hope for – and 50 feet gets kind of big to the point where you might need a 3rd crew member. 

The best size for you will depend a lot on your needs – how many people you plan to have onboard, how far you plan to cruise, and how much space you’re used to on previous boats or land homes. For the typical couple cruising the Caribbean or Mediterrean, around 40’ will probably provide the best bang for the buck in terms of affordable options while ensuring spacious living accommodations. 

With larger catamarans it can be difficult to find a marina with moorage available that fits the boat, so if your plan depends on moorage in a particular area it would be good to check what’s available in the size range you’re considering. 

Ultimately the right catamaran will depend on your plans and needs – if you intend to sail around the world, your requirements will be very different from cruising the ICW or vacation cruising for 2 or 3 weeks a year. Start by honestly assessing your goals and then determining the size range that best meets those needs, considering the trade-offs between size of vessel, cost and ease of handling with your typical crew size.

  • Tags Buying Advice

Patrick Davin

By Patrick Davin

Patrick is a full-time cruiser in the Pacific Northwest, sailing the waters from Seattle to Alaska.

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How Big Is A Catamaran? (Here’s What You Need To Know)

sailboat catamaran size

Catamarans are rapidly growing in popularity as a recreational boat option, but many people don’t know what size catamaran to buy.

Whether you’re considering purchasing a catamaran for the first time or you’re a seasoned sailor looking to upgrade your boat, understanding catamaran size is essential.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of catamarans, the benefits of owning one, different types of catamarans, factors that affect size, and average sizes of catamarans.

We’ll also discuss how to customize your catamaran and what safety and maintenance considerations you need to keep in mind.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about catamaran size.

Table of Contents

Short Answer

Catamarans come in a variety of sizes, ranging from small, single-person vessels to large, ocean-going vessels.

The length of a catamaran can range from 8-50 feet, with the average size being between 20-30 feet.

Bigger catamarans can have multiple cabins and berths and can even be used for overnight trips.

Overview of Catamarans

Catamarans have been around for centuries, and they are still widely used today for recreational and commercial purposes.

Catamarans are two-hulled boats that are typically powered by an outboard motor or sail.

They are usually made of either wood or fiberglass, and feature two parallel hulls connected by a bridge.

This design allows them to provide better stability and speed than traditional monohull boats.

Catamarans are also incredibly versatile, and can be outfitted with a variety of amenities to suit any type of voyage.

When it comes to size, catamarans come in a wide range.

The average size of a catamaran ranges from 16 to 50 feet, but larger vessels can reach up to 100 feet or more.

Smaller vessels are typically used for day trips and short cruises, while larger boats can hold up to 12 people and can be used for extended cruises.

Some larger catamarans even come equipped with kitchens, bedrooms, and other amenities for extended journeys.

No matter the size, catamarans offer superior stability and performance on the water.

They are also more fuel efficient than monohull boats, and can often reach higher speeds.

Catamarans are also often more cost-effective than monohulls, and can provide a great value for the money.

Benefits of Owning a Catamaran

sailboat catamaran size

The benefits of owning a catamaran are numerous.

For starters, they are incredibly stable, making them ideal for extended cruises on the open water.

They are also incredibly fast, with some speeds reaching up to 18 knots.

This makes them perfect for getting to your destination quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, catamarans are known for their spaciousness, making them ideal for larger groups looking to spend time on the water.

Many larger catamarans have luxurious amenities such as onboard kitchens and bathrooms, giving you all the comforts of home while youre on the water.

Finally, catamarans are incredibly fuel efficient, so you wont have to worry about spending too much money on fuel.

All in all, owning a catamaran can be a great way to explore the open water.

With their stability, speed, spaciousness, and fuel efficiency, they provide an ideal solution for those looking to spend time out on the water.

Whether youre looking for a small day trip boat or a large luxury vessel for extended cruises, catamarans come in a variety of sizes that are sure to suit your needs.

Types of Catamarans

Catamarans come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from small recreational boats to large luxury vessels.

Smaller boats are typically used for day trips, while larger boats can be used for extended cruises.

Catamarans offer both stability and speed, and can be outfitted with a variety of amenities.

The most common type of catamaran is the sailing catamaran, which is characterized by its two hulls connected by a central deck.

This type of boat is typically used for racing, cruising, and fishing.

It has the advantage of greater stability than a single-hull boat, as well as increased speed due to its shallow draft.

Power catamarans are another type of vessel, which are usually motor-driven and typically used for recreational activities such as fishing, cruising, and watersports.

Power catamarans are typically larger than sailing catamarans, and they offer greater stability and speed than a single-hull boat.

Catamaran sizes can range from 16 feet to 50 feet or more.

Smaller vessels are generally used for day trips, while larger boats can hold up to 12 people and be used for extended cruises.

Smaller catamarans are more maneuverable, while larger vessels offer more space and comfort.

When selecting a catamaran, it is important to consider your intended use and the size of your crew.

Smaller boats are better suited for day trips, while larger boats are better for extended cruises.

Additionally, consider the amenities that you want on board.

Catamarans can be outfitted with a variety of amenities, from sleeping and cooking accommodations to entertainment systems.

No matter what type of catamaran you choose, you will enjoy the stability and speed of this unique type of vessel.

With a variety of sizes and amenities available, you can find the perfect boat for your next adventure.

Factors That Affect Catamaran Size

sailboat catamaran size

When it comes to catamarans, size does matter.

The size of a catamaran will have a direct impact on how it performs on the water, as well as the amenities it can offer.

There are a few key factors that can determine the size of a catamaran, including the number of passengers, the type of activities you plan to do, and the type of vessel you are looking for.

The number of passengers is one of the most important factors when it comes to determining the size of a catamaran.

Smaller vessels are generally best suited for day trips or short cruises with a limited number of passengers, while larger vessels can accommodate up to 12 passengers for extended trips.

The type of activities you plan to do also plays a role in what size catamaran you should choose.

If you plan to do a lot of sailing, a larger vessel with more space may be better suited for your needs.

On the other hand, if you plan to do more fishing or pleasure cruising, a smaller vessel may be better.

Lastly, the type of vessel you are looking for can also be a determining factor in the size of a catamaran.

If you are looking for a luxurious vessel with plenty of amenities, a larger catamaran is the way to go.

However, if you are looking for a more economical option, a smaller vessel may be more suitable.

No matter what size catamaran you are looking for, there are a variety of options available.

Knowing the key factors that affect the size of a catamaran can help you make the right choice for your needs.

Average Sizes of Catamarans

When it comes to the size of a catamaran, there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

The average size of a catamaran ranges from 16 to 50 feet, with smaller vessels typically used for day trips and larger boats for extended cruises.

Small catamarans can range from 16 to around 40 feet, while larger boats can reach up to 50 feet and higher.

For general cruising, the popular sizes of catamarans range from 40 to 50 feet.

This size is large enough to comfortably fit a family of four or more, and can feature amenities such as a full galley, a spacious salon, and multiple cabins.

For day trips, smaller catamarans in the 16 to 40-foot range are usually the best option.

These boats are typically faster than their larger counterparts and can accommodate up to 12 people.

Smaller catamarans are also easier to maneuver and require less maintenance, making them ideal for short trips.

In addition to size, catamarans also come in a variety of styles and designs.

Some are designed for racing, while others are built for cruising.

Racing catamarans are usually smaller and lighter, with a focus on speed and agility.

Cruising catamarans are typically larger and more luxurious, with features such as air conditioning and satellite TV.

No matter what size you choose, a catamaran can provide you with a unique and enjoyable boating experience.

With its stability and speed, a catamaran is the perfect choice for a day trip or an extended cruise.

So, how big is a catamaran? The answer depends on your needs and preferences, but the average size is between 16 and 50 feet.

Customizing a Catamaran

sailboat catamaran size

When it comes to catamarans, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

The size of a catamaran depends on its intended purpose and the number of people it will be accommodating.

Smaller catamarans are often used for day trips and recreational activities, while larger vessels are often used for extended cruises and can accommodate up to 12 people.

When customizing a catamaran, there are a number of features you can select from to ensure your vessel is perfectly suited to your needs.

For example, you can choose from a variety of amenities such as air conditioning, a television, a kitchen, and a bathroom.

You can also select from a range of materials such as fiberglass, Kevlar, and carbon fiber.

In addition, the design of the catamaran can be customized to your needs.

For example, you may opt for a more luxurious catamaran with an open-plan design or a more practical catamaran with a more enclosed design.

The size of the hulls and the number of deck levels can also be adjusted to suit your needs.

Finally, the propulsion system of a catamaran can be customized to maximize its efficiency.

Outboard motors, inboard motors, and sailboats are all popular propulsion systems for catamarans.

Each type of propulsion system offers its own advantages and disadvantages, so its important to consider your needs before making a decision.

By taking the time to customize a catamaran, you can ensure that your vessel is perfectly suited to your needs and will provide you with the experience of a lifetime.

Maintenance and Safety Considerations

When it comes to catamarans, size definitely matters.

Not only does the size of a catamaran determine how many people it can accommodate, but it also affects the maintenance and safety considerations that go along with owning and operating one of these vessels.

Larger catamarans require more upkeep, including regularly scheduled maintenance of the hull, motor, and other components.

They also require more attention to safety, as bigger boats can be more difficult to handle in rough waters or high winds.

On the flip side, smaller catamarans require less maintenance and are more maneuverable, making them ideal for day trips or shorter cruises.

No matter the size of the catamaran, safety should always be a priority.

Before setting out on a voyage, make sure the vessel is properly equipped with life jackets, fire extinguishers, and other essential safety gear.

Additionally, all crew members should be familiar with boating safety protocols.

Knowing how to handle the vessel in adverse conditions is essential to staying safe on the water.

It is also important to keep an eye on the weather and be aware of any changes that could affect the catamarans performance.

For example, high winds can create choppy waters and make it more difficult to maneuver larger vessels.

It is always best to err on the side of caution and check the forecast before heading out.

Finally, it is important to be aware of the catamarans draft.

The draft is the depth of the water required for the vessel to float, and it is affected by the size of the catamaran.

Shallow waters require vessels with a shallow draft, while deeper waters require deeper drafts.

Knowing the draft of the catamaran is essential for safe navigation in any part of the world.

By taking into account the size of the catamaran, as well as the maintenance and safety considerations that come along with it, catamaran owners can ensure a safe and enjoyable voyage.

With the right preparation and knowledge of the vessels capabilities, catamaran owners can have a great time out on the water.

Final Thoughts

Catamarans are a great option for those looking for a reliable, stable, and speedy vessel.

With a variety of sizes available, there is sure to be something that will perfectly fit your needs, whether it’s for a day trip or an extended cruise.

With the right customization, maintenance, and safety considerations, you can enjoy the perfect catamaran experience.

So, if you’re considering buying a catamaran, now you know how big to make it!

James Frami

At the age of 15, he and four other friends from his neighborhood constructed their first boat. He has been sailing for almost 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge that he wants to share with others.

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What Size Catamaran to Sail Around the World? (Facts to Consider)

Posted on May 28, 2022

We’ve all been curious at some point or another about what it would feel like to cruise around the world. At least I’ve been and so because I want to make it a reality, I’ve been researching catamarans like crazy. 

After all, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and many of you and we want the best experience possible. Nothing beats a catamaran. Why? They are normally longer than monohulls, even though their cabins and handling differ a lot in size. Yes, size does matter!

Forty-five to fifty feet is the ideal length for a catamaran to circumnavigate the globe. At most marinas, a catamaran between 55 and 60 feet long can accommodate long-term provisions and a cabin, with the smallest catamaran being around 30 feet long.

We’ll discuss the optimal catamaran sizes for crossing the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s based on input from expert sailors and cat manufacturers.

sailboat catamaran size

1. Cat Size Matters When Sailing Around the World

Despite the wide variety of options for catamarans, even the smallest models lack the facilities needed to sail around the globe in comfort. It’s unusual for a catamaran shorter than 30 feet to have a cabin at all, unlike yachts. 

Catamarans have to be significantly larger to contain a cabin. About 12 to 15 feet in length are the small recreational cats, used mostly for racing. However, they’re not suitable for open sea sailing. As a general rule, large cats that measure more than 20 feet long are referred to as “day boats.”

When a catamaran reaches 30 feet in length, it becomes a good option for long-distance voyages. Cabins are commonly seen on boats this size, which may comfortably fit two to four people. Catamarans are most helpful and comfortable when they’re longer than 50 feet, which is why they’re so widespread.

2. The Minimum-sized Cat Needs To be Well-equipped 

Although a catamaran may theoretically sail great distances, a vessel large enough to house a crew and store provisions is required. For ocean-crossing catamarans, the bottom limit is 30 feet.

If you decide to take the trip in such a small cat, ensure that it has great headroom and is fully equipped. This one I’m about to mention comes highly recommended by many sailors who’ve made the trip.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend escape or a year-long adventure, the Maine Cat 30 is the perfect boat for you. It is possible to design a lightweight composite assembly that can withstand offshore conditions.  It also remains trouble-free for years with no work thanks to the use of high-quality maritime components and equipment, plus innovative construction processes.

sailboat catamaran size

The open bridge deck is 8’x11′ and is protected from the elements by a hardtop with a height of 6’–4′′.

The Maine Cat 30 delivers on the ideal of true high-efficiency multi-hull cruising in a league of its own.

At 56 inches broad and 6’–8 inches long, the berth in the master suite on the starboard end of the ship had a 4-foot ceiling above it. Above a solid cherry-dangling storage cabinet, you’ll find a counter as well as a dresser in the center. The hanging locker is located on the right side of the daggerboard trunk. In addition to the pressurized water shower, there is a Lavac toilet and a 20-gallon storage tank in the colossal head.

The front bunk in the port hull is 44′′ broad and 6’–8′′ long, making it ideal for two people.

3. There’s a Perfect Cat Size for Ocean Crossing 

As we’ve seen, a 30-foot sailing catamaran is stretching the boundaries of practicality. However, a catamaran may be made significantly more comfortable and appropriate for lengthy voyages with only a modest increase in length.

Roughly 40 to 45 feet in length is the average ocean-crossing catamaran size. With an extra 10 feet of length, designers can cram a tremendous amount of space into the hulls.

A little more length lets designers plus boat builders dramatically extend each hull and so make place for luxuries such as individual bedrooms with ensuite baths, several bathrooms, plus separate eating and food prep areas.

4. Floor Plans For Cruising Catamarans are Essential

The floor design of a Cat between 40 and 50 feet long is frequently mirrored. Each hull of a typical catamaran is identically laid out. In other words, if one of the boats has a private berth in the bow, along with a shower and toilet in the back, the next hull will differ.

It’s due to the galley and seating area being frequently retained in the middle console, where there is greater room to walk about. Crews have found it more comfortable to sleep in the thin hulls, which are utilized only at night or for short periods.

If the vessel is just for showering and sleeping, there’s more storage in the hull’s depth. Although distinct hull layouts are possible in this size span, the mirrored layout is significantly more frequent.

5. The Pacific Coast Has Fewer Stopping Points than the Atlantic & Gulf Coasts


Atlantic Ocean

In recent times, 45-foot catamarans appear to be the norm for this trip type.

In comparison to the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean has a smaller surface area, and several nations bordering it have improved their seashores. This means that you may get away with a smaller boat because you don’t have to overstock on food and the journeys are shorter.

a. Not every Dock Accepts Large Cats

Meanwhile, some marinas on the Atlantic can’t accept a cat over 55-feet, and those who do can prove quite expensive. So, a catamaran from 40 to 50 feet in length is appropriate for crossing the Atlantic. 

You can find a marina for this size yacht in most of the wealthy nations along the Atlantic, as well as shallow enough depth to explore the Atlantic Islands’ coral reefs. Catamarans of 40 to 50 feet are just as seaworthy as larger vessels, and their upkeep is way more affordable.

b. Many Anchorages Line the Coast

Marinas and safe anchorages dot the Atlantic Ocean on the US East Coast and the Gulf of Mexico along the South, unlike the US West Coast, which is sparsely populated. There are full-amenity marinas about every hundred miles along the Southern US coastlines and sections of Central America.

As you sail around the world’s many islands, you won’t need to stock up on food and water for long. Because your requirements differ from those of a Pacific sailor, you have a lot more leeway when it comes to picking a size plus the layout plan.

Pacific Ocean

Some catamarans are better suited to the Pacific Ocean than others, notwithstanding their versatility. A catamaran is a good option for Pacific travel because the expanses between docks and rest stops tend to be higher there.

a. Not Many Piers

As a result, there are just a few piers and protected docks along the US West Coast. Longer voyages in the Pacific require a catamaran that’s 45 to 50 feet long to accommodate food and other necessities.

Even a short trip along the coast from Seattle to California might take you through countless miles of steep, rock-strewn mountains with no places to stop. While traversing the Pacific Ocean, you may not come across any ports, let alone full-service marinas, for many hundreds or even thousands of miles.

b. Larger Cats Fear Better

You don’t want to run low on fuel and supplies hundreds of miles from your destination. One captain told me that, even when nothing but blue sea surrounds you for long stretches, larger cats make you breathe easier.

6. World Cruising Requires a Crew

If you’re considering a world cruise or a circumnavigation, you’ll need a boat large enough to accommodate your crew and supplies.

Additionally, you’ll need a cat that’s tiny enough to fit into most marinas, yet seaworthy enough to withstand whatever you’ll find ashore, such as rough seas.

7. Plan for Months of Supplies

first aid kit

The ideal length for most people appears to be between 45 and 50 feet. Several months’ worth of food and supplies may be stored on a 50-foot catamaran. Up to six people can also easily stay in this home for long periods.

It is also possible to circumnavigate the globe on a catamaran that is from 40 to 50 feet long. A 50-foot catamaran may nearly always be found in any isolated port where sailors frequently gather.

8. Medium Cat Saves You Money at Many Marinas

A 50-foot catamaran may be moored in nearly any marina, and most boatyards are equipped to handle basic maintenance and repairs on such a large vessel. According to most marinas, large yachts must be at least 60 feet long to be charged a fee. The medium boat category will be maintained, saving you tens of thousands of dollars.

9. You Can Limit Your Cat Options to Avoid Confusion 

You have multiple ways to limit your options when it comes to selecting the correct catamaran size. After all, looking at every option available could leave you confused. 

The first step is to think about how you intend to use the container. If you have a small crew, a catamaran between 30 and 40 feet in length may be the best option for you. Bigger cats can easily accommodate eight or more guests in comfort. 

However, some charter captains may require additional space. It’s sufficient for most people. Larger catamaran sizes, such as those of 50 feet or more, would be preferable for families with young children who like to run around and get into mischief.

sailboat catamaran size

17 Best Catamarans for Sailing Around the World

sailboat catamaran size

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Catamarans are quickly outstripping single-hull boats for long-distance journeys. They are more stable and comfortable , and some can travel more than 200 miles in a day. In today’s article, I have put together a complete (well almost) list of some of the best catamarans for circumnavigating the planet; the question is, which one is best for you?

The best catamarans for sailing around the world include: 

  • The Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58

These cats focus on speed, safety, and comfort for longer journeys. 

This article will show you the seventeen best catamarans for long journeys, and why they’re the best. You’ll also learn some great tips on what to look for in a Catamaran and how to save money by buying a used catamaran. Let this list be a jumping-off point for your future research!

Pro-tip; here are the actual costs of maintaining a cat and here are considerations on how to circumnavigate .

Table of Contents

The Best Catamarans for Sailing Around the World 

A catamaran is a double-hulled boat with a deck or cabin area in between (bluewater cat definition in this article ). The double hull design means that the boat rocks less, sits higher on the water, uses less fuel to sail, and can be sailed in shallower waters than a single-hulled boat without worrying about grounding. 

Catamarans come in a variety of sizes and can be sail-powered or motor-powered and range from single-person sailing boats to family-sized yachts. Every catamaran design is different, and the twin-hull shape offers many ways to customize the layout of a ship. 

Each boat on this list is a larger catamaran (+40ft, more on size here ), so if you’re going to sail around the world, you want lots of space for provisions and rest.

Of course, there are tons of technical specs for each of these boats, but I’m going to focus on the overall features of each of these catamarans, what makes them stand out, and why they would each be an excellent choice for a transatlantic journey. 

Antares 44i 

The Antares 44i is an excellent option for sailing around the world and was explicitly designed for long-distance cruising. It performs well in any weather conditions, can be sailed easily by two people, and you’ll be able to sail long distances and live in comfort. 

Although it can be easily sailed by a crew of two I believe that a true bluewater cat should be set up for single-handed sailing, more on that in another article .

This catamaran features a stateroom on each hull and a forward cabin with plenty of storage space. The living and entertainment features include a flatscreen tv and a high-end deck speaker system. 

With this model, Antares dedicates itself to high-quality boats with optimal rigging and engine configurations. 

Atlantic 42

Atlantic is no longer building this catamaran, but there are usually a few pre-owned boats on the market. You can also get it made custom if you love the design, but be prepared to spend more money on a custom boat (custom boat also gets custom problems ;)). 

The Atlantic 42 is slightly smaller than some of the other catamarans on this list but is a seaworthy vessel. 42 ft is what most sailors I interview ( in this article ) said was the smallest cat to safely cross big oceans. It is also a decent size to counter the risk of capsizing (more on that here ).

It has a forward cockpit and pilothouse, which gives the owner a better use of space and makes the boat easier to navigate. With single-handed capability, one person can sail it easily and let the rest of the crew relax. 

One of the best-praised aspects of the Atlantic 42 is its galley, more extensive than most 42-footers (12.8-meter) can offer. 

One of the few 50 footers (15.24 meters) that can be sailed by just one person (many would of course disagree on this).

The Catana 50 is a catamaran worthy of an overseas journey. Its size adds to its stability on the open waters and its ability to sail straight through the choppy ocean and windy conditions. 

The Catana is also incredibly spacious on the inside, with substantial cabins and showers. The biggest downside to the Catana 50 is its price, as it’s much more expensive than most of its competitors. 

Catana also holds up well against some of the fastest cruising cats out there, here’s a list of the fastest cruisers if you are interested in that.

However, if you can find a gently-used Catana 50, you can rest assured that this boat will last! 

The Dolphin 42 is unique because of the use of daggerboards instead of fixed keels. This upgrade means that the boat has some pretty decent upwind performance while at the same time being faster downwind.

Centerboards and daggerboards offer some interesting downsides compared to mini keels. This is an interesting discussion and I suggest you read another one of my articles if you want to deepen your knowledge a little.

These catamarans are some of the lightest on the market. Not many Dolphins were made, so they are relatively hard to find. However, if you want a small, lightweight boat capable of going great distances, the Dolphin 42 is an excellent choice. 

Fountaine Pajot Belize 43

The Fountaine Pajot Belize is another well-built cruising yacht. Its core is made of foam instead of balsa, which reduces the risk of structural damage due to a rotten core in case of water intrusion. 

The design of Belize offers many options for customizability, with large open spaces and a combined saloon, navigation, and dinette area. 

There are two styles of Belize catamarans for sleeping quarters. You can either purchase a boat with an entire primary suite on one hull or one with two cabins in each hull. The first option is great if you are sailing the world alone and not expecting many guests, as it increases the storage capacity. 

Understanding what factors to consider when getting a cat can be hard, there are just so many of them (such as the daggerboard discussion above), I have tried to compile some of the most important in this article .

The boat also has wraparound windows to increase the sense of space in the galley. 

Fountaine Pajot Lucia 40

Fountaine Pajot is one of the best sailboat manufacturers existing today, as their boats are well made and highly versatile. The Lucia 40 is no exception – it’s a smaller boat but has a lot of room for moving around and on-board living. 

The living area is remarkably spacious on this catamaran for its size. 

The galley and lounge easily accommodate 6+people. The Lucia 40 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to sailing either, as the narrow hulls slice through choppy waters with ease. 

Most catamarans today are built to withstand rough weather but that doesn’t matter as much if the crew isn’t up for the task, I firmly believe that the most important thing a boat should consist of, is knowledge. Therefore taking online courses ( two free here ) or reading books ( my favorites here ) is imperative.

Gemini 105M

Gemini’s boats have been on the market for years and are solidly built for cruising. This boat is one of the most popular ever made, I personally would consider something different for offshore cruising, but since it has such a good reputation, I felt I had to add it to the list.

If you want to understand why I am hesitant to take this boat around the world, I recommend you read my article: What are trampolines on a catamaran?

The Gunboat 62 is a great catamaran and set the standards for the rest of the impressive Gunboat lineup. It’s sleek and spacious while being robust and capable of transatlantic journeys. You can easily travel the world in a Gunboat 62 with several people and not feel cramped. 

The yacht was made for speed and power and remains one of the fastest catamarans on the market, even rivaling the newer Gunboat models.  GABO

Although the earlier models of the Gunboat 62 weren’t designed for a lot of cargo, you can still find space for everything you need without compromise. 

Lagoon catamarans are known for their reliability and ease of use. If you are considering a catamaran for the first time and are unsure about the technicalities of sailing, a Lagoon boat is a great option. 

The Lagoon 380 is probably the smallest cruiser on this list, which makes it better suited for solo or couple sailing.  

When I go looking to buy something, whether it be a boat, campervan, or whatever, I create a checklist and classify all the things I want either by NEED or NICE to have.

I believe the Lagoon 380 to be sub-optimal for my NEEDS, even though it does check a lot of NICE boxes, there’s a step-by-step article on the NEED and NICE method here .

There are several cabin options available on the Lagoon 380, but if you’re sailing by yourself, you can settle for three cabins and a larger galley and living space. With a smaller cockpit and broader side decks, the Lagoon 380 packs a lot of practicality and ease of sailing into a more compact catamaran. 

If you like the idea of a Lagoon boat but want a little more space, the Lagoon 42 is the upgraded version of the Lagoon 380. With all of the same benefits, it comes with more space for cabins or storage, making it one of the best-selling Lagoons of all time. 

The Lagoon 42 is also a faster cruiser built for strength. While it’s not the fastest on the market, it works well in choppy waters and windy conditions, making it great for the beginning sailor to go on a more extended trip. 

Many people have completed an around-the-world sail with this ship.

Although there is a flybridge version, I would recommend the “open” version due to several factors, some including increased windage and a higher boom. More on flybridges pros and cons here .

For stability, safety, and durability, you can’t beat the Lagoon 42. 

The Leopard 45 performs better with less storage weight because of the relatively low bridge deck clearance. If the boat is fully loaded, you could experience some wave pounding. However, the cockpit is open and airy, with devices that block the sun and provide maximum comfort while sailing. 

The Leopard 45 is an incredibly beautiful boat,   and has a strong reputation for excellent build quality!

Leopard catamarans are one of my personal favorites, as such I have written an entire article about the brand, so if you want to understand its pros and cons then here is the link . Gabo

Designed in South Africa, it features a high rear arch for extra support and very smoothly connected decks. The galley is large and open, and most Leopards offer a four-cabin plan. If you are traveling with another person, this boat is an excellent option for you! 

The Manta 42 is another classic catamaran that you can buy used (at a decent price), as it is an incredibly seaworthy vessel. While still in production, the Manta was one of the most popular catamarans on the market. 

It is still in high demand amongst circumnavigators. Buying a used Manta 42 usually means that you inherit some of the previous owner’s boat upgrades! 

The Manta 42 also made it to my list of the 9 safest catamarans on the market ( link ).

This blue water cat can be sailed by one or two people, making it ideal for liveaboard couples or long-distance shorthanded sailing. The galley is in the saloon ( instead of in one of the hulls ), making the cabins below more spacious and better equipped. 

Overall, the Manta is well equipped for sailing around the world. 

Nautitech 44

Nautitech is an excellent brand of the catamaran, with several different designs per boat. The Nautitech 44 has a unique feature, you can have it with two options for steering: twin wheels or a single wheel.

The Nautitech 44 also features a cockpit on the same level as the saloon. The door between the two is more convenient than a hatch and dramatically reduces the risk of water damage during rain pour. 

This is also the same boat that aeroyacht president Gregor owns, he has offered some great insights into Nautitech in the book Catamarans (amazon link )

Outremer 45

Outremer is famous for being one of the fastest brands of catamarans on the market. If you need speed, the Outremer 45 might be the perfect choice for you. It has a top speed of 16 knots, which is higher than almost every other catamaran of its class. 

While the Outremer 45 is known for speed, it doesn’t compromise on the quality of living. 

You can settle into life on this boat with complete peace of mind. Even as a beginning sailor, the steering is simple and easy to use, and the autopilot is top of the line, so you’ll be able to sail across the ocean in an Outremer without issue. 

Privilege Serie 5

A French-designed catamaran, the Privilege Serie 5 is one of the most comfortable 50-foot (15 m) yachts available. The unique cabin layout includes the master cabin in the boat’s center instead of in one of the hulls. 

The Privilege Serie 5 is also incredibly easy to sail, despite its larger size. 

The sails and controls lead to the helm, where the raised deck makes it easy to see all around the deck. If you want to cross the ocean with a full crew then the Privilege Serie 5 might be perfect for you! 

Seawind 1000

The Seawind 1000 is the smallest boat on this list, measuring 33 feet (10 meters) long altogether. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s not livable. If you are sailing on your own or with a partner, there is more than enough space to live in the Seawind 1000, which includes the option of a centered cabin or two hull cabins. 

Because it’s small, the Seawind 1000 is easy to handle. The mast and sails are all manufactured for extra stability and ease of use. 

Overall, the Seawind 1000 is an excellent example of a simple, safe, and seaworthy catamaran. 

Note: since this is a small catamaran it will also be more sensitive to heavy weather so trip-planning becomes even more important.

The Voyage 44 is one of the oldest cats on this list, having had its hay-day in the mid-1990s. However, this also means that a used Voyage 44 will be cheaper than a newer boat. If you can find a Voyage with previous responsible owners, you will inherit any upgrades and fixes that they’ve made on top of a very seaworthy boat. 

The Voyage 44 has more storage and space than most cruisers of its size and is known for behaving very well in choppy waters. 

This catamaran does its job well while providing adequate space for cooking, sleeping, and living aboard. 

What To Look For in a Long-Distance Cruising Catamaran

If you are planning to sail around the world, you need to be very careful about which kind of catamaran you decide to use. Many of the things you want in a boat really comes down to personal preference, so be sure you know what design preferences you want before you start shopping! 

Size and Payload

The most important thing to consider when buying a catamaran is how much space and cargo you need because the larger the boats are, the bigger the payload it can handle. Decide how long you want the ship to be and how much you’re taking with you. 

It’s vital not to overload a catamaran, this will reduce performance and increase risk of unwanted behavior in heavy seas.

Cabin Placement  

Most catamarans have options for a “Maestro” cabin placement, where one entire hull is the master suite, and the other cabins are located on the opposite hull.

Cockpit and Protection From The Weather

Is the cockpit on the boat you’re looking at covered or open? This can make a difference on the high seas, especially during rainy weather. 

The size of the ship also can affect how many people you need as a crew. If you’re traveling by yourself or with one other person, you don’t want to buy a boat that needs a larger crew. 

Buying Used? 

If you don’t want to spend the money on a brand new catamaran, I don’t blame you. Several of the ships on this list are out of production and can only be found used. However, for circumnavigation, you do want a boat of high quality to keep you safe and dry until you make it to your destination.  

When buying a suitably used catamaran, it’s essential to look at the refit history of the boat more than the year it was made. Catamarans are sturdy, and the general design has been the same for at least the past decade. 

If you find a newer, larger, cheaper boat, you should look into its history. 

Your best bet to save money while buying a catamaran will be to buy an older, probably smaller boat with an excellent refit history and no serious issues. It will still be an investment, and a sturdy used catamaran will serve you well. 

Final Thoughts

No matter which catamaran you decide to buy for your journey, you’ll be able to sail safely and comfortably. Catamarans are great yachts for long-distance sailing, and the ships on this list are the best of the best. These brands are time-tested and ready to accompany you on an adventure around the world! 

Here are Some of My Favorite Catamaran Cruising Resources

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful as you hopefully start your sailing adventures. Here are some resources that I use as a sailor that I hope you’ll also find helpful. These are affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a commission. But in all honesty, these are the exact things that I use and recommend to everyone, even my own family. Sailboats: If you’re looking for the best boat to suit your needs, I would recommend a catamaran. If you’re interested, I can show you the differences between catamarans and other types of sailboats .

Books:  For getting started, I really like  Cruising catamarans made easy . It is actually a textbook from the American sailing association; it is used to get a cruising catamaran certification. There are some other great books, and I have compiled a list of books about cruising catamarans that you will find useful.

Communication:  Being out on adventures, whether it be sailing or climbing mountains, good communications are essential to being safe. I recommend two things Google fi (incredibly simple cellular data all over the world) and Garmin inreach mini (for text and voice in remote areas without cell coverage)

Sailing courses: Online sailing courses are great for beginners starting out their sailing career; it’s an efficient way of learning the basics of navigation, throttle controls, and maritime safety. I suggest starting with two free courses from NauticEd .

To see all my most up-to-date recommendations,  check out this resource  that I made for you!

  • Wikipedia: Catamaran
  • Cruising World: A-Z Best Cruising Catamarans 
  • Dreamy Yacht Sales: Four Best Catamarans for New Buyers
  • Atlantic Cruising: Good Cat/Bad Cat
  • Yachting World: Catamaran Sailing Across the Atlantic
  • Boat Affair: What is a Catamaran? 
  • Nautilus Sailing: Catamaran Sailing

Owner of CatamaranFreedom.com. 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!

3 thoughts on “ 17 Best Catamarans for Sailing Around the World ”

I like the efforts you have put in this, regards for all the great content.

Thanks Elisabeth I really appreciate the kind words 🙂

I appreciate you sharing this blog post. Thanks Again. Cool.

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Exploring the World’s 11 Largest Sailing Catamarans: Rankings and Key Facts

Table of Contents

Discover the top 11 largest sailing catamarans in the world, including rankings and key information about their size and capabilities. Learn about the feasibility of solo sailing, transatlantic crossings, and the risks of capsizing. Plus, explore reasons why catamarans may not be as popular as other types of vessels.”

Introduction: 11 largest sailing catamarans

This article explores the world of the largest sailing catamarans, ranking the top 11 largest vessels by size and providing key information about their capabilities. Before delving into the specifics, it’s important to understand what a catamaran is and why it’s such a popular type of vessel. A catamaran is a multihull boat that has two parallel hulls of equal size. This design provides numerous advantages, including increased speed, stability, and spaciousness compared to monohull boats. Catamarans are popular among sailors for their efficiency and comfort, making them an appealing option for cruising and racing alike.

Top 11 Largest Sailing Catamarans in the World:

The world’s largest sailing catamarans are truly awe-inspiring feats of engineering and design. Topping the list is the Black Pearl, a massive 106.7-meter vessel that boasts cutting-edge technology and luxury amenities. Other impressive entries on the list include the White Rabbit, the Hemisphere, and the Fujin. Each of these vessels represents the pinnacle of catamaran design and engineering, with unique features and capabilities that set them apart from the rest. Whether you’re interested in the latest in high-tech sailing or simply appreciate the beauty of these majestic vessels, the world’s largest sailing catamarans are sure to leave a lasting impression.

Can a Catamaran Cross the Atlantic?

Crossing the Atlantic in a catamaran is a major undertaking that requires careful planning and preparation. While it’s certainly possible to make the journey in a catamaran, there are several factors to consider before embarking on such a voyage. Catamarans have certain advantages over monohull boats for long-distance cruising, including greater speed and stability, as well as more living space. However, they also have some disadvantages, such as a higher center of gravity and a wider beam, which can make them more susceptible to rolling in rough seas. Ultimately, the decision to cross the Atlantic in a catamaran should be made based on careful consideration of these factors, as well as personal experience and skill level.

How Big of a Catamaran Can One Person Sail?

The size of a catamaran that one person can sail depends on several factors, including the individual’s experience level and the complexity of the vessel. In general, smaller catamarans with simpler rigging systems are easier for one person to handle, while larger catamarans with more complex systems require a crew. The key to successful single-handed sailing in a catamaran is having a thorough understanding of the vessel’s systems and being able to anticipate and respond to changing conditions quickly and effectively. With the right training and experience, however, it’s possible to sail a catamaran solo even up to a length of around 40-50 feet.

Do Large Catamarans Capsize?

While it’s true that catamarans have a reputation for being stable and safe, there is still a risk of capsizing, particularly with larger vessels. The risk of capsize depends on several factors, including the design and construction of the vessel, the conditions it’s operating in, and the skill of the crew. Generally speaking, catamarans are more stable than monohulls, thanks to their wide beam and low center of gravity. However, this stability can be compromised in extreme conditions, such as heavy seas or high winds. In order to minimize the risk of capsizing, it’s important to ensure that the vessel is well-maintained and that the crew has the appropriate level of training and experience.

Why Are Catamarans Not Popular?

There are several reasons why catamarans are not as popular as some other types of vessels, especially in certain regions of the world. One of the primary reasons is their high initial cost. Compared to monohull boats of the same length, catamarans are generally more expensive due to their larger size, greater stability, and more complex systems. This can make them less accessible for many people who are interested in sailing.

Another reason why catamarans are not as popular is that they require specialized skills and knowledge to operate. Catamarans have different handling characteristics than monohull boats, and they require a different approach to sailing. This means that sailors who are used to operating monohulls may find it difficult to adapt to catamarans, which can make them less appealing.

Finally, there are some misconceptions about catamarans that have contributed to their relative lack of popularity. For example, some people believe that catamarans are less seaworthy than monohull boats, or that they are less comfortable in heavy seas. However, in reality, catamarans can be just as seaworthy and comfortable as monohulls, and they offer a number of advantages in terms of speed, stability, and spaciousness. Ultimately, the decision to sail a catamaran or a monohull boat comes down to personal preference, experience, and the specific requirements of the sailing journey.

11 Largest Sailing Catamarans

  • Black Pearl – 106.7 meters
  • White Rabbit – 84 meters
  • Hemisphere – 44.2 meters
  • Fujin – 42.5 meters
  • Douce France – 42.2 meters
  • Hodor – 41.9 meters
  • Galaxy of Happiness – 40.8 meters
  • Lir – 39.6 meters
  • Rapture – 34.1 meters
  • WindQuest – 33.8 meters
  • Alithia – 33.7 meters

It’s worth noting that these rankings can change over time as new, larger catamarans are built.

  • Black Pearl – This sailing yacht is the largest in the world with a length of 106.7 meters. It features a unique design with three masts and a stunning black hull. Black Pearl is a luxurious vessel with a maximum speed of 30 knots and accommodations for up to 12 guests and 18 crew members.
  • White Rabbit – With a length of 84 meters, White Rabbit is the second largest sailing catamaran in the world. This impressive yacht boasts an innovative design and advanced technology, including a hybrid propulsion system that allows for quiet and efficient sailing. White Rabbit can accommodate up to 10 guests in five luxurious cabins.
  • Hemisphere – The Hemisphere is a 44.2-meter sailing catamaran that was launched in 2011. This stunning yacht has won multiple awards for its impressive design and luxurious features, including spacious interior and exterior living areas. Hemisphere can accommodate up to 12 guests in six cabins.
  • Fujin – Fujin is a 42.5-meter sailing catamaran that was built in 2016. This high-performance yacht features a sleek design and can reach speeds of up to 20 knots. Fujin can accommodate up to 8 guests in four cabins and has a crew of 7.
  • Douce France – Douce France is a 42.2-meter sailing catamaran that was launched in 1998. This elegant yacht has a classic design and has been recently refitted to include modern amenities and technology. Douce France can accommodate up to 12 guests in six cabins.
  • Hodor – With a length of 41.9 meters, Hodor is a luxurious sailing catamaran that was launched in 2019. This impressive yacht features a modern design and advanced technology, including a carbon fiber mast and a hydraulic lifting platform. Hodor can accommodate up to 10 guests in five cabins.
  • Galaxy of Happiness – Galaxy of Happiness is a 40.8-meter sailing catamaran that was built in 2020. This stunning yacht features a sleek design and advanced technology, including a hybrid propulsion system. Galaxy of Happiness can accommodate up to 12 guests in six cabins.
  • Lir – Lir is a 39.6-meter sailing catamaran that was launched in 2014. This luxurious yacht features a classic design and modern amenities, including a Jacuzzi and a gym. Lir can accommodate up to 10 guests in five cabins.
  • Rapture – Rapture is a 34.1-meter sailing catamaran that was launched in 2007. This elegant yacht features a classic design and luxurious accommodations, including a spacious master suite and four guest cabins. Rapture can accommodate up to 8 guests and has a crew of 5.
  • WindQuest – With a length of 33.8 meters, WindQuest is a high-performance sailing catamaran that was built in 2014. This sleek yacht features a carbon fiber mast and can reach speeds of up to 24 knots. WindQuest can accommodate up to 8 guests in four cabins and has a crew of 4.
  • Alithia – Alithia is a 33.7-meter sailing catamaran that was launched in 2002. This elegant yacht features a classic design and luxurious accommodations, including a spacious salon and dining area. Alithia can accommodate up to 8 guests in four cabins and has a crew of 4.

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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....

Sail Away Blog

Mastering Catamaran Sailing: Essential Guide & Tips to Navigate the Waters

Alex Morgan

sailboat catamaran size

Sailing a catamaran can be an exhilarating and enjoyable experience for both experienced sailors and beginners alike. Unlike monohull sailboats, catamarans offer unique advantages in terms of stability and speed. If you’re interested in learning how to sail a catamaran, it’s important to understand the basics and master the necessary skills. This article will provide you with a comprehensive guide to sailing a catamaran, from understanding the fundamentals to maneuvering and handling the boat effectively.

To begin with, let’s delve into the introduction of sailing a catamaran, followed by understanding the basics of a catamaran. We’ll explore what exactly a catamaran is and how it differs from a monohull sailboat. we’ll discuss the advantages of sailing a catamaran, highlighting why it has become a preferred choice for many sailors.

Before setting sail, proper preparation is essential. This section covers the importance of safety equipment and checks, along with understanding wind and weather conditions. Planning your route is crucial to ensure a smooth and enjoyable sailing experience.

Once you’re prepared, we’ll move on to the essential sailing techniques for a catamaran. This section will guide you through rigging and hoisting the sails, tacking and jibing, trimming the sails, and controlling speed and direction. Mastering these techniques is key to maneuvering the catamaran effectively on the water.

Handling the catamaran also requires specific techniques. We’ll cover important maneuvers such as docking and undocking, mooring and anchoring, and addressing emergencies like man overboard recovery. These skills are vital to ensure a safe and successful journey.

We’ll provide you with essential safety tips for sailing a catamaran. Understanding right-of-way rules, handling rough seas and heavy winds, and maintaining balance and stability are crucial aspects of staying safe on the water.

By the end of this comprehensive guide, you’ll have a solid understanding of how to sail a catamaran and be well-equipped to embark on your own catamaran adventures while ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience.

– Sailing a catamaran offers the advantage of maximizing space with its two hulls, allowing for more comfortable living quarters and a larger deck area. – Catamarans provide a stable and balanced sailing experience, making them a safer option for beginners and those prone to seasickness. – Proper preparation, including checking safety equipment, understanding weather conditions, and planning your route, is crucial for a successful catamaran sailing experience.

Understanding the Basics of a Catamaran

Understanding the basics of a catamaran is essential for safe and enjoyable sailing. A catamaran is a boat with two parallel hulls connected by a deck. It has advantages over monohull boats. Catamarans are stable due to their wide beam, reducing the risk of capsizing . They can access shallow waters because of their shallow drafts . Catamarans also offer more space and comfort with larger cabins, living areas, and deck space.

To control a catamaran, the skipper uses the helm to control the rudders. Adjusting and trimming the sails allows the skipper to use the wind’s power and steer the boat efficiently. Balancing the sails and maintaining stability while sailing is important.

Knowing the key components, how to control the boat, and handle the sails will help you navigate the waters confidently. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a beginner, familiarizing yourself with the fundamentals of catamarans is crucial.

What Is a Catamaran?

A catamaran, also known as a cat , is a type of boat that features two parallel hulls connected by a platform or bridge deck. This unique design provides it with stability and speed, making it a popular choice for sailing enthusiasts. Unlike traditional monohull sailboats, a catamaran offers a wider beam , which results in more space and greater stability . As a result, the sailing experience on a catamaran is smoother and more comfortable .

There are several advantages to sailing a catamaran. One significant advantage is its shallow draft , which allows it to navigate in shallower waters that are inaccessible to other types of boats. The dual hull design of a catamaran minimizes drag and enhances speed , making it highly efficient for long-distance cruising . The spacious interior layout of a catamaran provides ample room for accommodations , amenities , and storage .

When sailing a catamaran, it is essential to consider the wind and weather conditions for safe navigation. Understanding the right of way rules and knowing how to handle rough seas and heavy winds are crucial skills for catamaran sailors. Maintaining balance and stability is of utmost importance to ensure a smooth sailing experience.

A fun fact about catamarans is that they have been utilized by Polynesian cultures for centuries, proving their effectiveness and versatility in various sailing conditions.

How Is a Catamaran Different from a Monohull Sailboat?

A catamaran is different from a monohull sailboat in several ways. A catamaran has two parallel hulls connected by a deck or bridge, whereas a monohull sailboat only has one hull. This dual hull design provides greater stability and balance on the water.

In addition, the hulls of a catamaran are wider and shallower compared to those of a monohull, allowing for a shallower draft and improved maneuverability . This also results in a higher cruising speed and faster sailing speeds for catamarans.

Catamarans also offer more interior space and are known for their spaciousness and comfort , thanks to their wider beam. When sailing upwind, catamarans experience less heeling , which translates into a smoother and more comfortable ride for passengers.

Catamarans are better suited for cruising in shallow waters and can anchor closer to shore due to their shallow draft . The dual hull design of catamarans also provides greater redundancy and safety in the event of hull damage or collision.

Unlike monohull sailboats, which typically have a keel, catamarans rely on centerboards or daggerboards to prevent sideways sliding. The main differences between a catamaran and a monohull sailboat lie in their stability , speed , comfort , and maneuverability .

Advantages of Sailing a Catamaran

– Stability: Catamarans offer excellent balance with their twin hulls, making them less likely to tilt or capsize compared to monohull sailboats.

– Spaciousness: The wide beam of catamarans provides more interior and deck space, including comfortable living quarters, larger cabins, and ample room for socializing and entertaining.

– Speed: The design of twin hulls reduces drag, allowing catamarans to sail faster and provide exhilarating experiences.

– Shallow Draft: Catamarans have a shallower draft than monohull sailboats, enabling them to sail in shallower waters and access a wider range of cruising grounds.

– Comfort: The wide beam and stable design of catamarans offer a smoother and more comfortable sailing experience, eliminating the heeling common in monohull sailboats and reducing the chances of seasickness.

– Maneuverability: Catamarans are more maneuverable than monohull sailboats, providing better turning ability for navigating tight spaces, docking, and anchoring precision.

– Sailing Performance: Catamarans excel in light wind conditions, thanks to their large sail area and light weight, allowing them to catch even the slightest breeze and maintain good boat speed. This makes them ideal for destinations with calm weather patterns.

Preparing for Sailing a Catamaran

Preparing for a thrilling catamaran sailing adventure requires careful planning and essential knowledge. As we dive into the section on “ Preparing for Sailing a Catamaran ,” we’ll explore vital aspects such as safety equipment and checks , understanding wind and weather conditions , and planning your route . Get ready to uncover expert tips and strategies to ensure a smooth and enjoyable catamaran journey on the open waters.

Safety Equipment and Checks

Prioritize safety when sailing a catamaran. Thoroughly check and prepare your safety equipment before setting off on your adventure. Consider the following important safety equipment and checks :

  • Life jackets: Ensure enough properly fitting life jackets for everyone on board.
  • Flotation devices: Have throwable flotation devices readily available for emergencies.
  • Fire extinguishers: Have the appropriate type and number of fire extinguishers on board.
  • First aid kit: Maintain a well-stocked kit for handling minor injuries or medical emergencies.
  • Navigation lights: Ensure all navigation lights are functioning properly, especially for sailing at night or in low visibility conditions.
  • Communication devices: Carry reliable communication devices such as a marine VHF radio or satellite phone for calling for help if needed.
  • Engine and safety equipment checks: Regularly inspect engines, bilge pumps, anchor systems, and other safety equipment to ensure good working condition.

Remember, safety is crucial. Check your safety equipment before every trip and ensure proper working order. Familiarize yourself with specific safety requirements and regulations of the sailing area. By taking these precautions, you can enjoy your catamaran sailing adventure with peace of mind and be prepared for any unexpected situations.

Understanding Wind and Weather Conditions

Understanding wind and weather conditions is crucial when sailing a catamaran. You must have a comprehensive understanding of the wind direction, speed, and weather changes that may impact your sailing experience. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

1. Wind direction: It is essential to know the direction from which the wind is blowing. This knowledge will assist you in planning your sailing route and selecting the appropriate sails.

2. Wind speed: Pay close attention to the wind speed as it could potentially affect the speed and maneuverability of your boat. Higher wind speeds may necessitate reefing the sails or adjusting your course.

3. Weather changes: Remain mindful of any approaching storms, rain, or fog. These conditions can have a significant impact on visibility and create challenges when sailing.

4. Sea state: Take note of the current sea state, which includes wave height and frequency. Rough seas may require you to adjust your sailing technique and speed to ensure the stability of the catamaran.

5. Weather forecasts: Always remember to check the weather forecasts before embarking on your sailing trip. This will provide you with an overview of the expected weather conditions.

By possessing a thorough understanding of wind and weather conditions, you can make well-informed decisions to ensure a safe and enjoyable sailing experience aboard a catamaran. Keep in mind that conditions at sea can change rapidly, so it is essential to stay vigilant and adapt your plans accordingly.

Planning Your Route

When planning your catamaran sailing route, it is important to consider several factors for a safe and enjoyable journey. One of the first things to do is assess the weather conditions by checking the forecast for potential storms or strong winds. It is crucial to avoid adverse conditions as they can pose risks to both the crew and the catamaran’s safety.

In addition, it is necessary to identify key destinations and conduct research on navigational challenges. This will help in finding suitable anchorages or marinas along the way. Creating a timeline is also essential to plan the duration of the journey, taking into account the distance to be covered and the catamaran’s speed. It is important to remember to account for any time constraints or events that may affect the plan.

Using navigational charts, it is advisable to plot the course, noting any potential obstacles along the way. It is also a good practice to plan alternative routes in case they become necessary. Considering currents and tides is another crucial aspect of route planning. Studying tidal patterns and current directions will allow for incorporating these factors into the planning process for greater efficiency.

Another important consideration is fuel and provisions . It is necessary to determine the locations of fuel stations and provisioning points along the route. Planning fuel stops and stocking up on supplies will ensure that you have everything you need during the journey. Communication and safety should not be overlooked either. Identifying channels to communicate with other sailors and emergency assistance is vital . It is also important to familiarize yourself with emergency procedures and have access to contact information in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

It is recommended to regularly review your route plan and make adjustments based on real-time conditions and feedback. This will help ensure that you are always up to date with any changes that may occur during the journey. By carefully planning your route, you can optimize your sailing experience, safely navigate waters, and fully enjoy your catamaran adventure.

Essential Sailing Techniques for Catamaran

Mastering the essential sailing techniques for a catamaran is the key to harnessing the power of wind and water. From rigging and hoisting the sails to controlling speed and direction, each sub-section in this guide will unlock the secrets that seasoned sailors swear by. So, get ready to tack and jibe , trim those sails just right, and experience the exhilaration of sailing a catamaran like a pro!

Rigging and Hoisting the Sails

To rig and hoist the sails on a catamaran, follow these steps:

1. Assemble the mast, boom, and rigging securely and properly aligned.

2. Attach the main halyard securely and tensioned to the head of the mainsail.

3. Attach the jib halyard properly tensioned and secured to the head of the jib sail.

4. Connect the main sheet to the boom to control the angle and tension of the mainsail.

5. Connect the jib sheets to the clew of the jib sail to control the angle and tension of the jib sail.

6. Attach the reefing lines to the mainsail, if applicable, to reduce sail area in strong winds.

7. Check all rigging and lines for proper tension and adjustments, ensuring everything is secure and aligned.

8. Raise the mainsail by pulling on the main halyard while guiding the sail up the mast, using winches or other mechanical aids if necessary.

9. Raise the jib sail by pulling on the jib halyard while guiding the sail up the forestay, using winches or other mechanical aids if needed.

10. Adjust the main sheet and jib sheets to achieve the desired sail shape and trim for optimal boat performance.

Rigging and hoisting the sails on a catamaran is crucial for a smooth and exhilarating sailing experience. By following these steps, you can confidently prepare your catamaran for sailing adventures.

Now, let’s appreciate the history of rigging and hoisting sails. Sailing has been a vital mode of transportation and exploration for centuries. The technique of rigging and hoisting sails has evolved from simple square sails to more efficient and versatile fore-and-aft sails used on catamarans. Today, catamarans are equipped with advanced rigging systems and modern materials that enhance speed and maneuverability. Rigging and hoisting sails remain a vital skill for sailors, connecting us to our seafaring ancestors and enabling exploration of the world’s oceans with grace and agility.

Tacking and Jibing

Tacking and jibing are essential maneuvers when sailing a catamaran. These techniques allow you to change direction and make the most of the wind. Consider these key points:

  • Tacking: This maneuver is used to sail against the wind. Turn the bow of the boat through the wind to switch the sails to the opposite side. This allows you to zigzag towards your destination.
  • Jibing: Use this maneuver to change direction with the wind at your back. Turn the stern of the catamaran through the wind to move the mainsail to the other side. Control the boom to prevent dangerous swinging.
  • Preparation: Before tacking or jibing, ensure that the crew is aware and in a safe position for stability during the turn.
  • Wind direction: Success with tacking and jibing depends on understanding the wind. Assess the wind and plan your maneuvers accordingly.
  • Practice: Perfecting tacking and jibing requires practice. Start with gentle maneuvers in light wind conditions and gradually progress with experience.

During a sailing race, a crew utilized their knowledge of wind patterns and executed a flawless maneuver by tacking right before the finish line. This tactical advantage secured their victory.

Trimming the Sails

Sailing a catamaran requires mastering the skill of trimming the sails . Properly trimmed sails greatly impact the catamaran’s performance and maneuverability. Here are some important considerations for sail trimming:

1. Adjusting the tension: Properly adjusting the tension on the sails is vital for achieving the desired shape and angle. The main sail should have a slight curvature called camber , which generates lift and power. Trim the jib sail to maintain smooth airflow on both sides.

2. Controlling the angle: The angle of the sails in relation to the wind direction is crucial for maintaining optimal speed. Adjust the sheets to trim the sails closer or further from the wind based on sailing conditions and desired speed.

3. Monitoring the telltales: Telltales , small yarn or ribbon pieces attached to the sails, provide valuable airflow information and indicate proper sail trimming. Continuously observe the telltales to ensure smooth and even flow.

4. Reefing: In strong winds, reducing the size of the sails through reefing is necessary to maintain stability and control. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for reefing and ensure proper securing of the sails.

5. Constant adjustment: Sail trimming requires constant attention. Continuously monitor wind conditions and make necessary adjustments to optimize performance and maintain control.

Mastering the art of sail trimming leads to smoother sailing, improved speed, and enhanced overall performance on a catamaran. Practice and experience are essential for developing this skill, so head out to the water and start honing your sail trimming abilities.

Controlling Speed and Direction

To effectively control the speed and direction of a catamaran, it is important to follow these steps:

1. Sail Adjustment: Optimize the power and speed of the catamaran by trimming the sails. Utilize the mainsail and jib sheets to manipulate the sail angle, taking into account the wind direction.

2. Utilize the Traveler: Fine-tune the speed and stability by adjusting the traveler. This tool, located across the cockpit, allows you to modify the mainsail sheeting point and control the angle of the mainsail.

3. Sail Plan Modification: Alter the sail plan as necessary to either increase or decrease speed. Reef the sails in strong winds to reduce the sail area, and unreef them in light winds to allow for greater sail area.

4. Daggerboard Adjustment: Maintain stability and control the direction of the catamaran by raising or lowering the daggerboards. These adjustments contribute to achieving balance and maneuverability.

5. Rudder Tweaking: Make slight adjustments to the rudder angle using the tiller or wheel, ensuring smooth steering of the boat.

Pro-tip: Enhance your ability to control speed and direction on a catamaran through practice and experience. Continuously monitor wind conditions and make minor adjustments to optimize performance.

Catamaran Maneuvers and Handling

Get ready to conquer the waters as we dive into the art of sailing a catamaran. In this section, we’ll navigate through the thrilling aspects of docking and undocking , the essentials of mooring and anchoring , and the crucial skill of man overboard recovery . Brace yourself for a wave of practical tips and tricks that will enhance your catamaran sailing experience. So, grab your compass, adjust your sails, and let’s set sail on this exciting journey!

Docking and Undocking

Docking and undocking a catamaran can be daunting, but with the right techniques and precautions, it can be done smoothly. Follow these steps:

  • Approach the dock slowly, keeping an eye on the wind and current.
  • Assign crew members to handle lines and fenders for a safe docking process.
  • Shift into reverse as you near the dock to slow down.
  • Turn the helm to steer the catamaran parallel to the dock as you stop.
  • Have crew members ready with fenders to protect the catamaran.
  • Engage reverse to back closer to the dock, using brief forward bursts to maneuver if needed.
  • Once close, crew members should step off the catamaran with lines to secure it to the dock.
  • Secure the catamaran using docking lines , ensuring they are properly fastened and have enough slack.

True story: One summer, while docking our catamaran in a busy marina, a strong gust of wind made our docking process challenging. Thanks to our crew’s quick reflexes and knowledge, we maneuvered the catamaran safely and secured it to the dock without damage. It was a valuable lesson in being prepared for unexpected situations while docking and undocking a catamaran.

Mooring and Anchoring

Mooring and anchoring are integral skills when sailing a catamaran. It is important to consider several key points when engaging in these activities. Make sure to choose the appropriate anchor that matches the type of seabed you will be navigating. Inspect the anchor line thoroughly to ensure it is in good condition and securely attached. Next, carefully select a mooring spot in a protected area that offers solid holding ground. When approaching the mooring, take into account factors such as wind and current, and proceed slowly. To secure the boat, use mooring lines that are connected to cleats or deck fittings. Safeguard your boat from potential damage by utilizing fenders . Prioritizing safety and accounting for your boat’s unique conditions and requirements is crucial. By practicing these techniques, you can enhance your proficiency and guarantee a safe and enjoyable sailing experience.

Man Overboard Recovery

  • Assess the situation: When facing a man overboard situation, it is important to stay calm and promptly evaluate the circumstances. Take into account the distance between the catamaran and the individual in the water, as well as any nearby hazards or obstacles.
  • Alert the crew: Immediately inform the other crew members about the man overboard incident. This ensures that everyone is informed and prepared to provide assistance.
  • Initiate the man overboard recovery process: Throw a life buoy or any floating object towards the person in the water, offering them something to hold onto. This will help keep them afloat during the recovery process.
  • Turn the catamaran: Skillfully maneuver the catamaran to create a controlled loop or figure eight pattern around the individual in the water. This will slow down the vessel and facilitate their retrieval.
  • Bring the person back on board: Once the catamaran is properly positioned, utilize a ladder, swim platform, or any available means to assist in bringing the person back on board. Assign crew members to provide support and ensure the individual’s safety throughout the recovery process.
  • Monitor and provide medical assistance: After the person is safely back on board, promptly evaluate their condition and administer any necessary medical attention. Check for injuries, monitor vital signs, and administer first aid if needed.

Pro-tip: Conduct regular man overboard drills and practice recovery procedures with your crew to ensure that everyone is familiar with their respective roles and responsibilities. This will help reduce response time and enhance the likelihood of successfully recovering individuals in emergency situations.

Safety Tips for Sailing a Catamaran

Discover essential safety tips when sailing a catamaran in this section. From understanding right of way rules to dealing with rough seas and heavy winds, you’ll learn how to navigate challenging conditions with confidence. We’ll explore techniques for maintaining balance and stability, ensuring a smooth and secure sailing experience. So hop aboard and let’s dive into the world of catamaran sailing safety !

Understanding Right of Way Rules

Understanding Right of Way Rules is crucial for safe sailing. Follow these guidelines:

1. Sailboats have the right of way over powerboats. Be aware of your surroundings and give way to any sailboats in your path.

2. When encountering a vessel on your starboard side, yield and give them the right of way. Alter your course slightly to avoid a potential collision.

3. When overtaking another vessel, keep a safe distance and give them the right of way. Maintain a slow and steady speed to avoid creating a dangerous situation.

4. In narrow channels or crowded areas, vessels going uphill or against the current have the right of way. Yield to any vessels navigating in these challenging conditions.

5. Always be cautious and maintain a safe speed when crossing paths with other vessels. Slow down if necessary to ensure a safe passage.

By understanding and adhering to right of way rules, you can navigate the waters confidently and reduce the risk of accidents. Remember, safety should always be the top priority when sailing a catamaran.

Dealing with Rough Seas and Heavy Winds

Dealing with rough seas and heavy winds is crucial when sailing a catamaran. Here are tips to navigate challenging conditions:

1. Check the weather forecast before setting off. If rough seas and heavy winds are expected, consider delaying your trip or changing your route.

2. Ensure all crew members wear appropriate safety gear, such as life jackets and harnesses. Secure loose items on the deck.

3. Maintain a steady speed when encountering rough seas to keep the boat stable. Avoid sudden changes in direction or speed.

4. Adjust your sails by reefing to maintain control and prevent overpowering by strong winds.

5. Be cautious when navigating large waves. Approach them at a slight angle to minimize the risk of capsizing. Maintain a firm grip on the helm.

6. Be aware of the sea state. Avoid crossing large waves head-on; instead, cross them diagonally or at a slight angle.

7. Communicate effectively with your crew. Assign roles and responsibilities to ensure everyone is working together for safety and control.

In rough seas and heavy winds, safety should be the top priority. Stay alert, remain calm, and rely on your training and experience.

Pro-tip: Consider advanced sailing courses or consulting experienced sailors to enhance your skills and confidence in dealing with rough seas and heavy winds.

Maintaining Balance and Stability

Maintaining balance and stability is absolutely crucial when sailing a catamaran. It is important to ensure that weight is evenly distributed on both sides of the catamaran in order to achieve stability .

One way to accomplish this is by having passengers and crew members move to the opposite side when the wind picks up. Another key aspect of maintaining balance is properly trimming the sails to adjust their angle in response to wind changes. This helps to prevent excessive heeling and ensures stability .

Paying attention to the centerboards can greatly enhance stability . Deploying the centerboards can counterbalance the force of the wind and prevent tipping over.

Steering also plays a significant role in maintaining balance. It is crucial to steer steadily and in a controlled manner in order to keep the catamaran on course and avoid any imbalance.

It is important to be aware of weather conditions and understand how they can impact stability . When faced with heavy winds and rough seas, it is essential to adjust sailing techniques accordingly and make any necessary adjustments to maintain balance and stability .

Some Facts About How To Sail Catamaran:

  • ✅ Sailing a catamaran requires adjusting to the different motion and sail trimming compared to monohull sailboats.
  • ✅ Catamarans provide more space and stability compared to traditional monohull sailboats.
  • ✅ Catamarans do not heel like monohulls, providing a less tiring sailing experience.
  • ✅ Catamarans can sail in shallower places and prevent rolling in anchorage due to their lower drafts.
  • ✅ The American Sailing Association (ASA) offers a specific course, ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran, to provide practical sailing skills and confidence when sailing a catamaran.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how do i sail a catamaran.

Sailing a catamaran involves adjusting to its different motion and sail trimming compared to monohulls. You’ll need to take a sailing course or gather practical sailing skills to ensure confidence and enjoyment while sailing a catamaran. The American Sailing Association (ASA) offers the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran course designed specifically for individuals with monohull cruising experience transitioning to catamarans.

2. What are the advantages of sailing a catamaran?

Catamarans offer numerous advantages over monohulls. They are more spacious, providing larger living areas above decks and expansive cabins located in the hulls. Catamarans are incredibly stable, making them ideal for longer voyages and providing maximum comfort and relaxation. They also have lower drafts, allowing navigation in shallow reef passages and anchoring closer to shore. Catamarans do not heel like monohulls, providing a more comfortable and less tiring sailing experience.

3. How can I charter a catamaran from The Moorings?

The Moorings offers innovative and top-quality catamarans for sailing vacations. To charter a catamaran from The Moorings, you can visit their website and access their charter resources. They are known for their exclusive access to Robertson & Caine catamarans, distinguished for their quality and comfort. There, you can find information on boat availability, reputation, and customer reviews to choose the right catamaran for your needs and preferences.

4. What is the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran certification?

The American Sailing Association (ASA) offers the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran certification. This certification is designed for individuals with monohull cruising experience who want to transition to catamarans. The course covers the advantages and disadvantages of multihull sailing, as well as practical sailing skills specific to catamarans. Obtaining this certification ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to confidently sail a catamaran.

5. Are catamarans safe for offshore sailing?

Yes, catamarans are safe and stable for offshore sailing. They are designed to offer stability and comfort in various conditions. Catamarans have two independent hulls, making them less likely to sink completely. They also have duplicate navigation systems, including two engines and rudders, for onboard safety. Catamarans remain stable even in bad weather and do not capsize easily. Their advanced design and safety features make them a reliable choice for offshore sailing.

6. Can I sail a catamaran without previous sailing experience?

Sailing a catamaran without previous sailing experience is not recommended. It is essential to have some sailing knowledge and skills before attempting to sail a catamaran. Taking a sailing course, such as the ASA 114: Cruising Catamaran course, will provide you with the necessary skills and confidence to safely operate a catamaran. Spending time onboard and obtaining a sailing diploma or certification will ensure a better understanding of catamaran sailing fundamentals.

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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.

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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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13 Best Small Catamarans For Cruising 2024

The best small catamarans for cruising are affordable and comfortable, making great sailboats for a number of different purposes. If you’re looking for the best small catamarans to start your cruising life then look no further!

When searching for a catamaran for our adventures we scoured the internet for any and all information we could find on just about every size, shape, and model!

Although in the end, we opted for a bigger catamaran, in the hopes of having more family and friends on board, we did heavily research the best small catamarans as an option.

One of the best small catamarans for cruising out at anchor.

Each small catamaran has different pros and cons. As with every sailboat, there will be compromises, but hopefully, this post will help you firm up what you’re really looking for in a multihull and find the right smaller catamaran for you!

Here are what we consider the best small cruising catamarans out there, costing anywhere from $40,000 to $300,000. You can also read up on the average costs of sailboats here.

Why choose a small catamaran for cruising?

The downsides to small multihulls for cruisers

The best small catamarans for ocean sailing

The best small catamarans for coastal cruising

Why Choose A Small Catamaran For Cruising?

a small multihull on an ocean passage, cutting through the water.

The main advantage to choosing a small catamaran for cruising has to be the cost. Not only are smaller sailboats cheaper to buy initially, but they are also cheaper to maintain and to dock in marinas or dry storage.

Why buy a small catamaran over a monohull? This isn’t the post to go into the pros and cons of multihulls vs monohulls, but a few of the main reasons you might prefer to buy a small cat over a bigger, cheaper monohull is the living space and the comfort underway and at anchor.

Living on a sailboat is very different from taking the boat out for a sporty sail every now and again. Having a catamaran over a monohull means you won’t be heeling or rolling at anchor half as much, you can leave out your coffee cup, and you have the space you need to spread out a little.

A small catamaran will enable the more comfortable lifestyle you’re seeking at a more reasonable price tag. So what’s not to love about small cruising multihulls?

The Downsides To Small Multihulls For Cruisers

a sailboat with its sails up, goosewinged.

Of course, just with everything in sailing, there are always compromises to be made when it comes to small multihulls.

One of the biggest downsides for cruisers is the weight issue smaller catamarans present. You won’t be able to carry half as much as you would on a larger catamaran or monohull, which might be a problem if you live onboard full time.

The other negative is that smaller boats usually aren’t quite as seaworthy as larger ones. You might find you’re limited to coastal cruising if you choose a small catamaran, so make sure you have your cruising intentions in mind before you buy.

the sails of a sailboat against the blue sky.

Another big thing to look out for when it comes to choosing the right small cat for you, is the bridge deck clearance. This is often worse on smaller catamarans, and can cause nasty slamming in any sort of sea, both when sailing and at anchor.

With these downsides in mind, we’ve split this post into the best small catamarans for ocean sailing and the best for coastal cruising. Obviously this is a little subjective, as many people have sailed around the world in much smaller and less seaworthy vessels!

The Best Small Catamarans For Ocean Cruising

#1 wharram tiki.

  • Suitable for: Bluewater sailing
  • Fixed Keels
  • Draft (max): 2.08′
  • Engines: Single outboard, though some versions have twin inboards
  • Price: Roughly $100,000

small catamarans sailing with the sunset behind

We have lusted after the Wharram catamarans since our adventures began and would have opted for one of these if we had found one for sale this side of the pond.

Designed by the legendary James Wharram, these small multihulls are pretty unique. They are based on the Polynesian catamaran design, and the plans enable you to self-build these boats if you have the time, money, and space for a project of this magnitude.

If you aren’t keen on taking on a project then you can commission a boat builder to complete the design for you, or buy one second-hand. The advantages of having one made yourself are that you can tweak things to your personal taste, and you can even contact the Wharrams themselves to see if they can adjust the designs for individual requests.

The Wharram catamarans have a lot of charm dues to their traditional design, and the old-fashioned appeal continues inside the boat too. You won’t find the same huge hull space as some of the modern design catamarans now have, but the outside entertainment space is perfect for entertaining.

One of the best small multihulls for ocean cruising

These small catamarans don’t have an inside space across the hulls, so all of your inside living space is below. If you’re used to monohulls then this won’t be a problem but if you like the idea of a galley-up then these boats aren’t for you.

Wharram catamarans, especially the Tiki 38, have great reputations as around the world, bluewater boats. They have fantastic bridge deck clearance so slamming is minimum and they sail well.

Most models have a double cabin and two singles, a galley, a head, and a small salon area below. They are smaller catamarans than many newer 38ft multihulls but this does make them more affordable.

small catamarans in the Caribbean with a beautiful white sand beach behind

A big appeal for us was the fact these boats are designed to be self-made. Although a secondhand model could potentially come with a lot of problems (get a decent survey before you buy!) it does mean that almost everything onboard can be self-fixed. This is a huge bonus if you plan on sailing your small catamaran around the world.

Another thing we loved about these smaller catamarans is the fact they have outboard engines, which we felt would be easier to maintain and replace if necessary. This is a personal choice though so consider this before you get your heart set on one!

One of the downsides to the Tiki 38 is that there aren’t many of them around. These are unique boats and they don’t come on the market frequently. When they do, they tend to be scattered all over the world so you’ll have to be prepared to travel to find one!

#2 Prout Snowgoose 37 : Small Catamaran For Ocean Cruising

a sail on a cruising catamaran and the ocean in the background.

Prout catamarans are a popular choice for cruisers, and you’ll find many owners who have circumnavigated in them. The Snowgoose is no exception. Prout no longer exists as a company, as it was bought by Broadblue in the 90s.

Broadblue still makes catamarans today, and they have very similar features to the original Prouts, though obviously they are far fancier and have all the benefits of a more modern design!

The Snowgoose is a great small multihull to go for as you get quite a lot of space inside and out. We weren’t sure about the berth in the salon area, but it might make a great space for a baby or small child while underway!

The compromise in the Prout Snowgoose is the bridge deck clearance and this was something that put us off these smaller cruising catamarans. A low bridge deck clearance makes the boat slam in waves, both at anchor and underway.

#8 PDQ 36 : A Small Catamaran Without Too Much Slamming

  • Suitable for: Bluewater
  • Draft (max): 2.82′
  • Engines: Twin inboard or outboard
  • Price: Over $100,000

sailboat catamaran size

These small catamarans have an excellent reputation among cruisers because of their solid build and use of decent materials. They come with either outboard engines for coastal cruising or inboard engines designed to withstand offshore use.

If you like the sound of the PDQ 32 but need a little more room then you’ve got that here! It’s also a boat that people have crossed oceans in, though you might want to consider something more tried and tested like the Prout Snowgoose or the Wharram if you’re planning longer ocean sails.

The boat has three cabins, a galley, salon and head, but there’s a more spacious feel compared to the smaller model. Again, the bridge deck clearance is good so you shouldn’t experience too much slamming.

#9 Lagoon 380 : One Of The Most Popular Small Multihulls

sailboat catamaran size

  • Fixed keels
  • Engines:  twin diesel engines
  • Price:  from $100,000, used

The Lagoon 380 is one of the most popular catamarans out there, and you’ve probably already spotted a lot of them in your search! This is a great option if modern cats appeal to you, as it’s pretty ‘with the times’ as far as smaller catamarans go!

There are lots of different layouts of this boat available all over the world. Some were built for charter with numerous berths and others were commissioned for couples or families with differing cabin and head options.

This is a proven catamaran from a reputable company, but obviously with so many of these boats out there, they come in a range of conditions. Make sure you get a thorough survey done before purchase!

Lagoon 37 TPI

  • Draft (max): 4′
  • Engines: Twin inboard diesels 
  • Price: Over $100,000 USD 

This is the smallest catamaran built by Lagoon, and unfortunately there aren’t many of them out there. These boats were built mainly for the charter market, and have a smaller rig than some similar sized catamarans.

There are two big queen-size forward doubles port and starboard and a smaller double in the starboard hull aft. The galley and salon are designed to be simple and timeless, with none of the fancy trims you’ll find in the newer Lagoons.

As this boat was intended for charter it probably wouldn’t make a great ocean-going vessel. For starters, it isn’t designed to carry too much in the way of provisions. That’s not to say it won’t be a suitable bluewater boat with a few tweaks. Sailors who have circumnavigated in them have increased sail area and added folding props to get more speed from the vessel.

#11 Catalac 9M/30

sailboat catamaran size

  • Draft (max): 2.5′
  • Engines:  two outboard engines or one diesel engine
  • Price:  from $50,000

The Catalac 9M is a little different to a lot of the catamarans on this list, as it was built for sailing in the North Sea! This is a great small catamaran for anyone wanting a boat built to be safe!

The bridge deck clearance is reasonable but the boat is light, which can make it more prone to slamming. The unique feature of this small sailboat is the hard dodger, designed as somewhere safe and dry to stand in bad weather.

It sails well, though like a lot of catamarans there is technique involved in getting it to tack smoothly. Once you’ve got the hang of though, this boat will make good speeds for its size.

The Best Small Catamarans For Coastal Cruising

  • Suitable for: Coastal
  • Draft (max): 3.62′
  • Engines: Twin inboard
  • Price: Up to $300,000 for a newer model

The Mahe 36 is the smallest of the Fountaine Pajot range, and these small catamarans can go for a heafty budget if you find a newer model!

This tiny multihull packs a lot into a small space, and because of its modern features, you’ll feel like you’re in a much bigger boat when you step aboard.

This boat is a fast mover, with an ok bridge clearance and some attractive upgrades compared to their last small catamaran design. Most notably the full-length hard top bimini which has the reviewers raving!

If you have the money to splash out on a newer, more expensive small catamaran then this should definitely be on your list to consider! Although they come with a large price tag, these small catamarans are considerably cheaper new than some of the bigger models.

#4 Gemini 105Mc (34ft)

sailboat catamaran size

Suitable for: Coastal cruising Centreboards Draft (max): 5′ Engines:  Single inboard Price:  from $80,000

The Gemini 105Mc is still in production in the US, which speaks to its popularity. Obviously if you buy new you’ll pay a much higher price! This is one of the smallest catamarans on the list, but it’s still a great option for coastal cruising (or some have even successfully completed ocean passages on them in relative comfort).

For a small multihull this boat sails pretty well and is fast for a coastal cruiser. The living space is decent with good headroom. It has two double cabins and a master bedroom, and the interior finishes are nice too.

A big negative to this boat is the bridge deck clearance which really isn’t amazing, but as we said at the start, there’s always a compromise! This is a sporty-looking little catamaran that’s a good contender for the top smallest catamarans out there!

#5 EndeavourCat 36

Suitable for: Coastal cruising Fixed keels Draft (max): 3′ Engines:  two inboard Price:  from $100

sailboat catamaran size

Designed and built by Endeavour Catamaran, these American built boats are great cruising catamarans. A big advantage to this little multihull is that it will fit into most monohull slips, so if you anticipate using marinas a lot then this might be the small catamaran for you!

This isn’t a slow boat, and owners report speeds of 8-9 knots. Bear in mind though that the narrow beam does make it less suitable for any offshore passages. It has good interior space with 6′ standing headroom throughout, three double cabins, and a decent-sized galley below. The salon area can seat 6 people comfortably.

This cat is great for single-handed sailors, as all the lines lead to the cockpit and the main and jib are completely self-tacking.

#6 Prout Event 34

sailboat catamaran size

Suitable for: Coastal/bluewater Fixed keels Draft (max): 2.72′ Engines:  Single inboard Price:  from $30,000

These multihulls are quite hard to find, but if you like the Snowgoose but are on a tighter budget then they might be just what you’re looking for. They share lots of features with the Snowgoose and look very similar, only smaller!

There are three cabins, one head, a salon, and a galley, only they are rather squeezed in compared to the larger model. Personally, we thought there was plenty of space for a smaller sailboat but it’s worth seeing them in person if you’re keen on this model.

They do have the same downsides as the Snowgoose though, with limited headroom and low bridge deck clearance. These boats are known for their slamming!

Coastal Engines:  twin outboards Price:  from $80,000, used

sailboat catamaran size

The PDQ 32 is a great budget option catamaran and should be cheap(ish) to buy second hand and maintain. With two outboards that are easy to replace on a smaller budget, you’re looking at some of the usual pinch points on a boat becoming a lot more affordable!

This small catamaran only has two cabins, so sleeps less than a lot of the boats on this list, but it is roomier than you’d imagine inside with a decent galley and salon area. It has decent bridge deck clearance so shouldn’t slam too much in any waves.

This isn’t a boat for longer passages as it is a little small (and perhaps underpowered) to face serious weather. If you’re searching for something to potter around in then this is a fun boat to sail and live in!

#12 Dean 365

sailboat catamaran size

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  • Suitable for: Coastal cruising
  • Draft (max): 3′
  • Engines:  one or two inboard
  • Price:  from $45,000, used

These South African catamarans are great little coastal cruising catamarans that are hard to come by anywhere other than South Africa!

They’re pretty tiny, but have enough space for a galley, 3 or 4 cabins, and 1 or 2 heads. Some of the designs even have a bathtub, which speaks of their liveaboard suitability rather than their sail performance!

These boats are some of the smallest multihulls on this list, so don’t expect much in terms of headroom or bridge deck clearance. That being said, if you’re looking for a tiny catamaran to live on and you are prepared to compromise on sailing ability then these are a solid choice.

We have heard that the build quality can vary somewhat with these multihulls, so make sure you do some solid research and get a good surveyor when buying one of these. If you get a good version then they can make really solid boats.

#13 EndeavourCat 30

the lines of small catamarans tied off to a cleat

Suitable for: Coastal cruising Fixed keels Draft (max): 2.1′ Engines:  single or twin outboard Price:  from $70,000

This is a boat built for comfort over all else, so if you’re looking for a budget catamaran to live in then take a look at the endeavourcat 30. Some people don’t like the boxy design, but we quite liked how it looked in the water. I guess it’s personal taste!

This sailboat has two double cabins, a decent sized galley and salon for the size of the boat, and a head. The bridge deck clearance is low so that’s something to bear in mind before you buy, but the headroom is good (another reason why this would make a good liveaboard catamaran).

Hopefully this has given you some inspiration when searching for small catamarans for cruising, and helped you to find your dream boat!

We’re passionate about helping people live this incredible cruising lifestyle, so if you’re planning your dream liveaboard life make sure you check out our guide on how to run away to sea, with everything you could possibly need to know before, during, and after starting this adventure of a lifetime!

sailboat catamaran size

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Such small mention of probably the best catamaran for overall cruising, focusing on ease of helming, speed and livability. Simple rig, great ergonomic features, style and definitely a pedigree on the water. The FP Mahe duo! Sea proven. Most delivered on their own bottoms from France. Wide beams and light. Beautiful interior arrangements and easy to maintain. I’m confused about so little mention of probably the best entry level and beyond real cruiser out there.

You forgot the edelcat 35. Great boats, and have circumnavigated!

I wonder why Broadblue 346 is not on the list.

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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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Balance 442 “Lasai” Set to Debut

  • By Cruising World Staff
  • March 20, 2024

Balance 442 at dock

Balance Catamarans is preparing for the premiere of its newest Balance 442 catamaran. The debut is scheduled to take place at the International Multihull Boat Show in La Grande Motte, France, from April 3-7.

The owners of the latest 442 model, which has been christened Lasai , are the couple known as the “Tipsy Nomads” online. They’ve been using the boat for the past few months in the Mediterranean, including cruising it to the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Their YouTube and Instagram channels include photos and videos from these first days on board Lasai .

On the Balance 442, Cruising World editor-at-large Herb McCormick described his experience aboard the model as “a 44-foot catamaran that punches above its weight, and a performance-oriented platform that’s also ideal for ocean sailing and living aboard.”

Overhead of the Balance 442

“Under sail … I truly began to appreciate the 442’s proportions, and came to realize what an ideal-size boat this is for a cruising couple,” said McCormick. “It’s large enough to address most any cruisers’ plans and itinerary, but not so big that you need to bring additional crew on board to go cruising.”

Read his full report on the model HERE .

More about Hull No. 6 of the Balance 442: Phil Berman, founder of Balance Catamarans, calls Lasai a stunning catamaran with ecologically sourced bamboo veneers on its handmade cabinets. “We are looking forward to showing her off at La Grande Motte this year,” he said.

Where to learn more: click over to balancecatamarans.com

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Average Sailboat Size

Average Sailboat Size | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

American sailboats come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny inflatable 12-foot dinghies to enormous 150-foot mega yachts.

The average sailboat size in the United States is about 30 to 35 feet overall in length. These vessels are usually classified as 'coastal cruisers,' as they're seaworthy enough for limited offshore use. Inland, the story changes, as the limited area of lakes and rivers keeps the average sailboat size under 30 feet.

In this article, we'll go over the average sailboat size, vessel size classifications, and how regional differences contribute to vessel dimensions. We'll also cover the best sailboat sizes and how to choose the ideal length and displacement.

We sourced the information used in this article from sailboat sales statistics, along with our Miti own analysis of the used boat market.

Table of contents

‍ Average Displacement of a Sailboat

Displacement is a measurement of how much water (in pounds) a vessel displaces. It's not the actual dry weight of the vessel, but it's more useful in calculating handling characteristics. The average displacement of a 30-foot sailboat is around 10,000 pounds.

This figure varies based on a number of factors, including hull type and keel depth (or draft). A moderate, fin-keel cruiser may displace 10,000 pounds, while a nearly identical vessel with a full keel may displace 11,000 or 12,000 pounds.

Average Beam of a Sailboat

The beam is quite simply the width of a sailboat at its widest point. Beam refers to the width of the hull and usually doesn't include add-on items like ladders or booms. The average beam of a 30-foot sailboat is about 10 feet, give or take a foot or two.

Beam also varies by sailboat type. A typical cruising sloop is likely to have a 9 to 10-foot beam, while a catboat of the same length will probably have an 11 or 12-foot beam.

Why Are 30-Foot Sailboats So Popular?

There are numerous reasons why the average sailboat is about 30 feet in length. These considerations have to do with cost, practicality, handling, and comfort.


Most standard 30-foot sailboats are steady and seaworthy enough for use in bays and coastal areas. Size isn't the only consideration when it comes to offshore handling, but a 30-foot boat is usually big enough to handle average ocean chop without getting easily swamped.

This gives captains confidence in the event of a sudden storm, and it helps keep crews (relatively) dry in choppier waters.

A 30-foot sailboat is easy to handle with a two or three-person crew, unlike a 40 or 50-foot vessel which may require mechanical assistance or a few extra hands.

A 30-footer can also be crewed by a single person, which allows people to take inexperienced friends or family aboard without relying on them for assistance. Boats of this size typically handle softly and aren't prone to knockdowns like smaller, lighter vessels.

Virtually every major sailboat manufacturer has (or had) a popular production sailboat in the 30-foot range. This is because any warehouse can manufacture 30-foot boats, and they're usually legal over the road.

This cuts down on everything from material cost (mass Production) to transport costs, which makes them affordable to consumers. But why do 25-foot boats cost about the same as 30-foot boats?

As it turns out, the cost to tack on an extra 5 to 8 feet is negligible, so why sell a smaller boat when you can add an extra shower or bunk? In short, economies of scale play an important part when it comes to boat production and popularity.

Boats in the 30-foot range are also popular because every standard marina can accommodate them. Additionally, a standard berth can usually handle two of these vessels side-by-side, which reduces costs and makes more berthing spaces available to the public,

A 30-foot sailboat is large enough to fit everything a typical couple needs to be comfortable, with some space to spare. Almost all fiberglass sailboats in this size category have at least two places to sleep, a toilet, a shower, a stove, a sink, fresh water storage, and an inverter for battery power. What more do you need?

Smaller sailboats also have these accommodations, but it gets tight really fast in anything smaller than 30 feet.

Average Sailboat Size by Type

Though 30 feet is the average size for production sailboats overall, the story changes when you break down the numbers by type. Here are the average lengths of dinghies, Pocket cruisers, trailer sailers, coastal cruisers, and offshore bluewater cruisers.

Dinghies are small, open-top sailboats that are favored by kids and often used as tenders for larger vessels. They usually have a collapsible mast, sails, and a centerboard. These vessels are usually between 10 and 15 feet in length, though some are smaller than 10 feet.

Pocket Cruisers

Pocket cruisers are deliberately tiny sailboats with cabins and sleeping space for one or two adults. Think of them as a large dinghy with a camping cabin. These lightweight, shallow-draft vessels range in size from experimentally small 14-footers to typical 18 to 20-footers.

Trailer Sailers

Trailer sailers are essentially enlarged pocket cruisers with more typical sailboat accommodations. They're popular on lakes and in coastal areas, and they can be towed by a typical pickup truck or SUV. Trailer sailers range in size from 18 to 24 feet, and they typically have a small cabin with accommodations for two and sitting headroom.

Coastal Cruisers

Coastal cruises are extremely popular and range in size from about 25 feet to 30 feet (with some exceptions). These vessels are designed in many ways, and some excel in speed or offshore handling. The larger coastal cruisers have bathing facilities and standing headroom, while smaller models have a camp stove and a sink.

Offshore Cruisers

Bluewater cruising sailboats are true ocean-going vessels. They're heavy, robust, and spacious enough to store several weeks' worth of provisions. These vessels are normally larger than 35 feet, and the average is around 40 feet.

You'll encounter a lot more variety in this market, as serious offshore sailors often custom order their boats in many different sizes. Keep in mind that this category doesn't include 'mega yacht' type sailboats, as these rare and enormous vessels would throw off the statistical balance.

What Size Sailboat Can You Live On?

Many people wonder how small a sailboat is suitable for living aboard. The answer is highly subjective, but the smallest vessel with basic shelter is about 19 feet. On the smaller end, many people have found sailboats in the 23 to 26-foot range to be perfectly liveable.

Some smaller boats, like the Flicka 20, have standing headroom and a functional head. If you want a shower, you'll probably have to look for a vessel in the 24 to 30-foot range. The most comfortable liveaboard sailboats are 35 feet and longer, as they have dedicated spaces for washing, cooking, and sleeping.

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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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